- Full name Joshua David Fields
- Born 08/19/1985 in Athens, GA
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 191 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Georgia
- Debut 04/02/2013
Drafted in the 1st round (20th overall) by the Seattle Mariners in 2008.
View Draft ReportFollowing his sophomore year at Georgia, Fields shined in the Cape Cod League, apparently setting him up for a high draft selection in 2007. However, command of his mid-90s fastball and low-80s breaking ball was too inconsistent during his junior season, scaring teams away. The Braves drafted him in the second round, but Fields opted not to sign and returned to Georgia for his senior season. When he returned to Athens, so did his command, and he is now considered the top closer in the country. He holds the Bulldogs' record for career saves and had struck out close to two batters per inning this season. His fastball still sits in the mid-90s, peaking at 98, and his hard downer curveball comes in between 81-83 mph. Scouts are still wary of command issues because his delivery is upright and has some effort. When he misses, it's up in the zone due to not being able to get over the rubber and finish his pitches. Also a concern is durability because of his slight build. When he's on, though, Fields has present major league stuff and the potential to be the first pitcher from this draft to reach the major leagues.
Organization Prospect Rankings
A rare college senior first-rounder when the Mariners took him 20th overall in 2008, Fields took until February 2009 to sign for $1.75 million. He never got untracked in the Seattle system, battling a dead arm along with oblique and forearm strains, and went to Boston as a throw-in in a three-team Erik Bedard trade in July 2011. Fields turned a corner last year after working with Double-A Portland pitching coach Bob Kipper and Red Sox minor league pitching coordinator Ralph Treuel. Fields did a better job of repeating his maximum-effort delivery, his stuff improved and he performed consistently. His fastball averaged 95 mph (up from 92 the year before) and peaked at 97 with improved gloveside run. He also added power to his curveball, which became the downer that was his bread and butter in college. He gained the confidence to challenge hitters more aggressively and did a better job of working down in the strike zone. Left off Boston's 40-man roster, the Astros made him the No. 1 pick in the major league Rule 5 draft in December. If Fields can maintain the gains he made in 2012, he should stick in the Houston bullpen. If he doesn't, he'll have to clear waivers and get offered back to the Red Sox for half his $50,000 draft price before he can be sent to the minors.
The Mariners' first-round pick in 2008, Fields has pitched just 62 pro innings since signing for $1.75 million. He didn't agree to terms until February 2009, and has been sidelined by a dead arm, a strained oblique and a strained forearm muscle as a pro. When at his best, Fields has a 92-95 mph fastball, though he worked mostly at 90-93 in the Arizona Fall League this offseason. His 12-to-6 curveball plummets with tight rotation and good depth, and he has made improvements with his changeup. Fields has a quick tempo and aggressive mechanics. He nearly jumps off the mound and tilts his body out of the way of his over-the-top arm slot. His dynamic delivery is what gives Fields above-average stuff, but there's a lot of moving parts and he struggles to throw strikes consistently, especially with his secondary pitches. His stuff loses some life after an inning of work, but he could be a useful middle reliever if he can tighten up his control. Seattle hopes he'll have his first fully healthy year in pro ball in 2011, when he'll advance to Triple-A and possibly the big leagues.
Former scouting director Bob Fontaine's final first-round pick for the Mariners, Fields finally signed on Feb. 16, 2009. He agreed to a bonus of $1.75 million--the midpoint between his $2 million asking price and the Mariners' longstanding $1.5 million offer. The Aug. 15 signing deadline didn't apply to Fields because he was a college senior with no eligibility remaining. In a four-year run as closer for Georgia, he set a Southeastern Conference record with 41 saves and helped pitch the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in the 2008 College World Series. Though he's not physical, Fields has incredible arm speed, enabling him to fire fastballs at a consistent 93- 96 mph. His low-80s power curveball features quality depth and rates as the best in the system. He really doesn't throw a changeup, having started only one game since high school. Fields' max-effort delivery is both deceptive and difficult to repeat, which makes throwing strikes a challenge. He wore down in 2009 after his long layoff and under the strain of a higher workload. He twice landed on the disabled list, first with a dead arm and then a strained oblique. A pair of plus-plus pitches gives him the upside as a late-inning reliever, possibly a closer, but first Fields must prove he can throw enough strikes. He'll get that chance with another run at Double-A.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Curveball in the Seattle Mariners in 2011
- Rated Best Breaking Pitch in the Southern League in 2010
- Rated Best Curveball in the Seattle Mariners in 2010