2005 GCL Yankees Pitching Prospect Review
Japa Has Nasty Stuff But Needs Better Control
Japa Has Nasty Stuff But Needs Better Control

Posted Oct 21, 2005


While the offense helped the Gulf Coast League Yankees to a 33-20 record this season, their pitching was awfully good as well. The GCL Yankees have quite a few good pitching prospects and we will look at their peripherals stats. 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.

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Domingo Cabrera - LHP

Signed out of the Dominican Republic back in November of 2003, Cabrera made a splash with the DSL Yankees last season by going 3-0 in eight games with a 0.90 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched before making his debut on U.S. soil with the Gulf Coast League Yankees in 2005. It was a wonderful debut indeed, posting excellent peripheral numbers across the board. He held opposing batters to under a .200 average, walked very few batters, and struck out better than ten batters per nine innings pitched.

The only knock on his game at this point is his slight build. Standing 6'1" and listed at just 150 pounds, Cabrera is going to have to put on some useful weight to increase his stamina if he's to remain a starting pitcher as he progresses through the Yankees' minor league system. With the trading of Justin Berg to the Cubs this past season, Cabrera's chances of breaking Spring Training in 2006 with the Charleston Riverdogs have increased significantly.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.30

31.1

1.02

2.59

10.6

0.57

.193



Andrew Carter - RHP

Drafted in the 35th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Davidson College as a starting pitcher, Carter found a home in the Gulf Coast League Yankees' bullpen after one brutal start earlier in the season, skewing his numbers quite a bit. Still, Carter flourished in his new roll and completed his professional debut with tremendous peripheral stats. As evidenced by his WHIP ratio in the table below, Carter was successful limiting the amount of base runners he gave up.

Carter, a strikeout pitcher in college, posted nearly a 4-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, albeit against much younger competition. If he can show the same type of success out of the bullpen at the higher levels, Carter could become another T.J. Beam type for the Yankees. Carter has a good chance of securing a bullpen spot with the Charleston Riverdogs next season.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

3.92

20.2

1.16

2.18

8.27

0.44

.232



Francisco Castillo - RHP

Castillo was one of the brightest spots on the Gulf Coast Yankees in 2005. If not for the Yankees' plan of protecting their young arms by limiting the amount of innings pitched, Castillo would have finished in the top three ERA's in the league. Regardless, Castillo showed an innate ability to keep the ball in the ballpark, while keeping opposing hitters off-balance.

His 0.95 WHIP ratio is unheard of for a pitcher pitching in his first professional season, especially as an 18-year old. If there is one negative to his season it was his somewhat high walk totals. Averaging a little more than three walks per nine innings is not cause for concern, given his limited experience, but it is an area that Nardi Contreras and company would surely like to improve. Castillo's breakout year in the Gulf Coast League puts him a great position to begin the year in the Charleston Riverdogs' rotation in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

1.76

41.0

0.95

3.07

7.46

0.22

.170



Keaton Everitt - RHP

Drafted in the 17th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of the University of Washington, Everitt also had tremendous numbers in his professional debut this past season. Posting a 4-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was solid, although expected considering the fact he was pitching against competition much younger than him. Everitt managed to make five appearances with Staten Island before the year was up and did not fair quite as well.

The 22-year old hurler is going to have to prove he can get batters out closer to his age group before anybody gets too excited over his performance in the Gulf Coast League. He has an outside shot at breaking camp next Spring with Charleston, but depending on how the Yankees' draft shakes out in June, could find himself on the Staten Island pitching staff next season.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

3.19

31.0

1.19

2.03

8.13

0.58

.259



Rolando Japa - RHP

Like Domingo Cabrera, Japa is a free agent signing out of the Dominican Republic who dazzled scouts with his stuff with the DSL Yankees in 2004, going 3-1 with a 2.84 ERA and striking out a batter per inning pitched. Signed in November of 2003, Japa has become an organizational favorite because of his stuff. The Yankees believe he can move swiftly through the system, but he'll need to improve his control in order to do so. Walking close to five batters per nine innings will only make his ascension through the ranks harder.

Regardless, Japa seems to be one of the frontrunners to land a spot in the Charleston rotation in 2006, at least, in the early going. Having dominant stuff, as he has, will get him a long way. He'll have to start posting dominant statistics, at least in the walks department, in order to remain an organizational favorite.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

3.50

36.0

1.44

4.75

10.3

0.75

.241



Josue Selenes - RHP

Selenes is also signed out of the Dominican Republic and he posted a 2.25 ERA in 11 games with the DSL Yankees in 2004 before finding his way into the Gulf Coast League this past season. After posting just a 1.2 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the Dominican last year, Selenes made marked improvements in that area with the Gulf Coast League Yankees this past season. He showed, albeit in a small sample size, that he can keep the ball in the yard.

His rather high ERA doesn't truly match his overall peripheral numbers. Selenes got pasted in two appearances this season, making his ERA higher than it could have been. He just turned 20 years old in October and with the glutton of promising pitching prospects at the lower levels, Selenes has a long road ahead. It is not beyond the realm of possibility that he could find his way back to the Gulf Coast League in 2006 or in the Staten Island bullpen.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

5.19

26.0

1.38

3.46

7.62

0.35

.263



Edgar Soto - LHP

It is hard to believe that Soto, signed out of Venezuela back in 2001, was part of the same GCL Yankees' rotation as Tyler Clippard, Abel Gomez, and Eric Hacker way back in 2003. To be quite frank, Soto's numbers from 2005 aren't any better than they were in 2003. His ERA was close to one run higher this year with pretty much the same strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Soto, who turns 21 in December, hasn't faced one batter in a long-season league as of yet and has made just four appearances higher than the Gulf Coast League (all four coming with Staten Island in 2004). The fact that he's a left-handed pitcher means he'll be given every possible opportunity, but he's a long-shot to break Spring Training with Charleston in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

4.24

23.1

1.29

3.47

10.0

0.39

.236



Eric Wordekemper - RHP

Drafted in the 46th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Creighton University, Wordekemper has Jason Jones-like control. He walked a grant total of one batter in the Gulf Coast League this past season, a big reason for his sub 1.00 WHIP ratio. But like Jones, opposing batters are able to hit him with some regularity. Whie his 2.12 ERA in the Gulf Coast League was impressive, his .250 batting average against wasn't, considering the 22-year old faced mostly teenage batters.

Wordekemper has a tough road ahead of him, although late round draft picks usually do. He's going to have to keep posting great numbers as he climbs the minor league ladder in order to open some eyes in an already pitching-rich farm system. A strong Spring Training could land him a job in the Charleston bullpen to open up the 2006 season, but a trip to Staten Island appears more likely at this time.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.12

29.2

0.98

0.30

7.28

0.61

.250



_____________________________________________________

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