One of my big sleeper prospects for 2012 is Donn Roach of the Los Angeles Angels, currently pitching for High-A Inland Empire in the California League. I've mentioned him several times already, which some of you may find annoying, but I want to use him to debut an experimental new community participation feature called "Fun with Video." Keep reading.
Roach was a third round pick in 2010 from the Junior College of Southern Nevada. He is an extreme ground ball pitcher, with a 5.89 GO/AO in his first 27 innings over four starts this year for Inland Empire, with a 17/3 K/BB. He was used as a reliever in the Midwest League last season and pitched decently (3.45 ERA, 68/20 K/BB in 70 innings, 3.55 GO/AO) but the Angels have moved him to the rotation this year. Last year he was focused on refining his mechanics and sharpening his command, and so far the results look good.
Now, here is where the video and the community discussion comes in. First, here is a clip of Roach pitching in junior college about two years ago.
To my eye, he's showing some pretty lively stuff in this clip, but with some effort and a complex delivery. The Angels reportedly spent the last year ironing his mechanics out.
Now, this second clip from Bullpenbanter.com was filmed a couple of weeks ago by one of our community members.
The discussion question: What, if anything, is Roach doing differently in this video compared to the spring of 2010? What changes have the Angels made? What do you see?