The Right Stuff National League teams are scoring nearly half a run less per game than in 2001. Here's a scout's-eye view of six budding righthanders who are helping to hold batters at bay

July 07, 2002

KIP WELLS, Pirates
AGE: 25
RECORD: 9-4, 3.09 era
OUT PITCH: fastball

SCOUT'S REPORT: "Somebody with the White Sox [who traded Wells
last December] is going to lose his job, because this kid can
really pitch. He can command three pitches and has a sneaky
fastball that catches a lot of hitters off guard."

WELLS ON WELLS: "I have a tendency to stay compact on the mound,
but at the last second I want to put a little extra on my
pitches. You have to hone your skills to the point where you can
actually go out there, relax and do it."

JASON JENNINGS, Rockies
AGE: 23
RECORD: 8-4, 4.77 era
OUT PITCH: changeup

SCOUT'S REPORT: "He's not the kind of guy who blows you away. I
keep hearing about his mound maturity. He's 23 going on 33. He
knows how to pace himself, how to handle the pressure."

JENNINGS ON JENNINGS: "The key is this: Don't get rattled. Forget
that you're facing Mike Piazza or Mo Vaughn. Once you aren't
intimidated by pitching in a big stadium against the best
athletes in the world, you'll be just fine."

VICENTE PADILLA, Phillies
AGE: 24
RECORD: 10-5, 3.25 ERA
OUT PITCH: fastball

SCOUT'S REPORT: "If they ever start keeping career records for
most bats broken, Padilla will be up there very quickly. He's
electric. Everyone talks about his fastball, and it lives up to
the hype. The thing works like a hard sinker. But he also has a
good curve. He's a future stopper."

PADILLA ON PADILLA: "The fastball is my favorite pitch. I don't
need to practice it because it comes naturally. But I'm always
working on my other pitches, especially the curveball. You have
to work really hard, and you have to have confidence. I'm young,
but God has given me an opportunity. I do what I need to do to be
here."

ROY OSWALT, Astros
AGE: 24
RECORD: 8-5, 3.24 ERA
out pitch: fastball

SCOUT'S REPORT: "This is Greg Maddux with power stuff. He has a
great fastball, and he's not scared to challenge you with some
heat, then cut your head off with a power curve. He'll be a great
one."

OSWALT ON OSWALT: "People would tell me my curveball was too
slow--it's 20 to 22 miles per hour slower than my fastball--but I
think it's a big advantage that I can add and subtract [speed] on
all my pitches. No matter how hard you throw, big league hitters
are going to catch up to it."

BRIAN LAWRENCE, Padres
AGE: 26
RECORD: 7-4, 3.63 ERA
OUT PITCH: slider

SCOUT'S REPORT: "He only throws in the high 80s, but he's very
intelligent when it comes to setting up the hitter. His slider is
awesome. He can throw it at any point in the count. That's rare."

LAWRENCE ON LAWRENCE: "When you don't throw hard, people
automatically assume you can't cut it. I've battled that
reputation my whole life. It's motivated me. Just because I can't
hit 98 on the radar doesn't mean I can't hang at this level. I
can. I know it."

MARK PRIOR, Cubs
AGE: 21
RECORD: 2-1, 4.17 era
OUT PITCH: fastball

SCOUT'S REPORT: "You know how scouts will sometimes say,
'So-and-so is the type of pitcher who comes along once in a
lifetime'? This kid looks like that. He has it all: a mid-90s
fastball with movement, a power breaking ball. This is the kind
of guy you build a staff around."

PRIOR ON PRIOR: "I feel like the harder I work, the better off
I'll be later in the season. I want to help this team win, and
if I don't work out, it's not so much my letting me down as it
is letting everybody else down."

COLOR PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JOE ZEFF COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO COLOR PHOTO: DARREN CARROLL COLOR PHOTO: AL TIELEMANS COLOR PHOTO: V.J. LOVERO

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)