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SoxProspects News

February 8, 2010 at 8:30 AM

2010 Prospect Previews: Kyle Weiland and Tim Federowicz

With Spring Training set to get under way, SoxProspects.com will be taking an in depth look at many of the system's prospects with previews set for every Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday leading up to Opening Day. The first installment of the series features two of the Red Sox' young players looking to continue to build on solid 2009 seasons and push towards the upper levels of the system.

Kyle Weiland

Position: Starting Pitcher
2009 Team: Salem Red Sox
2010 Projected Team: Portland Sea Dogs

Strengths: Weiland’s most advanced pitch and the best one in his arsenal is his hard, sinking fastball. Possessing excellent command of the pitch, Weiland can move his fastball around both sides of the plate and split corners while staying out of the middle of the strike zone. Generally sitting 90-92 MPH, Weiland has the ability to reach back and touch 94 MPH in situations where he needs a little more velocity to produce a strikeout or freeze a batter. With heavy dart and downward tilt, batters have a tough time elevating the pitch, especially when it is below the belt, and generally get on top of the ball when they make contact. Weiland has no fear on the mound and likes to go after batters, pitching inside effectively by locating his fastball up and under the hands of hitters to jam them. He is not easily rattled on the mound, and his poise and mature approach allow him to get himself out of trouble, contributing to his reputation as a tough competitor. Weiland was a reliever in college, but after signing with the organization in 2008, he has shown the knack for being able to hold his velocity well deep into games, and that he can continue in the role of a starting pitcher heading into the upper levels of the system. He’s been able to consistently repeat his delivery and get excellent drive despite having somewhat unconventional pitching mechanics, and he has been able to maintain a release point that allows him to get a lot of torque on top of the ball.

Development Needs: While his secondary pitches made improvements in 2009 and he started to rely on them more, Weiland’s control with these pitches was spotty at times. He left them up in the zone too much, especially early in the season, causing him to struggle during his first month with Salem. However, he did make improvements towards the middle of the season, keeping the ball down more to put together a string of strong outings. His low-80’s biting slider shows flashes of being an above-average pitch, but he could stand to use it more ahead in the count and continue to polish it off so hitters chase the pitch as it drops out of the strike zone. He can straighten a batter up with it and drop it in the strike zone when he needs a change of pace, but needs more overall trust in the pitch as a starter. Weiland began working on a change-up when he transitioned to starting games, and the offering is still a bit inconsistent and could use some more deception. He hides the ball well in his delivery, but at times there isn’t enough separation off his fastball and fade out of the zone to make it a true out-pitch for him.

2010 Outlook: This season should be a good challenge for Weiland, as he has an inside track on starting the year in the Portland rotation and will face more mature hitters in Double-A. Look for him to continue to go after batters and use his plus fastball to his advantage, producing a lot of groundballs and weak contact in the process. The biggest key for Weiland is the continued improvement and trust in his secondary offerings. The emergence of these pitches, in the form of an above-average slider and consistent change-up, will further cement his progression as a player with a path as a big league starting pitcher. Look for the Red Sox to keep him in a starting role until he proves he can’t handle it, and his progression to date shows he’s not too far off from entering the mix for a future contributing role in some capacity at the major league level.

Tim Federowicz

Position: Catcher
2009 Teams: Greenville Drive/Salem Red Sox
2010 Projected Team: Salem Red Sox

Strengths: Federowicz continued his development as an above-average defensive catcher and refined his skills further behind the dish in 2009. His cannon throwing arm and quick release allow him to gun down would-be base stealers while controlling the opposition’s running game on a routine basis. With good instincts behind the plate, Federowicz is able react quickly on balls and his blocking of pitches in the dirt showed improvement. Known as a leader and strong influence, he works well with the pitching staff and is progressing in managing the finer points of the game. At the plate, a compact stroke allows Federowicz to get out ahead of pitches, and he flashed some power during his stint with the Greenville Drive. After needing to make some adjustments following his summer with the Lowell Spinners in 2008, he made a strong transition to hitting with wood bats in full-season baseball and looked a lot more comfortable in the batter’s box. Federowicz generally makes good contact and shows improving gap power, with some projection as a hitter who can hit some balls out of the park.

Development Needs: Going unchallenged during the first half of the 2009 season with Greenville, he ran into more advanced pitching after being promoted to Salem and showed the need for some work with his approach going forward. Possessing good pitch recognition, Federowicz is going to have to demonstrate more patience at higher levels, work himself into better counts, and cut down on chasing tough pitches on the corners early in at-bats. His developmental needs were evident based on the lack of walks he drew and the decrease in consistent hard contact with Salem. He has a tendency to try to over-pull balls and needs to use the opposite field more to limit pitchers from consistently working him on the outside corner of the plate. These needs should improve with the increase in exposure to better pitching and consistent at-bats. Also, while Federowicz throws out base runners extremely well, he sometimes gets a little long with his throws, which causes him to have balls tail into runners and slow down his usually quick release. As he advances up the ranks, he’ll need to improve on how he frames pitches and controlling balls he blocks in the dirt a little better as well.

2010 Outlook: Federowicz looks likely to break camp with Salem and continue his development in High-A, with an eye on a promotion to Portland later on in the summer. After getting an initial exposure to pitching more in line with his level and age, he should improve his patience and settle back in to hitting from gap to gap. His doubles power should translate into some more balls heading over the fence as he improves on selecting pitches he can handle. Look for Federowicz to continue to carve himself out as a strong defensive catcher in 2010 and make some improvements in his offensive game during the first half of the season. He showed during his time with Greenville in 2009 that he has the potential to make good contact and flash some power. Federowicz has the defensive skills to carry himself to the big leagues as a backup catcher, and 2010 should prove to be a litmus test as to whether his offensive skills can continue to sharpen and push his projection towards a starting role.