Max Povse (Staunton 2013) is a large man. He’s listed at 6-foot-8, 185 pounds, and when a big guy like that has a good fastball… well, major league organizations love guys like Max.
Right now, mlb.com has Max listed as the #6 prospect in the Seattle Mariners’ system, a few months after he made his major league debut. So how did he get here?
- Max played for three years at UNC-Greensboro, where he was certainly not overpowering, but showed promise. Over 44 games and 215 innings from 2012-2014, Max was 12-14, 5.32, with a 1.50 WHIP, 3.8 BB/9, and 8.8 K/9.
- In Staunton in 2013, he went 2-2, 3.33 in 54 innings, with a 1.167 WHIP, 2.0 BB/9, and 10.0 K/9
- The Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 3rd round in 2014, gave him a $425,000 bonus, and assigned him to Danville of the Appalachian League. He went 4-2, 3.42, with a 1.12 WHIP, 2.1 BB/9, and 7.0 K/9 in 47 1/3 innings.
- He split 2015 between Rome (South Atlantic League, 12 games) and Carolina (Carolina League, 5 games). Overall, he went 5-5, 4.15, with a 1.244 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9, and 6.9 K/9 in 78 innings.
- He also split 2016- between Carolina again (15 games) and Double-A Mississippi (11 games), finishing at 9-6, 3.36, with a 1.133 WHIP, 1.7 BB/9, and 7.9 K/9 over 158 innings (a career high).
- In 2017, he suddenly found himself in the Seattle Mariners’ system after a November trade. He pitched in 9 games for Double-A Arkansas and 13 games for Triple-A Tacoma, going 4-6, 5.22, with a 1.429 WHIP, 3.3 BB/9, and 7.8 K/9 in 70 2/3 innings.
- Most importantly, though, Max made his major league debut on June 22, 2017. He “only” pitched in 3 games for the big league club, but it surely looks like Max will be back.
Here is what mlb.com has to say about Max:
Scouting grades: Fastball: 50 | Curveball: 45 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 55 | Overall: 45
Povse flashed promise but lacked consistency during his three years in UNC-Greensboro’s starting rotation. The Braves were happy to gamble on his size and his potential in the 2014 Draft, however, when they selected him in the third round and signed him for $425,000. The big right-hander rewarded their faith with a strong full-season debut the following year and continued to climb the ladder in 2016, culminating with an impressive second-half showing in Double-A. The Mariners acquired Povse and Rob Whalen last November in exchange for 2014 first-rounder (No. 6 overall pick) Alex Jackson, and he made his big league debut in June after a strong start to his season in Double-A.
A towering presence on the mound, Povse uses his 6-foot-8 frame to create a steep downhill plane to the plate and generate weak ground balls. He pitches with an average fastball, sitting at 90-92 mph and touching 94 with his heater, though it tends to play up because he hides the ball and gets good extension over his front side. Povse’s changeup is his best secondary pitch and receives above-average grades from scouts, and he also can flash average with a curveball that has a big 12-to-6 shape but inconsistent pace.
Povse is athletic for his size and repeats his delivery well. He projects to have at least average control and command of his three-pitch mix, giving him the potential to develop into a No. 4 starter.
Perhaps Max will join Chad Kuhl as a regular rotation member in the major leagues soon- although he’ll most likely start 2018 in Triple-A.