XAVIER CONCEPCION, RIGHT HANDED PITCHER
|Born: January 22, 1998
Signed: Int’l Free Agent, 2018, Pittsburgh Pirates
How Acquired: International Free Agent
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
Concepcion signed at age 20 shortly before the DSL season began in 2018. He throws very hard, frequently reaching triple digits. He also throws a slider that, so far, isn’t a swing-and-miss pitch.
Concepcion made three starts and six relief appearances before being shut down at the end of July. He gave up six runs in two-thirds of an inning in his first game, then had a 2.74 ERA after that. He didn’t pitch well at any point, as he had significant control problems. His ERA was misleading as ten of the 17 runs he allowed in his last eight games were unearned.
A little surprisingly, the Pirates moved Concepcion up to West Virginia, where he pitched mostly in multi-inning relief appearances. Control remained an issue, but he got enough of a handle on the strike zone to be effective more often than not. Opponents found it almost impossible to drive the ball against him; he allowed just three extra-base hits, all doubles, and held opponents to a pitiful ISO of .026. He had no real platoon split.
Considering both the jump he was making and how far he had to go with his control, Concepcion had a very successful 2019 season. Obviously, he needs to continue the improvement and he also needs a better secondary pitch.