Friday, May 28, 2004

Where are they now - Kyle Bakker

The 6'9" lefty is pitching well in the Braves farm system. In this article, Baseball Writer and ESPN special columnist John Sickels talks about Bakker:

James from York, Pennsylvania, writes: In the 20th round of last year's draft, the Braves took left-handed pitcher Kyle Bakker, a 6-foot-9 beast out of Georgia Tech. I remember he was supposed to be a draft-and-follow, his stock having dropped that year. Well, he signed, and so far has looked like a steal. Of course, it's far too early to tell whether or not his signing was a good deal or not, but what do you think about Bakker?

Bakker was considered a potential first-round pick going into the spring of 2003. But his mechanics got fouled up (not unusual for a 6-9 pitcher), and his command wavered. Most teams thought he would go back to Georgia Tech for his senior year, but the Braves managed to sign him with a 20th round pick.

Bakker has a 1.65 ERA and a 3-0 record this year for Rome in the Sally League, being used in relief. In 16.1 innings, he's given up 13 hits, and has a 10/12 K/BB ratio. That's not a good K/BB, and calls into question his projection for higher levels, though the sample size is very small at this stage.

Despite his size, Bakker is not a hard thrower. He can hit 90 mph at times, but his fastball tends to flatten out and lose movement at that velocity. He does better at 86-88 with movement, though it appears faster due to his size. His breaking ball and changeup are OK, not great, but when his command is on he can zip through a lineup. I'm concerned about his high walk rate this year, and his future at higher levels is uncertain.