Tigers Prospect Profile #45: Scot Drucker

Scot Drucker came to the Tigers midseason during 2008, and has been impressing ever since. While Drucker isn't overpowering, he's proven to be effective at both Double-A and Triple-A, and put himself in position for a big league job.

Scot Drucker
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Height: 6-1
Weight: 205
Born: 5/30/1982
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
Drucker was originally a 13th round pick of the Oakland Athletics in the 2004 draft, after finishing his collegiate career at the University of Tennessee with a 2.61 ERA and more than a strikeout per inning during his final season on campus.

Assigned to short-season Vancouver out of the gate, Drucker came out strong with a 3.00 ERA and six saves in 21 innings, over 14 outings. Opposing hitters managed just a .241 average against him, and he walked only six while striking out 18.

The A's pushed Drucker to low-A Kane County to start the 2005 season, and after a 2.86 ERA in 22 innings with eleven saves, he was again promoted to high-A Stockton. Despite a tough 5.51 ERA in 83 1/3 innings with Stockton, Drucker managed a sparkling 7-1 mark while working mostly in relief (nine starts in 29 outings).

A return to Stockton for the 2006 season saw Scot post a slightly better 4.78 ERA in the difficult offensive environment in the California League. Drucker again split his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen, amassing 113 innings over 37 appearances.

The climb up the minor league ladder was put on hold in 2007, as Drucker missed the entire competitive season with a right shoulder injury. Scot appeared on the road back to the mound during spring training 2008, when the A's released him on March 15th.

Drucker signed on with Grand Prairie of the Independent Association, making 15 starts and posting a 2.41 ERA, good for second in the league. The Tigers signed Drucker in late July and assigned him to Erie to finish out the 2008 season.

In 2009, the Tigers sent Drucker to Triple-A Toledo to work in both a starting and relief role; a role he held down very well for the Hens. In 113 innings, Drucker posted a 4.78 ERA and managed nearly a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio.

To further evaluate Drucker's progress and aid in figuring out his role for 2010, the Tigers sent Drucker to the Arizona Fall League, where he turned in a solid showing that included some up-and-down performances. Scot is rounding out his off-season activities by pitching for Ponce in the Puerto Rican Winter League.

Scouting Report
Most scouts view Drucker as a pretty common commodity; a right-hander whose fastball sits in the 88-90 range, and touches 91/92 on good days. He does get some solid life on the ball when down in the zone, and he can induce groundballs regularly. Though it took some time to come back after injury, Drucker has again begun commanding both sides of the plate with ease. Some scouts would like to see him work in to left-handers more frequently, and would like to see him elevate aggressively when ahead in the count, but those are minor quibbles.

Drucker backs up the fastball with a curveball and a change-up. His fastball flashes as an above-average pitch but has lacked consistency since joining the Tigers. Scouts that saw him on days where the breaker was working, liked what they saw and felt it could work at the big league level. Those that saw him on days when it wasn't working, felt he needed to keep his elbow up and stay on top of the pitch more.

The change-up is a solid third offering that Drucker will work in regularly throughout games. Most coaches and scouts felt that he could stand use the pitch more against left-handers to keep them off balance; something that he needs to do considering they have always hit him harder than righties.

Drucker draws positive reviews for his makeup and mound presence, maintaining a pretty even disposition while on the mound, and rarely getting rattled. He is a solid athlete and he fields his position well.

Drucker projects as a swing man at the big league level, capable of making some starts at the back of the rotation, or filling in as a middle reliever. Few scouts see much projection left with Drucker, and he's about as ready for an MLB gig as he is going to be.

Performance

Level

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

AVG

AAA

Toledo

8-3

4.78

29

16

0

77

38

113.0

.267


Health Record
Drucker's shoulder problems from the 2007 season are behind him, and there have been no lingering concerns to date. In speaking with him since the end of the 2009 season, he continues to feel strong despite the extended playing season this year. With good mechanics and a strong frame, he could profile as a durable and versatile arm on a pitching staff.

The Future
Though it has yet to be officially announced, it is quite likely that Drucker will receive a non-roster invitation to big league spring training, and he will have an outside chance to make the club on Opening Day.

Ultimately, most people both in and out of the organization view him as a nice backup plan for the 2010 season should injuries or ineffectiveness strike in Detroit. His versatility and makeup are his strongest assets at this point in his career. There is little doubting he can get outs and be a league average pitcher at the big league level, its just a matter of getting a chance prove just that.

Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.


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