Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Scouting Reports on 2 Texas League Pitchers: Carlos Martinez and Parker Frazier

Parker Frazier has spent all year in AA with the Rockies and hasn't been very impressive with a 4.39 FIP (4.38 SIERA) despite being slightly old for the league.
Frazier has a fastball with cut action (there were at least a couple of what looked like moving/tailing fastballs), a 74 MPH change, and what looked like a hard curve.
He was relying mainly on the off-speed stuff and was trying (and mostly succeeding) to keep the ball low (except for the cut-fastball, which he liked to throw high). Fraizer can throw all his pitches for strikes (which explains the lack of walks on the season). The velocity is nothing to write about (below average) but nothing is straight (though nothing has a whole lot of movement). I don't see him as a guy who will miss a lot of bats. I think he will have to get grounders to survive (his minor league ground-ball percentage is solid yet not overwhelming). He has the repertoire for a starting pitcher, but I struggle to see how he fits into a MLB rotation. He was hit pretty hard the 3rd time around in the order, and I don't think that is a coincidence, his stuff just isn't great. He may actually be a guy who would benefit from the Rockies 75 pitch limit as he his different pitches may play twice through an order. However, Coors Field would probably cancel out that benefit (1.02 HR/9IP in the Texas League this year).

Carlos Martinez (also right-handed) looks like an athletic guy and is sort of wiry (at age 20, he could still fill out some). Unlike Frazier, Martinez showed off good stuff. A 96-97 MPH fastball is admittedly pretty straight and flat, but you just don't find a lot of starting pitchers with that velocity. Later in his outing he showed that he could throw it low in the zone.
Martinez threw a lot of changeups in the game. His ability to throw it for strikes varied, but most of them were low near the dirt. When he needed to throw strikes, he threw the fastball. It was surprisingly hittable in the game.
The slider (around 85 MPH) breaks into lefties, but he didn't throw it that often.
Martinez throws a curveball that he wasn't quite able to get down, but it wasn't hit and it threw hitters off quite a bit. It was a better pitch than he gave himself credit for as he could throw it for strikes more than the change.

Control was an issue for Martinez, and this showed when he walked the opposing pitcher (Frazier). He even fell down once (absolutely collapsed) after delivering a pitch. It looks like I just caught him on a bad day, as his walk rate is 7.3% between the Texas League and A+ this year. In AA he has had a big time ground-ball rate, and it is over 51% since 2011, which is excellent. Match this with his age and strikeout rate (23.4% since the start of 2011), and you have a really exciting prospect. He hasn't been near as hittable in his career as he was when I saw him, and his stuff is too good to be this hittable. Perhaps this provides a lesson on talking about results when you see a player (i.e. selection bias).

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