Scouting the Prospects: Patrick Overholt

Patrick Overholt hasn't appeared to have any lingering effects from Tommy John surgery that he underwent following his freshman year in college. He's moving well through the Phillies' system and appears to be on his way to becoming a prime player in the long-term scheme of things for the Phillies.

It's looking more and more like the Phillies got away with at least a minor steal when they grabbed Patrick Overholt in the 22nd round of the 2005 Draft. After undergoing Tommy John surgery and missing the entire 2004 season, Overholt experienced the usual problems that post-Tommy John pitchers usually go through. His 2005 season wasn't much to write home about, but the Phillies looked past that and drafted him even though he was a prime candidate to head back to Santa Clara University and look to build his stock and potentially get a higher draft spot in years to come. Instead, he signed with the Phillies and started his professional career with Batavia in 2005.

Overholt has moved well through the system, advancing as high as Clearwater in 2006, where he pitched well in a relief role for the Threshers. It's likely that Overholt will be back at Clearwater to start the 2007 season, but is a prime candidate for an early promotion if things go as planned. It will be very interesting to see how Overholt does once he hits AA ball.

Patrick Overholt's 2006 stats

Lakewood 3 3 3.15 2 29 0 45.2 37 17 16 4 26 52
Clearwater 5 3 4.10 0 15 0 26.1 20 17 12 5 10 41
Totals 8 6 3.50 2 44 0 72.0 57 34 28 9 36 93

2006 Prospect Ranking: 44

Status: It's a little surprising that the Phillies pushed Overholt along to Clearwater in 2006. Obviously, they felt that he was ready for the move and Overholt didn't do much to disappoint. He does likely need a little more work at Clearwater to build some confidence before the jump to AA ball, so he'll likely start 2007 at Clearwater. He has shown a lot though and should continue a steady move through the system.

Scouting Notes: Overholt has a tremendous walks to strikeout ratio. Through his first two pro seasons, Overholt has one walk for every 2.9 strikeouts, which is a key to his success. He could actually stand to improve his walks per inning numbers though, since he averages 0.46 walks per inning or just over four walks per nine innings.

What Overholt does especially well, is what every young reliever needs to do, which is keep the ball down in the zone. Overholt has allowed just under one homerun per nine innings of work, which is exceptional for a young pitcher. With just a mild improvement in reducing his walks, Overholt will have everything he needs to succeed.

As for his pitches, there isn't any one pitch that sets Overholt apart, but he throws a good mix of fastballs and sliders and has good movement, especially on his slider. He mixes his location and keeps hitters off balance by working both sides of the plate and is generally always down in the zone, but will allow himself an occasional high fastball to keep hitters honest.

At Clearwater, hitters hit just .196 against Overholt overall and just .189 (7-for-37) with runners in scoring position, another key stat for relievers. Overall, Overholt allowed hitters to hit .233 (18-for-77) against him with runners in scoring position last season in his two stops.

Analysis: The Phillies really were lucky that Overholt signed with them. Had he returned to college, he may very well have made a substantial jump in rounds for the 2006 Draft and could have been in the upper reaches of the draft had he turned in two good years at Santa Clara, which he would have been eligible to do. There were some that thought Overholt wouldn't sign until he had used up his eligibility, which would have meant he wouldn't have even signed until next June.

Overholt is well ahead of the game and has the tools to succeed. He can definitely pitch at the high-A level, but it's the AA level where many young pitchers start to get exposed. It appears that Overholt won't be one of those pitchers and will have a solid minor league career and should be at least a decent major league reliever somewhere down the road. After all, teams are always looking for relievers who can keep the ball in the park.

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