Kings of Kauffman Prospect Rankings: #6 Chris Dwyer

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Who: Christopher Paul Dwyer
DOB:4/10/1988, Swampscott, Massachusetts
Position:  LHP
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 210 lb
Bats:  Right
Throws:  Left
Acquired: 2009 Draft – 4th Round

Rankings:
~ Baseball America: #8
~ Royals Review #6
~ Kevin Goldstein: #6
~ John Sickels: #9 B
~ Royals Prospects: #6
2010 Kings of Kauffman Rankings: #11
Stats:

Year Age Tm Lev ERA GS IP BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 21 Idaho Falls Rk 4.15 4 8.2 8 15 2.308 12.5 1.0 8.3 15.6 1.88
2010 22 2 Teams 3.00 19 102.0 43 113 1.304 7.9 0.4 3.8 10.0 2.63
2010 22 Wilmington A+ 2.99 15 84.1 33 93 1.328 8.4 0.3 3.5 9.9 2.82
2010 22 NW Arkansas AA 3.06 4 17.2 10 20 1.189 5.6 1.0 5.1 10.2 2.00
2 Seasons 3.09 23 110.2 51 128 1.383 8.3 0.5 4.1 10.4 2.51
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/21/2011.

For being just two letters long, the word “if” can be pretty big.

Just yesterday, I posted our #7 prospect ranking on this countdown, profiling left-handed pitcher Danny Duffy.  Now, to me, this was among the harder spots to rank players because I can definitely see how someone would put Duffy ahead of Chris Dwyer – he’s got years of minor league success to back up his solid fastball and developing (and still good) secondary pitches.

But if – IF – Chris Dwyer can harness his stuff and add some refinement to his arsenal, he could turn out to be a better asset to the Royals than Duffy.

Dwyer doesn’t light up the radar guns quite like Danny Duffy or even like lefty relievers Tim Collins or Kevin Chapman.  He still gets a good 91-92 mph on the heater and can touch 94 in instances.  It’s not a weak pitch by any means, but if he leaves it up, it’s a little flat, according to Corey Ettinger’s scouting report.  It’s a pitch that he doesn’t command consistently, but he’s improving and isn’t afraid to fire inside on batters.

What really works for Dwyer is his curveball.  In each of the last two Baseball America Prospect Handbooks, he’s been credited with the best curve in the system, a fine-tuned 12-to-6 hammer that he throws with confidence and consistency.  Adding a workable changeup and it’s clear why the Royals gave him a record signing bonus for a fourth round pick.

Looking at his numbers, it’s clear he has some control issues that are somewhat alleviated by a high strikeout rate so while he put batters on, he was at least missing bats.

To me, Dwyer’s been an enigma.  He’s kind of overlooked because of the hype behind Duffy, Mike Montgomery and John Lamb – all left-handed like Dwyer.  There’s only so much ink to spread around and he seems to get the short end of it.  Also, Dwyer’s age doesn’t seem to fit his professional path so far.  After being held back a year as a child, he became draft eligible after his freshman year at Clemson, he has less innings than his other left-handed cohorts and players younger than him, so there’s still work to do.  That could be a warning sign that Dwyer won’t get his control refined and won’t develop into much more than a #4 starter.  However, he’s also had less time to work with the Royals player development team, so he could still catch up to Montgomery and Lamb (and fend off Duffy).

I like the way Rany Jazayerli compared the Royals top lefties last spring.  He ranked Dwyer, Montgomery, Duffy, Lamb and then-newly-signed Noel Arguelles according to upside and then by their potential to be at least a #3/#4 starter in the big leagues.  He ranked Dwyer ahead of both Duffy and Lamb on the upside scale and had him at the bottom of the back-end starter scale.  In other words, Dwyer’s got the most bust potential of the big four (I’m considering Arguelles a bust until he throws a pitch in a professional game, then we can re-evaluate), but he could also have a great amount of upside.

If.  If he’s already missing bats with iffy control and command, what happens if he does get his issues worked out?  He could be a force.  If he can add a plus changeup to keep in the back of a hitter’s mind, it makes his fastball and curve all the better.

If he keeps walking 4 batters per nine innings, he could be a Jonathan Sanchez-type of pitcher – flashes of greatness but plenty of stinkers.

That makes 2011 a big season for Dwyer, where he’s likely to start in Double A and could make a move up to Omaha by mid-season.  From there, it’s all about how he can improve his command.

Keep track of the full list of prospects in the Kings of Kauffman Countdown on our Prospect Rankings page under the Organization tab or by clicking here.  Stay current on all the Kings of Kauffman content and news by following us on TwitterFacebook, or by way of our RSS feed.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Chris Dwyer Danny Duffy John Lamb Kansas City Royals KC Mike Montgomery MLB Royals

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