Cody Ponce | RHP
The 21-year-old Ponce was not a big pro prospect out of high school and went undrafted in 2012. He wound up at Division II Cal State Pomona, where he spent his freshman year as a reliever (2.23 ERA in 48.1 IP) before moving into the rotation as a sophomore (2.48 ERA in 72.2 IP). Ponce has a 1.44 ERA with a 67/14 K/BB in 52.1 innings this year. He is likely to be the highest drafted player is school history, beating out Mark Wiley (46th overall in 1970).
Ponce is a big kid — he’s listed at 6-foot-5 and 235 lbs. — and he has one of the deepest repertories in the draft. He generally sits 91-94 mph with his fastball and also throws a cutter, a slider, a curveball, and a changeup. The cutter and slider are two versions of the same pitch — Ponce can vary the break to make it short like a cutter or sweepy like a slider. He uses his size well by pitching downhill. Ponce’s delivery isn’t textbook but he repeats it well enough and his strike-throwing ability has improved greatly in college, though he isn’t as refined as the typical college arm. There’s still some rawness in his game. Ponce missed a month with shoulder fatigue earlier this year but has had no trouble since and has been able to hold his velocity deep into games.
Ponce was ranked as the 26th, 34th, and 36th best prospect in the draft class by MLB.com, Baseball America, and Keith Law (subs. req’d) in their latest rankings, respectively. For what it’s worth, Ponce was connected to the Yankees in a recent Baseball America mock draft, and he fits scouting director Damon Oppenheimer’s preferred profile as a Southern California pitcher with a deep arsenal. The Yankees pick 16th and 30th this year and Ponce may still be on the board for the second of those two picks.