If you haven't heard of 21-year-old C.J. Edwards of the Single-A Hickory Crawdads, it's about time you take a look at him. Edwards is now pitching in his first full minor league season after being drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2011, and he has been posting remarkable numbers.
Edwards is ranked as the 17th-best prospect in the Rangers' minor league organization. Not too bad, but it gets better. Edwards has made a name for himself ever since being drafted in the 48th round of 2011's draft. No, that's not a typo.
The Rangers selected Edwards 1,464th overall out of Mid-Carolina High School and sent him to their rookie team in the Arizona League. It's safe to say that Edwards' time in the Arizona League was a success.
He made a total of three starts with the AZL Rangers, posting a 3-0 record over 20 innings pitched. He allowed just six hits over that span, striking out 25 batters and holding opposing offenses scoreless.
Following his time with the AZL Rangers, Edwards was promoted to Low-A Spokane. His 2-3 record over 10 starts with the Indians may lead some to think he struggled following his promotion. That is far from the case.
Despite his record, Edwards still posted a 2.11 ERA over 47 innings, giving up a total of just 11 earned runs. He also managed to strike out 60 batters while walking only 19. Opposing hitters were held to just a .160 average during his time in Spokane, and Edwards was again promoted. He was promoted to the Hickory Crawdads to start the 2013 season and has remained with the team since his call-up.
As this season currently stands, Edwards is 6-2 with the Crawdads, posting a 2.07 ERA in his first 12 starts. He has held hitters to a .176 average this season and allowed only 14 earned runs. To put it simply, this kid looks to have a bright future.
He possesses three pitches that he throws, all of which are relatively effective. His fastball tends to hit anywhere from the high 80's to the low 90's, and his curveball and changeup both have great upside.
Keep an eye out for Edwards as the season progresses. He was named to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game last week and was Pitcher of the Month for Hickory in April. It will be a long time until Edwards reaches the majors, but he appears to be well on track if his first two years are any indication.
All stats and info courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com, MLB.com, MiLB.com, YouTube.com and BaseballAmerica.com.
Follow Zachary on Twitter at @ZacharyKrueger
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