Iknow I said I would do a 2010 Player Profile on an Anchorage Bucsplayer, but I changed my mind. In order to avoid burning through theentire Bucs and Panners rosters before any other team posts theirs up,I decided to take a break from the 2010 players this week and take alook back at a 2008 ABL alum and catch up on where they are now.
RHP – Mat-Su Miners, 2008
Bats: Right – Throws: Right
Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 210lb
College: University of Oklahoma
Drafted: 2009 1st Round (supplemental), #42, LAA Angels
View Scouting Video
In the Alaska League:
Uponhearing that Richards had been drafted by the Angels, Miners GM PeteChristopher remarked, “I figured he’d be a first round pick”. Garrettwas one of the most talented in the ABL in 2008 and it was obvious thathe was going places.
Richards was definitely on thedraft radar before his ABL stint, and his summer-league numbers weren’tphenomenal (2-1 on 4 starts, 3.42 ERA with 23 strikeouts and a 1.25WHIP). But his stock rose while in Alaska where he polished up somemid-80′s breaking stuff to go with his lively fastball, which tops outat 98 and settles around 95. Perfect Game ranked him the ABL’s topprospect, and Baseball America pegged him at #2.
In the Minors:
Richardswas taken in the first supplemental round in 2009, going #42 overall tothe Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. His first assignment was to the OremOwlz of the rookie-level Pioneer League, where he went 3-1 with a 1.53ERA in 8 starts. In the course of his rookie league campaign he rang up30 strikeouts while walking only four. His performance was good enoughto earn a Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week award. Garrett waspromoted to Single-A Cedar Rapids late in the year, but didn’t make anyappearances when the remainder of his season was shut down due toshoulder tightness.
Richardswill likely pick up where he left off, with the Cedar Rapids Kernels,in 2010. The injury he sustained in late 2009 shouldn’t be a cause forimmediate concern; it’s probably just part of the process of growingaccustomed to the rigors of the professional season. His immediatefuture depends on his first-half performance in the Midwest League. Ifhe can stay healthy and consistent in the pitcher-friendly league heshould advance to High-A Rancho Cucamonga by July.
Inthe longer term, Richards has Major League potential. His powerful andlively fastball (which is effective in both four- and two-seamversions) is complemented by a host of offspeed pitches. He isn’tafraid to use his changeup in a lethal combination with his heater, andhe also boasts a slider and a plus curveball. The main knock againstRichards has been his lack of deception, and we’ll have to see if hecan work that out along the way. If he can improve upon that, andstay healthy, he could be on the fast track to the Majors.