6'2" 160 lbs DOB: 10/12/1990
Bats: Right | Throws: Right
2009: Princeton Rays/Hudson Valley Renegades
Acquired: 2008 Draft, 13th Round, 383rd Overall
The Rays signed Jason McEachern in time for him to pitch 25 innings with Princeton as a 17-year old in 2008, and it looked certain that he would spend all of the 2009 season there. Instead, he dazzled in his three P-Rays starts to open the season(1.06 ERA, 15 strikeouts and 0 walks) and was promoted to Hudson Valley.
With the Renegades, McEachern was somewhat overshadowed by Alex Colome and Kyle Lobstein in the rotation. But as one of the youngest players in the New York-Penn League, he was just about as statistically impressive. In 55.2 innings with the 'Gades, McEachern posted a 2.75 ERA, striking out 47 and walking just 12.
It's not just that he limits the walks, though. He shows advanced command that's rare for his age, working both sides of the plate and staying down in the zone. He isn't overpowering with his stuff, but with a low-90s fastball and a solid breaking pitch, he's not merely a finesse pitcher. His 6'2", 160 pound frame and smooth mechanics leave plenty of room for projection. His stuff could become truly wicked if he continues to add strength. His change-up needs work, but that's not uncommon for a 19-year old.
McEachern is one of the hardest players to pencil into a 2010 rotation. He more than held his own with Hudson Valley, and the Rays weren't shy about promoting him from Princeton, but the organization doesn't have a track recording of promoting 19-year olds into full-season ball, excepting Tim Beckham, who was drafted 382 spots ahead of McEachern. My guess is he does get a shot at Bowling Green, but possibly after a month or so in extended spring training.
It's not really a secret that McEachern is one of my personal favorite prospects. He can throw strikes and his stuff is at least a tick above average. He's shown he can get hitters who are more advanced than him out. Even though he hasn't even pitched 100 pro innings, McEachern is a "safe" bet, at least as far as pitching prospects are concerned. But I think his stuff has a chance to simply blow up and catapult him into the ranks of the game's elite prospects in 2-3 years, not unlike the jump that occurred his senior year of high school, when he went from a Division II college prospect to one of the best players from North Carolina.