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Josh Edgin: From Round 50 to Citi Field

Totally original thought of the day: the MLB Draft is really, really unpredictable. Bold statement, I know, but there’s something amazing about a professional sports draft that allows for even the outside possibility that somebody selected after 1,497 other big league hopefuls can actually make it to the highest level. Josh Edgin, a lefthanded starting pitcher from Francis Marion University (by way of Ohio State), was drafted in the fiftieth (50th!) round in 2009. Think about how crazy that is for a moment: Edgin was deemed not quite good enough to get drafted 1,497 times over before the Braves pulled the trigger with the 1,498th overall pick. A little perspective here: only 14 of the 49 2009 first round (including the supplemental round) picks have reached the big leagues. Many more seem like stone cold locks to make their big league debuts in the not too distant future – Tony Sanchez, Zack Wheeler, Shelby Miller, Grant Green, and Tyler Skaggs, just to name a few – while others face seemingly insurmountable roads to even crack a AAA roster (we’ll withhold names to protect the innocent, but a quick look at this list is quite revealing) before they hang up the spikes. Future progress of these first rounders aside, there’s something special about beating the majority of your draft class’ first round picks to the big leagues.

Of course, mentioning Edgin as a member of the 2009 draft class is cheating because, as any Mets (and a few die-hard Braves) fan knows, Edgin didn’t sign in 2009. He waited until after his senior season in 2012 – upgraded to the thirtieth (30th) round by that point – to begin his pro career. Normally we won’t associate a prospect with a draft year they go unsigned (think of the problems this would cause for high school players who wind up at four-year universities), but Josh Edgin’s meteoric rise to the big leagues is proof that sometimes it is alright to roll with an exception or two.

I didn’t write anything about Josh Edgin on the site back in either 2009 or 2010, so, to make up for not knowing who he was for far long, here are a few quick bullet points on the player I consider to be one of the underrated success stories of 2012:

  • After signing with the Mets in 2010, Edgin made the big leagues in just over two years. College seniors move quick, true, and the same can be said about relief prospects, but two years is still pretty impressive.
  • As a minor leaguer, Edgin put up outstanding numbers at every stop along the way. His worst K/9 in any extended stretch was his 9.00 K/9 in A+ ball last season.
  • Edgin has above-average velocity for a lefthander (per Fangraphs, he’s averaging an impressive 93 MPH in this year’s big league run), throws lots of sliders (an effective out-pitch thus far), and will mix in an occasional changeup when necessary
  • Edgin’s excellent aforementioned minor league numbers are even better when you only look at what he has done against lefthanders. However, his stuff and stats indicate that he’s not necessarily a lefty specialist only. However (again), in his small big league sample, righties have hit him just fine (.286/.412/.571 in a whopping 17 plate appearances). He’s held lefties down to a combined .333 OPS, striking out over half (11 of 21) of the lefthanded batters he has faced thus far.

Whether or not Edgin’s future is as a highly specialized lefty neutralizer or something more, it is fair to say that his cumulative professional performances since signing have put him in a position to land a steady role in the 2013 Mets bullpen. Not bad for a one-time fiftieth round pick.

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