Down on the Farm: Is Tony Cingrani the Cincinnati Reds' Top Prospect?
You have most likely heard his name dropped in recent months, you know him as a Reds minor league prospect, but do you really know who Tony Cingrani is and what he's accomplishing?
Cingrani is a left-handed pitcher who was drafted during last season's (2011) amateur draft, in the third round and No. 114 overall by the Cincinnati Reds, out of Rice University.
Far from being a MLB prospect in 2010, Cingrani's first season with the Owls and his first season playing D-I baseball, he would find himself looking down the barrel of an 8.59 ERA through six starts at the conclusion of the season.
Looking to change things up, the Owls and Cingrani would restructure his mechanics and switch him to the closers role.
It was here that Tony would go on to dominate in his senior year and post a 1.74 ERA with 12 saves through 32 appearances—impressive, but far still limited success from what you would expect of a third-round pick. According to an article after the 2011 draft by Tyler Jett of MLB.com, Reds senior director of amateur scouting Chris Buckley called Cingrani, a "gut-feel guy."
Well, that gut feeling seems to be paying off in a big way. Cingrani was never projected as a possible MLB starter, but the Reds have taken such an approach with him, and he has not looked back.
Tony boasts a fastball that has been graded an 80/80 on the 20-80 scouting scale and averages in the 92-93 mph range while touching 97-98 at times. His control is being rated at 70/80, and his pitch command's rated at 60/70. Those last two numbers are absolutely phenomenal for a young pitcher.
The downfall comes with his secondary pitches. Cingrani is primarily a two-pitch pitcher who works his fastball and an average changeup to perfection while tossing in a mediocre slider. His two secondary pitches, however, have been showing development and progress this season, and his excellent numbers at Double-A attest to that.
The most astonishing fact with Tony Cingrani is his stats, which he continues to improve upon at each level of advancement. Let's break them down.
Just take a look at those stats again. Through one full season of professional level stats, Tony Cingrani maintains a 1.38 Career ERA with a 36/203 BB/K ratio. I don't care what level you play at, those are video game numbers for a starter.
Three of the six career home runs he has given up came in one game this season—his third start at Double-A on June 14 where he allowed 3 ER in the game—the most earned runs he has ever given up in a professional game. This means that over the other 30 starts and 152 innings pitched, he has only given up three home runs. These numbers are simply amazing.
Now, we know that Tony cannot continue to throw up numbers at this ridiculous rate can he? But, an even more amazing stat is that his numbers continue to improve at each level he advances to.
If he is able to continue at this pace for another five to six starts, expect Cingrani to make the next move to Triple-A Louisville. I fully expect him to make at least one to two starts at the next level before season's end.
Tony Cingrani is an intriguing prospect who was on no national radars and few local radars at the beginning of the 2012 season. But, he's not to be overlooked. Daniel Corcino is an A-type prospect and has been considered the best pitching prospect in Cincy's farm system.
With all do respect to Corcino, Cingrani is the Reds' No. 1 minor league pitching prospect and a close second to Billy Hamilton as the Reds' overall No.1 minor league prospect.
Hamilton has the potential to break the all-time stolen base record and is averaging over one stolen base per game, while Cingrani has the potential to post a sub-1.50 ERA—remarkable
Tony Cingrani and Billy Hamilton are two exciting prospects; make sure that you keep up with them and their performances this year. It's going to be exciting.
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