Padres prospect scouting report: David O'Hagan

Closing games out in Eugene was beyond a chore for the Emeralds. Many of their leads vanished in the late innings. Only one player on the roster was considered a true relief pitcher, as most of the others were converted starters and he, David O'Hagan, went down with an injury.

Unfortunately, the Padres ninth round selection out of Stanford, pitched in just eight games for Eugene. The Ems had fleeting images of David O'Hagan becoming their closer for the year but that was erased by injury. It wasn't an uncommon trait among the Padres minors.

"One thing with that team – we had injuries with our pitching and we could not maintain a balance of consistency because of the injuries we had on that club," Padres' Director of Player Development Tye Waller said. "If you don't have pitching, it is hard to win anywhere. The young guys weren't able to carry (Eugene) alone."

In the brief stints O'Hagan appeared, he had an ERA of 2.57. He began the year in Eugene before a shoulder injury sidelined him from the first of July till the end of August. Five of his outings came before the injury and he recorded one save and one blown save. He only allowed two earned runs on the year in seven innings of work.

He returned to the lineup on August 30th. On one of the last nights of the season, O'Hagan struck out three batters in two-thirds of an inning of work. One of those strikeouts was on a wild pitch and the runner actually scored.

O'Hagan is known to possess a power arm and the Padres remain high on him despite the injury. The plan is to work on smoothing out his delivery during the winter.

"He is a tough one for me to comment on because I never saw him pitch," Waller admitted. "I did hear a lot of good things about him from his college days. He has a power arm but he has this herky-jerky delivery and I know there are some things we have to work on.

"He is one of the guys that we would foresee making the jump up to Fort Wayne and hopefully being a contributor."

The reason is his success in a short span is hard to argue. Only four of the 27 batters he faced recorded hits. That means he limited hitters to a .147 average. In Eugene he gave up just one hit, limiting the opposition to a .067 batting average. He didn't discriminate either. Lefties and righties were equally ineffective, batting .154 and .143, respectively.

Most of his work came in the ninth inning or later. In his seven innings of work, the right-hander struck out 12 while walking five.

Health and revising mechanics are the only thing that would keep O'Hagan back in the coming year. The Padres see him as being a vital cog on the Fort Wayne team as their closer. He is a four year college player that went to a reputable school at Stanford. He will be used to the pressure and the demand of a longer season, provided his shoulder is 100 percent.

Expect O'Hagan to begin making waves in '05.

Denis Savage can be reached at denis@sandiegosports.net

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