Thursday, November 1, 2012

Bullpen Prospects in the VSL: Mavare, Freeman, Uveido

Here are some notes on 3 minor league relievers I watched in the Venezuelan Winter League on Wednesday:

Jose Mavare (also goes as Arlett Jose Mavare Reyes, which makes searching for him confusing) is a Texas Rangers reliever that pitched at Hickory at the age of 20 in 2012. He is pretty small for a RHP at 6-0 175, but since being signed, he has pitched in 100 games (DSL included) and has a 2.41 ERA, 1.9 GB/FB, and 11.22 K/9IP. In 80 innings in A-ball in 2012, Mavare struck out over 30% of the batters he faced, good for a 2.87 FIP and 2.67 SIERA.

He has these numbers with just a 89-91 MPH fastball. He seems to throw an occasional sink with it as well. When you see him pitch, you notice his really easy delivery, something that would seem important to a guy with his small size.

His breaking ball was at 81 MPH according to the ESPN gun, and looked like a slider. Overall, Mavare seems to have pretty good command and a little bit of deception (which would explain the numbers). He is going to have to rely on pitchability since he doesn't have anything that is even close to plus stuff. To me, whether he is successful in the upper minors or not depends on his breaking ball. If it develops nicely, then he can pitch off of it with his fastball/sinker combo. It is really hard to argue with the numbers, especially considering his age, but the upper levels will tell us more about Mavare.

Justin Freeman is a reliever in the Reds system. He is 26 and pitched in AA for the 3rd year in a row (he was promoted late in the season to AA in 2010). In his 2 full seasons in AA, he has a 4.00 FIP and 3.53 SIERA. He improved vastly in 2012 (which you would expect for an older player), but the numbers are unimpressive. He was picked in the 32nd round by the Reds in 2008, so it may be even surprising that he has made it this far.

Freeman is another undersized righty, and he has sort of a weird delivery. He throws 93 MPH with some sink but I didn't really see a breaking ball. After being good in AA in 2012, Freeman has really struggled in Venezuela (small sample sizes obviously apply).

Ronald Uveido of the Blue Jays organization, has made it to the PCL in each of the last 2 seasons. Originally he was signed out of Venezuela by the Mariners, but was released after one really good statistical year in the VSL. The Pirates picked him up and he stayed with the organization until 2010 when he was traded for Dana Eveland. At 6-2, he is a little taller than the two pitchers listed above.
While he has sat at 91-93 (touching 95) in his career, he was throwing just 88-89 MPH in the VWL on Wednesday. He also had a 86-87 MPH 2-seamer that he was keeping up and not controlling well. 
At 81 MPH he throws what seems to be a splitter, but according to everything I have read, it is a changeup. Baseball America rated it as the best changeup in the Pirates system in 2009. It does break glove side and has pretty big drop. It is his strikeout pitch (he has averaged a strikeout an inning in his minor league career) and he doesn't seem to mind throwing it to lefties or righties.

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