Brian Akin Goes On Top Seeking Success

The trend among young Dodger pitchers seems to be to lower their arm slot, down to 3/4 or even farther to achive more efficiency and, more than incidently, to ease wear and tear on the arm. Brian Akin, however, is an exception. He changed his arm positon all right but, in his case, went up rather than down.

He's over the top now up from what he calls "a modified 3/4" that he'd previously favored. The result of work with pitching coordinator Rick Honeycutt gives him more power in his deliveries and was used effectively in his recent stint in the Instructional League at Dodgertown.

Akin was just off a so-so year with Columbus, one in which he compiled only a 1-4, 4,35 record. He did have 54 strikeouts in the 77 innings he worked but the feeling among the coaches is that there's more to his ability than is shown in the results. Hence the switch.

Back in his high school days at DePont Manual in Louisville, Brian was a starter but ever since he matriculated at Davidson and,further, as a pro, he's usually been used out of the bullpen. It worked well in college where he was 8-3, 3.30 as a senior ranking among the Southern Conference leaders in strikeouts.

A 14th -round pick of the Dodgers in the 2004 draft, he went to Ogden where he worked middle relief, going 1-1, 6.04. Not all that impressive but enough to earn the promotion to Columbus where he showed enough effectiveness to be invited to this camp despite the rather lowly stats.

He's a good athlete. In high school he not only pitched but played regularly when he wasn't, hitting .347 with eight homers, and was named team MVP. He also played golf on a team thst was among the best in Kentucky and basketball as well.

He's a solid 6-3, 185 and recently turned 24. He knows that for someone in his position, it's either move ahead or step aside so that's why he's been amenable to the change in his arm slot -- a move that he hopes will make the difference.

It sometimes happen with pitchers, a little fine tuning or a new pitch that can turn an otherwise middle of the road hurler