The uber-projectable Tarnok has spent all of 2018 with Class A Rome, where he started the season as a piggyback starter before taking on a true every-fifth-day rotation role in the second half. A converted shortstop who is relatively new to pitching, Tarnok has the chance to be a starter long-term because of his projectable frame, above-average velocity, and developing off-speed pitches.
Still ironing out aspects of his mechanics, he pitches exclusively from the stretch and doesn’t repeat his delivery at times. This leads to below-average present command and strikethrowing, though the lean-bodied athlete shows the flexibility and body control to project on his delivery. The fastball sits 90-to-93 mph with good life and occasional cut action, getting downhill angle when his mechanics are synced. Tarnok topped out at 96-97 in short bursts earlier this season, and given his loose, whippy arm-stroke, there’s reason to think his velocity will tick up as he fills out. His go-to off-speed pitch is a hard slurve at 81-to-84 mph with three-quarters action and flashes of sharp bite. It’s more like a slider in the low-80s and takes on a true curve shape when thrown softer at 78-to-81 mph. Feel for a 82-to-87 mph changeup comes and goes, though it flashes late dive action that mimics his fastball life when he keeps up armspeed on the pitch.
Tarnok is a quality sleeper prospect in an Atlanta system loaded with talent. He’s a long-burn prospect with plenty of reps needed to polish his delivery, control, and off-speed consistency. A prime example of “moldable clay”, Tarnok requires max projection but comes with a high ceiling. He could be a solid #4 starter if absolutely everything comes together, though it’s interesting to imagine his velocity and hard spin playing up in a ‘pen role if he needs a fallback.