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May 19, 2010 at 4:22 PM

The Book: Felix Doubront

LHP Felix Doubront
Date: May 18, 2010
Team: Portland Sea Dogs

Outing: 7.0 innings, 7 hits, 6 strikeouts, 1 walk

Arsenal: Doubront featured all three of his offerings against the New Britain lineup, which includes a fastball, curveball, and changeup. Throwing from about a ¾ arm slot, his fastball sat 88-90 MPH and topped out at 92 MPH when he looked to elevate the pitch out of the strike zone. Doubront’s heater shows some nice run in on right-handed batters at the lower end of his velocity range, and his best finish with his fastball came when it at 89 MPH. When he reaches back, his fastball shows enough life to generate some swings and misses, and he was able to get a batter to chase a 92 MPH elevated fastball with a very late swing. Doubront’s best pitch is his plus changeup, and he can throw the pitch in two variations. The first version is an 82-83 MPH straight change that has some excellent drop, as the bottom falls out of the offering very late in the approach to home plate. His feel and command were generally sharp and his ability to locate it for strikes kept batters off-balance against his fastball. Doubront can then turn his changeup over to produce screwball action as it moves away from right-handed batters at 80 MPH, with late bite out of the strike zone. This proved to be effective later in counts when he was looking to finish right-handed batters off. Doubront also flashed a mid-70’s curveball with mixed results. When he gets on top of the pitch, it shows more classic 12-to-6 break and good finish to drop hard through the strike zone. His curveball can become loopy when he drops his arm angle a bit and comes around the ball. The offering tends to hang more in this instance and becomes much more flat through the strike zone, giving hitters a good chance to make hard contact against it.

Delivery: Doubront works with a slow tempo and pace out of his delivery. When in the stretch, he slides over to the extreme first-base side of the rubber and shows much better control of his fastball than out of the wind-up. Doubront can be inconsistent with his feet and hands out of the wind-up, which causes him to open up too quickly and for his arm to drag a bit through his delivery. This causes him to miss with his fastball, especially towards the right-handed batter’s box. Doubront can also drop his hands prior to delivering the ball to home plate, which again affects the command of his fastball and the level of finish he can get on the pitch. As Doubront stays more square and straight out of the wind-up, his fastball displays much more downward movement, and he is able to spot up in the strike zone better. Most, if not all, of his struggles with his command and control can be tied into the consistency of his delivery and how well he can keep his feet from landing too far across his body, which causes his arm angle to drop a bit and loop more around the ball as he releases his offerings.

Take: Doubront has very good stuff and the ability to reach the major leagues. His plus changeup is a legit out pitch. He’s mastered the offering to throw it at any point in the count and nip the corners of the plate if he needs to pick up a strike. Both his fastball and curveball show the potential to be good weapons as well. His fastball is enhanced by his changeup and batters tend to have very late swings at it. Doubront’s curveball shows the potential to be a solid-average pitch at the major league level, and he flashed the offering more as he got deeper into the game. Much of his future success is going to stem from his work with repeating and keeping himself more balanced within his delivery. He can get out of whack for stretches with his balance, and his command suffers greatly during these spells when he opens up too early. Doubront could also stand to get a little more aggressive on the mound and should not be afraid to pitch to contact. Especially against left-handed hitters, he seems content with constantly pitching them away and neglecting the inside corner of the plate, where his fastball is good enough to jam them. With some more polish and consistency with his delivery, Doubront looks to be able to take the next step with his development, and a shot in the major leagues within the next two seasons is possible. His stuff shows extended flashes of being above-average, and with fewer lapses into bad habits, his arsenal is very capable of getting big league hitters out on a consistent basis.