Little guy out of a junior college who has done nothing but get people out in the minor leagues, but didn’t so much in his first major league start. Medlen was primarily an infielder as an amateur, a shortstop/closer; the Braves decided that he was better situated as a pitcher, even though he’s listed at 5-10 and is actually probably a couple of inches short of that. In the low minors, he was a dominant reliever, with a 0.41 ERA in Danville in 2006 and a 1.53 ERA on three levels in 2007. (Those ERAs are distorted, as nearly half the runs he allowed were scored “unearned”, but he was very good.)
In 2008, as I recall, he struggled some as a reliever in Mississippi, but was converted to the rotation and returned to being dominant. A lot of people questioned the move, but it’s hard to say it hasn’t worked, and if he fails they can always try the bullpen again. In Gwinnett this year, he outpitched Tommy Hanson, so there was certainly a case for promoting him instead of the more ballyhooed prospect.
Medlen is a fastball-curve-change pitcher; the curve is probably his best pitch. He’s piled up strikeouts with a fairly decent walk rate in the minors; it remains to be seen if he can keep the strikeouts against major league hitters. Not everybody can. The height issue is, in my opinion, silly. Tall people have, on average, longer arms, so they throw harder. But if a short person throws hard, there’s no reason to think he can’t succeed as a pitcher.
A pocket Micah Owings, Medlen has hit .333/.355/.567 in the minors, though that’s in just 32 PA. He’s also 2 of 2 as a basestealer.
This will serve as the game thread for tonight (Braves at Giants). Also, no recap until the morning. I may not have a life, but I do have a job.