- Full name Ryan Andrew Speier
- Born 07/24/1979 in Frankfort, KY
- Profile Ht.: 6'7" / Wt.: 210 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Radford
- Debut 04/04/2005
Organization Prospect Rankings
After missing the 2006 season when he tore the labrum in his shoulder during an offseason basketball game, Speier was a pleasant surprise last year. He bounced back strong and the Rockies called him up multiple times and kept him on their postseason roster. He made a scoreless appearance in each of the first two rounds of the playoffs before walking three straight Red Sox in a disastrous World Series outing. Speier went just 8-14, 5.09 at Radford and went unselected in the 2001 draft, signing with Colorado as a free agent after a strong performance in the Cape Cod League. He forced his way to the majors by steadily proving himself at each level in the system. Speier most often works from a sidearm slot but he'll use as many as four different arm angles in a single inning. His funky delivery throws hitters off but also can create some command problems. Despite his low slot, he can hit 91 mph with his fastball, though he achieves better sink when he works at 88-89. He attacks lefthanders with his hard slider and also has confidence in his changeup. He has a sweeping curveball that isn't very effective. As long as he can throw strikes, Speier can continue to help Colorado out of the bullpen.
A feel-good story, Speier wasn't recruited out of high school and went undrafted after three years at Radford, where he went 8-14, 5.09. Following his junior season, Speier finally garnered the attention of scouts by setting a Cape Cod League record with 16 saves while not allowing a run all summer. He was inked for $10,000 as a free agent by area scout Jay Matthews, and he joined Jeff Baker and Cory Sullivan as rookies signed by Matthews on Colorado's 2005 Opening Day roster. Speier thrives on deception, stepping across his body and varying his slots from a funky three-quarters slot to a drop-down submarine look. His pure stuff is ordinary, consisting of an 88-90 mph fastball with life, a slider and a changeup. He struggled in the big leagues at the start of last year because he wasn't finishing off his delivery, leaving pitches up in the strike zone. He ironed out that flaw when he returned to the minors in May, though he still battled control issues in September with the Rockies. Like many righties who throw across their body, Speier can be very tough on righthanders but has trouble with lefties. They hit .367 off him in Triple-A and reached base at a .467 clip against him in the majors. Improving his changeup might solve that problem, and he also needs to hone the command of his fastball. He should spend most if not all of 2006 in the majors.
Undrafted out of Radford in 2001, Speier starred in the Cape Cod League that summer and got scouts' attention. After he set a Cape saves record with 16 and didn't allow an earned run in 20 innings, he signed with the Rockies as a nondrafted free agent for $10,000. He set a Tulsa franchise mark with 37 saves last year, one off the minor league lead, and led all minor league relievers by holding batters to a .154 average. The 6-foot-7 Speier creates deception with his long arms, and further baffles hitters by throwing from an assortment of angles ranging from submarine to three-quarters. None of his pitches is exceptional, but he locates them well and batters have trouble picking them up. His fastball works around 89- 90 mph, with its movement improving as its velocity drops. Speier also uses a slider, as well as a changeup he'll throw in any count. He's durable and coming off two strong seasons in a row, so the Rockies will move him up to Triple-A to see if he can befuddle more advanced hitters. He could make the big league club if he has an impressive spring.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Reliever in the Pacific Coast League in 2007
- Rated Best Reliever in the Texas League in 2004