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Joe Saunders, lhp

School: Virginia Tech. Class: Jr.
Hometown: Springfield, Va.
B-T: L-L Ht.: 6-3 Wt.: 195 Birthdate: 6/16/81
Previously Drafted: Phillies '99 (5th round).
Scouting Report: Saunders has a lower ceiling than most first-rounders, but he's a safe pick and should be one of the first players in the Class of '02 to reach the big leagues. He has such a great feel for pitching that he just toyed with college hitters this year. While his stuff isn't overpowering, he throws a lot of quality strikes. His fastball sits in the 88-91 mph range, touches 92 and even reaches 94 when he needs a little extra. Scouts say he should just let it rip more often and not try to finesse hitters as much. The biggest knock on his fastball is that it's straight as an arrow--a high hits-to-innings ratio is evidence of that. His curve is also just average now but should be above-average in the future. His best pitch is his changeup, which can be unhittable at times. He gets a lot of strikeouts and easy ground balls off it. Saunders is polished in all facets of pitching. He has an easy, effortless delivery, holds runners well, fields his position and has a good pickoff move. Just a thrower when the Phillies picked him out of a northern Virginia high school in the fifth round in 1999, Saunders has matured as a pitcher in three years. The Orioles, with the fourth overall pick, were looking hard at him early in May, but that interest appears to have dissipated. He still shouldn't last beyond the middle of the first round, though.

2002 Statistics

W

L

ERA

G

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

9

2

2.86

15

0

98

103

22

102

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