Prospect Profile: Josh Rainwater

Will Rainwater be ready for full season ball?

When Dave Dombrowski took over the Tigers, he made one noticable change in scouting, and that was to focus on pitchers who had a high ceiling, most specifically, a hard fastball. Josh Rainwater is one of the many that have been added under that mantra, now he'll just need the rest of his game to catch up to complement his mid-90's fastball.

Josh Rainwater
Position: Right Handed Pitcher Height: 6-1 Weight: 220
Born: 4/9/1985 Bats: Right Throws: Right

Background
Rainwater was a dominating high school talent who fell in the draft as more teams realized the additional risk involved with such young arms. The Tigers were pleased to find Josh on the board in the 4th round, and made him their selection in the 2003 draft. In addition to the inherent risk involved with high school pitchers, Rainwater was not protected very well by his high school coach. A fairly highly publicized incident involved Rainwater tossing a no-hitter in his state semifinals game, then coming back to face seven batters the following day in the championship game for the save. All that combined, led to a very protective first two seasons in which Rainwater only pitched in 87 innings. In those 87 innings, Rainwater was successful in striking out batters at an impressive rate, more than one per inning, but he also posted extremely high walk rates, at over 6 per nine innings. Thus far, Rainwater has struggled his way to a 1-8 record and 4.47 ERA.

Scouting Report
A hard-throwing righty, Rainwater's fastball sits consistently in the 93-95 range, with little movement. Unfortunately, Josh has trouble identifying where his powerful fastball is heading, and it has showed in his performance to date. Josh has attempted several different off-speed pitches, none with much success. All of them remain inconsistent at best, and lack control of any sort. There are concerns regarding Rainwater's lack of athleticism, and some within the organization believe he needs to shed some weight to be a more effective pitcher in the long term. As Josh continues to mature, he could add more strength, and increased velocity, but will need to gain command to experience success as a professional. His big frame lends well to future durability, and he could become a classic power pitcher in time. Josh is likely to be slow in developing, but has the make-up and raw potential to be a special pitcher.

Performance

Year

Team

W-L

ERA

G

GS

SV

SO

BB

IP

WHIP

2004

Oneonta

0-6

4.22

11

11

0

52

35

49.0

1.65


Health Record
Josh has had no significant injuries to this point.

The Future
Overall, Rainwater regressed in 2004, and will need a solid spring to warrant promotion to West Michigan. It is likely he will start the season in the Whitecaps rotation, but with many more advanced pitchers heading to the Midwest League with him, he could be left behind in extended spring training until the New York-Penn League season begins. Rainwater will have to compete with the likes of Andrew Kown, Josh Kauten, Nate Bumstead, Lavon Lewis, and Dan Konecny, among others for time in the ‘Caps rotation. If Josh can begin to harness his arsenal, he could become a very solid pitcher in a hurry, but without command, Josh will remain a long ways from Detroit. As it stands, Rainwater is unlikely to move much more than a level per season, leaving him at least 3-4 years away from Detroit.

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