Travie Wade Designz
The Staff of the Detroit Tigers Prospect Report has ranked their Top 50 Tigers Prospects. The rankings are as of 11/25/2012. We will be posting them one by one, every day, beginning with No. 50 and concluding with No. 1. The posts will consist of mini prospect profiles and scouting reports.
Edgar De La Rosa, RHP
De La Rosa is the 3rd of the foreign-born, young, raw, and ultra projectable right handers that have made this list in the past week, joining Endrys Briceno and Brenny Paulino. De La Rosa may have a slightly lower ceiling than the other two, but he also has more of a track record as well as no injury history, so that's why you find him higher on this list that the other two. Moving on, De La Rosa was signed as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008, and made his professional debut with the Tigers' Dominican Summer League (DSL) team in 2009 at age 18. Throughout his career, he has been primarily a starter, but didn't start exclusively until 2012, when he was with Class A Short Season-Connecticut, where he made 15 starts spanning 72 2/3 innings, a career high for him. He posted a 3.10 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 6.7 K/9 and a 4.3 BB/9. Those aren't bad numbers by any stretch, but as you'll see in the scouting report, I think that he should be performing a bit better.
De La Rosa is a huge guy, standing 6'6" and weighing in at 210, with the potential for added muscle/weight still remaining on his frame. He's just a large man, to put it mildly, with long, loose limbs, a sturdy base, and lots of strength through his core. He's a 4 pitch guy, with a 4 seam fastball, 2 seam fastball, slider, and changeup in his arsenal, so projecting him as a starter long term is not an issue here. He made a significant leap in extended spring training during the 2012 season, when he was clocked up to 98 with his 4 seamer, having only been up to 94 or so previously. As is, his 4 seamer sits in the low-mid 90's, will get up to 95-96 with regularity, and as I mentioned, has been clocked up to 98. Some scouts believe there is the potential for more velocity as he matures more, maybe even triple digits in exceedingly short bursts. The 2 seamer has nice arm side run movement to it, helping him against both right handers and left handers, and sits in the 90-93 range most of the time. He was able to command it better in 2012, throwing it down in the zone consistently, getting a ton of groundball outs. While his strikeouts were a bit down from where I believe they should be, he still allowed less than a hit per inning, and that is due to his ability to throw that 2 seamer down, eliciting groundballs and weak contact. His changeup is easily his best secondary pitch, occasionally flashing above-average potential with nice fade, and works very well against lefthanded hitters. Some scouts have even put future 60 grades on the pitch, and while I'm not that optimistic, I think it could settle in as a very nice above-average pitch long term. His slider is underdeveloped, but flashes average potential at times, and should settle in as a 4th average-or-better pitch in De La Rosa's arsenal. His command has come along, but still needs work. He walked more than he ever had before in 2012, and while a 4.3 K/9 isn't all that terrible, it's still a bit high for a starter.
I have De La Rosa pegged as a quality #3 starter in the MLB, and he could potentially bypass that ceiling if his slider unexpectedly develops into an above-average or plus pitch. To be a top of the rotation guy, you need at LEAST two plus pitches, (or 4 if you're Verlander), and as of right now, I only see 1 or 2 potentially plus pitches. Nothing wrong with that at all, it just limits his ceiling a little bit. As for 2013, there should be nothing preventing De La Rosa from joining Class A-West Michigan's rotation (which, by the way, is going to be stacked). I don't think he'll be a guy who moves faster than a level per year, but who knows?