A 5th-round pick in 2017 out of McClancy Memorial High School in East Elmhurst, NY, RHP Charlie Neuweiler has quietly acclimated himself to professional baseball.
After becoming one of only 64 prep-level players selected in the first ten rounds in last year’s draft, Neuweiler made his first pro start for the rookie-level Burlington Royals in the Appalachian League on June 19th of last year. He went five solid innings vs. the Elizabethton Twins in an away game (4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 2 K). His follow-up to that was a game to forget vs. the Danville Braves, as he gave up nine hits and five runs in his first home start for Burlington. Of note: he also struck out eight batters, nearly 1/3 of what he faced (25 total).
That would be it for Neuweiler in the Appy League, as the Royals bumped him up to the Lexington Legends in the South Atlantic League. He would make his first Class-A start at home vs. the Asheville Tourists, going another five strong innings, giving up no runs (3 H), walking three, and striking out four. Following this were four fairly-solid starts on the road in which he went a total of 21 1/3 innings, giving up eight earned runs (14 total), walking eight and striking out seventeen batters. He picked up his first professional win on July 23rd at Asheville, where he gave up only three hits and two earned runs (4 total) while walking three and striking out four. His 2nd career win came right after that, as he went 5 2/3 vs. Rome at Lexington, giving up one run on four hits, walking three and striking out six.
After making his first pro appearance in June, Neuweiler has yet to throw fewer than 80 pitches in a game, and hasn’t yet recorded an appearance under five innings; worth noting, given his age (he turned 19 years old this past February).
On a roster that currently boasts 10 of Kansas City’s top 30 prospects, according to MLB Pipeline (11, counting the injured Michael Gigliotti), a player like Neuweiler can get lost in the shuffle. However, don’t let those “Top 30” lists deceive you; Neuweiler demonstrates poise beyond his years, with an arsenal that matches up well against the Sally League batters.
Neuweiler starts with a fastball that sits around 91-92, touching 93 on occasion, and he throws both two-seam and four-seam varieties. He also deals a low-80s slider with tight spin and very good two-plane break. At its best, it is almost unrecognizable in its spin, and breaks about 6-8 feet in front of the batter. When last I saw him, he dealt at least two sliders in the 84-85 range. He will occasionally mix in a change-up at 80-83 with slightly more fade than sink that has potential to become at least ML-average.
His mechanics are simple and easily repeatable. He has bouts of inconsistency with his release point, as any young pitcher might. It seems to happen more so with off-speed pitches, but so far it seems to be a rare occurrence.
At 6’1”, 205, Neuweiler’s projection lies in refining his current arsenal and working to add a bit of velocity. He appears to be a sound #3 or #4 starter in the making, at the moment, but a move to the ‘pen could see a tick or two added to his fastball. That could make him a three-pitch reliever with a mid-90’s fastball and, possibly, a wipe-out slider, to go with a change that shows definite promise. Personally, I’d like to see him continue to develop in the rotation; he has good size and a foundation on which to build. I can see him adding 2 MPH on his fastball, as a starter, as he appears to have relatively low-stress mechanics, as well as youth and stamina on his side.
Give him a little time, and you’re likely to be hearing more of his name in the Legends recaps and Royals websites. Neuweiler’s classic starter profile gives him a good shot at climbing the rankings for Kansas City. Barring major setbacks, he could find himself in High-A Wilmington before the end of 2019. If not, a year or two at Lexington isn’t going to hurt his progress, in the long run.