- Full name Kyle Jordan Drabek
- Born 12/08/1987 in Victoria, TX
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 205 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School The Woodlands
- Debut 09/15/2010
Drafted in the 1st round (18th overall) by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2006 (signed for $1,550,000).
View Draft ReportThere may not be a more gifted player than Drabek in this draft, but he also comes with makeup concerns. On the mound, he shows better stuff than his father, former Cy Young Award winner Doug. Though he's 5-foot-11, he has the arm speed to deliver 94-95 mph fastballs and top out at 97. His best pitch may be his 78-82 mph spike curveball, which is all but unhittable. The lone knock on the pitch is that he relies on it too much. "He has as good an arm as anyone," an American League scouting director said. "When his fastball and curve are on, he has the best two-pitch combination in the draft." Drabek has a decent slider and feel for a changeup, though he rarely needs to use either at this point. He finishes a bit upright in his delivery, but his mechanics are otherwise sound and the ball comes out of his hand easily. He could also make a case for being the best high school position player in the draft, as he's a comparable hitter to New Jersey's Bill Rowell and would have a better shot at playing shortstop as a pro. Yet some teams are backing away from Drabek. He's high-strung on the field, and there are off-field issues as well, but he'll still go in the middle of the first round.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, Kyle led The Woodland (Texas) High to a national title as a senior in 2006 by going 14-0 on the mound and belting 12 homers as a shortstop. Some teams believed he had the best pure stuff in the 2006 draft, but he lasted until the 18th overall pick because his makeup worried clubs. He had separate incidents which resulted in a public-intoxication charge (later dropped) and a single-car accident in which he struck a tree. Drabek signed for $1.55 million and had a rough pro debut, then blew out his elbow early in the 2007 season. He used his rehab time to mature, improve his conditioning and refine his delivery. He broke out in 2009, pitching in the Futures Game and reaching Double-A at age 21. His name started to come up in trade rumors as Philadelphia looked for pitching help. The Phillies balked at giving him up for Roy Halladay at the 2009 trade deadline, but pulled the trigger in mid-December, sending him to Toronto along with catcher Travis d'Arnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor. Drabek spent 2010 at Double-A New Hampshire and won Eastern League pitcher of the year honors, leading the league with 14 wins and throwing a nine-inning no-hitter on Independence Day. The Blue Jays gave him a September callup and while he didn't earn a win in three starts, he didn't allow more than three runs in any outing. Drabek has the stuff to pitch at the front of a rotation. His curveball is his best pitch, a power offering with 12-to-6 action and low-80s velocity. It comes out of his hand at the same height as his fastball, giving it good depth and deception that produces a lot of swings and misses. He throws two- and four-seam fastballs, ranging from 90-96 mph and sitting comfortably in the low 90s. He has good life to the two-seamer, using it to induce groundouts. Toronto challenged Drabek to get better against lefthanders in 2010--they had a .924 OPS against him the year before--and he did just that. By adding a cutter that he'd throw 10-12 times per game, he held Double-A lefties to a .227/.301/.350 line. His changeup has shown depth and sink, but he's still refining his arm speed and command with the pitch. Drabek doesn't have pinpoint command, but he throws enough strikes and locates his pitches well enough. His athleticism is an asset, allowing him to repeat his delivery, field his position and hold runners. After his big league cameo, Drabek will have a chance to make Toronto's rotation out of spring training. The development of his cutter and changeup are critical as they give him an edge over lefties.
The son of 1990 Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, Kyle blew out his elbow early in his first full pro season, costing him parts of 2007 and 2008. He used his off time to improve his body, refine his delivery and grow up a bit with the help of minor league veteran Mike Zagurski, his rehab roommate and fellow TJ alumnus. Drabek broke out in 2009, dazzling in the Futures Game and pitching well in Double-A. Drabek has the organization's best curveball, a power downer that he can bury or throw for strikes. Some scouts rate it a 70 on the 20-80 scouting scale. His fastball sits at 88-93 mph, usually at the top end of that range, and has solid-average life. His competitiveness helps him maximize his stuff. Athletic and coordinated, he's effective holding runners, fielding his position and hitting. Drabek's changeup is his third-best pitch and still needs refinement, as Double-A lefthanders showed by bashing him for a .924 OPS (compared to .521 by righties). He has to improve his arm speed and his command with his changeup. Drabek could be a power reliever in the Tom Gordon mode, particularly if the Phillies need him in 2010. His aptitude and athleticism make it more likely that he'll improve that pitch and fulfill his profile as a No. 2 or 3 starter. He'll open the season in Triple-A.
The son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek turned a corner in 2008, making the most progress of his pro career while returning from Tommy John surgery. The Phillies used his rehabilitation to tweak his mechanics, removing a hip turn from his delivery, and his stuff returned to pre-injury levels with a strong effort in Hawaii Winter Baseball. The 18th overall pick in the 2006 draft, he signed for $1.55 million. Drabek is on his way to having three average-to-plus pitches. His fastball has reached 95 mph during his comeback and sits in the low 90s, though he hasn't had to carry it deep into games yet. His hard curveball is rounding into above-average shape more consistently. The work he did in instructional league improved both his mechanics and his changeup. Knocked for his immaturity prior to the 2006 draft, Drabek still is no choirboy. One scout said he has baseball makeup, with great competitiveness, but not "take home your daughter" makeup. He needs better arm speed on his changeup after not throwing one in high school, when he used a knuckleball instead. A healthy Drabek could move very quickly. He'll likely start 2009 at high Class A thanks to the warm weather in the Florida State League, but the Phillies expect him to force his way to Double-A sometime during the season.
Several clubs thought Drabek had better stuff than any pitcher in the 2006 draft, but makeup concerns scared them away until Philadelphia took him 18th overall and signed him for $1.55 million. The son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, he had a rocky pro debut as field staff and scouts criticized his lack of composure. He kept it together on and off the field in 2007, but Tommy John surgery ended his season in June, and he won't pitch again before August 2008. Drabek has better raw stuff than his father, starting with a mid-90s fastball that touches 97 mph. Despite all that velocity, his best pitch remains an upper-70s spike curveball with hard, late, downward movement. He made strides with his changeup before going down with the elbow injury, both with arm speed and command. He lowered his leg kick in his delivery between high school and pro ball, and now incorporates more of a turn as he goes into his windup. Drabek's makeup is the biggest concern, as his drinking and temper have gotten him into trouble in the past. The Phillies believed that he'd mature like any other teenager once they got him into a routine. Having to overcome elbow reconstruction may help his cause, as he'll have to develop better work habits. The track record of pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery is strong, so that's not a huge worry. A potential frontline starter, Drabek has been right on schedule with his rehab program. He should return to the mound with short-season Williamsport, and Philadelphia won't push him.
Many clubs thought Drabek had the best pure stuff in the 2006 draft, but huge makeup concerns scared teams away from the son of former Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek. Kyle fell to the 18th pick, and the Phillies signed him for $1.55 million. He led The Woodlands (Texas) High to the national title during the spring, going 10-0, 1.18 on the mound and batting .479 with six homers as a shortstop. Drabek has better stuff than his father, starting with a 78-82 mph spike curveball with devastating late action. Scouts describe it as unhittable, and hitters also have to be wary of Drabek's mid-90s fastball that tops out at 97 mph. He made strides with his changeup's location during instructional league after he tinkered with his grip. Drabek generates lightning-fast arm speed through a compact, easily repeatable delivery. He's one of the best athletes in the system. Philadelphia wouldn't have had a chance to draft Drabek if not for a public-intoxication charge against him (later dropped) and a single-car accident in which he struck a tree. Clubs also were turned off by his temper, and he repeatedly lost his cool when things didn't go his way in pro ball. Also, Drabek doesn't get quite the extension from the windup as he does from the stretch. He tends to lean back on his heel too much, which costs him overall balance and command. His mid-80s slider and his changeup show promise, but they lag behind his curve and his fastball. Despite issues in Drabek's past, the Phillies couldn't pass him up a potential No. 1 starter in the draft. They believe he'll tone down his emotions as he grows up, and if he shows better maturity in spring training, he could open 2007 in low Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
The son of Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek had makeup issues in high school but matured significantly as a Phillies farmhand while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. After the Blue Jays acquired him as the key piece in the Roy Halladay trade last winter, he led the EL in wins (14) and opponent average (.215) to earn the league's pitcher-of-the-year award and a September callup. No. 3 on this list a year ago as well, Drabek saw his fastball dip to 89-91 mph early in the year. He survived by using his plus breaking ball, a 12-to-6 curve with depth and late bite, adding a show-me slider that's more of a cutter and improving his changeup. Drabek's heater warmed up with the weather, and he regularly threw 92-96 mph into August and September. When he has enough velocity to pitch up in the zone, his fastball sets up his curveball well.
Between his 93-94 mph fastball that touched 96 mph whenever he needed and a promising changeup and curveball that both project to be plus pitches, Drabek had the three-pitch repertoire to be a future No. 2 starter. He also has excellent athleticism for a pitcher, no surprise for someone who could have been a top-three-rounds pick as a shortstop. He fields his position well, holds runners and has the ability to make adjustments to his delivery on the fly. Drabek's biggest flaws are mainly minor issues. He sometimes relies too much on his secondary stuff instead of blowing hitters away with his fastball. Some managers believed he struggled to maintain his composure when he got into jams, but others thought his fiery mound presence worked to his advantage.
The Phillies threw Drabek's name around in midseason trade talks but kept him as he emerged as their top pitching prospect. The son of 1990 Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek, Kyle overcame Tommy John surgery and threw a career-best 158 innings this season. He tired late as the workload caught up to him, but at his best he showed a tantalizing mix of three plus pitches to go with athleticism that makes him a dangerous hitter and adept fielder. Drabek's fastball sits in the 90-93 mph range with life, and his curveball and changeup are inconsistent but both have flashed above-average, particularly his breaker. His curveball is sharp and late, but he needs to command both the fastball and curve better. He made great strides with his changeup while going through his Tommy John rehab, as well as with his maturity. Scouts and managers generally lauded Drabek's competitiveness and fiery mound presence. They also admitted that it gets him in trouble at times. "He loves to compete," Reading manager Steve Roadcap said, "but he will have to learn to dial it back a bit."
Drabek was the most controversial prospect in the 2006 draft. The son of former Cy Young award winner Doug, he has an electric arm and a combustible attitude. He was a two-time first-team All-American, led his high school team to a state and national title as a senior and signed with the Phillies for $1.55 million as the 18th overall pick. If Drabek's makeup hadn't been such a huge concern, he might have been the first high school player drafted. He's a premium athlete, with a compact, muscular body and a lightning-quick arm. His fastball touches 97 mph and his low-80s spike curveball, while inconsistent, has the potential to be a legitimate put-away offering. His mechanics are fine and his control is above-average, though Drabek tends to leave his fastball up in the strike zone. He has feel for both a slider and a changeup. Philadelphia will keep him on the mound, but Drabek could have gone in the first two rounds of the draft as a shortstop. In order to reach his considerable ceiling, Drabek must improve his mental approach to the game. He's high-strung, impatient and too often tries to overpower hitters. He doesn't handle failure well and tasted more than he expected in the GCL.
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Curveball in the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011
- Rated Best Pitching Prospect in the Eastern League in 2010
- Rated Best Breaking Pitch in the Eastern League in 2010
- Rated Best Curveball in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2010
- Rated Best Breaking Pitch in the Florida State League in 2009
- Rated Best Curveball in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009
- Rated Best Curveball in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008
- Rated Best Curveball in the Philadelphia Phillies in 2007