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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Jeremy Bonderman

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 10/21/82, Age: 20, Height: 6’0’’, Weight: 210, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Tigers - Traded (as the player to be named) with Carlos Pena and Franklyn German in 3-way deal from Oakland in which the Tigers sent Jeff Weaver to the Yankees (finalized on 8-22-02); Athletics - Drafted in the first round of the 2001 Draft (Pasco HS, Pasco, WA).  2001 Stats: High School, then signed late. 2002 Stats: (High-A - Modesto) 9-8, 3.61 ERA, 143 IP, 129 H, 15 HR, 55 BB, 160 K; (High-A - Lakeland) 0-1, 6.00 ERA, 12 IP, 11 H, 3 HR, 4 BB, 10 K.
   Regardless of what Jeremy Bonderman ever does throwing the ball, he will always own one “baseball first”: he is the first player in history to be drafted as a high school junior. After receiving his GED and declaring himself eligible for the draft, Oakland went against their normal procedures (drafting collegians) and drafted the 18 year old in the first round in 2001. He signed too late to pitch any meaningful innings in ’01, but acquitted himself nicely in ’02 after being ambitiously assigned to High-A ball. Bonderman’s best pitches are a 91-94 mph fastball with above average movement and a sharp breaking slider, a combination which will make him very tough on right-handed hitters. His curveball hasn’t progressed nearly as much as his slider since high school, which leaves it a bit below average right now, and his changeup has improved enough to show some promise as an offspeed pitch to keep lefties honest. He isn’t a true four-pitch pitcher yet, but I don’t have much doubt that he will be if he works on the curve as much as he has worked on the slider and change. Bonderman’s biggest issue at this point (aside from the obvious statements about arm fatigue and general pitcher health) is his control. His pitches have so much movement that they are difficult to keep in the strike zone, and he discovered very quickly that if he took too much off of the pitches, they left more quickly than they arrived (18 HR in 155 IP). Obviously, two key numbers to monitor are K/9 and BB/9 (good and bad for Bonderman, respectively), but the most important number for him last season was 19, as in his age while pitching at the high-A level. For him to exhibit this level of success under those conditions bodes very well for his future. Unfortunately, I cannot remember the last accuracy-challenged pitcher that made it to age 25 unscathed by surgery, so the odds are most definitely against a clean bill of health for Bonderman for the next three or four years.


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