Prospect Profile: Kyle Christensen, P

Last season, the Oakland A's took a 17-year-old right-hander, Kyle Christensen, out of a Long Beach-area high school. After overcoming some arm troubles, Christensen has been throwing well in Arizona this season. We take a closer look at the right-hander.

Kyle Christensen, RHP, 6'3'', 225

Year

Team

Lg

Age

W/L

ERA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

HR/9

BB/9

K/9

2006

AZ

RK

17

0-1

10.03

11.2

14

15

13

14

9

1

0.77

10.80

6.94

2007

AZ

RK

18

2-2

3.86

53.2

51

30

23

21

58

0

0

3.55

9.81



Kyle Christensen was the youngest pitcher selected by the Oakland A's during the 2006 draft. After a successful career at Millikan High School in Long Beach, CA, Christensen was selected in the 15th round by the A's. As a senior at Millikan, Christensen had a 1.71 ERA and a 5:1 K:BB ratio.

Christensen signed a week after the draft and was assigned to the A's Rookie League team in Arizona. Christensen appeared in seven games for the Rookie A's, two as a starting pitcher. He had a rough time with his control during his first pro season, walking 14 in only 11.2 innings. He also allowed 14 hits, including one homerun.

The Southern California native developed arm troubles at the end of the year and was shut-down before the A's Instructional League season. He began the 2007 campaign at extended spring training, where he worked to regain his full arm strength.

At the start of short-season, Christensen was included on the roster of the A's Rookie League team once again. Thus far this season, Christensen has found a lot more success in the Rookie League than he did last season. His first outing was a poor one (2.1 innings, four hits and three earned runs), but he has been good since then. In his last 10 appearances, Christensen has worked at least five innings in all but one of his outings. He has allowed two runs or less in all but three of his outings. In addition, he has averaged more than one strikeout per inning and has walked less than two batters per nine innings.

According to the Oakland A's Minor League Pitching Coordinator Ron Romanick, Christensen currently throws his fastball in the 85-89 MPH range and he features a slurve that is more curveball than slider, and a straight change-up. He also mentioned that Christensen has improved in his control of the running game and in his pitch selection. The A's have been encouraged with Christensen's recovery from last season's arm problems.

Christensen was young as a high school senior when he was drafted, as he didn't turn 18 until the September after he graduated. Consequently, Christensen is still in the correct age range for the Rookie League despite repeating the level. He has excellent size for a starting pitcher and is a good candidate to develop better velocity on his fastball as he gains more experience and he gets older.

He already does a good job keeping the ball down in the strikezone and inducing groundballs. His control has improved over last season and he does a good job attacking hitters and getting first-pitch strikes.

Assuming that Christensen is healthy and performs well next spring, he has a good chance of skipping the Northwest League and going straight to Low-A Kane County. Even if he does head to Vancouver next season, he will be one of the younger pitchers in the league.


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