Pat Misch had a good outing today for the Giants in their spring training game against the Seattle Mariners. He was their 3'rd pitcher of the game after Tim Lincecum's 2 2/3 shutout innings. Misch's line for the day: 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.
The reason I bring up Misch is he is the kind of prospect you almost never hear brought up, even in "sleeper" lists. Yet, he stands a good chance of making the major league club out of spring training either as a #5 starter or long relief man.
Pat Misch, BD- 08/08/1981 was drafted in round 7, 2003 after an undistinguished college career at Western Michigan. He's a LHP with nice size at 6'2", 170 lbs(I think he's a bit stockier than that now).
In his first pro summer for Salem-Keizer in the NWL, he went 7-5, 2.18, 86.2 IP, 20 BB, 61 K. I thought he was the best pitcher on that Salem-Keizer team. Apparently the Giants thought so too, and promoted him directly to AA Norwich for 2004. He pitched very well there too: 7-6, 3.06, 159 IP, 35 BB, 123 K.
Promoted to AAA Fresno the following spring, he struggled for the first and really only time of his minor league career: 3-9, 6.35, 102 IP, 40 BB, 69 K. Note that his K's took a slight dip, but the big difference was in the BB/9. He was demoted back to AA where he regained his footing: 4-2, 3.52, 61.1 IP, 7 BB, 43 K.
It would be easy to dismiss him at that point as a pitcher with limited upside who reached his ceiling in AAA. For awhile, it looked like the Giants might agree as he was sent back to AA again to start the 2006 season. Once again, he pitched well there: 5-4, 2.26, 103.2 IP, 24 BB, 79 K. He was given another crack at AAA just after midseason and did much better this time: 4-2, 4.02, 65 IP, 11 BB, 57 K. He was rewarded with a 1 inning cup of coffee in September.
The Giants sent him to the AFL that fall and had him work on pitching out of the bullpen with mixed results. As you might expect from someone who had started up to that point, he tended to do better if he started an inning than if he came in with runners already on base.
Back in Fresno to start the 2007 season, Misch pitched mostly out of the bullpen in 2 and 3 inning stints and thrived: 2-5, 2.29, 66.2 IP, 19 BB, 74 K! Called up toward the end of a disastrous season for the Giants, Misch acquitted himself well again earning Bruce Bochy's respect as one of the few relievers who came in and threw strikes. His final MLB line was 0-4, 4.24, 40.1 IP, 12 BB, 26 K, but he came into his final start with a 2.75 ERA which ballooned to the 4.24 when he gave up 8 ER in 4.2 IP,
Misch's reputation is that he has 4 solid pitches, all of which he can throw for strikes, but no single "out" pitch. BA calls his fastball "mid 80's", but I recall seeing it mostly 86-89 watching the radar readings on TV. He added a cutter somewhere along the way enabling him to get inside on RH hitters. He compliments the two fastballs with a slow curve and above average changeup that he throws on any count.
I think Misch will have a modestly successful MLB career. He seems to have more starter's stuff, but has pitched more successfully out of the bullpen so far. His ceiling is probably a #4 starter on an average team, but there are pitchers who have had long careers and made a lot of money with less. For now, he has an excellent chance of sticking with the Giants bullpen as a long man with an outside chance at a #5 starter role if there is a trade, somebody gets hurt or Correia and Sanchez continue to pitch poorly.
Here's a picture of him pitching today:
Aw dadburnit! I can't seem to get the right link! Just go to giantsjottings.blogspot.com and scroll down a few pics and you'll find Pat Misch as well as a nice pics of Merkin Valdez and Tim Lincecum pitching today as well.