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Prospect Roundup: Report on Rockies pitcher Antonio Senzatela

Antonio Senzatela has dominated the second half of the season for Asheville. Charlie saw the Venezuelan pitch in person and interviewed the young pitcher. Also included are the top stats and videos of Rockies prospects.

Antonio Senzatela
Antonio Senzatela
by Charlie Drysdale

Antonio Senzatela, a right-handed pitcher from Venezuela, is showing signs that he can compete in the minor leagues and isn't just a Dominican League phenom. Affectionately known as ‘Senze' among his teammates, the right-hander is on a recent tear for Low-A Asheville. After initially struggling in the first half of the year with a 4.42 ERA, he's turned it on since the All-Star break, posting a 1.77 ERA with a .206 average against. They're impressive numbers, which earned him the South Atlantic League's Pitcher of the Month award for July.

Senzatela has the foundations of a solid pitcher; as he throws an above-average fastball that locates well. His fastball sits around 91-93, but he can ratchet it up to 96 when he wants to. Reports out of the DSL initially had him topping out at 95 mph, but it appears the teenager is still adding velocity as he matures. The fastball has some movement, as it tails in on right-handed batter and like all of his pitches, he can spot it with an easy throwing motion.

Img_1133501862144571_zps1274bdce_medium

Photo courtesy of Antonio Senzatela

Senzatela pairs his fastball with an average changeup which he can locate anywhere. While it doesn't tumble like Jayson Aquino's, and it doesn't skid away like Eddie Butler's can, the change comes from the same motion as his fastball and he has very good accuracy with it. The velocity change on this pitch, creates a nice difference which throws the timing off for the hitters.

The curveball was a pitch that I had heard mixed reports about, indicating that he tends to throw with a stiff wrist and doesn't always get much drop in it. However, the first curve that Senze threw was beautiful, it started in the middle of the strike zone before plunging down and away from the right-handed batter and ending up low-and-away, causing the batter to swing and miss.

Unfortunately, that was the only time he threw it with authority, and it wasn't utilized very often. One of the knocks on Senzetala has been a lack of strikeouts, a problem that might be cured with a solid curveball in his repertoire. I spoke to the Venezuelan the next day and he showed me the reason for not throwing many curves.

Senzetala has been battling an injury on the middle finger of his pitching hand, as half of his nail is ripped off where the finger puts pressure on the ball and a resulting blister is expanding. He said the pressure from throwing curves has caused his nail to give way, making it very painful to throw that pitch at the moment. It sounds like a problem he's been dealing with for quite a while and may explain the stunted development on his third pitch.

Antonio Senzatela's minor league numbers

Year

Age

Tm

Lg

IP

ERA

FIP

SIERA

GB%

HR/9

BB/9

K/9

2012

17.42

DSL Rockies

DSL

62.2

0.720

2.800

4.230

51%

0.0

2.0

5.0

2013

18.42

Tri-City

NOR

42.1

3.830

3.700

4.480

54%

0.2

2.8

4.3

2013

18.42

DSL Rockies

DSL

44

2.050

2.250

2.450

57%

0.2

0.4

8.4

2013

18.42

MiLB Total

-

86.1

2.920

2.960

3.560

55%

0.2

1.6

6.4

2014

19.42

Asheville

SAL

132.1

3.130

3.780

4.410

42%

0.7

2.2

5.6

-

-

MiLB Total

-

281.1

2.530

3.310

4.140

48%

0.4

2.0

5.7

Just a year removed from the Dominican League, Senzatela looks a lot like Jhoulys Chacin on the mound, although at 6-foot-1 he's a couple inches shorter than the Rockies starter. They have the same demeanor however, and similar throwing motions. As a comparison, Chacin was a better strikeout pitcher in the minors, but Senzatela has shown superior control with a lower walk rate.

Based on the success of so many pitchers throwing changeups who have come out of the DSL Academy, I asked Senze if that pitch was a focus there. Chacin sticks out as having a strong change, but it's also been a staple of other latin players such as Jayson Aquino and former Rockie Edwar Cabrera. However, Senzatela indicated that it wasn't taught there, that in the academy, they primarily target fastball command and let the pitchers work on the off-speed pitches on their own. With so many successful changeup artist coming out of the Academy, I have to think it must be taught in the dorms and passed down among peer groups.

With his current mix of pitches, Senzetala is well equipped to move quickly through the Rockies organization. The 19-year-old still has two more years before he can be exposed to the Rule V draft, so there should be plenty of opportunity to reach at least Double-A before the Rockies have to make a decision on his roster status. Hopefully, the Venezuelan will make progress on his curveball however, or his ceiling could be limited to a back-end starter or a bullpen contributor.

Hottest prospects of the last two weeks

Hitters

Name Age Tm PA 2B 3B HR RBI BB K SB BA OBP SLG OPS
Nate Causey 21.3 GJ 25 4 0 2 6 3 6 0 0.429 0.520 0.905 1.425
Wilson Soriano 22.5 2 Tms 32 2 2 0 6 1 1 3 0.552 0.594 0.759 1.353
Marcos Derkes 22.8 TRI 18 2 1 0 2 3 4 1 0.364 0.556 0.727 1.283
Sean Dwyer 22.5 TRI 65 6 0 4 14 11 14 1 0.407 0.508 0.741 1.249
Kevin Padlo 17.9 GJ 42 3 0 3 12 7 9 4 0.394 0.476 0.758 1.234
Correlle Prime 20.3 ASH 59 7 0 4 23 3 11 0 0.393 0.424 0.732 1.156
Hamlet Marte 20.3 GJ 37 4 0 2 6 4 3 1 0.355 0.459 0.677 1.136
Matt McBride 29.1 COL 65 2 0 6 17 4 5 0 0.362 0.400 0.707 1.107
Dom Nunez 19.4 GJ 27 3 0 1 10 2 4 0 0.360 0.407 0.600 1.007
Rafael Ynoa 26.8 COL 73 2 1 3 12 6 10 2 0.369 0.425 0.569 0.994

Pitchers

Name Age Tm W L IP ERA H R ER HR BB K
Tyler Anderson 24.5 TUL 2 0 18 2.00 9 4 4 1 8 14
Chad Bettis 25.17 COL 1 0 12.1 1.46 7 2 2 0 2 11
Matt Flemer 23.58 MOD 2 1 20 3.60 13 8 8 4 2 18
Luis Guzman 18.33 DSL ROCK 1 0 13 1.38 6 2 2 0 2 9
Zach Jemiola 20.17 ASH 1 0 18 2.00 11 7 4 1 13 8
Johendi Jiminian 21.67 ASH 2 0 16.1 1.65 16 3 3 0 5 14
Jorge Oviedo 17.67 DSL ROCK 1 1 12 2.25 9 3 3 0 0 9
Antonio Senzatela 19.42 ASH 1 1 17 1.59 15 4 3 0 3 10

Stats by minorleaguecentral.com for 8/7-8/21.

Hottest videos of the week


Kyle Parker ties the game with his second home run of the night, while wearing a flag jersey for the Sky Sox. #Murica



David Dahl's not a player, he just crushes a lot-- over the scoreboard, in deep right-center for Modesto.


Patrick Valaika with a gapper for his 24th double of the year.


Nate Causey causes a collision in the outfield on this home run in Grand Junction.