Prospect Pitch: Bedrosian back to work

Angels' first-rounder battling in first season back from surgery

By Andrew Pentis / Special to | June 27, 2012 6:00 AM ET

Cam Bedrosian is back to using his adult-sized mitt, but it's clear the Angels are keeping the kiddie gloves on their first-round draftee in 2010, Tommy John surgery victim in 2011 and ninth-ranked prospect in 2012. For proof of this, look not at the three pitches he is throwing but at the three he is not yet throwing:

  • On the slider, a pitch his dad -- Cy Young Award winner Steve Bedrosian -- taught him at East Coweta High School in Georgia: "They want me to get the curveball down pat."
  • On the cut-fastball, a pitch he's toyed with off to the side in his first full pro season at Class A Cedar Rapids: "They said, 'Wait for now.'"
  • On the two-seam fastball, a pitch that could offer a devastating contrast to his mid-90 mph four-seamer: "Just want to get through this year."
"The second year after the surgery is when you start getting everything back. So I'm just trying to push through until then, until I get everything back, and then," Bedrosian said, "I can't wait."

Working with an intentionally simple three-pitch repertoire and on a limiting 80-pitch-count in the interim, Bedrosian (2-6, 5.31 ERA) completed six scoreless innings -- and earned his first pro win -- on June 9 against Clinton, then tossed up five more zeroes on June 14 opposing Burlington. But the 20-year-old right-hander suffered another setback last Friday when he allowed a season-high five runs to Beloit over three innings.

He has yielded three or more runs in six of his 10 post-op outings.

"It's frustrating. It is," he said. "Coming back from it, it's been tougher than I first imagined. I thought, 'Once I get to about 12 months and get back in the system and throwing again, I'll be all ready to go.' But it's been a lot tougher getting a feel for everything. My first couple of starts were a little -- I was a little wild. It was hard to control the fastball and other pitches. Each time I throw, I feel a little bit better." asked Bedrosian to describe and grade each of the three pitches he is employing. (His grade is based on a scout's traditional 20-80 scale, 50 being the Major League average.) Here is Bedrosian, in his own words.

Pitch one: Four-seam fastball

Purpose: That's my go-to pitch. I mess with a two-seam a little bit, but not so much. That's more work for next offseason. I fiddled around with it in high school. Right now, I put it on the back-burner.

Grip: Traditional four-seam.

Speed: I like to see it between 92 mph and 94, 95. So far this year, it's been down a little bit -- probably 90 to 92 -- coming off of surgery, which is, they say, normal for the first couple of months coming back.

Grade: Right now? 50-55. I think it's a good pitch. Lately, the command has been good.

Pitch two: Changeup

Origin: I learned a whole new grip this year. I used to throw a two-seam changeup, but I switched to a four-seam to make it more deceiving coming off a four-seam fastball. Our pitching rover, Kernan Ronan, and my Cedar Rapids pitching coach, Trevor Wilson, were telling me about how they thought it was a little more deceiving to hitters, and I agree with that. Sometimes a hitter can pick up a two-seam grip off a pitcher's hand more than a four-seam, so if you throw the same grip, it's a little bit tougher to pick it up out of the hand.

Purpose: Not a ton of movement to it. Just something to mix up speeds to get the hitters off balance. It cuts a little bit right now, but I think I just have to get a feel for it and, after a while, maybe I can put a little movement on it.

Grip: Four-seam changeup. Middle and ring fingers on top of the ball.

Speed: I like to see it 83-84 to 86, somewhere in there.

Grade: 50. It's working well -- for not throwing it very long, it's working well. I threw it a lot my last three starts.

Pitch three: Curveball

Origin: In high school, my dad taught me how to throw a slider and then I started messing around with moving my thumb and taught myself the curveball. It wasn't too hard for me to learn at first because I had thrown that slider.

I threw both in high school and when I got to pro ball the Angels told me to get one of the two down pat. We all came to an agreement that the curveball -- if you can throw it, it's a harder pitch to hit it.

Purpose: It's more of a strikeout pitch, but lately I've been throwing it for strikes. I try to throw it any count.

Grip: My middle finger is on the seam on the right side of the horseshoe -- my index finger is behind it to give it a little snap -- and my thumb is on the other side of the horseshoe.

Speed: Anywhere from 77 to 79.

Grade: 55. I've struggled with it a little bit this year, coming off surgery, but lately it's been better.

Andrew Pentis is a contributor to Follow him on Twitter at AndrewMiLB. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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