Prospect Profile: Preston Larrison

In 2003, Preston Larrison seemed to be pressing and over-throwing. After receiving a brief look with the big league club in spring training and being considered for a rotation spot with Jeremy Bonderman, then when he didn't make it, tried to make it up with each start. The results weren't pretty, but he appeared to be making up for those struggles in 2004, up until the injury that could keep him out for all of 2005.

Preston Larrison
Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-4 Weight: 230
Born: 11/19/1980 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
A 2nd round choice out of Evansville in 2001, Larrison was thought to be a first round talent heading into his junior season, but after posting a 5.27 ERA, the Tigers were able to pick him up with their second choice. Preston started his professional career on the right track despite his collegiate struggles, posting ERAs of 2.47 and 2.39 in his first two seasons. Like fellow youngster Jeremy Bonderman, Larrison almost made the Tigers opening day rotation in 2003, but ended up being one of the final cuts, after which he headed down to AA-Erie. The 2003 season ended up being a disaster for Larrison as he continued to try and get to the Major Leagues with one big outing. After applying too much pressure to himself, Larrison came into 2004 looking to re-establish his prospect status. The season was going along just fine until an arm injury led to surgery that ended his season.

Scouting Report
Preston relies on his heavy, low-90s sinker to induce groundballs and keep his pitch counts low. Along with his bread-and-butter sinker, Larrison uses an above average change-up, but has yet to find a consistent breaking ball. When his control is on, as it was during his first two pro seasons, Larrison can be a dominating pitcher. Preston will have to develop at least an average breaking ball in order to remain an effective starter as he moves up. Without that third pitch, his destiny could be in the bullpen. In addition to the lack of a breaking ball, Larrison often struggles with his conditioning, and has come in out of shape to start the season on a couple of occasions. With better conditioning, and an improved off-speed arsenal, Preston could develop into a middle of the rotation starter.

Performance

Year

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

2004

Erie

5-4

3.05

20

20

0

59

36

118.0

1.34


Health Record
Larrison was yet another Tiger to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2004. After having the surgery late in the 2004 season, Preston is likely to miss a portion of the upcoming campaign as well.

The Future
Larrison likely won't return to game action until some team this summer, at which point he will be looking to complete his comeback from elbow surgery. The 2005 season will not be very telling of Larrison's future, as most pitchers returning from this surgery struggle to regain control immediately. It's likely that the 2006 season will be the first to really show whether or not Larrison is able to regain his form on the mound. Don't expect much from the 24-year old start until he proves he is completely healthy, but he could end up being a sleeper down the line.


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