College : : Story
Monday, January 30, 2012

Draft Focus: Michael Wacha

Kendall Rogers        
Every weekday leading up to the 2012 MLB Draft, Perfect Game will be providing a scouting profile on a notable draft-eligible prospect.  Stay tuned to Perfect Game and be sure to visit the Draft Page for all of the latest info and reports pertaining to the draft.

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Michael Wacha Perfect Game profile

Position: RHP
Height: 6-6
Weight: 210
Bats/Throws: R/R
Birthdate: July 1, 1991
College: Texas A&M
Hometown: Texarkana, Texas
Previously drafted: Never
Projected draft round: 1

Texas A&M right-handed pitcher Michael Wacha has evolved from an undrafted high school pitcher out of Texas to a slam-dunk first-round pick as the ace pitcher for one of college baseball’s expected elite teams this spring.

To say the least, Wacha’s progression as a prospect the last three years has been an impressive development to watch unfold.

Out of high school at Texarkana, Texas (Pleasant Grove), Wacha had the height to be an elite prospect. However, he needed to put on some weight and was just 86-87 mph with his fastball, with just average secondary stuff.

“When we landed him, we felt like we had a guy who could really develop into a great pitcher in our program,” Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said. “Once he arrived, he proved to have great aptitude and made the small changes that were necessary.”

Once on campus at A&M as a freshman, it only took a couple of months for Wacha to make some serious strides. He worked hard in the weight room from the start and was 88-92 mph with his fastball by the end of fall workouts.

As a freshman, he served as a reliever on the weekends early in the season, while also assuming the role as midweek starter. Soon, he’d pitch a lot more for the Aggies. He finished the season with a 9-2 record and a 2.90 ERA, ranking sixth in the Big 12.

“He worked hard in the weight room and it didn’t take long for him to be a guy for us,” Childress said. “He’s cleaned up some things mechanically. He’s done a better job of throwing downhill, getting above the baseball, and simply just maturing.”

Wacha’s stock as a prospect dramatically rose as a sophomore last season. He dazzled scouts and others early in the season with a masterful performance against Rice at Minute Maid Park in the Houston College Classic. He put together a performance, which in the eyes of legendary Rice coach Wayne Graham, was one of the best he had ever seen. Particularly, Wacha’s circle change and fastball, which touched 95 mph in the game, caught his attention. It obviously resonated with scouts, too. Interestingly, Wacha was outdueled that night by elite 2013 prospect, right-handed Rice pitcher Austin Kubitza.

Wacha finished his sophomore campaign an All-American. He went 9-4 with a 2.29 ERA in 129 2/3 innings. He recorded 123 strikeouts in the process and walked just 30 hitters. Opposing teams hit him at a .243 clip.

As the 2012 campaign approaches, the PG Preseason All-American’s expectation level couldn’t be higher. The projected first-round pick has a tremendous frame at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds, with plenty of room to grow this spring and beyond. He will serve as the Aggies’ ace.

“His room for error moving from the Saturday role to Friday night is smaller than last season,” he said. “He just needs to continue to grow. If he does that in addition to having four quality pitches that he can throw at anytime in the count, he’ll have a chance to pitch for a very long time.”

Wacha’s electric stuff consists of a fastball, changeup, curveball and slider. His fastball sits in the 92-95 range, and the righty has touched 96 in workouts. Additionally, he has the ability to command his fastball on both sides of the plate, making it a sure strikeout pitch. His changeup sits at 80-84, curveball comes in at 74-76 and his slider is 82-84. Wacha’s fastball and changeup are his most refined pitches.

Ironically, the best comp for Wacha is former University of Texas right-handed pitcher and All-American Taylor Jungmann. Jungmann, a first-round pick to the Milwaukee Brewers last summer, was 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, and had excellent command of his 91-93 mph fastball. Both he and Wacha are fierce competitors, though, have a calm demeanor off the field.

“He’s an incredible person and student, and has as good of aptitude as I’ve ever seen in a baseball player,” he said. “He has been able to make the necessary changes to become a great pitcher and he just has great body control. On top of that, he comes from a great background. He’s pretty special.”

Barring a surprise, Wacha is expected to be one of the top 10-12 picks in the MLB draft this summer.

Kendall Rogers is the college baseball managing editor for Perfect Game and can be reached at

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