“Ones to Watch” – 2016 AL Pitchers

RHP Cristian Alvarado
2015 stats: 8-2, 1.83 ERA, 64.0 IP, 45 H, 13 ER, 11 BB, 49 K, 0.87 WHIP
Marc and I have a system and it may seem that we roll the dice in picking these kids, whom most haven’t seen a full-season in the minors. We are not just throwing under the radar kids against the wall and see what sticks. These players appear near the top of our spreadsheets amongst the higher-profile prospects and kids that are 24-25 years-old and may hit the wall at Double-A. I mention this because it would be easy to pick a pitcher like Alvarado at face-value. The win-loss record, low ERA, and WHIP are the first stats to stick out, but actually, the International free agent from 2011 wasn’t the top Oriole UTR on my list. That honor would have gone to Jean Cosme had he not been traded to the Padres for Odrisamer Despaigne on February 4th. A deeper dive into the 21-year old Alvarado performance in 2015 reveals that he held opponents to .502 OPS and leftie batters to a .171 BA. More impressive were the outings away from his home confines. Alvarado went 6-1 with a 0.50 ERA and 2:27 BB:K rate over 7 appearances with 5 starts. Full season LoA Delmarva should be in the cards for the right-hander in 2016. ETA 2019
 Just off the Scope: LHP Gray Fenter, LHP Brian Gonzalez
International Watch: RHP Jhon Peluffo
RHP Roniel Raudes
2015 stats: 8-2, 1.83 ERA, 64.0 IP, 45 H, 13 ER, 11 BB, 49 K, 0.87 WHIP
Another Gulf Coast League pitcher from 2015 making the “Ones to Watch” List is the 18 year-old Raudes. He charged out of the gate in his pro debut pitching in the DSL by posting a 63:3 K:BB ratio. The Red Sox promoted him to the U.S. with an assignment to the Gulf Coast League and never slowed down in his 4 starts (20 IP, 13 H, 2 ER, 6 BB, 16 K). According to SoxProspects.com, the young right-hander has an advance feel for pitching throwing a 88-91 mph fastball that tops out at 92 mph. His curveball is close to a plus offer and is confident in throwing it early to get ahead of hitter. I will be curious to see if the Red Sox push Raudes into Lo-A Greenville to start 2016, so he goes against more advanced hitters. I would expect him back at GCL, as the next level would be Short-Season Lowell (NYPL) which doesn’t begin their season until mid-June. ETA 2020
Just off the Scope: LHP Kevin Steen, LHP Logan Allen
International Watch: RHP Denyi Reyes
Chicago White Sox
RHP Thad Lowry
2015 stats: 12-8, 4.48 ERA, 150.2 IP, 158 H, 75 ER, 40 BB, 94 K, 1.31WHIP
Lowry is what I call a “cusp UTR” because he’s right on that fringe as a 5th round pick. The right-hander was chosen in 2013 and has been cutting his teeth a LoA Annapolis the last two season after his pro debut at Appy League Bristol. The 21 year-old is an intriguing hurler that can throw his fastball around 95-97 in short stint. The White Sox  drafted him out of high school and he’s held his own as a 19-20 year at LoA, with mark improvement in his control last season. 2015 was spent working on his secondary offerings, which holds the key to his ceiling. He may be destined for the bullpen if he doesn’t start missing bats in 2016. With a projectable frame at 6’4″ 215 lbs he’s worth watching. ETA 2019
Just off the Scope: RHP Zachary Thompson, RHP Brandon Magallones
International Watch: LHP Jhoan Quijada
LHP Thomas Pannone
2015 stats: 7-6, 4.02 ERA, 116.1 IP, 98 H, 58 ER, 37 BB, 120 K, 1.16 WHIP
Finally, a southpaw…and one with a lot of upside and is young enough to groom within the Indians system. The 21 year-old completed his first full season with LoA Lake County throwing 116 innings while striking out 120 hitters. Biggest improvement was his control by cutting this BB9 rate from 4.8 to 2.9.  The 2013 9th round pick has only been on the mound for a short time, as he was an outfielder in high school and only took to pitching when he arrived in junior college. His fastball peaks in the mid-90’s, but is still working on his secondaries. Pannone appeared on my UTR-OAS in both 14′ (Factor Score) and 15′ (TPS) and received the “Legit UTR” tag, along with a recommended “Solid Stash”.  ETA 2019
Just off the Scope: LHP Anderson Polanco, LHP Sean Brady
International Watch: RHP Gregori Vasquez
LHP Matt Hall
2015 stats: 7-6, 4.02 ERA, 116.1 IP, 98 H, 58 ER, 37 BB, 120 K, 1.16 WHIP
 OK…two lefties in a row! This kid was an under the radar pick even before he was drafted in the 6th round last June, according to Matthew Mowery, beat writer for the Tigers. Detroit loaded up on pitchers in that draft taking six arms in the first ten rounds. Along with some past UTR Mentions (Joe Mantiply, Paul Voelker, Joe Jimenez, Josh Turley, and Buck Farmer) and acquired former UTR’s (Michael Fulmer, Jairo Labourt, and Matt Boyd), the Tigers are digging their way out of the cellar of worst farm system. The Tigers were ecstatic that the 22-year old was still on the board in round six. Hall stood out in the Cape Cod League and led the NCAA in strikeouts (171) in leading Missouri State to the College World Series. Hall’s stuff isn’t outstanding, but should be solid enough to find his way into the Tigers bullpen and quite possibly a swing-guy, if not a back-end type. ETA 2017
Just off the Scope: LHP Artie Lewicki, LHP Tyler Alexander
International Watch: LHP Felix Viloria
RHP Rogelio Armenteros
2015 stats: 3-2, 3.69 ERA, 61 IP, 53 H, 25 ER, 24 BB, 61 K, 1.26 WHIP
With the United States starting to resume relations with Cuba, baseball in the U.S. will hugely benefit with an influx of players that now have a new path to play in the States. No longer will they need to flee their home country to pursue their baseball dreams of playing in the Majors. Armenteros defected back in 2012 and continued to play ball in the Spain and in the U.S. The Astros noticed the 21-year old and signed him in September 2014. The right-hander has a fastball in the low 90’s, a slider, curve, and changeup. He began his pro career with Short-Season Tri-City (NYPL) and earned a promotion to Lo-A Quad Cities. In 3 Midwest League starts, Armenteros went 1-0, 2.65 ERA, and 21 K’s over 17 innings with only 7 walks. Look for him to repeat at LoA in 2016 ETA 2019
Just off the Scope: RHP Albert Abreu, RHP Dean Deetz, RHP Brock Dykxhoorn
International Watch: RHP Cristian Javier
Kansas City
LHP Jorge Rodriguez
2015 stats: 4-4, 3.24 ERA, 72.1 IP, 59 H, 26 ER, 22 BB, 81 K, 1.12 WHIP
Info is tough to come by for Rodriguez. The 19 year-old was signed in 2013 as an International free agent. He started in the Dominican Summer League and struggled with control, as every young pitcher usually does. He repeated the DSL to start last season and a whole different pitcher was on the mound. The control issues disappeared as the leftie sported at 11.0 K/9 and 1.2 BB rates over 5 starts. He was brought state-side and assigned to the AZL where he didn’t miss a beat, especially in holding opponents to a .589 OPS. Even with the control issues back in 2014, Rodriguez hit the radar as my 2015 International “One to Watch” with his .063 TPS. That billing held true during the season with a slight uptick in his TPS (.074) and here he is…..the 2016 “One to Watch”.  ETA 2020
Just off the Scope: RHP Arnaldo Hernandez, LHP Foster Griffin
International Watch: LHP Cristian Castillo
Los Angeles Angels
RHP Jaime Barria
2015 stats: 5-4, 4.02 ERA, 69.1 IP, 85 H, 31 ER, 10 BB, 61 K, 1.37 WHIP
If you been reading my stuff over the years, you know I have a propensity toward pitchers with outstanding control. Whether it occurred by accident or on purpose my system sniffs them out, but doesn’t usually ranked them within the Top 5 in a system. In the Angels, Barria ranked at #10, but was the top UTR pitcher based on my secondary criteria. Of course, my overall TPS rankings has Sean Newcomb, Jeremy Rhoades, Jake Jewell, Victor Alcantara. Rhoades is really the pitcher to place on your watch list. He doesn’t make the UTR-OTW with him being a 4th round pick and possibly dropping off my radar if he starts 2016 in Double-A. Barria technically shouldn’t be mentioned here, he sneaks in as the #9 propect with the Angels. The Angels system is a trainwreck and there is a steep drop-off  after Barria (.114 TPS) on my spreadsheet with most young pitchers in the .130 to .175 range. As I was saying, Barria has plus command, but with some mechanics issues. The latter could have exposed itself during his promotion to Pioneer League Orem (6.21 ERA). Prior to that, in the ALZ, he never allowed more than 2 earned runs in any outing. He throws a high 80 to low 90’s fastball with an outstanding change and improving curve. Let’s see what occurs during a full season at LoA Burlington. ETA 2019
Just off the Scope: RHP Jose Rodriguez (2015 OTW), RHP Geoff Broussard
International Watch: RHP Cristopher Molina
RHP Williams Ramirez
2015 stats: 4-3, 1.05 ERA, 51.1 IP, 25 H, 6 ER, 20 BB, 58 K, 0.87 WHIP
Williams Ramirez pitched in the States last season with the GCL Twins, after two season in the DSL. He’s long in the tooth for the GCL, as he turned 23 toward the end of the season, but he’s only been pitching for 3 years. The International signee from the Dominican Republic is a convert from the outfield and third base. A closer look at his stats over the three years on the mound, shows he might be have chosen the right path to work up the Twins system. In 155 innings, Ramirez has limited batters to a paltry 1.74 batting average and those have improved each year. The same can be said about his K9 and BB9 rates. Ramirez was my Twins’ 2015 International “One to Watch” finishing 8th within the Twins system on my spreads. Those ahead of him, the likes of Jose Berrios, Aaron Slegers moving on to Double-A, and Kohl Stewart‘s disappointing 2015, Ramirez vaulted to the #1 slot this season with a .065 TPS. (.006 improvement).  One wonders where he will start 2016….repeat the GCL for a spell and/or maybe a slot in full season LoA Cedar Rapids’ bullpen to see how he handles more advanced hitters. ETA 2019 
Just off the Scope: RHP Eduardo Del Rosario, LHP Sam Clay
International Watch: LHP Jadison Jimenez
New York Yankees
RHP Gilmael Troya
2015 stats: 4-3, 1.05 ERA, 51.1 IP, 25 H, 6 ER, 20 BB, 58 K, 0.87 WHIP
Troya is almost a carbon copy of the Twins Ramirez, but only much younger and 2015 was his debut season. The 18 year-olds stats in the DSL display that someone in the Yankees organization took quick notice and shipped him North to get him time in the Gulf Coast League. The International signee from 2014 has a strong fastball in the 91-94 range, improving curveball (above-average?), and is working on other secondaries. Projectable frame (6’0″ 178 lbs) that will definitely fill-out, along with pitchability, translates to a promising prospect for the Yankees. A banner year in 2016 will no doubt have Troya in the organizations Top 30. ETA 2020
Just off the Scope: RHP Daniel Alvarez, RHP Kolton Mahoney
International Watch: LHP Orby Tavares
RHP Angel Duno
2015 stats: 4-5, 4.04 ERA, 69 IP, 84 H, 31 ER, 4 BB, 53 K, 1.27 WHIP
Angel Duno‘s blurb will probably be the shortest of the OTW feature. In researching the International signee back in 2011, there is nil information other than he spent 3 season in the DSL and 2 levels in the States. In Billy Beane fashion, Duno was an intriguing slot on my spreadsheet. He made this list basically on Factor Score (6) instead of TPS (.170), a high rate mainly for the 11.0 H9 along with lack of strikeouts. But the control of 4 walks over 69 innings is too good to look past. He’s capable of missing bats, as he struck out nine over 5 innings during his last outing of 2015, with Short-Season Vermont (NYPL). I have a feeling that we will see Duno’s name a lot this Summer during the daily performance postings. ETA 2020
Just off the Scope: RHP Bowdien Derby, RHP Joel Seddon
International Watch: LHP Alexander Calderon
LHP Anthony Misiewicz
2015 stats: 3-2, 2.14 ERA, 46.1 IP, 30 H, 11 ER, 10 BB, 40 K, 0.86 WHIP
The Mariners pulled Misiewicz from his senior season at Michigan State when they selected him in the 18th round last June. The leftie thought long and hard before taking the offer. In the back of his mind, he had to wonder why the Mariners came calling, since he spent most of his collegiate career in the bullpen. But once he made the decision, he became a bulldog and tore up the Northwest League. Notably his 4:1 K:BB ratio and his name amongst NLW pitching leaders. His success stemmed from his confidence in throwing his low-90’s fastball. The 20 year-old possesses command of a 3-pitch mix that should see hitters at LoA Clinton this season. ETA 2019 
Just off the Scope: LHP Jake Brentz
International Watch: RHP Kevin Gadea
Tampa Bay
RHP Adrian Navas
2015 stats: 0-4, 1.82 ERA, 59.1 IP, 43 H, 12 ER, 23 BB, 66 K, 1.11 WHIP
Navas spent the 2013 season in the VSL and had nice numbers within a small sample size of 3 starts (9.2 IP). He missed all of the next season and started over in the VSL in 2015. Whatever caused him to miss 2014, it never affected him this past season. In 18 appearances (17 starts), the 19 year-old had a 0.83 ERA with 4:1 K:BB ratio and was promoted to the Gulf Coast League. He probably hasn’t stopped thanking the Rays for the move, since it was announced in June that the VSL would disband. Naval was simmered somewhat with the GCL Rays, but in the end, he was a decent pitcher on a very bad team. He limited opposing hitters to a .554 OPS and .201 batting average by inducing ground balls (1.5 GB/FB Ratio). ETA 2020
Just off the Scope: RHP Benton Moss, RHP Angel Yepez
International Watch: LHP Resly Linares
RHP Pedro Payano
2015 stats: 10-2, 1.11 ERA, 89 IP, 69 H, 11 ER, 22 BB, 101 K, 1.02 WHIP
I thought Payano would be UTR gold in 2015. Last year at this time, the right-hander was neck and neck with Frank Lopez…who I selected as the 2015 OTW. Lopez just about pulled off a serious breakout campaign before losing it in Double-A. I have faith though, as Lopez is still very young. Payano on the other hand, made the jump to the Arizona League after 3 “hot” DSL starts (24 K’s over 15.2 IP). He then went 6-0 with 1.55 ERA and a 10.2 K9 over 40.2 innings. The breakout was beginning along with another promotion to LoA Hickory. The 20 year-old has a repeatable, deceptive delivery with a low 90’s fastball and solid curve and changeup. His name appeared on some lists as a possible Rule 5 selection, as he was left unprotected by the Rangers. Rangers must have been holding their breath and made sure to place ease on Payano, by inviting him the Spring Training. Payano made my UTR-OAS list in 2014 and I stated that 2015 would tell the tale towards his ceiling. Cant wait for this year! ETA 2018
Just off the Scope: RHP Luis Ortiz, RHP Ariel Jurado
International Watch: LHP Pedro Brito
RHP Yennsy Diaz
2015 stats: 10-2, 1.11 ERA, 89 IP, 69 H, 11 ER, 22 BB, 101 K, 1.02 WHIP
Well…here we are, the final OTW. As Im typing out this blurb, my eyes keep wondering over to the side of my desk where my copy of the 2016 Baseball America Prospect Handbook has been patiently awaiting. Im about 10 days behind from last years schedule, in posting my UTR-OTW. This because, our PFL Fantasy Draft Day is a week later this year and thats (draft prep) #2 on my list when I schedule this post. Number One will be flipping through the BA Handbook, to see if any of my OTW’s are listed somewhere between #11 to #30. Like last year, I’ll probably post those listed, as Im waiting for the minor league tracking season to start. 
Yennsy Diaz……had an impressive debut in the DSL and was promoted to the GCL. In all the years of tracking the low minors, I can’t recall so many in-season promotions from the DSL. Diaz met his match with the GCL hitters, as he saw a big spike in his ERA, but held his K9 and BB9 rates in check. The UTR flag, again goes up, with the 19 year-old. What also raise a flag, is teenager that can miss bats and throws a fastball that can touch 97 mph and an above-average changeup. ETA 2020
Just off the Scope: RHP Lupe Chavez, RHP Hansel Rodriguez
International Watch: RHP Joel Espinal
This entry was posted in 2016, Ones to Watch, Pitchers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to “Ones to Watch” – 2016 AL Pitchers

  1. Pingback: UTRMinors – American League Top Pitchers – July 2016 | Under The Radar Minors

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.