The Tampa Bay Rays have reportedly promoted right-handed pitcher Jacob Faria to the major league roster. He’s expected to start tomorrow’s game against the Chicago White Sox. Here’s a quick take on what to expect.
The Rays drafted Faria in the 10th round in 2011 from high school in Cerritos, California. He spent two years in the Appalachian League then emerged as an intriguing pitcher with a 3.46 ERA and a 107/32 K/BB in Low-A in 2014. His 2015 season was outstanding (1.92 ERA, 159/52 K/BB in 150 innings) between High-A and Double-A.
He remained effective though not as dominant in 2016. Faria ranked sixth on the pre-season Tampa Bay Rays Top 20 prospects list for 2017 with the following commentary:
6) Jacob Faria, RHP, Grade B-/B: Age 23, posted 3.99 ERA in 151 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 157/68 K/BB, just 110 hits; 10th round pick in 2011 out of high school in California; fits Rays pitcher stereotype to a T; fastball varies between 88 and 95 depending on when you see him; plays up even at lower velocity due to excellent change-up; reports on breaking stuff vary but high strikeout rate is a promising sign; needs to lower walks and needs another half-year of Triple-A; workhorse potential. ETA late 2017.
Before his promotion this year he had a 3.07 ERA in 59 innings with an 84/22 K/BB and just 44 hits allowed.
Listed at 6-4, 235, Faria is a right-handed hitter and thrower born July 30, 1993. Despite his very high strikeout rates he doesn’t have an extreme fastball, generally around 90 MPH (note; a reader reports in the comment thread that he’s been up to 92-94 frequently this year) although he can hit 94-95 at his best. He has a full arsenal of secondaries with a change-up, curveball, and slider/cutter. He mixes his pitches well and everything plays up when his command is on.
Faria’s high whiff rate is a very positive marker. Although usually projected as a fourth starter, he could very well exceed expectations.