Minor League Prospect Note: Mayckol Guaipe, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Try saying "Mayckol Guaipe" five times really fast. Until yesterday, I didn't know anything about Mayckol Guaipe other than he breaks my spell-checker, but I saw him pitch last night for the Low-A Clinton Lumberkings, and he made an impression. Here's a scouting report.
Mayckol Guaipe was signed by the Seattle Mariners as a free agent from Venezuela back in 2006. He spent four years in the Venezuelan Summer League, then moved up to Pulaski in the Appalachian League in 2011 and performed decently (3.66 ERA, 49/20 K/BB in 64 innings, 66 hits), although not well enough to push himself high on prospect lists. This year he made two starts for Everett in the Northwest League, then was promoted to Clinton. He's made nine starts for the Lumberkings, going 4-0, 3.14 with a 29/12 K/BB ratio in 49 innings with 50 hits allowed.
Last night was his best start of the year: six innings, three hits, one run, one walk, six strikeouts.
When he took the mound in the first inning, I wasn't impressed. Listed at 6-3, 175, he visually appears taller and heavier than that. His delivery was slow and awkward, and looks like it puts some stress on his shoulder. His fastball was terrible in the first inning, just 84-85 MPH. His breaking ball was awful, too; his first attempt to throw one resulted in a pitch that bounced about three feet in front of the catcher on the first base side.
I saw scouts put their guns away after the first few pitches. "Big guy with an awkward delivery, no fastball, no breaking ball, no prospect," their faces said.
Somehow he got through the inning unscathed, and then things began to change. By the third inning, he had his mechanics ironed out a bit. They still looked shouldery, but his rhythm was better and his control sharpened up. His fastball took a big step forward, up to 90-93 by the middle innings, with good movement. His breaking ball was never more than blah, but he threw several very impressive changeups, and by the middle innings he was in command of the game.
The scouts were certainly paying more attention.
Guaipe is far from refined, but the Mariners have some material to work with here. He's still fairly young (born August 11, 1990), he has a good fastball when his mechanics are right, he has a changeup, and he avoids walks. Sabermetrically, I don't like his low career K/IP ratio, but he whiffed six last night and he's young enough to improve and dominate more often. If he can be more consistent with the breaking ball, he could take a big step forward next year.