|August 25th, 2018
Rustad improved his stock with a very strong four-inning outing at the Area Codes. A projectable 6-foot-5 and 190-pounds, he’s young for the class and won’t turn 18 until right before the draft. The University of San Diego is often considered a strong college commitment, but teams might be tempted to make a run at Rustad in June if he keeps throwing the way he did in Long Beach.
Working from a semi-windup delivery, Rustad’s arm works free and easy through a high three-quarters slot. He takes a long stride and lands slightly closed, falling off-line at times after releasing the ball. It’s a projectable mechanical operation that shows signs of being able to iron out the delivery as he gets stronger. Rustad worked in the 89-to-93 mph range with his fastball, showing consistent armside run and late ride when elevated. It’s a quick heater that hops on hitters, hinting that there’s more velocity to come. He works around the zone with his fastball, and while there’s more control than in-zone location right now (like most young pitchers his age), the loose delivery and athletic frame are in place to project command gains down the road. His curveball ranged from 73-to-78 mph with consistent shape, though the sharpness of the pitch varied. Rustad pushed his curveball and flew open early at times, an easy mechanical fix that could quickly make the pitch more consistent. He mixes an infrequent low-80s changeup that’s less advanced than the fastball or curve.
Rustad’s projectable frame and solid fastball/curveball combo make him a potential day two candidate. He could move farther up boards if he starts to fill out over the winter and comes out showing a tick more velocity and improved consistency on his breaking ball.