David Aardsma was a standout pitcher at Rice University and was the first pick of the San Francisco Giants in 2003. Aardsma's fastball comes in at the mid-90s mph, and his slider coming across the outer half of the plate against right-hander batters. In 2002, pitching for Falmouth of the Cape Cod League he chalked up 45 strike outs in only 27 innings. In pitching for the Cubs in 2006, Aardsma fanned 49 would-be hitters in 52 innings and posted a 3-0 record in 45 relief appearances.
After developing a split finger fastball that reminds us at baseballhistorian.com of Hall of Fame reliever Bruce Sutter’s, David Aardsma is putting together a splendid start in 2007. Now pitching for the White Sox after a deal with the Cubs, he has posted a 2-0 record and a stingy 0.77 earned run average, and has rung up 18 Ks in just 12 innings in the White Sox’s first 16 games of the season.
‘I never had a good off-speed pitch in college,’ David Aardsma stated. ‘I now have more than one pitch I can throw effectively. I’m also throwing the split-finger fastball well against lefties. I really needed something.’ He says he started mastering the split-fingered pitch towards the end of 2006 with the help of Cub pitcher Michael Wuertz. ‘The split gets lefties to lay off the fastball,’ said David Aardsma. ‘I didn’t want to rely solely on a fastball and a slider against left-handed hitters because the slider breaks in on lefties.’ So we can only wonder why the Cubs let another young pitching prospect get away. We’re thinking of Jon Garland, who the Cubs originally drafted.