- Full name Erik Joseph Bedard
- Born 03/05/1979 in Navan, ON, Canada
- Profile Ht.: 6'1" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Norwalk CC
- Debut 04/17/2002
- Drafted in the 6th round (187th overall) by the Baltimore Orioles in 1999.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Bedard was the organization's best prospect and was tearing up Double- A when the Bowie staff let him exceed his pitch count in a July 2002 game. He promptly blew out his elbow and had Tommy John surgery two months later. He returned to the mound last August and the Orioles say he could have pitched in the majors in September, but they didn't want to rush his comeback. Surprisingly, Bedard's fastball velocity was almost all the way back to his customary 92 mph when he first came back. His plus curveball also showed its old snap. The hard work Bedard put into rehab paid off and showed his determination. While his stuff looked promising in August, Bedard still has to prove himself over the long haul. The year off cost Bedard time he needed to develop his changeup and his approach. The Orioles expect Bedard to be healthy and ready to go in spring training. Still, they may play it cautiously and have him open the season in Double-A.
How obscure is Erik Bedard's hometown? It doesn't even exist. Noted in the Orioles media guide as hailing from Naum, Ontario, Bedard is actually from Navan, a small farming community just east of Ottawa that's renowned for its vegetables. Bedard didn't start playing baseball until he was 13, his high school did not have a team, and he never made a youth traveling squad. He walked on at Norwalk (Conn.) CC as a tall, skinny guy who could throw a curveball. He ate a lot and worked out a lot, adding strength and velocity, and got noticed at the 1999 Junior College Division III World Series. After the Orioles signed Bedard, he pitched well at every stop and was at his best in 2002, dominating at Double-A Bowie. After nearly making the big league club out of spring training, he made his major league debut April 17, becoming the 200th Canadian big leaguer. His dream season came to a sudden end June 26 when he blew out his arm in a game against Akron after he exceeded his mandated pitch count. Baysox manager Dave Cash and pitching coach Tom Burgmeier were reassigned shortly thereafter. Bedard tried rest but had Tommy John surgery in September when the pain persisted. When healthy, Bedard has the stuff to be a top-of-the-rotation starter. His fastball sits at 92 mph, and his snappy curveball is his best pitch. It was how he got hitters out as a youngster, when he was considered a runt. He pitches well to both sides of the plate and shows no fear of hitters. The first big leaguer he faced was the Yankees' Jason Giambi, and though Giambi got a hit, Bedard broke his bat. His changeup is solid and he throws all of his pitches for strikes. After shoulder problems bothered him in 2001, Bedard faces a much bigger challenge. He is unlikely to get back on a mound in the 2003 season. If his arm is sound, Bedard will need more experience in how to get better hitters out. Bedard was on a path toward starting 2003 in the Baltimore rotation but now is on the list of Orioles pitching casualties. While Tommy John surgery shouldn't threaten his career, it does significantly alter his timetable. If everything goes well, he'll be back in 2004.
Bedard has been one of the biggest surprises to come out of the Orioles' big 1999 draft class. Much of the credit goes to scout Jim Howard, who has a knack for finding cold-weather pitchers. An Ontario native whose high school didn't have a baseball team, Bedard walked on to his junior college team and steadily has improved. He continued his progress with a good Arizona Fall League. The velocity on Bedard's fastball has climbed from the 88-90 mph range when he signed to 90-92 now. He has a good curveball and changeup and good movement on all his pitches. The way he goes after hitters is outstanding, especially considering his limited experience. Opponents have batted just .214 against him for his career. Bedard's pitches have no real shortcomings, but he's inconsistent and must stay focused to avoid big innings. He was shut down with a sore arm for six weeks in 2001 and needs to get stronger. Added to the 40-man roster this winter, Bedard will get a look in major league camp. He should open the season in Double-A, but don't be surprised if he shows up in Baltimore sometime in 2002.
An Ontario native, Bedard started the 2000 season in the Delmarva bullpen but blossomed when he was put into the rotation in May. He was one of the big reasons the Shorebirds won the South Atlantic League title, scattering six hits in eight innings to keep their playoff hopes alive in a late-season start and then going 1-0, 2.70 in two postseason starts. He stabilized the rotation after Richard Stahl's back injury and was nearly unhittable in the second half of the season. Bedard runs his fastball to 91 mph and complements it with a hard breaking ball and a developing changeup. He succeeds with an advanced idea of how to pitch and good command. He could jump to Bowie to start the season and get the opportunity to prove he can be as effective against more advanced hitters.
Minor League Top Prospects
Bedard was unquestionably Baltimore's top prospect and arguably had as much upside as any southpaw in the minors at midsummer. Then he was shut down for the year in late June with elbow problems. The Orioles hoped he could avoid Tommy John surgery, but he had the operation in September and will miss all of 2003. Akron manager Brad Komminsk had three of the EL's best lefties in Lee, Billy Traber and Tallet, but he couldn't help but admire Bedard. "Bedard can hold his own with them, definitely," Komminsk said. "It's a shame he blew out his elbow. He can do it all. He has good velocity on his fastball and he has good breaking stuff." Bedard has good life on his low-90s fastball and his curveball. He needs to improve his changeup but his biggest goal will be staying healthy. Arm problems also abbreviated his 2001 season.
Bedard, a Canadian, has been a winner everywhere he's pitched. He helped Norwalk (Conn.) CC reach the Junior College World Series as an amateur and was part of a low Class A South Atlantic League championship in 2000. Bedard's best pitch is a low-90s fastball that he keeps down in the strike zone. He also has a hard breaking ball and a changeup. A sore shoulder cost him two months in the middle of the season, but Bedard returned to help Frederick earn a wild-card berth. He permitted just eight runs in his final 69 innings, which also included 97 strikeouts.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the Eastern League in 2002