The 6-foot-3, 192-pound right hander was selected in the sixth round by the Houston Astros in the 2010 MLB draft. However, Plutko turned down the Astros’ offers and enrolled at UCLA.
In his freshman season, Plutko went 7-4 in 16 appearances. He posted a 2.01 ERA in 107.2 innings pitched, but sat in the domineering shadows of Friday and Saturday starters Gerrit Cole and Trevor Baur — the No 1. and No. 3 picks in the 2011 MLB Draft. He may have been overshadowed, but his pitching shouldn’t have been. Plutko struck out 92 while walking only 24 batters. He held hitters were to a .193 batting average.
There was no sophomore slump for Plutko. He finished 12-3 with a 2.48 ERA as he took over the Friday night ace duties. Plutko made eighteen starts and pitched 199.2 innings, striking out 99 and walking 44.
Over the 2012 summer, Plutko pitched on the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, where he posted a 2.63 ERA.
So far this season, Plutko sits at 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA through ten starts. Hitters are batting just .183 off the righty through 65.1 innings pitched. He has 53 strikeouts to just 18 walks.
In his start Friday at Oregon, Plutko picked up his fifth win of the season, pitching seven innings of shutout baseball. He allowed three hits and walked three, while matching a season high with eight strikeouts.
From a scouting perspective, Plutko throws a fastball that was clocked between 88-90 mph during his start at Oregon. He also throws a changeup that was clocked at 80-81 mph and an 82-83 mph slider.
He also has a bit of a delay when pitching from both the stretch and the windup. The pause breaks up the hitter’s rhythm and works as a mechanism, in which Plutko gathers his momentum before delivering the pitch.
In the fifth inning of 1-0 game Friday night, Oregon got a runner to third base with one out, but Plutko struck out Oregon catcher Josh Graham swinging with a 90 mph fastball. He followed that with a strikeout of centerfielder Conner Hoffman, who looked at an 82 mph slider that broke over the outside corner and into catcher Shane Zeile’s mitt.
The strikeouts were an example of Plutko’s composure on the mound. He had previously airmailed a throw into center field enabling the runner to reach third with one out, but settled back in and struck out the next two hitters.
You can check out UCLA’s Adam Plutko below: