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Cubs' Top 10 Lefty Pitchers

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  • Cubs' Top 10 Lefty Pitchers

    Cubs have built up one of the deepest, most talented pitching core in baseball today. In the process, they have a Top 10 lefty list that would make most team jealous. Of course it doesn't hurt that the Cubs continual to draft lefty pitchers high in the draft rounds.

    1. Mark Pawelek
    2. Rich Hill
    3. Sean Marshall
    4. Donnie Veal
    5. Carmen Pignatiello
    6. John Koronka
    7. Darin Downs
    8. Chris Shaver
    9. Russ Rohlicek
    10. Jayson Ruhlman

    1. Mark Pawelek 6'3 190lbs 8/18/1986

    Pawelek was the Cubs 2005 first rounder (20th overall). He dominated the Arizona Rookie League (only first rounder in the league) earning league honors as the Top Prospect in the League. In his 15 games, he started 14 of them in the Rookie League with one start coming for the Boise Hawks (short-season A). He's got a blazing fastball that registered at 92-94 mph and topped out at 95. He also possesses a wicked hard curveball and a changeup, both pitches are plus plus but with inconsistant control. In High School, he used a splitter but the Cubs have scrapped that from his arsenal so that he can concentrate on his other three pitches. Scouts say his feel for pitching, mound presence and composure are so advanced for his age that he's the equivalent of a college sophomore. In 10 high school starts in 2005, he went 63 innings, giving up no earned runs, while striking out 132 hitters, and winning each and every decision.

    In 43 IP in Arizona, he gave up only 25 hits and struck out 56. His control was a problem, walking 21 batters in just 43 IP and throwing 13 wild pitches and 9 hitbatsman; but is not out of the ordinary from a high schooler. What will make or break him is his ability to make the proper mechanical adjustments as his career progresses. But the majority of the scouting circuit says this guy was a steal for the Cubs in the first round, thank you Scott Boras for keeping other teams away.

    2. Rich Hill 6'5 205lbs 3/11/1980

    Believe it or not Rich Hill started this season in Peoria (low A) and ended up on the MLB roster for a good deal of the season. Hill was taken in the fourth round in 2002 from the University of Michigan, and had sputtered. Hill has been a leader on the strikeout board for the baby Cubs the past few years (03 and 04) but never warranted a high promotion or too much fanfare because of his poor walk rates.

    This season, something finally clicked for Rich and he began throwing strikes with his fastball consistantly. This was the first time in Rich's career (college as well as minors) that he averaged less than 4 walks per 9 innings.. And that became a deadly mix with his nose to toes curveball, that he can seemingly throw for a strike at any count. Hill chew up and spat out the competition at West Tennessee and Iowa, averaging 14.05 and 12.74 K/9 . Even though Hill spent a month plus on the MLB roster, he still led all Cub minor leaguers in strikeouts and lead all of the minors with a 13.4 K/9. Hill's problems quickly showed once he was in the majors, his control wavered, and the hitters sat on his below average fastball. For Rich to be effective on the MLB level, he needs to either add another pitch and/or keep his control up on his fastball.

    3. Sean Marshall 6'6 200lbs 7/30/1982

    The Cubs took Marshall in the 6th round of the 2003 draft from one of their favorite scouting grounds, Virginia Commonwealth. Marshall has amazing sink to his fastball, along with three other plus pitches, changeup, curveball, and a splitter. After he showed dominance in 2004 at Lansing, the Cubs inappropiately promoted him to West Tennessee, where he was hit hard. This season he started off at Daytona, showed excellence again, and earned a promotion back to West Tennessee where he was amazing in four starts before being bite with injury problems.

    Sean has missed significant time the last two seasons. In 2004, his season was shut down in June due to a torn tendon on his middle finger on his pitching hand. In 2005, he suffered shoulder soreness that caused him to miss significant time. Marshall is on the verge of a breakthrough season in 2006, and will start the season in West Tennessee; he could make a meteoric rise as Hill did this past season.

    4. Donnie Veal 6'3 200lbs 9/18/1984

    Another jewel of the 2005 drafting class for the Cubs. Veal was taken in the second round (68th overall), the White Sox originally drafted him in 2003 out of high school but didn't sign due to an injury to his throwing shoulder.

    He has an impressive poise on the mound and a strong frame. During the 2005 season he worked his fastball at 88-91 mph that peaked at 97 mph during the spring. His wild arms and legs are considered an unorthodox delivery, but it adds nice deception to his pitches.

    He was regarded as the best lefty pitcher in the Northwest League. He had command of his fastball on both sides of the plate and kept his pitches on a downward plane with live movement. His outpitch was a curve with a tight sharp drop, when he stayed on top of it, it has amazing spin and drop especially with his very live arm.

    5. Carmen Pignatiello 6'0 175lbs 9/12/1982

    He's a soft soft tosser with a great hook, very good command and makeup. He destroyed lefties last year in AA, allowing just a .193 BAA. He'll be in Iowa's pen this year and could put up impressive statistics, unquestionably he's future is in the pen as a lefty specialist. But he's downfall is that velocity on his fastball, which usually sits at 83-85 mph. The Cubs might be weary to callup a kid who throws so slow despite his numbers. Kind of like Chad Bradford syndrome a few years back for the White Sox, then he went on to star in Oakland's pen with a fastball that barely broke 80 mph. Pigs has a deceptive delivery, good location, and he knows how to pitch, that's why he's been as effective as he has with the Cubs.

    Rest of the article
    What a Batted Ball is Worth (in terms of a run):
    Line Drive: .356
    HBP: .342
    Non-Intentional Walk: .315
    Intentional Walk: .176
    Outfield Fly: .035
    Groundball: -.101
    Bunts: -.103
    Infield Fly: -.243
    Strikeout: -.287
    It's now officially Doctor Bob Sacamento, D.C., C.S.C.S., and working on my D.A.B.C.O. (Diplomate American Board of Chiropractic Orthopedics)

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