- Full name Steven Richard Wright
- Born 08/30/1984 in Torrance, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 215 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Hawaii
- Debut 04/23/2013
Drafted in the 2nd round (56th overall) by the Cleveland Guardians in 2006 (signed for $630,000).
View Draft ReportThe ace of Hawaii's best team in years, Wright has a low profile for a player with his track record. He pitched in the Alaska League after his freshman season, then had a banner summer in the Cape Cod League in 2005, tying for the league saves lead while posting a 3-0, 0.63 mark with 41 strikeouts in 29 innings. A reliever for most of his first two seasons, Wright has fronted the Rainbows rotation in 2006 and thrived. His fastball, which reached 95 mph in relief in the past, sits in the 88-90 mph range as a starter, though at times he still dials it up. His fastball lacks life and gets hit when he leaves it up in the zone. It takes a back seat to his slider, which one scout called the best breaking ball in the West this side of Tim Lincecum. It's a low-80s power pitch that gets plenty of swings and misses. His changeup also could be more consistent, and his curveball is a definite fourth pitch. Wright's plus slider and success in the Cape have some scouts predicting he'll move quickly with a return to the bullpen.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Though surgery just before spring training 2014 to repair a sports hernia delayed the start of his fourth year as a full-time knuckleballer, Wright experienced a breakthrough in the execution of his signature pitch. At the encouragement of Triple-A Pawtucket pitching coach Rich Sauveur, he decided to slow down his pitch from a low- to mid-80s offering to the mid-70s, with the slower speed making the pitch easier to control, and also more tantalizing to hitters. The improvement to Wright's walk rate was palpable. Wright walked 2.1 batters per nine innings at Pawtucket in 2014, compared with a rate of 4.4 per nine from 2011-13. He even threw more strikes in the big leagues, finishing his stint with five capable innings against the Yankees. Indeed, of all the pitchers offered an open audition for the 2015 rotation, Wright showed the most consistent ability to throw strikes and generate swings and misses. What that means going forward is a mystery, as few pretend to know whether Wright is more likely to become the next Tim Wakefield or the next Charlie Zink. Regardless, Wright showed enough in 2014 that the team views him as a meaningful contributor in 2015. He could compete for the No. 5 starter spot in spring training.
Wright earned a $630,000 bonus as a second-round pick after leading Hawaii to its first NCAA regional playoff appearance since 1993, going 11-2, 2.30. He also stood out as a closer in the Cape Cod League in 2005, tying for the lead with 12 saves. The Indians plan on initially trying him as a starter, though he wasn't able to take the mound until instructional league. He missed the entire summer with mononucleosis, which also knocked him out of the NCAA playoffs. He wasn't at his best when he returned in instructional league, as his command was below-average. Wright's fastball sits at 88-90 mph when he starts, though he touched 94 during the spring and hit it more regularly working out of the bullpen. His heater lacks life and he tends to elevate it in the strike zone. His slider is his best pitch, with good tilt and depth when he's on. He also throws a changeup and a curveball, and both need work. He probably will make his pro debut in low Class A this year.