Rangers' Kiker has attacking style on mound 

March, 16, 2009
Notes from a recent "B" game and batting practice in Surprise, Ariz.:

• Kasey Kiker was the Rangers' first-round pick in the 2006 draft, going 12th overall in a bit of a surprise considering his short stature and the presence of a bigger high school arm in the Rangers' home state, Kyle Drabek. Drabek still has more upside, but Kiker has at least stayed healthy through three years of pro ball and survived the hitter-friendly Cal League in 2008 with good peripherals masked by a 4.73 ERA. Kiker's best attribute is his aggressiveness on the mound: He works extremely quickly and attacks hitters with stuff that is more above-average than plus. His fastball is 88-91 mph with a little sink, but not enough to make him a ground ball pitcher. His mid-70s curve has a short downward break while his changeup has a hard fade away from right-handed hitters. With plus command, that's good enough stuff for him to be a starter in the majors, although the lack of a pure out pitch could lead him to the bullpen. Either way, he's a legitimate prospect in some role with that repertoire because of the command and the way he just pitches angry.

Keith Law

ESPN Senior Writer