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May 16, 2011 at 2:36 PM

The Book: Miguel Celestino

RHP Miguel Celestino
Date: May 13, 2011
Team: Greenville Drive

Outing: 4.2 innings, 4 hits, 7 strikeouts, 3 walks, 2 earned runs allowed.

Fastball: Throwing from a ¾ arm slot, Celestino generates solid arm speed and extension when delivering his fastball. Sitting 92-93 MPH and topping out at 95 MPH, his heater shows some late movement downward through the strike zone when he is finishing on top of the ball and able to keep his arm slot consistent. With good velocity and late finish, his fastball shows the potential to produce swings and misses when elevated past batters ahead in the count. Trying to improve with working both sides of the plate, Celestino’s command of the offering is slightly-below average presently, mainly stemming from being inconsistent repeating his delivery and rigid with his movements. During stretches, he can have trouble getting his arm into his optimal release point and lands stiffly towards first base, causing the pitch to mostly sail up and away as his wrist comes under the ball. Celestino also has a tendency to snap his head off the target when throwing his fastball and lose focus on where he is throwing to.

Secondary Offerings: While Celestino can be rough when throwing his fastball, he’s much smoother and more fluid delivering his 79-82 MPH changeup. Consistent with his pace, he does a much better job keeping his head on target and staying balanced through his delivery. Despite not slightly speeding up his delivery at the tail end before throwing his change as he does with his fastball at times, Celestino produces consistent arm speed and the difference in look between the two pitches is minimal. Showing good feel for this offering, it’s presently his best pitch and is close to grading as a plus piece of his arsenal. With good separation in velocity from his fastball, Celestino’s change is capable of getting swings and misses as the bottom falls out prior to reaching the plate. His third pitch is a ¾ breaking ball and comes in with a slider look. Sitting 79-81 MPH, he’s still working to produce good snap with the pitch and can be inconsistent with keeping his wrist above the ball when delivering it. At times, it can show hard bite down and across the strike zone into the dirt. Celestino tends to leave this pitch up in the zone or pull too hard when finishing, causing it to not appear like a strike before it breaks into the dirt.

Take: Acquired from Seattle as the player-to-be-named-later in the deal that sent Casey Kotchman to the Mariners for Bill Hall in March of 2010, Celestino is an intriguing arm in the lower levels of the Red Sox system. While needing cleanup work with his delivery, he has solid overall raw stuff and an advanced feel for his changeup at 21 years of age. With correctable mechanical flaws, much of his work going forward centers on continuing to gain experience and find a level of comfort with his mechanics to become more fluid. Possessing plus velocity and a live fastball, this offering has the potential to become a difficult pitch for batters to square up as he learns to reel it in and work more on the corners with it. When establishing his heater early and having good command of it, Celestino’s changeup becomes that much better of an offering and plays well off of it. Able to drop it in for a strike occasionally and confident throwing it at any point in the count, it should continue to serve him well as he progresses up the ranks.

Celestino’s projection becomes interesting when looking at the potential development of his third pitch and the fact that there is some max effort with his delivery to generate velocity. Somewhat slurvy and lacking sharp bite at the end, his slider would be a much better pitch for him sitting in the mid-80s, with power break into the dirt. Currently, batters have an easier time differentiating the offering out of his hand and more advanced hitters will be able to lay off it with the present look. Also somewhat violent at the end of his delivery, Celestino does not produce easy velocity. Although he is able to hold it deeper into his outings and has been building arm strength, he may end up ultimately projecting as a late inning reliever if he can continue to push himself into the upper minors. Still very young and having the tools to stick on a starter’s path as he polishes his overall package in the next couple of seasons, it’s a bit early to really get a handle on where Celestino could slot down the line. While the results may prove to be inconsistent during this season in Greenville, he’s a developing arm to keep an eye on as he works to put things together.