Top 50 Prospects: #18 - Pat Misch

After 2004, Pat Misch was the OTHER lefty in the Giants system with good control and a great changeup. After 2005, no one's talking about him at all. That's a mistake. With Misch's track record, expect him to bounce back and find his way into the Giants rotation soon.

Date of Birth: 08/18/1981 Position: P Height: 6'2" Weight: 195 Bats: R Throws: L
Acquired: Drafted in the 7th Round (#213 Overall) of the 2003 Draft
2005 Stats
Fresno - AAA 3 9 6.35 19 19 0 102.0 135 80 72 18 40 69 .389 1.03
Norwich - AA 4 2 3.52 9 9 0 61.1 63 25 24 7 7 43 .270 0.85

One bad year is all it takes to disappear from everyone’s hot list.

Pat Misch learned that in 2005. After the 2004 season, he was seemingly on everyone’s up-and-coming list. He’d gotten pushed straight from Short-A to AA, skipping two levels in only his first full pro season, and answered with a 3.06 ERA, and showcasing spectacular control. A few people scratched their heads when the Giants pushed Noah Lowry up from AA instead of Misch, who had superior numbers and according to some, a better changeup. Lowry’s subsequent success silenced the second guessers, but it also whet the appetite for another lefty finesse guy with great numbers.

And then there was the PCL.

A lot of pitchers see their walk-rates spike in the Pacific Coast League, but Misch’s skyrocketed, walking 40 in 102 innings at AAA compared with 35 in 159 innings the previous year. Everything else shot up with it, and Misch suffered a 3-9 record with a 6.35 ERA in the PCL before being sent back to AA in mid-July, where he began to regain his form.

Now, Misch almost seems to be an afterthought when discussing Giants prospects. Adding to doubts from his down year is the opinion that he’s old, even though he was drafted as a senior out of college and just turned 24 last August. All the heat he had as a prospect has gone.

That’s the ropes in prospect discussions. But anyone discounting Misch will probably be made a fool of.

Misch doesn’t have the pure stuff most prospect hounds love, particularly when he’s armed with a fastball in the high-80’s that is compared to former Giant Kirk Rueter. But what Misch has is pinpoint control on all four of his pitches. His changeup is still one of the best in the system, and he has a plus curveball and a good slider. And did I mention the pinpoint control? Even in his spectacular 2004 campaign, where he had 123 K’s to only 35 walks (just over 3.5 K’s for every walk), it could’ve been better. After a sub-par April, he spent the rest of the season getting 4.32 K’s to every walk! It's much more likely that his problems in 2005 were just a bad year than a sign that he's lost it.

Misch is a smart kid and has all the polish he needs. He’ll return to Fresno in 2005, and this time, he’ll know what’s waiting for him. The PCL has never been kind to finesse pitchers, and his numbers will inevitably take a bump. But he’ll do much better this time around. Merkin Valdez may get the spotlight in Fresno, but Misch could become the workhorse and be pushing for a spot in the Giants rotation in 2007, if not by midseason in 2006.

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