HQ was as down on the M's arms as they were high on the M's bats ... given a chance to guess HQ's pitchers, JFro and NYM were quick to identify Pineda, Daniel Cortes and Josh Fields (though it was interesting nobody guessed Nick Hill).
Pineda, if he can stay healthy, is about the highest-percentage SP you'll see in the low minors, this side of Felix. Ah'm here to tell you that Pineda is myyyy kinda pitcha.
=== Maikel Cleto ===
Cleto was one of literally six (6) interesting young players the M's got along with Franklin Gutierrez.
Ezequiel Carrera shows up in HQ's top 15 right now; there's Carp, and Vargas, who was a very important 2009 MLB contributor... along with Heilman and useful band-aid #4 OF Endy Chavez. All those for Putz, two DFA's* and Valbuena.
Right now it looks like Jack was 7-for-7 on that magnificent trade. Cleto the 7th player, here's what HQ says:
- 2009 season was messed up due to visa problemos (so don't overweight the results)
- "Electric" arm with "outstanding" movement will consistently get GB's
- Not showing K's yet, but will, due to arsenal
- 91-97 plus fastball, 83-86 average-solid slider
- Has not yet developed 80-83 change to where it's useful
- Has not yet developed command within the zone
- Tall, athletic, 6-3 220 lbs with "electric" delivery
- 8D pitcher: 30% chance of being above-average ML, #2-3 starter
Not sure what they're talking about, hasn't shown dominance yet; he had 24 strikeouts in 25 innings pitched. I suppose they mean that for a talent like him, in low-A baseball, he didn't look as impressive as he will later. And, of course, in his one full season with the low-A Mets he only fanned 5.4 men per nine.
Here is The Scouting Book on Cleto, characterizing him as having a "thunderbolt" 97 moving fastball -- and that, despite having basically no other pitch, that he was climbing the Mets' prospect list quickly.
Jon Star at Inside Pitch, a Mets site, quoth "no one dials up the gun like Maikel Cleto." Keith Law gives Cleto's pitch velocity as consistently between 95 and 97 and proposes Cleto as the "sleeper" in the deal.
=== ML Archetype ===
A 94-97 mph moving, GB fastball is a beautiful thing, and the basic description reminds a bit of the young Rafael Soriano.
Except, fortunately, Cleto has so far shown the ability to handle a starting pitcher's workload (admittedly, Soriano bounced in and out of the rotation early on). Still and all, New Yorkers were consistently pegging Cleto as a late-inning "strikeout artist" as soon as his slider grooved in.
Would Cleto have a shot at giving us Raffy The Sequel? Rafael Soriano fanned 6.6 per game in class A baseball, and as soon as he settled in at high-A ball he started fanning the 10 men a game that carried right into the major leagues at age 22. Soriano didn't particularly get his second pitch working even when he was with the Mariners.
Cleto fans should be hoping for him to start blowing hitters away in bunches in 2010 -- hey, he did fan 24 in 25 innings last year -- and if so, he could explode on the Seattle scene quickly, as Soriano did.
In view of the Soriano template, will be watching the first 3-4 starts for Cleto. Would be nice to see him fanning 10 men per game, and then the "thunderbolt" fastball game would move him up anybody's list.