The Braves seem to breed high-skilled pitchers: Tommy Hanson, Kris Medlen, Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, Craig Kimbrell, and Arodys Vizcaino – albeit received in a trade – to name a few. Delgado belongs on this list too. Throwing a 92 to 96 MPH fastball with a plus curveball and an solid-average changeup would have hyped more if Teheran wasn’t on the same team. Curveball has good downward movement and bite and the changeup is deceptively thrown. One downside to this Panamanian grown prospect is his slight, or slender, pitching frame. There is room to mature and physically fill out, but this hasn’t happened at the tender age of 20. Ceiling of a number two starter.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): 9.5 K/9 | 3.2 BB/9 | 472 2/3 IP | 3.47 ERA | 1.23 WHIP | .6 Hr/9 | 7.9 H/9
2011 (AA): 7.8 K/9 | 3.2 BB/9 | 73 2/3 IP | 3.54 ERA | 3.70 FIP | 1.29 WHIP | .7 Hr/9 | 8.4 H/9 | .296 BABIP
At just 19, he reached Double-A. This year at 20, he has performed well amongst older prospects. His strikeout ratio has decreased (7.8 k/9) but his control has improved (3.2 BB/9) at the mid-point of the minor league season. His workload should not be of concern as he reached 161 innings (High-A and Double-A) last year and 124 innings (Single-A) the year prior. Statistically speaking, there are few concerns beyond the decreasing strikeouts upon reaching Double-A. His luck has been near league average, gets a an equal number of groundballs as flyballs (1.08 GO/AO in 2011), he doesn’t give up an abhorrent number of home runs and his walks are manageable. With as many pitching prospects as the Braves have, there will be no rush on Delgado’s ETA. In the Braves rotation, he projects as a number three starter long-term. Talent ceiling is number two starter. Could be utilized in a trade, or fill-in for a traded or injured pitcher. He’ll be courted by fantasy managers like Mike Minor, Michael Pineda and Jeremy Hellickson in 2012.
A former running back, he possesses good all-around broad skill-set played at a balls-to-the-wall approach. Meaning, he has all tools ranging from fringe-average to average tools that make him a solid player but unspectacular at any specific skill. Hitting approach is strong, attempting to utilize all fields and working the count. Still projects as a .270 hitter with gap power within his line-drive swing. Scouts believe he has the bat speed for good power (20 to 25 home run max ceiling) but cautiously project a doubles hitter with 12 to 15 home runs in the majors. Concerning are his massive strikeout rates; on the plus is increased patience being displayed when moving up the minor league ladder. Defensively, he grades as average with an average arm and can play all three outfield spots – center on an “as-need” basis. Speed is fringe-average at best but takes good routes. The speed hasn’t efficiently transferred to the base paths, even though he attempts a fair share of steals. Ceiling is 20/20, more likely a 12/15 third or fourth outfielder who can cover all three outfield sports and produce at the plate.
Career Stats (inc. 2011): .280/.354/.465 | 1501 AB | 173 XBH | 44 Hr | .185 ISO | 46/21 SB/CS | 388:159 K:BB
2011 (AAA): .298/.403/.505 | 188 AB | 25 XBH | 6 Hr | .207 ISO | 5/2 SB/CS | 59:32 K:BB | .407 BABIP
Currently, Nieuwenhuis is on the 7 day-DL with a left shoulder injury sustained on 6/9/11. His current slash line is bolstered by an unsustainable BABIP (.407), even compared to his career which has ranged between .316 to .355 BABIP. Strikeouts continue to be concerning; strikeout rate at Triple-A is 31.8%, career is 25.9 K%. His walk rate has improved this year, but the sample size is too small to make large conclusions. Continuing the small sample size conundrum, his slash line versus LHP this year is .254/.373/.381 in 63 AB with 19 strikeouts (12 walks) and 6 XBH (1 Hr). Not terrible, still worth noting that the slugging percent is substantially less than versus RHP. Power, in general, has been limited to doubles – 113 career doubles. This year he does have six home runs in 188 at-bats, but the 20/20 (HR/SB) ceiling scouting reports are starting to seem overly optimistic. A fair comparison could be an inverse Angel Pagan – slightly more power but fewer steals. A 12 to 15 home run hitter with a ceiling of 20 steals over a full season, assuming his manager would be willing to put-up with poor efficiency.