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Top Prospect Alert

John Patterson -- By Robert Sherry

The Diamondbacks top rated pitcher, John Patterson, continued to develop spending most of his season at Double-A El Paso before a promotion to Triple-A Tucson. His numbers were not as dominating as they had been in 1998 at Single-A High Desert, still they were good, especially for someone making his debut as the higher levels, especially for someone at his age (21).

An original 1st round draft choice by the Expos after his senior year of high school in Orange, Texas in 1996, John was declared a free agent based on a technically which allowed for the D'backs to sign him, including giving him a $6.075 million signing bonus.

Standing at 6 foot 6 and about 197 pounds, John had a great 1998, despite being just 8-7. He pitched 127 innings and allowed just 102 hits, 42 BB's, gave up 12 HR's, and recorded 148 K's to go with a 2.83 ERA. The HR total and his ERA were the most impressive numbers to me as he had to play all of his home games in a stadium that has always been a hitters-park. He won the California League ERA title by relying on a mid 90's fastball, curve and change which helped him be selected as the best pitching prospect in the California League.

John's 1999 season brought him the challenge to may the jump to Double-A where he more than held his own going 8-6 with a with 4.77 ERA. He continued to pick up the K's (117 in 100 innings) and allowed 98 hits in the Texas League. In the summer of 1999, Patterson was pitching for Team USA in the Pan-Am games were he was the teams top starting pitcher. He was too much for Panama in the 8 innings he worked verus them and left his first start, verus Canada, in the position to win. Recently, John was voted the #4 prospect in the Texas League in 1999 where only Rick Ankiel was rated higher, according to "Baseball America."

Late in 1999, he was promoted to Triple-A where he had his troubles in his 6 starts, going 1-5 with a 7.04 ERA in 31 innings of work. He walked 18 and gave up 43 hits, but did record 29 K's.

The Diamondbacks have shown a williness to spend money to win, so I don't think they will rush Patterson along. Look for him to start 2000 in Triple-A Tucson with a possible promotion to the desert by the end of the season. John's a future #1 or #2 starter.


 

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