|38||RHS||10 10 98||2015||IFA|
Selected 2016 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Message board community (19): Alvaro Seijas checked in at #19 during the community vote. This was a little bit higher than The Cardinal Nation as a whole, who have him here at #21. Blingboy probably had the most persuasive argument during the vote, reflecting the lower spot in the community vote. UncleDenny supported Seijas first as his 16th highest rated player.
UncleDenny backed up his voting with a report saying that he saw Seijas pitch this summer and he has top of the rotation potential and is very young. 14NyquisT said that Seijas opened many eyes in the GCL, but was overshadowed down the stretch by Franyel Casadilla. Desmetlax12 puts his trust in the Cardinals international pitching scouts who said that he was the best young international pitcher available when he was signed in 2015. – Jeremy Byrd
Derek Shore (18): In the stellar pitching rotation for the championship-winning Gulf Coast League Cardinals, no one stood out more than Seijas, who had seven starts during which he went at least four innings and allowed no runs or at least one earned run in an impressive first showing stateside.
Thus, the Venezuelan right-hander was named TCN's GCL Cardinals Starting Pitcher of the Year for 2016 and some league officials even labeled him one of the best pitching prospects in the complex leagues this year.
“He is a guy that’s got three plus pitches and tremendous competitiveness,” said GCL manager Steve Turco. “His maturity is way above the chronicle of his age and it’s funny because Brayan Pena, who was on the DL, came down and caught a few games for us and Seijas was pitching in one of the games.
“This was something we really weren’t in favor of at the time, but it’s expected of in pitchers at the higher levels. At our level, we emphasize fastball command and we try to get them to throw a higher percentage of fastballs, so when Pena caught Seijas that one game and that’s a game he struggled, but he threw six breaking pitches in a row at one point and nine out of 12 pitches were breaking pitches or off-speed pitches.
“He has the ability to do that at a very early age and get back in the count with his fastball, but he’s capable of throwing his curveball and changeup for strikes. He flashes plus with those pitches right now, but with consistency will certainly be plus in the future. He’s another exciting young player in this organization.”
Another GCL skipper echoed Turk's opinion.
"I like him," said the rival manager. "For me, he was one of the best pitchers in the league. He's got a plus fastball, a breaking ball that has a short and quick spin at the end, and he has a good changeup."
While Seijas lost his composure at times when games didn't go his way, he really progressed in that area and should only get better with more starts and maturity. The GCL manager gushed about that aspect of his game.
"He likes to compete," he said. "I love that from him. He's a bulldog on the mound. I like his mound presence. Even when the game doesn't go his way, he doesn't show any kind of body language. He just keeps competing, making adjustments, and a lot of times he gives himself the opportunity to win the game because of his makeup. I love this guy Seijas.
"He got plus stuff as a young pitcher. A plus fastball and plus breaking ball. The changeup is a pitch he needs to develop the most, but it's in there. The best thing about him is he likes to compete. He really caught my attention last year in the GCL."
Seijas, 18, was represented by some sources as being 5-foot-8, 175 pounds when he first signed on July 2 of 2015. Since then, Seijas, who received a $762,500 signing bonus, has grown to 6-foot-1 and now weighs 180 pounds with plenty of room left to fill out a steadily built frame that is equipped to handle the workload of a starting pitcher.
As far as his overall stuff, Seijas primarily pitches off his fastball, ranging from 91-95 mph, a pitch that has recently ticked up in velocity recently and projects as a 65-grade offering. He will also employ a curve as his out pitch, featuring tight break and depth that is a plus pitch. His change is the separator which taken leaps and bounds, developing into an average to better pitch. His changeup could be a potential 55-grade offering as well.
Seijas is a good athlete with plus arm speed, but his arm action can cause him to overthrow at times which hurts his fastball command. All in all, he is an advanced strike-thrower, who proved to pitch beyond his age this past summer.
"He's got the ability to make adjustments based on the plan the hitter's got," said the rival manager. "Most of the time for us, we would swing down on the fastball even though in hitter's counts, he is not afraid to throw a breaking ball or changeup.
"I'm telling you I love that because he makes adjustments based on what the hitters are trying to do to him. At such a young age, that's a plus. He's got a good feeling about the game too, especially with runners in scoring position as he can already command his secondary pitches.
"With the plus fastball he has, I feel like at times he was overmatching hitters in the league. He's got a good feeling about the game and knows how to pitch, a very good idea of how to pitch at such a young age."
With a shot at having three average to plus pitches, athletic ability, and good control/command, Seijas projects as a definite starter, who could soon be on the fast-track.
"This is only his first year in the states," the manager added. "He should move quickly, but he could project as of right now in the big leagues a No. 3 or four guy. If he develops the right way, he could be in the top two in a big-league rotation based on his stuff and ability to pitch."
Based on how swiftly the Cardinals have pushed their international pitchers in the past year, Seijas should be ready for a full-season challenge in the Midwest League at Low-A Peoria in 2017.
Brian Walton (26): This is another case where it may appear that my ranking being worse than the others might signal a concern, but in reality, I am not down on Seijas in any way. I just had a lot of others who have performed as well at higher levels – like Ryan Helsley – or are huge more recent signings – such as Johan Oviedo.
Derek brings up an intriguing question as to whether Seijas will jump to Class-A Peoria to open 2017. On one hand, the trail was blazed by the quartet of Junior Fernandez, Sandy Alcantara, Jake Woodford and Derian Gonzalez, who made the move in April 2016 and were all successful in doing so.
However, one should also look at age in addition to experience. Seijas demonstrated his 2016 success at the age of 17 and will pitch all of next season at 18. Quite an admirable feat, but we need to keep that in context.
It is important to remember the aforementioned four were all older than Seijas when making the leap from the GCL to the Midwest League. Fernandez and Woodford were each a year older at the time, while Alcantara was two years older and Gonzalez almost three. None pitched in the MWL at the age of 18.
Then there is the issue of competition. We have already looked at the possibility of two top 2016 draftees, Connor Jones and Zac Gallen, also being assigned to the Midwest League, along with top starters from State College and Johnson City such as Jordan Hicks and Ian Oxnevad and returning late-season Peoria additions Ronnie Williams and John Kilichowski. Yet to come in this top 50 is Johan Oviedo. The broader message is that even if the Cardinals continue with an early-season six-man rotation, there are going to be more good candidates than spots to start them.
In other words, I see much more formidable competition for Seijas trying to make the same jump in 2017 as the 2016 quartet faced. And if he does not get the chance out of spring camp, it would not diminish his prospect standing one bit. There is always the possibility of a promotion into Peoria during April, May or June. Dominating in the Appalachian League or New York-Penn League would not be a terrible compensation prize, either.
Before I go, I want to address the subject of Seijas’ physical stature, a matter about which there has been a lot of confusion. Derek touched on it above, but I have more to say. To this day, it is represented on a number of sites, including MiLB.com and Baseball Reference, at a tiny 5-foot-8. That is most certainly wrong, as I point out every time I am asked.
At the time of Seijas’ July 2015 signing, the Cardinals listed him at 6-foot-1, 170 pounds. By this June, the team had him up to 6-foot-2, 192, which is what our site reflects. However, being 6-foot-2 myself, my rough in-person estimation is that the latter height representation could easily include a couple of inches of stretch.
Tip: His last name is pronounced SAY-haas.
TCN Scouting Grade: 6, Risk: High (click here to review scales)
Our 2017 top 50 series continues
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