1st Round Supp. #43 Overall Brad Boxberger RHP USC
Player Name: Brad Boxberger
Position: Starting Pitcher
School: University of Southern California
School Type: College
Academic Class: Junior
Weight: 200 lbs.
Report Date(s): 3/13/09
Focus Area Comments
Fastball: Boxberger threw his fastball up to 95 mph and maintained the velocity deep into his start.
Fastball movement: Had good movement throughout the start.
Slider: Threw a good hard slider.
Curve: Can also throw a good curve ball.
Changeup: Changeup grades out as average.
Control: His command is in and out, one week good, one week not as consistent. Overall, it's improved.
Poise: Has good mound presence.
Physical Description: Boxberger isn't anything flashy. He has a solid pitcher's body.
Medical Update: Healthy.
Strengths: He can throw several pitches for strikes and knows how to pitch. He seems to be improving from past performances.
Weaknesses: Command and stamina. The question is is if he can maintain his velocity -- some had seen him as a reliever in the past as a result -- though he's been doing it so far this season.
Summary: Boxberger definitely improved his Draft status with his first several starts. While many had seen him as a reliever in the future, he's emerged as a legitimate starting prospect with his performance. The key has been his ability to maintain his velocity deep into his starts, something he hadn't done in the past. And while his command is still a little inconsistent, it's better than it has been. Combine that with a full repertoire of pitches and if Boxberger keeps it up, he'll seriously enter the first-round conversation.
PG Cross Checker:
Summary: Boxberger, USC's Friday night starter, was one of the best relievers on the Cape last summer and might be better suited for that role in pro ball. As a starter, Boxberger is 91-93 mph with some glove-side run, using a sharp downer curveball (78-80) as his primary out pitch. He will flash a slider and changeup, with the slider a potentially future-average pitch at 84-85 with a little bite. As a reliever, his fastball plays up a little and he can touch 96 while sitting more 92-94. His arm action is long in back and he's something of a pie-thrower, separating his hands low, fully extending his arm behind him after he's started his stride, and showing the ball to the hitter very early in his delivery. His command and control are both below average, and the combination of iffy fastball command and lack of life on the pitch is a concern. He could go as high as the sandwich to a team that likes him as a future starter, but he's more likely to succeed as a two-pitch reliever.
PRESENT FUTURE LOW (MPH) HIGH (MPH)
Fastball 55 -- 91 94
Curveball 50 55 78 80
Slider 45 50 84 85
Changeup 45 45 -- --
Splitter 40 45 -- --
FB Movement 45 45
Command 35 45
Control 35 45
Feel for Pitching -- --
Brad Boxberger RHP Jr. R-R 6-2 195 Southern California Tustin, Calif. Royals '06 (20th Rd) 5/27/1988
SCOUTING PROFILE (3/1): Boxberger returned to the Cape Cod League with a new team and in a new role in 2008, and his new lease on life led to a dramatic improvement as he progressed from the league's No. 32 prospect (as a starter at Orleans) to No. 8 (as a closer at Chatham). While he went 1-0, 1.24 and limited Cape hitters to a .155 average a year earlier, Boxberger wasn't overpowering with a fastball in the 88-91 mph range. That all changed last summer as he was able to blow out his fastball in short bursts, and regularly reached 93-95 mph with late life and command. He effectively became a bullpen pitcher with starter stuff as he was able to complement his sizzling fastball with a hard, biting, 84-86 mph slider, a 74-76 mph curve and a legit change. Though he was not enthralled initially with closing, Boxberger began taking to the role as he got hitters out consistently, and he soon relished closing out games. His makeup seemed appropriate for the role, too, as he handled pressure situations with an expressionless demeanor. The upshot was a 1-2, 2.89 record with nine saves in 19 appearances (he had two blown saves that were attributed to his catcher not being able to handle his overpowering stuff). In 19 innings, he struck out 28 and walked eight while limiting hitters to a .170 average. That performance was in sharp contrast to his sophomore season at USC, where he went 2-4, 6.12 with three saves and allowed 80 base runners (54 hits, 26 walks) in 50 innings, while striking out 52. Boxberger began the 2008 season in the Trojans rotation, but was shut down twice with a balky elbow and finished the season in a less-demanding bullpen role. USC coaches allowed him to return to the Cape, but with strict instructions that he not be overworked. His role as a closer satisfied that request, and it may also have boosted his draft stock into the first round of next year's draft as a dozen scouting directors witnessed him at his dominant-best in a one-inning role at the Cape Cod League all-star game. Should he be selected in the first round, it would give Boxberger, a 20th-round pick of the Kansas City Royals out of high school, and his father Rod the rare distinction of being father-son first-rounders out of the same college. Rod Boxberger (12-1, 2.00) was selected the outstanding player at the 1978 College World Series for champion USC and went on to become the first-round draft pick that year of the Houston Astros, though never pitched in the big leagues.-ALLAN SIMPSON
UPDATE (5/15): Boxberger returned to his customary role as USC's Friday starter this spring, and though he won just five games in 13 starts while posting a 5-3, 2.97 record, he generally pitched well enough to give himself a shot to go late in the first round-though clearly not as high as his father went 31 years earlier, when he was the 11th pick. Brad showed a quick, live arm with an easy, fluid delivery and produced a fastball that ranged from 91-94 mph. His slider, curve and change well all solid, dependable secondary pitches. Boxberger demonstrated good pitchability and a sound, competitive mound presence, though he had a tendency to run out of gas late in games and his command would falter. That was reflective of the 47 walks he surrendered in a staff-high 88 innings, but his 95 strikeouts and a .203 opponent batting average were accurate barometers of his dominance.-AS
Name: Brad Boxberger
Height/Weight: 6-2 / 195
Date of Birth: 5/27/88
Brewerfan.net Rank: 29
Brad Boxberger looked like a completely different pitcher when I saw him used predominantly in relief last summer on the Cape than he did when he started the spring as one of USC's weekend starters. To open the year, his stuff looked very hittable, and it was, as it led to an ERA in excess of 6.00 for his sophomore season. He was moved to the bullpen mid-year, and served as the closer to finish the season. He continued that role into the summer, and was very successful in doing so, earning a spot on the league's all-star game roster. Boxberger showed the stuff that made him so successful as a freshman at USC, and also on the Cape, when he was named a freshman All-American. At his best, although in shorter outings, Boxberger was pitching in the 93-94 range, with pretty good, late movement on his fastball. He also throws a slider with some cut-fastball type action on it, as well as a curveball. His range of pitches makes everyone not want to give up on his future as a starter, and he reportedly will re-claim a weekend role (probably Friday) with USC next spring, but again, his stuff lately has played so much better in shorter stints. He recorded nine saves on the Cape, and when batters are making contact, they're usually hitting weak ground balls to the infielders playing behind Boxberger. He has a good, strong frame and a low waist with strong lower body strength. They is still room in his upper body to add strength, although he may not need it given his present-day stuff. If he does start for the Trojans to open the year, how he starts the season could make a huge impact on his overall draft status, as he has the size, stuff and pitching savvy to go among the top 10-15 picks.