Scouting Report: SP Kevin Deaton

Deaton Couldn't Stay Healthy In 2005

The New York Mets signed Kevin Deaton an an undrafted free agent out of Merritt Island High School in Florida back in 2000. Deaton is a huge presence on the mound, literally, and boasts a solid repertoire with a good record over his career. Here's a scouting report on Kevin Deaton.

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Vital Statistics:
Name: Kevin Deaton
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: August 7, 1981
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 235
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

If Kevin Deaton could stay healthy, the thinking goes, the burly right-hander could be in position to put together a monster season.

Unfortunately for the former offensive lineman, who turned down a football scholarship at the University of Florida to sign a free-agent contract with the Mets, it hasn't quite worked out that way.

After missing a significant portion of the 2004 season to arm troubles, problems cropped up again for the 24-year-old hurler again last season at Double-A Binghamton.

First, it was a back problem, as Deaton landed on the disabled list in May with a strained lumbar and two herniated discs in his back – a situation so painful that Deaton could not stand up for 10 days after a May 8 start at Erie.

Then, in June, Deaton's pitching arm followed suit: instead of making starts for the B-Mets, Deaton was shut down after June 26 and submitted to a battery of MRIs and tests, complaining of soreness.

The tests originally didn't find any damage for Deaton, who went 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in his first 11 starts of the Eastern League, and he was sent to the Mets' training facility in Port St. Lucie to attempt more aggressive rehabilitation.

Eventually, progress wasn't made, and Deaton became the fourth B-Mets pitcher to undergo Tommy John surgery in 2005, joining Philip Humber, Ken Chenard and Lino Urdaneta – a disturbing trend that eventually contributed to the Mets' dismissal of Binghamton's coaching staff.

Something of a backwards pitcher when healthy, Deaton sets up his average fastball with an array of secondary pitches, whipping change-ups, curveballs and sliders to keep hitters guessing.

He's somewhat deceptive in that most would expect a pitcher of his hulking body size to be a power pitcher – in fact, Deaton originally had no love for football, the sport that could have punched his ticket to the NCAA; he only headed for the gridiron in high school as a way to impress the father of his future wife.

The Tommy John surgery will set Deaton back for at least 12 months, although it's entirely possible he could see game action before the end of the 2006 minor league campaign. He'll need a solid comeback to continue gaining status among the Mets' prospect ranks.

"I don't do anything special," Deaton said. "I don't have electric stuff. And nobody gives me a chance of making it. But all I do is keep plugging along and work really hard."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2005

Binghamton

3-4

53.2

56

13

55

4.19

2004

St. Lucie

6-3

96.1

94

23

73

2.99

2003

Capital City

7-5

135.1

128

56

121

3.86

2002

Brooklyn

7-1

82.0

68

18

93

3.07

2001

Capital City

0-0

4.0

4

3

6

4.50

2001

Kingsport

5-2

47.1

40

10

43

2.09

2000

Kingsport

0-1

20.0

15

4

19

3.15



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Deaton is more of a sinker-ball pitcher, throwing the majority of 2-seam fastballs in the 89-91 MPH range. He gets a lot of movement with his 2-seam fastball and he uses it to get ground ball outs. He throws a 4-seam fastball that sits between 91-92 MPH and he primarily throws it in to left-handed batters to keep them from reaching out over the plate. When he drops to a 3/4 motion, his fastball has excellent run action, moving from right to left.

Other Pitches. Deaton has a sharp breaking curveball that he throws around 74-76 MPH. He's been working on changing speeds with his curveball to make it more effective, and after sitting 76-78 MPH with it, he's been able to throw it slower the last year or so. He also has two different changeups, one that runs away from left-handed batters and one that drops down on right-handed batters. His changeup sits 78-81 MPH and he compliments his repertoire with a slider in the 82-83 MPH range.

Pitching. Deaton, despite his big size, is more of a control pitcher than a power pitcher. He's more of a backwards pitcher, setting up his fastball with his breaking stuff. He has excellent command of his pitches and mixes in his pitches very well and changes speeds to keep opposing hitters off-balance, much in the same manner as Greg Maddux. Once a behemoth offensive lineman in high school, Deaton has worked tirelessly to improve his stamina on the mound by losing over 40 pounds since joining the Mets. Still a big-bodied pitcher, Deaton uses his natural strength to be an innings eater on the mound.

Projection. Deaton doesn't have the electric stuff of a frontline starting pitcher. He battles on the mound and keeps his teams in games. He uses his intelligence on the mound and excellent command of his pitches to keep hitter's guessing in the batter's box. He has had a few nagging injuries the last couple of seasons, but when he's healthy, he simply wins games. He owns a 28-16 mark after posting his first losing record in 2005 since going 0-1 in his first year in the organization back in 2000. If he can remain healthy, Deaton could be an excellent #4 type of starter for the Mets someday. He projects to be more of a Steve Trachsel type at the Major League level.

ETA. 2007/2008. Deaton's injuries limited him to just 11 games with the AA-Binghamton Mets in 2005 so he'll have to go back to Binghamton in 2006 to get some more seasoning. After bouts of tendonitis and other injuries that have limited his time on the mound the last two seasons, Deaton is going to have to show he can stay healthy to continue opening eyes in the organization. He has an outside shot of being ready for the big leagues by 2007, but his injuries have probably pushed back his ETA to 2008.

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