Jake Odorizzi: 3 Things You Need to Know on Tampa Bay Rays' New Prospect

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIDecember 10, 2012

CLEVELAND, OH - SEPTEMBER 29: Starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi #49 of the Kansas City Royals pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 29, 2012 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays have traded James Shields and Wade Davis for a group of prospects, including starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi and outfield prospect Wil Myers (via CBSSports.com). The Rays will also receive prospects Patrick Leonard and Mike Montgomery.

Odorizzi has worlds of upside and had a promising debut with the Kansas City Royals. Here are three things you need to know about the Rays' latest pitching acquisition.


Scouts Consider Him a Near Finished Prospect

Jake Odorizzi comes to the Rays with high praise from scouts. His control and ability to hit the mid-90s on his fastball have drawn significant attention, and his breaking ball is a thing of beauty.

Odorizzi comes with a great deal of polish for such a young pitcher. He keeps his fastball in the low-90s, but he can hit 95 when he needs the extra power. His ability to control that power and consistently produce the extra speed when he needs is extremely impressive.

Both his slider and his curve are also impressive pitches. They get plenty of motion on them, which forces hitters to whiff regularly. When hitters do make contact, it often results in poorly hit balls.

The one knock on Odorizzi is his developing changeup, which is not as strong as the other pitches in his arsenal. Still, Odorizzi's command over a variety of pitches is rare for such a young pitcher, giving him some solid upside in the major leagues.

Scouts certainly see the upside, ranking him highly among the top 100 prospects in America, according to Baseball America.


Odorizzi Was Part of the Trade that Sent Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers

Odorizzi is no stranger to changing scenery. Once one of the Brewers' top prospects, Odorizzi was part of the trade that sent Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers. 

History has repeated itself, as he has now been a part of another trade for a top-tier pitcher in James Shields. Perhaps if Odorizzi changes hands again, he'll be doing it as the crown jewel of the deal instead of just a prospect.


Odorizzi Has Dominated Minor League Play and Shown Promise in the Big Leagues

Odorizzi was stellar in AAA play this season, going 11-3 with a solid 2.93 ERA. He strikes out plenty of batters too, with 189 strikeouts over 213.3 innings through the course of 2012.

More impressive was Odorizzi's performance in his major league debut. He began his career with five scoreless innings, shutting down the Indians and forcing six ground balls.

With more seasoning, Odorizzi has the potential to be an upper-tier starter in the major leagues, and he's proven it at the highest level.