Saturday, June 17, 2006

Prospect Profile: Chuck James

Name: Chuck James
Age: 24
Height: 6-0
Weight: 170
Bats: L
Throws: L

Chuck James was drafted in 2002 out of Chattahoochee Valley Community College. He lasted until the 20th round (605th overall) when the Braves selected him. Most teams passed on him because of his small frame and lack of velocity. Chuck James proved his doubters wrong from the start as he used a knowledge of pitching and a decepting delivery to get hitters out. He started out in Danville where he started 11 games while fashioning a 1.25 ERA with 68 k's in 50.1 innings. He was then promoted in 2004 to Rome for his first full season of pro ball. He was lights out with a 10-5 record and 2.25 ERA. In 132 innings he only gave up 92 hits against 156 k's. His 48 walks were a tad high but everything else was excellent. He started 2005 in High A ball at Myrtle Beach. He quickly earned a promotion after 7 starts and a 1.08 ERA. In 16 starts at AA, Chuck went 9-1 with a 2.09 ERA. He finally got yet another promotion in 2005 when he went to Richmond where he posted a 3.48 ERA in 6 starts. Overall in 2005, James struck out 193 batters in 161.1 innings. He even had a cup of coffee in Atlanta where he gave up just 1 run on 4 hits in 5.2 innings.

Chuck started this season in Atlanta and would still be there if not for an injury to his hamstring. With the state of Atlanta's pitching, James will hopefully be in the rotation for the remainder of the year. In his rehab at Richmond, Chuck has gone 1-0 in 6 games with a 2.36 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. His K/BB is at 23/4. Chuck definitely will not be a prospect for long.

In my opinion, Chuck James projects as a top of the rotation starter. I don't see him as an ace but he could have a couple of years that are worthy of an ace. He has breezed through every level of the minor leagues posting low hit totals and high strikeout totals. His deceptive delivery is not a fluke and his ability to change speeds and knowledge of pitching will help him years down the road. There were some question last year about his make-up because of his reported run-ins with teammates in the past. He has pretty much alleviated these fears with his excellent behavior over the past couple of years. I like Chuck James a lot and would love to see him as Atlanta's No.2 starter for many years.







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