Long had a solid collegiate career (3.08 ERA, 19-5, 199 Ks in 231 IP) before being drafted, and the Angels (according to Ric Wilson) saw him on probable fast track to the big leagues. That track was slowed a bit in 2016 when he missed a good portion of the season with biceps tendonitis followed by a fractured finger he suffered while on his rehab assignment. Had it not been for that delay, there would have been a chance he’d start in Mobile for 2017 but he should land back in A+ at least to start the season.
Long has a big workhorse type build that can eat a lot of innings. The Angels limited him to just under 20 innings in 2015 since he was coming off a 100 inning season for Texas A&M. Despite Long’s rough showing in his rehab starts (8 runs through 11 innings), he still logged a 3.18 combined ERA in 2016 with a 1.22 WHIP and 70 Ks through 65 IP. He was also a mid-season all-star but didn’t get to pitch in the game due to injury. He has solid mechanics and a smooth consistent three-quarters arm slot. His bread and butter fastball sits in the 91-93 range, but has good life to it and can hit 95 at times. He also has a plus changeup and average slider in his arsenal. Long’s slider will likely improve and it’s great to have three solid pitches that are all average or higher. He has plenty of ceiling, but is expected to be a back end rotation guy.
Long is a good bet and pretty solid prospect to be a future starter in the Angels rotation. He is often compared to former Angels prospect Chris Ellis who landed with the Braves in the Andrelton Simmons trade. He has some room for improvement with his slider and his walk rate is pretty high (3.75/9IP). Projections had him arriving in 2018/2019 but given his setbacks last year, I’d say it’s looking like 2019.