Friday, December 29, 2006

Prospect Profile: Jeff Karstens (#18)

Age: 24
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 170
Drafted: 19th Round in 2003 out of Texas Tech.
Position: Starting Pitcher
Throws: Right

Stuff: Karstens throws an average fastball at 90-91 mph. He has a decent slider, which is one of the better in the Yankee system. It used to be his out pitch. He throws a curveball in the mid 70s, but he only really throws it when behind in the counting and needing a strike. His main out pitch has become an above average 78 mph changeup, which he uses to get a significant amount of weak fly balls and pop ups. He can throw a slightly slower heavy fastball, but rarely ever uses that pitch.

Command: Karstens is a major league prospect not because he has one particularly good pitch or a good fastball, but because he can consistently throw all four pitches for strikes. He locates his curveball especially well. Karstens functions well when he is able to keep his pitch count down and force contact on batters. He gets tired easily into higher pitch counts and his control suffers.

Outlook: Karstens is rated so high purely because he is such a fair bet. His minor league record indicates that Karstens is incredibly average. Good control. Average velocity. Four average pitches. Average strikeouts. Karstens just uses his skill to pitch good fundamental baseball. He changes speeds and throws strikes. If he continues to attack hitters and throw the right pitch at the right time he will have a very long replacement level major league career. His future might be in a Ramiro Mendoza role, thanks to his lack of ability to sustain high pitch counts. His health record is as good as it can get.

Grades: Ceiling C+, Health A, Comparison: Rodrigo Lopez