BLUF: Lefty with velocity and command but little else. Projects much better in relief role.
The Player: Tony Cingrani (LHP, Cincinnati Reds) – A third round pick of the Reds in 2011 after a standout career at Rice. Really excelled in college after a move to a relief role. Posted impressive 1.75 ERA in 13 starts for rookie-level Billings. Allowed just 35 hits in 51.1 innings with just six walks and an ungodly 80 strikeouts. Off to an electric start in the California League this year, with a 0.32 ERA in five starts in one of the toughest environments for a pitcher in baseball. Has allowed 12 hits in 28 innings with six walks and 37 whiffs.
Basis of Report: Industry Contacts
Body (6-4, 205): Tall and lanky. Good present strength in his legs, giving him good power in his delivery. Good, wide shoulders with naturally strong upper body. Solid athlete that moves efficiently and easily around the field. Good pitchers frame in every respect.
Delivery/Mechanics: Very clean and repeatable through the windup and to the balance point. Simplicity is noticeable. Begins drive down the mound with deliberate movement. Seems to accelerate as the landing foot reaches the ground and then explodes through the last bit of his delivery. Extends toward the plate well with outstanding arm speed. Ball comes out easily and can be deceptive because of extension and long levers.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 96, Low – 90, Average – 92-93, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 96, Low 89, Average 92-93, Grade – 60/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Nothing stands out. Has some good life on the ball. Gets on hitters quickly and has some deceptive “explosion” because of length. Will flash some arm-side action on the ball, typical of a lefty. Good angle that can make him difficult to square and compensates for lack of raw movement. Grade – 40/40
Overall Fastball: True plus pitch with velocity, angle and explosion at the plate. Can dominate hitters and be extremely difficult to barrel consistently. Command helps it play up even more. Grade – 60/60
Slider (SL): Very inconsistent. Arm angle is a little high for a true SL. Will flash an occasional average one, but those are rare. At its best, pitch has good spin but modest depth. Has never shown feel for pitch and scouts report little feel since turning pro. Unlikely to be better than below-average long term. Grade – 40/40
Change-up (CH): Tries to throw but doesn’t always trust it. Will slow arm speed to decrease velocity, rather than trusting grip. More of a straight change with little movement. Lacks feel and has never shown feel for it. Grade – 30/30
Control: Throws tons of strikes with FB and can throw with SL as well. Pounds the lower half of the zone with all pitches. Some concerns that he throws too many strikes and will have to go out of the zone more at higher levels. Elite control. Grade – 70/80
Command: Very advanced command. Strike-throwing ability has evolved into plus command over the last two years. Works both sides of the plate at will and can locate to any part of the zone at any time. Potential for plus-plus command down the line as he continues to improve and get more innings on the mound. Athleticism and simplicity of mechanics make it easy to project maintenance and improvement of command. Grade – 60/70
Summation: Plus FB and plus command provides very good foundation. Never shown feel for SL or CH. Needs some sort of consistent secondary pitch, possibly even a cutter that adds a horizontal element to his arsenal. Lack of secondary pitches makes it difficult to project as a starter long term. Must prove it against Double- and Triple-A hitters. Profiles better as a reliever right now given lack of depth in arsenal. Unforeseen improvement in SL or CH would change profile dramatically. Intriguing player worth watching at upper levels. Potential 7th/8th inning reliever.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Easy to see big league future given command and FB velocity. Shallow arsenal leaves open questions about ultimate big league value.
Future: Should be moving on to Double-A in short order given his early-season High-A performance. The upper levels of the minor leagues will be the true test for a guy that is heavily reliant on good FB and command. Needs something to keep hitters off it as he advances. Could reach the big leagues in 2013.