Monday, May 02, 2005

Dallas Braden Report

Dallas Braden, LHP, Oakland Athletics
Drafted 727th Overall (24th Rd), 2004 Draft, Texas Tech
Bats L/Throws L
21 YO, 6'1", 180 lbs

Huston Street isn't the only A's pitcher drafted in 2004 who is advancing quickly. Braden has emerged from the obscurity of the 24th round to now down California League hitters left and right. To do this, he uses a fastball the ranges in the high 80's, a pretty good change, and a lethal screwball.

2004 Vancouver: 2.76 ERA, 26 K, 3 BB, 15 H, 1 HR, 16 IP
2004 Kane County: 4.70 ERA, 33 K, 6 BB, 22 H, 2 HR, 23 IP
2004 Total: 3.89 ERA, 59 K, 9 BB, 37 H, 3 HR, 39 IP

He's currently sporting a 3.14 ERA with 42 K's, 7 walks, and 24 hits allowed in 28 innings for Stockton, which looks pretty consistent with his 2004 numbers. If you were curious, he put up a mediocre ERA at Texas Tech, but with good ratios.

At this point, he's just a set of data points, and there isn't a whole lot of data to go on. I haven't seen his delivery or his approach. There also aren't many scouting reports out there to go on. I can't give a strong buy recommendation yet. He has promise, but a wait and see approach may be more appropriate. If he keeps up this pace, he should get a trial in AA later this season. Towards the end of 2005, we'll have a much better idea of whether he can keep this up.

Some people worry about the screwball and injury risks. I'm not sure if any one pitch in particular is more likely to injure a pitcher who throws it. The slider gets this reputation too. It's something worth keeping an eye on, but I'm not going to dock somebody's grade because of it.

ETA: 2007
3 Stars

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