- Full name Ryan Lee Baerlocher
- Born 08/06/1977 in Lewiston, ID
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 240 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Lewis-Clark State
- Drafted in the 6th round (181st overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 1999.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Baerlocher won two NAIA World Series at Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), where he began his career as a third baseman, before signing as a sixth-round pick in 1999. In his first full season, he led the low Class A South Atlantic League in ERA and ranked second in the minors in strikeouts, and last year he pitched effectively at Double-A Wichita in a home ballpark and league that favors hitters. Nevertheless, the Royals didn't protect him on their 40-man roster and the Padres selected him in the major league Rule 5 draft in December. He'll have to stick in San Diego all season or clear waivers and be offered back to Kansas City for half the $50,000 draft price. Baerlocher doesn't throw as hard as his size might indicate. His best pitch is an outstanding changeup. In an effort to build velocity, the Royals had him go away from his changeup and throw his fastball more often in 2001, and he consistently worked at 88-91 mph. His third pitch, a slider, showed improvement as well. Baerlocher throws strikes and is durable, having led the Texas League in innings last year. He also topped the TL with 26 homers allowed, an indication that he has a small margin for error with his stuff.
One look at Baerlocher's size and dominant 2000 season--he led the South Atlantic League in ERA and ranked second in the minors in strikeouts--might lead to the conclusion that he has overpowering stuff. In fact, it's far from it. Baerlocher's best pitch is an outstanding changeup that Class A hitters couldn't touch even when they knew it was coming. However, he falls in love with it at the expense of his fastball, which averages 88-89 mph. He might improve the velocity slightly, though his body is fairly well filled out. He'll also need a consistent breaking ball to succeed at higher levels. Wichita is one of the toughest Double-A proving grounds for finesse pitchers, and Baerlocher will face that challenge this year.