Image: Arizona State University Athletics
The Cleveland Indians selected Tyler Thornton Right-handed Pitcher with the 17th round pick (506th overall) in the 2021 MLB Draft.
Tyler Thornton – Right-handed Starting Pitcher
School: Arizona State
Height: 6’3; Weight: 180
Tyler Thornton Rankings:
IBI – rounds 8-10
Prospects Live- 203
Baseball America– unranked
Willie Hood’s Analysis:
The right-hander went undrafted in 2018 and started his collegiate career at St. Mary’s w, where he went on to win the National (Freshman) Pitcher of the Year. Thornton made 15 appearances with 13 starts over 76.1 innings with 94 strikeouts (11.08 K9) and 27 walks (3.18 BB9). Transferring to Arizona State as a sophomore, the righty excelled before the ongoing pandemic abruptly halted his season in his first season with the Sun Devils. He made four starts across 20 innings striking out 25 (9.38), walking 7 (2.63 BB9) with a 7.50 H9 rate. His third season (Covid sophomore) was not as successful, leading to career-low numbers. Thornton produced 78 strikeouts over 76.1 innings with 78 strikeouts (9.2 K9) and 38 walks (4.48 BB9).
On the mound, the slender framed right-hander had a reputation of being a strike-thrower before this season. Thornton became the Friday night starter for the Sun Devils and was asked to give longer outings to alleviate the bullpen. He’s worked upper 80’s and low-90’s in the past showing average to above-average control, but his walk rate soared this season. He utilizes a low three-quarters arm slot with an extended arm circle. Speculatively, something that Cleveland could help him shorten, potentially improving his control and his four-seamer.
Stuff-wise, Thornton’s fastball sat 91-94, reportedly touching 95 mph; he produces plus spin rates (2500+ RPMs) with movement. He appeared to fatigue over the season, and his fastball velocity dipped to 90 mph. He rounds out his pitch mix with an average-looking low-80’s slider that he tunnels well with his fastball and a changeup. Things (clearly) went sideways on him this past season, and there’s reason to believe he could re-capture his previous form with Cleveland’s pitching development. Thornton is a young for the draft class third-year college arm, technically a covid sophomore. Look for a potential slight over-slot signing for the organization to partner with the soon-to-be-former Sun Devils ace.
Junior eligible went 2-4 with a 5.54 ERA in 16 games/14 starts for the Sun Devils in 2021 (47ER/76.1IP) and has a
4.02 ERA (79ER/176.2IP) collegiate career over three years at St. Mary’s (2019) and ASU (2020-21)…Tabbed
National Freshman of the Year (Collegiate Baseball) at St. Mary’s in 2019 (10-2, 2.71 ERA) before transferring to
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