Halo HQ Top 10 Prospects: #9 Keynan Middleton

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Updated: February 1, 2017

Coming in at number nine in our top ten prospect countdown is flamethrowing reliever Keynan Middleton.

Keynan Middleton

Profile: 6’2”/185 lbs; Born 9/12/1993 (age 23); Portland, OR; Lane Community College; Drafted 2013, 3rd round, 95th pick; RP; Bats Right/Throws Right

Halo HQ 30-80 Scale (Current/Future)

Fastball: 70/80, Slider: 50/60, Changeup: 35/45, Control: 50/55, Overall: 50/60

Pitches

Man, Keynan Middleton can throw a baseball. His fastball is electric. He sits in the mid-90s and it has great movement. He can even touch triple digits from time to time. It’s already major league quality, but if he can get his average MPH just a tick faster, Middleton can become one of the premier relief prospects in all of baseball. He won’t throw as hard as Aroldis Chapman, but he will throw very hard. His slider is his secondary pitch, but it still needs work. While it is above average when he can command it, he has some trouble controlling it plus it can get a bit sweepy at times. If he can improve it, it can be a quality strikeout pitch. His changeup still has a long way to go, as he has hardly any control over it. He rarely uses it, but he will most likely need a third pitch in his arsenal. If he can develop his breaking pitches, he can be a deadly weapon out of the bullpen.

Stamina

This is the reason why Middleton isn’t rated higher on this list. He is a failed starter turned into a closer. Usually relievers are not rated very highly on prospect lists, as they are graded under a microscope. If Middleton had this stuff as a starter, he would probably be one of the top prospects in all of baseball. He has the ability to go three innings, but he is best in short bursts.

Control

This is the biggest problem in Middleton’s game. Since he is such a hard thrower, his pitches tend to run away from him a bit. Last season, he walked 28 in 66 innings, which is a walk rate of 2.36 per 9. You really want to see a closer in the 1.5 to 2 range. What he lacks in control though, he makes up for in is ability to make people swing and miss. He struck out 88, more than one per inning. It really does make the walks look miniscule, but he does need to get those walks down. If he can do that, he will be a solid late inning piece.

Overall/Projections

Middleton is extremely close to the majors, but still has some kinks he has to work out. Developing his offspeed pitches should be his primary focus to start the year and doing so will translate to better control. He is the future of the Angels bullpen, so they won’t rush him to the majors. He will start the year in AAA and could possibly make his way into the bullpen out of Spring Training, but if that doesn’t happen, he should find a spot in the ‘pen by August. He projects to be a Cam Bedrosian or a Roberto Osuna type pitcher, but relievers are always wildcards.

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