eptember, so he pretty much has to make the jump to the majors now. He throws a 91-94 MPH fastball, and has posted strong ratios throughout his career, with a 9.4 K/9, a 3.4 BB/9, and a 0.7 HR/9. His main issue is command, although he seemed to improve that in 2009, cutting out one walk per nine innings from his 2008 ratio.
2009 Rule 5 Draft Preview: Right Handed Pitchers
Today we cap off the preview of the upcoming Rule 5 draft. In case you missed the previous versions, I’ve covered some options at the catcher, middle infield, and outfield positions, as well as left handed pitchers. Today we’ll go over some of the right handed pitchers available in next week’s draft. For those of you looking for corner infielders, I apologize. I didn’t feel it was worth the time to research this info for two reasons:
1. The Pirates have Jeff Clement, Andy LaRoche, Garrett Jones, Neil Walker, and Pedro Alvarez as options at the corners next year.
2. It would be very difficult to carry a backup first baseman the entire season, and very difficult to carry three third basemen once Alvarez arrives (assuming LaRoche is still around).
So now just watch the Pirates take a first baseman next week.
Speaking of next week, I’ll have some more Rule 5 content on Monday, such as the recent history of the Rule 5 draft, including which positions are the easiest to hide on the roster all year, and which positions are the most likely to be selected, based on past results. Check back for that.
Now, on to the right handed pitchers:
Aneury Rodriguez, RHP, TB
Rodriguez might be one of the top options in the 2009 Rule 5 draft. He was the number 16 prospect in the Colorado Rockies farm system before being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for starting pitcher Jason Hammel. Rodriguez was coming off of a strong season in high-A in which he posted a 3.74 ERA, with an 8.0 K/9 and a 2.3 BB/9 in 156.1 innings pitched. In 2009 he made his AA debut, with a 4.50 ERA in 142 innings, plus a 7.0 K/9 and a 3.7 BB/9.
Rodriguez has a 91-92 MPH fastball with late movement, and a curveball that serves as an out pitch. He is 6′ 3″, 180 pounds, and turns 22 next week. He still has a little bit of room to grow, and still fits that “projectable” label, despite being at the AA level. Rodriguez also has a strong changeup, leading to a .192 BAA versus left handers in 2009.
George Kontos, RHP, NYY
You may remember Kontos from the Xavier Nady trade. The Pirates received Jose Tabata and Ross Ohlendorf, and had their choice of two packages. The choice was either Daniel McCutchen and Jeff Karstens, or George Kontos and Phil Coke. Kontos is a bit of a question mark at this point. He had Tommy John surgery in June of 2009, which means he will be out until June 2010 at the earliest. That provides a good opportunity to hide him on the disabled list for half the season, which could increase his chances of getting selected. However, his performance after the return is not guaranteed to be as good as his minor league performances.
Kontos had impressive ratios at the AA level, with a 3.56 ERA in 172 innings pitched, along with a 9.2 K/9 ratio and a 3.5 BB/9 ratio. In his brief appearance in AAA, Kontos made nine starts, pitching 51 innings, with a 3.35 ERA, a 6.9 K/9, and a 3.7 BB/9. Kontos is effective because of his secondary pitches, with his slider serving as his best offering, and his curveball also being above-average. His fastball is inconsistent, ranging anywhere from 88-93 MPH, but has been more towards the bottom part of that scale in the last year. He projects as a future bullpen arm, although he’s had success starting in AA and AAA, so he could be an option as a back of the rotation starter.
Kanekoa Texeira, RHP, NYY
It’s a surprise that the Yankees left Texeira unprotected. Texeira was acquired by the Yankees before the 2009 season, along with Nick Swisher for pitching prospects Jeff Marquez and Jhonny Nunez, and infielder Wilson Betemit. He was mostly a reliever in 2009, with a 2.84 ERA, a 7.8 K/9, and a 3.8 BB/9 in 101.1 innings pitched at the AA level. This follows a season in which he posted a 1.33 ERA, an 8.9 K/9, and a 3.3 BB/9 in 61 innings between high-A and AA as a reliever.
Texeira throws his fastball in the 88-91 MPH range, topping out at 93, and relies on his slider as his best offering. His fastball has more movement in the high 80s, making it more effective. He throws from a low three-quarters slot, which makes his slider so good. (Credit to River Avenue Blues for the scouting report). Texeira has mostly been a reliever, so it’s hard to imagine him as anything more in the majors. He probably would have been protected on another team, but the Yankees have a lot of pitching depth, and didn’t have room for him.
Steve Johnson, RHP, BAL
The Orioles traded their closer, George Sherrill, to the Los Angeles Dodgers at the trade deadline, getting Johnson and Josh Bell in return. Bell looked good in the Arizona Fall League, although it’s interesting that Baltimore left Johnson unprotected after the move. Johnson entered the season as the number 15 prospect in the Dodgers farm system. In 25 starts and 27 appearances between high-A and AA this year he put up a 3.41 ERA, a 9.5 K/9, and a 3.8 BB/9 in 145.1 innings pitched.
Johnson has a 90-93 MPH fastball, but lacks control at times. He has a curveball and slider, and a below average changeup. His pitches aren’t phenomenal, but he does work well on the mound, as can be seen in the high strikeout ratios. Johnson projects as a reliever or a back of the rotation starter. He could end up like Evan Meek, as he just turned 22 in August, and has plenty of time to develop. An interesting note, Johnson’s father, Dave Johnson, was originally signed by the Pirates in 1982, and made five appearances for the 1987 team, before going on to be a starter for Baltimore.
Josh Perrault, RHP, BAL
I have been discriminating against older pitchers, but I’ll make an exception for the 27 year old Perrault. Baltimore selected Perrault in the AAA phase of the 2008 Rule 5 draft from Washington. He put up an impressive season in relief between AA and AAA in 2009, with a 2.12 ERA, a 9.2 K/9, and a 2.0 BB/9 in 72 innings pitched. That includes 32 innings in AAA with a 2.53 ERA, a 9.3 K/9, and a 2.5 BB/9 ratio.
I’m not sure I’d take Perrault with the number two pick, but with the Pirates looking for cheap bullpen options, he could be a good gamble for a second Rule 5 selection. Worst case scenario is that he doesn’t make the team out of Spring Training and gets sent back to Baltimore. Perrault pitched in the Arizona Fall League, throwing 89-91 MPH, with a 3.38 ERA, and a 6:5 K/BB ratio in 10.2 innings pitched.
Yohan Pino, RHP, CLE
Just like Steven Johnson and the Orioles, the decision by Cleveland to leave Yohan Pino unprotected is interesting. Cleveland traded Carl Pavano to Minnesota for a player to be named later. That player ended up being Pino, who had a 2.82 ERA in eight starts with Minnesota’s AAA team, with a 7.8 K/9 and a 1.9 BB/9. Pino only made two starts with Cleveland’s AAA team, but had a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings, with a 9.0 K/9, and a 1.3 BB/9.
Pino mostly relies on off-speed pitches, with a great curveball and slider. He only throws his fastball in the mid-to-high 80s, which is a testament to his secondary pitches when considering his high strikeout ratio and low velocity. Pino can pitch out of any role, and has had success so far in every role he’s been in. He turns 26 later this month, but could step right in to the major league bullpen with ease, considering the success he saw in AAA in 2009.
Brayan Villareal, RHP, DET
I haven’t been going for guys below AA that much, which is why Villareal is a rare addition to this list. He turns 23 in May, but hasn’t pitched above low-A ball in his career yet. Villareal has an impressive strikeout ratio, with a 10.0 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9 in 106.2 innings in low-A, with a 3.29 ERA during that span. In 2009 he posted a 2.87 ERA mixed between starting and relieving in 103.1 innings, with a 10.3 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9.
Villareal has a low-90s fastball, and probably should jump up to AA by next season. He’s a small pitcher, at 5′ 10″, 190 pounds, but he’s obviously effective so far. He would be a big question mark, not only because he has yet to pitch above low-A, but because of his size being untested against better talent. That said, with his velocity, and his effective strikeout ratio, he could be a good arm to take a risk on. He’s almost like the Detroit version of Diego Moreno, who had an excellent season with the Pirates this year in low-A at the age of 23.
Arquimedes Caminero, RHP, FLA
Like Villareal, Caminero is a talented prospect who has yet to pitch above A-ball, although Caminero has two very unsuccessful innings in high-A. Caminero is a very talented arm, but a major project at the same time. He throws a 95-98 MPH fastball, and a mid-80s slider, both plus pitches.
Caminero put up a 5.53 ERA between three levels of A-ball in 2009, in 40.2 innings. In that time he posted an amazing 13.5 K/9 ratio, but struggled with the walks, with a 5.8 BB/9 ratio. He would be an interesting project for Joe Kerrigan.
Daniel Griffin, RHP, SF
Griffin spent the 2009 season in AAA, pitching 73 innings in a bullpen role. He posted a 5.42 ERA in this time span, although looking at his ratios, the ERA may not have been his fault. Griffin posted a 10.6 K/9 ratio, a 2.8 BB/9 ratio, and an 0.7 HR/9 ratio, all very strong, and not what you’d expect with such a high ERA.
Griffin turned 25 in S
Will Inman, RHP, SD
Inman came in to the 2009 season ranked as the number 18 prospect in the San Diego system by Baseball America. He spent the 2009 season between AA and AAA, with a combined 4.79 ERA in 27 starts and 150.1 innings, and a 6.0 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 ratio. This follows a 2008 season in which Inman posted a 3.52 ERA in 28 starts in AA, with a 9.3 K/9 and a 4.7 BB/9.
Inman doesn’t have the best stuff, but has a funky delivery which adds deception to his delivery. His fastball ranges in the 87-90 MPH range, but touches 93. He has a plus changeup, which helped him to a .246 BAA versus left handers in 2009. Inman will continue to rely on deception, with an upside as a back of the rotation starter. He turns 23 in February.
Aaron Breit, RHP, SD
Breit had a breakout season this year in high-A, with a 3.51 ERA in 107.2 innings pitched, along with a 9.2 K/9, and a 3.8 BB/9. Breit split his time between the rotation and the bullpen, making 13 starts. In his previous two seasons, Breit had combined for a 6.36 ERA in low-A ball, but had respectable ratios with a 7.1 K/9 and a 4.0 BB/9. He improved both ratios this season, which led to the overall improvement of his ERA.
Breit throws a 91-94 MPH fastball, which is a bit higher in a relief role. He has a hard curveball that acts as a strikeout pitch. Both his fastball and curveball are plus offerings. Breit has a good size, at 6′ 4″, 205 pounds, and turns 24 in April. His main drawback is that he doesn’t throw consistent strikes, which would make him a project for Kerrigan.