Royals Top 30 - #26 - Angel Baez

Royals Top 30 - #26 - Angel Baez

Not a lot is known about the man that checks in at #26 on our top 30 prospect list. After a horrible 2011, he seemed to drop out of the minds of most Royals fans. He resurrected his prospect status in 2012 with a very good year in single-A Kane County. As a 22-year-old in single-A, he'll need to continue his improvement to continue his career on a positive slope.

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Angel Baez was signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2008. In 2009, he pitched in 14 games (11 starts), and threw 48.2 innings. In those 48.2 innings, he had a WHIP of 1.50 and an ERA of 3.88 while. He struck out 45 batters and walked 19.

In 2010, while splitting time between the Dominican Rookie League and the Arizona Rookie League, he pitched in 15 games (11 starts) and threw 45.2 innings. He had a respectable WHIP of 1.36 and an ERA of 3.74. He struck out 39 batters and walked 24.

Then 2011 came. He started 14 games at short-season Burlington and only pitched 47 innings. His WHIP (2.06) and ERA (7.09) skyrocketed. He still struck out 41 batters, but he walked 30. He was still just 20 years old and the Royals felt that even though his 2011 season was a disaster they could move him to a full-season league in 2012.

He pitched in 16 games (15 starts) and increased his innings total to 76.2. His WHIP was a career best 1.25 and his ERA shrunk to 3.17. He struck out 83 batters and walked 31. He was also named the 2012 Kane County Pitcher of the Year.

Prospect status and Arsenal

Obviously, the biggest knock on Angel Baez is his lack of control. His lack of control leads to high pitch counts and high walk rates. In 2012 he was able to work around that a little bit; but, despite his overall better numbers, he still walked too many batters.

Baez's calling card is his big fastball. From a 3/4 arm slot he whips his fastball to the plate with mid-90's velocity. His max effort delivery does allow him to bring his fastball into the high 90's. His secondary pitchers aren't too noteworthy. His curveball tends to flatten out, and he often leaves it up in the zone (a common theme with all his pitches). It is average, at best. His change-up is his third pitch for a reason - it is not very good right now.

What 's Ahead

With his big fastball and lack of good secondary pitches, Baez projects to end up in the bullpen. Not too many guys can throw in the upper 90's though, so if he can start throwing down in the zone, he could prove to be very effective out of the bullpen. One thing is for sure. He needs to perform in 2013. He was already eligible for the rule 5 draft in 2012. He needs to force his way onto Kansas City's 2014 40-man roster, which will not be an easy task.

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