Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 11/2/1990 (2014 Opening Day Age: 22)
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2007
Ranking History: #97 (2009), #42 (2010), #80 (2011), #30 (2012), #56 (2013), #20 (2014)
Background: Mercedes has taken the long road to the Major League radar with stops at every level of the organization and a significant arm injury along the way. Since returning to the diamond in 2011, Mercedes has dominated hitters, posting a 2.67 ERA with Connecticut in 2011, a 2.80 ERA at West Michigan in 2012, and a 1.19 ERA across High-A and Double-A in 2013.
|2013 Stats - Pitching|
Body: Round; continues to get bigger; conditioning can be a problem at times; very lackadaisical approach to managing weight/body; has good natural strength; physical maintenance will be key to reaching ceiling.
Delivery/Mechanics: Can show a little effort at times; typically nice and easy throughout; body can get in the way; arm slot is consistent in ¾ range; good extension out front; nothing pretty but it works well in short bursts.
Fastball: FB sits easy 93-95 with heft; can reach 97-98 when he needs it; ball doesn't lose life in upper velo range; extremely heavy sink that makes pitch play up a full grade at times; difficult to square; can rely on FB alone to get job done. Grade – Present 6+/Future 7
Slider: Short, tight; can overthrow ball too much at times; needs to trust it to induce weak contact; works in low- to mid-80s; won't miss bats at highest level but will be good change of pace from plus-plus heat; solid-average pitch with minimal projection. Grade – 5/5+
Control/Command: Lacks refined strike throwing ability; command lags significantly behind control; needs to harness raw stuff; FB can completely lose zone at times; shows some ability to regain control when he loses it; will never have better than below-average control; command will be non-existent.
Other: Easy going attitude; goes with the flow; enjoys the game; has fun on the field; questions about how much he wants it.
Summary: FB is the meal ticket; very difficult to hit and he knows it; will throw at any time; SL can be good in stints; needs to improve control to have high-impact MLB future; body must be watched and could get out of control; inability to miss bats limits high-leverage ceiling.
Risk: Low risk; upper level dominance; could pitch in MLB right now; just needs polishing for big league success.
Projection: Has FB to fit in late innings; doesn't miss enough bats to close games; likely 7th/8th inning arm that will have stretches of utter dominance; headed to Triple-A Toledo this season; should see time in Detroit and could force his way into a significant role.
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