After his first season in the Kansas City Royals organization, Baseball America ranked right-hander Jake Odorizzi as their fourth best prospect. After the 2012 season, he has become the Royals top pitching prospect.
In 2012, Odorizzi started the season in Double-A and finished it with two starts in the big leagues. Many clamored for his promotion when he started for the US in the Futures Game, but those fans had to wait until September.
Odorizzi has a nice, easy delivery, which makes his fastball look faster. He is still refining his offspeed pitches.
He started the season back with NW Arkansas, and made just seven starts (3.32 ERA), before being promoted to Triple-A. With Omaha, he was 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA over 19 games (18 starts). He then struggled a bit in his big league debut.
The biggest problem for Odorizzi is the high pitch counts. I saw it in 2011 when he was with Wilmington. He seems to fall in love with the strikeout, but needs more than three pitches to put the hitters away. He also tries to be too fine with his pitches, which leads to walks (40 in Omaha and four in 7.1 big league innings).
I like Odorizzi and I think he could be great if he just attacks hitters instead of trying for the strikeout. It’s hard to think of him as a top three rotation piece when he has yet to throw 150 innings in a season in the minors. Over his final ten regular season starts with Omaha, he threw seven innings just three times.
Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star ranks Odorizzi as the Royals fourth best prospect. MLB.com has him coming in at number three. Odorizzi should get a shot at a spot in the Royals rotation in spring training. However with the moves the team has already made, it is more likely he will start the season back in Triple-A.