After a solid season with the Dayton Dragons in 2018, the Cincinnati Reds sent left-handed starter Packy Naughton to the next level to begin his 2019 campaign. Joining the pitching friendly Florida State League with the Daytona Tortugas, Naughton was looking to step up.

He did just that. The 23-year-old lefty didn’t waste much time asserting his dominance over the league. In the first four starts of the season Packy Naughton allowed just five earned runs in 23.2 innings. That came with just three walks, no home runs allowed, and he struck out 27 batters. In the final start of April he hit a bump in the road, giving up four runs in 4.0 innings. Still, he finished out the first month of the season with a 2.93 ERA and held hitters to a .617 OPS.

After the hiccup to end April, the left-handed starter got back to dominating hitters in the Florida State League. His first four starts in May saw him posted a 2.28 ERA over 23.2 innings with five walks and 20 strikeouts. That was the last time he would pitch for Daytona as he was promoted to Double-A Chattanooga for the end of the month. He would make two more starts in the month, allowing five runs over 10.0 innings for the Lookouts. Overall he posted a 2.94 ERA in 33.2 innings between his two stops.

June got out to a strong start. On the 4th he threw 6.0 shutout innings with six strikeouts. And Packy Naughton kept that going over the next three starts, too, allowing just five earned runs in 18.0 innings. But the lefty did hit a speed bump in the final start of the month, in what was his worst start of the year, giving up seven runs in 4.2 innings. For the month his ERA was 3.45 in 28.2 innings, but did see his strikeout-to-walk ratio drip to 16-to-8.

July was a strong month for the left-handed starter. On the 1st he dominated Jacksonville, allowing just two hits in 6.2 shutout frames of work. He would give up just two earned runs over the next two starts, spanning 9.0 innings. On the 18th Naughton would hit a little bump in the road, giving up four runs in 5.0 innings as Jacksonville returned the favor from earlier in the month. But the former Virginia Tech pitcher closed out the month by allowing just two runs in 13.0 innings in the final two starts. He posted a 2.14 ERA and held hitters to a .569 OPS – both season bests during July’s 33.2 innings.

Carrying forward what happened in July, the lefty began August with back-to-back 2-run, 6.0 inning outings with a combined 10 strikeouts.  But that was followed up with nine earned runs allowed over 9.0 innings in the next two starts. In the final game of the season, Naughton put together one of his better outings – giving up just one run in 7.1 innings with a walk and seven strikeouts on the road in Mississippi. Over his five stats in August he posted a 4.45 ERA in 28.1 innings with five walks and 31 strikeouts.

For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Packy Naughton Scouting Report

Position: Left-handed pitcher | B/T: R/L

Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 195 lbs | Drafted: 9th Round, 2017

Born: April 16, 1996

Fastball | The pitch worked in the low 90’s this season, topping out around 95.

Change Up | An above-average offering that works in the low 80’s with good deception.

Slider | A solid offering that works in the low 80’s. When it’s at it’s best it is an average offering.

Curveball | His 4th offering, he doesn’t go to it frequently – but when he does it work in the mid-to-upper 70’s and it’s a fringe-average offering.

The fastball for Packy Naughton was a tick or two higher this past season than it was the year before. His stuff still doesn’t jump out at you – but it’s solid across the board. There’s deception in his delivery that can allow his stuff to play up at times.

The lefty pounds the strikezone and can throw all four of his pitches for strikes. Strong control is a big part of his game. But there’s still some questions about whether the stuff is enough to play as a starter at the big league level. And if he can’t be a back end of the rotation starter, how does the stuff play out of the bullpen? There’s enough there to keep starting for now and to see if he continues to find success in the rotation in the upper levels – but he’s going to need to continue to get the results as a starter, too.

Interesting Stat on Packy Naughton

He clamped down when runners were on base against him in 2019, holding hitters to a .255/.295/.348 line.

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11 Responses

  1. Norwood Nate

    I’m a big Packy fan. It’s been fun to follow him as he progresses through the system. I’m a little surprised at the FB velocity (touching 95), as his “stuff” is what has typically been mentioned as a reason why he’s not highly rated despite solid results. My understanding is that operating in the low 90’s is plenty for a LH starter with good secondary offerings. Maybe I’m off base. Seems his deception could help that play up. It’ll be interesting to see if Boddy can get more out of him.

    • Wes

      Don’t fall too head over heals. He’s got trade bait wrote all over him !

      • Norwood Nate

        I know Wes…prospects will always break your heart….

        I remember in my early days around here when I thought David Vidal, H-Rod, and Y-Rod we’re going to be big time for us.

  2. Justin

    I’m guessing that Packy will be one of the guys who benefits most from Boddy’s hire. My guess is that he’ll be working at 95 next year and that his curveball will increase in use and effectiveness. He’s my pick for a midsession top 10 prospect listing.

  3. SultanofSwaff

    The combination of not walking batters/stingy with the home run totals tells me he’s has a better than average chance of sticking as a starter, albeit a back of the rotation one. At worst you probably have a serviceable reliever.

  4. Bill

    That’s a pretty nice scouting report for the #24 prospect with a low-to-mid 90s fastball, above average changeup and command. I wonder whether he’ll move up to Louisville or begin 2020 in Chattanooga.

  5. MK

    I will channel Oldtimer here. Packy reminds me of Ross Grimsley from the early 70’s. Ross moved quickly through the system. and actually made his mlb debut at age 21. They have similar delivery. I hope Packy gets a legit shot at the Big League rotation out of ST. He definitely has the lefthander mentality. In a game in Dayton the zipper on his pants broke. It was standing wide open much to the amusement of some of the crowd. Catcher went out to tell him. Packy turned his back to the plate and tried to zip up but to no avail. He finished the inning and the boys in the dugout were all over him. Next inning he came out in same pants. When I asked him about it he said he did not change until he gave up a hit. A true lefty.

    • RedsKoolAidDrinker

      Awesome story!! This will add to the Legend of Packy.

    • Oldtimer

      Grimsley had a good fastball if I remember correctly. Red P in 1971-72-73. Traded for Merv Rettenmund. OOPS. One a a very few bad Howsam trades.

  6. Mbs

    I was eyeing Moss as a lefty for the 2020 pen, but “he gone”. I wonder if Naughton might make a run at it this spring. More than likely AAA will be the highest level he gets to out of spring training.

  7. Oldtimer

    Packy is LH pitcher. That gives him a leg up on getting to MLB.