This scouting report is a part of Baseball-Intellect's Los Angeles Angels Top-15 Prospect List. The report is on Angels pitching prospect Garrett Richards, who was ranked the organization's fourth best prospect. You can see reports on prospects 1 - 5 by clicking here and reports on prospects 6 - 15 by clicking here.
Body Type - Good pitcher's frame at 6-foot-3 and around 200 pounds
- Fastball - Can be electric at times, sitting at 93 or 94 as a starter and touching 98 in shorter stints. There is some sink to the pitch.
- Slider - Clocked in the mid-80's with a two-plane break
- Curveball - A power type curve that can throw hitters off balance if he effectively mixes it into his repertoire
- Change-Up - Has the arm speed to make the change-up work and it flashes above average potential
Garrett Richards has perplexed scouts throughout his career at the University of Oklahoma. He never posted an ERA of better than 6 even though his stuff is truly electric at times. He's been dogged by inconsistency and has had trouble commanding his stuff. Richards has also been way too hittable, never giving up less than 9 H/9 or less than 1.3 HR/9 while at Oklahoma.
Mechanics - Richards is a power-based pitcher with power-based mechanics. However, he has to conserve some of his energy so he can stretch himself out as a starter. Whether he's aware of what he's doing or not, Richards will vary his mechanics. One of the attributes that allows Richards to throw hard is how he "bends as he breaks". This means as Richards breaks his hands, he bends the torso at the waist and then pops back up just before planting his front foot, creating significant separation between his torso and hips. To conserve energy, Richards doesn't apply as much bend at the waist or intent on his throws. When he gears up for something hard, the bend is much greater and I do wonder if it's something hitters can pick up as it might be another reason he's been so hittable, but that's just a theory. Below is an example of Richards doing what I describe above. On the right you see Richards applying more effort in his delivery, more bend at the waist:
*Credit to Minor League Baseball
To his credit, when Richards does decide to withhold some velocity, he mixes in a curveball or a change-up to keep hitters from sitting on his get-me-over fastball. Many scouts feel Richards profiles best out of the bullpen. By pitching only one or two innings at a time, Richards can simply let it fly and he won't have to worry about conserving his energy for later innings. However, relievers typically don't have a repertoire of pitches as deep as Richards presently has. In addition, Richards has proven his velocity can hold up over the course of multiple innings. So there is just as good a case to be made for letting Richards start until he proves otherwise. Ultimately, however, his future command will dictate what role the Angels decide to use Richards in.
Best Case Outcome - No. 2 starter, but it's a long shot.
More Likely Outcome - Power arm out of the bullpen...could be used as a closer or a multi-inning set-up man.