A question about pitching prospects

March 9, 2009 | 5:00 pm | 2  

Eric Maul writes:

What kind of future do you see Franklin Morales, Greg Reynolds, Jhoulys Chacin, and Christian Friedrich having? Where would you project all three of them falling in a rotation (best case scenarios)? With Reynolds, I know that he’s a sinker-ball pitcher, so how would you compare his sinker to Aaron Cook‘s? And finally, is Christian Friedrich’s best pitch a sinker? If so, how do his pitches rate out?

Morales has top-of-the-rotation stuff. Narrowing his focus to little more than the catcher’s glove and refining his mechanics to enable him to repeat his delivery are the keys, but Morales has shown improvement in these areas this spring. He claims to have pitched with a sore back last year in his dismal April with the Rockies but for whatever reason, didn’t mention that issue at Triple-A Colorado Springs where he struggled the balance of the season. Regardless, that’s in the past, and Morales has the potential for a very bright future.

Reynolds projects to be a third or possibly fourth starter. His sinker isn’t as devastating as Cook’s. Interestingly, Cook reached out to Reynolds when the latter was with the Rockies last year from mid-May until early July, telling Reynolds he would help him however possible. Grateful for that overture, Reynolds was being force-fed to the big leagues at that time out of need by the Rockies and didn’t pitch well enough to profit from Cook’s counsel.

Chacin is a likely second or third starter. He has a plus fastball and an extraordinary changeup that he’ll throw at any time. Chacin is working on his curveball. He has plenty of speed variance to succeed against good hitters, has a clean delivery that he’s able to repeat and has both a mound presence and plenty of confidence.

Friedrich also is a No. 2 or No. 3 starter. His out pitch is a curveball with a 12-to-6 angle. He has plenty of fastball at 88-93 mph, particularly for a left-hander and a much-improved slider. The Rockies first-round pick last year, Friedrich really didn’t have to rely on his changeup at Eastern Kentucky, so like a lot of young professionals, that pitch needs to be polished.

2 Comments »

  • Don | March 10, 2009 | 1:06 am

    Jack, has Morales had a strong enough spring to have a shot at the fifth spot?

  • Jack Etkin | March 10, 2009 | 7:40 am

    To this point, yes. But there’s still plenty of spring left, for better or worse.