West Michigan Trio Slowly Improving


In a farm system that is suffering from a lack of high end pitching right now, a trio of Latin pitchers in low class A West Michigan are providing a sliver of hope for prospect followers in Detroit. Endrys Briceno, Yorfrank Lopez, and Edgar De La Rosa, haven’t exactly posted eye-popping numbers so far in 2013, but development isn’t all about the numbers. It’s about seeing real improvements that could lead the Tigers to believe they have a usable player for the future or as a trade commodity.

As of late, all three of these youngsters have put together some strong starts.

Yorfrank Lopez, RHP, 22 years old

In Lopez’ last four starts, he has recorded four quality starts. In his last 26 innings, Lopez has only allowed five earned runs with a 3/18 BB/K ratio.

Edgar De La Rosa, RHP, 22 years old

In De La Rosa’s last four starts, he has recorded three quality starts. Those four starts span 26.2 innings in which De La Rosa has allowed 11 runs, striking out 18 over that time, and walking only five.

Endrys Briceno, RHP, 20 years old

Briceno has also recorded three quality starts in his last four, and three of them in a row. In those starts, he has gone a total of 22.2 innings while allowing just five runs. The one start that wasn’t quality was responsible for six walks, and Briceno did strikeout just 11 batters over that span. However, Briceno is showing tremendous ground ball tendencies at this point of the year, getting two ground balls for every one in the air.

All three of these guys are a long way from making a big league debut. In fact, all three are a long shot to make it at all, but Briceno and De La Rosa in particular do have a ceiling of a mid-rotation starter. Briceno maybe even more. Lopez is more of a back of the rotation candidate but he has at least put himself into the prospect discussion.

Still, given the rawness of these guys, it is nice to see the recent improvements being made, not only in results, but in ability to pitch and the sharpening of secondary pitches.

And for this farm system, any improvement is welcomed.

*If any of you are interested in getting a full scouting report on any of these players, I would be happy to write one up when I get the time. Just let me know in the comments section which you would like to see.

 

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  • Armin Hoda

    I’d like to know more about Melvin Mercedes and Jose Alverez (never heard of this guy and he’s doing very well in Toledo).

    • John Verburg

      Melvin Mercedes is a big kid that I think tops out as a 7th inning type. He doesn’t have a swing and miss pitch, but has a good hard heavy fastball that has good ground ball potential. Alvarez is a guy that in the end could spot start or end up as a loogy type reliever. The stuff isn’t great, but he knows how to mix, and has essentially taken over the Duane Below role in the organization.

  • http://tomaroonandgold.blogspot.com Matt Snyder

    What do you make of Briceno? It was clear in my one observation of him that he has good stuff, but he didn’t always know where it was going.

    • John Verburg

      Raw, but exciting upside. The thing that stuck out to me is how smooth his arm action is and he gets good plane on his fastball. He seems to lose things mechanically from time to time and I think it’s a function of his body needing strength, especially in his lower half. Kids a stick figure.

  • YODA777

    De La Rosa and Lopez are very old for that level of minor leagues.