Written by Lee Tackett and Tony Pente
|#9 Mike Wright - RHP|
|6-5||195||R||R||1/3/90||3rd Rd (2011)|
Scouting Grades - Definitions
|Major League Target Date||mid-2014|
2013 Stats - Full stats
Bio: The Orioles 2013 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Wright spent all but one start at Bowie and finished his year starting the final game of the season for Norfolk. Since signing in 2011, Wright has been on a very steady development path, with stops at every minor league affiliate. Wright had a pedestrian first half of 2013, but beginning in July, he pitched six innings in 10 of his final 13 starts and finished third in the organization for innings pitched.
Stuff: Wright sits between 91 and 95 mph with his fastball, occasionally flashing premium velocity. In the beginning of the year, Wright struggled to spot his fastball to the arm side. While his K/BB ratio remained solid at 3.54, he had difficulty putting away hitters after getting ahead. As the season progressed, he generated more ground balls as his fastball command improved. Wright’s changeup is lacking in depth, but has good rotation and can fool hitters despite not being a true swing and miss pitch. Like his fastball, Wright’s slider was not a consistent pitch in the early going, but improved tremendously as the year went on. When Wright is rolling, he gets deep into games by generating ground balls but when he struggles, it's because he can't garner swings and misses on pitches in the strike zone. Wright gave up over a hit an inning and his ultimate success or failure as he continues up levels will be whether or not he can get his offerings past hitters in the strike zone.
Pitchability and Intangibles: At 6-foot-5, Wright can get out of his mechanics and lose his release point at times. He has a good frame, but his lack of athleticism makes it harder to make mechanical adjustments on the fly. His struggles to consistently get his sinker to bore in on right-handed hitters and he's unable to spot that pitch consistently. His command of his slider and changeup improved in 2013, but he'll need to get more swings and misses on those pitches if he's to remain a starter.
Conclusion: Wright has done everything the organization has asked him from a performance standpoint, and has shown that he can be a productive innings eater who could force himself into the back end of a Major League rotation. However, his fastball command needs to continue to improve to the point where he isn’t just throwing strikes, but effective strikes. His slider and changeup continue to improve and by the end of the season, he had convinced some scouts that he might be able to stick as a back of the rotation starter. Fortunately for Wright, you can’t teach velocity and it is very possible that if he stalls as a starter, his stuff could play up in the bullpen. Wright's future depends on his command and ability to consistently command his pitches. If he can't stick as an innings eater starter, he should be solid 7th inning reliever.
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