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May 1, 2013 at 7:30 AM

Scouting Scratch: Rubby De La Rosa and Pete Ruiz

- The Red Sox acquired two top-shelf arms from the Dodgers last August in Allen Webster and Rubby De La Rosa (pictured). Webster has gotten off to a great start, and made his major league debut, but De La Rosa has been inconsistent with Pawtucket while on a 50-pitch or three-inning limit. I’ve been able to catch two of De La Rosa’s outings so far this season and the results have been mixed. He struggled mightily in the first outing on April 18, but in the most recent outing on April 30, he looked a lot better and showed his potential.

De La Rosa doesn’t have prototypical pitcher size, listed generously at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds. He is almost maxed out physically, with a well-built lower half, leaving very little projection in the body. His delivery isn’t the cleanest, as he uses a lot of arm, whipping it through before releasing the ball. In the two outings scouted, he was inconsistent with his delivery, with times to the plate varying from 1.1-1.45 seconds. He struggled with his balance and to lock in his arm slot, which contributed to his inability to repeat his delivery. In the first outing, his arm didn’t look loose and the arm action was stiff, and he didn’t seem comfortable just letting it fly. In much warmer weather during his more recent outing, however, he looked a lot more comfortable and his arm looked livelier.

His fastball started out 91-93 mph and touched 95 twice during the first eight batters of the outing on April 18th. During the last three batters, he seemed to loosen up somewhat, sitting 93-95 and touching 96. The pitch was often flat as he can struggle to get downhill plane due to his size. He was missing up a lot and struggled with his control, walking three batters in two innings and giving up two hits. In the second outing, on the April 30th, De La Rosa’s fastball showed a lot more life and late, downward, arm-side movement. He consistently sat 93-95 mph throughout the outing and was able to reach back and hit 96 mph against the final batter he faced. His command of the pitch was much better in the second outing and he was able to overpower hitters with the pitch, striking out three on it, two swinging. His final fastball of the night was one of his best, coming in at 96 with heavy run down and away from the left-handed batter for a swinging strikeout. He also seemed to be in a much better rhythm throughout the second outing.

De La Rosa complements his fastball with a changeup and breaking ball. In the first outing he struggled with both offerings, especially his changeup. He threw the changeup six times, but only twice for strikes, one time swinging and one for a foul ball. He didn’t have good feel for the pitch, and it showed solid fade only once. The pitch came in anywhere from 83-85 mph. In the more recent outing, the pitch was much better and he threw it harder. The pitch came in 86-88 mph and flashed plus potential, showing drop and fade. He struck out two batters with the pitch and his arm speed was much better than in the previous outing scouted. Twice, he left the pitch flat and up in the zone and both times he paid for it, giving up two of his three total hits allowed in the second outing off it.

He only threw his breaking ball four times in the first outing, and it was loose and tended to roll to the plate. Similarly, in his second outing he only threw it three times, all for balls, dropping his arm and coming around the ball, resulting in it missing away. He throws it 79-82 mph and thus far, it hasn’t shown anything more than fringe potential. De La Rosa is still early in his comeback and due to the pitch count hasn’t had much of an opportunity to get feel for the pitch by throwing it consistently, so I wouldn’t read too much into that at this point.

- Pete Ruiz (pictured) isn’t the first name that comes to mind when you think of relief prospects in the Red Sox system, but if he continues to pitch like he currently is that won’t be the case for much longer. Ruiz has good size and a well-filled out, sturdy frame. He has a simple, repeatable delivery and throws over the top, allowing him to get on top of the ball consistently. During his two-plus innings of work, Ruiz struck out five of the first six hitters before losing his arm slot and walking the last two. His fastball sat 90-93 mph in the outing scouted and he topped out at 94. His fastball has excellent movement, moving down and in to right-handed hitters. He showed the ability to miss bats and complemented it with two plus breaking pitches, both with excellent shape, which allow the pitch to play up. Ruiz’s slider is the harder of the two breaking pitches, coming in 80-82 mph. The pitch showed two-plane movement and depth and bite especially when down in the zone. He struck out three with the pitch, two looking and one swinging on an 82 mph slider down and away from a right-handed hitter. He also threw a mid-70s curveball with deep break. He got one strikeout looking on the offering and hitters had trouble staying back against it as it has similar action to his slider.

Photo credit: Rubby De La Rosa and Pete Ruiz by Kelly O'Connor

Ian Cundall is a Northeast Scout for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.