The highest ranked starting pitcher in the Angels farm system, Mark Sappington is getting closer and closer to the big leagues but first needs to prove that he really is rotation material.
Position: RHP Highest Level: Double-A
Bats: R Throws: R Height: 6'5" Weight: 209
Age: 23 Born: 11/7/1990
2013 Rank: #23
2013 Season Stats
Advanced-A: 130.2 IP, 11-4, 3.38 ERA, 103 H, 62 BB, 10 HR, 110 SO, 4.05 FIP, .262 BABIP, 44.4 GB%
Double-A: 25.2 IP, 1-1, 3.86 ERA, 23 H, 20 BB, 1 HR, 26 SO, 4.25 FIP, .306 BABIP, 46.6 GB%
Fastball = A-
This is Sapp’s bread and butter as a pitcher. The fastball has shown inconsistent velocity, in some starts sitting 92-94 and others sitting 96+, but what hasn’t changed are the results. Despite pitching in an extremely hitter friendly league for most of the season, Mark’s shown to be utterly dominant at times against hitters in Advanced-A Ball and simply really good in others. At 6’5", Sappington’s release is from a three quarters arm slot and generates effective downward movement, which results in a higher degree of ground balls than most pitchers. But Mark has also shown considerable cut on his fastball this season, which is apparently a new development. The movement cuts in on RHB and generates all sorts of swings and misses and weak contact.
Offspeed Pitches = C+
Sappington offers a slider and developing changeup to compliment his excellent fastball. The slider has definite potential as an out pitch. I’ve seen him snap it off and bury it into the ground in the mid-80’s, which is lethal at any level. His release seems to be the biggest obstacle to overcome in this case because sometimes the slider will slip out of his hands and sort of float up there in the low 80’s or high 70’s. The speed change likely prevents hitters from picking up on the pitch and punishing his mistake. But still, Sappington needs to get more consistent in this area. As far as the changeup goes, this pitch seems to disappear for innings as a time and when he does throw it, hitters are sort of left wondering what he’ll throw next. It has some movement , but clearly Sapp’s not using it often because he hasn’t mastered this pitch.
Control = C+/B-
To start the season, Sappington really struggled with keeping the ball in the zone, but as it goes with almost every young pitcher, with experience Sappington’s control continued to improve. At the beginning of the year this would’ve graded out in the low C or high D range, late in the season it was more like a solid B. This development is essentially what led to Sappington’s promotion to AA late in the season.
Command = C+
This really depends on which pitch we’re talking about. Sappington worked hard in 2012 and focused on consistency with his fastball and the results definitely showed in the later months in 2013. I’d give the fastball an A in this department. The slider however was definitely hit or miss this season in his ability to spot it wherever he needed, which means I’d likely grade him out with a C. His changeup, there just isn’t a ton of data on, but logically speaking, if Sapp was confident in his ability to put it wherever it needed to be, he’d probably throw it more often given the promise this particular pitch has. Overall, Sappington has better command than your average minor leaguer, but is still a little raw in this department. But he will most certainly improve with more experience.
Mechanics = B
I like Sapp’s delivery. He uses his long frame particularly to his advantage, there aren’t any real “herks/jerks” in it. It’s fairly straightforward and simple. He has an extreme downward angle and ends in a good position to field the ball. This is a good signifier of his ability to remain a starting pitcher, as many relievers have a tendency to fall off to sides of the mound or show an inability to repeat mechanics. Mark shows none of these problems.