MadFriars.com Pitcher of the Year

Josh Geer

MadFriars.com Pitcher of the Year Josh Geer is the type of pitcher minor league pundits overlook. When the Padres drafted the right-hander in the third-round of the 2005 draft out of Rice University, one could almost hear the universal refrain.

"Safe pick, but really how much better is he going to be than he is now?"

"Unexciting, throws three to four average pitches, not a whole lot to project."

To be fair, Josh Geer probably wouldn't disagree with the fact that his stuff isn't going to blow anyone away, but he would have some issues with the statement that he isn't going to get that much better. This year he proved it, going 16-6 with a 3.20 ERA. Geer led the Padres' organization in wins with 17 [he was 1-0 in one start with Portland] and led the Texas League in wins.

"It just makes me want to work that much harder," said Geer after being notified that he won the MadFriars.com Pitcher of the Year award. "I've been real fortunate with all the post-season awards, but I still have a lot of work to do in front of me."

"He's doing what seventy-percent of all pitchers in the minor leagues should be doing," said Grady Fuson, vice president of scouting and player development for the San Diego Padres. "He's hitting spots with his fastball, fooling hitters with his breaking ball and getting them to chase his changeup."

While Geer had experienced some success in his previous stops in the Padres' organization, this is the year where he put it together. The reason, despite earlier prognostications to the contrary, he did improve. Besides tightening the command of all of his three pitches, fastball, change and slider, the biggest reason for his success was learning to work inside with his two-seam fastball.

"The last two years I wasn't able to establish my fastball inside and they were just leaning over the plate and hitting everything," he said. "I think what I've really improved upon is getting their feet moving and throwing inside strikes. If you leave the ball up, you are going to get hurt."

Geer threw 171.1 innings with 102 strikeouts against only 27 walks holding batters to a .252 average. His second half through the Texas League was even better with an 8-2 record and a 2.63 ERA, holding batters to a .207 average and allowing only 23 earned runs in 78.1 innings.

"It was mainly a chance of getting to know the hitters a little better," Geer said. "If you started them off with fastballs one time, then give them a change or breaking pitch the next. It's all about keeping them off-balance."

Geer should be ticked for the Portland Beavers and if he can continue to throw his two-seamer for inside strikes, he has a chance. None of his three pitches are exceptional, but he throws all three for strikes at different locations, different counts – generally anytime.

But hey, don't ask me I'm one of the guys who thought there wasn't much to project.

Denis Savage was part of the selection process in naming Josh Geer MadFriars.com Pitcher of the Year.

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