Tampa Bay Rays: Getting to know 57th overall pick LHP, Ian Seymour

The Tampa Bay Rays used their third pick of the 2020 draft on left-handed pitcher Ian Seymour out of Virginia Tech. Let’s get to know him.

The Tampa Bay Rays used their second-round pick (57th overall) on Ian Seymour. He was at the beginning of a breakout year in 2020 before the shutdown.

Tampa Bay Rays, Ian Seymour – Scouting Report

Here is MLB.com’s scouting grades (20-80 scale). A score of 50 is considered major-league average.

Fastball: 55
Changeup: 55
Slider: 45
Control: 50
Overall: 45

Seymour is 6-1, 210 pounds with an unorthodox delivery, and two above-average pitches. He has a slider that still needs some work, according to scouts. If he can improve control over his slider he could bring three above-average pitches to the mound.

His fastball velocity increased due to dropping his two-seamer in favor of his four-seam fastball. The change can be traced back to the 2019 Cape Cop League. His fastball has increased from a high of 92 to 96 by making the change.

Tampa Bay Rays, Ian Seymour – A Faster Fastball

The two-seamer is a popular choice due to the movement, but two-seam expert Mike Soroka will tell you that a two-seamer that moves sideways is a fastball that stays in the bat path. He finds his success by driving the two-seamer downward.

Not everyone can be Mike Soroka.

The switch to the four-seam fastball only enhanced the power of his changeup. Here’s a look at his stats before and after he switched to the four-seam fastball.

Virginia Tech 2018-2019 (Two-Seam Fastball)
139.1 IP // 53 BB (3.42 BB9) // 3.94 ERA // 151 Ks (9.75/9 IP)

CCBL-Virginia Tech 2019-2020 (Four-Seam Fastball)
55.1 IP // 11 BB (1.7 BB9) // 2.75 ERA // 79 Ks (12.85/9 IP)

A big takeaway from these changes since the Cape Cod League this past summer is that he is coachable. Coach Christian Wonders is the man that unlocked the power of his four-seamer and Seymour found elite control with 1.7 walks per nine and elite strikeout numbers nearing 13 Ks per nine innings since he added two additional seams to his heater.

Here’s what Seymour had to say about having a better feel and command of the four-seam fastball:

“I was messing around with the pitching coach up there because I was really close with him. He said, ‘Why don’t you just throw a four-seam?’ I located it better. It just felt cleaner out of my hand. We just stuck with that and rode with it.”

This past summer, Seymour also began tinkering with a cutter and a slurve, but after working on the four-seamer with Coach Wonders, the coach proposed, “Why don’t you stick with that (four-seamer)?”

Two days later, I had a start. I threw four-seamers up at dudes’ chins and they still swung, so I was like, ‘Yeah, we’re going to stick with this. I’ve figured something out.’”

Whether he ends up as a bullpen arm or continues to be a starter will depend on his development with the Rays. He does have an odd delivery which the team will either view as something that needs to be fixed or could provide an interesting look out of the bullpen. Unorthodox deliveries do not always equate to necessitating a change, ask Alex Wood.

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