Scott Scudder was not a particularly impressive minor league pitcher for the Reds after being drafted in the 1st round of the 1986 draft and signing on July 4th of that year. He had, however, been a highly-coveted high-school pitcher out of Texas, scoring a 14-0 record with a 0.74 ERA and 147 strikeouts as a Senior. The Reds sent him to the rookie-league Billings Mustangs that year, and he put up a pedestrian 1-3 line with a 4.79 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 52 innings to go with a 1.50 WHIP. He spent two years at Single-A Cedar Rapids, going 14-15 before getting bumped up to AA Chattanooga at the back end of 1988. He wasn’t showing much to the organization, and yet they were shooting him through the system. He hit AAA Nashville in 1989, going 6-2 with a 2.68 ERA in 12 games, striking out 64 in 80 IP with a 1.26 WHIP. Combine that with a strong Spring Training that impressed manager Pete Rose, and I guess the Reds thought he had finally put it together, because they recalled him and he pitched in his first game on June 6th in San Francisco. He gave up a homer to Kevin Mitchell in the early going, but he ended up lasting six innings, giving up three runs on three hits with FIVE walks and five strikeouts. Yikes.
He went on to be 4-9 with a 4.49 ERA and almost as many walks (61) as strikeouts (66). Seriously, his BB/9 was 5.5, and his SO/9 was 5.9. That’s not really going to get the job done, and presaged his future role as a AAAA pitcher. He would spend only one year entirely in the majors, 1991, when he started and relieved, still unable to bring that walk rate down. In the 91 offseason, the Reds traded him, Joe Turek, and Jack Armstrong to the Indians for Greg Swindell. He played two partial years with the Indians, going 6-11 with a 5.42 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 113 innings. That walk rate still sucked, as he had a 4.7 BB/9 and a 1.752 WHIP. He became a free agent in the 1993 offseason and signed with the Pirates, but never made the team, spending 1994 in their minor league system before landing with the Reds in 1995. And then his career was done, never living up to the promise of his hype.
Scudder was never a particularly popular player in our hometown, but then we were a long way from Cincinnati and never really saw their games. Still, it seemed like he would pan out to be more than he ended up being. I’m going to go ahead and blame being rushed to the majors. I don’t know why the Reds did that when they had a fairly good rotation that would take them to the World Series Championship the next year.