Drey Jameson has racked up high strikeout totals in each one of his starts this spring. The Ball State right-handed pitcher is undersized but has an impressive repertoire of pitches.
His intangibles and potential make him an intriguing draft-eligible sophomore for June’s MLB draft. He’s a projected top-five round pick and has a chance to move into early-round consideration with a strong finish to the season.
He’s adjusted to the attention this season, after getting caught up in professional scouts attending his starts late last year, he said.
“If I think about it, I know it’s just going to get in my head too much,” Jameson said. “I just try to go out there and play. At the end of the season when the draft comes up, I will fall where I’ll fall and play it by year.”
Jameson was a two-way player last season. He registered three hits in 32 at-bats for a .094 batting average with one home run and four RBIs. He experienced much more success on the mound. He posted a 3.88 ERA with 97 strikeouts and 44 walks allowed in 72 innings.
This season, Jameson is focusing solely on pitching. The 6-foot, 165-pound righty has a 4.34 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 17 walks allowed in 45 2/3 innings. He had a 3.67 ERA before surrendering five runs on six hits and five walks in four innings to Central Michigan on Friday.
He has accumulated at least 10 strikeouts in four of his eight starts and is averaging 14.19 strikeouts per nine innings this season.
“Pitching was my second position last year,” Jameson said. “I would hit and do fielding and then at the end of practice I’d throw a bullpen. This year, I’m throwing three times a week. I’m always on the mound, and I think that’s a huge part of getting your command down.”
Jameson has a five-pitch mix, featuring a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, curveball, slider and changeup. He throws from a high three-quarter arm slot and believes his best offerings are his high-90s fastballs and his solid changeup.
He typically sets up hitters with his fastballs before mixing in his secondary pitches. For his breaking pitches, he typically relies on his sharp-breaking slider.
“My biggest strength is my competiveness,” Jameson said. “I’m not scared of anyone. I go out there and thinking the best and believing in the people behind me.”
His changeup has evolved in his time at Ball State. He credits different drills, including when the coaches had the pitchers throw their changeup for distance in fall practice, for helping him keep a consistent arm speed between his fastball and changeup.
“I think a big key with the changeup is throwing it with the same intent as you do your fastball,” Jameson said. “It’s hard to pick up a pitch that’s going to move in or away from you when you throw it with the same arm speed.”
Jameson has grown from his freshman season, especially with his command. Minimizing his walks and dominating opposing hitters will be critical for Jameson over the remainder of the season if he wants to hear his name called in the first two rounds of the draft.
“There’s a lot of things to just improve on,” Jameson said. “I just want to improve on everything as a whole. I’m never satisfied with where I’m at.”
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for four years. He’s interviewed 133 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.