Carlos Martinez – During a trip to the disabled list for a sore shoulder, yes I said during, Martinez was promoted to Double-A Springfield. While many were perplexed by the decision, I jumped for joy. More Carlos Martinez to watch! After his first start I wondered whether the organization had changed his mechanics since last year. His arm action looked a lot shorter and his arms and legs weren’t gyrating like something out of cirque du soleil.
But, another look Monday quashed that thought. Martinez has made progress repeating his delivery and controlling the moving parts of his delivery in the last year. Martinez still has overpowering stuff. His high 90s fastball rides when it’s up in the zone and sinks when he gets on top of it is complemented by a nasty curveball. But, many of his past issues are still present, just to a lesser degree. He’s plagued by an inability to repeat his mechanics, an inconsistent release point and a high effort delivery. These obstacles prevent his status from matching his stuff, but hopefully they are only temporary hindrances to the right-hander. However, the progress he has made this year is notable and exciting. Just temper your enthusiasm. It may take more advanced hitters (read: MLB) laying off his inconsistent curveball and sitting dead-red before he’s forced to truly adjust. His stock is way up in 2012 because his progress has made me more optimistic he can start. It would be aggressive, but don’t be shocked if the Cardinals used him in their bullpen down the stretch or, more realistically, in September. His stuff is that good.
Yordano Ventura – It’s easy to draw parallels between Ventura and Martinez. Each has a fastball that touches the upper 90s to go along with a wipeout breaking ball (though Martinez’s breaking ball is far more advanced, at this point). Of course, it’s all not good. Like Martinez, Ventura has consistency issues, especially with his release point. This can be attributed to the way he slings the ball across his body. It should be noted his delivery ends with a fair amount of recoil too, but he isn’t as high-effort as Martinez. Ventura controls the ball better to the armside of the plate and has some run with his fastball when he locates there. He’ll need to make developing his change-up a priority as he goes forward because the lack command in the strike zone with his fastball and inconsistent rotation on his breaking ball will not be sufficient as a starter down the road. While Ventura is the most electric pitching prospect they’ve had, success isn’t all about stuff. His consistency problems are very similar to the ones I noted in Mike Montgomery and the Royals have not been able to solve the long limbed lefty’s lamentations.
Taylor Guerrieri – I’ve never claimed to be a fantasy guru. I only play in one league which I’ve been lucky enough to do well in. Where is this going? I attribute the majority of my non-luck success to acquiring prospects before their stock skyrockets or moving guys I feel are over-valued. After watching Taylor Guerrieri’s second start for the Hudson Valley Renegades Monday; I advise you to move in on him quickly. Don’t be shocked if he’s ranked among the top 10 starting pitchers in the minor leagues by the end of the year, he’s extremely advanced and polished. Don’t believe me? Check out the video I shot on Monday (embedded below) and my scouting report on Bullpen Banter.