- Full name Christopher Paul Dwyer
- Born 04/10/1988 in Boston, MA
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: R / Throws: L
- School Clemson
- Debut 09/24/2013
Drafted in the 4th round (122nd overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 2009 (signed for $1,450,000).
View Draft ReportAfter prepping with Phillies 2008 first-round pick Anthony Hewitt in Connecticut, Dwyer turned down the Yankees as a 36th-round pick last year to enroll at Clemson. Unlike most college players, he knew he wouldn't have to wait three years to re-enter the draft. Because of his background, which includes being held back in elementary school and an extra high school year at Salisbury Prep, he is a draft-eligible freshman, already 21 years old. Dwyer's physical maturity helped him dominate at times, including six straight strikeouts in his debut against Charlotte. Dwyer's maturity is still that of a freshman, however, in that he's been unable to sustain his top-shelf stuff from start to start. An excellent athlete who was a standout quarterback in high school, Dwyer has shown the ability to throw two plus pitches for strikes at times. His fastball can sit in the 90-94 mph range when he's at his best, and his curveball is a plus pitch and a true hammer. He didn't have too many instances of being in trouble or having runners on base in high school, and that lack of experience might be why he's susceptible to the big inning. He hasn't challenged hitters in conference play, with 21 of his 24 walks coming in nine ACC games. He hasn't quite figured out how to battle through jams and execute pitches when he needs to get out of trouble. Being a draft-eligible freshman also clouds his signability, but he has more stuff and pitchability than some of his lefthanded peers in the draft.
Organization Prospect Rankings
It's been quite an up-and-down path through the minors for Dwyer. Signed for an above-slot $1.45 million in 2009 as a draft-eligible freshman after one year at Clemson, Dwyer arrived as a power pitcher with a 90-94 mph fastball and plus curveball but without much feel for setting up hitters and below-average control. After a thyroid condition sapped his strength in 2012, however, Dwyer bounced back in 2013 as more of a touch-and-feel lefty who retired hitters at Triple-A Omaha with average stuff. He pitched anywhere from 86-92 mph with his fastball, working backwards at times by getting ahead with a now above-average changeup that he throws with good arm speed and excellent late fade. His curveball has diminished in stature, and he struggles to throw it for strikes at times, but it's an average pitch. He still issues too many walks (4.1 per nine innings in 2013) even with his diminished velocity, nibbling around the strike zone's edges. Dwyer started and won the Triple-A national championship game and made his big league debut in 2013. Unless his old plus fastball and curve return, he profiles as a reliever or spot starter rather than as a rotation stalwart.
The Royals believed Dwyer was one of the top lefties in the 2009 draft, paying him a well above-slot $1.45 million in the fourth round as a rare draft-eligible freshman. But after getting his career off to a strong start in 2010, he has gone backward in two seasons since. He had to be shut down in 2012 after a thyroid condition caused him to lose nearly 20 pounds. His normally 90-92 mph fastball dipped to 83-86 in his final start of the season. His condition has since been treated with medication and he's expected to be back to full strength by spring training. Fixing Dwyer's control problems will not be as straightforward. He has yet to repeat his delivery enough to consistently stay ahead of hitters, which means he can't use his 12-to-6 curveball as much as he would like. His breaking ball has been a plus pitch in the past but has regressed since he reached Double-A. He has improved his changeup to the point where it's average. Kansas City protected Dwyer on its 40-man roster in November and is set on giving him more time to develop as a starter. Some scouts believe his command trouble points to a future as a reliever.
The Royals viewed Dwyer, a rare draft-eligible freshman, as one of the top lefthanders in the 2009 draft and paid him accordingly, $1.45 million as a fourth-round pick. He made it to Double-A in his first full pro season, but he was shut down that July with a back injury and had control problems when he returned to Northwest Arkansas in 2011. His ERA swelled to 6.96 by mid-July, though he recorded a 3.53 ERA over his final nine starts. When Dwyer was able to throw strikes early in games in 2011, he'd get ahead with a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 94 and set up hitters for his sharp 12-to-6 curveball. But too often, he couldn't find the strike zone because of delivery issues. He had problems locating pitches to his glove side and keeping the ball down in the zone. Dwyer tends to throw across his body and fail to finish his pitches, which takes away some of the bite and effectiveness from his curve. Interestingly, his average changeup was his most consistent pitch last year. Dwyer had delivery issues even when he was going well in 2010 and he must take a step forward with his control if he's going to be the middle-of-the-rotation starter that Kansas City envisions. He'll advance to Triple-A at some point in 2012.
Because he was held back in elementary school and attended prep school, Dwyer was a rare draft-eligible freshman because he was 21 after his only year at Clemson. His seven-figure asking price and extra leverage scared teams off, but the Royals gave him mid-first-round money ($1.45 million) as a fourth-rounder and now consider him the equal of any college lefthander in the 2009 draft. He was shut down at the end of July with a back injury, but the Royals do not believe it will be a long-term problem. Dwyer's sharp, 12-to-6 curveball is the best in the system and rates as a 60-65 on the 20-80 scouting scale. Unlike most young pitchers, he can locate his curve start after start. He sets it up with a 91-92 mph fastball that touches 95. He's not afraid to bust hitters inside with his fastball, and improved his command of it during the season. He also made strides with his straight changeup. When he struggles, it's often because Dwyer starts to throw across his body, causing him to leave his fastball up in the zone. Because he's an excellent athlete, he's able to make quick adjustments. Dwyer could have returned to action in late August and should be fully recovered from his back problems by spring training. He'll be part of the minors' best rotation at Northwest Arkansas in 2011.
Dwyer was the rarest of rarities, a draft-eligible college freshman. Because he had been held back in elementary school and attended prep school--where he played with Phillies first-round pick Anthony Hewitt and was drafted by the Yankees in the 36th round in 2008--he was 21 and thus eligible as a Clemson freshman last spring. The Royals rated him as a late-first-round talent and gave him late-first-round money ($1.45 million) to sign him as a fourth-rounder. Dwyer's arm speed gives him a 90-94 mph fastball and a power curveball, both of which should be consistent plus pitches once he matures. His changeup is an advanced pitch that could end up being above average as well. A star as a high school quarterback, he's an excellent athlete. Dwyer was susceptible to big innings at Clemson. When he got into a jam, he battled his command and nibbled more than someone with his stuff should. His control suffers if he lands stiff on his front leg and struggles to stay aligned with the plate. He doesn't always maintain his quality stuff from start to start. Dwyer is less polished than the typical college pitcher but still could move quickly. He'll likely start his first full season in high Class A.
Minor League Top Prospects
Dwyer got a taste of Double-A at the end of 2010 and put up a 3.06 ERA in four starts, but he was consistently mediocre in his return to the league in 2011. Though he finished third in the league in strikeouts (126) and opponent average, (.238), he also ranked second in walks (78). As those numbers indicate, Dwyer has good raw stuff but struggles to harness it. At his best, he throws his fastball in the low 90s with good downhill action, as well as big-breaking curveball that can get 65 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale. He also has an average changeup. When he has command, particularly of his fastball, Dwyer can be deadly. When he doesn't, hitters will just lay off the curveball and wait him out. He remains more of a thrower than a pitcher, and his two quality pitches and struggles with consistency suggest he might be better off coming out of the bullpen.
Wilmington trotted out four impressive lefthanders this summer. Montgomery and Danny Duffy made only brief cameos, but opponents saw more of Lamb and Dwyer than they would have liked. A rare draft-eligible college freshman who signed for $1.45 million as a fourth-round pick in 2009, Dwyer earned a promotion to Double-A in July before a back injury sidelined him. Dwyer can make hitters look silly with two pitches, a 90-94 mph fastball with late life and a power curveball with 12-to-6 break. He still needs to improve his changeup, which does have promising fade. Scouts praise his easy delivery and clean arm action, which should allow him to improve his inconsistent control. "He has a chance to be a No. 3 starter," Cathcart said. "I like lefthanders who can throw a curveball, and he has a chance to have a pretty good one. Obviously he has enough velocity."
Top 100 Rankings
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Curveball in the Kansas City Royals in 2012
- Rated Best Curveball in the Kansas City Royals in 2011
- Rated Best Curveball in the Kansas City Royals in 2010
Background: The Royals viewed Dwyer, a rare draft-eligible freshman, as one of the top lefthanders in the 2009 draft and paid him accordingly, $1.45 million as a fourth-round pick. He made it to Double-A in his first full pro season, but he was shut down that July with a back injury and had control problems when he returned to Northwest Arkansas in 2011. His ERA swelled to 6.96 by mid-July, though he recorded a 3.53 ERA over his final nine starts. Scouting Report: When Dwyer was able to throw strikes early in games in 2011, he'd get ahead with a 90-92 mph fastball that touches 94 and set up hitters for his sharp 12-to-6 curveball. But too often, he couldn't find the strike zone because of delivery issues. He had problems locating pitches to his glove side and keeping the ball down in the zone. Dwyer tends to throw across his body and fails to finish his pitches, which takes away some of the bite and effectiveness from his curve. Interestingly, his average changeup was his most consistent pitch last year. The Future: Dwyer had delivery issues even when he was going well in 2010 and he must take a step forward with his control if he's going to be the middle-of-the-rotation starter that Kansas City envisions. If he continues to struggle, his breaking ball could work well in the bullpen. He'll advance to Triple-A at some point in 2012.