BROOKS POUNDERS
RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
Born: September 26, 1990
Height: 6′ 4″
Weight: 270
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 2nd Round, 53rd Overall, 2009
How Acquired: Draft
High School: Temecula Valley (Temecula, CA)
Agent: John Boggs, JBA Sports

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Pounders was the first of a large number of high school pitchers selected by the Pirates in 2009, following years of largely avoiding high school players.  He’s a big guy, but did not throw exceptionally hard in high school and was regarded as more of a finesse pitcher.  Although perfectgame.com claimed his fastball registered 90-94, all the other sources I saw at draft time, including Baseball America and MLB.com, stated that he threw in the 88-90 range and instead relied on good command of four pitches.  As a pro, he’s pitched in relief and his velocity has been better, mostly in the 90-92 range.  He has a high-effort delivery that’s surprising for a guy his size.  BA listed him as the 39th best draft prospect in California, but did not include him in its top 200 draft prospects, so he appears to have been a little overdrafted.  This probably made it easier for the Pirates to sign him away from his commitment to USC, which they did about a week after the draft.

2009
R:  2-2-0, 3.04 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 23.2 IP, 4.2 BB/9, 7.6 K/9

Pounders pitched well in the GCL, including a .218 opponents’ average.  One possible concern was that he walked ten in his last twelve innings after walking only one in his first 11.2.  That’s not much of a sample size, though.

2010
A-:  3-3-1, 4.46 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 42.1 IP, 3.2 BB/9, 6.2 K/9

Spent the season at State College, pitching mainly in relief in the piggybacking rotation Pirates used with their young pitchers.  He generally went 2-3 innings per outing, which was a bit surprising as it resulted in lower overall innings total than some other prospects, such as Zack von Rosenberg and Zack Dodson.  Pounders’ performance was variable and, unlike the other young pitchers, was a little weaker at the end of the season.  For instance, he went from four walks and twenty strikeouts in June and July to eleven walks and nine strikeouts in August.  With the high-effort motion, he seemed at times to rush into his delivery, causing him to get the ball up a lot.  Maybe for this reason, he had a very low ground out to air out ratio of 0.52.

2011
A:  5-5-3, 3.68 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 66 IP, 1.9 BB/9, 9.8 K/9

At West Virginia, Pounders again worked out of the bullpen, starting only once.  The results were up and down at times, but generally very good.  For one thing, his K rate improved dramatically.  His ERA and WHIP dropped, but he had some trouble with HRs, allowing nine.  Left-handed hitters batted .256 against him and had a significantly higher HR rate than right-handed hitters, who hit .235.  He still was a flyball pitcher, but only mildly so this time.  He evidently didn’t hesitate to pitch inside; he hit 13 batters, just one less than he walked.  That works out to slightly more than a batter every five innings, more than three times as often as the league average.

I’m not sure why the Pirates are limiting Pounders’ workload more than their other young pitchers.  It may have to do with his conditioning, although he looked in better shape in 2011 than 2010.  He’s probably more advanced than the other pitchers in the sense that he mixes his pitches more than they do, relying less on the fastball.  He should be at Bradenton in 2012.  He’ll play the season at 21, which is a good age for the level.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MiLB.com

High School
W-L-Sv
G
IP
H
HR
BB
K
BB/9
K/9
WHIP
OAVG
ERA
2009
9-2-0
12
64.1
62
3
20
91
2.8
12.7
1.27
.251
1.96
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2012: Minor League Contract
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $670,000
MiLB Debut: 7/4/2009
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2015
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: 2013
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 9, 2009: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 2nd round, 53rd overall pick; signed on June 18.