BLUF: Potential plus FB, plus CB reliever that fills as a 7th or 8th inning role.
The Player: Andre Rienzo (RHP, Chicago White Sox) – Signed out of Brazil in 2006, Rienzo debuted with the DSL White Sox in 2007, posting a 7.63 ERA in 15.1 innings, walking eleven and fanning 22 batters. Repeating the DSL in 2008, Rienzo combined across the Sox two teams in the league to poste a 1.33 ERA in 40.2 innings. With rookie-level Bristol in 2009 he finished with a 4.14 ERA, 55 hits allowed, 13 walks and 49 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. He continued to progress in 2010, notching a 3.65 ERA in 101 innings at Low-A before moving on to High-A in 2011. In another 116 innings with Winston-Salem that year, he posted a 3.41 ERA and better than a strikeout per inning. He pitched across three levels in 2012 after serving a 50-game suspension for PEDs, peaking with a 3.27 ERA in 13 starts at Double-A.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (Carolina League 2011), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 165): Good height. Thin, slight frame. Lacks strength in his frame. Narrow shoulders. Lacks physical projection and hasn’t changed much since signing.
Delivery/Mechanics: Rhythmic delivery. Very quick lower half that can get ahead of his arm at times. Has some effort after landing and through finish. Some scouts see “violence” in the delivery, while others see something more workable/manageable. More of a reliever delivery than a starter.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 96, Low – 90, Average 92-93, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 96, Low 89, Average 92-93, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Plenty of natural life, particularly when up in the zone. Pitch has some jump to it. Rides in on RHH at times. Very good movement that can miss bats. Grade – 60/60
Overall Fastball: Present velo is above-average and should be consistently plus in shorter stints. Lacks physical projection for added velocity. Movement helps FB play up. Good angel thanks to height. Quick arm, ball jumps on hitters. Grade – 60/60
Curveball (CB): Solid 11-5 breaker in 76-79 mph range. Quality pitch that he’s learning to use out of the zone more. Can finish pitch in zone most of the time. Average pitch now and could be a half tick better in short stints, with a touch more velo. Potential hard-breaking, swing and miss pitch. Grade – 50/60
Cutter (CT): Short-breaking pitch. Good velo separation from FB with more running life than riding life of FB. Helps against LHH. Fringe-average pitch that gives him a little different look. Grade – 40/40
Control: Effort in delivery and quickness of lower half hampers control. Struggles to throw strikes at times. Better suited for short stints where delivery works a little better and strikes are easier to come by. Athletic guy that could still improve in this area. Below-average control now, average projection. Grade – 40/50
Command: Lacks command. Rarely locates FB to edges of the strike zone. Elevates to frequently and doesn’t demonstrate ability to push ball down in the zone. Without a control profile, command profile is very limited. Likely below-average command at peak. Grade – 30/40
Summation: Don’t see starter profile. Control profile hurts overall projection and limits any available command projection. Lack of change-up in arsenal is worrisome and hurts against LHH. FB-CB combo could play nicely in short stints. CT can be an interesting third pitch to add a little wrinkle. Size – and subsequent stamina – is a concern. If forced to start, likely #5 at best. If FB plays up in relief with improved strike throwing, setup potential exists. Could reach MLB quickly in relief, similar to Nathan Jones in 2012. 7th/8th inning reliever.
Relative Risk: Moderate. Easy big-league projection, but more in a relief role; must watch PED history.
Future: Appears ready for Triple-A assignment in 2013 and could find himself in the big leagues as a reliever very early in the season. If the White Sox want him to start long term, he likely needs another full year of work on the control/command aspect of his game.