2019 Level: AA
Pitches (current/future value)
Most Likely Future Role: 7th Inning/medium leverage reliever
What we know: Pop threw in spring training and his fastball velocity was down almost 10mph from 2019. A few weeks later he was shut down and underwent Tommy John surgery. The 2018 version of Pop was a near ready reliever with a deceptive arm action and a 96-98mph fastball with nasty armside movement. He paired it with a sharp but inconsistently commanded slider
What we don’t know: How will Pop recover from Tommy John surgery? That’s the big one, that’s the risk in this profile. Also, will his slider and command sharpen from what it was in his first full minor league season (2018)?
What we think: If the stuff comes back, his lively fastball will induce weak contact in the majors. That will be enough to stick in a MLB pen. His future role will be dependent on the quality and command of the slider to miss bats. If it can become a consistent out pitch, there is easy late inning upside.
Another Take: We have to wait and see how he recovers from TJ surgery, but he had a special arm capable of reaching the high 90s before the injury. If he can recover, he has a solid setup future at the major league level if he can command the ball consistently. (Tony Pente)