Date of Birth: 2/7/1992 (2016 Opening Day Age: 24)
Acquired: Amateur Free Agent, 2009
Ranking History: #184 (2011), #48 (2012), #15 (2013), #9 (2014), #19 (2015), #22 (2016)
Background: Signed in 2009, Briceno has taken a lengthy path through the minor leagues, requiring three seasons to move beyond the complex leagues, and another season before he reached full-season ball with West Michigan in 2013; a year in which Briceno posted an ERA south of 5.00 for the first time since his debut as a 17-year old reliever in the VSL in 2009. Briceno looked to be putting things together early in the 2014 season with High-A Lakeland before he lost the rest of the season and the better part of 2015 to Tommy John surgery. Back on the mound last year, Briceno is attempting to get his career back on track and tap into his raw potential.
|GCL||Rookie||5||5||0||13.2||12||5 / 3||0||1||21||1.98||0.95||0-1|
|Lakeland||A+||8||6||0||33.0||39||20 / 15||2||14||16||4.09||1.61||2-3|
Body: Extremely thin; 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; Tommy John surgery on record (2014).
Delivery/Mechanics: Smooth; everything looks easy from initial movement to release; arm action is clean and very fast; ball jumps out of hand; always looks like he’s tossing at 50%; needs to improve mechanical consistency, particularly as it relates to release point; when right, simple, smooth and repeatable; potential for excellent mechanical profile.
Fastball: Down a half tick since surgery; sits 90-93 most outings; will reach 95 on occasion during longer outings; showed higher during brief rehab outings after coming back from surgery; pitch has natural sink that augments solid velocity; potential plus offering if velocity comes back a bit more and command improves; would play up in shorter outings. Grade – Present 5+/Future 6
Curveball: Lacked feel to spin pitch before surgery and hasn’t demonstrated growth in that area since returning; pitch lacks tight rotation and subsequent depth; sits and spins too regularly; well below-average offering with minimal projection; likely always below-average. Grade – 3+/4
Changeup: Excellent arm speed; replicates fastball arm action and slot; average velocity separation as pitch sits 85-86 most times; will overthrow on occasion but those instances have been rare since his return to the mound; features some fade to arm side and can be effective pitch against LHH; not a swing-and-miss offering but should induce weak contact. Grade – 5/5+
Control/Command: Tremendous potential for command given athleticism, loose arm, and easy mechanics; struggling to locate ball since return from surgery; previously demonstrated ability to move ball to the edges but consistently leaving ball over middle of the plate now; still believe in average command profile based on fundamental ingredients.
Other: Quality makeup; worked hard to return from surgery; shows flashes with pickoff move; can field position.
Summary: Trying to regain prospect status following surgery; return of fastball velocity and command still lagging and questions begin to surface about whether or not they will come back; development of breaking ball was slow before surgery and appears unlikely at this point; CH offers nice secondary pitch; player could still surprise with strides as he gets further away from surgery, but developmental path appears different than pre-surgery projections.
Risk: High risk; Not all the way back from surgery; no track record of performance success at any level; has yet to graduate from A-ball.
Projection: Increasingly difficult to project to a starting role; lack of a quality third pitch limits upside; FB-CH combo can work in relief with fastball playing up a grade; without breaking ball, high leverage relief role is tough to see; potential 7th inning arm and possibly just a middle reliever as it stands now; some limited potential for setup profile if changeup really steps forward in relief to become swing-and-miss pitch.