Acquired in a deal for Jared Ruxer last month, Pounders is a 26-year old pitcher who is prospect-eligible only because he has not exceeded the 50-inning threshold in the majors. He had Tommy John surgery in 2014, which delayed his development in a big way. As for health, it’s been over two years and he is probably in the clear. He’s bounced back well since then, pitching to a sub-3 ERA and a sub-4 FIP as both a starter and reliever in AA and AAA.
Overlooked because of his heavy build, Pounders’ fastball sits at 92-93 mph with his changeup being a plus pitch. Because of his sizable frame and downhill delivery, the baseball has added movement, making it tougher on opposing hitters. Given his proximity to the majors, Pounders has finished his development but both his command and control should be better than what he showed in his lone big-league stint with the Royals.
Pounders projects — projects is the wrong word given his finished development, but I digress — as a swing starter, someone who can start and eat innings when called upon but otherwise can relieve well. Though he was rocked in his big-league stint, his versatility should give him an increased chance to stick despite the Angels’ crowded starter/reliever situation. Pounders is as ready for the show as he’ll ever be, and even if he doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, he and his 80-grade name will definitely be with the big league club in some capacity this year.