San Diego, CA- With the 86th overall selection in the 2014 MLB Draft, the San Diego Padres have selected Rice University RHP Zech Lemond.
Lemond was previously drafted in the 50th round of the 2011 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of high school.
Zech Lemond was a first-round talent coming into the season, but his recent elbow injury raises about whether he can be a starter long term or a hard throwing reliever out if the bullpen. Most scouts project Zech Lemond as a No. 3 starting pitcher/late-inning reliever with good command, an above average fastball, curveball and a developing change-up and slider.
Here is the scouting profile by Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com on Zech Lemond:
Zech Lemond set the Rice record for saves last year with 14, one more than future big leaguers David Aardsma and Tony Cingrani posted in their best seasons with the Owls. He began 2014 as Rice’s closer once again, but when projected ace Jordan Stephens blew out his elbow, Lemond moved to the rotation in March.
Because he pitched so well and didn’t see any dropoff in stuff in much longer outings, Zech Lemond put himself in position to go in the top 50 picks of the Draft. But because the Owls didn’t exactly ease him into his new role, he was sidelined with elbow inflammation after five starts.
Before he went out, Zech Lemond operated with a 92-96 mph fastball with some arm-side run on a nice downward plane. His spike curveball can climb as high as 85 mph and makes batters look silly, though it also can be tough to command. He had no problem working his fading changeup into his mix and continued to throw strikes.