Florida Marlins Top 50 Prospect Countdown #37

Ryan Baker was part of the trade that brought Tim Spooneybarger to the Marlins for Mike Hampton. Find out more about this pitching prospect and what role he may have on the team in the future in this edition of the Marlins Insider's Top 50 Prospect Countdown.

Florida Marlins Prospect Spotlight Countdown #37

Ryan Baker
Vital Stats:
Position: Pitcher
DOB: March 20th, 1978
Birth Place: Linthicum, Maryland Height: 6'0 Weight: 200 lbs.
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Acquired: Traded to the Marlins from the Braves in 2002 as part of the Mike Hampton/Tim Spooneybarger deal.

Overview: Baker is not a guy that wows scouts with anything in particular. His stuff is average and he is not particularly athletic nor does he project an imposing physical image on the mound. But despite all of this Baker has still had good success in the minors.

Repertoire: Baker throws a sinking fastball that is clocked in the 88-91 range, and an average slider. Neither of these pitches are of plus quality but when Baker is on he is able to get a lot of outs as hitters have trouble making solid contact. Last year in Double A Carolina, Baker appeared to have control issues as he allowed a high number of walks. We don't think that he necessarily had issues of control but rather that the higher quality of hitters in Double A had the discipline to lay off his low stuff.

Style: The key to Baker's success is keeping the ball down and while not necessarily over-powering hitters with his stuff, he gets them to hit weak ground balls for outs. As previously stated, his 2003 season in Double A might've confirmed scouts concerns about Baker's ability to get good hitters out. If Ryan is going to have success against better quality hitters, he has to learn to better set up his sinker and slider by going after hitters. The only problem with that is that if he challenges hitters he may be setting himself up to get hit hard as he doesn't have an over-powering pitch to use.

Projection: While Baker does not have a future as a starter in the major leagues, he does have the possibility of becoming a decent middle reliever in the majors if he continues to show that he can get hitters out without giving up runs.

Estimated Time of Arrival: Baker will probably spend another season at Double A Carolina with a possible promotion to Triple A Albuquerque. Ryan has been effective at all levels during his career, if he continues to show that he can get the job done he might be a mid-season call-up in 2005 if the Marlins need a band-aid in their bullpen.

























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