Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Furbush has an interesting background, not one seen associated with many 4th round picks. The Tigers selected him after a rough year at Louisiana State, and hope he will regain the form he showed on the Cape in 2006. During the 2007 season, Charlie started 16 games for LSU, going 3-9 with a 4.95 ERA. Despite being named to the 2007 Roger Clemens Award watch list, Furbush couldn't replicate his previous successes.
On the Cape in 2006, Charlie posted a sparkling 1.83 ERA in 54 innings of work for the Hyannis Mets. He was named to the League's All-Star team and was honored with the John Claffey New England Top Prospect Award after tossing no-hitter against the Bourne Braves; the franchise's first since Giants ace Matt Morris hurled one in 1993. Over the summer, Charlie transferred from Division III St. Joseph's College, where he had dominated the lower competition. During his two years at St. Joseph's, Furbush managed a 17-2 record and 185 strikeouts. He was named the North Atlantic Conference Co-Player of the Year as a freshman, and came close to winning the award again as a sophomore.
Charlie carries an imposing presence and a power arsenal to the mound; flashing a 94 mph fastball at times. He routinely sits in the 88-92 range, but can dial it up when necessary. He has a live fastball that can dominate hitters when it is on, and he can work it to all four quadrants with ease. He has excelled working his fastball to the right side of the plate (in, on righties), but must improve his command to the arm side. His slurvy breaking ball shows plus potential, and when his fastball is on, gives him two plus pitches. He works the breaking ball down in the zone and is able to generate consistent late depth on the pitch.
His change-up had seen little use prior to pitching in the SEC, and he must improve the quality and consistency of the pitch to remain effective as a pro. He has showed flashes of bring the pitch to an above-average level, and his natural arm-side fade should help him keep righties off balance.
The key for Furbush will be to keep his mechanics in order; keeping his arm moving with the rest of his body. He has a tendency to get ahead of his arm, causing him to fly open and lose pitches up on the arm side. When he stays compact, balanced over the rubber, and works down the plane of the mound, he can be a dominating force on the mound. His short arm-action on the back side allows him to hide the ball and add a hint of deception to his delivery. He is very intelligent, and is quickly learning how to be a pitcher rather than a thrower. He's an athletic guy who fields his position well, and is always in the right place. Charlie must improve his move to first and work on changing up his looks to hold runners.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG NCAA
Charlie has been healthy and durable throughout his college career. His size and frame indicate that he should add strength, and his mechanics don't appear to put any undue stress on his arm.
Furbush should be a relatively easy sign for the Tigers, and he should make his pro debut with the Oneonta Tigers, later this month. He has tons of potential, and the organizational staff will work diligently to get him back to his 2006 dominance. He should post solid numbers in the NYPL, in large part because of the spacious parks throughout the league.
Like several of the Tigers early '07 draft picks, Charlie is a bit of a project; one the Tigers will be patient with in hopes that he will make strides under professional tutelage. He has the tools to help the Tigers down the line, but look for him to post mixed results over the first couple years of his career.
Mark Anderson covers the Tigers' minor league system and all of minor league baseball for TigsTown.com. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.