Red Sox Add Pair of 98 MPH Men

Having seen the Greenville Drive on multiple occasions in each of the past four seasons, I’ve grown familiar with much of the Red Sox organization at the minor league level. A current weakness is pitching, and this was addressed over the weekend when the Red Sox added two promising young hurlers I’ve scouted on multiple occasions in Rubby de la Rosa and Allen Webster. And while I haven’t seen Matt Barnes or Henry Owens in person yet, I’ve registered 98 MPH readings on my radar gun for both of the two new guys, which undoubtedly makes them among the hardest throwers in the system.

While pitchers like Jesus Colome show that velocity isn’t everything, fastball speed is still a nice weapon to have, and all else being equal, you’d rather have the guy throwing 98 than the guy throwing 92. However, in the case of Webster and De La Rosa, it’s important to address velocity in terms of increased margin for error, especially in light of their command issues.

In four years of writing first hand reports on prospects, Rubby De La Rosa has the biggest pure stuff I’ve seen in person next to Dylan Bundy. Prior to Tommy John surgery, I was convinced the right-hander was one of the most undervalued assets in baseball and should have ranked among the best pitching prospects in the game.

Missing nearly a full year of development due to major surgery does raise questions about De La Rosa’s ultimate ceiling, but also makes this a buy low play as healthy rookies who average nearly strikeout per inning and ground ball rate of 50% are viewed as assets.

In game action, I’ve seen De La Rosa touch 99 MPH while working quite comfortably in the 94-97 MPH range with wicked down and in movement to right-handed hitters. At peak velocity, his command and movement regresses, but De La Rosa can be dominant in the mid-90’s.

His slider and changeup also flash above average as part of a true power arsenal, while his 2-seem fastball could prove devastating at 92 MPH should De La Rosa learn to command it down in the zone. The potential is there for him to quickly become the best pitchers in the organization — especially if his command improves.

As for Webster, I’ve witnessed him dominate for four innings twice before tiring and falling apart. In person, he presents as one of the leanest players on the field and in need of additional strength — especially through his core. At his best, he’s capable of working full innings at 94-96 MPH with sink and at least average command of the pitch.

Webster’s arsenal also included a slider and curveball with downward movement, leading me to believe he will become a heavy ground ball pitcher. I have yet to see a true “out pitch” out of him, or quality changeup, but Webster is nearly a year younger than De La Rosa and could spend another couple of years in the upper minors and still be considered young at the time of his debut.

With the graduation of Felix Doubront from upper level security blanket to member of the Red Sox rotation, the organization had a pitching void to fill as their two best pitching prospects began the 2012 season in Single-A. And while Matt Barnes has been successful, he’s not exactly being fast tracked either.

Anthony Ranaudo fell apart. Drake Britton and Stolmy Pimentel are picking up the pieces in an attempt to become relevant again. Much like the big league rotation, the “Prospect Sox” expected to be the next wave are in a state of flux as well.

By adding Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster, The Red Sox have added a pair of power arms who are likely to beat the prospect field to Boston. Each has questions regarding long term role and whether best fit is in the rotation or bullpen, but both could develop into rotation stalwarts at minimum salaries by as early as next season.



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Mike Newman is the Owner/Managing Editor ofROTOscouting, a subscription site focused on baseball scouting, baseball prospects and fantasy baseball. Follow me onTwitter. Likeus on Facebook.Subscribeto my YouTube Channel.


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laser show relax
Member
laser show relax
3 years 11 months ago

Saw this quote on Jeff Passan’s latest article, is there questions about Rubby’s makeup?

Rubby De La Rosa has a million-dollar arm and nickel attitude, and the Dodgers didn’t lament losing him.

wont let me post without a name
Guest
wont let me post without a name
3 years 11 months ago

Another article about the Red Sox rehashing the same things we heard in the first dozen or so…I could have sworn I was on Fangraphs, not ESPN.

James
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James
3 years 11 months ago

Right, because every article is ignoring the MLB ready players and examining the MiLB guys. Plus every article features a writer who has scouted these arms in person. This is a fangraphs article, you’re just leaving ESPN comments.

Robert
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Robert
3 years 11 months ago

Yeah, really. The media has loved most of the moves the Red Sox have been making for the past five years, yet they continue to sink further and further into the abyss. Their greatest run was built when Dan Duquette took over, rebuilt the system, and then was fired when the new ownership group came in, yet 80% of the work had been done by 2002, leading to their 2004 championship. The supposed Money Ball guys came in (you know, the ones who spent all that money on Gonzalez, Crawford, Beckett, etc.) and the more moves they made, the worse the team became. Yet the experts love them. Sign a bunch of free agents? Great! Trade away those same free agents? Great!

This organizaation ran a Yankee payroll without the results. Fans want the results, not the headlines.

Mr Punch
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Mr Punch
3 years 11 months ago

Of course, they never really ran a Yankee payroll. The last time the Sox matched the Yanks, one player was getting more than half (name him!). The Royals have had the highest payroll in baseball more recently than the Red Sox.

Danananahh
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Danananahh
3 years 11 months ago

“their greatest run was built when Dan Duquette took over, rebuilt the system, and then was fired when the new ownership group came in, yet 80% of the work had been done by 2002, leading to their 2004 championship.”

This is so ignorant. Outside of Youk and Hanley, Duquette left the system in pure despair, check the BA org rankings. His top pitching prospects were of the Casey Fossum and Jorge De La Rosa quality, it was a bare system.

If you call 80% of the team Duquette’s, then 20% is Schilling, Foulke, Timlin, Arroyo Ortiz, Mueller, Cabrera, Millar, etc. Literally the only key pieces from Duquette’s near decade term during that 2004 run were Pedro, Lowe, Damon, Varitek and Ramirez. You literally can’t turn over a roster more than Theo did in two seasons and compete for a WS. Duquette’s Red Sox were a joke, and couldn’t win in the playoffs despite having the best pitcher ever and an MVP caliber SS. Stop this awful revisionist history.

HenduForKutch
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HenduForKutch
3 years 11 months ago

Yankee payroll without the results? You’re right on one part, their results have been different. Red Sox ownership has won twice as many championships as the Yankees since they took over. Are those the results the fans want?

You’re wrong on the payroll part though, the Red Sox were far closer to the other teams in the top 5 than they were to the Yankees.

Also Robert, your cutting edge analysis seemed to gloss over the 2007 season entirely. Best record in MLB in the regular season and a championship ring a bell?

CampBrice
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CampBrice
3 years 11 months ago

” The media has loved most of the moves the Red Sox have been making for the past five years”

That is complete and utter non-sense. The local Boston media lampoons just about every deal made by the club

Caveman Jones
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Caveman Jones
3 years 11 months ago

If you routinely frequent Fangraphs then you’ll know that when something this big happens there are going to be a lot of articles written about it. If you’re not interested then don’t open the link. Nobody’s forcing you to read free some of the best baseball content on the web, so please stop posting comments in every article you don’t have an interest in.

Fletch
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Fletch
3 years 11 months ago

Another pointless, antagonistic comment like we’ve all seen a dozen times before…..I could have sworn I was on Fangraphs, not ESPN.

eric
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eric
3 years 11 months ago

What do you think the Angels want for Vernon Wells? he would make an awesome platoon partner for Crawford. And only $22 million/ year! THink how much the TV deal would go up if they did that!

RudolfSchmidt
Member
RudolfSchmidt
3 years 11 months ago

Mike, I have a quick question about your process scouting a player. If you were to see a player at a lower level one year and get a good idea on the type of player they are, are you more or less likely to see them again at a more advanced level? Assuming you can see them of course. On one hand, you already have an idea of the type of player they are, while on the other you can check how their development is coming along.

Marc
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Marc
3 years 11 months ago

I like this article from Newmie because it highlights that RDLR is more than just a hard thrower.

Tremendous armside run on the gasser to go along with a plus (if not plus-plus) change up and a solid-average to plus slidepiece.

Cus
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Cus
3 years 11 months ago

They both have surprisingly compact, repeatable mechanics for high mph guys. I wonder if that has been a focus since Rubby’s surgery. A side by side would be interesting.

Cory
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Cory
3 years 11 months ago

Maybe they can give Rubby the Andrew Miller treatment, though hopefully Rubby could stay a starter.

Jonathan
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Jonathan
3 years 11 months ago

That’d be a huge waste. The Sox didn’t really “fix” Miller in any capacity, he’s still mostly only long term viable as a LOOGY.

henry
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henry
3 years 11 months ago

rubby reminds me a lot of pineda. but i’d say his mechanics are better, pineda probably has better command, but considering that pineda was a top 10 prospect, rubby was way underrated.

mike
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mike
3 years 11 months ago

sounds alot similar to fautino de lpos santos stuff wise, who i had hopes for but completely failed this yr

Antonio Bananas
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Antonio Bananas
3 years 11 months ago

Does Rubby profile more as a lights out reliever? Anytime I see a gas throwing guy in early-mid 20s already who has never really been stretched that’s the first thing I think of.

Just assuming needing to develop in the minors another full year, Rubby wouldn’t be in the Majors until his age 25 season. That’s pretty late for a top guy, but not unheard of. However, he’s only thrown over 50 innings in a season once. Sounds like a long shot at ever being a top rotation guy. I’m not a scout though, just doesn’t seem like he’d ever be able to eat the innings. If he does, it’ll probably take a while to build that arm strength up and what we know about how velocity drops as a pitcher ages, it’d likely be that his stuff isn’t as electric by that time.

If Webster tires easily and has a 4.2 BB/9 in AA as a 22 year old, maybe he’s a reliever too? Best case scenario it seems like Webster will start in AAA next year and maybe work his way up. K numbers and BB/9 don’t scream anything special. His HR supression and worm burner stuff sounds like a good relief guy.

Honestly from looking at their stats and reading your reports, sounds like Venters/Kimbrel. Guy with electric stuff that is better suited to close and another guy who gets GBs and is also better suited for relief.

Wobatus
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Wobatus
3 years 11 months ago

Rubby has pitched 100 innings in a year twice, just at different levels. And he threw 60 in the majors last year.

Antonio Bananas
Guest
Antonio Bananas
3 years 11 months ago

His 2011 threw me off because b-r has minor and ML stats on seperate pages.

Still though, best case scenario is he’s not called up full time until next year and even that’s a bit of a stretch. In all likelihood, it’s 2014 as a 25 year old. That’s if he’s going to start. That’s if he can ever handle the load of 200 innings, a little less than twice the most he’s ever thrown.

I say put him in the pen now.

Rubby
Guest
Rubby
3 years 11 months ago

Mike – this was a plus-plus article.

And I don’t have a “nickel” attitude. My attitude is at least 50 Cent.

bmcalary23
Member
bmcalary23
3 years 11 months ago

Rubby has all the potential in the world but that’s all he is right now is just projection and potential. He does have filthy stuff though and if he can transalte that into more strikes and have the mentality to throw 4 pitches per at bat, he can be a dominant starter. Personally see him kind of as a right handed Chapman, throws hard but when he tries to throw hard he loses comand and walks a lot. If he can do what Chapman did this year and lose 3 to 4 MPH on his fastball and worry about location and throwing strikes, he can be a probably the most dominant pitcher in the AL East. BUT thats my biggest concern…. the AL EAST

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