Saturday, February 05, 2005

Joel Zumaya Report

Joel Zumaya, RHP, Detroit Tigers
Drafted 320th Overall (11th Rd), 2002 Draft, HS, Chula Vista, CA
Bats R/Throws R
20 YO, 6'3", 210 lbs

Zumaya is sometimes mentioned as a premium pitching prospect thanks to his high 90's fastball, which sometimes flirts with triple digits. I'm not completely sold though. He still has spotty control and his mechanics make me think that he might be an injury risk. He posted a 4.36 ERA with 108 K's, 58 walks, 90 hits, and 10 home runs allowed in 116 innings in the Florida State League, and a 6.30 ERA with 29 K's, 10 walks, 19 hits, and 6 home runs in 20 Eastern League innings. The strikeout rate is impressive, but the walk rate is unacceptable.

The current theory is that he may be moved to the bullpen to minimize his control issues and quirky mechanics. I'm not certain that will work. He has to clean up his mechanics and by extension his command in order to be an acceptable Major League pitcher. We've seen several of these kinds of pitchers in the last 5 years, and it's hard to come up with one that didn't crash and burn. From Mike MacDougal to Nick Neugebauer to Bobby Jenks. Injury and ineffectiveness seems to follow them around. Zumaya's a better version of Ambriorix Burgos.

ETA: 2007
3 Stars

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