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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Scouting Report, LHP Matt Maloney

The 26-year old Maloney was a 3rd round pick out of Ole Miss in 2005 by the Phillies and was traded for Kyle Lohse in 2007. Maloney made seven starts last year (major league debut in June), and won two games in September. Coming into this year he was 52-34 in the minors with an outstanding K/W ratio (664 Ks to 207 walks in 672 innings) and a 3.29 ERA, including a 3.08 ERA in AAA last year. He added a cutter in 2009 and as a result he dropped his ERA by 1.60.  He threw a lot of strikes last year when he was in the majors, and some say he may have thrown too many strikes, as he allowed nine home runs in 41 innings. He was a candidate to win a spot in the rotation in the spring, but he was beat out by Mike Leake.

Even though Maloney is 6'4", he isn't a power pitcher and relies on his pinpoint control. He throws his fastball 86-89 and it touches 91, but averages 87 mph. He has a plus change-up (78 mph) and throws it 27% of the time. He also throws a slow curve (69 mph), a slider (80 mph), and the aforementioned cutter (86 mph). His two best pitches are his change and cutter. As noted earlier, he does strike out a lot of hitters and limits the free passes issued, and has been getting more ground balls than previous years.

So far in the minors this year, his ERA is 3.50 in AAA with 68 k's to only 20 walks. He was ranked between 8 and 12 in pre-season prospect rankings for the Reds, and most believe his ceiling is a #5 starter. He's close to a finished product, as he's made 50 AAA starts. Lacking average velocity and a swing-and-miss pitch, he has a slim margin for error.

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