Friday, October 07, 2005

John Danks Report

John Danks, LHP, Texas Rangers
Drafted 9th Overall, 2003 Draft, HS, Round Rock, TX
Bats L/Throws L
20 YO, 6'2", 190 lbs

What took me so long to get to Danks? You would have figured with the number of Rangers fans I tend to surround myself with (we Royals fans need someone around who can share our pain) that I would have profiled this high profile prospect a long time ago. Well, here it is.

Danks gets into the low 90's. He could even add a couple MPH onto that in the next couple of years. However his breaking stuff is probably what gives him his upside potential. He has a killer curveball and the makings of a quality changeup.

2005 Bakersfield: 2.50 ERA, 53 K, 16 BB, 50 H, 5 HR, 58 IP
2005 Frisco: 5.49 ERA, 85 K, 34 BB, 117 H, 12 HR, 98 IP
2005 Totals: 4.38 ERA, 138 K, 50 BB, 167 H, 17 HR, 156 IP
MiLB Career: 4.19 ERA, 285 K, 101 BB, 285 H, 26 HR, 286 IP

I don't know if it's just me, but whenever I think about Danks, I think about Barry Zito. He has that same kind of profile where his fastball is better than people will give him credit for. And he has alright command, but nothing to write home about. I don't have reports telling me so, but I imagine that sometimes he has trouble spotting his curveball in the strikezone. I expect that because it is pretty typical of this kind of arsenal. When you have quite a bit of movement on the curve, sometimes it goes out of the zone. He also has a reputation of trying to nibble on the corners, which is something that can be worked out with a good pitching coach, say like Orel Hershiser.

Danks struggled in his first exposure to AA, but that's not completely unexpected for somebody his age. He dominated batters his own age with his stuff and now he's running into more advanced guys that will force him to make adjustments and work on these weaknesses. One thing that does give me pause is the number of home runs he gave up, especially in Frisco. It has the potential to be a problem in Arlington, where fly balls have a tendency to fly over the fence more than just about anywhere outside of Denver and Mexico City. It's not a dealbreaker but it is something to watch.

Expect Danks to start back in Frisco next season and do well enough to move onto Oklahoma City or possibly to the Rangers rotation. But that's if things go really well. If things don't go so well, it pushes his time table back a year. His ceiling is as a solid #2/average #1 starter. His downside is like all pitchers, injury and the obscurity of former prospectdom.

ETA: Late 2006/Early 2007
4 Stars

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