Scouting Yankee Prospect #41: Lance Pendleton

Pendleton Throws A Plus Fastball

The Yankees selected pitcher Lance Pendleton in the 4th round of the 2005 draft out of Rice University. Pendleton, who was drafted for his projectability and potential, instantly brings a power arm to the Yankee organization. For those reasons and more, he's our Yankees' prospect #41. Here is a scouting report on Lance Pendleton.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Lance Pendleton
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: September 10, 1983
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 195
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

More often than not, four year college pitchers are drafted because of their polish and usually don't have quite the upside of a highly touted high school pick. But, in Lance Pendleton's case, he is not about the polish, but the outstanding projectability he brings to the organization. Considering what a talented pitcher he is, it is easy to forget what an accomplished college hitter he was with Rice University.

"I think I'm a pretty good hitter," Pendleton told PinstripesPlus.com following the draft. "I started in right field this year and last year when I didn't pitch. I hit .326 last year and lead the team in home runs. My average dropped down a bit this year though and I know a lot of teams were undecided about how to use me if they drafted me. Both [pitching and hitting] are a lot of fun but the Yankees looked at me as a pitcher. I guess the Lord works in mysterious ways and there are reasons for everything."

There certain are reasons for everything, and the Yankees had their reasons for making a rather gutsy pick so early in the draft. Not only did the Yankees fall in love with Lance's live arm, but also with his athleticism that is viewed as vital for future big league pitchers.

"I mean, Pendleton was a pitcher we drafted that we're very pleased to have," Yankees' scouting director, Damon Oppenheimer explained. "He not only has a plus fastball and a plus curveball, but he was a pretty good position player too and he's the type of pitcher we're looking for. The pitchers at the Major League level are really good athletes."

It was certainly a gamble to make Lance Pendleton a 4th round selection, considering he had spent much of his college career as a position player. However, in 30 innings of relief for the Rice Owls in 2005, Pendleton went 5-3 with a 2.70 ERA. And, perhaps the only one happier than the Yankees about the situation was Lance.

"It's quite a thrill," he said. "The team America idolizes thought enough of me to make me part of their organization. It doesn't get any better than that and I feel honored to be in this situation. It is just so amazing. I don't even know how to start comprehending that I'll one day pitch in Yankee Stadium."

After completing his college career with Rice, Pendleton debuted with the Staten Island Yankees. Needless to say, things went quite smooth for the relatively inexperienced hurler, that is until he went down with arm troubles. But, to this point, his arm problems are describe as minor and his shutdown in 2005 merely precautionary. On the positive side, his numbers were outstanding in his first professional season. With Staten Island, Lance went 1-0 with a 2.33 ERA in 27 innings of work. Not to mention, he also struck out 23 compared to 13 walks. At this point, he is still somewhat raw, but from a player development perspective, he is more than worth the project.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2005

Staten Island

1-0

27.0

27

13

23

2.33



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Blessed with superb throwing arm, Lance has an obviously plus fastball. Showcasing it in the outfield and on the mound in college, Pendleton drew the attention of various Major League scouts. Pendleton sits anywhere between 90-94 MPH with his fastball, touching 96 MPH on occasion. With raw mechanics, command remains the only real issue with his heater. The velocity is obviously there, but he also gets excellent downhill action as well. As he continues to develop, he'll need to utilize that movement, by work the ball low in the strike zone and working east and west on the plate.

Other Pitches. After Pendleton was selected by the Yankees, the organization knew they were getting a projectable hurler with two plus pitches. One of those pitches is his fastball, and the other is a hard breaking curveball. Ranging from 78-82 MPH, Lance has a true hammer curveball, and it is only going to improve as he gains experience. As he learns to use it as a weapon, he could develop into a dynamic strikeout pitcher. Once he joined the Yankees, however, the organization decided that he needed to develop a third pitch, the changeup. The development of this pitch went so well that, prior to his injury, he was using it with confidence in key situations. With a new pitch in his arsenal, the 22 year old righty will become exactly what the Yankees project him to be, a top flight starting pitcher.

Pitching. As we've already touched on, Pendleton has the ability to become a dynamic strikeout pitcher as he learns to harness his outstanding curveball and further develop his changeup. But, command is going to be the biggest issue. In his first professional season, the big righty averaged over 4 walks per nine innings, so that will be a number that obviously needs to decrease. His raw mechanics are beginning to clean up nicely so that should also be a benefit to his control issues.

Projection. One of the most significant questions after the draft was whether Pendleton projected as a starter or reliever. Now, with the swift development of his secondary stuff, those questions appear to be all but answered. Pendleton is a legitimate three pitch, starting pitcher. He'll need to mix in a steady diet of changeups to go along with his fastball and curveball, but he has more than enough to be an above average big league hurler.

ETA. N/A. With only 27 professional innings under his belt, it is far too early to make an assessment on this 22 year old right-hander. The common thought is that he will begin the 2006 season with Charleston, and anything beyond that depends on his performance with the RiverDogs.

PinstripesPlus.com Recommended Stories