Draft Profile: Brendon Little Could Be a Golden Arm

Brendon Little – State JC of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota
DOB: 8/11/1996
6-2, 195 pounds
Bats/Throws: L/L

“He has tools you can’t teach, like a fastball that touches 97 from the left side,” one former AL scout told me about Brendon Little. “He also still has a lot of projection left, which you don’t find often at his age . He could gain a tick in his FB with a more downward plane on his delivery. That would help his command, too.”

As with any college pitcher, Little is far from perfect. However, his floor is supported by a nice 97 mph fastball. His ceiling, on the other hand, could be much higher with improved mechanics and a repeatable delivery, both of which would elevate his secondaries to the realm of average to plus pitches.

As for his story, Little has been on a very short and very strange trip since he was drafted in 2015 as a high school senior.

Little committed to attend North Carolina rather than accept a pro contract. Little did Little know that he would only see four innings as a freshman at UNC. And when you only throw four innings, well, you only throw four innings.

What happened next illustrates one of the qualities I like about Little. He pulled himself up by his bootstraps and had an impressive summer in the Cape Cod league. His fastball touched 97 consistently and his curve and change flashed some potential. The Cubs scouting and development staff spoke about how determination and hard work factor in their decisions about players, and this kid fills the bill in that regard.

There is, however, still some work to be done. Little did not return to North Carolina this past fall, choosing instead to transfer to a junior college in Florida. In most videos, his windup and delivery are all over the place. Most of that comes from the lower half. His foot placement and plant need to be adjusted quite a bit, which might be one reason he’s been wild in the past. What’s more, he throws mostly upright without much bend in the back. Some sites say that he’s cleaned that up some and is now working on his breaking ball and change.

Elite fastball – the mid to upper 90’s
Outstanding summer at the Cape
Curve could be plus

doudicanpatAreas of Concern:
Command and control of secondaries
Foot placement and movement

What Others Say

Little has serious arm strength from the left side. In the Cape, he was 93-96 mph with his fastball and touched 97 mph this fall. Using a straight up-and-down delivery, there’s not a whole lot of downward angle, and his fastball can be flat at times. He uses a hard, true 12-to-6 curve effectively and a new changeup he showed in the fall looked good in a brief look. His arm is quick and clean, and he still misses bats despite the lack of bend in his delivery.

Little’s command can be spotty, and he hasn’t always repeated his delivery well. The lack of track record will concern some, but if he can show that three-pitch mix in the spring, teams that believe he can start will give him a very long look.

-Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com

While he doesn’t have a lot of physical projection left, 97 mph is 97 mph, regardless of which side of the rubber it’s coming from. Teams are going to gamble on that and I think the Cubs could be one of them. If Little really has cleaned up his mechanics, his value will improve significantly this spring. The Cubs could have a golden opportunity for a power lefty with either of their first round picks.

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