Andrew Baldwin: "I have to execute."

Andrew Baldwin is the Lakewood's 22-year old starting pitcher who has experienced only tepid success this season at the low-a level. His 5-10 record showcases his struggles, but he believes there is more to his season than what his record indicates. Development is supposed to trump winning at this level and he believes that he has improved in the little things that a pitcher needs to do to have success at the higher levels.

Andrew Baldwin spent his first professional season in the New York-Penn League after the Phillies selected him in the fifth round of the 2004 draft. Despite leading the Muckdogs in innings, strikeouts, and starts he finished only 4-6 with a 5.17 ERA. The organization hoped the young pitcher would benefit from spending the off-season in the Florida Instructional League before making the jump to Lakewood this year. He didn't have much success to start the year with the BlueClaws, going 0-3 with a 6.12 ERA in April. To be fair, the Lakewood staff as a whole went 5-18 with a 5.21 ERA over that same stretch.

Baldwin believes the team's turn to respectability has little to do with all the movement the team has experienced, but rather with the breaks the team has been able to turn into productive situations.

"There's not a lot of better talent on this team than there was earlier in the season, I just think we're getting some breaks and some things are going our way. Earlier in the season, we had a lot of bad breaks go against us. It's been really hit and miss this year," said Baldwin.

Baldwin rebounded from his hard April, with a stellar May in which he went 1-0 with a 2.64 ERA and held opponents to a .204 batting average. In April, opponents hit .301 off the young pitcher. Baldwin believes he has developed this season from where he was to start the year, even if he is the owner of 4.62 ER this season and a .275 opponents batting average.

"If I'm improved, I hope it's recognized and what I've improved on, I have to execute. Pitching's not really that hard," said Baldwin.

Baldwin has yet to develop the kind of consistency that separates the pitchers in Double-A from the pitchers in the Majors and the Double-A pitchers from the ones who never escape the crucible of Single-A. Baldwin is in the South Atlantic League to learn the nuances of pitching and ease the transition between levels, and he believes he has gotten better as the year has gone along.

"I'm working on learning the little things, about how to put batters away and throw strikes. How many strikes I throw and my game management because no matter how good you are, you can't get away making bad pitches," said Baldwin.

He needs to continue to work on the situational aspects of pitching that will define his career. At this stage in his career, Baldwin is an excellent pitcher without runners on base but becomes woefully ineffective with runners on base and especially with runners in scoring position and two outs. Baldwin has a 0.98 ERA against the batters who lead off an inning and a 0.74 ERA with the bases empty, but his problems start when he gets runners on base. Baldwin has a 15.22 ERA with runners in scoring position, a 9.54 ERA with any runners on, as well as an 86.40 ERA with the bases loaded.

Baldwin doesn't get caught up in promotions, or his stats. He simply tries to advance over where he was to start the season. He believes he has improved and hopes he has given himself a chance to start next season at Clearwater

"I just want to end the season strong and make my season in Lakewood a good situation," said the right-hander.

Baldwin has solid stuff and has improved from where he was on Opening Day. The question mark for him involves situational pitching and how he handles himself in pressure situations. While Baldwin has improved, he still needs to show more before he can be considered a viable prospect as he heads into the next stage of his professional career.

Andrew Baldwin's career stats

Year / Team W L ERA SV G GS IP H R ER BB KO HR
2004 Batavia 4 6 5.17 0 15 15 71.1 96 50 41 14 54 2
2005 Lakewood 5 10 4.62 0 25 25 152.0 163 93 78 39 93 14
Career Total 9 16 4.80 0 40 40 223.1 259 143 119 53 147 16

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