Andrew Baldwin could have pitched at Oregon State for two more seasons. Instead, he couldn't refuse the Phillies offer after they drafted him in the fifth round of the 2004 Draft. The Phillies felt they had a bit of a project on their hands, but if there is a poster boy for the kind of pitcher that the Phillies love, it's Baldwin, so they were willing to take a chance. Baldwin is a 6' 5", 215 pound right-hander and has still needs to boost his low-90s fastball a couple more miles per hour. The Phillies have spent two seasons tweaking and adjusting Baldwin and believe that they're seeing the type of progress that they had hoped for.
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Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2004 Draft out of Oregon State University.
Repertoire: Baldwin's fastball has already gotten better in the relatively short time that he's been in the Phillies organization, but he needs to put a little more velocity behind the pitch and get better movement. He's got a change-up and slider that are both effective, with the slider being the better of the two pitches. The Phillies have worked a lot on getting Baldwin's control issues resolved and have had a lot of success in that area. After walking four hitters per nine innings in college, Baldwin has lowered that to a nice two walks per nine innings in the pros. Now that he's got the control issues taken care of, Baldwin can concentrate on other parts of his game. Perhaps the biggest remaining issue is that he gets his fastball up in the zone at times and gets hurt with longballs.
Pitching: Again, keeping the ball down is a key for Baldwin and it's something that he'll need to perfect. He could also bust hitters inside a little more than he does, which is something he seemed to do a little more of in college than he has in the pros. By late in the 2005 season, it appeared that Baldwin was truly starting to put things together. Part of Baldwin's problems in 2004 were due to simply wearing down. He threw 136 2/3 innings between college and the pros, by far the most he had ever thrown. In 2005, he pitched 168 innings and threw at least six innings in each of his last five games and threw eight innings in each of his last three starts. Granted, he was wearing down though as his ERA was 5.78 over those starts. The good news is that in his third to last and second to last starts, he threw 16 innings and allowed just four earned runs for an ERA of 2.25. Throughout the season, consistency was an issue for Baldwin, providing him with another thing to work on in 2006.
Projection: It's going to be a tough decision for the Phillies on where to place Baldwin in 2006. His numbers at Lakewood weren't all that great, but the same could certainly be said of his numbers in 2004 and he still received a promotion. It would probably be best for the Phillies to start Baldwin at Lakewood and move him along if he can string together some successful early season starts. This is a young pitcher who still has plenty of potential and could wind up being a mid-to-upper part of the rotation starter when he gets it all figured out.
ETA: If all goes well, Baldwin could be pushing for a major league job by about 2009. Watching him pitch, you sometimes feel that he isn't far from figuring it all out and starting to move at a brisker pace. The basics are there and it's just a matter of things falling into place. How quickly all of that happens will determine how quickly Baldwin can move up the ladder and just what kind of future he may have with the big league club.
Comparison: Baldwin has a lot of the same qualities as Cory Lidle. He works to keep the ball down in the zone, but gets hurt from time-to-time when he gets the ball up. He appears able to give a good amount of innings, but can't keep the same intensity and consistency from start to start. In the end though, his numbers turn out to be pretty good, but not quite where you would hope for them to be.