- Full name Ryan Michael Madson
- Born 08/28/1980 in Long Beach, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'6" / Wt.: 234 / Bats: L / Throws: R
- School Valley View
- Debut 09/27/2003
- Drafted in the 9th round (254th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1998.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Madson has reached double-digits in wins three times since 2000, and rebounded from an off year in 2001 by becoming more aggressive and attacking hitters on the inside half of the plate. He started the 2003 Triple-A all-star game for the International League. Madson's father wouldn't let him throw a curveball in Little League, so he had to settle for a changeup. It has emerged as a plus-plus pitch, edging Cole Hamels' as the system's best. It has natural movement, and some hitters think it's a splitter or breaking ball. Madson's two-seam fastball sits at 90 mph and touches 92. It has sinking action and runs away from righthanded hitters. He junked his curveball for a slider, which improved over the season. Madson could stand to add muscle to his lanky frame, especially his lower half, to increase his velocity and durability. Madson will have a shot to win the fifth starter's role in Philadelphia this spring. He made a positive impression with pitching coach Joe Kerrigan during his September callup last year.
Madson followed a breakout 2000 season with a less impressive encore in 2001, missing time with a tired shoulder. He bounced back last year to lead the Double-A Eastern League in victories, ranking second in strikeouts and third in ERA and innings. Despite his size, Madson reaches only the low 90s with his fastball. He struggled in 2001 as he tried to pitch around hitters, but he became more aggressive and worked inside more last season. That made his overhand curveball and changeup, which rates as the organzation's best and is a major league out pitch, even more effective. Madson keeps the ball down in the zone, enticing groundouts and preventing homers. Madson is growing into his 6- foot-6 frame, but still could stand to add some more muscle, especially in his lower half. There's nothing specific for him to work on mechanically. He just needs the experience of facing hitters at the highest levels. Madson doesn't blow hitters away with electric stuff, but he stays around the plate and keeps the ball in the park. He figures to slide into the big league rotation after spending 2003 in Triple-A.
Coming off a breakthrough season in the South Atlantic League, Madson got off to a slow start in Clearwater last year. He didn't find his groove until July, when he returned from a month-long DL stint to rest his shoulder. He answered any doubts about his health by going 3-1, 0.98 in August. Long and wiry, Madson has an ideal, projectable frame, making his slightly above-average 90-92 mph velocity more intriguing. More important, his stuff runs and sinks, causing hitters to pound the ball into the ground. He induces groundouts in bunches and was victimized for just four homers in 2001. Madson has made strides with his changeup. After fiddling with both a curveball and slider, he finally settled on an overhand curveball in instructional league. He's always demonstrated solid command of his stuff and he has a clean delivery, but he tries to get too fine at times. He was pitching behind in the count too often during the first half, taking his breaking stuff out of the equation. He lacks an out pitch, though he's better than the .290 average FSL opponents managed against him. He'll be ahead of schedule by spending 2002 in Double-A as a 21-year-old, and he figures to be a middle-of-the-rotation starter in the future.
After he had two .500 seasons in short-season leagues, Madson's stock soared in his first exposure to full-season ball. He tied teammate Frank Brooks for the South Atlantic League lead in wins while ranking third in ERA. Madson fits the mold of the young, projectable arms the Phillies are trying to build their future rotation around. He has imposing size on the mound, and his stuff further sets him apart. Like Baisley, he throws an effortless 91-93 mph fastball that still has room to add velocity, along with a biting, overhand curveball. He's sound mechanically and able to consistently repeat his delivery. Madson already displays good control, but he could use a little refinement of his offspeed offerings. He's working on tightening the spin on his 12-to-6 curve, while his changeup is showing signs of improvement already. The Phillies think the towering trio of Brett Myers, Brad Baisley and Madson can be special. Baisley is one step ahead right now, but they could climb the ladder together. Madson will pitch at high Class A Clearwater in 2001.
Background: Madson was a classic projection draft pick, lured away from a Southern California scholarship with a $350,000 bonus. He is closer to 6-foot-7 than his listed height and is growing into his lanky frame. Strengths: Madson's biggest strength may be his youth; he will pitch almost all of 2000 at 19. His fastball has crept up to the solid average range and will occasionally hit 93 mph. While it isn't a consistent pitch yet, Madson's curveball will flash good spin and biting action, and he has shown the ability to throw it for consistent strikes. Weaknesses: As with any work in progress, most of what Madson needs to do is to develop consistency with his mechanics, release point and the quality of his stuff. With his fastball and command potential, the development of his curve and changeup will be vital. The Future: Madson is just reaching the point physically and mentally to be able to take advantage of his natural gifts. He will get his first taste of full-season ball in 2000.
Minor League Top Prospects
Tall but thin, Madson doesn't have plus velocity and instead mixes his low-90s fastball with a curveball and changeup. His changeup and overall command rank as his best attributes, especially the changeup, which has so much movement some hitters mistake it for a cutter, splitter or breaking ball. Madson's mechanics are clean and the ball comes out of his hand easily and on a downward plane, leaving managers to speculate that he could boost his velocity by adding weight. Otherwise, his three major league pitches pencil him into the back of a rotation. "He's not a velocity guy who overpowers you," Allenson said. "He knows how to pitch and is not afraid to throw strikes. Those are the guys who if they don't make that tough Phillies rotation, the middle-of-the-pack clubs would beg for that guy."
After breaking out in low Class A in 2000, Madson slumped and came down with a tired shoulder last season. This year he returned with a vengeance, leading the EL in victories while ranking second in strikeouts and third in innings. Madson was more aggressive in 2002, going after hitters with a low-90s fastball and a changeup that serves as his out pitch. His overhand curveball continues to get better. He does a fine job of pitching down in the strike zone, which leads to lots of groundouts and few homers.
Madson was bothered by a sore right shoulder in the first half and needed a month to recover. He didn't require surgery and came back strong with a 1.65 ERA after he returned. Madson has a loose arm and a 91-93 mph fastball. His overhand curveball shows the makings of giving him a second plus pitch.