Padres Prospect Report: Jack Cassel

A place where no home runs fly out of the park. A place where the only jacks are in the stands or on the mound. A place where round trippers refer to the bus rides to and from the park. That place is the Twilight Zone, or in San Diego Padres baseball talk, anytime Jack Cassel stepped on the mound.

Over the course of two regular seasons, Jack Cassel has not given up a home run. Two years without a home run. In the day and age of juiced up balls and supplement abuse, a Minor Leaguer that does not give up a home run over two seasons deserves recognition.

BALCO apparently never reached the California League – :wink: :wink:

"It is an amazing stretch," one Padre scout said. "He throws his sink, is a control guy and keeps it down in the zone. I wanted to say it is 160 innings."

From 2002-to-2003, Jack Cassel played for two Minor League levels. He spent time with the Fort Wayne Wizards and the Lake Elsinore Storm. He saw action in 114 games. He pitched in 158.2 innings. He gave up 160 hits. Nary a one was hit out of the park.

Cassel, a Los Angeles native, became a fixture in the bullpen after a dismal beginning to his career as a starter. Out of Loyola-Marymount University, Cassel was thrust into a role in Fort Wayne as a starter in 2001. He responded by going 4-14 with a 5.54 ERA.

In 2002, Cassel settled in to a relievers role and after logging 50 innings with the Wizards, he was shipped up to Lake Elsinore. He finished that year out with the team and spent all of 2003 with Elsinore, leading the Cal League in appearances.

"Pitching in minor league baseball and pitching in High Desert and Lancaster, not giving up a home run…," the scout breathed.

It was a great feat. To put it in perspective, he balked more times than homers allowed.

"Cassel gave up a home run in the postseason to lose a game," Sean McCall tells us to ruin our day. "We were leading a ball game 6-4 and Cassel gave up a two out, two run home run. Not a homer in two years…that is amazing."

The regular season streak is still intact and Cassel will likely be rewarded with a trip to Mobile. The humidity knocks down some flies and the Southern League is known as a pitcher's paradise.

"This guy came out of the bullpen and was very reliable," said the Padre scout. "And also in an assortment of roles. He was used in middle relief, he was used in a setup role, he closed a little bit when need be and has good control. He is a good athlete and obviously you don't put up zeros in the home run column by accident."

Cassel won't overpower anyone with his stuff. His fastball sits in the 88-91 range and has some life on it. What he does do is keep the ball down and in play. He also stays around the plate as he has averaged just one walk per four innings over the last two years.

"He has been healthy and resilient,"" McCall added. "He is getting looks. I trust Jack."

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