Alex Keudell: Rays Draft University of Oregon Ace in Round 27

By Robbie Knopf

It is absolutely crazy sometimes how success in college baseball can mean absolutely nothing in terms of how good a prospect a pitcher is. That may very well be the case with Oregon senior right-hander Alex Keudell, but the Rays will give him a shot to prove his winning ways in college can translate to pro ball.

Keudell is 6’1″, 195 and has never been a guy that wins with velocity. But he wins. In 2012 for the Ducks, who are still alive in the College Baseball Super-Regionals, Keudell has been every bit their ace, going 11-4 with a 2.38 ERA in 16 starts, including 3 complete games, 1 relief appearance, and 117.1 IP. He struck out 70, a 5.4 K/9, but walked just 30, a 2.3 BB/9, and allowed just 2 home runs, just a 0.2 HR/9. He’s allowing a lot of balls in play by keeping it on the ground and achieving a great amount of success.

Keudall has a funky delivery that provides deception without costing him command. He throws a high-80’s fastball that occasionally touches 90 MPH with nice sink, but he actually works a ton off his one true plus pitch, his 11-to-5  curveball that looks like his fastball out of his hand before featuring excellent late break. Because of his low fastball velocity, Keudall uses his curveball an insane amount of time, never a good sign. He also throws a changeup with good arm action and some sink and that projects to be an average pitch moving forward. The best-case scenario for Keudall is a Wandy Rodriguez type. Rodriguez has used his curveball a crazy 34% of the time since 2008 according to Brooks Baseball, but even Rodriguez has velocity mostly in the low-90’s and uses his fastball and sinker 56% of the time. Keudall faces an uphill battle as a pro thanks to his fastball velocity, but don’t count him out. He forces groundballs with his deception adn great command and he still has the ability to be a 4th or 5th starter in the big leagues if everything falls the right way. And Keudell also gets great marks for his leadership and character, always a good thing. Alex Keudell doesn’t have the upside of some of the players around him. But he has the ability to contribute in the major leagues and we’ll have to see how he handles professional hitters.