No. 26: Joe Musgrove
Starting pitcher / 19 years old / 6′5″ 230 lbs
Born: December 4, 1992 in El Cajon, California
Bats: Right Throws: Right
High School: Grossmont (El Cajon, CA)
College: Had committed to San Diego State University prior to signing with the Jays
Acquired: Drafted by the Blue Jays in the 1st round (46th overall) of the 2011 Amateur Draft, signed for $500,000 on June 9, 2011
Pre-2011 Rank: N/A
- Was ranked 16th in the state of California by Perfect Game just before the 2011 Draft
- Grew up a fan of the San Diego Padres
- Also played varsity football and basketball in high school
- Follow him on Twitter: @musgrove23Jays
- Was the compensation pick obtained by the Blue Jays when free agent catcher John Buck signed with the Marlins
GCL Blue Jays team ranking (min. 3 GS):
- 2nd in H/9 (7.1) and WHIP (0.969)
- T-2nd in BB/9 (1.7) and fewest walks allowed (4)
- T-3rd in starts (7)
- 6th in in innings pitched (21.2)
- 8th in ERA (4.57)
- 9th in K/9 (6.6)
A big-bodied right-handed pitcher from Grossmont High school in California, 6-foot-5, 230-pound Joe Musgrove already had a durable pitcher’s frame when he was drafted last year as an 18-year-old. Ranked 90th-best in the 2011 draft crop by Baseball America, the Blue Jays took Musgrove with the 46th-overall selection, higher than anybody had anticipated, including Musgrove himself.
Two other AL East teams, the Rays and the Orioles, were reportedly interested in drafting Musgrove, largely because of his plus fastball and projection to be a workhorse, 200-inning starter in the big leagues. His fastball sat consistently in the low 90’s last season, ranging from 90-96 mph and even touching 98 once. Musgrove also made changes to his workouts over the winter in hopes of adding a few ticks to the pitch, so it will be interesting to see what he’s clocked at when short season ball starts in late June.
Velocity isn’t the only thing with Musgrove’s fastball, though, since it has great movement with tremendous sink, and he will regularly use a two-seam variation of the pitch, especially against left-handed hitters. Musgrove also possesses above-average command of his fastball as well, something he quickly discovered had to be harnessed more often in pro ball after being able to blow his fastball anywhere over the plate to inexperienced hitters in high school.
Musgrove complements his impressive fastball with a a high-70’s hammer curveball, considered to be his best secondary pitch that currently grades as major-league average but has plus potential. He also boasts a low-80’s split changeup that is considered a work in progress. It’s been reported that Musgrove has prioritized working on his changeup and even switching to a circle grip, and considering the importance of a the pitch to Blue Jays coaches, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a much-improved changeup from Musgrove early on this season. The main issue the 19-year-old has with his changeup right now is inconsistent command, which is expected for a young pitcher right out of high school.
Musgrove signed quickly last year and was able to log eight starts, seven for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays and one with Bluefield after a late-season promotion. On top of just getting accustomed to pro ball, the California native worked on keeping the ball down in the zone and repeating his delivery, two things that he’ll continue to work on this season.
Musgrove has a fantastic work ethic and takes instruction very well, so I’m interested to see the improvements that he’s made to his game after an entire off-season and extended spring training. It’s likely that he’ll pick up where he left off with Bluefield to open the year, but an assignment to Vancouver isn’t out of the question, either, and once the necessary improvements have been made to his off-speed pitches he could see a late-season promotion to Class-A Lansing.
Expected 2012 team: Bluefield Blue Jays (Rookie)
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: No. 3-4 starter