So how good is Chuck James?

Chuck James was outstanding Monday night in New York. But how good is the Atlanta rookie left-hander? Bill Shanks talks about Chuckie James and wants your thoughts.

Okay, I'll be honest. I've been skeptical of HOW good Chuck James might be because he only throws two pitches. How many starters do you know that have even achieved the success he's achieved this season with only two pitches? Not many.

I think if he starts throwing his slider more, he could be exceptional for a long time. Right now, he defies logic. Most would not bet on this kid because of his lack of pitches.

But heck, here he is AGAIN doing exactly what he did in the minor leagues. For those of you who do not know, Chuckie James had one of the best minor league careers in Braves' history. Here are his minor league stats. A 2.05 ERA in 343.2 minor league innings will get you a lot of attention.

But he never got the attention those stats deserve because he's only about six foot tall and 180 pounds. Plus, he tops out at about 91-92. If he were 6'4" and 220 and threw 99 mph, he would have been the top prospect in baseball with those stats. But his size and lack of eye-popping stuff made him "just" another prospect.

I think any comparisons to Glavine are silly. Glavine's going to the Hall of Fame, and that's just not fair. But any good young lefty will undoubtedly be compared to Glavine, while a soft-tossing righty will be compared to Maddux, and a hard-throwing righty will be compared to Smoltz. I guess that's just human nature.

But how good is this kid? Can he be a very dependable number three starter in the big leagues? Can he get by with a fastball in the low-90s and a changeup?

What do you think? Join our discussion here on our premium message board about Chuckie James.


Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look at the Braves' traditional front office philosophies. Email Bill at thebravesshow@email.com.

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