Name: Simon De La Rosa
DOB: May 11, 1993
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball/Slider, Changeup.
Fastball. De La Rosa has a true plus fastball in almost every sense of the term outside of command. Not only does his four-seam fastball sit comfortably in the 92-95 mph range as a starting pitcher and top out at 97 mph with relative ease but it also shows great movement too, getting a lot of late life explosion and natural running action. It's both a huge benefit and a detriment though; hitters have an extremely hard time barreling it up but he also has a hard time commanding it inside the strike zone. His ease of motion also generates a lot of deception as well and the prevailing thought within the scouting community is that his average velocity could bump up even higher should he pitch in shorter one-inning stints if the Yankees ever decided to go that route.
Other Pitches. De La Rosa's breaking ball is also a Major League plus pitch even though it technically can't be labeled as either a curveball or a slider. It has the desired dropping action of a power curveball but also shows late lateral break too in true slider fashion. More of a 'slurve', it sits mostly in the 81-84 mph range and it serves as a big-time strikeout pitch. His slower trajectory through the lower minor league levels has been mostly due to his rather slower developing changeup. It's merely an average pitch, one that he can throw for strikes and slow batters' bats down with, but it doesn't have the movement his other pitches have. It lacks any real depth or fade, and acts more like a straight changeup. It's more of a 'keep them honest' pitch than anything at this point but considering how much his other pitches move the hope is that over time his changeup will improve movement-wise as well.
Pitching. De La Rosa is all about power and athleticism on the mound. Physically he has all the desired traits of a burgeoning big league pitcher, including rather advanced mechanics for somebody with so little experience on the mound. However, mentally he still has some growing up to do despite his older age. He can get rattled a little too often when calls don't go his way and counts have a tendency to spiral out of control as a result when he tries to be too fine with his control. A true rhythm pitcher, however, when he's on control-wise he is really on. He runs a little too hot in cold in that regard and therefore lacks the desired consistency needed to tap his true potential. He fields his position quite well though due to his innate agility and athleticism.
Projection. Physically De La Rosa has everything nearly in place to have the ceiling of a potential big league middle of the rotation staring pitcher or higher; size, strength, durability, endurance, and a three-pitch big league arsenal, two of which are real wipeout pitches. Further improving his changeup's movement would go a long towards tapping that potential but even more so would be improving his rather average at best command. He has the top-shelf stuff to put away batters and get himself out of jams but he can also puts himself into those unnecessary jams himself with some really bad walks. Trusting his stuff more, throwing more strikes, and limiting the walks would help take his game to the next level. The Yankees seem intent on leaving him in the starting rotation because of his immense ceiling but the soon to be 23-year old also has to start moving a bit quicker too. Given his shortcomings command-wise and with the changeup he still best projects as a power reliever long-term, showing real setup or closing type potential, and it's a role in which he could move quickly doing.
ETA. 2018. De La Rosa is finally ready to tackle the long-season leagues and he seems destined to open up in low-A Charleston's starting rotation in 2016. He's going to be Rule 5 Draft eligible fairly soon though so at some point the Yankees are going to have to get aggressive promoting him, hence the rather quick big league ETA listed here.