Of all the Phillies' 2004 Draft picks, Andrew Baldwin may well face more pressure than the others. Taken in the fifth round provides enough pressure, but when you're drafted at age 21 after two sub-par college seasons and you go in the fifth round, there's even more pressure.
Baldwin didn't distinguish himself with his numbers at Oregon State. What impressed the Phillies was a 6' 5", strong right-hander, who was already hitting the low mid 90s on the speed gun with little effort. Figuring that they could do more to mold him over the next two seasons than the folks at Oregon State could do, the Phillies jumped on him.
It needs to be said that Baldwin follows a long list of talented, underachieving college players who have been drafted high and failed miserably. Not just the Phillies have taken their chances on players like that, but all major league teams seem to find a diamond in the rough that they believe they can mold in the image of Tom Seaver, if not Cy Young. The Phillies will have a lot of molding to do with Andrew Baldwin.
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Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2004 Draft out of Oregon State University.
Repertoire: Baldwin is basically a fastball, slider type of pitcher. He added a little to his fastball in his first professional season just with some minor tweaking from the coaches. There is more tweaking to do and before all is said and done, Baldwin has the potential to throw in the mid 90s. He has decent movement on his pitches, but does get the fastball up in the zone a little from time to time.
Pitching: In college, Baldwin sometimes struggled with his control, but again, minor tweaking improved his BB/KO ratio tremendously at Batavia. In two college seasons, he walked 45 and struck out 76. In his first pro season, he walked just 14 and struck out 54. If Baldwin can consistently throw strikes and keep the ball down better than he did at Oregon State, things could turn around quickly.
Projection: Going in the fifth round, the Phillies would like to think that they got a number two starter out of Baldwin. It's not impossible that they did get exactly that, but Baldwin will need to develop more. If the early indications of what better coaching can do, then Baldwin has a chance at becoming a strong major league starter.
ETA: It's going to take Baldwin a while to reach the majors. He may repeat Batavia in 2005 and will likely need a little more than a full season at a couple stops along the way. If Baldwin pushes for a job by 2010, it would be about on schedule. He won't move as quickly as most fifth round picks might move, but he's young enough that the extra time shouldn't kill him.
Comparison: Some scouts have compared Baldwin to a raw Eric Milton. The hope is that if Baldwin puts it all together, he could become a right-handed version of Milton, but he will need to work on keeping the ball in the park better than Milton does, because that's been a factor.