Scouting Twin Prospect #12: Kyle Waldrop

The Twins selected Kyle Waldrop in the first round of the 2004 draft, luring the young right-hander away from Vanderbilt University. He is still very young, and has had success at each level he has pitched at thus far. He'll anchor the starting rotation in Fort Myers in 2007:

Vital Statistics:
Name: Kyle Waldrop
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: October 27, 1985
Height: 6'5''
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The Minnesota Twins selected Waldrop with the 25th selection of the 2004 June Draft, after a standout high school career in which he went 22-0 during his final two seasons. He played for Twins' scout Tim O'Neill in the 2003 East Coast Showcase, and showed that he had the promise to be a legitimate first round draft pick. Also a first baseman with power, the Twins decided that his future would be on the pitching mound, and it was definitely a good decision.

He began his professional career as a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins, after signing with the Twins for one million dollars. He had a fast start to his professional career, as it took only seven starts in the Gulf Coast League to warrant a call-up to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League. For the GCL Twins, Waldrop posted a 1.42 ERA, and held the opposition to a .229 batting average.

There was no drop-off after his call-up, as he fit right into the Elizabethton starting rotation. He made four starts for E-Town, and finished his Apply League season with a 2-0 record. In 25 innings of work, Waldrop held the opposition to a .221 batting average, and struck out 25 batters. Showing excellent control, the young righty walked only three batters, and showed an arsenal that allowed the Twins to feel comfortable with sending the then-19 year old to Beloit in 2005.

In his first year of full-season baseball, Waldrop had an up-and-down season, mostly due to the fact that he was one of the youngest players in the entire league. Only 19 for the entire season, Waldrop finished with a 6-11 record for the Snappers, and had an ERA just under 5.00. However, he did strike out over 100 batters, and in his 27 starts, had two complete games.

In 2006, Waldrop had a successful season, earning a promotion to High-A Fort Myers. He was a Midwest League All-Star, starting 18 games for the Snappers before being promoted. He tossed a complete game, had an earned run average under 4.00, and won six games.

After being promoted, Waldrop did not miss a beat, winning three of his seven starts. His 3.57 earned run average was lower than his number in the Midwest League, and he average better than six innings per start. He'll anchor the Miracle staff in 2007.

Repertoire: Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup

Fastball. Waldrop is not going to blow anybody away with his fastball, but it is the way he mixes it with his other pitches that makes his heater better than his miles per hour would indicate. He usually sits in the high-80s range, sometimes topping out at 92, but could add a few more ticks as he gets older. He does have pinpoint control with his fastball though, which makes it one of the top pitches in his arsenal. He also has complete confidence in it, which allows him to rely on it in any situation.

Other Pitches. Waldrop has one of the best changeup in the Twins' farm system, and he uses it often. The Twins are stock-piled with pitchers who can throw a sick changeup, but Waldrop definitely has one of the best, due to his ability to locate it anytime he wants to throw it. While is slider is considered just average, his curveball has a big-breaking motion to it, which can be deadly when he is on. When all of his pitches are on, it makes for a pretty complete arsenal.

Pitching. Waldrop is a great "pitcher", who has tremendous mound presence. He is the kind of pitcher that knows his strength, and knows his weaknesses, and uses his strengths to his advantage. He does not try to do too much when he is out there, and has the ability to be able to lock in when the situation is getting out of hand. He also has tremendous work ethic, which is only going to help him in the long run. One thing that has the Twins excited is the fact that he completed two games last season, so it shows he definitely has the stamina to go the distance all ready in his young career. Waldrop is also a big groundball pitcher, and his pitches have good sinking action to it.

Projection. Waldrop is definitely projected to be a starting pitcher, and he is going to be a special one. Not only does he have the pitches to be a starting pitcher, but he demonstrated that he has the stamina, while also possessing the mental toughness to take the ball every fifth day. He has a great attitude when it comes to criticism, and does not let things bother him from start to start. He is a bulldog, who gives the manager a seven-inning start almost every time out.

ETA. 2009. The Twins have been handling Waldrop with kid gloves since he came into the system, and for good reason. Waldrop is still very young, and will anchor the pitching staff in Fort Myers in 2007. He is still growing into his body, and the future looks very bright for him. If he can continue to develop, Waldrop could be one of the better right-handed pitching prospects in the Twins organization. He reminds of Kevin Slowey a bit, due to the fact that he relies on his control and uses all of his pitches well. One full season in Fort Myers should do him good, and he could be in New Britain by the end of the season.

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