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Kason Gabbard Debut

Kason Gabbard is not exactly someone you would expect me to write an article on out of the gate, but I was intrigued by the fact that he was not on John Sickels pre-season prospect list for the Red Sox, and was also left out of the Baseball America list. In fact, if you search for Kasan Gabbard at Minor League Ball, you return zero results (of course, that could change after he made a start in the majors). I turned to Christina Kahrl's Transaction Analysis for the weekend, and learned nothing about Gabbard there either.

I decided to record some of the numbers for Gabbard's major league debut. Here they are in a table, with a scouting report (term very loosely used; I'm completely unqualified to do real scouting work) to follow:

Kasan Gabbard Debut 7-22-06
First Pitch Strikes: 11 of 24 Line Drives: 3
Pitches: 99 Flyballs: 2
Strikeouts: 3 Groundballs: 12
Walks: 2 Popups: 1
Hits: 7 Unknown: 1

Gabbard kept the ball on the ground for the most part, and only allowed 2 earned runs. The third was let in after he had already left the game, and it came thanks to an odd defensive play by the normally reliable Alex Gonzalez.

  • Gabbard has three pitches: A two-seam fastball that clocks in at 87-89 with little movement (although a few of them had a late cut to them), a changeup that comes in around 79-81 and breaks across the plate in a sweeping motion, and a curveball that seemed to hover around 76 mph with some typical lefty movement, although it didn't appear lollipop-curvelike.
  • Gabbard located the fastball very well after the second inning, where he was shaky. He sets it up very nicely with the offspeed pitch; the one that stands out is the fastball at the knees and inside to Adrian Beltre to strike him out looking.
  • Lots of pitches outside the strike zone, seeming to set up the fastball later in the count. 11 of 24 first pitches were for strikes, good mix of all three pitches to start the batter off.
  • His fastball seems much faster than 88, due to the low speeds of his other pitches.

Gabbard has more trouble with right-handed hitters than lefties, but that's to be expected, especially with a young pitcher. He settled in after a very shaky second inning, and started cruising up until around 100 pitches. He retired five consecutive Mariner hitters at one point.

Take a look at his splits for the Portland Sea Dogs and the Pawtucket Red Sox. Overall, Gabbard certainly earned another start in the majors, and with Wakefield on the disabled list for up to a month, and David Wells not quite ready without a rehab assignment, he'll certainly have his chance to earn a permanent spot. With David Pauley struggling in Pawtucket along with Abe Alvarez, Gabbard is going to have to succeed, or at the least, survive.