Andrew Faulkner Scouting Report: Andrew Faulkner ranked #16 on the LSB Community Prospect Rankings.
In the days leading up to Opening Day, I'm going to offer write-ups on the 30 players who made the Rangers' LSB Community Prospect Rankings Top 32 list, and who didn't get traded. I've done this the last couple of years, and I don't want to re-invent the wheel, so some of this will be a repeat of what I've written before, particularly regarding draft history or performance pre-2014. Also, this is not based on my personal observations -- I'm not a scout, and haven't seen most of these guys. I'm just aggregating the numbers and what others say about these players.
So, with that out of the way, let's take a look at Andrew Faulkner...
Andrew Faulkner is a 6'3", 180 lb. 22 year old lefthanded pitcher who was a 14th round draft pick out of a South Carolina high school in the 2011 draft by the Texas Rangers. I couldn't find any information on Faulkner's signing bonus, but it does not appear that it was significantly more than what slot would have been for a 14th rounder. Faulkner had a solid professional debut, pitching 25 innings in the AZL with a 2.16 ERA, striking out 27 and walking just 4.
Faulkner spent 2012 and 2013 in low-A Hickory, putting up a 4.31 ERA in 94 IP in 2012, and a 3.48 ERA in 111.1 IP in 2013. For two years combined, he had 156 Ks and 81 walks in 205 IP, with 10 home runs allowed.
Heading into 2014, Faulkner wasn't really on anyone's radar. He wasn't someone who was showing up on prospect lists, and while Jamey Newberg didn't do a top 72 list heading into the 2014 season, Faulkner didn't show up on Jamey's lists prior to 2012 or 2013. He was just another arm in a system very deep with arms.
2014 ended up as a breakout year for Faulkner, however. He started the year at high-A Myrtle Beach and tore up Carolina League opponents, putting up a 2.08 ERA in 104 IP, with 100 Ks, 31 walks and just 1 home run allowed. This earned Faulkner a promotion to AA in late July, where he put up a 4.99 ERA in 30.2 IP, albeit with solid peripherals -- 33 Ks against 14 walks, with 3 home runs allowed.
Faulkner ended up slotting in at #17 on the BA top 20 list for the Carolina League, and was #20 in the BA Rangers top 30 (#18 after dropping Corey Knebel and Luis Sardinas). Faulkner was #22 on Kiley McDaniel's list, and #11 on Jamey Newberg's list.
Faulkner is generally grouped together with Jerad Eickhoff and Alec Asher, starting pitchers who ended the season at AA, and who are in a tier below Jake Thompson, Luke Jackson, Luis Ortiz and Chi Chi Gonzalez among Rangers pitching prospects. Faulkner is probably less likely than Eickhoff and Asher to stick in the rotation, as he's currently more of a two-pitch pitcher, but more likely to be a major league contributor, as he's a lefthanded whose fastball/split finger arsenal profiles well in the bullpen.
Faulkner will probably start the 2015 season in AA Frisco, as the Rangers will give him the opportunity to work in the rotation while they determine if he'll be able to stick there. If Faulkner ends up in the pen, he could end up in Texas at some point in 2015; if he continues as a starter, he's probably got a 2016 or 2017 ETA.