Prospect Profile: Josh Rainwater

Josh Rainwater has had serious hurdles to overcome the past two years, first battling weight issues in 2004, then working through a knee injury that sidelined him for the first six weeks of the '05 season. But when he's been able to make it to the mound, Rainwater has been very impressive. Now he'll just have to work on staying there and out of the trainer's room.

Josh Rainwater
Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-1 Weight: 220
Born: 4/9/1985 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Rainwater was a dominating high school talent who fell in the draft as more teams realized the additional risk involved with such young arms. The Tigers were pleased to find Josh on the board in the 4th round, and made him their selection in the 2003 draft. In addition to the inherent risk involved with high school pitchers, Rainwater was not protected very well by his high school coach. A fairly highly publicized incident involved Rainwater tossing a no-hitter in his state semifinals game, then coming back to face seven batters the following day in the championship game for the save. All that combined, led to a very protective first two seasons in which Rainwater only pitched in 87 innings. In those 87 innings, Rainwater was successful in striking out batters at an impressive rate, more than one per inning, but he also posted extremely high walk rates, at over 6 per nine innings. After overcoming an early season knee injury, Rainwater joined the West Michigan staff, posting a 3-7 record with a 4.24 ERA in 16 A-ball starts. Rainwater battled fits of inconsistency throughout the season, but was at his best during the month of July (2.55 ERA, 0.97 WHIP), when he won the TigsTown Pitcher of the Month award for the Whitecaps.

Scouting Report
A hard-throwing righty, Rainwater's fastball sits consistently in the 93-95 range, with little movement. Rainwater's control had wavered during his first two seasons, but he showed impressive success in controlling his power arsenal during the 2005 season. Josh responded to the challenge of full-season ball, and cut his walks to less than 2.5 per nine innings. The off-speed pitches in his arsenal have made some small progress, but will need to continue improving in both overall quality and control. There are concerns regarding Rainwater's lack of athleticism, and some within the organization believe he needs to shed some weight to be a more effective pitcher in the long term. As Josh continues to mature, he could add more strength, and increased velocity. His big frame lends well to future durability, and he could become a classic power pitcher in time. Josh is likely to be slow in developing, but has the make-up and raw potential to be a special pitcher.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

A

West Michigan

3-7

4.24

16

16

0

75

20

80.2

1.29


Health Record
Josh's knee injury at the start of the 2005 season was not as serious as first thought, and he still made his season debut in May. Rainwater showed no lingering effects from the injury, and should be at full strength again in 2006.

The Future
Rainwater took a significant step forward in 2005, and will look to do the same with Lakeland in 2006. Josh's improved control and better physical conditioning led him to the best season of his professional career. The Tigers are likely to be careful with Rainwater again during the 2006 season, as he still only logged 80 innings this past year. If Rainwater can maintain control of his lightning fastball, and gain more consistency with his breaking pitches, he could be in for a breakout season. While the Florida State League will be a significant test for a still maturing pitcher, Rainwater should handle it well, and give the Tigers yet another power pitcher in their bulging stable.


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