So far in 2008, Todd jumped from A-Advanced Palm Beach to Double-A Springfield and was named an All-Star at both stops. Todd has been selected as the Texas League Pitcher of the Week twice as well as being named the Cardinals' Minor League Pitcher of the Month for May. To top it off, he will be traveling to the Bronx to take part in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. Between the two stops, Todd has posted a 1.68 ERA in 96 innings.
Jess Todd has a full effort delivery that he easily repeats. He gets great push with his strong lower body that helps balance out his 5-foot-11 frame. The 22-year-old is a bulldog that goes right after hitters and makes them hit his pitch. Due to his frame and fierce competitive streak, some scouts believe he is better suited for the bullpen.
He has quick arm action to the plate and maintains a consistent arm slot. Todd has good balance on the rubber and hides the ball well, helping him pitch taller than his frame.
Coaches say Todd has excellent makeup and is very coachable, a big reason he has vaulted through the Cardinals system. The former Razorback has shown excellent command, with 128 strikeouts compared to 26 walks at Arkansas. At Batavia he struck out 69 compared to 14 bases on balls. In 2008, he has 87 strikeouts compared to 20 walks.
Todd can touch 94 but usually works 89-91 with his heater. Not overpowering with his fastball, Todd uses its natural sink to induce groundballs. He will also cut his fastball away to right-handers and in on the hands of lefties. His slider sits in the mid-eighties and is a put away pitch. His third pitch, a changeup, is behind his fastball and slider. It is a work in progress that he will need to develop as at least a "show" pitch to keep hitters off his "hard stuff."
Todd reminds me a lot of Greg Maddux. Now I am not comparing Todd to the future Hall-of-Famer. Maddux has 350 career victories and Todd hasn't pitched above Double-A. Like Maddux, he is undersized, yet is not afraid to go inside and challenge hitters.
Dustin Mattison can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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