Sean Hjelle
Sean Hjelle

CLASS OF 2015

RHP

Sean
Hjelle

Kentucky
Mahtomedi (HS) • MN
6-11 • 225LBS • R/R

Rankings

2015 National

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2015 State

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Commitment

2018
PBR DRAFT
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6/19/14 - 6-foot-11, 190-pound right-handed pitcher was the surprise of this year’s Top Prospect Showcase.  Hjelle was a late addition to the event and did not disappoint, showing surprising feel for three pitches despite his extra-long and lean frame with an extreme downhill angle.  You won’t find longer limbs on any prospect in the country, and prospects with his build notoriously struggle to get their delivery in sync, but Hjelle is a consistent strike thrower both at this event and on the summer circuit.  His fastball sat 86-89 in the windup, from a long, high ¾ to over the top arm action, getting a good load over the rubber, and throwing slightly across his body.  His fastball dropped to 84-86 out of the stretch, as he cuts down leg kick, but his arm still catches up with lower half and he commands the baseball.  His 78-79 mph breaking ball has slurvy shape, but has tight rotation and he commands this as well.  Slurve dropped to 75-77 from stretch.  He also showed plus feel for a 78-81 mph changeup thrown near fastball arm speed with arm side run.  Hjelle’s current package is so intriguing, because even if he does not throw harder in the future, upper 80’s velocity from that extreme angle is something hitters never see, as Chris Young has had MLB success for several years from a similar angle and mid to upper 80’s velocity.

3/28/18 - 6’11/225, Junior- 6-foot-11 is not a misprint. Hjelle is real tall, long bodied and long limbed. He’s also surprisingly athletic and repeats his online delivery, leveraging the ball from a H¾ slot with a loose arm swing and good arm speed. He overcomes fair deception by combining a release height of 6-foot-9 with an extension of 6-foot-10. A higher release height increases the degree of downplane/angle a pitch has while traveling to the plate, making it more difficult for the hitter to square up. Extension is how close a pitcher's release point is to home plate. The closer to home plate the better, as extension increases perceived velocity. Hjelle’s combination of release height and extension put him into elite ML company with the likes of Andrew Miller, Stephen Strasburg and Kenley Jansen, all of whom have a 7-foot-plus extension. Hjelle’s two-seam fastball sat 91-93 mph with an 1825-2000 rpm spin rate. It peaked at 94 early in the game, showing tail and sink, in addition to the steep downplane. His knuckle curveball flashed plus at 80-83 mph while throwing it to both sides of the plate. Also showed a 85-87 mph slider and a 83-86 mph power changeup with a 1450-1600 rpm spin rate. He threw the change-up to both right and left-handed hitters. His arsenal produced ten groundouts, seven strikeouts (four via fastball) and two flyouts over the course of 6.1 innings and 94 pitches. There are not many examples of near 7-foot pitchers in the history of MLB making Hjelle an even more interesting draft prospect. Teams are more comfortable selecting players with many past MLB comparables, such as a standard bodied 6’3/210 starting pitcher. The best comparison to Hjelle is probably former Kansas City Royal starting pitcher 6-foot-10 Chris Young. Others include 6-foot-10 Randy Johnson and 6-foot-11 reliever Jon Rauch, also a state of Kentuckycollegian (Morehead State). Regardless of his body type, with a three-pitch arsenal, plus control and high level performance in the SEC, Hjelle profiles as a mid-rotation starter and likely first round pick.

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