Position: Left Handed Pitcher Height: 6-2 Weight: 200
Born: 2/9/1984 Bats: Left Throws: Left
The Tigers selected Averill in the 20th round of this year's draft with hopes that they may be able to pry him away from Arizona State after his junior season. After it looked as though Erik would join fellow Sun Devil Bret Bordes in returning to school, the Tigers surprised many throughout the draft community be convincing him to come aboard. Averill was named to Collegiate Baseball's Freshman All American team in 2003, earned All-PAC-10 honors during his sophomore season, and was named to PAC-10 and District 8 All Academic teams during his final campaign. In addition to these accolades, Averill was dominating during the 2005 College World Series, posting a 2.01 ERA in four starts. During his professional debut, Averill made 6 appearances (3 starts) and posted a sparkling 1.59 ERA despite struggling some with his control.
Erik is the stereotypical "crafty lefty" who relies on control and deception to be a successful pitcher. No single part of Averill's game is that impressive, but the combination of good sinking action on his fastball, two passable off-speed pitches that could continue to improve, and poise beyond his years, allow Averill to maintain success. Erik needs to refine his mechanics and become more consistent with his release point to improve his control. A significant step forward in spotting his fastball will be essential to his success at higher levels, considering it rarely tops 86-87 mph. Averill is a good athlete who shows the aptitude to learn and improve in every facet of his game. Despite trouble with walking batters in the GCL, Averill was advanced enough to prevent runs at a very good clip. With continued improvement, Averill could profile as a back of the rotation starter. At worst, he should be successful as a late inning, lefty reliever.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP WHIP R
Averill has remained healthy throughout his baseball career, and has clean mechanics that show no signs of being a precursor to future injury.
Averill will likely start the 2006 in the Oneonta rotation, and could see time with West Michigan if he proves too much for the NYPL. Neither league should prove to be a significant challenge Erik, but with a glut of promising pitchers in the lower levels of the minor league system, the Tigers may opt to send him to the bullpen. Ultimately, it is likely that Averill ends up working high leverage innings out of the bullpen by the time he reaches AA, but there is a slim chance he remains a starter. It is not hard to envision Erik posting intriguing numbers next season, but he'll have to continue that against advanced hitters to prove himself.