Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Briceno was a later signing for the Tigers as they inked him a month after his 17the birthday in 2009. The timing of his signing allowed him to see action as a reliever in the Venezuelan Summer League that year.
That 2009 season was the first of two for Briceno in the VSL and he amassed a 4.73 ERA in 78 innings. Opposing hitters hit a cool .300 off of Briceno as he allowed 92 hits and 28 walks while striking out 49.
Brought Stateside for the 2011 season, Briceno pitched the entire summer in the GCL as a 19-year old. In 12 starts he posted a 5.34 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 59 innings. He did allow 72 hits and 19 walks and he also hit another 14 batters.
Briceno is a classic Tigers arm. He is a tall, lanky kid with tons of projection. He has gained some weight since signing but still needs to add more positive mass to improve his durability and possibly earn a tick or two more on his raw stuff. Briceno's arm works well though his delivery could use some polish and tightening.
Though he is extremely projectable Briceno also has plenty of present stuff. His fastball can get into the mid-90s and he will work at 91-93 regularly. There were some scouts I spoke with this summer that believed he could ramp his peak velocity up to 97-98 by the time he reaches physical maturity.
Briceno will flash a breaking ball that has average potential but he remains very inconsistent in his ability to throw it near the strike zone and impart plus spin on the ball. His lack of a consistent breaking ball is at least part of the reason he has been so hittable early in his career, as hitters can sit on the fastball without fear of him changing speeds or fooling them regularly.
The Tigers organization believes Briceno shows some feel for a change-up but scouts that saw him in the GCL this summer did not see any signs of a potentially useable change-up.
Command and control is another problem for Briceno as he struggles to throw strikes, let alone locate the ball within the zone. His delivery doesn't seem that repeatable and he will have to find something that works for him if he is to find the strike zone more regularly.
Without the ability to throw strikes and without even a 40-grade third pitch, Briceno is likely destined for a relief role. His velocity and delivery may work better in shorter stints and letting it all hang out for an inning or two could also help him tighten up his breaking ball to keep hitters from teeing off on his fastball.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP WHIP R
Briceno saw his workload increase modestly for the third straight year and other than some natural tiring late in the year, he didn't show any ill effects. He hasn't had any injuries in his three years as a professional.
As a 20-year old in 2012 Briceno will have to earn his spot on a full-season roster. The Tigers have numerous players vying for rotation spots in West Michigan and as raw as Briceno is he could benefit from some additional time in extended spring training before heading to short-season Connecticut for the rest of the summer.
Briceno is going to take time and patience but the payoff could be a power arm out of the bullpen. I doubt he will move more than a level at a time over the next two to three years and it could be 2015 or 2016 before he is even on the radar as a viable big league prospect.
TigsTown has gone social! You can now follow TigsTown.com and the TigsTown staff on Twitter and Facebook! For all the latest stories and forum updates, follow @ScoutTigers. For the latest from Managing Editor Mark Anderson, follow @TigsTownMark, and you can follow Executive Editor Paul Wezner @TigsTown. You can also find TigsTown on Facebook, just seach for TigsTown.com!