PuRP of the Week
by Charlie Drysdale
Making his stateside debut on August 2nd, Jayson Aquino made it clear that U.S. hitters would fare no better against him than their DSL counterparts. Through his first two appearances Aquino allowed only two earned runs in 11.2 innings pitched and it wasn't until Monday night's game that Jayson allowed multiple runs to score in the same inning.
In his two and half seasons in the DSL Jayson has been dominating hitters, where he posted a 1.29 ERA and a 8.9 strikeouts-per-nine innings. The DSL is known for being pitcher friendly however, so the question was, how could we trust those number and are they sustainable over here?
Prospect watchers were clamoring for Aquino's promotion to the United States all year when Ben Badler of Baseball America tweeted this statement back in June:
Surprised to see Rockies LHP Jayson Aquino still in DSL (and dominating). Could still come to US this season, but undecided at this point.— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) June 21, 2012
We shouldn't be surprised the Rockies delayed his promotion to America however, because at 19.5 Aquino is the fourth youngest pitcher in the Rockies system currently in the United States. Despite his youth, Aquino has shown a maturity in his pitching that has been lacking in other Rockies teenagers. He has a knack for working both sides of the plate to induce either a strikeout or groundout and Aquino's career groundball/flyball rate of 1.47 is only slightly below Jhoulys Chacin's career MLB rate of 1.65. Compare him to other Rockies minor league pitchers and Aquino's groundball rate this season is higher than Tyler Anderson's and his K/9 is higher than Tyler Matzek's.
The lefthanded Aquino pitches similar to Edwar Cabrera with a fastball that tops out at 91 mph and a deadly changeup that sits around 80. They both hide the ball well, which makes it appear to jump out at a hitter. However, Aquino also has a curveball that Edwar is still trying to develop at the AAA level. Aquino likes to throw the curve where it breaks down and in on a righthanded hitter. The tempting pitch that appears to be heading towards the sweet spot of the bat, suddenly becomes a hand number that strikes the handle inducing a weak groundball.
Infographic, video of Jayson Aquino, Tweets of the Week and more after the jump:
Aquino's early success in the Pioneer league comes despite the difference in age to other pitchers in that league. Sometimes we're too hard on pitchers who are pitching in an environment best suited for players with more maturity. This graphic illustrates some of the top PuRPs in the Rockies organization and the age they are compared to the average age in that level.
Video of the Week
Three of the batters Aquino faced on Tuesday, August 7th in Orem. He uses his full array of pitches to induce three groundballs. Wilfredo Rodriguez is the catcher for Aquino behind the dish.
Tweet of the week
Theres some weird people out here— David Dahl (@ddahl21) August 11, 2012
Tweet Video of the week
So that's what it's like to play catch with Matt Reynolds.
Tweet Pic of the week
Bridge to Nowhere...@ Golden Gate Bridge instagr.am/p/OIKXVxNGs0/— Mike Ekstrom (@checkwitEK) August 10, 2012
Stat of the Week
Nolan Arenado is sporting a .696 slugging percentage in the month of August while hitting only one homerun. This is thanks to 10 doubles, the most he's slugged in a month all season, and there's still 18 games left for Tulsa to play this month.
5 Things on my Mind
1. Drew Pomeranz is going to be a TOR starter in this league, eventually. There's several contributors to his early struggles; youth, mechanics and the poor defense of his catcher.
2. With his hot August, Nolan Arenado is making a push to be added to an already crowded 40-man roster. Hard to believe he's not already on it.
3. I wonder if Tim Wheeler is physically worn down this time of year. For the past two seasons his OPS in August is 200 points lower than any other month (.674 in Aug, .878 July, .805 June, 1.169 May).
4. After watching Wilfredo Rodriguez in batting practice, I'm officially on his bandwagon. The kid shoots lazors all over the field, just like the new Mars rover.
5. After seeing Jayson Aquino in person, I'm impressed, but without an overpowering fastball he has to stay ahead of hitters and avoid big innings.