Prospect Notes, March 9th, 2012
**Relief prospect Carlos Gutierrez took the loss for the Minnesota Twins yesterday, giving up an unearned run in the ninth inning that pushed the Tampa Bay Rays on top to a 1-0 victory. A first-round pick from the University of Miami in 2008, Gutierrez was expected to move quickly through the system as a reliever and possible closer, due to the tremendous sink on his fastball. However, his secondary pitches have regressed, and right now he looks like a middle reliever at best. He was quite mediocre in Triple-A last year, with a 4.62 ERA and a 57/31 K/BB in 62 innings. He did post an impressive 2.82 GO/AO and gave up just two homers and he isn't a lost cause yet.
**The Los Angeles Angels have an intriguing young pitcher in camp named Ariel Pena. He pitched two innings yesterday, allowing one hit and two walks while fanning two. Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2007, Pena posted a 4.45 ERA with a 180/81 K/BB in 152 innings in the California League last year. He's got strong stuff, including a 92-96 MPH fastball and a wicked slider, but his changeup needs work, his mechanics aren't perfect, and he has problems with command and control. That spells out "future reliever" in most cases, but if Pena can iron out his command issues and improve the changeup, he could be a mid-rotation guy, given the quality of his stuff. He has not received a lot of attention, but he's definitely worth tracking.
**The Pittsburgh Pirates dispatched top right-handed pitching prospect Gerrit Cole to minor league camp yesterday. Cole had yet to pitch in an exhibition game, but this move isn't anything unexpected. Reports indicate that he'll likely begin the season with High-A Bradenton, with promotion to higher levels likely later in the year if he pitches as well as the Pirates anticipate.
**Another top pitching prospect, St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Shelby Miller, was involved in a collision yesterday with Dan Descalso, which looked scary but fortunately resulted in nothing serious. With Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter shelved with a vague-but-painful neck injury, Miller might get a shot in the majors a bit sooner than expected, though he should still begin the season in Triple-A.