Over the next couple weeks leading up to the 2021 MLB Amateur Draft, Sports Info Solutions will be publishing a series of scouting reports from three of our Video Scouts for the top-10 collegiate draft prospects and five honorable mentions. Each player is graded by the 20-80 scouting scale, given a comprehensive evaluation, and assigned a floor and a ceiling comparison, which indicate–if a player makes the Major Leagues–the range of the type of player into which he can develop.
To read all the reports, click here.
Gunnar Hoglund, RHP
|College||University of Mississippi (JR.2021)|
|Bio||L/R 6-4, 220 lbs|
|Date of Birth||12/17/1999|
Written by Brandon Tew
Gunnar Hoglund is an intriguing pitching prospect. He possesses top-10 talent for this year’s draft, but an elbow injury suffered during his May 7 start against Texas A&M and subsequent Tommy John Surgery means he might fall down draft boards come early July. The arm talent and ability to throw consistent strikes means some teams will consider Hoglund in the 1st round. This is why he remains a top college prospect on our list.
Hoglund dazzled at times during his junior season at Ole Miss. He demonstrated strikeout stuff with stellar command, while putting up 14 and 13 strikeouts in consecutive starts against Louisiana-Monroe and Auburn in mid-March. Hoglund tossed 14 scoreless innings in those two starts and quickly climbed draft boards. He shined throughout most of the season, posting a 2.87 ERA in 62 2/3 innings, striking out 39% of his opponents and walking only 7%. Hoglund displayed one of the most polished repertoires in the nation.
Hoglund attacks hitters and pounds the strike zone, consistently throwing strikes and commanding all his pitches. Hoglund’s above-average fastball sits around 92-94 mph and touched 96 mph at points this season. He throws the fastball to both sides of the plate, showing control of the pitch along with command and willingness to throw it in and out against both lefties and righties.
He spots the fastball away from hitters, allowing him to attack with his slider (80-85mph) that has sharp action and tunnels well with his fastball. To righties, he will start the slider on the outer part of the plate and let it dive down and away. He forces hitters to swing at his slider late in counts because he spots the fastball early and often.
With a great feel for his fastball, Hoglund throws first-pitch strikes and stays ahead of hitters. He can challenge lefties with his slider and back foot it down and in, but his above-average changeup (80-83 mph) has become a solid weapon against LHBs. He pitches down and away, letting his changeup fade away from hitters as a swing-and-miss pitch. His curveball is a work in progress and he rarely throws it (14 times in the 2021 season). If he can get good separation on it from his slider, Hoglund can turn it into an average show-me offering, as a change-of-speed pitch in MLB.
Hoglund stays on the edge of the plate with superb fastball location, getting weak contact and limiting the damage he allows. If Hoglund does lose control of his fastball, it can get hit pretty hard when left in the middle of the plate. With average velocity on his fastball in today’s game, Hoglund needs to continue to pitch on the edges of the plate and locate his fastball to limit the advantages professional hitters can take on his mistakes. Hoglund counteracts this by pitching backwards at times and keeping hitters off-balance with a first-pitch changeup or slider in the zone for a strike. This will be a key part of his development in pro ball and will help him continue to have success.
Hoglund’s delivery is simple and easy to repeat out of his high ¾ arm slot. He starts with his hands up at his face, bringing them down to his belt and back up in rhythm as he takes a step back, and settles on his back leg with a nice and easy leg lift to his belt. He then keeps great tempo with a slight double pump and tap of his glove, keeping his timing intact as he comes down the mound with his plant foot.
Hoglund doesn’t overthrow and his delivery is smooth and very repeatable, which enhances his strike throwing. With great control of his pitches, he grades a potential 70 on the 20-80 scale. Hoglund can make slight adjustments during an at bat when he gets off track and can continue to throw strikes to all four quadrants of the zone.
With this delivery, Hoglund projects well as a starting pitcher in his pro career. Despite the elbow injury ending his college career, he should stay relatively healthy as a mid-rotation starter. His smooth arm action and longer arm circle makes his secondary pitches, especially his changeup projectable as a plus or even plus-plus pitch. The deception and movement of both his slider and changeup should only get better as he polishes those two pitches in the minors and pairs them with outstanding fastball command.
Hoglund is a polished right-handed pitcher who has performed in the SEC against premier competition in 2020’s shortened season and most of 2021. This proven track record should have him staying in the 1st round despite his Tommy John Surgery in May. Hoglund is seen as a safer bet to be a starter in MLB than others on the draft board.
With 3 above-average pitches and outstanding overall command, Hoglund should fit in as a mid-rotation guy at the next level as a No. 3 or No.4 starter, but with continuing improvements and good recovery from his surgery, Hoglund can still reach his full potential.
Mid-Rotation starter with outstanding command and a solid 4-pitch mix.
Ceiling: Zack Greinke
Floor: Mike Leake
Draft Expectation: Middle-Late 1st round