Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 2/17/1992 (2015 Opening Day Age: 23)
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2009
Ranking History: #184 (2011), #48 (2012), #15 (2013), #9 (2014), #19 (2015)
Background: Signed later than most amateur free agents from Venezuela, Briceno debuted with 31 2/3 relief innings in 2009 as a 17-year old, posting a solid 3.41 ERA. The Tigers moved him to the rotation in the VSL in 2010 and he struggled to a 5.63 ERA as he continued to grow and evolve as a player. Stateside in 2011, Briceno put together seasons with ERAs over 5.00 in the GCL that summer and again in the New York-Penn League in 2012. The 2013 season represented significant progress for Briceno as he started 25 games for Low-A West Michigan and notched a 4.47 ERA. High expectations were laid at the feet of Briceno entering the 2014 season as fans looked for a breakout, but he went down after just three starts and missed the rest of the season, undergoing Tommy John surgery.
|2014 Stats - Pitching|
Body: Long and lean is an understatement; torso, legs, and arms are all long, thin frame without much mass; average shoulder width and some taper to waist; minimal projection for substantial strength or mass addition; can handle innings despite skinny frame; Tommy John surgery on record (2014).
Delivery/Mechanics: Silky smooth; everything looks easy from initial movement to release; arm action is clean and very fast; ball explodes out of hand; always looks like he’s tossing at 50%; needs to improve mechanical consistency and had made strides prior to injury; when right, simple, smooth and repeatable; potential for excellent mechanical profile.
Fastball: FB has wide effective range; will sit 92-94 mph during most starts; can subtract and throw 90-91 with improved movement and command; will run FB up to 96-97 mph at times when he needs a little extra; shows ability to carve strike zone with FB during bullpen sessions but has yet to translate that ability to games; FB shows some sink in lower half of strike zone, diving away from bats at best; ball appears to jump when up in the zone, largely because of ease of delivery; FB has deception because of methodical and easy arm action/delivery; plus pitch with potential to be more with full recovery from surgery. Grade – Present 6/Future 6+
Curveball: Least impressive pitch; has yet to demonstrate feel for spinning the ball; tends to come out of hand with slow rotation and loopy movement; occasionally snaps an impressive short CB with tight rotation; work in progress that will need to make gains post surgery to be truly reliable third pitch. Grade – 3+/4+
Changeup: Pitch developed nicely pre-surgery; showed confidence in trusting grip to slow the ball and add movement; doesn’t overthrow; ability to command low in the zone is improving; turns it over well and sends it from the same arm slot; lots of sink and quality fade that give pitch bat-missing potential; compliments FB really well; potential second plus pitch. Grade – 5/6
Control/Command: Carves it up at times; moves ball from side to side with ease and has shown some feel for moving the ball out of the strike zone when he needs hitters to chase; command of FB and CH is well ahead of CB; potential plus command profile that allows primary offerings to play up beyond raw grades; if delivery returns to pre-surgery form, command profile could be exceptional.
Other: Hard working kid; has fun on the field; needs to learn art of pitching and how to sequence a bit more; gets in spells where he doesn't attack and tries to nibble with command.
Summary: Surgery came at the worst possible time in his development as he was poised for significant steps forward; needs to make up for lost developmental time; FB-CH combo can keep hitters off-balance and help him work through lineups, but needs to develop breaking ball to improve bat-missing ability; exceptionally high ceiling arm with very low floor as well.
Risk: High risk; Injury clouds future; has yet to find true success in full-season ball; needs breaking ball development.
Projection: Easy to dream on potential as SP but window to succeed in that role with two pitches that don’t include spin is closing quickly; ceiling as #3 starter and could be back-end starter with modest development post-surgery; stuff could play up in short bursts and some scouts believe future could be as setup reliever; ETA has been delayed by surgery and now looks like late 2016 or 2017.
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