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Prospect of the Day: Rubby De La Rosa, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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Prospect of the Day: Rubby De La Rosa, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
A year ago, Rubby De La Rosa was a little-known pitcher in the Midwest League, just emerging as a prospect with a live arm. Now he's in the majors. Who is this guy, and how did he rise so quickly?

Rubby De La Rosa was signed by the Dodgers as a free agent in 2007, from the Dominican Republic. He pitched in the Dominican Summer League in '07 and '08, then moved up to the Arizona Rookie League in '09 and struggled, posting a 6.06 ERA with 11 walks in 16 innings, then was sent back home for disciplinary violations. He returned to North America in '10 and was a different pitcher, posting a 3.19 ERA with a 55/17 K/BB in 59 innings in the Midwest League in the first half. However, he showed such tremendous arm strength (hitting 102 MPH at times) that the Dodgers promoted him to Double-A for the second half, where he went 3-1, 1.41 in 51 innings with a 39/21 K/BB.
Before his promotion to Los Angeles this week, De La Rosa had a 2.93 ERA with a 52/19 K/BB in 40 innings for Double-A Chattanooga, with just 30 hits allowed.
De La Rosa works at 94-96 MPH when used as a starter, though in relief he's been clocked as high as 102. He has a very good changeup, and a promising, if inconsistent, slider. He's not a big guy at 6-1, 185 pounds, and there is mixed opinion about if his long-term role will be as a starter or reliever, though for now he's in the bullpen. I rated him as a strong Grade B prospect in the 2011 Baseball Prospect Book, but would increase that to a Grade B+ based on his performance so far this season.