HT: 6-5 WT: 210 POS: RP
Iowa Cubs - (43 G, 1 GS, 51 ip, 4.59 ERA, 56 K, 18 BB, 5 HR, 1.41 GO/AO)
Originally a starter after being drafted in the 14th round of the 2002 draft by the Chicago Cubs, Rocky Cherry emerged as a relief prospect after coming back from Tommy John surgery in May 2005. He spent time both in triple-A Iowa and with the big league club in 2007, but missed some time due to a right lat strain. After being traded to Baltimore as part of the package for Steve Trachsel, Cherry's velocity was down and he displayed poor command and got knocked around.
Since coming back from Tommy John surgery, Cherry's velocity has been as high as 97 MPH. His command of the pitch comes and goes and is the difference between when he is running good and when he is running bad. Cherry's velocity dipped as the season wore on, but he attributes that to normal fatigue and should be back to 100% in the spring. His best pitch is his knockout slider that has been described as unhittable by coaches and opposing batters.
At 28 years old, even after missing substantial development time, Cherry is close to a finished product. His ERA in triple-A understates his impressive ratios and he will get a clean shot at Baltimore's wide open bullpen in 2008. Cherry's ceiling is as a right-handed set-up man and his fastball command will dictate how quickly he gets there.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via e-mail at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com