Scouting Yankees Prospect #38: Angel Rincon

Rincon has polish and long-term upside too

The Yankees signed right-handed pitcher Angel Rincon out of the Dominican Republic in January of 2010. Since that time he has put up some very impressive numbers at the lower minor league levels and displayed even better stuff along the way.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Angel Rincon
Position: Pitcher
DOB: September 26, 1992
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 180
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He followed up what was essentially his debut season in the Dominican Summer League in 2011 [2.24 ERA with 60 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings pitched and holding opposing batters to a .214 average] with a similarly dominant showing in the Gulf Coast League in 2012, posting a 1.59 ERA and similar peripheral ratios.

Possessing a fastball that routinely hits the mid-90s, what has been impressive about Rincon besides the velocity is the advanced control he has over the pitch.

"I'm happy with the command of my fastball," Rincon told through the help of a translator. "I've been working pretty good to be able to be consistent with that command. I'm happy with it."

"All the reports I got [say] he's a plus pitcher with a very above average fastball," Staten Island pitching coach Carlos Chatres said. "He uses his fastball a lot. I think that's his pitch right now."

Known more as a fastball pitcher right now, the fact is Rincon has come a very long way in a short period of time with the development of his secondary pitches too, including his slider.

"I changed a little bit with my grip, but the results have been good. My slider has been a huge part of my development. Right now, I'm doing a very good job," Rincon said.

It wasn't just Rincon either who was pleased with the development of his slider in 2012. No longer just a fastball guy, he now has the ability to attack batters with three above average to plus pitches and that is good news for his long-term potential.

"Great arm, electric stuff," Staten Island manager Justin Pope said. "His first start he was lights out. I don't know the exact velos but it was around mid-90s with a really good slider. He was just going right after hitters, locating his fastball, pitching off of his fastball.

"I think if he continues to attack hitters and go right after guys, locate his fastball and pitch off of his fastball, he's going to be very successful because he has a great fastball and an unbelievable slider with great depth, and a good changeup to go with it.

"He has three quality pitches. You don't see too many young pitchers with three quality pitches. He's a great kid with a great upside."

And it's because of his heavy fastball approach that some on the national scene have somewhat overlooked Rincon's very high ceiling, but inside the Yankee organization they feel very good about what he can bring to the table down the road.

"Rincon is a prospect," Yankees Coordinator of International Development Pat McMahon said. "He has a fastball that comes out of his hand clean and free, the breaking ball is more of a slider type shape, and an outstanding changeup."











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Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Rincon has an above average big league fastball already velocity-wise, one that can sit in the 92-93 mph range, and top out at 95 mph. He has hit higher than that on the radar gun in the past, however, and could probably hit there more routinely, but for now the Yankees have him easing back a bit to get more downhill movement on his fastball because the fastball is a plus pitch right now when he's consistently able to do that. He has the kind of frame that could fill out even more and therefore there's the potential he could add a tick or two in the coming years as well.

Other Pitches. He doesn't use them nearly as often as he should but Rincon has two above average to sometimes plus secondary pitches. He favors his slider over his changeup right now even though the changeup seems to be more consistent at the current time. His slider sits in the mid-80s and can show some devastating late-biting action at times. However, while it can be a big-time strikeout pitch for him, the bite on it isn't very consistent right now. He does have a very good changeup too, one that shows great fade and depth, but for some reason he will not go to it very often. It has real swing and miss potential though.

Pitching. Rincon is a bit of a rarity for a young pitcher because he has three quality big league pitches and yet does not give into the temptation to throw his rather staunch secondary offerings too much. Most young pitchers with his kind of breaking ball and changeup would tend to throw them a bit too often, but Rincon's approach is to attack batters with a steady diet of fastballs in the lower half of the strike zone, sparingly mix in his secondary pitches with decent command to get batters off of his fastball, and then go right back to the fastball some more. If there's one negative to his game it's his lack of height; at 6-foot-1 he really has to work hard to consistently pitch downhill.

Projection. If Rincon were two to three inches taller he would be more of a high-profile prospect because everything else in his game is in place; three above average to plus pitches, above average command, and natural stamina that allows him to keep his velocity deep into games. It's not as if he's small either, however, and he still projects to have a middle [to possibly higher] big league rotation staring pitcher type of ceiling if he continues to develop. There's still room for improvement with his secondary pitches and the fastball could be harder as he finds that consistent downhill plane. Think Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati Reds ceiling-wise for a big league comparison.

ETA. 2016. Rincon will be on the short list of potential starting pitching candidates for the Charleston RiverDogs in 2013. We have him on a one year per level track but he could begin to move quicker at some point because he doesn't have many weaknesses.

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