- Full name Justin Craig Duchscherer
- Born 11/19/1977 in Aberdeen, SD
- Profile Ht.: 6'3" / Wt.: 195 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Coronado
- Debut 07/25/2001
- Drafted in the 8th round (241st overall) by the Boston Red Sox in 1996.
Organization Prospect Rankings
A car crash after the 2001 season led to back problems that ruined Duchscherer's first year in the Oakland system. He bounced back in 2003 to become the Pacific Coast League's pitcher of the year and wins leader. He was at his best on Sept. 9, shutting out the Angels for seven innings to earn his first win for the A's. Duchscherer is a poised and crafty control pitcher. He upsets hitters' timing by changing speeds on his fastball and curveball. His curve is his best pitch, and his changeup is right behind. None of Duchscherer's pitches grades better than average, and his fastball doesn't even rate that high. He pitches at 85-87 mph and rarely breaks 90. He needs to improve his cutter so he can work inside to righthanders. He has little margin for error. While his total package was devastating against Triple-A hitters, how well it will translate to the majors remains a major question mark. The A's say Duchscherer could emerge as a successful big league starter after gaining a couple of years of experience at that level. Oakland's offseason trade for Mark Redman paves the way for Duchscherer to learn in a middle-relief role in 2004.
Former GM Doug Melvin specialized in the small trade. He sent backup catcher Doug Mirabelli to Boston for Duchscherer last June and Duchscherer went from being buried in the Red Sox system to the big leagues for the Rangers. He operates with fringe-average velocity but is willing to use his fastball. Helped by a sound delivery, he has good command of a tight curveball that acts like a slider, plus a changeup. Duchscherer has to maintain his fine control because his limited fastball leaves a small margin of error. He won his major league debut as a starter in July, then gave up 16 runs in eight innings after a September callup. All of the Rangers' activity in the free-agent market doesn't bode well for him, but he'll be on call in Triple-A.
Duchscherer didn't reach Double-A until his fifth pro season, but he responded by being named Trenton's pitcher of the year. He never has been able to add much weight to his wiry 6-foot-3 build, so his fastball never developed into even an average pitch. It tops out in the high 80s, which means he has to have above-average command to succeed. Thus far, Duchscherer has, because he repeats his delivery very well. He does throw his breaking pitch, alternately described as a curve and a slider, from a good downward plane and has an effective changeup. Interestingly, he has held lefthanders to .213 and .192 averages in the last two seasons. Duchscherer is the type of pitcher who must prove himself again each year, and he'll be tested at Triple-A in 2001.