Name: Colby Shreve
DOB: 1/5/88 (23 as of April 1, 2011)
Weight: 220 lbs
Drafted: 6th round, 2008 ($400,000 bonus)
Pre Draft Report: Colby Shreve was originally a UNLV recruit out of high school, but after not getting drafted as a high school senior, he opted to go the junior college route instead. Not getting drafted motivated him as he increased his velocity into the mid-90s on occasion during his first year at Community College of Southern Nevada, due in part to working in a wooden resistance training device built by his chiropractor. Prior to the ’07 draft, BA ranked him 4th in Nevada and 165th in the nation and he was drafted by Atlanta in the 8th round. Looking for $200K, Shreve and the Braves ended up $75K apart on a signing bonus, so Shreve returned for his sophomore season.
Heading into the 2008 draft, Shreve was originally tabbed as the 1st or 2nd best juco prospect in the country and thought to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick. However, TJS derailed that. Even with the injury, BA ranked him as the 8th best prospect in Nevada heading into the ’08 draft. Per BA, Shreve was reaching 94 consistently with a solid slider prior to the injury. It also noted that his injury was not a surprise as scouts had questioned his mechanics. Milb.com’s scouting report was fairly comprehensive and provided this summary:
A seventh-round [sic] pick a year ago by the Atlanta Braves, he looks to improve his draft standing as one of the better JUCO pitchers in the country. He’s added some velocity, up to 96 mph, and while he’s still a work in progress, there’s plenty to work with in terms of arm strength and size.
The Phils signed Shreve away from a commitment to Arkansas.
Career Synopsis: Due to the TJS, Shreve’s baseball activities over the first two years of his career were limited to participation in the Florida Instructional League following the 2008 season. Nonetheless, BA tagged him as the 30th best prospect in the system prior to the ’09 season and projected him to pitch in the GCL before jumping to a full-season league in 2010.
While the return to the GCL did not occur, Shreve nonetheless was assigned to Lakewood in 2010 and ultimately debuted at the end of April. Shreve ended up pitching 109.1 innings across 23 appearances (18 starts) with moderate success. He kept his hit rate (7.8) and home run rate (0.9) down, and walked 2.5 per nine. His strikeout rate was relatively unimpressive at 6.3, although that is tough to gauge in the context of this being his first game action in two years. It does appear that some fatigue may have set in as his K rate dropped below 6.0 in his 11 starts after the all-star break.
Scouting the Sally offered this report on Shreve in mid-August:
With Colby Shreve, I thought he pitched as good as his stat line (5 IP, 0 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K). He was throwing mainly a 2-seem fastball, with natural downward sink. The pitch topped out at 92, sitting between 88-91 on the stadium gun. He mixed in a strong change between 76-79 MPH. Shreve’s breaking pitch was less refined and he barely threw it; usually to show with two strikes. It looked rather slurvy. He was on a definite pitch count since the next pitcher was warming as Colby started the fifth inning. I don’t think Shreve is a top prospect by any means, but he one the Phillies fan base should keep an eye on.
Scouting Report: Below is an assessment of Shreve’s raw tools, rated on the traditional 20-80 scouting scale. The grades are my estimation based on what I’ve read and those I’ve talked to. The second number is a future projection, the first number is the current assessment
Upside: Shreve was a clear gamble when drafted as the Phils went above slot for a pitcher who had recently undergone Tommy John. While he showed some flashes in 2010, Shreve’s prospect status will depend solely on him capitalizing on the Second Year After TJS Phenomenon. His fastball that was a plus-pitch prior to the injury appeared to be down 4-5 mph by the end of last season, which would leave it as fringe-average. From the game account above, it looks like Shreve’s change has moved ahead of his breaking stuff as his second-best pitch. 2011 is shaping up like Shreve’s linchpin season with the Phils. He’ll be pitching at 23 at Lakewood and/or Clearwater; adding back velocity to his fastball and refining a slider may allow him to become a fast mover. Failure to do both and he’s suddenly old for his league and falling further down the depth chart of minor league starters.
The big takeaway, for me, is that Shreve has quieted his delivery down a bit, and it is has less effort. In the top video, his scouting video from 2008, you can see him ramping up and putting a max effort force behind his pitches. In the other two videos, both from 2010, his delivery seems more in control and lower effort. The one thing that is noticeable (maybe just to me) is that he appears to hang back on the rubber a bit more now, which may be the reason his velocity is only consistently in the 88-90 range. He still comes fairly straight over the top, which limits the movement on his fastball. Its tough to tell really what we’re looking at, because hes still putting a major injury behind him, so it will be interesting to see if things change in 2011.