Follow us on Twitter: @CamdenDepot
Player: Parker Bridwell
Position: right-handed pitcher
Age at 11/2011: 20y3m
2011 level(s): SS-A Aberdeen; Class A Delmarva
2011 statistics: Baseball-reference; Minor League Central
Grades - Now (Future):
Motion: 40/45 (50)
Fastball: 50 (55/60)
Slider/Cutter: 45 (55)
Curveball: 40 (45/50)
Change: 40 (50)
Control: 40 (45/50)
Command: 35/40 (45/50)
Feel: 40 (50)
Overall Future Potential: 47-53
Prospect Grade: B
*Click here for primer on Grades
Drafted in the 9th Round of the 2010 Draft, out of Hereford High School (Hereford, Texas), and signed for overslot bonus of $625,000. Multi-sport athlete in high school and national level prospect in both baseball and football.
Long, athletic build with projection. Broad shoulders to wide hips with medium-high waist. Long limbs; solid body control.
Bridwell begins with a simple step-in to his motion. He is long on the backside and there are some checkpoints that could point to periodic stress on the ulnar collateral ligament, though that is highly dependent on the specifics of his elbow structure. Bridwell throws from a three-quarters slot with some cross-fire and first base falloff. While Bridwell is an excellent athlete, he is still working to rein in his long limbs and make uniform his mechanics. His stride length varies, which combines with his long arm action to throw off his release point and, in turn, both his control and consistency in his secondaries (his curve, in particular). He is relatively quick to home, considering his size, but needs to vary his pacing in order to prevent runners from timing him.
Fastball - Heavy 90-92 sinker that bumped to the mid-90s at various points this summer. When he drives the pitch down in the zone he induces a lot of soft contact -- a trend that should continue through the lower levels. He will need to improve his command of the offering, as more discerning bats will learn to lay off the pitch as it bores.
Slider/Cutter - Good arm slot deception and late cut when he snaps off a good one. Good pairing with his sinker and makes it very difficult for batters to barrel balls when Bridwell has both offerings working.
Curve - Arm generates heavy spin and there is a potential for this to develop into an above-average pitch, as well, if he can find consistency in his release. 11-to-5 action and will flash big depth. 10-13 mph velocity delta and ability to hit his fastball arm slot also makes the pitch a viable off-speed offering.
Change-up - The rawest of his arsenal, Bridwell's change-up is better than the rudimentary version on display prior to being drafted. It is a feel pitch that will require continued reps, but he has shown enough growth to project it to average.
Bridwell's biggest challenge will be finding consistency in his stride and uniformity in his arm action. If he can improve in those departments, he is well suited to develop into a workhorse starter with a couple of above-average to plus offerings. It is unlikely he will ever be surgical with his pitches, but so long as he can spot his heavy fastball and slider he should be able to manage his pitch counts through soft contact.
There is also some ceiling here. With big arm strength and noticeable progress already being made with his change-up, Bridwell has the upside of a #3 starter. While his command may limit his ability to reach that upside, Bridwell is still young with plenty of time to smooth out the kinks. He struggled in his first taste of full season ball this past summer, but rebounded impressively at Aberdeen, where he threw with visably more confidence and comfort.
If command or a useful third pitch prove problematic long term, Bridwell could be well suited to step into a relief role as an 8th inning arm or closer. He will continue to add strength over the coming years, making it possible to project fringe plus-plus velocity for the Texan once matured and throwing in shorter stints. The thought of a durable power arm with a grounder-inducing sinker/slider combo, however, should keep him in a rotation as long as he continues to develop. He will likely tackle Delmarava in 2012 with a half-season in Advanced-A Frederick if things break right.
Ceiling: #2/#3 starter on first division team
Projected: #4 starter on first division team or late-inning arm