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Patrick Reilly chosen by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the top of the 5th Round

Though he struggled as a starter, he has the potential to be a game changing reliever on the next level.

COLLEGE BASEBALL: MAY 24 SEC Baseball Tournament - Vanderbilt vs Auburn Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

#88 Jr. RHP Patrick “Life of” Reilly

2023 Stats: 5-4, 5.77 ERA, 12.1 K/9.

Here’s his scouting report:

Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 40 | Overall: 40

New Jersey’s best prospect for the 2020 Draft, Reilly flashed a mid-90s fastball but went unselected because he was strongly committed to Vanderbilt. He showcased electric stuff in college yet never harnessed it enough to claim a regular rotation spot. He got that opportunity in 2023 but lasted just two starts before getting banished to the bullpen for most of the rest of the season.

Reilly’s greatest strength is his ability to produce 93-96 mph fastballs that top out at 98 with arm-side run and downhill plane. His tight mid-80s slider can be a plus pitch as well, though he doesn’t land it for strikes frequently enough, and he can turn it into an upper-80s cutter. He has less faith in his mid-80s changeup, which has some fading action.

While Reilly has a quick arm, there’s effort in his delivery, and he struggles to keep his mechanics in sync. He walked 5.8 batters per nine innings in three years with the Commodores and 6.8 in the Cape Cod League last summer. He has the stuff to be a late-inning reliever but also would need to upgrade his control in that role.

Range: Rounds 5-20. Top 250 Ranking: 219.

ESPN Top 300 Ranking: N/A

Prediction: While Reilly never blossomed into the top-of-rotation Ace his stuff and potential tantalized us with, it’s still easy to see why an MLB team would want him in their system. While Reilly might not have what it takes to become a starting pitcher, he has demonstrated the ability to be a lock-down back of the bullpen reliever with the potential to close for an MLB team. While that profile won’t get him taken highly in the draft, it should still get him taken and offered enough to sign. While he will have to continue to work on the mental aspect of things—specifically, avoiding the big inning—no one who watched him come out of the pen this year could possibly say he doesn’t have the potential to be in a big league bullpen within a year or two after signing. While not the safest of bets, if I were a scout, I would be pounding the table for him after the top four rounds or so.