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 Minor League News & Autograph Blog Home

Top Prospect Alert - Kameron Loe

By Schuyler Dombroske

DOB: 9/10/81, Age: 22, Height: 6’8’’, Weight: 220, Bats: R, Throws: R. Acquired: Rangers – Drafted in the 20th Round of the 2002 Amateur Draft (Univ. of Cal. at Northridge). 2002 Stats: (Sseason-A – Pulaski) 4-4, 4.47 ERA, 58 IP, 64 H, 3 HR, 17 BB, 55 K. 2003 Stats: (Low-A – Clinton) 4-3, 1.95 ERA, 97 IP, 78 H, 3 HR, RHRH19 BB, 94 K; (High-A – Stockton) 3-1, 0.96 ERA, 38 IP, 26 H, 1 HR, 6 BB, 31 K.


   With the incredible increase in both the accessibility and the volume of information due to the internet, it is not very often that I have the opportunity to write about someone that can still be tagged with the term: “sleeper.” Kameron Loe, however, is one person to whom that moniker most definitely applies. Loe is a super-sized right-hander but doesn’t throw like one, topping out at just under 90 mph with his fastball. The lack of velocity hasn’t hurt him, however, because of the tremendous sinking action that he has on the pitch. Loe, including the California League playoffs this year (12 IP, 13 H, 3 ER, 1 HR, 2 BB, 18 K), has allowed only eight home runs in his 205-inning professional career. He also throws an excellent slider, and like most young pitchers, a changeup that is still developing. One characteristic of the Rangers’ system that facilitates the “under the radar” development of pitching prospects is their usage pattern up until high-A ball. The Rangers use an eight-man “tandem starter” rotation at the lower levels, so most of their pitchers won’t throw more than four or five innings in any outing. When people peruse the boxscores (or even the season stats), they tend to gloss over any pitcher that doesn’t start exclusively, which would be a mistake in this case. Loe was equally effective when starting or relieving this year, and as his playoff stats show, he did not tire appreciably down the stretch. I heard some offhand comments about arm problems while he was in college during my research, but I was not able to track anything concrete down about it, and he has been completely healthy since joining the Ranger organization. At age 22, one would not expect him to develop an awful lot more velocity, even with his build. That might limit his ceiling a bit, but with the combination of his control and his sinker, I could easily envision him becoming a workorse in the Ranger rotation in a few years. Another tidbit about Loe that I like: he has a penchant for throwing inside. Especially when a pitcher’s stuff is not incredibly electric, he has to establish the inside part of the plate. Loe’s seven hit batsmen in 2003 illustrate his command over both sides of the plate, not just the outside “Tom Glavine nibbling zone.” (possible copyright infringement) Aside from Loe’s lack of velocity, one other, well, item that isn’t positive is the park factor in Stockton. Stockton is one of the most notorious pitchers’ parks in all of baseball, so his numbers need to be tempered somewhat. However, even when taking his home park and age into consideration, Kameron Loe still emerged as a major prospect this season, and the Rangers can certainly use any number of those on the pitching side of the ball.


    I can accept John Thomson in Texas’ rotation, and Joaquin Benoit, Colby Lewis, and Juan Dominguez have all shown flashes of promise (and more than one birthday party at once in Dominguez’s case), but Kameron Loe has a fairly clear path to a rotation spot in Texas. That said, there are some clear hurdles that he will have to face. Number one will be facing competition that is in his same general age range, which ought to come in 2004 at AA. Hurdle number two will be avoiding the injury bug. If Loe can make it through 2005 unscathed, he has a good chance of being one of the few and the proud that make it through the minors with no scars on their throwing arm. I have no doubt that, given his walk, strikeout, and home run totals, Loe will be a major league pitcher at some point. The quality is what is in question, and completing those two hurdles successfully will likely mean an emergence as a front half of the rotation type of starter is in the cards. At worst, Loe’s sinker/slider combo would be an asset as a right-handed setup man out of the bullpen, a situation which the Rangers’ program has groomed him for as an ancillary benefit. Clearly, the Rangers have more hitters than they know what to do with, so developing some pitching is the key. Out of Dominguez, Lewis, Benoit, and Loe, the Rangers probably have half of their rotation of the future. Which half will determine how quickly they will be competitive again in the battle royale that is the AL West. One pitcher that provides a decent comparison (and, coincidentally, came up through the same system) is Aaron Harang. Loe’s numbers are a touch better than Harang’s, but the stuff is similar, their builds are similar, and their competitive levels through their current ages are virtually identical. That would probably put Loe’s ceiling as that of a mid-rotation starter, which is a prognosis that I am comfortable with. The Rangers would certainly be happy with that from any 20th round draft pick, or probably anyone in general at this point. I expect Loe to pitch in AA for most of 2004, and if he is successful he will likely get a few innings in the majors if the Rangers are still “not yet ready for prime time.” In all likelihood, Loe will not be ready for a full-time rotation slot until late 2005 or 2006, at which point the Rangers may have started flipping the AL West standings upside down. Regarding Kameron Loe, just remember 135, 4, 25, 125, which are his IP, H, HR, and SO numbers from two levels this season. He had one of the best lines in the minors this year, which certainly makes him a top prospect. Sooner or later, everyone else will come to the same realization.


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