Florida Prep Standout Signs with Cubs

The Chicago Cubs saw some standout qualities in Colin Richardson, an 18-year-old right-hander from Winter Haven High School in Winter Haven, Fla. Richardson was taken in the 14th round of the 2010 MLB Draft last week.

Richardson will report to the Cubs' spring training headquarters in Mesa, Ariz. to begin preparing for his pro career, Chicago Scouting Director Tim Wilken told InsideTheIvy.com on Tuesday. Richardson (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) had previously committed to Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fla.

The ace of Winter Haven's staff, Richardson was 11-1 with an ERA of 0.55 in 76 innings this past spring. Chicago scouts were impressed by Richardson's fastball, which by the end of the season was consistently 90-91 mph and topped out at 92 mph.

Richardson averaged 10 strikeouts per nine innings and for the season walked 11 batters. He showed command of three pitches – fastball, changeup and curveball – and has been working on adding a cutter to his repertoire.

"We gambled on Colin in the sense that we thought he would drop a little bit because there were some (teams) that think he's just a normal pitcher. We thought he was much deeper than that," Wilken said of Richardson. "There will be more in his tank later. He's got nearly four average to better than average pitches and the command and feel for his pitches we thought was pretty good."

Richardson and several of his teammates worked with former major league catcher Pat Borders this past season and that tutelage, Richardson said, helped with the mental aspect of the young pitcher's game and in his windup and delivery.

Borders also worked with Richardson on establishing his changeup, Richardson said.

"My changeup I got this fall," he said. "I didn't really have a changeup for three years, but Pat worked with me a lot and my changeup really came through for me this year. It was the best it's ever been."

The cutter is the next pitch Richardson would like to develop.

"I haven't really worked on it yet much because I didn't really need it during the high school season, so I was just working on mastering my changeup," he said.

Richardson outlined a few areas he'd like to improve on as he prepares for his journey into professional ball.

"I'd like to get bigger and stronger," he said. "I'd like my velocity to go up and I'd like to get my curveball a little bit sharper. Other than that, increased velocity is pretty much every pitcher's dream. I think that will come with getting bigger and stronger and getting on the program the trainer is going to have you on."

The Cubs say there is a lot to like in the young hurler.

"You can see in his high school numbers that he's been a winner, so we think there are a lot of good pitching qualities there, and we think he has starting ability," Wilken said. "We're excited about his feel for pitching."

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