Christian Scott is (nearly) Ready for the Big Time

The Big Apple is getting a big time pitching prospect

When I applied to be a contributor at Pitcher List, I wrote a sample piece about Christian Scott, then a fairly obscure pitcher in AA who was quietly dicing up opposing lineups. Coming into the 2023 season, Scott was very low on lists of Mets top prospects: Fangraphs had him 34th on their list of top Mets prospects, and Scott was relegated to the “Others of Note” section of Keith Law’s preseason rankings. While midseason prospect rankings started to recognize what Scott was doing in Binghamton, I felt he was still incredibly underrated.

Flash forward to this winter, and the industry has finally seemed to have taken notice. Scott ranked fifth on Baseball Prospectus’ rankings of the Mets’ system, while Fangraphs put Scott fourth in the Mets’ system and 98th on their top 100 prospects list. On the one hand, it’s great that Christian Scott is getting some recognition. On the other, it kind of sucks for me, as this now isn’t a groundbreaking article, but rather a fairly typical deep dive into an exciting prospect. In music terms, it’s like writing about R.E.M after Document instead of after Murmur – still ahead of the curve sure, but not exactly covering the new hotness.


Christian Scott is an extremely interesting pitching prospect. A RHP whose 2023 demanded that he was put on people’s radars, Scott has a chance this year to show that he can be the future of the Mets, speaking of which…


Ode to the Mets


Prior to the 2023 season, the New York Mets were getting ready to shoot for the moon. Signing reigning Cy Young winner Justin Verlander to bolster a rotation that was fifth in ERA and third in FIP in 2022, the Mets and their owner with seemingly bottomless pockets were ready to make a run. This was a team coming off a 100-win season, who not only added an ace in Verlander but signed exciting international star Kodai Senga and had called up their top prospect Francisco Álvarez. This was a new and improved Mets team, surely, 2023 was going to be their year.

Well, crap.

You know how it went from here. The Mets slipped, fumbled, stumbled, tumbled, and eventually crumbled as they ended fourth in the NL East with just 75 wins. Relative to their expectations coming into the year, it was a disaster of a season. Offensively, Jeff McNeil and Starling Marte had disappointing seasons, as did callup Brett Baty. But the big disappointment came with the pitching staff. Both Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander had a mediocre year in orange and blue, and while Senga would have an excellent campaign, the back end of the rotation – consisting of Carlos Carrasco, David Peterson, and Tylor Megill – combined for an ERA above 5.00.

At the trade deadline, a sputtering Mets team pulled the plug. Both Scherzer and Verlander were traded, and suddenly a rotation that many predicted would be among the best in baseball was left in limbo. Several months into the 2023 offseason, that looks to still be the case, as while the Mets added Luis Severino and Sean Manaea, both can be considered little more than reclamation projects. So what’s the future of the Mets rotation?

Source: Fangraphs

Well, crap.

The Mets are in an unfortunate position, despite their seemingly limitless pockets, they (at the time of writing) have not snagged any top free-agent pitching, and are projected to not only have one of the worst rotations in the NL East, but one of the worst rotations in all of baseball. Now, with Kodai Senga expected to miss significant time, the situation has gotten even worse. Fortunately for them, however, Christian Scott may be exactly what the Mets are looking for, and could potentially be their savior when they need it most.


Great Scott!


Christian Scott was a reliever when he was drafted out of the University of Florida in the fifth round of the 2021 MLB draft, although he was largely relegated to that role due to Florida’s strong pitching staff. Scott stayed a reliever upon joining the Mets organization but progressively was handed a starter’s workload to see how he’d fare. Scott put up promising peripheral numbers as a 23-year-old in the low minors, but he never went more than five innings, topping out at 87 pitches in a start lasting just 4.1 innings. Entering 2023, Scott was looking to keep his starter role and show he could pitch deep into games, so how’d it go?

As the season went on, Scott’s workload increased considerably, and upon being promoted to AA after crushing A+ competition, Scott continued his effectiveness. After having never recorded a quality start in his professional or collegiate career to that point, Scott recorded six within the span of ten starts over two months. The standout performance was on June 28th, throwing seven innings while surrendering just two hits and allowing no runs. Not only that, he threw 106 pitches, quite impressive for someone who’d been a reliever! Scott emerged as one of the best pitchers in minor league baseball, and over that ten-start stretch in AA, he was downright dominant:

Christian Scott’s First Ten Starts in AA

Goodness, gracious. Opponents hit just .196 against Scott over that stretch before an injury ended his stint prematurely. Still, Scott not only proved that he could pitch deep into games, but that he could be a top-end starter. Just how good was he in 2023? Well, let’s look at a bunch of stats. We’ll look at the ones above and add a few more to contextualize Scott’s performance in 2023:

Christian Scott’s 2023 MiLB rankings (min. 80 IP)

Admittedly, an 80 IP threshold is rather high for MiLB, as it excludes some very exciting prospects (such as Jackson Jobe). Despite that, I don’t think you can argue with the results here. Scott pitched like an absolute stud in 2023. There are a lot of stats here that stand out, but the combination of walk rate and swinging-strike rate is what I want to highlight. It means that Scott not only possesses swing-and-miss stuff but that he has the control to allow the free passes that so many strikeout pitchers struggle with.


Carson Writes 1750 Words About 20 Pitches


As I alluded to earlier, Scott was on my radar for months, yet this article is coming out as the proverbial cat is coming out of the bag. Christian Scott isn’t some unknown prospect anymore, he’s a top pitching prospect for a big market organization.


Waiting until March gave me the potential opportunity to look through Statcast data in spring training. Scott received an invite but didn’t pitch in a game during February. Making me more nervous, not every park had Statcast data available, so it was entirely possible Scott’s vital Statcast data could elude me.


Source: Baseball Savant

On March 2nd, Christian Scott took the mound against the Miami Marlins and HUZZAH! Miraculously, Statcast data was available for this game. Finally, we have real concrete data on Scott’s repertoire, vital information for an article about a pitching prospect. Scott only threw 20 pitches in one inning, yet that’s enough to conduct a deep dive into Scott’s stuff, and how it can play at the big league level:


The Four-Seam


Let’s talk about the fastball first. Statcast says Scott throws a four-seam and a sinker; it’s lying to you. The only real difference between what Statcast calls a sinker versus what it calls a four-seamer is that the sinker has slightly more vertical break. For all intents and purposes, this is a four-seam fastball with some run, which in of itself is quite interesting. Sitting 94-95 mph, Scott’s fastball has a perfectly league-average spin rate, while generating about a foot of run. That’s a lot of movement! The fastball shape is something to examine further, and it’s why I was so excited when Scott took the mound on March 2nd because we could finally get some quality data. He only threw 10 fastballs, but it was enough to say a lot about how it will play in the majors:

Christian Scott’s Fastballs March 2nd

Before I write anymore, massive shoutout to Thomas Nestico, whose data has been vital for this research. His data collection here gives us a tremendously valuable resource into Scott’s fastball, and oh boy. Like I said earlier, Scott’s “Sinker” is really just a misidentified four-seam, so these aren’t really different pitches. We’ve already touched on the fastball velocity (which scouting reports say can touch upwards of 98 mph by the way), but I want to highlight the induced vertical break (iVB). It would be disingenuous to ignore his “sinkers” and their worse iVB, but even factoring those in, we’re working with 15-17 inches of induced vertical break on Scott’s fastballs. Is that good? Yeah, it’s about the same as pitchers like Shane Bieber, whose 16.1 iVB was in the 73rd percentile last year. But the horizontal break is also noteworthy, as 10-12 inches of horizontal break is… a lot. While we don’t have the exact figure on the induced horizontal break, it’s reasonable to assume it’s a lot if it’s getting a foot of run

Now, let me stop here for a second. We are talking about ten pitches in early March. It would be wrong to assume these ten pitches are a perfectly accurate representation of his arsenal, but it’s a representation. The data is promising, and it also fits in line with scouting reports on Scott, so I’m inclined to believe that the fastball shape is legit, even if there’s a significant margin of error with these numbers.

That’s not all though, good movement is one thing, but take a look at that vertical approach angle (VAA). VAA is context-dependent, but most of Scott’s fastballs target the top of the zone, and again, it fits with the scouting report. It also makes sense considering his vertical release point of 5.2 ft., which is low for the 6’4″ Scott. Combined with his 6.7 feet of extension, he bears down onto hitters, just take a look at this screencap:

Forgive the Zapruder film-like quality here, this game wasn’t televised, but you can clearly see Scott getting down onto the hitter, with a low arm slot giving his long wingspan a chance to shine, evident by his wide -2.3ft horizontal release point and high horizontal approach angle (in layman’s terms, he’s throwing from wayyyyyy off to the side).

Combining these two factors leads us to an interesting conclusion: When the ball leaves Scott’s hand, it’s coming in at an unusual angle. The x and y-axis of the release point, in conjunction with Scott’s fairly long extension and above-average velo, means this pitch is jumping out of the hand. No wonder minor league hitters struggled so much against Scott last year, he’s pitching from an angle that’s highly unusual. But that’s just as the ball is leaving his hand, once in the air, Scott’s fastball gets a very high amount of movement. In the (extremely) small sample from March 2nd, Scott’s fastball had about 15-17 inches of iVB and around a foot of arm side run. There are very few MLB fastballs with that profile. Take a look at four-seam fastballs with that profile, you get names like these:

Christian Scott’s Fastball Compared to Similar Pitchers

Well… that’s an interesting list of names. Not all of these pitchers had the lowest ERAs in 2023, but PLV loves their fastballs, mainly because of their movement and VAA. PLV also considers location as a key element, but given Scott’s reputation as a top-tier control pitcher (evident by his minuscule walk rate), PLV would probably grade his locations favorably. Folks, this seems legit. Scott controls his pitches very well, and all the metrics indicate that, indeed, Scott’s fastball is not just good, but could potentially be one of the best in the majors as soon as he’s called up.

Oh yeah he has other pitches


The Cutter


Let’s talk about Scott’s slider/cutter. You could call this either a hard gyro slider (a la Bryce Miller) or a slower big-breaking cutter (like Drew Rasmussen). The point is, it drops nearly three feet, is thrown 86 mph, and benefits from Scott’s long wingspan and extension. While Scott throws his four-seam up in the zone, he wisely locates his cutter (I’m calling it a cutter) at the bottom of the zone, not only giving it a nice tunneling effect but also playing into the pitch’s strengths and generating whiffs.

In his outing on March 2nd, Scott threw four cutters, and while I’d love to do an extremely deep analysis, four pitches is such a small sample that there are a couple factors (like VAA) that I can’t include in good faith. While the fastball data should be taken with a grain of salt, you should use even more skepticism here because our sample size is far smaller and thus far less precise. Despite that, here are some similar pitches based on the data we have:

Christian Scott’s Cutter* and Similar Pitches

PLV’s ratings here range from overwhelmingly positive to below average, but again, this is largely due to location. Valdez’s cutter is thrown erratically, whereas Ragans’ slider is much more reliable. Again, given Scott’s control, this looks like another plus pitch, and potentially one of the best cutters/sliders in baseball.

Many times we have seen a pitcher come up to the majors with an electric four-seam but weak secondary stuff (Bryce Miller anyone?), which dampens their impact. Scott’s cutter is arguably his best pitch, often cited by scouting reports as the x-factor in his profile. The movement is excellent, and Scott’s prodigious control allows him to put it in the locations where it can thrive the most. If the fastball raises your eyebrow, the cutter should get your mouth watering


The Sweeper


We knew about Scott’s fastball and cutter before his spring training outing, but we did not know about his sweeper. Scott looked quite comfortable with his sweeper, throwing it five times in his outing. Scott’s sweeper was thrown 82-83 mph, and did not appear to have tremendous movement:

Source: Baseball Savant

Out of the five sweepers thrown, only the 2nd and 3rd pitches to Trey Mancini seem like big-league pitches. Those pitches are effectively league average in terms of spin rate, velo, and movement.

Now, that may not sound like something very exciting, but a league-average sweeper is still quite a good pitch (especially a well-located one). Scouting reports on Scott indicated that something holding him back was a true third pitch, and Scott’s sweeper, even if it’s not very remarkable in a vacuum, could add a much-needed extra dimension to his arsenal. Furthermore, this is still a pitch in development. Perhaps Scott can add some more horizontal movement or just have more consistency. His 2nd sweeper to Trey Mancini, with 39 inches of vertical movement and a foot of glove-side movement, gives me confidence that this could be the third pitch that Scott’s been looking for. If Scott throws more like that, with 2600+ RPMs and solid movement, his sweeper could play a serious role going forward.

Scott also threw one changeup, which had some pretty gnarly movement. I’m not going to spend another 300 words on one pitch in spring training, but it had 37 inches of drop and 15 inches of run, which is nice to see, at least. Many scouting reports suggest that an improved changeup could greatly improve his pitch mix, and even if it’s not a standout pitch, it’s a nice tool in the toolbox, especially against lefties. Scott also has thrown a curveball, although he didn’t throw one this outing. I assume he dropped it in favor of a sweeper.

Sadly, Scott was re-assigned to minor league camp following his outing, but the 20 pitches he threw were enough to prove to me that his stuff can absolutely play at the major league level and that he likely won’t be down in the minors for long.


Carson Picard

Carson Picard is a Minnesotan and part-time Winnipeger who's all too familiar with both the cold and crushing defeat. He channels this into his baseball passions to write about all sorts of topics. A history major with passions in the arts, Carson's articles are less scientific than most baseball writers, focusing instead on outliers and their bizarre stories

3 responses to “Christian Scott is (nearly) Ready for the Big Time”

  1. Mario Mendoza says:

    great article!! never heard of him, watching keenly now

  2. Mario Mendoza says:

    but what’s with the picture of Kris Bryant? ;)

  3. Pete Soper says:

    Excellent article, thanks much! Would love to see a similar piece on Lodolo, Skubal and Crochet…all 6’6” hard throwing lefties.

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