- Full name David Allan Aardsma
- Born 12/27/1981 in Denver, CO
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Rice
- Debut 04/06/2004
Drafted in the 1st round (22nd overall) by the San Francisco Giants in 2003 (signed for $1,425,000).
View Draft ReportAardsma was the best Cape Cod League reliever last summer, regularly throwing 94-95 mph, topping out at 97 and showing a quality slider. He posted a 45-5 strikeout-walk ratio and limited opponents to a .084 average. He started out well this spring, but mechanical problems have sapped his stuff and knocked him out of the first round. His velocity has dipped to the low 90s, and his command, movement and slider all have dropped off as well. Aardsma has a long, loose build (6-foot-5, 190 pounds) but sometimes gets his elbow up and flattens out his stuff. The consensus is that he's no better than the fourth-best pitching prospect at Rice, behind sophomores Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend. Aardsma still will get taken in the second or third round, though whether he'll sign for less than first-round money is unknown.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The closer on Rice's 2003 national championship team, Aardsma made his major league debut 10 months after signing for $1.425 million. He won the game in Houston in front of family and friends, though it proved to be the highlight of his season. He spent most of his time in Triple-A. When Aardsma is mechanically sound, he pitches at 93-95 mph and reaches 97 with late life and carry on his explosive fastball. He can sink a two-seamer or throw a four-seamer by hitters up in the strike zone. His changeup, which has become average, was his second-best pitch in 2004. Aardsma's elbow gets floppy in his delivery, and it hurt his velocity and his slider last year. He mostly pitched in the low 90s with his fastball, and he lost both the movement and command of his slider. The Giants were encouraged that his slider came around in the fall, when he kept his delivery more compact. San Francisco had few other options in its depleted bullpen to open the 2004 season, so Aardsma was rushed. The return of his slider would make him a candidate to set up Armando Benitez in San Francisco this season.
The closer for Rice's 2003 College World Series championship team, Aardsma broke 1997 No. 1 overall pick Matt Anderson's career and season saves records in two seasons after transferring from Penn State. If he makes the big leagues, he'll move ahead of Hank Aaron in the all-time alphabetical listing of big leaguers. Aardsma throws his fastball anywhere from 93-98 mph, and it has explosive late life. He switched from a slider to a knuckle-curve that many Rice pitchers throw, and it's a plus pitch at times. His changeup is major league-ready. Aardsma's closing background has hindered the development of his breaking ball; he only recently ditched his slider. He started at Penn State, and some scouts think he has the stuff and size to succeed in a rotation. Others cite his "pie thrower" delivery, which puts a lot of strain on his elbow, as precluding him from having the needed durability. Aardsma showed big league closer stuff during his debut in high Class A. He should move quickly to San Francisco after a short apprenticeship in Double-A in 2004.