- Full name Kevin Robert Quackenbush
- Born 11/28/1988 in Land O'lakes, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'4" / Wt.: 235 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School South Florida
- Debut 04/25/2014
Drafted in the 8th round (263rd overall) by the San Diego Padres in 2011 (signed for $5,000).
View Draft ReportAmong college closers, the pitcher who improved his lot the most was South Florida senior righthander Kevin Quackenbush, who came on strong after the addition of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, a former big league pitching coach. Quackenbush found the strike zone more frequently this year with his 90-95 mph fastball and walked just seven this season, about a third of his past walk rate. His secondary stuff isn't special, but he throws his slider with some power and has added a changeup. He's the top draft prospect for the Bulls.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Quackenbush has closed games for every Padres affiliate from short-season Eugene up through Triple-A Tucson, where he spent the second half of 2013. He creates deception with a short arm action, hiding the ball to the last instant, which enables his 91-93 mph fastball to play up to plus. Quackenbush creates excellent plane from a high three-quarters slot, making the heater tough for batters to lift, and he's allowed just two home runs in 144 appearances. Quackenbush throws a loopy high-70s curveball, but he picked up a splitter in 2013 that could function as a second go-to pitch to pair with his fastball. He struck out nearly 40 percent of righthanded batters in 2013, while holding lefties to a .200 average, but some scouts are hesitant to buy into Quackenbush's fastball-heavy approach due to a lack of premium velocity. After walking 5.0 batters per nine innings at Triple-A in 2013, he'll attempt to put his typical strong control on display at El Paso in 2014.
Quackenbush's control improved dramatically as a South Florida senior, once he teamed up with former big league pitching coach Chuck Hernandez. He hasn't stopped throwing strikes after turning pro for $5,000 as an eighth-round pick in 2011, and he spent his first full season as closer for Lake Elsinore. Quackenbush befuddles batters with a single-minded plan of attack--throwing fastballs nine out of every 10 pitches--but the strategy has worked up through high Class A because opponents just don't pick up the ball out of his hand. The angle he creates, coupled with a short arm action, make him difficult to square up even when batters do make contact with his 89-91 mph heat. He'll throw a fringy slider on occasion, and a changeup even less frequently, but to this point he simply hasn't needed them. Quackenbush navigated the perilous conditions of the Arizona Fall League in 2012, not allowing a hit over his first nine innings and finishing with six saves and a 2.45 ERA. Double-A will be a big test in 2013, after which the Padres will have a better idea whether he's big league material or a one-pitch oddity.
Minor League Top Prospects
A senior sign out of South Florida drafed in the eighth round in June, Quackenbush signed for $5,000, the lowest bonus in the top 10 rounds this year. His fastball is much bigger than his bonus, as he sits at 91-92 mph and touches 95 while spotting it to all four quadrants of the strike zone. "I haven't been in there against it, but I'm saying the hitter doesn't see it real good," Murphy said. "His fastball plays mid-90s because of the angle and deception." Because his fastball is so effective, Quackenbush rarely had to use his below-average secondary pitches. He mixed in a slurvy breaking ball, but could scrap that to focus on his changeup. He continued to dominate with his heater after a promotion to low Class A, where he had a 0.84 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 21 innings.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Reliever in the California League in 2012