2005 Draft Preview: LHP, Mark Pawelek

It is less than two weeks until draft day finally arrives and here at PinstripesPlus.com, the countdown continues with more previews on some of the top prospects available. Now, let's take a look at the top high school lefthander in the country, Mark Pawelek.

Vital Statistics
Name: Mark Pawelek
DOB: August 18, 1986
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 180
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Place of Residence: Springville, UT

Every year there seems to be one outstanding lefthanded, high school pitcher that teams salivate over as a first round pick. Well, this year that pitcher is Utah lefty, Mark Pawelek. Armed with just about everything you'd want in a young pitcher, just about every Major League organization has sent scouts to watch him pitch. And, needless to say, his stock has done nothing but skyrocket this spring. At first, they doubted whether he was facing legitimate competition in Utah, a state not exactly known for powerhouse baseball teams. But, after seeing him pitch live, any doubts at all have evaporated and Mark Pawelek is certainly the real deal.

Coming off a superb junior year, scouts finally began to file out to Utah to take a look at this apparent phenom lefty. In 2004 at Springville High School, Pawelek went 8-0 with a miniscule 0.47 ERA while striking out 129 batters in 59 innings pitched. And, it was then that the junior took on the title of staff ace. "We put all of our confidence in him," Springville's catcher Alex Johnson said. "He's our ace. He's the No. 1 pitcher in the state. We just turn the game over to him." As the number one pitcher in the state and possibly the best prep pitcher in the country, Pawelek received a scholarship to Arizona State to play for the Sun Devils. More than likely, he will skip college and look towards the big leagues once the draft comes around. But, no matter what level of play he is pitching at, the southpaw's approach never varies. "I just go out and pitch my game," Pawelek said. "It's between me and my catcher. I block everything out. In my head, I don't think anyone can beat me. The harder I work, the more it's going to pay off."

Well, obviously, heading into his senior year in 2005, the expectations were sky high for the lefthander, Pawelek. With that being said, on opening day he pitched in front of a packed crowd of scouts. What did he do? He went out and pitched a no-hitter. During the game, his fastball zipped over the plate several times at 94 MPH while scouts took notes. But, there was no letdown after such a brilliant effort. No celebration. Pawelek left the field for the weight room, where he worked out for an hour. Then, afterwards, he took a long jog on the track. It is highly unlikely that too many other pitchers take this kind of initiative to improve their game. It is no surprise now, for that reason, that Pawelek is as gifted a pitcher as he has become. And beyond that, one scout says, he has all the pitching tools as well. "He has everything you want," a National League scout told Baseball America. "Fastball velocity, movement, control, he controls his secondary pitches and they're big league potential pitches."

So, with all the expectations continuing to grow after tossing a no-hitter in his first outing of the season, Pawelek has not disappointed the rest of the way. The numbers are simply staggering, and that is an understatement. In 2005 with Springville, the hard throwing southpaw went 8-0 in 51 innings pitched while posting an ERA of 0.00. That's right, he didn't allow an earned run all season long. Not to mention, he fanned 109 batters in 51 innings pitched as well. And, as of now, the 18 year old lefty has poised himself for the draft as a Scott Boras client. "I wouldn't mind going to college but who wouldn't want to sign a pro contract," he said. "They're a few select people every year that sign for a great deal of money and it's great to be in that position. But either way, I have two great options." He certainly does have great options and as one scout said during one of his outings, he is going to be "very rich" very soon. And, one thing is for sure, as a Boras client, Major League teams better get their checkbooks ready.


High School















Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup, Splitter

Fastball. Prior to his final two seasons at Springville High School, Mark Pawelek was more of a finesse pitcher as far as Major League scouts were concerned. He pitched in the upper 80's and was still a good prospect. However, beginning in his junior year and carrying over into 2005, the southpaw suddenly has a power fastball, one of the best in the country to be exact. With good natural movement from his slightly 3/4 arm slot, the Utah native pitches comfortably in the 91-93 MPH range, touching 95-96 MPH on occasion. Not to mention, it is a consistent velocity. Scouts have marveled at his arm strength, working deep into ballgames and not losing anything on his heater. Most of this can be attributed to his rigorous and dedicated workout program. Not to mention, he still has a wiry frame and has a lot of room to fill out. With that in mind, most scouts believe he will be able to add even a little more velocity.

Other Pitches. Besides having outstanding command of a good fastball, Pawelek also has unmatched command of his curveball. Already a plus pitch, the southpaw isn't afraid to throw this pitch in any count or any situation in the game. He's been known to throw it 3-1, 2-0 and even 3-0 at times. When he's on, which is almost always, it can be almost untouchable, especially for left handed hitters. To go along with that, he has a slightly above average changeup that he can also navigate in and out of the strike zone. To make him even tougher, he is in the early stages of developing a splitter.

Pitching. Mark Pawelek is what every scout dreams of. First of all, he's a lefty. But, even more importantly, he's the combination of power and control. He isn't going to surrender too many walks and he is also going to rack up the strikeouts. His mechanics are a little bit raw, but that has not concerned any scouts thus far. His arm action is very quick and fluent which produces that explosive velocity. Pawelek is not afraid to pitch inside and is fearless overall on the mound. It is quite difficult to find a flaw in him.

Projection. Of course barring any unforeseen injuries, Mark Pawelek looks like a future ace of a Major League staff. He has tremendous endurance for a pitcher slight of build, but that can be attributed, again, to his incredibly dedicated workout program. He could fly through the minor leagues and up to the majors in a big hurry.

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