Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Moscoso was signed by the Tigers' Ramon Pena as an amateur free agent in November 2002 and spent the following two seasons pitching for their Dominican Summer League affiliate. In two seasons with the DSL club, Moscoso compiled an 8-3 record with 146 strikeouts in 129 innings pitched. His 90 innings of work in his second DSL season ranked fourth among league participants, and his three complete games placed him in a tie for second.
At age twenty-one Guillermo came stateside and debuted with the Oneonta Tigers where he turned in a solid performance through eleven appearances (ten starts). His 2-2 record belied his performance as he managed a 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio and 1.27 WHIP in 47-1/3 innings. Some minor injuries toward the end of the 2005 season set back his development, forcing a demotion to the Gulf Coast League in 2006. As a 22-year old working in the relatively inexperienced GCL, Moscoso turned in an outstanding performance working primarily in relief.
The 2007 season served as Moscoso's awakening; as he tied for second in the league in wins (8), tied for first in both complete games (2) and shutouts (1), and ranked fourth in the league in both innings (79-2/3) and earned run average (2.37). He was named the MiLB.com Pitcher of the Week for July 9, 2007 on the heels of his perfect game against the Batavia Muckdogs. His perfect game also earned him MiLB.com's Class A Short-Season Single-Game Performance of the Year Award.
If 2007 was his awakening, then the 2008 campaign was the birth of a true prospect. After missing time to start the year with an injury, Guillermo burst on the scene at High-A Lakeland by posting a 2.42 ERA and 0.92 WHIP in 15 games for the Flying Tigers. Over 52 innings, Moscoso struck out 72 and walked 13; forcing the Tigers' hand and earning a promotion to Double-A for the first time. In six starts for the Seawolves, Moscoso struck out another 50 in just 35 innings on the hill. Guillermo took home plenty of hardware in 2008, coming in as the Runner-Up in the TigsTown Lakeland Pitcher of the Month voting for July, winning the TigsTown Erie Pitcher of the Month award in August, and earning TigsTown Lakeland Pitcher of the Year honors.
Despite some injuries in his past, Moscoso has managed to continue developing his arsenal and appears poised to maintain that trend. Armed with a low-90s fastball that can reach 94 on occasion, Moscoso challenges both sides of the plate with some regularity, but he must locate better to maintain true success at the highest levels. His fastball has limited movement and he doesn't work low enough to keep the ball on the ground routinely; often pitching up in the zone to his own detriment.
Guillermo has messed with several different off-speed pitches in recent seasons, seemingly settling on a slurvy breaking ball and change-up. Having played with a splitter in the past to some degree of success, there is a chance the pitch could be resurrected down the road. His curveball has made strides in terms of consistency, but it is quality is not there. The pitch lacks dominating bite, often floating through the zone. In 2008, his curve showed flashes of being an average pitch, but hasn't made all the necessary strides yet. His change-up may have been the bigger difference in 2008, as he kept his arm speed up with better consistency and worked lower in the zone with more frequency. The pitch is still merely average, but he changes speeds well and keeps hitters off balance.
Moscoso's most impressive trait has been his ability to attack hitters and throw strikes. He carries supreme confidence in his ability when on the mound and he does not know how to back down from hitters. This type of approach may play better in the bullpen long term, as the shorter stints could also allow him to gain some added velocity on his fastball, and may mask some of the deficiencies in his secondary offerings.
Performance Level Team W-L ERA G GS SV SO BB IP AVG A+
Shoulder issues have plagued Moscoso throughout his professional career. After undergoing surgery a couple years back to clean up his shoulder, Moscoso again missed time at the start of the 2008 season with shoulder tendonitis. The injury cleared and he resumed pitching. Durability remains the big question for Guillermo, as he's never reached past 90 innings in a season, and there are some scouts that question his ability to hold up over much more than that.
The Tigers weren't particularly keen on dealing Moscoso after the strides he made in 2008, but even still, many scouts didn't consider him the top-notch talent his numbers suggested. He has struggled mightily in the Venezuelan Winter League, posting an ERA north of 8.00, while seeing his strike throwing ability to nearly vanish. For a pitcher that all too frequently lives up in the strike zone, he will need to have the ability to work to both sides of the plate and get the ball down on occasion; two things he has yet to demonstrate regularly.
Moscoso has the three-pitch arsenal to remain a starter, but his durability and the overall quality of that arsenal begs the question of whether he is better served in relief. He's nearly ready for a shot in the big leagues, and that should come at some point in 2009 for Texas. Keeping the ball in the yard in a park known for giving up home runs will be a big challenge, but Moscoso has never been known to back down from anything.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.