Jason Bilous was ranked among the Top 200 draft prospects by MLB Pipeline prior to the 2018 draft, but slipped to the 13th round due to concerns about his control. His fastball was graded 65, slider 55, changeup 50 and control 40 by MLB Pipeline at the time.
Bilous, in his junior season with Coastal Carolina, fanned a whopping 103 hitters but walked an incredibly-high 66; Bilous’ 7.13 BB/9 rate in 2018 for the Chanticleers was nearly identical to his overall college rate of 7.12.
Upon being drafted, Bilous was immediately inserted into the Great Falls rotation, where he suffered through a 7.81 ERA and 1.95 WHIP, with 46 hits (.324 OBA) and 24 walks (13.9%) while striking out 31 (17.9%) in 39 innings.
The 2019 season in Kannapolis was kinder to Bilous, as his ERA and WHIP improved to 3.70 and 1.39 respectively in his 31 appearances (17 starts) spanning 104 ⅔ innings. Opponents hit just .220 against him, while he improved his strikeout rate to 24.5%. Bilous’ walk rate did improve a bit, but was still way too high at 13.2%.
Bilous is athletic, but has a long arm action in the back of his delivery that hampers him from repeating his release point and keeping his mechanics in sync. It’s that which hampers his control, and could ultimately force him into a bullpen role going forward. Bilous’ ERA out of the bullpen in 2019 was 2.86 compared to 4.01 as a starter. Thanks to his ever-improving changeup, lefties hit just .184 against Bilous while righties fared better at .242.
If Bilous ever finds his release point, he could move up the system quickly. In the meantime, he may begin 2021 at hitting-friendly Winston-Salem.