Scouting Yankees Prospect #37: James Pazos

The Yankees selected left-handed pitcher James Pazos in the 13th round of the 2012 MLB Draft out of the University of San Diego. He immediately became a 'sleeper' with a strong showing in his debut season that same year but saw a significant uptick in his stuff last season, and now has become one of the higher ceiling relief pitching prospects in the organization.

Vital Statistics:
Name: James Pazos
Position: Pitcher
DOB: May 5, 1991
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 230
Bats: Right
Throws: Left

He followed up his solid 1.79 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees in 2012 that saw him strike out nearly a batter per inning pitched with a 3-1, 4.05 ERA campaign in 2013 with the Charleston RiverDogs that was only marred by an early season injury.

"It started off really slow with the injury and missing about half of the year but I'm really happy with the way it ended and with how I pitched at Charleston, and how I pitched in the [Arizona] Fall League," he said. I'm really happy with how everything finished out, how my stuff is coming along, and how I'm starting to pitch."

He had a torn teres major, a muscle behind his pitching shoulder, about a week or two into Spring Training and he didn't make his season debut until late June. The long rehab from the injury that didn't require surgery didn't really allow him to feel like himself until even later in the year.

"It wasn't really until the end of the season, probably the last month or so where I got into a groove again," he admitted. "My arm was feeling good again, my mechanics were getting back to normal after tweaking them, but it wasn't really until the last month and then into the Fall League where I started to feel back to normal a little bit."

The good news was he had a new "normal". Sitting mostly in the 91-93 mph range in 2012, he came back from the injury last season sitting mostly in the 94-96 mph range and he says he has the injury to thank for the spike in velocity.

"I think obviously with all of the rehab I was doing with the training staff, I think that helped a lot with the velo bump," he opined. "We also worked really hard on smoothing out my mechanics with our pitching coaches, but I think the biggest thing that changed was my workout regiment.

"I worked out [with the Yankee trainers] and finally got to lift the way I wanted to lift, I did some flexibility exercises, and everything that comes with velo [they] really turned me around and got my body in better shape. I was so strong and it was just easier to throw harder."

While adding a few extra miles per hour on his fastball was certainly a welcomed addition, Pazos doesn't believe that was the biggest change to his game in 2013.

"I would have to go with that slider, it really came on towards the end of the year," he said. "Me and Danny Borrell, as well as Gil Patterson, we were working with it all pretty much all year since I started throwing again rehabbing. I think that's where I saw the most change and I was the most happy with that slider.

"It went from long and loopy to being a little like a cutter, and then it started finally getting a little depth. It was a little harder than it used to be and it's got a sharp dot now."

Just like the fastball, the slider saw a few more miles per hour added over the course of the season and it's a big reason why he limited opposing left-handed batters to just a .192 batting average in Charleston last season.

The uptick in stuff helped his confidence and he was just starting to peak in his game which is why, despite the fact he was pitching just at the low-A level, that the Yankees decided to send him to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League this offseason.

"Me and Brett Gerritse did it together so it was kind of crazy experience because we were the only two low-A guys and that doesn't happen a lot. I was extremely proud and I was extremely grateful for that opportunity.

"I think that helped drive me a little bit. I was coming from low-A to play with all of these big boys. Nobody knew who I was. Brett and I were just flying under the radar and I think we both ended up pitching pretty well."

Pazos posted a 1.74 ERA in the hitting-friendly Arizona Fall League and with the way he ended the season in Charleston last season combined with also seeing a major upgrade in his stuff, he can't help but feel he is a much better pitcher from the time he was drafted.

"Honestly I think it's night and day. Looking back I probably came out a little bit too cocky out of college.

"I wasn't as good as I thought I was but thinking about it now and talking to people in our organization they're really happy with where I'm at and I'm extremely happy with where I'm at, and I'm just trying to continue to get better.

"My confidence right now is through the roof in my pitching ability and in my ability to attack hitters. I'm just itching right now to get back on the mound," he concluded.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2013

Charleston

3-1

1

33.1

27

8

32

4.05

2013

Staten Island

0-0

0

1.0

1

1

1

0.00

2012

Staten Island

2-2

3

40.1

29

19

39

1.79



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Pazos went from sitting mostly 91-93 mph in his debut season to sitting 94-96 mph in Charleston last season with his four-seam fastball. It's a heavy fastball too, one that his hard to barrel up, and it shows good late tailing action. As powerful as he was in Charleston, however, the fastball bumped up to sitting in the 96-98 mph range in the Arizona Fall League. It remains to be seen if it will continue to sit in that range going forward, but the fastball still remains a plus pitch either way.

Other Pitches. Pazos went from throwing a loopy 77-80 mph slider to a harder one now with better late breaking action and better depth. It is a true power slider now, sitting mostly 84-86 mph and he can even top it out at 88 mph on some days. It went from a fringy average breaking ball to a clear-cut plus pitch in one short season. He rounds out his repertoire with a changeup that is more of a show-me pitch to let hitters know he has one. It's a below average changeup right now but he likes throwing it and with more use it could see some marked improvement down the road.

Pitching. Big bodied and strong, Pazos is all about attacking batters and trying to overpower them with his plus fastball-plus slider combination. While piling up strikeouts isn't necessarily his goal, he isn't up there trying to induce much contact either. He always had a ton of confidence even before the spike in stuff and now he has even more. The one issue he has is his fastball gets just enough tailing action that he can get a bit wild with his command, especially up in the strike zone, and it will be a constant mantra in his development going forward -- keeping the ball down.

Projection. With a power fastball-power slider combination, stuff-wise he resembles former Yankee pitching prospect and current Miami Marlins setup man Michael Dunn. Pazos, however, is taller, thicker, and naturally stronger. Like Dunn, Pazos has the ceiling of a big league setup man or potential closer, one who will have to continually fight to keep the ball down and limit his walks, but has the ability to overpower batters.

ETA. 2015. Pazos should begin to move quickly through the minor leagues. He will most likely open up in high-A Tampa to start the 2014 season but he should see ample time in Double-A Trenton.

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Royal Curve Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: James Pazos
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: May 5, 1991
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 230
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Left
\r\n
\r\nHe followed up his solid 1.79 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees in 2012 that saw him strike out nearly a batter per inning pitched with a 3-1, 4.05 ERA campaign in 2013 with the Charleston RiverDogs that was only marred by an early season injury.
\r\n
\r\n\"It started off really slow with the injury and missing about half of the year but I'm really happy with the way it ended and with how I pitched at Charleston, and how I pitched in the [Arizona] Fall League,\" he said. I'm really happy with how everything finished out, how my stuff is coming along, and how I'm starting to pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nHe had a torn teres major, a muscle behind his pitching shoulder, about a week or two into Spring Training and he didn't make his season debut until late June. The long rehab from the injury that didn't require surgery didn't really allow him to feel like himself until even later in the year.
\r\n
\r\n\"It wasn't really until the end of the season, probably the last month or so where I got into a groove again,\" he admitted. \"My arm was feeling good again, my mechanics were getting back to normal after tweaking them, but it wasn't really until the last month and then into the Fall League where I started to feel back to normal a little bit.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe good news was he had a new \"normal\". Sitting mostly in the 91-93 mph range in 2012, he came back from the injury last season sitting mostly in the 94-96 mph range and he says he has the injury to thank for the spike in velocity.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think obviously with all of the rehab I was doing with the training staff, I think that helped a lot with the velo bump,\" he opined. \"We also worked really hard on smoothing out my mechanics with our pitching coaches, but I think the biggest thing that changed was my workout regiment.
\r\n
\r\n\"I worked out [with the Yankee trainers] and finally got to lift the way I wanted to lift, I did some flexibility exercises, and everything that comes with velo [they] really turned me around and got my body in better shape. I was so strong and it was just easier to throw harder.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhile adding a few extra miles per hour on his fastball was certainly a welcomed addition, Pazos doesn't believe that was the biggest change to his game in 2013.
\r\n
\r\n\"I would have to go with that slider, it really came on towards the end of the year,\" he said. \"Me and Danny Borrell, as well as Gil Patterson, we were working with it all pretty much all year since I started throwing again rehabbing. I think that's where I saw the most change and I was the most happy with that slider.
\r\n
\r\n\"It went from long and loopy to being a little like a cutter, and then it started finally getting a little depth. It was a little harder than it used to be and it's got a sharp dot now.\"\r\n
\r\n
\r\nJust like the fastball, the slider saw a few more miles per hour added over the course of the season and it's a big reason why he limited opposing left-handed batters to just a .192 batting average in Charleston last season.
\r\n
\r\nThe uptick in stuff helped his confidence and he was just starting to peak in his game which is why, despite the fact he was pitching just at the low-A level, that the Yankees decided to send him to the prospect-laden Arizona Fall League this offseason.
\r\n
\r\n\"Me and Brett Gerritse did it together so it was kind of crazy experience because we were the only two low-A guys and that doesn't happen a lot. I was extremely proud and I was extremely grateful for that opportunity.
\r\n
\r\n\"I think that helped drive me a little bit. I was coming from low-A to play with all of these big boys. Nobody knew who I was. Brett and I were just flying under the radar and I think we both ended up pitching pretty well.\"
\r\n
\r\nPazos posted a 1.74 ERA in the hitting-friendly Arizona Fall League and with the way he ended the season in Charleston last season combined with also seeing a major upgrade in his stuff, he can't help but feel he is a much better pitcher from the time he was drafted.
\r\n
\r\n\"Honestly I think it's night and day. Looking back I probably came out a little bit too cocky out of college.
\r\n
\r\n\"I wasn't as good as I thought I was but thinking about it now and talking to people in our organization they're really happy with where I'm at and I'm extremely happy with where I'm at, and I'm just trying to continue to get better.
\r\n
\r\n\"My confidence right now is through the roof in my pitching ability and in my ability to attack hitters. I'm just itching right now to get back on the mound,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n SV

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2013

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n 3-1

\r\n

1

\r\n

\r\n 33.1

\r\n

\r\n 27

\r\n

\r\n 8

\r\n

\r\n 32

\r\n

\r\n 4.05

\r\n

\r\n 2013

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 0-0

\r\n

0

\r\n

\r\n 1.0

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 1

\r\n

\r\n 0.00

\r\n

\r\n 2012

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 2-2

\r\n

3

\r\n

\r\n 40.1

\r\n

\r\n 29

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n 39

\r\n

\r\n 1.79


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Pazos went from sitting mostly 91-93 mph in his debut season to sitting 94-96 mph in Charleston last season with his four-seam fastball. It's a heavy fastball too, one that his hard to barrel up, and it shows good late tailing action. As powerful as he was in Charleston, however, the fastball bumped up to sitting in the 96-98 mph range in the Arizona Fall League. It remains to be seen if it will continue to sit in that range going forward, but the fastball still remains a plus pitch either way.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Pazos went from throwing a loopy 77-80 mph slider to a harder one now with better late breaking action and better depth. It is a true power slider now, sitting mostly 84-86 mph and he can even top it out at 88 mph on some days. It went from a fringy average breaking ball to a clear-cut plus pitch in one short season. He rounds out his repertoire with a changeup that is more of a show-me pitch to let hitters know he has one. It's a below average changeup right now but he likes throwing it and with more use it could see some marked improvement down the road.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Big bodied and strong, Pazos is all about attacking batters and trying to overpower them with his plus fastball-plus slider combination. While piling up strikeouts isn't necessarily his goal, he isn't up there trying to induce much contact either. He always had a ton of confidence even before the spike in stuff and now he has even more. The one issue he has is his fastball gets just enough tailing action that he can get a bit wild with his command, especially up in the strike zone, and it will be a constant mantra in his development going forward -- keeping the ball down.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. With a power fastball-power slider combination, stuff-wise he resembles former Yankee pitching prospect and current Miami Marlins setup man Michael Dunn. Pazos, however, is taller, thicker, and naturally stronger. Like Dunn, Pazos has the ceiling of a big league setup man or potential closer, one who will have to continually fight to keep the ball down and limit his walks, but has the ability to overpower batters.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2015. Pazos should begin to move quickly through the minor leagues. He will most likely open up in high-A Tampa to start the 2014 season but he should see ample time in Double-A Trenton.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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