Scouting Analysis: Rolando Japa

With so much attention given to breaking down prospects piece by piece, looking at their strengths and weakness with great detail, we present Scouting Analysis here at PinstripesPlus.com. Now, let's take a look at righty pitching prospect, Rolando Japa.

In only his first season on U.S. soil, Rolando Japa is already one of the hottest Yankee' pitching prospects. Putting up gaudy numbers in the Gulf Coast League at the age of 20, Japa has already been tabbed by Pitching Coordinator, Nardi Contreras, as the one to watch on the Yankees' Rookie League squad. With electric stuff and already showing shades of Pedro Martinez on the mound, Rolando Japa has a lot to offer for the future and could move quickly through the system. Now, let's taking a pure scouting look at this righty pitching prospect, analyzing each aspect of his game.

Mechanical Strengths. Mechanically, Rolando Japa immediately shows off an outstanding aptitude for pitching. Unlike the majority of young pitcher, Japa has a complex delivery but he can repeat it with every pitch. That, in itself is a victory for any young hurler. With that in mind, Japa is able to change his arm angle to create a lot of deception for the hitters. Here is where the Pedro Martinez comparisons come into play. Rolando is the very definition of a slinger. From his three-quarters arm slot, the wiry righthander extends his arm straight out, creating a bullwhip type of action. With tremendous arm speed and action, Japa has simply electric stuff when he is. His fastball is already very live not because of his body type but because of his perfected mechanics. Also, Japa seems to have terrific command while working out a slidestep. Considering his already slinging arm motion, perhaps it comes more natural than for short-armers are traditional hurlers. For a young man slight of build, Japa really has an explosive delivery. He uses his landing leg as a stiff rod to jolt all of his weight forward. Despite the explosive motion, it all looks very fluent coming from Roland, reminding us again of Pedro Martinez.

Mechanical Flaws. When you look at a young pitcher, the first thing you check for is any major mechanical flaws. As far as major mechanical flaws, Japa has none. That is what will allow him to move quickly through the minor league ranks. However, he does have some minor flaws. First, when his control goes array, it has a lot to do with his glove arm. Rather than pulling his glove under his arm as he releases the ball, Japa tends to just turn his shoulders. When this happens, Rolando loses the movement he gets when he pulls down and through his pitches. As a result of turning his shoulders, he begins to cut his pitches off. Therefore, his pitches tend to flatter out completely, losing all the natural electric stuff he would normally have. But, the good news is, this flaw doesn't rear it's head all that often. One other problem he has on occasion is that he tips his back shoulder and he has to throw over his body rather than out over his front knee. But, on a consistent basis, these problems do no flare up often enough to cause too many issues for Japa.

Repertoire Strengths. Like most highly touted young pitchers, the first thing Rolando Japa has going for him is a live fastball. On the Gulf Coast Yankees' staff, Japa probably has the most consistent velocity, touching the gun in the 91-93 MPH. At times, he can touch the mid-90's. Especially considering he has a lot of filling out to do on his 6' 1", 165 pound frame, he should certainly add more velocity in the coming years, But, what makes Japa so effective are his secondary pitches. Armed with a strong changeup and an advanced curveball, he has the ability to overmatch minor league hitters. His curveball is in the mid to low-80's depending on what he takes off on that particular pitch. Not to mention, he appears to have a different breaking ball for each slightly different arm angle, much in the same way as Pedro Martinez. Also, he very often favors a strong two-seam fastball that he rides in on righty hitters.

Repertoire Weaknesses. There truly isn't any major problems to speak of in the repertoire of the 20 year old righty. However, if there is one issue to look at, it would be his breaking ball. Like we examined in Mechanical Flaws, Japa has the tendency to tip his back shoulder as well as cut the ball off across his body rather than pull down through it. With that being said, his curveball sometimes gets away from him. In fact, in a recent outing, we saw Japa hit three right handed batters with breaking balls. This seems to happen when he rushes his delivery.

Notes. While his velocity remains, Rolando Japa tends to lose much of his command with runners on base. But, luckily for him, there hasn't been too many baserunners as a result of how well he has pitched thus far in 2005. When runners get on, Japa works extremely quickly and the mechanical breakdowns we discussed earlier begin to show themselves.

Another thing to take note of is the pitching savvy of this 20 year old righthander. One of his best strikeout pitches is his two seam fastball that he runs in on the hands of righty hitters. At times, he also likes to turn to the high fastball, tying up lefty and righty hitters. And, as he has shown, he is not afraid to miss inside and hit a batter. Japa has shown that he will make very few mistakes over the heart of the plate. He does not like top give in to the opposing hitters.

What Scouts Look For. Like so many pitchers at this stage of their development, scouts will look for physical maturity for Japa. He looks as if he will always retain his wiry frame, but some added meat on his bones will do a lot of good to make his velocity rise even more. But, perhaps more importantly, Japa needs to stay healthy. With his slinging, whip-like arm action, he has the potential for injury if his motion gets throw out of kilter. However, he has proven so far this year that he does have the ability to repeat a complex but successful delivery.

Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nIn only his first season on U.S. soil, Rolando Japa is already one of the hottest Yankee' pitching prospects. Putting up gaudy numbers in the Gulf Coast League at the age of 20, Japa has already been tabbed by Pitching Coordinator, Nardi Contreras, as the one to watch on the Yankees' Rookie League squad. With electric stuff and already showing shades of Pedro Martinez on the mound, Rolando Japa has a lot to offer for the future and could move quickly through the system. Now, let's taking a pure scouting look at this righty pitching prospect, analyzing each aspect of his game.\r\n

\r\nMechanical Strengths. Mechanically, Rolando Japa immediately shows off an outstanding aptitude for pitching. Unlike the majority of young pitcher, Japa has a complex delivery but he can repeat it with every pitch. That, in itself is a victory for any young hurler. With that in mind, Japa is able to change his arm angle to create a lot of deception for the hitters. Here is where the Pedro Martinez comparisons come into play. Rolando is the very definition of a slinger. From his three-quarters arm slot, the wiry righthander extends his arm straight out, creating a bullwhip type of action. With tremendous arm speed and action, Japa has simply electric stuff when he is. His fastball is already very live not because of his body type but because of his perfected mechanics. Also, Japa seems to have terrific command while working out a slidestep. Considering his already slinging arm motion, perhaps it comes more natural than for short-armers are traditional hurlers. For a young man slight of build, Japa really has an explosive delivery. He uses his landing leg as a stiff rod to jolt all of his weight forward. Despite the explosive motion, it all looks very fluent coming from Roland, reminding us again of Pedro Martinez.\r\n

\r\nMechanical Flaws. When you look at a young pitcher, the first thing you check for is any major mechanical flaws. As far as major mechanical flaws, Japa has none. That is what will allow him to move quickly through the minor league ranks. However, he does have some minor flaws. First, when his control goes array, it has a lot to do with his glove arm. Rather than pulling his glove under his arm as he releases the ball, Japa tends to just turn his shoulders. When this happens, Rolando loses the movement he gets when he pulls down and through his pitches. As a result of turning his shoulders, he begins to cut his pitches off. Therefore, his pitches tend to flatter out completely, losing all the natural electric stuff he would normally have. But, the good news is, this flaw doesn't rear it's head all that often. One other problem he has on occasion is that he tips his back shoulder and he has to throw over his body rather than out over his front knee. But, on a consistent basis, these problems do no flare up often enough to cause too many issues for Japa. \r\n

\r\nRepertoire Strengths. Like most highly touted young pitchers, the first thing Rolando Japa has going for him is a live fastball. On the Gulf Coast Yankees' staff, Japa probably has the most consistent velocity, touching the gun in the 91-93 MPH. At times, he can touch the mid-90's. Especially considering he has a lot of filling out to do on his 6' 1\", 165 pound frame, he should certainly add more velocity in the coming years, But, what makes Japa so effective are his secondary pitches. Armed with a strong changeup and an advanced curveball, he has the ability to overmatch minor league hitters. His curveball is in the mid to low-80's depending on what he takes off on that particular pitch. Not to mention, he appears to have a different breaking ball for each slightly different arm angle, much in the same way as Pedro Martinez. Also, he very often favors a strong two-seam fastball that he rides in on righty hitters.\r\n

\r\nRepertoire Weaknesses. There truly isn't any major problems to speak of in the repertoire of the 20 year old righty. However, if there is one issue to look at, it would be his breaking ball. Like we examined in Mechanical Flaws, Japa has the tendency to tip his back shoulder as well as cut the ball off across his body rather than pull down through it. With that being said, his curveball sometimes gets away from him. In fact, in a recent outing, we saw Japa hit three right handed batters with breaking balls. This seems to happen when he rushes his delivery.\r\n

\r\nNotes. While his velocity remains, Rolando Japa tends to lose much of his command with runners on base. But, luckily for him, there hasn't been too many baserunners as a result of how well he has pitched thus far in 2005. When runners get on, Japa works extremely quickly and the mechanical breakdowns we discussed earlier begin to show themselves.\r\n

\r\nAnother thing to take note of is the pitching savvy of this 20 year old righthander. One of his best strikeout pitches is his two seam fastball that he runs in on the hands of righty hitters. At times, he also likes to turn to the high fastball, tying up lefty and righty hitters. And, as he has shown, he is not afraid to miss inside and hit a batter. Japa has shown that he will make very few mistakes over the heart of the plate. He does not like top give in to the opposing hitters.\r\n

\r\nWhat Scouts Look For. Like so many pitchers at this stage of their development, scouts will look for physical maturity for Japa. He looks as if he will always retain his wiry frame, but some added meat on his bones will do a lot of good to make his velocity rise even more. But, perhaps more importantly, Japa needs to stay healthy. With his slinging, whip-like arm action, he has the potential for injury if his motion gets throw out of kilter. However, he has proven so far this year that he does have the ability to repeat a complex but successful delivery.\r\n","mobileBody":" ","skipOnMobile":true,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2005-07-09T21:03:00","authorOverride":"Frankie Piliere","role":"","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:234910]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:234910]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"158","name":"New York 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