Scouting high-profile debuts 

August, 30, 2011

Today I wanted to give some scouting reports on a half-dozen of the higher-profile MLB debuts this month of prospects who never made any of my top 100 rankings:

Eric Surkamp, LHP, San Francisco Giants

Surkamp made his major league debut Saturday against Houston, whose lineup probably reminded him of the ones he faced all year in the Eastern League. A sixth-round pick in 2008 from N.C. State, Surkamp is a finesse lefty who uses a ton of off-speed stuff to get hitters out in spite of a below-average fastball. He was mostly 86-88 mph Saturday without much life on the pitch, and I expect him to be a real fly-ball pitcher going forward unless he switches to a two-seamer or otherwise finds a way to get some downward movement on it. His out pitch is his mid- to upper-70s curveball with some two-plane break; he has plus command of the pitch, and it's hard relative to the fastball. He'll flash a show-me changeup but is more likely to go to the curveball in changeup counts. It's hard for me to see Surkamp as anything more than a fifth starter in a neutral park, but pitching for San Francisco in a division with two other friendly parks could help him look better than that.

Keith Law

ESPN Senior Writer