Scouting Yankees Prospect #24: George Kontos

The Yankees selected George Kontos in the fifth round of the 2006 MLB Draft out of Northwestern University. Once a power arm, he had spent his entire minor league career developing himself into a four-pitch hurler. He finally did that in 2009 and was right on the cusp of helping out at the big league level until Tommy John surgery derailed his momentum.

Vital Statistics:
Name: George Kontos
Position: Pitcher
DOB: June 12, 1985
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 215
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

"Everything was the best it ever had been," Kontos said of his stuff before the injury. "My velocity was still 88-92, averaging right around 90 MPH, but I was locating my fastball.

"I was locating it better than I ever had before and I was very confident going up there and attacking hitters. My slider was where it's always been, my curveball, I was able to locate it very well, and I was mixing in the changuep ten to twelve times a game and I had confidence it would fall in. I was just going out there learning how to pitch."

Posting a combined 3.15 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A as well as finally finding consistency with his entire repertoire was the good news. The bad news, however, was that his once mid-90's velocity had stayed in the average range once again in 2009.

It got even worse in mid-June at the Triple-A level. Experiencing some forearm pain and then having his start pushed back for a couple of weeks due to a few rainouts, his velocity reached an all-time low in his last start of the season on June 25th.

"I made another start in Syracuse and I was like 84-88 MPH, just rearing back and throwing balls as hard as I could and it was not coming out," Kontos recounted. "That's when I kind of figured something was not right.

"I got it looked at and the doctors told me it was completely blown out in two pieces. The doctor told me there was no way of really knowing, but prior to my tearing it, it was probably 50 to 60 percent torn already from all of the years of pitching."

Whether or not an undiagnosed injury was the cause for his lower velocity for the better part of two years remains to be seen, but the good news for the one-time power arm is it forced him to develop his entire arsenal.

"I learned how to pitch," he said. "I didn't have that great fastball that I'm accustomed to having for a couple of years, so I basically learned how to pitch.

"Now that this happened and if it's all fixed, I'll know how to pitch and I'll know how to do everything but with much, much better stuff."

And there in lies the hope with Kontos, who will most likely miss the start of the 2010 season - the potential coming together of a more experienced pitcher with better secondary stuff and combining that with his once powerful arm.

"If you just did the rehab properly - it's basically just working out now, my normal offseason routine - you come back stronger than you ever were before," he said.

"It's unfortunate it happened when it happened because I was having a good year and I'd like to think that I would have been in New York shortly after, but there's always the middle of next year where I can pick up where I left off and hopefully do much, much better."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2009

Scranton

3-4

51.0

44

21

39

3.35

2009

Trenton

1-1

20.1

19

9

24

2.66

2008

Trenton

6-11

151.2

134

57

152

3.68

2007

Tampa

4-6

94.0

95

30

101

4.02

2006

Staten Island

7-3

78.1

64

19

82

2.64



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup, Curveball.

Fastball. Kontos once consistently averaged 91-94 mph with his four-seam fastball and even topped out routinely at 95-96 mph in the first two years of his career. However, that dropped down to 88-92 mph for pretty much all of 2008 and 2009. Prone to inconsistent control of his fastball at one time, the lower velocity forced him to him to improve his command. He also throws a good sinking two-seamer with good movement, which runs in on righties and away from lefties.

Other Pitches. Kontos has always had a good slider in the 83-86 mph range that not only has sharp break, but it's a pitch that he has the confidence throwing with command in any count and in any situation. He has developed a wildly inconsistent curveball into a legitimate strikeout pitch. He rounds out his repertoire with a changeup that helps keep batters off-balance. Once reluctant to throw it in game situations, he now uses it to induce early contact or help set up his fastball.

Pitching. Perhaps no pitcher has changed their approach more than Kontos over the years. Once hell-bent on overpowering batters with fastballs and sliders, he has learned to set up batters better and keep them more off-balance with a four-pitch arsenal. He is fearless on the mound and not only goes after batters, but he is one of the best at pitching batters inside and now he has the offspeed arsenal to expand the zone better. A workout junkie, he is very strong and able to pitch deep into games consistently. Kontos also keeps batters uncomfortable by employing a quick tempo on the mound, rarely giving them a moment to gather themselves before issuing the next pitch.

Projection. Prior to his Tommy John surgery, Kontos had developed himself into a legitimate starting pitching prospect who had the complete package - four pitches, solid command, endurance, strength, and athleticism. His once power fastball-plus slider combination also gave the organization some flexibility role-wise as a potential impact late-inning reliever too. For now, everything is predicated on his health and whether or not that power will come back to his previous level. For years he had compared favorably to a slightly less powerful version of Joba Chamberlain, and like Chamberlain, he can fill multiple pitching roles. But for that to happen he will have to prove his power arm is back.

ETA. 2011. Kontos will spend the 2010 season rehabbing and getting himself back into game-shape. He'll spend most of the year on the rehab tour, most likely making stops in Tampa, Trenton, and even Scranton, and perhaps be ready for some big league action the following year.

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\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: George Kontos
\r\nPosition: Pitcher
\r\nDOB: June 12, 1985
\r\nHeight: 6'3\"
\r\nWeight: 215
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\n\"Everything was the best it ever had been,\" Kontos said of his stuff before the injury. \"My velocity was still 88-92, averaging right around 90 MPH, but I was locating my fastball.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was locating it better than I ever had before and I was very confident going up there and attacking hitters. My slider was where it's always been, my curveball, I was able to locate it very well, and I was mixing in the changuep ten to twelve times a game and I had confidence it would fall in. I was just going out there learning how to pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nPosting a combined 3.15 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A as well as finally finding consistency with his entire repertoire was the good news. The bad news, however, was that his once mid-90's velocity had stayed in the average range once again in 2009.
\r\n
\r\nIt got even worse in mid-June at the Triple-A level. Experiencing some forearm pain and then having his start pushed back for a couple of weeks due to a few rainouts, his velocity reached an all-time low in his last start of the season on June 25th.
\r\n
\r\n\"I made another start in Syracuse and I was like 84-88 MPH, just rearing back and throwing balls as hard as I could and it was not coming out,\" Kontos recounted. \"That's when I kind of figured something was not right.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got it looked at and the doctors told me it was completely blown out in two pieces. The doctor told me there was no way of really knowing, but prior to my tearing it, it was probably 50 to 60 percent torn already from all of the years of pitching.\"
\r\n
\r\nWhether or not an undiagnosed injury was the cause for his lower velocity for the better part of two years remains to be seen, but the good news for the one-time power arm is it forced him to develop his entire arsenal.
\r\n
\r\n\"I learned how to pitch,\" he said. \"I didn't have that great fastball that I'm accustomed to having for a couple of years, so I basically learned how to pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"Now that this happened and if it's all fixed, I'll know how to pitch and I'll know how to do everything but with much, much better stuff.\"
\r\n
\r\nAnd there in lies the hope with Kontos, who will most likely miss the start of the 2010 season - the potential coming together of a more experienced pitcher with better secondary stuff and combining that with his once powerful arm.
\r\n
\r\n\"If you just did the rehab properly - it's basically just working out now, my normal offseason routine - you come back stronger than you ever were before,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's unfortunate it happened when it happened because I was having a good year and I'd like to think that I would have been in New York shortly after, but there's always the middle of next year where I can pick up where I left off and hopefully do much, much better.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Scranton

\r\n

\r\n 3-4

\r\n

\r\n 51.0

\r\n

\r\n 44

\r\n

\r\n 21

\r\n

\r\n 39

\r\n

\r\n 3.35

\r\n

\r\n 2009

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n 1-1

\r\n

\r\n 20.1

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n 9

\r\n

\r\n 24

\r\n

\r\n 2.66

\r\n

\r\n 2008

\r\n

\r\n Trenton

\r\n

\r\n 6-11

\r\n

\r\n 151.2

\r\n

\r\n 134

\r\n

\r\n 57

\r\n

\r\n 152

\r\n

\r\n 3.68

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Tampa

\r\n

\r\n 4-6

\r\n

\r\n 94.0

\r\n

\r\n 95

\r\n

\r\n 30

\r\n

\r\n 101

\r\n

\r\n 4.02

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Staten Island

\r\n

\r\n 7-3

\r\n

\r\n 78.1

\r\n

\r\n 64

\r\n

\r\n 19

\r\n

\r\n 82

\r\n

\r\n 2.64


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup, Curveball.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Kontos once consistently averaged 91-94 mph with his four-seam fastball and even topped out routinely at 95-96 mph in the first two years of his career. However, that dropped down to 88-92 mph for pretty much all of 2008 and 2009. Prone to inconsistent control of his fastball at one time, the lower velocity forced him to him to improve his command. He also throws a good sinking two-seamer with good movement, which runs in on righties and away from lefties.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Kontos has always had a good slider in the 83-86 mph range that not only has sharp break, but it's a pitch that he has the confidence throwing with command in any count and in any situation. He has developed a wildly inconsistent curveball into a legitimate strikeout pitch. He rounds out his repertoire with a changeup that helps keep batters off-balance. Once reluctant to throw it in game situations, he now uses it to induce early contact or help set up his fastball.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Perhaps no pitcher has changed their approach more than Kontos over the years. Once hell-bent on overpowering batters with fastballs and sliders, he has learned to set up batters better and keep them more off-balance with a four-pitch arsenal. He is fearless on the mound and not only goes after batters, but he is one of the best at pitching batters inside and now he has the offspeed arsenal to expand the zone better. A workout junkie, he is very strong and able to pitch deep into games consistently. Kontos also keeps batters uncomfortable by employing a quick tempo on the mound, rarely giving them a moment to gather themselves before issuing the next pitch.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Prior to his Tommy John surgery, Kontos had developed himself into a legitimate starting pitching prospect who had the complete package - four pitches, solid command, endurance, strength, and athleticism. His once power fastball-plus slider combination also gave the organization some flexibility role-wise as a potential impact late-inning reliever too. For now, everything is predicated on his health and whether or not that power will come back to his previous level. For years he had compared favorably to a slightly less powerful version of Joba Chamberlain, and like Chamberlain, he can fill multiple pitching roles. But for that to happen he will have to prove his power arm is back.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2011. Kontos will spend the 2010 season rehabbing and getting himself back into game-shape. He'll spend most of the year on the rehab tour, most likely making stops in Tampa, Trenton, and even Scranton, and perhaps be ready for some big league action the following year.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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