Prospect Profile: Kenny Baugh

The Tigers made Kenny Baugh their top selection in the 2001 draft, despite concerns of over-use while at Rice University. Those fears came to fruition, as Baugh underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum. Ever since then, Baugh has been working his way back, and hoping to fulfill his original promise. Is he now ready to do just that?

Kenny Baugh
Position: Right handed Pitcher Height: 6-4 Weight: 190
Born: 3/5/1979 Bats: RightThrows: Right

Background
Baugh was the 11th overall pick in the 2001 draft by the Detroit Tigers out of Rice University. Baugh had compiled an absolutely outstanding 4-year career with the Owls, notching a 2.66 career ERA, including a 1.82 ERA during his senior campaign. Despite the extreme success in college, Baugh was a bit of a gamble, as are most Rice pitchers. Head Coach Wayne Graham has been notorious for ignoring pitch counts and abusing his young aces, a fate which Baugh fell victim to as well. In a much publicized NCAA tournament start his final year, Baugh remained in the game for 171 pitches, well beyond a normal workload. Upon turning pro in 2001, Baugh was dominant in 11 minor league starts, posting a 2.25 ERA over two levels. Kenny was shut down near the end of the 2001 season with shoulder soreness, which eventually required surgery, forcing him to miss the entire 2002 season. The 2003 season saw Baugh return with decreased velocity, and subsequently, decreased effectiveness. In 2004, Baugh seemed to get back to the pitcher he once was, posting a 3.72 ERA in 24 starts for AA-Erie.

Scouting Report
Baugh came out of college with a reputation as a polished pitcher with a clean delivery and a good knowledge of the game. Despite his clean mechanics, the wear and tear on his young arm was simply too much. Baugh saw his velocity dip from 92-94 mph prior to surgery to 85-88 during the 2003 season. As his arm has continued to heal, his velocity has returned to the 89-91 range, with increased movement. Baugh compliments his now average fastball with an average "slurve" and a plus change-up. Good command of all his pitches, allows Baugh to work intelligently on the mound, keeping hitters off balance. Kenny is a strong and athletic player with a good work ethic, and he takes well to coaching suggestions. Combining his willingness to learn, intelligence, and his natural ability, Baugh has the makings of a solid pitcher who simply needs to avoid injury.

Performance

Year

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

2004

Erie

8-8

3.72

24

24

0

107

41

142.2

1.37


Health Record
Baugh missed the entire 2002 season after undergoing shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. After completing his rehabilitation, Baugh came back to pitch effectively, but often missed time due to soreness. Kenny recovered well and was getting stronger late in the 2003 season, and into the 2004 campaign. Unfortunately, the injury bug struck again late last season, as Baugh came down with shoulder bursitis that prematurely ended his fine season. The injury did not appear to be serious, and Baugh should be healthy this spring.

The Future
Baugh has a very slim shot at the Tiger bullpen this spring, but is much more likely to help anchor the starting rotation in Toledo. If Kenny's shoulder can prove healthy this season, he could re-establish himself as someone who should be considered a part of the Tigers immediate future. With good performance, Baugh could be in line for a promotion during the 2005 season if Detroit needs help at the Major League level. Kenny's future may be in the bullpen, where the stress on his arm will be lessened, but he may have an opportunity to crack the rotation when Jason Johnson departs via free agency after the 2005 season.


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