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Viva El Birdos Cardinals Top Prospects: Ian Oxvenad

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Lefty makes the Just Missed List

Houston Astros v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE

Ian Oxnevad, LHP

6’4”, 200 lbs; Bats/Throws: Right/Left

DOB: 3 October 1996

Level(s) in 2017: Peoria (Low A)

Relevant Numbers: 15.1% K, 9% K-BB%, 4.90 FIP, 132 IP, 134 H

So, what’s so great about this guy?

Ian Oxnevad has been in the Cards’ system for just three years now, but he feels like he’s already had enough of a minor league career to be hyped and then forgotten, even as he only turned 21 a couple months ago. Such is life in a farm system that churns out pitching talent like, um, some sort of machine that makes pitching talent. Look, they can’t all be gems, okay folks?

It wasn’t a great season for Oxnevad as he moved up to full-season ball for the first time, but it also wasn’t a complete disaster either. He’s dropped his arm slot from where it was as an amateur, when he was more over the top, and his delivery now reminds me a bit of Marco Gonzales’s. It’s simple and straightforward, with a 34 release point that gives him nice tail to both his fastball and changeup.

Speaking of, the fastball has just average velocity at 89-90, but it’s got enough wiggle to it Oxnevad doesn’t get killed in the zone. The change is his strongest offering overall, with really nice drop and fade, as well as excellent deception. He sells it with identical arm speed to the heater, and then the ball just...doesn’t get there. Again, very similar to what we saw with Marco Gonzales.

Unfortunately, the similarities to Gonzales don’t stop there, as Oxnevad has yet to really develop any kind of reliable breaking ball. If I remember correctly, he threw more of a curve in high school, but the pitch has a bit more tilt to it now, putting it closer to a slider than a curve, I think. Either way, it’s not great, and is a big part of the reason why Oxnevad’s strikeout numbers are so low. He’s very good at getting hitters out on their front foot with the change, but he doesn’t miss that many bats. Still, he’s big, has an easy delivery, and one plus pitch. There are worse places from which to start building, and he’ll pitch all of 2018 at a college junior’s age.

If he’s good, it will look like: I’ll go with Jeff Francis as a lower arm slot lefty who succeeded primarily by changing speeds and keeping hitters off-balance. The entire genre of pitcher is, of course, the John Tudor mold, but Tudor is sacrosanct for me, having been seven year old Aaron’s favourite pitcher.