Konnor Pilkington has had a unique experience at Mississippi State. As the left-handed pitcher enters his third season with the Bulldogs, Pilkington will work with a new pitching coach for the third time in his collegiate career.
Pilkington said it takes time to adjust to a new voice but that it’s helped his development as a pitcher.
“I’ve taken stuff from each coach,” he said. “If it doesn’t benefit me as much as I thought it would, I do away with it. Most of the stuff I’ve learned over these last three years has helped me.”
MLB.com ranks Pilkington as the 23rd-best prospect in the 2018 MLB Draft class. He’s projected as a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher in professional baseball by scouts.
“One of my goals is to get drafted,” Pilkington said. “It’s nothing to hide from. It’s something I’m really looking forward to, but right now at this point and time, I’m just focused on this spring and helping this team win.”
A 6-foot-3, 225-pound left-hander, Pilkington uses a high three-quarters arm slot and throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, circle changeup and curveball.
He uses his four-seamer to attack right-handed batters inside and his two-seamer, which displays some sink, inside on lefties and on the outer half of the plate to righties. Both fastballs sit in the mid-90s.
“My biggest strength is being able to throw the fastball wherever I want and whenever I want,” he said. “I’m just trying not to do too much. Being able to move the fastball in and out has really grown for me, and I’ve done what I need to make success come in the future.”
Pilkington doesn’t have a glaring weakness but has room to fine tune his craft. After making Mississippi State’s rotation as a freshman, Pilkington became the team’s No. 1 starter as a sophomore.
Pilkington went 8-5 with a 3.08 ERA and 111 strikeouts, while opposing batters hit .199 against him in 108 innings (17 starts) in 2017.
He continued his success into the summer with Team USA, where he posted a 2.65 ERA and held opponents to a .183 batting average in five appearances.
After having an impressive sophomore season, Pilkington hopes to build on his success as a junior despite the draft distractions. Being a team leader is his No. 1 goal, as Mississippi State has aspirations of making it to the College World Series this season.
“If you think about it too much it could stress you out and give you grey hair quick,” said Pilkington on the draft. “I’m a laid back guy. I just want to win. It’s all about the team. It’s not going to bother me.”
Find more 2018 MLB Draft profiles here.