Monday, November 19, 2012

Scouting Report on Sugar Ray Marimon

In the WBC qualifiers, Royals right-handed pitcher Sugar Ray Marimon has been pitching for his home country of Columbia. I got to watch one of his outings streamed online.

Marimon was showcasing a 92-93 MPH fastball early that got down to 89-90 (which is somewhat backwards velocity wise as his first inning was his best velo inning). The velocity may be a little low because we are at the end of a long season, and he threw 134 innings in the 2012 regular season. It is said that he can get it up to 95 MPH. It was usually staying high but the slender pitcher (listed at 6-1 168) has a really easy delivery. The off-speed he used was a 77 MPH curve that breaks almost like a soft slider. It has decent break but it isn't sharp break, I just don't know how many people he is going to fool with it. He was extremely fastball heavy and I didn't see a third pitch, but according to Clint Scoles (awesome first name) of His 3rd pitch, a changeup, is  "79-81 mph. shows fade and tumbling action. Useful pitch against lefties, and he maintains good arm speed. It’s another average offering."

When Baseball America released their top 10 Royals' prospects, Marimon was nowhere to be found and wasn't even mentioned. When Coast2Coast Prospects ranked the prospects in the Royals system, Marimon was all the way at number 36. In 2012, Marimon split the season between A + and AA. He was a bit old for the Carolina League at 23.75 years old (he is now 24) when the average hitter was 22.5 years old and the average pitcher was 22.9 years old. He also pitched in a very friendly home park (90 one year Park Factor) and it showed. In his 6 home starts, he had a 2.98 FIP and 2.91 SIERA with a decent ground-ball rate and microscopic BABIP of .242. In his 8 road starts, he was still mostly above league average but both his ground-ball rate and strikeout rate disappeared, leading to a very pedestrian 4.40 SIERA (3.71 FIP). The strange thing is that his home run rate actually was larger at home. He was promoted to AA and made 12 starts there, really struggling with a 5.45 FIP and 5.49 SIERA. The Royals' AA park is an extreme hitters park, with a one year Park Factor of 110, but weirdly he pitched a little bit better at home (with both his FIP and SIERA being over 6.00 on the road). Since the average age in the Texas League is 24, this is where Marimon was supposed to be, and he pitched poorly (meaning a repeat of the level, with him being a touch old for the level, is in order).

Since joining the Royals system in 2007 (including pitching in the Dominican Summer League that year), Marimon has a 1.97 K/BB, a little under what you would like. While his walk rate is okay, he has never been a guy that has struck out a lot of batters (18.1 % over his last 200 innings). He also doesn't get many ground-balls or a good number of infield fly-balls. According to the AA data (which is always sketchy), he is a strike thrower (63% is solid for the minors, and not bad in the Majors), but having to pitch in Northwest Arkansas and then AAA Omaha (104 one year Park Factor) is nothing short of the Labours of Hercules. If he can figure it out at those levels, then he is a big league pitcher. I don't see him as a starter, or even an impact reliever, but he could be a swing man or low leverage guy to eat up some innings with that easy delivery. Over the last two years, he has actually shown reverse splits, so I don't think it would make any sense to use him as a specialty reliever.

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