Scouting Twins Prospect #19: Mike McCardell

The Minnesota Twins drafted McCardell in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, taking the young right-hander out of Kutztown (PA) University. Signed by John Wilson, McCardell has been a great find for the Twins, as he helped anchor the Beloit starting rotation in 2008. Headed for Fort Myers in 2009, McCardell could move fast this season.

Name: Michael McCardell
D.O.B.: April 13, 1985
Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 220
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The Minnesota Twins drafted McCardell in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, taking the young right-hander out of Kutztown (PA) University. Signed by John Wilson, McCardell has been a great find for the Twins, as he helped anchor the Beloit starting rotation in 2008. Headed for Fort Myers in 2009, McCardell could move fast this season.

A college third baseman and pitcher, McCardell began his professional career as a member of the Gulf Coast League Twins, where he was used out of the bullpen and in the rotation. Appearing in four games, making two starts, McCardell posted a 2.50 earned run average, and won two games. He also had a save, and struck out 25 batters in only 18 innings of work.

The Twins then sent him to Elizabethton, where he helped the Twins make it to the league's championship game. In eight starts, McCardell went 5-1, posting a 2.00 earned run average. Amazingly, he put up even better numbers in the Appalachian League, as batters hit only .179 against him, and he struck out 70 batters in 45 innings of work.

In 2008, McCardell had a very successful season, though he did struggle with injuries at the beginning of the season. After dealing with bone spurs in his elbow during late April, early May, McCardell rebounded to post a 2.96 earned run average in 22 appearances. He made 21 starts, struck out better than a batter per inning, and won nine games.

The right-hander is expected to join David Bromberg as the 1-2 combo for Fort Myers in 2009.

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. McCardell has the ability to throw the ball hard, but he struggled a bit with the bone spurs, and then with fatigue in 2008. When he is right, McCardell can hit 93 on the gun, like he did in 2007, but he regularly sat in the high-80s during the 2008 season. Scouts told TwinCitiesDugout.com that he topped off at 91 this past season, but it was mostly due to him wearing down in his first season of full-season baseball.

Other Pitches. McCardell has an above average curveball, which he uses in times of need. Most would consider this pitch to be an outpitch, but he throws his fastball for strikes as well. He also was asked to use his change up more in 2008, which gives him three solid pitches. While his curveball rates way higher than his change, he likes to use either when ahead in the count.

Projection. McCardell has been a starter throughout his minor league career, and he is likely to stay there for at least the next two years. He will be relied upon to anchor the starting rotation in Fort Myers in 2009, and should do very well there. However, as I look at the way he got fatigued down the stretch, and how good his other two pitches are developing, I think he could be very successful coming out of the bullpen in the future. He has a starter's mentality, so he will likely want to stay a starter, but the bullpen could be his way to go.

ETA. 2010. I have very high hopes for McCardell, and I believe he could move fast this season. Already 23 years old, if he gets off to a hot start in Fort Myers, he is the kind of guy who could be moved to New Britain during the middle of the season. If the Twins do move him to the bullpen, I feel he could be in Minnesota as early as 2010. As a starter, it may take longer, as the Twins are stockpiled with great righties.


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