Neverauskas can touch 94 MPH with his fastball.

Back in Spring Training, Dovydas Neverauskas was a big surprise to myself, and Wilbur Miller, due to his velocity, which was in the low-90s, reaching 94 MPH.  The reason for the surprise is that Neverauskas, who is 18 years old, was signed out of Lithuania in July 2009, a place that isn’t known for producing baseball prospects.  I asked Pirates pitching coordinator Jim Benedict about the 6′ 3″, 170 pound right hander, after seeing him pitch:

I was watching Dovydas Neverauskas, who is from a unique place that doesn’t produce many baseball players, and he was in the lower 90s, 91-94 range. Is he for real?

He’s a prospect. He’s got long arms, a big body. Gonna grow more. Gonna be a huge man. He’s been exposed to a lot of international baseball, versus structure, like this is structured baseball. He’s been exposed to tournaments. That’s what they do over there. A lot of countries, that’s all they do is tournaments. So he’ll go nine, three times a month, then they won’t pitch for two months. So this is a different structure for them. The culture is different, the travel, everything is different for them. But no, he’s a legit guy, he’s young and he’ll be crude for awhile, and then it will start to come together for him. As long as he stays healthy, he’ll get consistent innings, and the process itself should elevate him to a pretty good looking guy for us.

Neverauskas made his second appearance of the 2011 season in the GCL yesterday, after allowing six runs in ten innings at the level in 2010.  He pitched three shutout innings yesterday, allowing just one hit.  That followed up his 2011 debut, in which he threw two shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk.  He’s only struck out one batter so far this year.

He’s a long way from the majors, and it’s almost impossible to project what type of pitcher he could become.  For now, he’s another interesting prospect to keep an eye on at the lower levels, as any 18 year old who can touch 94 MPH has to be on the radar as a prospect.

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