Scouting Report: Greg Maddux
Second in a series of weekly scouting reports provided to SI.com by the network of former players, coaches, scouts and executives at the Baseline Group. To read the first, on Max Scherzer of the Diamondbacks, click here.
Greg Maddux has been one of the most consistent and effective pitchers during his career, which you have to be to win 350 games and four Cy Young awards. Although the 42-year-old doesn't pitch with the same velocity he once had, he is still successful. He's posted a 3-3 record with the Padres this year, with a 3.60 ERA - good for an ERA+ of 106.
Maddux's continued success comes from the following factors:
Ability to change speeds
Ability to locate the ball (averaging one walk per start this year)
Incredible knowledge of pitching, opponents and the overall game
Defense -- he is the best fielding pitcher in the game's history and is still able to get off the mound quickly.
For the past 20 years, Maddux has pitched more than 198 innings every season. He is considered one of the toughest competitors in the game, and among his teammates he is viewed as a true "gamer" -- a player who will do whatever it takes to help his team. He's a sure-bet first ballot Hall of Famer, but only he knows when he'll be inducted. Because he is still pitching successfully and appears to still be enjoying playing, he may keep on pitching.
Above average control
Above average changeup and movement
Defense -- He's still the game's best fielding pitcher
Outstanding plan of attack
Mound presence and competitiveness
Below average velocity on his fastball
Slow to the plate with runners on base
Declining strikeout rate means more balls getting put into play
Fastball (82-86 mph)
Maddux's fastball has below average velocity but above average movement, creating plus sink with above average control. He gets in trouble with this pitch when he elevates it and it runs back over the middle of the plate. He pitches away from both left-handed and right-handed hitters, but he'll go inside when he's ahead of the count to make room for his off-speed pitches away or pitch to contact.
Curve (69-72 mph)
He doesn't use his curve much, but when he does, he likes to use it back door to left-handed hitters in the middle counts. Because he doesn't use it much, his big 11-5 breaking pitch is inconsistent with below average location - especially compared to his other pitches.
Slider (76-79 mph)
Maddux doesn't use his slider much, either, but he will throw it to both sides of the plate and to both right-handed and left-handed hitters. His slider has only a small break and limited depth, but he uses it effectively by changing the eye level of hitters and expanding the strike zone.
Changeup (75-79 mph)
This is still his best pitch. Against left-handed hitters, he'll throw it on both sides of the plate, throwing it down and away or inside for a strike. Against right-handers, he'll throw it down and in or hit the outside corner for a strike. He creates above average sinking action with above average arm speed. It's an effective pitch because it has the same movement as his fastball and he's able to locate it down in the zone effectively.
Maddux has seemingly perfect mechanics, which is one of the reasons he has been so consistent throughout his career. His ability to repeat his delivery along with his consistent release point enables him to locate each pitch and make minor adjustments during the course of a game. Every Little League pitcher should copy his mechanics - to improve performance and reduce injury risk.
He's the best fielding pitcher in the game's long history. He can field his position superbly, which includes getting off the mound to field bunts to either side of the mound. His mechanics enable him to finish his delivery in a solid fielding position, and he has quick reactions and a plus glove. His only weakness is his timing to the plate, which makes it difficult to hold runners.
Maddux has just three balks in the past 14 seasons.
He's never won more than 20 games in a season.
In 1997 he had 19 wins and 20 walks.
He's having his worst season at the plate, batting just .071. His previous low was .104 for the 1997 Braves. His career batting average is .172.
He has won 255 games since the Cubs let him go in free agency at the end of the 1992 season.
The Original: Maddux's High School Scouting Reports
SI.com has obtained a copy of two scouting reports on Maddux that were submitted to the Chicago Cubs in the spring of 1984, the first in late April and the second in May. That June, the Cubs selected Maddux in the second round. Below are selected excerpts from the report. To view the reports in their entirety, click here and here. These are a few snippets of the scouts' comments:
Physical Description: "... tall...gangly...he should get bigger..."
Abilities: "... all his stuff has good movement...all from a natural delivery..."
Weaknesses: "... has to get ahead of the hitters more often..."
Summation and signability: "We can sign him but it will take some money..."
Mike Pagliarulo's Baseline Report is dedicated to providing objective, collaborative information on baseball players and processes. Check out Pags' social media website for aspiring baseball writers at dugoutcentral.com.
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