Scouting Report: Francisco Gil

Gil is an elite ground ball pitcher

The Yankees signed then 16-year old Francisco Gil out of Mexico in the summer of 2005 and he made his professional debut in the Dominican Summer League this past season. He went 1-2 with a 3.26 ERA during the regular season, but proved to be even better in the playoffs and the Yankees are very excited about his big league potential. Here's a scouting report on Francisco Gil.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Francisco Gil
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: April 24, 1989
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Even before the 2006 season began, the Yankees were extremely high on Gil and they were planning on having their teenage prodigy begin his professional career in the United States in the Gulf Coast League.

Pitching very well in Extended Spring Training in the months leading up to the Gulf Coast League, it came as a bit of shock when Gil was sent to the Dominican Summer League instead, but it had nothing to do with his performance.

"No I wasn't disappointed about that," Gil said of not pitching in the United States this past season and beginning his career in the Dominican Summer League, "because it wasn't a baseball decision. I had to come back to the Dominican Republic to take care of my visa."

Just turning 17-years old, Gil put up some solid overall numbers. Along with his 1-2 record and a 3.26 ERA, he struck out 27 batters in 30 1/3 innings and quickly earned the reputation as a pronounced ground ball pitcher cut in the mold of Chien-Ming Wang, inducing nearly three times as many ground ball outs as fly ball outs.

"I did pretty good this year," he said of his 2006 season through the help of Livio Oleaga translating. "I pitched two games in the playoffs, I won one of them, and the other one was a no-decision."

While the Yankees were extremely pleased with his overall season, it was his performance in the Dominican Summer League playoffs that has everybody in the organization keeping a close eye on their prized right-hander.

"He was outstanding," said Yankees Latin American Coordinator Carlos Rios. "In the playoffs, he was really a different pitcher. He was 90-92 MPH with sinking action and he's got the curveball, a slider, and a changeup."

"He's a big guy," Rios continued. "He actually projects as one of the high-profile guys we have in the coming future. I think it was good for him to go down there [the DSL]. He saw a different scenario, different baseball, and he had an opportunity to throw a lot of innings, which is what he needed."

Despite getting so many ground ball outs, Gil considers himself more of a strikeout pitcher and he credits the movement on his pitches as the biggest reason why.

"He's a 16-year old kid who is about 6'2" and strong," Yankees Pitching Coordinator Nardi Contreras told us. "This kid right now, I've seen him as high as 93 MPH - as a 16-year old - and he can spin the baseball. He's going to be something special."

"He can spin the baseball, his changeup has been good right away even though he can't command it, he's got the feel for it and he throws it an area right now, which is great."

Gil carries himself with a quiet confidence both on and off the field, and realizing he has just begun his professional career, he's looking forward to making his mark in the United States as soon as 2007.

"I think I will be," he said when asked if he'll be pitching in the United States in 2007, "because I've already been there. I came back to the Dominican Republic because I'm young and had to take care of my visa. I expect to be there next season."

While Gil and the Yankees expect him to pitch in the United States, just about everybody also expects him to not only pitch well, but develop into a special pitching prospect.

"Francisco Gil is going to be something special if he continues to throw the way he is now," said Contreras. "He's just [17]. He's going to get bigger and stronger, and he's a pretty bright young kid."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2006

DSL

1-2

30.1

27

8

27

3.26



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Gil's mainstay is his power sinking two-seam fastball which he peppers in the lower-half of the strike zone consistently in the 90-93 MPH range. But aside from velocity, what makes Gil so special is the way he gets outstanding movement with his two-seamer. He throws an occasional four-seam fastball but it's not a pitch he mixes in enough right now and it will probably be one of the focuses of Nardi Contreras and the Yankees' coaching staff over the next couple of seasons.

Other Pitches. Gil's best secondary pitch is his changeup. Just like his two-seamer, he's able to get a ton of movement with his changeup. He also disguises his changeup very well, in fact, quite uncanny for a player his age. But as mentioned above, he's a bit too inconsistent with the command of his changeup. It's definitely a plus pitch for him already, but he needs to follow it up with plus command. Gil also throws a developing curveball that has plus potential, but he is working on getting more movement and better balance with it. He rounds out his repertoire with a developing slider that serves more as his fourth pitch right now.

Pitching. Gil's approach and plan on the mound is very much like Chien-Ming Wang. His sinker allows him to live in the lower-half of the strike zone and keep the ball in the yard with the best of them. While he considers himself more of a strikeout pitcher, he pitches more to contact and allows his defense behind him to make plays. Like Wang, Gil works at a very face pace and he never allows opponents to get their timing down.

Projection. Gil, as good as he is already, could be a completely different pitcher by the time he is big league ready. At 6-foot-3, strong, and just 17 years old, he has an excellent chance to add a few more MPH on his fastball, especially if he learns to use the four-seam fastball more. All of his secondary pitches have plus potential because of the type of movement he gets with his pitches and he is such a bright kid that the Yankees believe his command, which is already advanced for a pitcher his age, will only get better with more experience. It's way too early in his development, but he has the size, stuff, and makeup to develop into a Chien-Ming Wang type down the road.

ETA. 2011. Barring injury, Gil will definitely be pitching in the United States next season. While the smart money says he will debut in the Gulf Coast League, the Yankees were so impressed with his pitching down the stretch and in the Dominican Summer League playoffs, it is not out of the question he could land in Staten Island. His stuff is too advanced to toil in the short-season leagues beyond one year so he should be ready to break into the long-season leagues by 2008.

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