Tigers Scouting Report #18: Angel Nesbitt

After showing some flashes on the mound in 2013, the 2014 campaign was a breakout season for Angel Nesbitt, emerging as a back end relief prospect, shutting down and striking out prospects across High-A and Double-A ball. Does Nesbitt have the frame and repertoire to emerge as a late inning reliever in the big leagues?

Angel Nesbitt


Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Date of Birth: 12/4/1990 (2015 Opening Day Age: 24)
Height/Weight: 6-1/237
Bats/Throws: Right/Right
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2009
Ranking History: #194 (2010), #181 (2011), #172 (2012), #84 (2013), #68 (2014), #18 (2015)

Background: Signed in 2009 out of Venezuela, Nesbitt spent three seasons bouncing between the Venezuelan and Dominican Summer Leagues, before finally making his stateside debut in 2012 with Connecticut. Nesbitt’s career took off in 2013 as he pitched well in the Midwest League by posting a 3.22 ERA in 52 outings. He followed that full-season debut up with a monster campaign in 2014, blowing through High-A Lakeland and Double-A Erie before being placed on the Tigers 40-man roster in November.


2014 Stats - Pitching
Lakeland 2401434.12303383600.790.902-0
Erie 240632.120388153612.231.081-0

Scouting Report

Body: Short, squat body; thick torso; almost looks pudgy; naturally strong upper body; durable pitchers body; strong legs that fit with his torso; conditioning has come along over last two years; has to prove he can handle back-to-back days on the bump; doesn’t look the part of impact reliever.

Delivery/Mechanics: Inconsistent; effort in delivery that leads to varying arm angles and landing locations; drives hard toward plate; strength-based delivery that lacks fluidity; when he’s right, delivery can offer some deception because of max effort style; delivery can hinder strike throwing at times.

Fastball: Stepped forward over last two years; pumps at 94-95 mph and reaches 97-98 mph during most outings; FB gets straight when delivered up in the zone, leading to some hard hit balls and some tendency to give up long balls; when down in the zone, FB features some riding life that gets in on the fists of RHH; easy plus velocity with more on occasion; minimal physical projection remaining which leads to minimal growth projected in FB; could still play up a bit more with consistent location down in the zone. Grade – Present 6/Future 6+

Slider: Short breaking slider; touch of both horizontal and vertical movement to the pitch; highly inconsistent from one outing to the next; needs step forward to round out arsenal and add some spin; flashes average at times but more consistently below-average to fringe; when he stays on top, pitch can dart enough to induce weak contact and miss occasional bats that are sitting FB; likely fringe pitch long term with some chance to be average on consistent basis. Grade – 4/4+

Cutter: Added to arsenal in 2014; really progressed well throughout season and was best secondary pitch by season’s end; same slot as FB; throws it hard at 89-91 mph and reaches 92 on occasion; short but quick slide in on LHH; can chew up bats and will miss RH bats on occasion; really good pitch; above-average grades consistently; keeps hitters off big FB and lessens ability of hitters to jump all over him while they spit on SL. Grade – 5+/6

Control/Command: Consistently struggles with command; took steps forward to pound strike zone more; mechanics/delivery will always hinder pinpoint command because of effort and variability in delivery; throws enough strikes to keep himself from issuing free passes and getting in trouble; needs to refine ability to manipulate ball east/west; has to work lower in zone more consistently to avoid long ball.

Other: Enjoys the game; competes well; works well away from the field and brings it all when he’s out there.

Final Word

Summary: Thick, strong body with velocity to match; pumps hard fastball at 94-95 mph and reaches higher from high-effort delivery; mechanics need improved consistency to allow for more quality strikes low in the zone; SL lags behind and is decidedly third pitch; cutter is still developing but made huge strides in 2014; potential plus second pitch; power arsenal all the way; has enough there to be a 7th inning arm.

Risk: Moderate risk; Pop-up guy with limited track record of success at higher levels; quickly approaching MLB.

Projection: Yet another power arm for the Tigers; should pitch bulk of 2015 season at Triple-A and will likely make MLB debut at some point this season; FB velocity and cutter should play to at least mid-relief role; potential for 7th inning role with improved control/command and/or slider.

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