Prospect Retro: Doug Drabek
Since Doug's son Kyle is likely to be drafted in the first round next Tuesday, I thought revisiting his father's career would be interesting.
Doug Drabek was drafted by the White Sox in the 11th round of the 1983 draft, from the University of Houston. His fastball was average, but he threw strikes with his breaking stuff, changed speed well, and was polished. His pro debut was decent: 3.65 ERA in 13 starts for Niagara Falls in the New York-Penn League, with a 103/48 K/BB in 104 innings. Grade C+ prospect.
Drabek began 1984 with Appleton in the Midwest League, making just one start before being promoted to Double-A Glens Falls. He posted a 2.24 ERA, 12-5 record, and 75/44 K/BB in 125 innings in 17 starts there, then was traded to the Yankees as part of a package for infielder Roy Smalley late in the summer. He posted a 2.32 ERA in four starts for Double-A Nashville after the trade. Drabek's strikeout rate was rather low at this point, but he did very well overall in Double-A just a year out of college. Grade B.
For Double-A Albany in 1985, Drabek went 13-7, 2.99 in 26 starts, with a 153/55 K/BB in 193 innings. He had a reputation by this point of being a solid, strike-throwing, inning-eating starter, a sound Grade B prospect.
Drabek got a chance with the Yankees in 1986, going 7-8, 4.10 in 27 games, 21 starts, with a 76/50 K/BB ratio. He pitched very well at times, and if they had stuck with him they would have had a fine young pitcher on their hands. But the Yanks preferred veterans, and shipped Drabek to the Pirates that fall as part of a prospect package for veteran starter Rick Rhoden and reliever Cecilio Guante. After a mediocre 1987 season, Drabek turned into one of the best starters in the National League, with a strong 7-year run of success before fading. He finished with a career mark of 155-134, 3.73, and won the National League Cy Young Award in 1990.
Drabek's minor league career was marked by good, though not spectacular, control. His strikeout rate went down each time he moved up to a new level, but he would adjust eventually and it would rise back up to adequate standards. He is a good example of a Grade B/B- type prospect who refines his talent and reaches his maximum ceiling.
Comparable Pitchers to Doug Drabek
Ironic that the Yankees traded the young Drabek for the old Rick Rhoden, isn't it?
Doug's son Kyle will be drafted in the first round on Tuesday. He has a good curveball, like his father, but Kyle also has a much better fastball and is a superior overall athlete. He is also a top prospect as a shortstop, but will be used as a pitcher in the pros.