Edgar De La Rosa
22-year-old Right-handed Starting Pitcher
Observation: 10 starts in 2014
Body: Giant human! Enormous athletic NBA small forward frame. Broad shoulders. Large hands and feet. Long limbs. Strong thick legs. High waist. Exceptional muscle definition throughout upper body. Fairly close to being in his finished man body.
Mechanics: De La Rosa features exceptional arm speed and arm action. He has an easy to medium effort delivery from the 3/4 arm slot--often so easy that it appears that he's simply playing catch. Absolutely noting in his mechanics raise any red flags. His high leg kick, long limbs and extended release point cause deception, making the ball jump out of the arm late and appear faster than the numbers on the radar gun indicate. There is night and day difference with consistency in the mechanics from seasons past--more consistent delivery, arm slots and landings from the big right-hander. That being said, De La Rosa isn't perfect, (nobody is) and he will still occasionally revert to his old habits (usually late in games when he's fatigued), falling hard first base side and spinning out after releasing the ball. De La Rosa holds runners exceptionally well; he has picked off numerous base runners this season. He has also drastically improved his times to the plate from the stretch position: clocked at 1.25 (best) and 1.37 (worst). For comparison, he was often over 1.50 last season and he struggled with his move to first, being cited for numerous balks. Overall, the mechanics, which were once a huge liability are much smoother and more consistent--a definitive step in the right direction.
Control/Command: De La Rosa navigates his fastball well, utilizing all four quads of the strike zone. He does a great job pitching inside out and adjusting the eye level by working up the ladder in the strike zone. Both off-speed pitches have come a long way, but command still noticeably lags behind control with the secondary stuff. De La Rosa is at his best when he gets ahead early in the count. He has enough confidence in the slider to utilize it when he's behind in the count though. Progress has been made in both areas, but let's be clear: De La Rosa throws hard, he will never be labeled a crafty command and control pitcher. Command will likely always lag behind control, and that's perfectly fine by me.
Two-seam Fastball: 90-92 T93 wiggles and features occasional sinking action when thrown in the lower third of the zone. The offering is difficult to square up, and it generates lots of weak contact. The two-seamer is De La Rosa's primary pitch. Grade: 55/60
Four-seam Fastball: 94-97 T99 heavy, late arm side running action. De La Rosa throws the offering off the two-seamer quite nicely. No longer trying to throw everything through a brick wall, De La Rosa is learning to add and subtract to keep hitters off balance. He has made tremendous progress, becoming more of a pitcher and less of a thrower. While the offering has hit triple digits a few times, De La Rosa prefers to keep the elite upper-90s velocity in his back pocket--usually until he has flipped the lineup once or twice or utilizing it when he's in a tight spot. Grade: 70/75
Slider: 82-84 T86 De La Rosa's comfort blanket off-speed offering--features short late breaking 3/4 slurvy action. Thrown from the same keyhole as the fastball, the pitch has made exceptional progress this season; transforming from a fringy inconsistent chase pitch to a legit projectable swing and miss offering. That being said, at times the pitch lacks consistency (tight rotation & depth) and has the propensity to get squared when it catches too much of the plate. Regardless, the offering has noticeably improved and is arguably now De La Rosa's second best pitch. Grade: 45/55
Changeup: 84-85 standard grip--fairly straight downward movement with occasional fade. The arm action sells the pitch exceptionally well. Lacks consistent conviction. I would like to see De La Rosa lean on the offering more often, as it's almost exclusively thrown to left handed batters. I'm honestly surprised that he hasn't been taught to utilize a Vulcan grip or even a standard split finger grip given the fact that he has ginormous hands. Regardless, the current offering is a decent and fairly projectable weapon against lefties. Grade: 40/50
De La Rosa is poised and in control of his emotions on the mound regardless of the results. He's a competitor and a leader both on the field and in the clubhouse. De La Rosa is highly regarded by his teammates and coaching staff as a hard worker and a great teammate. Throughout numerous conversations with Angel Nesbitt, the young flamethrower credited much of his development this off-season to his time spent working with De La Rosa. In short: there are absolutely no off the field issues with De La Rosa.
Moving forward I'm still inclined to project De La Rosa as a 7th/8th inning MLB reliever. The fastball would be a beast in short one inning stints, and the secondary stuff would also likely play up a bit in that role. That being said, I'm not shutting the door completely on a shot in the back end of the rotation. It's not quite wide open, but we can still safely call that door ajar. Thanks to the spike in velocity, progress with the slider and vastly improved mechanics, De La Rosa is undoubtedly an intriguing arm for the Detroit Tigers.