Kurt Isenberg scouting report

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Kurt Isenberg in the fourth round of the 2003 draft out of James Madison University. Selected by the San Diego Padres in the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday, Isenberg possesses quality pitches and good command. Here is a scouting report, courtesy of our friends at InsideTheDome.com

Kurt Isenberg was the 110th overall selection in the 2003 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft out of James Madison University. Having a solid professional debut made the Jays believe they could accelerate him, and have the southpaw skip a level in 2004.

Isenberg joined the Auburn Doubledays after being selected by the Blue Jays, and became an ace in the Doubeldays' rotation going 7-2 with a 1.63 ERA in 13 starts.

The Jays tried to accelerate his progress and started the left-hander in the Florida State League with the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2004. Isenberg got off to a solid start, pitching to a 2.84 ERA in April for Dunedin, allowing just six walks in nineteen innings while striking out twenty batters.

The month of May was not friendly to the left-hander, as he allowed eighteen earned runs in just twenty four innings of work. One notable statistic was that Isenberg still showed solid command as he walked just seven batters in May, despite his struggles on the mound.

"As long as a pitcher displays good command, in a league above Low-A, I will give him the benefit of the doubt, and hope he can figure out the reason for his struggles" one talent evaluator cited as one of his philosophies to InsideTheDome.

After a tough month of June, the Jays demoted Isenberg to Low-A Charleston, and the left-hander finished the season there, and finished the season on a strong note. (Isenberg issued six runs in four innings of work during his first start with Charleston and as a result his numbers are a bit skewed if you look at his season statistics.)

The Jays made the 23-year-old repeat Dunedin in 2005. That was certainly a setback for the left-hander, but many believed a strong start would enable him to receive a promotion to New Hampshire. Isenberg was solid over his first three starts, but reached a bump in the road during his final start in April as he allowed five runs in three innings of work. Isenberg quickly rebounded and went 3-2 with a 1.91 ERA over his six starts during May, recording thirty-three strikeouts in thirty-seven innings of work.

June, once again threw a wrench to the plans of a promotion. The left-hander pitched to a 1-3 record and an 8.31 ERA. He struck out just ten batters in twenty-six innings of work, and at the point scouts began telling us his role as a starter is winding down.

"I don't view Isenberg having the extensive repertoire and stamina needed to be a starter" one talent evaluator told InsideTheDome. "He also is very inconsistent, and that needs to change quickly."

Isenberg must have heard those words and turned it all around in July, while finishing with a bang in August. Over six starts in July the southpaw went 2-2 with a 3.21 ERA, but over his final five starts of the season, Isenberg went 4-0 with a 1.45 ERA.

"He is a pitcher that gets outs with help from his defense," the scout noted. "He will not strike out many batters."

Isenberg never exhibited a high strikeout ratio, but always displayed the ability to pitch on the corners and keep the ball in the strike zone. Isenberg has appeared as a reliever just once in his professional career, and some talent evaluators speculate if switching Isenberg to a full-time reliever will enable him to throw harder.

Repertoire: Fastball, changeup, curveball.

Fastball: Isenberg has an average fastball which he throws in the 87-91 MPH range. The left-hander is a finesse pitcher and has not shown the ability to overpower hitters with just his fastball.

Other Pitches: The left-hander also features a good changeup and a developing curveball. He relies on his fastball to set up his changeup and his curveball. He has a smooth delivery and has a competitive flair when he is on the mound

Projection: Isenberg is a very athletic player, who was a two-way player in college, and has limited mound experience. As a result we believe he does have more room for growth. Some positives include his fluid motion and his toughness against left-handed batters, which could be useful down the road if a career as a starter does not work for him. We do not project Isenberg to be a successful major league starter since he does not have the extensive repertoire we look for in a pitcher. Isenberg does have a good fastball and curveball, and he mixes in a changeup, and we feel he fits in nicely as a reliever.

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