Image of    Nickname:   N/A Position:   LHP
Home: Springville, Utah Team:   Netherlands
Height: 6' 3" Bats:   L
Weight: 190 Throws:   L
DOB: 8/18/1986 Agent: Scott Boras
Birth City: Springville, UT Draft: Cubs #1-2005--Springville (UT) HS
Uniform #: N/A  
2005 AZL Cubs   14 43 25 56 21 13 0 0 0 0 3   2.72
2005 NWL BOISE   1 3 6 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2006 NWL BOISE   15 61 54 52 23 12 0 0 0 3 5 54 2.51
2007 MWL PEORIA CHIEFS   2 4 2 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 0   6.75
2007 NWL BOISE   8 12.2 13 19 19 1 9 9 9 1 2 0.277 9.24
2007 AZL AZL-Cubs   1 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0   0.00
2008 NWL BOISE   13 24.2 25 21 19 2 0 0 0 2 2   6.20
2009 FSL SARASOTA   18 27 18 23 33 0 0 0 0 0 2   4.67
2010 FRO Gateway   3 9 7             0 1 12.4  
  • Mark's father Danny met his wife in Amsterdam while he was on a Mormon mission. Mark's mother moved back to Utah where the couple settled and started a family.

    Mark is the third of four Pawelek children. His older brother Dennis was a 40th-round pick by the White Sox out of Snow (Utah) Junior College in 2002, but didn't sign and instead chose to pursue a college football career. Dennis was a backup kicker on Utah's undefeated football team in 2004.

    Like Dennis, Mark also was a standout on the gridiron, only not at quarterback, like many other talented prep pitchers. Pawelek was a kicker, and though he didn't play his senior season, electing to concentrate on baseball, he said he once kicked a 45-yarder in a game and connected from 55 yards in practice. (Alan Matthews-3/30/05)

  • Pawelek set the state career strikeout record in Utah high school baseball his junior year, with 341. He struck out 132 more in 2005, as a senior, while going 10-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 63 innings. In his first three years at Springville, Pawelek was 26-2 with a state-record 341 strikeouts. He ended his prep career with 476 Ks, the Utah state all-time record.

    Pawelek's father helped motivate Mark by rewarding him $1 for every strikeout, $100 for an ERA under 1.50, $30 for a shutout and $50 for each win.

    "This has gone on for quite a while," Pawelek said on the day he signed his first pro contract with the Cubs (the day he was drafted: June 7, 2005). "My dad has been doing this since I was 8 years old. He said, 'One day, Major League Baseball will draft you for a lot of money and until then, I'll pay you for what you do.'"

    If Pawelek hit a batter, he got $5 because his father "didn't want me to be scared to throw inside."

    "I had a hey day with money this last year combining for over 200 strikeouts -- that's 200 dollars there," Pawelek said. "It's an incentive thing." (Carrie

    Did the Cubs offer the same incentive package?

    "Not that I know of," Pawelek said, laughing.

  • Mark's older brother, Dennis, was drafted by the White Sox in 2002, out of Snow (Utah) JUCO, but never played pro ball. He was the backup kicker on Utah's undefeated Fiesta Bowl football team in 2004.

  • Off the field, Pawelek likes to play both acoustic and electric guitars. His dad encouraged him to play, introducing Mark to some of his generation's most popular musicians. Led Zeppelin and Boston are among the bands Pawelek says he enjoys, but his all-time favorite?

    "I love Jimi Hendrix," Mark said. "He's my favorite. And he's lefthanded so how couldn't I like him?"

  • Pawelek signed with the Cubs for $1.75 million the same day he was drafted by them in the first round, June 7, 2005, signing with Scout John Bartsch. He is the second high school player ever drafted out of Utah. Left-hander Bruce Hurst also was a first-round pick by the Red Sox with the 22nd pick in 1976.

  • During the off-season before 2006 spring training, Baseball America rated Pawelek as the 2nd-best prospect in the Cubs' organization. And in the spring of 2007, they moved Mark down to #10 in the Cub farm system.

  • Mark showed up at 2006 spring training out of throwing shape and not ready mentally, either and was held back in extended spring training until the June short-season teams began play.

  • March, 2009: The Cubs released Pawelek.

  • Late in May, 2009: The Reds signed Pawelek.

  • March, 2013: All things considered, Mark Pawelek would rather be a baseball player. After all, he’s tried working customer service as a gas station. He’s tried being a door-to-door salesman. And he’s tried baseball player, which is what he likes best.

  • Mark's dad, Danny Pawelek is known for his ironman pitching exploits, regularly taking the mound three days in a row in senior baseball tournaments around the country, and throwing nearly 80 mph in complete games. He's worthy of his own full-length feature story, if not a movie. The fast-forwarded version includes hitchhiking around the country in search of "the purpose of life," nearly dying from a rugby injury, marrying a women he met on an LDS church mission to Holland and eventually moving to Utah, where he rediscovered baseball at 42 and just keeps pitching.

    When they married, "My wife didn't even know I liked baseball," he said, almost mischievously, as Kathy Pawelek confirmed. She supports his passion for the game, saying, "You have to allow each other some freedom."

    So he travels around the country, adding to a collection of 14 championship rings from various tournaments and baseballs commemorating nearly all of the 81 home runs he has hit as a senior player. He competes against players as young as 35 and throws so well, and for so long, that his Los Angeles-based team manager labels him "a freak of nature."

    "I've never seen anyone who can do what he does, and I've been doing this a long time," Bob Sherwin said.

    Pawelek and his family believed he was prepared to pursue pro baseball at 18, rather than accept a scholarship to Arizona State. Major league teams were convinced he could become another Bruce Hurst, a fellow left-hander who was as a first-round pick from Dixie High School in 1976 and pitched in the big leagues for 15 seasons. And why not? Mixing a fastball in the mid-90s with a devastating curveball, among other pitches, Pawelek dominated Class 4A batters in Utah to a degree that was "almost comical," said Alex Johnson, his Springville High School catcher. As a senior, Pawelek struck out two batters per inning and posted a 10-0 record, not allowing an earned run.

    How unique was Pawelek? Well, watch how long it takes until any Utahn is drafted this week. After pre-draft negotiations, the Scott Boras agency gave Pawelek his choice of three teams who promised to draft and sign him. He chose the Cubs (No. 20) over Cincinnati, even though the Reds were picking 12th and offered slightly more money. Part of the allure was imagining himself helping the Chicago Cubs win a World Series for the first time since 1908, as a pitcher with a Polish name that would have made him an ethnic hero in that market.

    Instead, he barely made it past Boise. He can rattle off the names of minor league teammates such as Josh Donaldson, Brandon Guyer and Josh Harrison, thriving in the majors.

    "They're there," he said, "and I'm not there," Mark said.

    "We're all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children's game. We just don't know when that's gonna be." — Scout in "Moneyball." (6/08/2015 - Kragthorpe - Salt Lake Tribune)

  • A long, lean lefthander, Pawelek has a 90-97 mph sinking and running FASTBALL, a good CURVEBALL and good feel for his CHANGEUP. He also has a decent SPLIT-FINGER fastball that he learned while watching Roger Clemens demonstrate the mechanics of it on TV one summer afternoon. (But the Cubs had Mark get rid of the splitter and a slider in 2005 and 2006, so he could improve his 3 primary pitches, first).
  • He has very good control and command of the strike zone and is learning to pitch, instead of throw.
  • Mark gets good extension on his quick, whip-like though effortless delivery, with very good control of his pitches. But he needs some work on not rushing his awkward delivery. The ball comes out of his hand easily, and he has some pretty good deception. But he has a lot of moving parts and it is a long delivery. He pitches better from the stretch. (Aaron Fitt-Baseball America-October, 2006)

    His motion is very long in back and has him slinging the ball to the plate. That is a "red flag" for future shoulder problems.

  • He maintains his velocity late into a game. And he has the poise and composure you look for. He has improved his mound awareness.

  • The lefthanded Pawelek says his problems throwing strikes, which basically drove him out of the game, were mostly mental, not physical.

    “It wasn’t an injury. I was released by the Reds, and I’d been doing this game a long time,” he said. “And I was mentally exhausted. Things didn’t work out the way I had hoped they would.

    “I put a lot of pressure on myself, but the mind change that I’ve made over the last few years is, I just want to play the game. Obviously expectations are going to be there when you’re (a first-round pick), but the mindset I have now is much different. I’m not trying to compete against other guys; I’m just trying to play the game and help my team win. It’s just a lot more fun when your team wins.”

    Mark pitched for the Dutch team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. And he was there again in March, 2017.

    Pawelek’s mother is Dutch and met his father Dan on his LDS church mission trip, so he knew he easily qualified to get a Dutch passport. He was Cubs teammates with Italian-born Alex Maestri in ’06 and talked to him at the time about how exciting the event was.

    “In 2006, I had the idea, so I’ve kind of always had the idea,” he said Saturday during the Netherlands’ pre-semifinal workout early in March, 2013. “I had been out of baseball for a little bit but I thought this year that I should go for it. I sent a couple of emails and got an opportunity to try out, and made the most of it." (Jerry Manuel - Baseball America - 3/18/2013)

  • June 23, 2007: Pawelek fractured a bone in his non-throwing right elbow when he tripped over his PlayStation in his Arizona apartment. Pawelek first hit his arm on the corner of a wall and then landed on the arm. Because it's his right arm, Pawelek was figured to only miss a couple of months of action.

    "I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom," Mark said. "I'm not exactly the cleanest person, and my PlayStation was in the way with the cord hung over the chairs and stuff, and I tripped over it hit my arm on the wall and landed on it wrong."

    He suffered a fractured radial head in his right elbow, and was on the disabled list for 69 days. He knows the exact time because the medical staff kept count.

    "I still did my throwing program, but I couldn't catch for a month," he said. "They had me doing everything to keep in shape."

Last Updated 3/21/2017 10:33:00 PM. All contents © 2000 by Player Profiles. All rights reserved.