Scouting Report: Bobby Livingston
Posted by Jason A. Churchill on April 25, 2006
Bobby Livingston is an interesting talent in the Seattle Mariners organization. He's not 18 years of age, he doesn't throw 95 mph and he's not an imposing figure with a funky side-winding delivery.
What makes him interesting is the result he brings to the table; Livingston wins.
He's won everywhere he's been. And not just a little bit – he's a big-time winner.
He was a star at Trinity Christian High School in Lubbock, Texas, getting four at-bats a night and playing center field when he wasn't on the mound.
After being taken in the fourth round in the 2001 draft by the M's, a 19-year-old Livingston posted a 3.02 ERA in 80 1/2 quality innings at short-season Everett, where the average hitter he faced was at least two years his senior with three years of college experience in the bag.
In 2003, Livingston moved onto the Wisconsin at age 20, and put up a 2.73 ERA that ranked him in the top 5. He won 15 games in 26 starts and worked an impressive 178 innings, walking just 28 batters.
He followed up his first full year with an even more impressive campaign at Inland Empire. The Cal League is a hitter's league with several hitter's parks – severely.
Livingston posted a 3.57 ERA that was three-quarters of a run lower than the average starter in the circuit that season. He went 186 2/3 innings and issues just 30 walks while recording a career-best 141 strikeouts.
At 22, Livingston began the 2005 season in Double-A San Antonio and after leading the Texas League in ERA and starting the all-star game, he was promoted to Triple-A Tacoma.
He wasn't as successful from the get-go in Tacoma, but he settled in to finish strong, including a 14-strikeout showing against the league's two-time defending champions in September.
In his three starts for the Rainiers in '06, he went five+ each time and at the time of his recall was sitting pretty with a 2.12 ERA.
In his career, Livingston is 48-25 with a 3.19 ERA in 98 starts and two relief appearances.
What else makes Livingston interesting? His personality.
He's very confident in himself, but his disposition is endearing, though quiet and unassuming. He once gave an interview while shaving in the clubhouse before a playoff game. Shave cream on his face and all, he just went about his business like there wasn't a thing to it, responding to the inquiries like he was sitting in front of the tube on Saturday morning watching the baseball bunch.
He passed on some humor to me through fellow southpaw Thomas Oldham on Monday night after the M's had beaten Chicago 4-3.
I mentioned that no matter how pretty he thinks he is, I didn't want to see Bobby in Tacoma again, which would mean he stayed in the bigs.
His response? "Don't hate me 'cause I'm pretty."
He appears to be all business all the time, clearly he's not, but when it's his day to pitch that is certainly the case. Dude's got moxie that you can't teach.
Strengths: Livingston is in control on the mound and even when his pitches aren't at their best and he's getting touched up, he never loses that. His command is very good and he rarely walks batters. Few bats, even in the big leagues, will be able to intimidate him in any fashion. He knows how to pitch and understands how to use his pitches to get outs. He's as durable as pitchers get and is very, very consistent.
Weaknesses: The questions surrounding Livingston are all about his stuff. Can he win in the majors with an 83-86 mph fastball? Yes, he can, though it may take him some time to adjust to the league, as it did in Triple-A. His inexperience won't hurt him as much as most, since he's always had to think his way through a start seven innings at a time.
Tools – Now/Future
Curve Ball: 55/60+
Staying Power: 60/65
Overall Future Potential: 58
Livingston's delivery can still be adjusted to get more out of his fastball, and his 200-pound frame can certainly handle the extra effort. He'll cut his fastball in on right-handers and baffle left-handers with a change.
He'll always have a good gameplan, which is another factor in the comps to Jamie Moyer. At his peak, Livingston should reach the 86-88 range with his fastball and that is enough to remain an effective starting pitcher in major league baseball.
Especially for one that is already as tough as nails with the savvy of a 10-year veteran.
Photo Credit: Out of the Park Images