Sobotka served as the closer at Charleston Southern as an underclassman before missing most of the spring of his draft year with injuries. Atlanta took him in the fourth round of the 2014 MLB Draft, mostly on the strength of his extra-large frame and plus fastball velocity. Those two attributes have kept him on the prospect radar to some degree, but to date, his control and secondary pitches haven’t developed as hoped. He has pitched exclusively out of the bullpen since signing and has struggled to prevent walks. His fastball plays under its mid-90s velocity at higher levels of the minors as more polished hitters have realized they can lay off his off-speed stuff and sit on the fastball. He’s often behind in the count and forced to throw fastballs.
He’s an intimidating presence on the mound, with a 6’7″, 225-pound frame that’s reminiscent of Josh Johnson (RHP, Padres). Throwing exclusively from the stretch, he has difficulty controlling his long limbs and often falls off-line after release. The fastball sits at 94-to-95 mph (T97), featuring heavy bore down on hitters with downhill angle. Sobotka’s mid-80s slider flashes average at best, though the noise in his delivery causes lots of variance in the quality of the pitch.
Sobotka’s frame and flashes of two raw big-league pitches give him the ceiling of a low-leverage bullpen piece, but his control and consistency will have to come a long way to get there. He falls into the “extreme risk” category and should be viewed as a low-probability prospect. Sobotka likely will open 2018 in Mississippi’s bullpen.