Friday, April 30, 2004

Ryan Feierabend  

BaseballHQ is a premium service that I use to better prepare for the numerous fantasy leagues I participate in. Today, in their Minor League Hot Sheet, Terry Linehart profiles Mariners pitching prospect Ryan Feierabend, currently #34 on the USS Mariner Future Forty, and a player I've heard little about. While waiting for the big club to provide more reasons for optimism, you can take a look at what Linehart wrote.

Ryan Feierabend (LHP, SEA): Feierabend is an exciting lefthanded pitching prospect who has been improving and maturing ever since he was drafted last year. Ryan was the Mariners' third round pick in 2003 out of an Ohio high school and some who have seen him pitch think that he has the potential to be one of the better pitchers taken in that draft. He has drawn comparisons to Barry Zito LHP with his mound presence and ease of delivery. In addition to his physical abilities, Ryan has tremendous maturity and responds well to coaching.

Only 18 years old, Ryan throws with a 3/4 delivery and his fastball (up to 91 mph) is alive with movement, sometimes tailing in quickly on righthanded hitters' hands. His changeup (74 mph) and slider (76 mph) are inconsistent, though the changeup has improved significantly in the last year. It projects to be a plus pitch by the time he makes the majors. He's working on a curve as well, demonstrating his work ethic and ability to get better.

The Mariners sent Ryan to pitch a full season at Wisconsin (MWL) to gain experience. In four appearances, he is 3-0 with a 3.74 ERA, 2.0 Cmd., and 6.7 K/game. He should be there most of the season to build strength in his arm and touch on his pitches, but the Mariners could promote him a level later this season to see how he responds. Ryan is currently not on the radar of the national press, but he could move quickly through the system and outperform prospects who are higher on the various lists. Barring any injury, however, he'll be on all of the Top 10 lists next year.

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