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Red Sox Farm Friday: Nick Hagadone

UPDATE (07/31/09): Nick Hagadone, along with Justin Masterson and Bryan Price, was traded to the Indians for Victor Martinez.

Some reports had Sox prospect Nick Hagadone as a possible 2008 call-up. He was looking dominant enough to handle major leaguers even though he had only been drafted the year before. He’s a big tall lefty with a sick power slider and a developing change-up, and was looking solid.

Like most of the Red Sox pitching prospects, Hagadone is young and is even more intriguing as a lefthanded pitcher. Hagadone just celebrated his 23rd birthday on New Year’s Day 2009.

The Nick Hagadone Story:

  • At Washington, Hagadone pitched alongside Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants. He began his final season at Washington as a starter, but was moved into a multi-inning closer role before long.
  • Rated by Baseball America as the 60th best prospect for the 2007 Draft, and 58th by PGcrosschecker.com
  • 2007: After signing with the Red Sox on June 22nd, Hagadone was assigned to Short-Season Lowell for the 2007 minor league season (much like college pitchers Kris Johnson and Justin Masterson in 2006). Hagadone got off to a shaky start as he was rocked for 6 runs (5 ER) in his first outing. However after that outing he went to pitch 23 straight scoreless innings to end the season. The streak was stretched over 9 starts, where Nick gave up only 8 hits, walked 7 and struck out 32. Hagadone was reportedly hitting 96-98 mph late in the season, and is projected to start the 2008 season in the rotation for the Greenville Drive.

Scouting Report:

  • Big lefty whose fastball sits around 92-93 mph and generally tops out at 95 mph with good movement. Late in 2007, Hagadone reached back and was hitting 96-98 mph on the Lowell gun on several occasions. Aggressive, throws strikes and gets ahead in the count. Also mixes in a biting 82-83 mph plus slider, and a quickly improving 80-81 mph changeup. Very good control. Team leader and a hard worker. A closer in college, Hagadone could make it as a starter if his changeup keeps improving. Not a lot of miles on his arm. Needs to work on keeping his delivery consistent. At this stage, despite having fluid arm action, his delivery is a bit compact. The team is still undecided as to whether Hagadone will be a starter or a reliever long-term. ~ SoxProsects.com
  • With a chance to have a good three-pitch mix, some teams may want to move him back into a rotation once drafted, but worst-case, they’d have a pretty good lefty setup man on their hands. ~ MiLB.com

Hagadone’s fastball tops out at 95, and he also throws a slider and changeup. He could be developed as a starter or closer based on the quality of his secondary pitches.

Nick Hagadone’s scouting report of himself (thanks to SoxProspects.com):

First of all, I like to throw a lot of fastballs. Doing that enables me to be aggressive and go after hitters and to also get ahead in the count. I feel like I have pretty good command of the pitch and it sits in the 92-93 mph range, topping out at 95. Right now, my slider is my best secondary pitch. I’ve been throwing it around 82-83 this summer and it has sharp downward bite. I use it as my out pitch to both lefties and righties, and I have the confidence to throw it for strikes when I am behind in the count. My change-up has been a big surprise for me this summer, I never really had to use it in the past but I have found out that the more I throw it the better it is getting – I keep on gaining confidence in it. I throw it at 80-81 mph and I have used it to effectively keep hitters off-balance so they can’t just sit on my fastball. One of the main things that I try to do on the mound is to be the aggressor. I always want to be ahead in the count, and I like to challenge hitters.

Down the Line:

As a starter, Hagadone could be effective for the Red Sox when ace Josh Beckett becomes a free agent after the 2010 season. If Clay Buchholz and Hagadone emerge as solid options, the Sox may let Beckett go to the highest bidder, even if Tim Wakefield elects to retire.

Hagadone could also help in the bullpen, much like Justin Masterson in the 2008 season. Every team always could use an extra quality bullpen arm (especially a left-handed one), and Hagadone may be that guy in 2010.

ETA: 2010
Potential Career Year Numbers (as a SP): 210 IP, 170 K, 3.30 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 15 Wins

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