Scouting Yankees Prospect #27:Domingo Acevedo

The Yankees signed right-handed pitcher Domingo Acevedo in November of 2012 out of the Dominican Republic. A low dollar signing, he has proven to be part Dellin Betances and part Luis Severino in his short time with the Yankees, giving him one of the highest ceilings in the farm system.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Domingo Acevedo
Position: Pitcher
DOB: March 6, 1994
Height: 6'7"
Weight: 210
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

An older signing at the time, he had a solid debut season in the Dominican Summer League in 2013, posting a very respectable 2.63 ERA and striking out 43 batters in 41 innings. More than the numbers, however, it was the sheer power in his arm that had team insiders quickly sitting up and taking notice.

"He's going to be special," former Yankees Minor League Pitching Coordinator and current special pitching instructor at the Yankee Dominican complex Nardi Contreras said. "He's mid-90s, he's got a real plus changeup, and he's a strike-thrower."

"He's an upper 90s fastball [guy]," Staten Island manager Mario Garza said in Extended Spring Training last season. "You know it is not every day you see guys coming in with [that].

"He has been in triple digits, which is something I personally have not seen very frequently in the minor leagues especially. He has a very special arm.

"He can be as good as anyone we have up in the big leagues now. He has a power explosive arm. He is still young. He has a great mental makeup and if he can develop, really the sky's the limit."

An absolute standout in Extended Spring Training last season, Acevedo battled some nagging soreness in the Gulf Coast League and was limited to just five starts in the Gulf Coast League and wound up posting a 4.11 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 15.1 innings.

What he did prove though was more of the same; the fastball was one of a kind power-wise, his changeup was a plus pitch, he threw strikes, and the breaking ball continues to be a developmental mantra for him.

"The breaking ball is coming," GCL Yankees2 manager Pat Osborn said. "Jose Rosado, who was my pitching coach, did an outstanding job of helping Domingo out in that area.

"I think it started out more as a slurvy breaking ball and he and 'Rosey' got it tightened up to where it was coming in 82-84 mph which from what I know is where our pitching guys wanted it. It's a slider now. It's more of a true slider."

While the consistency with it isn't quite there yet, Acevedo flashes signs of his slider one day becoming a plus pitch. Not unlike Luis Severino in that regard, like Severino he might not need it to be a plus pitch immediately to work his way up the minor league ladder simply because of his ability to pound the zone with two other plus pitches.

Taking Severino's stuff and strike-throwing ability and combining it with Dellin Betances-like physical size [Acevedo stands 6-foot-7], it's easy to see why so many baseball people are excited about the long-term potential of Acevedo.

"His velocity is what stands out first and foremost along with his size," Osborn added. "He's a big kid. I think the first couple of times I saw him pitch it was early in Extended [Spring Training] and he was hitting 100 mph consistently. Right then and there the kid jumps out at you.

"But then he flashes this plus changeup as well which is very rare for a young kid like that, especially for a kid that throws so hard.

"He's a great kid. He works hard, he wants to learn English, speaks [English] pretty well right now actually, but he's another guy you can tell has a lot of character. That's not going to be an issue.

"He's going to be a guy to watch. Anytime you've got a kid like that with that type of arm who can flash two average to above average pitches you know you've got something special."

"I think Domingo Acevedo is real exciting to me," Garza concurred. "You're talking about a power arm with a real good body. He's huge and a tough guy to hit, and works his tail off. He's an exciting guy."

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2014

GCL Yankees2

0-1

0

15.1

16

6

21

4.11

2013

DSL Yankees

1-2

4

41.0

42

11

43

2.63



Repertoire. Fastball, Changeup, Slider.

Fastball. There are not enough adjectives to describe the power fastball thrown by Acevedo. He averages 95-mph plus with his fastball, he will occasionally hit as high as 100 mph, and it even has that little extra giddy-up at the end to give it some late life. As big and strong as he is too there is a viable thought that his average top velocity could increase a tick or two as he continues to build up his arm strength [he's been pitching for essentially just three years]. Throw in his ability to optimize his downward arm angle from his taller frame, he has a one of a kind fastball indeed.

Other Pitches. What makes Acevedo's fastball even better is his plus changeup. Like his fastball his changeup gets good movement, showing good fade and depth, and just like his fastball he can pound the strike zone with it. It's a swing and miss pitch against both lefties and right-handed batters. He rounds out his repertoire with a slider in the 82-84 mph range. It shows plus potential with the break it's getting now and he can throw it for strikes too, but oddly enough for a premier power guy he's had a hard time increasing the velocity with his slider. If he could bump it up a couple of ticks more towards the 84-86 mph range -- not an impossible task by any stretch of the imagination given his size and power -- it too could one day be a special pitch.

Pitching. While Acevedo's size and power are the first things anyone notices, what brings his game together is his remarkably consistent mechanics for a such a tall pitcher. He has an innate knack for staying short in his delivery and he's able to pound the zone with strikes. It's also a credit to his mentality too; his main objective is to induce early count contact and when he does get ahead in counts he has both the ability and killer instinct to put away batters. He is actually pretty adept at holding runners close in the running game too for a taller pitcher but it's a dubious trait in a general sense as that aspect of his game does pale in comparison to his smaller peers. He's a high makeup guy who is very coachable and eager to learn.

Projection. With Luis Severino-like stuff and strike-throwing ability and Dellin Betances-like size, Acevedo's projection is as high as it gets. He has long-term big league 'ace' starting potential if everything comes together for him. He obviously needs more experience going forward given the fact he hasn't been pitching for very long and he will absolutely need to find that consistent plus breaking ball to fulfill that kind of sky-high ceiling, but there is already enough game there to compare quite favorably to current Yankee hurler Michael Pineda. Like Pineda he has the kind of special talent to get up to the big leagues relatively quickly and still have a lot more projection left in his game if and when he eventually gets there too.

ETA. 2017. Acevedo needs to be and really should be challenged. He'll only move as quickly as his breaking ball comes but it would not be completely outlandish to think he could break camp this season in low-A Charleston and even see some time in high-A Tampa later in the year. If that consistent breaking ball comes sooner rather than later though all bets are off as he could really then sky-rocket his way up.


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