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Prospect Pitcher Review: June 13th – June 19th

Luis Medina and Kyle Muller tamed top 10 performances and more...

Welcome to a roll-up-your-sleeves weekly video review of prospect pitchers. These aren’t the “best outings” of the week per se, but rather an attempt to keep abreast of prospects’ development, getting a leg up on our dynasty opponents. There was an offseason rank after a massive video review (link to offseason review series and rank list), but ranks aren’t our main focus. Watching, reporting, keeping tabs on investments, and catching new names.

(Note: If you are on your phone, turn it horizontal to view the entirety of the game line tables.)

 

Tuesday 6/14

 

Hunter Gaddis, Double-A Akron (Cle)

 

 

Gaddis is a large person, listed 6’6″ tall. The fastball is big too, per broadcast gun, touching 98. The velocity ticked down as low as 91, usually first pitch or with three balls, but sat 95. A hard slider was his second offering, while a curveball tried to surprise hitters, and lefties would get a changeup. The arsenal is fairly impressive and Gaddis’ aggressive attack is up my alley. The bulk of the attack, the fastball/slider, was executed ok. The changeup and curveball had wild moments, but when a pitcher and a lineup both have aggressive game plans, strikes stay plentiful and you don’t necessarily get a game of cat and mouse shedding light on the full range of attack.

All hits surrendered came during the first three at-bats of the game:

Gaddis would get the next 21 outs facing 22 batters. He started by striking out the next three batters:

The only baserunners the rest of the way were two walks, both to Montano, with him getting doubled up after a hard liner to right field on one occasion. Hartford has some aggressive hitters, but this felt like a concerted effort to swing early at the fastball/slider, not wanting to get deep into counts/mess with the offerings Gaddis and his 78 season strikeouts use to finish hitters off, which seemed like a good plan. Hartford hit balls hard, but right at outfielders. Getting through seven on 87 pitches is obviously flying through a lineup. Here are the other two strikeout pitches on the day:

There’s MLB starter potential here if the execution of the whole arsenal polishes some, but, even as the broadcast spoke of, Gaddis feels more exciting as a bullpen arm where he may not need to take a little off to get ahead and let the 98 come out more. Given the system he’s in when it all shakes out, it wouldn’t surprise if he ends up growing into high leverage or bullpen ace. Put Gaddis in a different system, and maybe it changes, but for our dynasty purposes, it’s tough betting on a rotation spot.

 

Kyle Muller, Triple-A Gwinnett (Atl)

 

 

Top ten ALERT! 78% strikes and no walks from Kyle Muller?!? We’ve seen the “flash” outings before, but a closer look at numbers gets interesting. Muller made an MLB start in early May, and performed exactly how we feared; wild, walks, lots of runs, and didn’t last long. But check this out:

Wednesday 6/15

 

Luis Medina, Double-A Somerset (NYY)

 

 

Top 10 ALERT! Medina looked liable to fly off in any direction after 2021, both in dynasty value and pitch locations, but we got a glimpse of the Medina dream this outing. There’s no questioning the quality of stuff with a four-seam fastball capable of triple digits, a big vertically breaking curveball, and a changeup capable of almost 20 mph differential. The arsenal is elite. The utilization of it has been a bummer. Hitters were able to sit on hittable fastballs last season leading to their fair share of hits. Pile on the lack of control and things got ugly at times for the highly touted 2015 signee. There were still a few wild pitches this day, and doses of non-competitive offerings, but this was nothing like the past. Medina was throwing strikes and did well spotting all his offerings, at least on one axis. New Hampshire broadcast focused on a side angle, but here are the first nine strikeout pitches:

The velocity is easy for the 23-year-old who started hitting triple digits seven years ago. Most impressive was Medina’s willingness and ability to throw secondaries when behind in the count or even with three balls. Here is the entirety of his last strikeout/at-bat of the game:

The hot Spencer Horwitz had a single earlier in the game off a fastball, and Medina got him with a change the other at-bat. Medina wasn’t giving in there. The lone walk on the day was a questionable one as well. After reviewing the 2021 season, I wasn’t betting we’d ever see a day like this. Here is the only other hit of the game:

Was this just an outlier outing? Taking a glimpse here begs the question of this thing headed in an exciting direction:

 

Medina feels like a fantastic speculative add or cheap trade target, as the upside is huge, and if this is coming together…this was top-shelf pitching prospect stuff from an acquisition potentially quite cheap. If the second half of the season shows more of these, you’ll see Medina at the tops of some lists. I either made a play or tried to in all of my leagues, the upside is that exciting and worth the dice roll.

 

David Festa, High-A Cedar Rapids (Min)

 

 

The 6’6″ 22-year-old is now five High-A appearances (three starts) deep, and putting up numbers. The lanky frame includes a big arm with a fastball running up to 98 mph, sitting 96. There’s a hard slider and a changeup mixed in. All three offerings induced egregiously ugly swings in this outing. Festa is more of a thrower than intently spotting things, with a pitch liable to fly off badly in any direction at any time. There were two wild pitches and could have been more. The six hits were all singles (two of the base-runners eliminated by Festa via pickoffs), and four of them weren’t well-struck. After two, two-out weak singles, this accounted for all the damage:

Here are the five strikeout pitches:

Per the broadcast, the changeup was Festa’s best pitch in college, and it did appear to be his go-to when he most needed to make a pitch, but this attack was more fastball and hard slider. The slider was commanded better than the fastball.

Festa is an intriguing arm to keep an eye on. Safe to say he’s raw, but the newfound power attack with that parachute strewn in makes for strikeout upside. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill foundation of an arsenal, and if innings get logged with harnessing of it, a dynasty bet feels warranted.

 

Thursday 6/16

 

Cole Ragans, Triple-A Round Rock (Tex)

 

 

Ragans’ two Tommy John surgeries paired with the lost COVID season resulted in missing game action for four years. He got back in 2021, showing well, but things are starting to really cook now. The changeup is the big weapon, and he throws plenty of them with success. There appear to be a few variations of fastball as well. The broadcast kept referencing a cutter and a pitch sitting 88/89 mph was sprinkled in. This pitch may have been categorized as a changeup by Savant. Here’s a look at him finishing hitters with the big combo:

The curveball was used as a strike-stealing offering on the first pitch like here against Pedro Leon:

The home run allowed was off a good pitch not likely to be taken yard often:

 

Ragans cruised the first time through the lineup, only surrendering a bloop single and striking out four of ten hitters. The second time through was the above home run and this double:

After a run of three straight singles, two of which were softly hit, Ragans was able to escape only allowing one run:

What a great comeback story, but now we’re talking dynasty value. Again, a lefty who doesn’t spin a breaking ball very well isn’t my favorite, but Ragans pitches well, setting up hitters, and spotting his big pitch. If starting in the majors is about executing your best pitch, Ragans is giving himself a chance. Great debut and Ragans continues to be an interesting watch; perhaps a sneaky pickup in deeper leagues if available.

 

Juan Cerala, Single-A Tampa (NYY)

 

 

Taking the broadcast opportunity to see a name putting up lines, the young Carela has gone from an 8+ BB/9 his first pro season, to a young arm in full-season harnessing his stuff to a 2.25 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 11.75 K/9, 3.11 BB/9, 15.1 P/IP tune. It didn’t take long to see what Carela was all about; his slider. This outing is the quintessential if-you-command-a-plus-breaking-ball-at-the-low-levels-you-can-dominate. Here’s a look at some of the main offering:

 

Carela was perfect into the fifth, peppering hitters with the slider, in and out of the zone, sprinkling in a hard fastball. Then the Mets started making contact with the slider. A couple of singles, a walk, and productive outs led to the two runs. He gave up some hard contact the rest of the way, but it did no damage.

There’s plenty more needing to come along before Carela strikes any dynasty interest. We’ll see if there’s an effort to grow the arsenal or attack, but until then, it’s a slider.

 

Friday 6/17

 

Luis Devers, Low-A Myrtle Beach (ChC)

 

 

Over the last six starts (31 IP, five of which were scoreless), Devers has put up a 0.58 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, 10.16 K/9, 1.16 BB/9, 67 S%, 13.6 P/IP. The 2017 signee offers a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a curveball, and demolishes Single-A hitters with a changeup. Here’s a look at a few at-bats:

Devers pitches with burn too:

Devers has the big pitch, starting hitters off with it and leaning on it to knock hitters out, but he’s pitching as well, using two fastballs to set hitters up and locating well. The curveball feel looked a struggle, but he was able to consistently throw it inside to lefties. All nine strikeouts were via the changeup, here are the first eight strikeout pitches:

The Cubs minor league pitcher of the month looks to be punching well above his weight. We’ll want to see how spinning the breaking ball goes, but there’s a full starter’s arsenal here with an ability to execute his best pitch at a high level. This outing got my dynasty attention, wanting to see how the promotions go. The broadcast stated the sinker hit 92 mph, but I’d like to know more about the velocity as well. There’s dynasty potential to keep an eye on.

 

Logan Workman, High-A Bowling Green (TB)

 

 

Over seven High-A starts, Workman has allowed eight earned runs. All but one of them is via the long ball. Oscar Colas provided all the scoring off Workman this outing:

The changeup feel wasn’t there for Workman, but the fastball/slider combo was executed well and produced results, only surrendering a few hard-hit balls. The 23-year-old, listed at 6’4″ and 215 pounds has some whiff in his arsenal:

Here are all five strikeout pitches:

The breaking ball seems inconsistent, as you can see different shapes coming from the same catcher sign. A look under the fastball’s hood would be nice, as I wonder if it stays fairly “flat”. Workman is producing in a system worth watching pitchers grow. Want to see how it all plays at the next level, and if the home runs turn into more of a thing, but Workman has tools. With some polish, there could be dynasty intrigue.

 

Saturday 6/18

 

Randy Vasquez, Double-A Somerset (NYY)

 

 

Randy Vasquez’ curveball can be a gif masterpiece, like this wild strike three vs. Micah Pries on 6/12/22:

On this day, the curveball feel was a bit of a struggle in the constant light rain. Vasquez was also, understandably so, upset with the umpiring. It wasn’t great. Meanwhile, the mound had its issues too:

Vasquez relied more on the changeup and slider this outing, exuding adjustment skills we don’t get a ton of in the minor leagues. Here’s a look at some:

Vasquez allowed some hard contact. These two batted balls were responsible for the scoring:

This outing was a great example of how having more pitches in your bag makes you a better starter. Vasquez exuded an ability to adapt as the conditions changed. The multiple fastballs, the two breaking balls, and the changeup is a fantastic bag of possibilities for Vasquez, who hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in an outing since his last 2021 start. The pecking order in New York remains a dynasty speculation bugaboo. Still love the skills, but skeptical enough polish comes to pass other arms in the system. The breaking balls were inconsistent in shape this outing. Was that weather or Vasquez? Love the pitcher, but not so much the circumstances surrounding dynasty speculation.

 

Sunday 6/19

 

Edinson Batista, Single-A Fayetteville (Hou)

 

 

Batista has lively stuff he’s attempting to locate with intent. The strike-throwing can be a challenge, but it’s not this overt lack of command as much his breaking balls really move. Single-A is starting to feel conquered. Over his last five outings; 23.2 IP, 0.39 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 9.70 K/9, 3.49 BB/9, 60.1 K%, 14.7 P/IP. The arsenal includes a fastball said to touch mid-90s, slider, curveball, and changeup he didn’t have much feel for this day. Lafayette is a bad angle for a righty, but here’s a look from 5/19/22, striking out Chase Krogman and Colson Montgomery:

 

Here are the five strikeout pitches from this outing:

 

Batista can spin it, like a lot of pitchers who’ve come through this system. At an athletic, strong, 6’2″ with an ability to locate two breaking balls at a young age, it almost feels like the Houston spin factory’s new creation. Batista has my deep league attention.

 

 

Quinn Priester, Double-A Altoona (Pit)

 

 

Priester drips with tools and talent. Not many make their Double-A debut at 21 years old like he did this day. The pitch execution wasn’t there in 2021 and is the biggest obstacle in the way of elite dynasty value. Things didn’t start off the greatest, and he let two of three leadoff men get on, but he was too much for the Erie bats:

 

It was a windy day, and the camera was all over the place, but you didn’t need help seeing the upside in Priester’s four-seam/two-seam/curveball/slider/changeup repertoire as he breezed through three. Looking forward to how the profile takes shape, particularly how he will attack lineups this season. Depending on when you caught him, the attack can vary, which is a big plus in my book, but I want to know if he’s more choosing the attack or it’s choosing him. Last year, throwing strikes was enough of a battle. These three innings weren’t enough to get a great feel, but he threw strikes. We want spotting pitches with more intent and then we’re really cooking. Priester has a shot at landing near the tops of lists by the season’s end.

 

 

PPL&R 2022 Top 10 Outings

(This season’s outings that WOW’d us or got us thinking about a player in a different, positive manner.)

Link to google doc housing lines of all minor league starts and extended relief appearances this past week. 

 

Graphic by Michael Packard (@artbyMikeP on Twitter & IG)

Nate Handy

Nate is an advocate of drafting more pitchers. Originally from the planet Eternia, he aspires to become the Master of the Prospect Universe....or just watch baseball, share observations, and have an enjoyable dialogue about this great game, particularly the young players trying to make the major leagues.

  • Mario Mendoza says:

    This is so cool, thanks

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