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MLB draft 2017 player profile: J.B. Bukauskas, RHP

Bukauskas has turned in a solid season at the University of North Carolina.

NCAA Men's College World Series Championship
This isn’t Bukauskas but don’t tell anyone, ok?
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Bukauskas had the third lowest ERA in the 2015-16 season and has continued to make progress this year. Entering the season, Bukauskas was viewed as one of the top four college arms. That perception has not changed one bit.

J.B. Bukauskas, 20 y/o | 6’0” | 195 | RHP | Junior

University of North Carolina

Season Stats (SP): 13 GS, 1.87 ERA, 82 innings, 106 K, 31 BB, .183 BA allowed*

Bukauskas started this season with a bang but has since been quietly above average. His statistics above speak for themselves and he is definitely in the upper tier of talent available this draft.

Here’s MLB Pipeline’s description of Bukauskas.

At his best, Bukauskas can blow away hitters with a pair of double-plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball with sink and a mid-80s slider with tilt. His slider isn't as consistent as his heater, but it's still a plus offering more often than not. Bukauskas made good progress working on his changeup while with Team USA, and it shows signs of becoming at least an average pitch with armside run.

Despite his dominance, scouts have long doubted Bukauskas’s viability as a starter because his delivery takes a lot of effort (see video below) which could lead to a shift to the bullpen. The other concern is that Bukauskas’s lack of height leads to a lack of plane and therefore, less deception and plane/movement on his fastball.

In my view, Bukauskas has #2 starter and closer upside. Barring injury, his floor is that of a #4 starter, with likelihood that he will be a solid middle-of-the-rotation pitcher.

*as of May 16th

Scouting grades, per MLB Pipeline

Fastball: 70 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Chance of being there at 10th overall?

Low. The consensus seems to be that the A’s, who pick sixth, are high on Bukauskas. If he were to be on the board at ten, Bukauskas would easily be the best player on the board and the Angels would be wise to scoop him up.