M's 2005 Top 50 Prospects: No. 10

InsidethePark.com has cracked the Top 10 in the countdown to number one. Without any hints, can you guess who number 10 is this season?

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InsideThePark Prospect No. 10
Bobby Livingston LHP
Opening Day Age: 22
Height/Weight: 6-3/195
Bats/Throws: L/L
Acquired: M's 4th round draft pick in 2001

Year

Team

G

GS

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

Sv

ERA

WHIP

2004

Inland Empire

28

27

12-6

186.2

187

30

141

0

3.57

1.16



Strengths:
Livingston has a prototypical left-hander's build and with proper adjustments could use it more to his advantage. A little bit of tinkering could bring out more of his natural ability.

"We need to get him to pitch with more effort," said Mariners Minor League Pitching Coordinator Pat Rice. "To add more effort, we're going to have to change his delivery. He's a mean guy on the mound, and I'd like to see him use it and take it into some of his pitches."

Weaknesses:
Livingston has a tendency to throw his change up a little bit too much, and even though it's a plus pitch, he will run into a buzz saw in Double-A if he doesn't work off the fastball more. He does tend to give up some hits (one per inning) but as long as he keeps improving right along with the opposing hitters, he will be fine.

"I'd like him to throw more balls, not so many strikes, and become a little bit more aggressive with his effort level," said Rice. "I'd like to see him going into next year thinking fastball first instead of offspeed first."



Tools: Scout's Profiling Scale

Fastball: 50
Livingston grades out average with the fastball at this stage of his career but could add a few more miles per hour as he matures and makes adjustments. The Mariners will work with him to alter his delivery to maximize his velocity.

"He's got about 4-5 more in his fastball and we need to go get it," says Rice. "He can throw 90 all day long."

Slider: 50
Much like Thomas Oldham, Livingston needs to improve on a slider or a cutter to get even with left-handed batters. Lacking the velocity on his fastball to overpower hitters, fooling hitters is the next best thing.

Change Up: 70
The 22-year-old has a plus change and although he does tend to fall in love with it, it's good enough to hide its overuse. Livingston has very good arm action and stays consistent in this area- a crucial aspect of throwing a great change up.

"He has some deception," notes Rice. "He has a great changeup."

Command: 75
Livingston's control is fantastic and doesn't leave him when the going gets tough. The only thing keeping it from being perfect is that he will overthrow at times and he does lose some command when he hurries things.

"When he tries to throw the ball hard he rushes and doesn't throw strikes," said Rice.

Delivery: 60
Although there will likely be some tweaking in Livingston's delivery, it is a smooth motion and allows for the southpaw to finish up in fielding position as well as make an easy transition to a quicker move to the plate with runners on base.

The changes may be subtle and could include a faster motion from "set" to "release", allowing for better arm action, at least from the wind.



Future:
Livingston may be the San Antonio Missions' opening day starter in April, after a solid 2004 season that saw the left-hander win 12 more games and run his career record to an impressive 33-18. With more velocity and a better pitch to toss at left-handers, Livingston will have very little problem staying on top of his game.

The M's 4th rounder in 2001 could develop into a solid No. 3 or No. 4 starter, if the proper adjustments are made.

"Livingston is probably the best left-hander after Blackley in the system," said an NL scout. "He has more room for improvement than some of the others they (M's) have."



MLB Clone: Brian Anderson, Doug Davis

MLB ETA: 2007





Jason A. Churchill can be reached via e-mail at JasonAChurchill@InsidethePark.com



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