Profile: 6'5" - 235lbs - BT:L - TH:L - 2011 Age: 25
• FB 92-93: Has shown ability to work higher, but velocity was down somewhat in 2010. (55-70)
• SL 82-83: Flashes plus, needs to be more consistent. (65-70)
• CH 80-81: Same as slider. (60-65)
A hard-throwing closer in college, Hagadone was the first round pick by the Red Sox in he 2007 draft. He was converted to a starting role by the Red Sox and then subsequently dealt to the Indians in the Victor Martinez trade.
Hagadone has the stereotypical pitchers build - tall with broad shoulders - and uses it to generate impressive velocity from the left side. Unfortunately, his delivery is max-effort, and in the past has not been very clean or repeatable. That's led to persistent and control issues as well as Tommy John surgery part way through the 2008 season that kept him out for a year. His signing late in 2007, combined with the injury limited him to just 34 innings through his first two pro seasons.
Hagadone works from a high 3/4 slot and generates very good velocity - reaching as high as 97-98 at times out of the bullpen. Looking at video from his 2010 season, his motion looks to have been cleaned up a bit - he's not jerking his body around as he begins his delivery. That could explain why his velocity was off by a mile-per-hour or two this season. His follow through still isn't clean and that concerns me about potential shoulder problems in the future.
Unfortunately, his cleaned-up motion hasn't led to cleaned up command. Hagadone still has significant issues with locating any of his three pitches and occasionally loses the zone completely. His slider and changeup are both plus pitches when they're on, but he simply doesn't command either well enough.
Hagadone is in a tough spot. Essentially missing his first two seasons of professional baseball and then having to spend the next two working through recovery has gotten him to the point where, as a soon to be 25 year old, he has significant hurdles left to overcome. While he's always shown an ability to miss bats, his control at this point is a significant concern. Teams will stick with a 20 or 21 year old who is having these sorts of control problems, but at Hagadone's age, the Indians are nearing a point where they're going to need to make a switch to the bullpen. It's likely that the Indians will give him one more extended look as a starter this season - it sometimes takes 2-3 years for a pitcher to fully recover from Tommy John surgery - especially his command. But in Hagadone's case, his command wasn't that great even before injury.
His stuff will miss bats regardless of whether he works as a starter or reliever, but baring a sudden and significant improvement in command, his likely future is in the bullpen. In that role, he's almost certain to be a legitimate force. From there he can pump the fastball consistently into the 94-96 range and the extra velocity on his heater should make his off-speed offering even more difficult to handle.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net and 312Sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.