Sunday, August 9, 2009

Prospecting: Kasey Kiker

2009 PROFILE: Kiker is a perfect example of why one should ignore traditional stats and just listen to a few frackin' games to get a good sense of how his season is really going. He has had a terribly inconsistent season, and those inconsistencies run the gamut: within an inning, bewteen innings, bewteen the first 3 and second 3 innings, between starts. . Kiker is the most over-hyped prospect in the system. Despite one laughable report that had him ranked as the third best pitching prospect in the system (think about this) most scouts (and reasonable people) project him as a reliever, as do I, being reasonable people (not a scout). This was supposed to be a "coming out" year from him, even though he already had one of those in 2007. Why? Because he fucked up in 2008, having chronic shoulder issues after getting fat over the off-season and failing to follow his ptiching program. During his struggles, he lost his vaunted FB velo (though I think this was really due to mechanical adjustments made to his windup and leg kick if not other things after the 07 season) and pitched in the 88-92 range. What seemed to save his bacon was above-average command of this suddenly very avergae offering.

Fast FWD to 2009. His FB command has been erratic all season while his average velo after his first 3 or so starts to begin the season, now sits at 87-89!! His second to last start in July he never flashed 90! The same report that ranked him in the same genera as Holland and Feliz, also suggested that little Kasey had finally come of age and learned how to be a pitcher and not a mere thrower after a string of 3 quality starts. Really? The Kasey Kiker of 2009 runs up very high pitch counts and exits in the 3rd, 4th, 5th inning with 85 pitches, a hit batter, a wild pitch, 3 walks, 6 SO and 3 hits. Despite the fact his now fringe-average FB and high AO rate might suggest to him that he try to pitch to contact, he still goes for the strikeout. The development of other phases of his game - the development of his CB, the possible introduction of 2-seam pitch - has been retarded in his slightly puzzling if not retrograde approach that privileges the use of his CU - his best pitch - over his development as a pitcher. After a brief stretch of 5 quality starts from late June to late July, his last four have reverted back to what can be called his season-long trend of inconsistency: " Kiker K's six, walks 3, hits 2 and exits in the 5th..."


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