Black MiLB Players #15: Simeon Woods Richardson
Simeon Woods Richardson is a 20-year-old pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization from Sugar Land, Texas, a suburb of Houston, Texas. Kempner High School was where he started as a 5'6'’ second baseman who grew to be a two-way phenom as a 6'4'’ starting pitcher with four legit pitches by his senior year of high school that could post .300/.400/.500 slash lines at will. He grew ten inches between his first year of high school and his last year of high school, and his fastball gained over twenty miles per hour during the same time frame. His father played college baseball and was a player in Minor League Baseball for some time.
He was one of the highest-ranked right-handed pitchers coming out of high school in the state of Texas and the entire country by a variety of publications and experts. Scouts loved the fact that he was one of the youngest players in the draft, as younger players excelling versus older competition is an important sign of future success. He was expected to be selected in the first or second round of the 2018 MLB Draft despite a strong commitment to the University of Texas’s baseball program.
He was drafted by the New York Mets in the second round(48th overall) of the 2018 MLB Draft out of Kempner High School as a right-handed pitcher. The athleticism and physicality he offered on the mound along with four legit pitches and low to mid 90s velocity that could tick up made him a pitching development team’s dream project. The only issue Woods Richardson had was inconsistent mechanics which led to a large number of walks and pitches over the middle of the plate that can be hit by opposing batters. He forewent his scholarship to Texas and accepted a 1.85 million dollar signing bonus to become a professional baseball player.
The right-hander’s career began in 2018, where he pitched 17.1 innings across seven games(four starts) with the Gulf Coast League Mets and Kingsport Mets after signing his professional contract. He put up a 1.56 ERA, impressing the New York front office with his poise as a young pitcher. Woods Richardson’s 2019 season began with 78.1 innings for the New York Low-A affiliate, where he had a 4.25 ERA with an 11 K/9, a two B/9, and a 1.21 WHIP. On July 28th, 2019, he was a part of a trade-deadline blockbuster deal as he was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays along with fellow pitching prospect Anthony Kay for All-Star Marcus Stroman. Toronto subsequently promoted him to their High-A affiliate, where he made 6 starts and pitched 28.1 innings. He put up a 2.54 ERA with a 9.2 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, and 0.88 WHIP.
He was the youngest player at the Blue Jays alternate site during 2020 and impressed everyone who witnessed what he did with the potential he flashed. He gained valuable experience facing rehabbing MLB veterans and top position player prospects in the Blue Jays organizations, especially since he was repeatedly facing them. He had to change his angles of attack and be intentional with every pitch, and he believes that it made him better.
Woods Richardson was assigned to the Toronto Double-A affiliate when Minor League Baseball resumed in 2021. He threw 45.1 innings, recording a 6.55 ERA with a 13.3 K/9, 5.3 BB/9, & 1.5 WHIP against 202 total batters faced. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins along with INF/OF Austin Martin in exchange for José Berríos, and he was assigned to the Minnesota Double-A affiliate. He pitched eight innings, putting up an ERA over six.
Simeon Woods Richardson is a right-handed starting pitcher that is 6'4'’, and weighs around 220 pounds. He has very long arms and long legs and is solidly built despite being lanky. He is very athletic and coordinated for someone his size. He works from the right side of the rubber, starting with a leg kick before bringing his arm over into his signature overhand delivery.
He throws a four-seam fastball, two-seam fastball, cutter-slider hybrid, curveball, and a changeup from a high overhand delivery. The four-seamer has a lot of life which leads to a lack of drop, and it's deployed to the upper third quadrant of the strike zone. The two-seamer has viable arm-side run and life to go in on the hands of right-handers and away from lefties. They sit between 93–97. The cutter-slider works to the glove side at around 80–87, with the cutter being thrown up and away in the zone and the slider being thrown down and away.
The high-70s changeup is his best pitch, as it has plenty of fade to go along with its velocity difference to his fastball. The right-hander from Texas also sells it very well with his loose and quick arm. His curveball is a 12–6 breaker in the mid-70s that sometimes goes 1–7, and it is an average pitch with a lot of potential due to his overhand arm slot.
His command is inconsistent, but he has shown the ability to repeat his delivery and throw his arsenal for strikes. With a high overhand delivery to go along with his long arms and legs, Woods Richardson must find a way to consistently keep everything in sync to effectively deploy his pitches.