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Draft prospects you should know: Matt Canterino

The Rice RHSP, with arguably the best control in the draft, is in the mix for the White Sox with their second round selection

Safe pick: Matt Canterino could be a viable second or third round option in this year’s MLB draft.
@RiceBaseball

When you have the No. 3 overall pick, it’s never too soon to take a quick peek into this year’s MLB draft. This year’s draft class is loaded with excellent hitting prospects, but is relatively weak on the pitching side.

Draft Prospects You Should Know is a new series that features prospects who the White Sox could pursue in this year’s draft. As the June draft nears, we’ll return to many of these athletes and provide updates on whether their stocks are rising (or falling).

Age listed as of Day One of the Draft (June 3).

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Matt Canterino

Rice University
Right-handed starting pitcher
Age 21
Bats Right
Throws Right

Rankings

Baseball America 31
MLB 45
FanGraphs 41

Rice University is typically noted for its plethora of right-handed starting pitchers that have been pitched professionally, with two of the most recent ones being Jordan Stephens and Jon Duplantier of the Arizona Diamondbacks. This year should be no exception, provided that Canterino continues to meet or exceeds last year’s totals for the Owls. Here are the collegiate results for the Southlake, Texas native to date:

2017 17 G, 17 GS, 96 IP, 4.13 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, .194 OBA, 67 H, 49 BB, 111 K
2018 16 G, 15 GS, 94 IP, 3.06 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, .188 OBA, 65 H, 22 BB, 116 K
2019 11 G, 11 GS, 73.2 IP, 2.69 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, .198 OBA 53 H, 14 BB, 86 K

Concerns regarding Canterino’s potential as a professional starting pitcher certainly arose in his freshman year, when he suffered a 4.59 BB/9 ratio. However, he’s put those concerns to rest with an outstanding sophomore and junior campaigns, where he cut that ratio by more than half. He’s enjoyed a 10.68% K/9 rate in collegiate ball, while surrendering relatively few hits. Canterino’s been extremely consistent over the past two seasons, with a slight increase in OBA counteracted by a similar improvement in walk ratio (2.11 to 1.71).

Canterino (6´3´´, 205 pounds) actually looks a bit larger than his listed weight, and certainly has the build to withstand the rigors of professional ball. According to Baseball America, his fastball tops out at 95 mph but typically runs in the lower 90s. The Team USA Scouting Report lists Canterino’s curveball as ranging from 76-77 mph with all the components (shape, movement, and velocity) of a plus major league pitch. Also, according to the Team USA Scouting Report, Canterino’s third pitch is an 81 mph slider that he likes to use as his out pitch with two strikes, while his fourth pitch is a changeup that is a complementary offering to help neutralize lefties.

MLB Pipeline grades his skills as follows: 60 slider, 55 fastball, curveball and control, and a 45 changeup which he hasn’t had to use much at the college level. One side note — in Baseball America’s preseason list of loudest tools, Canterino was listed as having the best control. Certainly after looking at his results over the past couple seasons, it’s difficult to refute that analysis.

Canterino also does the little things to help his cause, including having an above-average pickoff move. However, there’s still a concern that he may eventually be a reliever. Why should this be a concern, when he’s get the build, control, athleticism and repertoire to be successful as a starter? Rice does have a history of its pitchers breaking down physically at the professional level. More than that, however, it’s due to his unorthodox, high-effort delivery with a head jerk. It is that delivery, however, that just may give him the deception he needs at the professional level to help supplement good, albeit unsensational, stuff.

Concerns about the delivery may remind someone of Carson Fulmer. However, Canterino possesses a larger build, and his delivery isn’t nearly as rapid-fire as Fulmer’s. Provided that Canterino maintains his mechanics and continues to throw strikes, he should be a successful starter going forward. Baseball America lists Canterino as the 45t- best player in this year’s draft, which would put him firmly in line for second-round consideration for the White Sox.

Here’s a video of him pitching for Team USA against Chinese Taipei, courtesy of 2080 Baseball:


Previously, on Draft Prospects You Should Know

C.J. Abrams, Blessed Trinity (Ga.) H.S. SS
Hunter Bishop, Arizona State University OF
Cameron Cannon, University of Arizona 2B/3B
Matt Cronin, University of Arkansas LHRP
Tyler Dyson, University of Florida RHSP
Daniel Espino, Georgia Premier Academy RHSP
Dominic Fletcher, University of Arkansas OF
Jonathan French, Parkview (Ga.) H.S. C
Ethan Hearn, Mobile Christian (Ala.) H.S. C
Rece Hinds, IMG Baseball Academy (Fla.) 3B
Jason Hodges, Marist (Ill.) H.S. OF-1B
Will Holland, Auburn University SS
Seth Johnson, University of Oregon RHSP
Jack Leiter, Delbarton (N.J.) H.S. RHSP
Erik Miller, Stanford University LHSP
Chris Newell, Malvern (Pa.) Prep H.S. OF
Kyren Paris, Freedom (Calif.) H.S. SS
Quinn Priester, Cary-Grove (Ill.) H.S. RHSP
Adley Rutschman, Oregon State University C
Landon Sims, South Forsyth (Ga.) H.S., RHSP
Andrew Vaughn, University of California, 1B
Matt Wallner, Southern Miss University OF
Kenyon Yovan, University of Oregon RHSP
Ryan Zeferjahn, University of Kansas RHSP