- Full name Patrick James Light
- Born 03/29/1991 in Colts Neck, NJ
- Profile Ht.: 6'5" / Wt.: 220 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Monmouth
- Debut 04/26/2016
Drafted in the C-A round (37th overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 2012 (signed for $1,000,000).
View Draft ReportA New Jersey high school product, Light attracted attention on the showcase circuit in the summer of 2008, but he didn't get drafted until the 28th round in 2009 (by the Twins) and headed to Monmouth, where he has carved out a solid career. He has added weight to his projectable frame and is now listed at a physical 6-foot-6, 200 pounds. He has dominated his competition this season and was 7-3, 2.81 with 87 strikeouts in 86 innings. He throws a ton of strikes with a fastball that ranges from 90-96 mph and has walked 12 batters on the season. Both his slider and changeup need work but flash promise. If his secondary stuff progresses, he has the frame, arm strength and command to be a starter, but he could feature a plus-plus fastball in a late-inning relief role.
Organization Prospect Rankings
The Twins have had their eyes on Light for some time. They originally drafted him in the 28th round in 2009 out of his New Jersey high school but Light instead went to Monmouth, and the Red Sox drafted him 37th overall three years later. The Twins finally got the hard-throwing reliever in August 2016, when they acquired him for lefthander Fernando Abad. Coming off a breakout 2015 season, Light made his major league debut in a quick, two-game April stint for the Red Sox, then appeared in 15 more games for the Twins late in the year. He showed both electric stuff and below-average command in those big league appearances, averaging 95 mph but throwing just 54 percent of his pitches for strikes and walking 8.6 per nine innings. Command has long been Light's bugaboo, and the 6-foot-6 righthander has struggled to maintain consistency in his mechanics. His heavy fastball touches 100 mph and he pairs it with a hard, diving splitter and the occasional fringy slider. If he can develop at least fringe-average control, his stuff should play in a high-leverage role, perhaps as closer. Light has a chance to earn a bullpen role in 2017.
Light struggled for much of his first two full pro seasons, but late in 2014, while long-tossing between starts, he discovered the potential impact of greater extension in his delivery. The epiphany yielded a watershed, with Light hitting 100 mph in his next start for the first time in his career. He carried that increased power into spring training, living in the high 90s with late-life that generated bad contact, while reintroducing a split-changeup--his out pitch in college, but one the Red Sox had asked him to shelf while focusing on his other pitches. The altered arsenal, along with a move to the bullpen, brought Light the sort of success in 2015 he'd never previously achieved. He dominated at Double-A Portland to earn a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket, where he endured significant control struggles (7.1 walks per nine innings), a reminder of the challenges he faces to harness his delivery at his size. At his best, he looked like a late-innings arm, perhaps even a closer. At the least, his power arm and the fact that he'll enter 2016 on the 40-man roster suggests that he'll get a chance to contribute at the big league level.
Hamstring injuries wrecked Light's first full pro season in 2013 and, though healthy enough to make 25 starts and shoulder 132 innings in 2014, he proved less-than-overpowering. However, he displayed tremendous arm strength at times, his fastball reaching the triple digits on occasion at the end of the year. In the past, Light topped out near 94 mph as a starter, but his lack of a consistent slider or changeup allowed hitters to sit on his heater. While the Red Sox had yet to make a decision about Light's role in 2015, he could turn into a very different animal if moved to the bullpen at Double-A Portland. He could jump onto a more aggressive development path if he makes the role switch, and his raw arm strength could place him in a high-leverage bullpen role.
A 28th-round pick by the Twins out of high school in 2009, Light opted to attend Monmouth, where he set a Hawks single-season strikeout record (102 in 101 innings) last spring and became the highest-drafted player in school history. Selected 39th overall in June, he signed for $1 million, well below the assigned pick value of $1,394,300. But he's far more than a bargain-bin draftee. The Red Sox took pitchers with eight of their top nine choices in 2012, and Light has a better fastball package than any of them. He operates at 92-94 mph and can reach 97, and his heater is just as impressive for its heavy sink. He commands it well, too. Plagued by blister issues on one of his pitching fingers during the spring, he added power and velocity to his slider once he put those behind him in pro ball. He threw a fringy splitter/changeup as an amateur, but Boston had him switch to a true changeup in instructional league. The Red Sox will develop Light as a potential No. 3 starter, and if that doesn't work out he could make a living as late-inning reliever who works off his sinker. He'll spend his first full pro season in Class A.
A New Jersey high school product, Light attracted attention on the showcase circuit in the summer of 2008, but he didn't get drafted until the 28th round in 2009 (by the Twins) and headed to Monmouth, where he has carved out a solid career. He has added weight to his projectable frame and is now listed at a physical 6-foot-6, 200 pounds. He has dominated his competition this season and was 7-3, 2.81 with 87 strikeouts in 86 innings. He throws a ton of strikes with a fastball that ranges from 90-96 mph and has walked 12 batters on the season. Both his slider and changeup need work but flash promise. If his secondary stuff progresses, he has the frame, arm strength and command to be a starter, but he could feature a plus-plus fastball in a late-inning relief role.
Minor League Top Prospects
It took Light a few years to harness his electric stuff at Monmouth, but he blossomed as a junior and pitched his way into the supplemental first round of the 2012 draft. After signing for $1 million, he continued to attack the strike zone at Lowell, where all of his starts were capped at two to three innings. Light's best asset is his ability to drive off his back side to generate plus life and velocity on his heavy sinker, which reaches 95-97 mph. When he stays on top of it and pounds the bottom of the strike zone, he induces loads of groundouts. His ability to throw strikes with power stuff gives him the chance to be a back-end starter or late-inning reliever. Light had trouble repeating his arm slot consistently in college, especially with his slider. He did a better job staying on top of his slider and throwing it with conviction in pro ball, and it has a chance to be a solid pitch. He also throws a fringy splitter.