The Orioles liked Knight’s projection and arm-strength at the University of Arkansas, prompting the club to select the righty with their third-round pick in 2018. There were concerns about how his lanky frame would hold up under the pro grind at the time, and those questions have been proved valid given Knight’s performance in his first full pro season.
Though his fastball will still scrape 94-95 mph early in most starts, it falls to the low-90s as games progress and settles in at 90-91 mph. After four sharp starts against less advanced competition in Delmarva to begin the year, Knight’s control and ability to miss bats both cratered upon moving up to High-A Frederick. There’s still some room for optimism, though, as the 23-year-old righty flashes sharp action on his curveball and slider with glimpses of a developing changeup.
Knight’s prospect stock is trending down, but he wouldn’t be the first college starter to initially slump in pro ball and get some velocity back in year two. He has dropped to the FV 40 tier for now, but could move back up with a resurgent performance in 2020. In the event it just doesn’t click as a starter, Knight’s past flashes of velocity and occasional sharp spin could make him a candidate to transition to the bullpen.