BLUF: Lefty with two plus pitches; injury history that may keep him in relief role.
The Player: Nick Maronde (LHP, Los Angeles Angels) – Maronde was the Angels third round pick in 2011, and dominated the Pioneer League with a 2.14 ERA in eleven starts. After missing some time with elbow soreness, the Angels pushed him to High-A and Double-A before he raced to the big leagues. In 12 relief appearances, Maronde pitched six innings, allowed six hits and three walks while striking out seven.
Basis of Report: Compilation – Personal Observation (College 2010), Industry Contacts
Body (6-3, 205): Good frame with good shoulder width and natural strength. Could use additional strength in the lower half. Good overall frame but durability concerns linger given injury history.
Delivery/Mechanics: Delivery is simple and repeatable. Drops and drives on the back leg, generating good momentum to the plate. Quick arm but cocks it at the top and sort of short arms the ball. Doesn’t always complete delivery and will stop short at times, adding stress to his body. Effort delivery could point to bullpen role long term.
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Wind-up): High – 95, Low – 88, Average 90-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Velocity (Stretch): High – 95, Low 88, Average 90-92, Grade – 50/60
Fastball (FB) Movement: Shows both some arm-side fade and some cut at times. Shows ability to manipulate the ball and impart movement. Plus movement overall, can make ball difficult to square. Grade – 60/60
Overall Fastball: Average velo as starter and showed some ability to tick up in relief. Could sit above-average to plus in short bursts. Didn’t seem to air it out in big league relief appearances but should develop that mentality as a short reliever. Aggressive with FB and willing to pitch off it. Movement and plus velo results in high-quality offering. Grade – 60/60
Slider (SL): Very good pitch. Trusts it and throws it consistently. Tight spin, sharp bite, darting movement in the vertical plane. Really nice swing-and-miss pitch. Shows ability to move it around and out of the zone. Easy plus at present. Pitch is maxed out. Grade – 60/60
Change-up (CH): Rarely used in big leagues. Definitely below average. Maintains speed through arm stroke but lets up at the end and doesn’t finish the pitch. Shows some fade at times. Never really shown feel for the pitch dating back to college. Needs to develop to help him remain as a starter, but likely scrapped in bullpen. Movement helps pitch play a little right now, but he gives it away. Don’t see projection. Grade – 40/40
Control: Works the zone with FB and SL. Can pound. Repeats delivery well despite effort and easily throws strikes. Definite plus control and some hints of plus-plus. Grade – 60/70
Command: Can spot FB low in zone. Struggles to locate when he elevates but that should come. Also command SL in and out of zone. Good command profile; could be plus. Grade – 50/60
Summation: Accelerated pace through minor leagues was warranted. FB and SL are very good MLB pitches and can play right now. Fits well in relief, particularly given lack of feel for CH. FB and SL can miss bats and dominate in short stints. Potential setup reliever with command and aggressive mentality. Very nice relief prospect that is easily Major League ready right now.
Relative Risk: Low. Even with injury concerns, already performed in MLB and should be back in 2013.
Future: Unless the Angels want to develop him as a starter, there is nothing left to prove in the minor leagues. With a good rotation, Maronde can slot in the back of the bullpen immediately and should cement himself there with a strong full season. Setup ceiling and could reach that by the end of 2013.