POSITION: Right-handed starting pitcher
BORN ON: January 23, 1987
AGE: 21 years old
BORN IN: Gadsden, Alabama
LIVES IN: Rainbow City, Alabama
WEIGHT: 190 pounds
SCHOOL: Southside High School in Alabama
ACQUIRED: Drafted in the 8th round of the June 2005 draft
SIGNED BY: Al Goetz
STATISTICSClick here for Cofield's 2007 stats
SCOUTING REPORTThe Braves knew Kyle Cofield would take some time to develop. He was from a small high school in Alabama and was very raw when he was drafted. Cofield's first two seasons of pro ball saw poor results, with a combined ERA of 6.52 for 2005 and 2006. But things got a bit better last season.
Cofield was placed into a piggyback situation with Deunte Heath early in the season with the Rome team. A look at his splits find some interesting items. First, Cofield was much better when he did pitch out of the bullpen (3.13 ERA) compared to when he got the start (4.15 ERA).
After Heath moved on to Myrtle Beach, however, Cofield did become more comfortable getting the starts and being taken out of the piggyback. Cofield had a great two month stretch in June and July, when he had a 2.03 ERA. He wore down a bit in August (6.48 ERA), which is not a surprise since it was Cofield's first year with a full-season team.
Cofield has always had an impressive curveball, but in his first two seasons he had trouble throwing it for a strike. That broke his confidence. But the kid worked on getting bigger last winter and came in with a bigger frame (20 extra pounds) and that helped boost his self-esteem.
The curveball got much better last season, and it's now an above average pitch for Cofield and thought to be as good as Cole Rohrbough's curveball. He worked more last year on throwing a changeup, and that development will continue this season in Myrtle Beach.
Cofield's fastball can hit 95 mph, but it's more in the low-90s. The Braves get a little upset when Cofield backs off a bit, so they want him to maintain aggressiveness against every hitter.
The Braves believe Cofield needs to learn that he doesn't have to try and strike everybody out, and Myrtle Beach is the perfect place to work on that since pitching coach Bruce Dal Canton stresses that repeatedly. Dal Canton likes for his pitchers to learn that there are eight other players on the field that can help get outs, so that could really help Cofield this season.
Cofield made significant strides last season, but the Braves need to see more. His stuff is good, but he still needs many more innings before the team can really see how good Kyle Cofield can be in the future. Last year should have given him great confidence, which was one thing Cofield desperately needed.
2008 OUTLOOKDue to the numbers in Rome, Cofield will probably be pushed up to Myrtle Beach this season. You wonder if the Braves will be tempted to send him back to Rome for at least the first six weeks of the season to see if he can dominate the South Atlantic League. But the trade of Jamie Richmond to Oakland probably guarantees Cofield a spot in the Myrtle Beach rotation.
ADDITIONAL STORY LINKSClick here for Cofield's 2007 Player Profile
Bill Shanks is the author of Scout's Honor: The Bravest Way To Build A Winning Team, a look inside the Braves‘ traditional scouting and player development philosophies. Email Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org.