Gulf Coast League Yankees Pitching Prospect Review

The Gulf Coast Yankees compiled an impressive 36-23 record this season, mostly behind the strength of their pitching. The GCL Yankees have quite a few good pitching prosepects and we will look at the peripherals stats of these futures stars. PinstripesPlus will look at the guys who played a majority of the season with Gulf Coast, those who pitched a minimum of 20 innings with the team and did not collect more than 20 innings for any other team.

Justin Berg - RHP

Drafted in the 43rd round of the 2003 draft as a draft-and-follow out of Indian Hills Community College, Berg had a rough go of it in his professional debut for the GCL Yankees this season. He has a "live" arm, as evidenced by his impressive 8.51 strikeouts per nine innings indicate. He'll have to work on his control as he walked over 4 batters per nine innings this season and will have to get a few more batters to miss as opposing batters hit .317 off of him this season. Berg might repeat the Gulf Coast League next season or begin 2005 with Staten Island. He's a bit of a project at this time.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

5.87

30.2

1.79

4.40

8.51

0.88

.317



Dane De la Rosa - RHP

De la Rosa was drafted in the 24th round of the 2002 draft and had a phenomenal season for the GCL Yankees this year. He, like Garcia, was very good at keeping the ball in the yard, allowing just 0.26 home runs per nine innings and kept opposing hitters at bay as they hit just .191 off of him. As is the case with most pitchers at this level, it's still early to tell how De la Rosa will project with further development. But the future looks bright for him at the moment.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.88

34.1

1.08

3.15

8.39

0.26

.191



Christian Garcia - RHP


Drafted 99th overall this past season out of Gulliver Prep School, Garcia was one of the more heralded pitching prospects in Tampa this season. His stats were really promising in his first year of professional baseball and he's going to be one to watch in the years to come. "Chris" was a bit wild, but it is somewhat expected for a first-year pro, especially considering he just turned 19 in August. If he can cut down on his walk ratio (4.02 per nine innings) as he continues to develop, and keep the ball in the ballpark like he did this past year, Garcia's got the potential to be a future star for the Yankees. Expect to see Garcia atop the Staten Island rotation in 2005.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.84

38.0

1.13

4.02

11.1

0.24

.188



Toni Lara - LHP

Lara's very promising 2003 debut in the Gulf Coas League was rewarded with? That's right, another stint in the GCL this season. Just like last year, Lara was dominating as his peripheral stats reveal. Like Garcia, Lara's success is very much predicated by keeping the ball in the ballpark. After two solid campaigns in the Gulf Coast League, Lara should begin the season in low-A ball in 2005....whether that's in Battle Creek (not likely) or with a new team in the South Atlantic League next year.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

3.38

50.2

1.16

3.20

8.88

0.36

.222



Marvin Moscat - RHP

A FA signee out of the Domincan Republic, Moscat had a whale of a season for the GCL Yankees this year. Moscat's peripherals were fantastics across the board, leading the staff in WHIP ratio and boasting a very impressive 5.20 strikeout-to-walk ratio. At 22 years old, All signs point towards Moscat following Lara to low-A ball in 2005.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.70

36.2

0.91

2.21

11.5

0.74

.180



Maximo Nelson - RHP

Like Moscat, Nelson is a free-agent signee out of the Dominican Republic. And just like Moscat, Nelson had a tremendous season in the Gulf Coast League this past year. Nelson's peripheral stats were solid in every category except one. His numbers will be even better once he learns to give up a few less home runs as he served up just about one every nine innings. But that's hardly cause for concern so young in his development stage. Nelson, who turns 23 early next season, will most likely begin 2005 in low-A ball.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.63

54.2

1.10

1.98

8.89

0.99

.235



Alex Perez - RHP

It's tough to have a better professional debut season as pitcher than Alex Perez had for the GCL Yankees in 2004. This hard-throwing reliever dominated Gulf Coast League batters and sported a mind-boggling 9.66 strikeout-to-walk ratio! Of course 22 innings is not a big enough sample to get overly excited about. If he can learn to keep the ball in the ballpark (he gave up 4 home runs in 22.1 innings this season), Perez has a very bright future ahead of him. The Yankees might be tempted to test Perez at low-A ball next season, but the smart money says he's ticketed for a year with Staten Island in 2005, possibly as the SI closer.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.82

22.1

1.21

1.21

11.7

1.61

.270



Jason Stephens - RHP

Drafted 184th overall in the 2003 draft out of Tallmadge High School, Stephens repeated a stint in the Gulf Coast League this season which was somewhat surprising. Sure his 2003 peripherals for the GCL Yanks were not phenomenal by any stretch of the imagination, but Stephens showed for the second straight year that he won't serve up too many long balls and is consistently around the plate. In 80 professional innings for the GCL Yankees in two seasons, Stephens has allowed a grand total of two home runs. The one alarming stat is that Stephens serves up too many hits though. For the second straight year, he's allowed more hits than innings pitched (he allowed 42 hits in 31 2/3 innings last year). Still just 18 (he won't turn 19 until October), Stephens will most likely join Christian Garcia in the Staten Island rotation in 2005.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.61

48.1

1.34

1.86

8.94

0.18

.279



Guillermo Villalona - RHP

Like Lara, Villalona repeated the Gulf Coast League this past year. Villalona has very good control as his 0.78 walks per nine innings indicate but perhaps, too good. Opposing GCL batters hit a robust .280 off of Villalona this past season and he'll have to learn to waste a pitch or two if he's going to have success at the higher levels.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

4.30

23.0

1.22

0.78

6.65

1.17

.280



Michael Wagner - LHP

The tall left-handed pitcher had a very good year for the GCL Yankees and was overlooked because of the presence of Philip Hughes, Jeff Marquez, and Christian Garcia. Wagner's numbers were solid across the board. He displayed pinpoint control and a propensity for keeping the ball in the yard. Not much of a strikeout pitcher (at least not as prolific as Nelson and Garcia) in the early stages of his development, Wagner shows an ability to make more bats miss as he climbs the minor league ladder.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.29

35.1

1.13

2.55

7.9

0.51

.217



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