Meet the 6'8" Lefty Draft Pick Who Throws 105 MPH

Dan Mennella
May 26, 2020 - 1:15 pm

New Chicago Cubs lefty Luke Little - taken in the fourth round of the 2020 MLB Draft - has the raw tools that scouts and fans love to dream on.

The imposing left-handed pitcher, presently committed to play for the University of South Carolina, created some buzz for himself in the leadup to next month's draft, when he appeared to touch 105 mph with his blazing fastball during a recent workout.

Little, 19, stands at a towering 6'8" and weighs 225 pounds, according to San Jacinto College, where he played for two seasons before committing to joining the Gamecocks, according to 247 Sports.

Little's combination of velocity and size are sure to draw comparisons to hard-throwing, gangly southpaws such as Chris Sale and Randy Johnson.

Sale, though, is "only" 6'6", so Little has at least a couple inches on him.

Only about 30 players measuring 6'8" or taller have played in the big leagues over the past 20 years, mostly pitchers. In addition to Johnson, who was listed as 6'10", the list also includes skyscrapers such as starters Chris Young, Doug Fister, Brandon McCarthy and Tyler Glasnow, as well as relievers Jon Rauch, Dellin Betances and Jeff Nelson.

Former Tigers slugger turned MLBPA President Tony Clark is the most notable position player in the group. Clark socked 251 homers in his 16-year career.

Glasnow, a right-hander, is the most recent example among the pitchers. The Pirates gambled on his upside in 2011, drafting him in the fifth round and paying him well over slot to sign rather than attend college. Glasnow's physical gifts wowed for years, but his development was slow owing to injuries and wonky mechanics. The Bucs appeared to give up on him, moving him to the bullpen before shipping him to the Rays in 2018.

Back in the rotation in Tampa, Glasnow looked like a breakout star through 12 starts in 2019, but he was sidelined for most of the summer with forearm tightness before returning in September.

Little's in-game velocity sits in the 93-97 range and sometimes touches 99, according to Fangraphs' scouting report. The site lists him at No. 170 on its big board, while MLB pegs him at No. 167.

Little will be 20 in August.

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