Scouting Reports, 2014 Projections for Miami Marlins Pitchers and Catchers
With less than three weeks left before pitchers and catchers are required to report to spring training, it might be time to decipher what the Miami Marlins have at those positions.
For this exercise, we'll only look at players on the 40-man roster. This means there won't be a write-up on the likes of Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Adam Conley, etc.
But for the players on the 40-man roster, in addition to a small summary, there will be 2014 projections based on the Oliver Projections by Brian Cartwright. According to The Hardball Times, the Oliver projections are based on a single major league equivalency (MLE) for each season, where raw statistics are adjusted for ballparks and leagues. The Oliver projections also use a weighted mean of the previous three seasons, along with aging factors and regression to the mean.
Without further ado, here are the 2014 projections for each Marlins pitcher and catcher in alphabetical order.
RHP Henderson Alvarez
2014 projections: 10-8, 3.69 ERA, 41 BB, 83 SO in 164 IP
Henderson Alvarez's 2014 projection seems like a cross between his 2012 season, when he stayed healthy to make 31 starts in the ever-brutal American League East division, and a 2013 season that began with Alvarez on the disabled list for the first three months of the season.
The highlight of Alvarez's 2013 season came when he sweated out a no-hitter while standing on the on-deck circle in the Marlins 1-0 walk-off win in the season finale.
And Alvarez has the goods to not only throw no-hitters, but also continue to be an effective pitcher for the Marlins.
According to ESPN.com's Keith Law (subscription required), Alvarez had a plus fastball and plus changeup when he was coming up in the Toronto Blue Jays farm system, but the fastball has backed off a little and he has been unable to keep his changeup down in the zone. Moreover, he has never developed an average breaking ball.
Alvarez's biggest issue continues to be his inability to miss bats, as evidenced by the projection. If he finds a way to miss bats, Alvarez could become a No. 2 pitcher. But until then, Alvarez has hit his ceiling as a No. 3 starter on a middling, but promising team.
RHP Michael Brady
2014 projections: 3-3, 3.76 ERA, 14 BB, 48 SO in 55 IP
If Michael Brady pitches for the Marlins in 2014, which is a possibility even though 99.9 percent of the world's population has never heard of him, it won't be in his closer's role.
Brady was added to the 40-man roster two months ago; he has accumulated 63 saves with a 2.28 ERA to go along with 200 strikeouts in 169.2 innings in the past three years.
Before the 2013 season began, Baseball America said the 24th-round pick out of California has a remarkable feel for throwing strikes even though he lacks an overpowering fastball.
I think I learned more about pitching and how to set up hitters and when to throw balls as opposed to pumping fastballs for strikes. I also learned mixing up your pitches and changing speeds often is more effective, especially for a guy who doesn’t throw upper 90s like most closers.
Brady's fastball sits at 91-92 mph while his secondary stuff consists of a sinker, slider and forkball. Also, ScoutingBook.com says Brady has a deceptive delivery, which makes it hard for hitters to pick up the ball quickly.
C Rob Brantly
2014 projections: .241/.294/.341, 8 HRs, 55 RBI
With the Marlins signing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a three-year deal last month, it's highly unlikely Rob Brantly touches those projections in 2014...unless it's in Triple-A New Orleans.
Coming into 2013, Brantly was supposed to be a solution to the Marlins' offensive woes after producing a slash line of .290/.372/.460 in 100 at-bats after arriving in a midseason trade in 2012. However, Brantly fell off the wagon badly in 2013, hitting .225 before being demoted in August.
At the time of the demotion, manager Mike Redmon told the Miami Herald that Brantly's throwing and blocking ability improved, but there were other areas that needed improvement such as his day-to-day operation, calling pitches, working with pitchers and carrying out a game plan.
Brantly returned less than a month later as a September call-up, and his plan was to simplify his approach.
"The biggest problem I had at the beginning of the season was I was trying to do too much," Brantly told MLB.com. "I started overthinking every aspect of the game, [and that] affected my hitting and affected my defense."
But it didn't seem like Brantly improved much, if at all.
He finished September going 1-for-19 at the plate. Defensively, he was charged with a passed ball and was unable to run down a foul ball near the screen on a play that should have been made in a doubleheader against the New York Mets, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com noted. Brantly also had a passed ball against the Atlanta Braves and threw out just one baserunner in six stolen base attempts.
With Saltalamacchia in the fold and backup catcher Jeff Mathis returning, Brantly will get to solve his issues in the minors this season.
RHP Arquimedes Caminero
2014 projections: 2-3, 4.50 ERA, 25 BB, 43 SO in 46 IP
Arquimedes Caminero was solid after he was promoted to the majors in mid-August last season, but the 2014 projections aren't treating him as kindly.
Caminero appeared in 13 games for the Marlins and had a 2.77 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 13 innings. Realistically, Caminero will probably have a season somewhere in between his stint with the Marlins in 2013 and his 2014 projections, that is, if he can earn a spot in the Marlins bullpen.
One reason for optimism is Caminero's fastball, which Baseball America notes is the best in the Marlins farm system. MLB.com's Joe Frisaro said Caminero's fastball has been clocked at 101 mph and the pitcher also mixes in a split-finger fastball and a slider.
However, Caminero's biggest issue is command of his pitches.
"I'm just trying to do my job and throw strikes," Caminero told MLB.com last spring. "Get my breaking ball in the zone and get outs. They will do what they think is best for me."
RHP Carter Capps
2014 projections: 3-4, 3.97 ERA, 23 BB, 66 SO in 63 IP
On the surface, Carter Capps should improve just based on the fact that he's going from the American League to the National League. Capps was traded to the Marlins this offseason for Logan Morrison.
But can it really be that simple?
According to Keith Law (subscription required), Capps throws 100 mph but seems as though he might dismember himself on every pitch. Capps is highly effective against right-handed hitters but has no weapon to get lefties out, and he will never have average command with his delivery.
The Marlins, however, targeted Capps hoping they could fix what ailed him in 2013. After all, it's hard to pass up on a pitcher whose fastball averaged 96.4 mph last season.
"Our scouts identified something within his delivery that we will address immediately that I think will allow him to return to the dominant form we saw from him in 2012," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill told MLB.com. "We saw glimpses of it last year, as well. But we are not worried at all that he will not be an effective, back end reliever for us.
RHP Steve Cishek
2014 projections: 4-3, 3.29 ERA, 28 BB, 69 SO in 68 IP
Steve Cishek has become a lockdown closer, and with an improving club, he should see more work and improve on his 34 saves of a season ago.
Moreover, Cishek ended the season on a roll as he established a team record by converting 29 saves in a row. What helped Cishek was keeping the ball down in the zone, taking a little off his fastball and just finding a way to push through even when he didn't have his best stuff, Cishek told MLB.com's Joe Frisaro in September.
Early on in the year, I was a little bit on and off. I felt like I was throwing harder. I felt better, actually. Now, I've kind of toned it down a little bit. My [velocity] is where it was last year, 90-92, maybe 93. Being down in the zone is a big thing...Even when I felt like garbage out there, I found a way to get three outs, which is something I struggled with last year. I was so up and down.
LHP Grant Dayton
2014 projections: 3-4, 4.51 ERA, 26 BB, 59 SO in 56 IP
Grant Dayton was an 11th-round selection by the Marlins in the 2010 draft.
Thus far, Dayton has been a left-handed reliever in the minors, save for six starts with Advanced Single-A Jupiter to begin the 2012 season. He finished 2013 with Double-A Jacksonville, going 4-4 with a 2.37 ERA in 38 innings.
There isn't much of a book on Dayton, but the Marlins thought highly enough of Dayton to add him to their 40-man roster two months ago.
LHP Mike Dunn
2014 projections: 3-4, 3.98 ERA, 32 BB, 68 SO in 63 IP
Mike Dunn has been a workhorse, with varying degrees of success since he joined the Marlins in 2011.
But 2013 was his best season as he went 3-4 with a 2.66 ERA in a team-high 75 appearances. Dunn also struck out 72 in 67.2 innings.
According to MLBScoutingReports.com, Dunn throws a mid-90s fastball with a sweeping slider while occasionally mixing in a curveball. Dunn is a big strikeout guy, averaging more than a strikeout per inning in his career, but he also walks way too many batters and gives up too many home runs.
RHP Sam Dyson
2014 projections: 5-6, 4.49 ERA, 40 BB, 49 SO in 102 IP
The projections predict Sam Dyson will be a part of the Marlins rotation, as they expect him to make 16 starts. While that would be a boon for Dyson, it's probably also unrealistic since Dyson has made just one start in seven appearances in his brief major league career.
In 11.2 major league innings, Dyson has struck out just six batters while allowing seven walks and 20 hits. Granted, it's a small sample size, but it matters because in the minors, Dyson's results are different.
In the minors, Dyson's strikeout ratio per nine innings is a pedestrian 4.9, but he has a career 2.82 ERA. Obviously, major league hitters are better at capitalizing on Dyson's mistakes than minor league hitters.
Dyson's biggest issue might be his inability to miss bats, although that might be by design.
According to FanGraphs, Dyson has an excellent fastball with incredible sinking action and his second best pitch is the changeup. Dyson also has a promising slider, but he rarely uses it even though he should throw it more.
On the bright side, Dyson lives in the Tampa area, close to pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, according to MLB.com. This means Dyson will get some hands-on tutelage in the offseason, which can't hurt.
RHP Nathan Eovaldi
2014 projections: 8-7, 3.95 ERA, 60 BB, 102 SO in 137 IP
If Nathan Eovaldi can stay healthy this season, he should be able to easily surpass the 2014 projection.
In fact, some believe Eovaldi is close to becoming a legitimate top-of-the-rotation starting pitcher. For instance, ESPN.com's David Schoenfield predicts Eovaldi as one of five pitchers who will break out in 2014.
According to Schoenfield's research, Eovaldi had the highest average fastball velocity at 96.2 mph among pitchers who threw at least 100 innings in 2013. An electric and effective fastball is almost always a reliable weapon, but Schoenfield also said Eovaldi needs to improve his command and refine his secondary pitches in order to take the next step.
Eovaldi threw his fastball 1,189 times out of 1,696 total pitches, which means he didn't rely on his slider or curveball. He needs to turn one of those pitches into more of a strikeout pitch or else the rest of the league will eventually figure him out.
RHP Jose Fernandez
2014 projections: 9-4, 2.74 ERA, 43 BB, 127 SO in 118 IP
Jose Fernandez's 2014 innings projection is eerily low unless he suffers a lengthy injury or hits the sophomore wall.
Marlins fans are probably cringing at the thought of either event occurring right now.
Fernandez didn't accomplish much in 2013. All he did while turning 21 years old during the season was go 12-6 with a 2.19 ERA and 187 strikeouts in 172.2 innings, win the National League Rookie of the Year award and finish third in the NL Cy Young race—and have a rookie season for the ages.
Consider the following facts, courtesy of Sports Illustrated's Cliff Corcoran:
- Among rookies who qualified for the ERA title in the Liveball Era (1920-present), Fernandez ranked fifth in ERA, second in WHIP and sixth in K/9, and his 176 ERA+, a stat that measures run prevention against league average and adjusts for home ballpark, was the best since 1911.
- Among pitchers 20 or younger, only Dwight Gooden in 1984 and Rick Ankiel in 2000 posted higher strikeout rates, and only Gooden had a lower WHIP, doing so in his sophomore year of 1985, one of the greatest pitching seasons in the game’s history.
- In the Liveball Era only Gooden’s 1.53 ERA in ’85 was lower than Fernandez’s 2.19 this year. In fact, Fernandez is the just the sixth pitcher that age to post an ERA+ above 135 since the major leagues were integrated in 1947.
- Fernandez was worth 6.3 Wins Above Replacement this season, according to Baseball-Reference.com, the fifth-best season by a pitcher age 20 or younger in baseball history. Only Christy Mathewson in 1901, Bob Feller in 1939, Bert Blyleven in 1971 and Gooden in 1985 had a higher mark. Oh, by the way, the first three of those men wound up in the Hall of Fame.
- Fernandez became just the seventh qualified pitcher in major-league history to post an ERA+ of 176 or better, a WHIP of 0.98 or lower and a K/9 of 9.7 or better in the same season. Four of other six such seasons were by Pedro Martinez (1997, ’99, 2000 and ’02), and the other two were by Randy Johnson and Johan Santana in 2004. Four of those seasons resulted in Cy Young awards, and the other two should have.
When Fernandez was promoted to the majors at the beginning of last season, the scouting reports predicted Fernandez would at least be able to hold his own.
Kiley McDaniel of Scout.com gave Fernandez's fastball a perfect 70 on their scale, while Fernandez's curveball graded out a 60. Fernandez's changeup graded out a 45 on a 55-point scale but his command was a 50 on the same scale. McDaniel also added there's a chance Fernandez is a No. 1 starter and could reach his ceiling as soon as 2014. Well, Fernandez might have arrived ahead of schedule.
Meanwhile, Baseball Prospectus said Fernandez is a fearless competitor and if they had to pick one lower-level arm (Fernandez had never pitched in Double-A or Triple-A) with the makeup to handle such an aggressive promotion, it would be Fernandez without hesitation. Fernandez might struggle at times, but he won't fold.
Apparently, Fernandez's competitive juices also extends to cycling, according to Frisaro. Fernandez is using cycling as a means to ramp up his conditioning as he rides of 70-80 miles a day, five or six times a week.
If Fernandez avoids the injury bug or the sophomore wall, he will be on a looser innings limit. Frisaro predicts it may reach up to 190 innings, up from last season's 172.3 innings.
LHP Brian Flynn
2014 ZiPS Projections: 8-10, 4.86 ERA, 71 BB, 119 SO in 163 IP
Like others earlier on this list, Flynn's numbers are predicated on him winning a spot in the starting rotation this season.
Last season, Flynn had his best season in the minors, going 6-11 but with a 2.80 ERA. Flynn's success earned him a promotion to the majors, where he struggled with a 8.50 ERA in four September starts. The Marlins, however, feel Flynn tired in September, which Frisaro said is not uncommon for players who had never previously reached the big leagues.
If Flynn displaces Jacob Turner or Tom Koehler from the rotation, the 2014 projection expects Flynn to be a subpar pitcher.
For Flynn to pitch better than expected, Flynn will have to display good control, which the Miami Herald's Clark Spencer said Flynn had in the minors as he averaged only 2.6 walks per nine innings. According to MLB.com, Flynn's fastball can reach 94 mph, and when he's got it going he will generate plenty of ground balls. Flynn's best breaking ball is the curve, which is average, and his changeup has a chance to be average, too.
Nonetheless, even if Flynn pitches to his ability, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo said Flynn projects more as middle-to-back end type of starting pitcher, while FanGraphs said Flynn will probably never become a household name but will provide a ton of innings and carve out a respectable career.
LHP Brad Hand
2014 projections: 6-8, 4.70 ERA, 79 BB, 104 SO in 128 IP
Brad Hand has pitched in parts of three seasons for the Marlins, and in none of those times did he stick with the big league club.
On the bright side, Frisaro said Hand did some nice things as a September call-up and has a realistic shot of winning a rotation spot coming out of spring training. Also, Baseball America said Hand is one of the organization's top-15 25-and-under players.
It would help Hand, who throws in the mid 90s, if he could improve his command. After all, Hand averages 5.2 walks per nine innings in his short major league career and 4.2 walks per nine innings in the minors.
RHP Chris Hatcher
2014 projections: 3-4, 4.66 ERA, 30 BB, 53 SO in 64 IP
Not bad for a former catcher.
If Chris Hatcher wins a spot in the Marlins bullpen, the 2014 projection expects Hatcher to be major league average at best and mediocre at worst.
Hatcher converted to pitching in 2011 after he spent five years toiling as a full-time catcher who could barely get his batting average above the Mendoza Line, according to Benjamin Hill of MiLB.com. In his first five minor league seasons, Hatcher hit a combined .210 and had three seasons where he hit below the Mendoza Line, including his final season as a full-time catcher.
The velocity was there, and it had never been a question of arm strength for me. I thought maybe this would get me back [to the Majors] quicker, especially considering the guys [the Marlins] have in the bigs catching now. My arm has always been my greatest asset, and both times I had pitched [in '09 and '10 with the Suns] I was throwing in the mid-90s...In one game the Mobile [BayBears] coach ran by and said 'What are you doing behind the plate?' I'm sure other teams thought that too. Hitting .200 sure didn't help my case.
Well, Hatcher was right. Pitching got him to the majors quicker.
He has been called up in each of the last three seasons, but like many others, he has yet to stick in the majors. Hatcher currently has a 0-1 record with a 7.22 ERA in 33.2 innings.
LHP Dan Jennings
2014 projections: 3-4, 4.12 ERA, 32 BB, 56 SO in 66 IP
If this projection is correct, then Dan Jennings will continue to go backwards at the major league level.
After posting a 1.89 ERA in 22 appearances in 2012, Jennings' ERA nearly doubled to 3.76 in 47 appearances in 2013.
On the bright side, Jennings missed more bats in 2013, as he averaged 8.41 strikeouts per nine innings compared to 3.79 in 2012. Also, Jennings yielded fewer free passes as he averaged 3.54 walks per nine innings in 2013 compared to 5.21 in 2012.
If Jennings sticks with the Marlins coming out of spring training, he should be the Marlins' second left-handed reliever in their bullpen.
RHP Tom Koehler
2014 projections: 8-10, 4.89 ERA, 77 BB, 113 SO in 156 IP
The only difference between Tom Koehler and the likes of Dyson, Flynn and Hand is opportunity.
Koehler is the incumbent, as he was the Marlins' No. 5 starter last season. Despite the subpar projection for 2014, it's Koehler's job to lose. Thus, it's on Dyson, Flynn, Hand and young prospects who aren't on the 40-man roster such as Andrew Heaney and Justin Nicolino to win the job from Koehler.
And even if Koehler loses his job, it's likely he'll be moved to the bullpen to serve as the club's long reliever. Basically, Koehler's versatility is serving himself well.
C Jeff Mathis
2014 projections: .201/.266/.325, 14 HRs, 57 RBI
Like Brantly, Mathis won't reach those home run and runs batted in totals unless Saltalamacchia goes down for the season.
But as for the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage? Pretty much on point.
Mathis has a career .195/.255/.310 slash line in nine major league seasons. Moreover, he's never reached double digits in home runs and has never driven in more than 42 runs.
For Mathis' sake, it's a good thing the Marlins view him as someone who can handle a young pitching staff. Last season, the Marlins were 35-35 when Mathis started and 27-65 when someone else started at catcher.
LHP Edgar Olmos
2014 projections: 3-7, 6.53 ERA, 70 BB, 62 SO in 87 IP
Edgar Olmos' 2014 projection is easily the worst among Marlins pitchers thus far.
Now, the good news is Olmos is left-handed and he's a former starting pitcher who has transitioned to the bullpen, according to the Miami Herald. The 23-year-old left-hander—a third-round pick in the 2008 draft—struggled to an 8-32 record and 4.52 ERA in the minors as a starting pitcher.
Olmos also told the Herald he's a different pitcher since moving to the bullpen, "attacking, being more aggressive and going after hitters." He used to throw between 85-90 mph, but now he’s averaging between 92-95 mph on his fastball as a reliever.
That said, Olmos hasn't lit it up with the Marlins as he gave up nine runs, four earned, in five major league innings last season. In fact, in his second major league appearance, Olmos served up a walk-off grand slam to John Mayberry Jr., which caused his little brother to cry for 10 consecutive minutes, according to the Palm Beach Post.
With those projections, Olmos' little brother won't be the only one crying.
RHP A.J. Ramos
2014 projections: 4-4, 3.70 ERA, 36 BB, 78 SO in 71 IP
Now that Ryan Webb and Chad Qualls are no longer with the Marlins, A.J. Ramos will have the inside track to be the Marlins top set-up man.
Ramos had a very good rookie season in 2013 as he finished 3-4 with a 3.15 ERA. More importantly, he showed an ability to dominate late in games as he struck out 86 batters in 80 innings.
Ramos has used four different pitches, which is rare for relievers, to put batters away without putting the ball in play. As Frisaro noted, along with a mid-90s fastball, Ramos has gotten strikeouts with his slider and curveball, and against left-handed hitters, he's used his changeup to send them packing.
C J.T. Realmuto
2014 projections: .224/.279/.327, 9 HRs, 51 RBI
Unless the Marlins are in a bind at catcher and they feel J.T. Realmuto is ready for the big leagues, it's likely Realmuto fulfills this 2014 projection in Double-A Jacksonville.
According to MLB.com, Realmuto transitioned from shortstop to catcher immediately after the Marlins drafted him in 2010, and he's made strides defensively thanks to an above-average arm and good agility while showing solid leadership skills. In fact, Realmuto nabbed 34 percent of base stealers in 2013.
Unfortunately, Realmuto's bat hasn't caught up to his glove. Since 2011, when he produced a .287/.347/.454 slash line with 12 home runs and 49 RBI in Single-A Greensboro, Realmuto has regressed to slash lines of .256/.319/.345 in Advanced Single-A Jupiter in 2012 and .239/.310/.353 in Double-A Jacksonville in 2013.
The good news is, according to FanGraphs, Realmuto still runs better than most catchers and made solid contact at the plate, so he’s not completely hopeless. He also has the "raw skill and drive to get better with a tweaked approach."
But unless Realmuto can prove he can hold his own offensively, the best he'll do is reach the majors as the defensive part of a platoon.
C Jarrod Saltalamacchia
2014 projections: .230/.308/.401, 19 HRs, 72 RBI
When the Marlins signed Saltalamacchia, they probably thought they got the player who produced a .273/.338/.466 slash line with 14 home runs and 65 RBI and had a career-best 2.9 WAR. But if the Marlins get the Salty with these 2014 projections, the $21 million contract might not provide as much bang for the buck as initially thought.
Then again, even with those projections, it's still MUCH better than what the Marlins got at catcher in 2013. According to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick, Marlins catchers hit a combined .194 with a .529 OPS while smashing only nine home runs in 572 at-bats. Saltalamacchia told the Associated Press (via ESPN) that it was a "perfect fit."
The Marlins made it known that I was a big part of their organization going forward, and they wanted me to be a part of it. Watching these guys on TV, all these young arms, and just getting really excited about that. But I loved my time in Boston. I had a great time with those guys. Still talk to them. They're going to be friends for life. But in this business there's always things that happen.
Behind the plate, ESPN.com's Keith Law described Saltalamacchia as below-average defensively at throwing and framing, but passable enough to stay there because of how much value he brings offensively.
RHP Angel Sanchez
2014 projections: 4-9, 6.89 ERA, 63 BB, 78 SO in 114 IP
Like Edgar Olmos, Angel Sanchez has a horrendous projection for 2014.
Sanchez, who joined the Marlins from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the Ricky Nolasco trade, is a right-hander who scouts think could make the majors as a starting pitcher, but has a long way to go as he needs a reliable third pitch behind his fastball and slider.
He was solid last season after coming into the organization, as Sanchez went 4-3 and had a 3.22 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 50.1 innings at Advanced Class-A Jupiter. The highlight was when Sanchez helped throw a combined no-hitter in just his third start with the Hammerheads.
Sanchez throws a four-seam fastball in the mid 90s, a cutter, a sinking two-seamer and mixes in a changeup and a slider.
RHP Jacob Turner
2014 projections: 9-9, 4.36 ERA, 64 BB, 107 SO in 161 IP
The good news is when Jacob Turner got promoted to the majors in 2013, he got off to a good start.
The bad news is Turner got worse with each passing month.
It seems like the trend continues based on the 2014 projections.
After throwing seven shutout innings in his 2013 big league debut, Turner had a 2.12 ERA in June. In July, it bumped up to 3.86 and crept up to 4.18 in August. But in September, Turner's ERA for the month ballooned to 8.16.
As Frisaro noted, the Marlins understand even though Turner had an up-and-down season, he's just 22 years old, and there is potential and talent, just not on a consistent basis. Moreover, Turner will have the inside track to be, at worst, the team's No. 4 starting pitcher.
The most important thing, though, is consistency. Otherwise, the 2014 projection will come true, which is not good.
RHP Jose Urena
2014 projections: 6-8, 4.91 ERA, 40 BB, 69 SO in 121 IP
Jose Urena is just 22 years old, and he's not expected to join the big league club in 2014.
That said, the Marlins thought highly enough of Urena to put him on the 40-man roster two months ago.
Urena spent the 2013 season with Advanced Single-A Jupiter and pitched a career-high 149.2 innings. He went 10-7 and had a 3.73 ERA with 107 strikeouts in 149.2 innings.
According to MLB.com, Urena is a good strike-thrower, especially considering his age and level of development, but his command needs to be refined. Urena throws a plus fastball with plenty of life and his slider should be at least average with some cut and deception to it. Urena will need a third pitch, possibly a changeup, if he wants to remain a starter. At the very least, Urena could be an effective reliever with a two-pitch combination.
Meanwhile, FanGraphs says the 2014 season should be a strong indicator of Urena’s future as either a starter or reliever. He’ll probably start in Double-A, where more advanced hitters are more likely to beat up pitchers with average breaking balls and it’s not as uncommon to find pitchers who can consistently throw strikes.
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