For the Angels, that turned out to be fantastic news. In his professional debut, he posted a league-best 2.14 ERA, striking out 55 against only seven walks in 71.1 innings of work. He dominated hitters all year, commanding three pitches anywhere in the zone. He gave up just two home runs and 15 total extra-base hits.
While there were some questions about O'Sullivan's work ethic during his only junior college season, the stocky hurler showed impressive commitment throughout the season and posted a 1.97 ERA across six starts in August – an impressive feat given the innings he worked for Grossmont. While his size will likely continue to draw comparisons to Kevin Appier, the Angels need be less concerned about that and the instead be thankful for the increasing comparisons to Brandon Webb for a dominant slider he can set up with three other strong offerings.
While O'Sullivan takes the title as pitcher of the year from FutureHalos, it didn't come without a fight. David Herndon, another big-body at 6'5 and more than his listed weight of 200, pushed O'Sullivan to the wire for the ERA title, finishing with a 2.21 mark in 69.1 innings.
Herndon, who came out of Gulf Coast Community College in Florida after being drafted for the third consecutive year, lost his first two professional decisions, but then gave up one run or fewer in each of his next seven outings.
Despite his size, Herndon is not a strikeout pitcher – whiffing just 36 hitters – but he also showed solid control in issuing just 10 walks. He will have to enhance his feel for his offspeed pitches to get more-developed hitters out when he makes the jump to full-season ball.
The Panama City resident got better as the game went on throughout the year, giving up a .266 average over the first three innings, but just a .182 after that.
Even with the attention those two deservedly received, Jeremy Haynes may have had the most impressive season of any of the starters. Had he not come up two innings short of qualifying, Haynes would have finished fourth in the league with a 2.76 mark. As it was, he paced the club with 68 strikeouts and gave up the lowest batting average against in the Pioneer League.
A great overall athlete who, like O'Sullivan, had to adjust to not hitting every day in his professional debut as a draft-and-follow, Haynes is still looking for consistent feel in his delivery, and won't be able to continue to lead the league in walks as he moves up.
The Savage File
O'Sullivan pounded the strike zone in each of his 14 starts, allowing two earned runs or less in 12 outings and one earned or less in nine. He began the year with one earned run over his first 16 innings and walked just two over his first 34.
A former two-way threat in high school and junior college, O'Sullivan can pump it up to 92-94 and uses a curveball, slider and changeup, all of which he is confident in using. The right-hander learned a lot in his draft-and-follow year and has an advanced approach on the mound in setting hitters up by mixing his pitches well.
His fearless demeanor and willingness to throw inside baffled hitters, keeping good wood from connecting with his pitches. In nine of his 14 outings he allowed four hits or fewer.
Half a vote went to Felipe Arredondo. The kid struck out 12.3 per nine innings and held the opposition to a .162 average. That is pretty good.