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March 5, 2022 at 8:00 AM

Scouting Report Updates: High-minors depth arms

For the last few months, we've been updating the scouting reports of many players in the system. Over the next few weeks, we will highlight these updated reports. Today's update focuses on a group of high-minors relievers. These scouting reports are written by Director of Scouting Ian Cundall.

Rio Gomez, Left-handed pitcher 
Physical Description: Average frame with minimal remaining projection. Solid athlete.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the first base side of the rubber. Compact delivery. High leg kick. Short arm action behind. Hides the ball very well and repeats delivery. Quick to the plate.

Fastball: 88-90 mph. Pitch shows sink. Throws strikes and keeps the ball down. Solid command and control profile. Has struggled to miss bats against more advanced hitters. Potential fringe-average offering.

Slider: 80-82 mph. 1-to-7 shape. Pitch shows depth. Can snap it off in the zone or bury it down and out. Potential average pitch.

Changeup: 83-84 mph. Throws with deceptive arm speed. Pitch shows late drop. Potential below-average offering.

Career Notes: Son of the late ESPN reporter Pedro Gomez.

Summation: Projects as a solid organizational reliever. Does not have a standout pitch, but throws strikes and mixes pitches well. Strong pitchability and advanced command and control profile. Stuff will be tested by hitters in the upper levels.

Phillips Valdez, Right-handed pitcher
Physical Description: Tall, thin frame with minimal remaining projection. High waist with long arms.

Mechanics: Throws from a low three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the third base side of the rubber, hands held low. Medium leg kick. Can fall off-balance towards first base after release. Below average control.

Fastball: 93-95 mph. Heavy drop and nice tail. Induces a lot of ground balls. Command and control need work. Potential average offering.

Changeup: 84-86 mph. Deceptive arm speed. Pitch shows arm-side run and downward action. Says he has attempted to emulate Pedro Martinez's changeup over his career. Increased his usage of the pitch with Boston in 2020, used at comparable rates to his fastball. Has shown bat missing ability at all levels, especially against left-handed hitters. Potential above-average offering.

Slider: 81-84 mph. Clear third pitch. Decreased usage of the pitch in 2020.

Career Notes: Pitched in the Cleveland, Washington, and Texas organizations prior to being claimed by Boston in February 2020. Broke out as a possible reliable MLB reliever with the Red Sox in 2020. Won final bullpen spot in Boston to enter 2021 season.

Summation: Potential up-and-down relief arm. Ceiling of a major league depth relief arm. Must hone his fastball control and continue to make successful use of his changeup to reach upside. Changeup is a major league-quality pitch, but lack of fastball command limits its effectiveness.

Joan Martinez, Right-handed pitcher
Physical Description: Tall, sturdy pitcher's frame. Heavier than listed. Thick lower half. Minimal remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot from the first base side. Very quick arm. High-effort, hard-to-repeat delivery with a lot of moving parts. Does not effectively incorporate his lower half. Starts in the stretch with his hands set at his waist. Utilizes a medium leg kick and has a long arm swing behind before landing on a stiff front leg and falling off to the first base side. Will cut delivery off at times and struggles to stay in line to the plate. Inconsistent release.

Fastball: 94-97 mph. Has reportedly topped out at 100 mph. Lacks life, on the straight side. Velocity has steadily increased since he signed. Sat 91-93 mph during 2016 Fall Instructional League and then was 93-95 mph during 2017 Spring Training. Has the velocity to overpower hitters in the low minors, but well-below average command profile will be tested at higher levels. Pitch can miss bats, but command and control have a long way to go. Plus-to-better velocity, but pitch plays closer to above-average due to lack of command and life.

Slider: 84-87 mph. Short, hard 10-to-4 break. Inconsistent release and shape. Struggles to consistently stay over the ball and land it for strikes. Will wrap the ball and yank glove side. At its best, pitch with flash average potential with depth.

Splitter: 87-89 mph. Hard late tumble down in the zone when at its best. Pitch is inconsistent, but has already shown more potential than his changeup. Will flash average potential, but lacks consistency.

Changeup: Scrapped in favor of the splitter in 2018. Was 90-93 mph. Looked like a fastball he takes something off of. Work in progress, lacked separation from fastball. Had below-average potential.

Career Notes: Participated in Fall Instructional League in 2016 and 2018.

Summation: Projects as a mid-minors depth arm. Ceiling of a Triple-A organizational reliever. Fastball shows impressive velocity, but lacks command and needs either his slider or splitter to take a step forward. Significant gap between what he is now and he could be if he can ever learn to harness his stuff and locate it.

Caleb Simpson, Right-handed pitcher
Physical Description: Large-framed reliever. Filled out, no remaining projection.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the first base side of the rubber. Max effort delivery. High leg kick. Short arm action back and long coming forward. Struggles to maintain consistent mechanics.

Fastball: 94-96 mph. Tops out at 98 mph. Pitch shows life up in the zone, but really struggles with command and control. Lacks feel and struggles to keep the pitch in the zone from outing to outing. Potential above-average offering with significant improvement of command. Wide gap between velocity grade and command grade.

Slider: 89-91 mph. Lacks tilt. Horizontal and short. Has shown bat-missing ability when he keeps it around the zone. Lack of consistency brings down pitch grade. Fringe-average potential.

Curveball: 84-86 mph. Short, vertical break. Does not throw often. Below-average potential.

Career Notes: Raw for his age. Missed time in 2013 with a slipped disc in his neck. Missed 2014 and 2015 seasons following Tommy John surgery. Missed time in 2016 following labrum surgery. Pitched at the Alternate Training Site in 2020. Re-signed with the organization prior to becoming a minor league free agent in 2020. Began 2021 at the Alternate Training Site. Missed just under three months of the 2021 season with an undisclosed injury. Once again re-signed with the organization following the 2021 season prior to reaching minor league free agency.

Summation: Minor league depth arm. When at his best, will show major league-quality stuff, but lack of command and control and consistency limits current potential. Will need to make significant strides in those areas to get out of the high minors.

John Schreiber, Right-handed pitcher
Physical Description: Large, filled-out frame. Thick lower half.

Mechanics: True sidearm arm slot. Starts on the third base side, making arm slot hard on right-handed hitters. Medium leg kick. Gets good extension. Stays balanced throughout. Fringe arm speed.

Fastball: 89-91 mph. Tops out at 93 mph. Solid command and control profile. Has some downward movement. Potential average offering.

Slider: 78-80 mph. Frisbee, sweeping breaking ball. Potential average offering.

Changeup: 84-86 mph. Show-me third offering.

Career Notes: Attended Henry Ford College for two seasons before transferring to NW Ohio for two more. Low-bonus signing in 2016. Excelled as a reliever at every level of the minors, earning a promotion to Detroit in 2019. Yet to show MLB success. Had a solid season in Worcester in 2021 in a swingman role, making some starts as an opener before making some true spot starts when club's pitching depth was thinned by injuries.

Summation: Potential emergency major league bullpen depth. Fringy stuff, but arm angle and command could play. Has potential to catch lightning in a bottle for a few seasons at the MLB level due to the unique look he gives, especially against right-handed hitters.

Jake Thompson, Right-handed pitcher
Physical Description: Sturdy, filled-out frame with a thick lower half. Does not have any physical projection remaining.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Works exclusively from the stretch. Starts on the first base side of the rubber. Considerable amount of effort in his delivery. Has a medium leg kick and short arm action back, but is long coming forward. Hides the ball behind his body until late. Quick arm. Usually does a good job keeping his line to the plate. Short-arms the ball somewhat.

Fastball: 92-94 mph. Tops out at 96 mph. Showed ability to sit 94-96 mph prior to 2019 Tommy John surgery. Pitch is on the straight side with fringy life. Velocity was up from 90-93 mph in Fall Instructs 2020 after undergoing Tommy John surgery in early 2019. Well below-average command. Pitch is straight and lacks life. Potential average offering with improved command and control.

Splitter: 84-86 mph. Pitch will flash above-average potential with late tumble. Really falls off the table late. Showed improved feel with the offering very quickly after adding it in 2018, but struggled with the pitch at Fall Instructs in 2020. Potential below-average offering.

Slider: 83-85 mph. 10-to-4 break. Can get on the loose side. Lacks feel. Potential below-average offering.

Changeup: Scrapped in favor of the splitter in 2018. Was 83-86 mph. Inconsistent, flashing average at times and below-average at others. At its best, was thrown with deceptive arm speed and late drop and fade.

Curveball: Scrapped this pitch as well in 2018. Sat 73-77 mph. Lagged behind other secondary pitches. Did not consistently snap it off and left it on the loose side.

Career Notes: Missed the majority of his sophomore college season with a back injury. Returned to a decent 2016 season before taking a major step forward in 2017. Moved to the bullpen in 2019 and made just four appearances before injuring his right elbow and eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery. Participated in 2020 Fall Instructional League.

Summation: Projects as a mid-minors depth reliever. Ceiling of an organizational reliever. Velocity has not come all the way back after Tommy John surgery. Feel for secondaries and command/control are lacking, so future projection is murky. At his best pre-surgery, showed two potential above-average pitches in his fastball and splitter. Lack of a third pitch and command and control profile led to move to the bullpen in 2019, where he profiles much better.

Dominic LoBrutto, Left-handed pitcher
Physical Description: Average height, lean frame with long legs and a high waist. Some projection remaining.

Mechanics: Throws from a three-quarters arm slot. Starts on the third base side of the rubber. Uses a stiff, jerky delivery with lots of moving parts and throws across his body, which all create deception but hinder his control and command.

Fastball: 88-90 mph, Tops out at 91 mph. Struggles to control the pitch. Will use sparingly in some outings in favor of cutter. Average velocity, but pitch will play below that due to lack of command and control. Will show some arm-side run. Below-average potential.

Cutter: 86-88 mph. Primary pitch. Short, horizontal movement. Has feel and confidence in the pitch. Most effective against righties, when he locates it in on their hands. Average potential offering.

Slider: 79-82 mph. Slurvy with 1-to-7 shape. Will show some depth on occasion. Does not consistently snap it off. Projects as a below-average offering.

Career Notes: Pitched briefly for Hyannis in the Cape Cod League in 2016, throwing 4.2 innings in relief.

Summation: Projects as an organizational middle reliever. Cutter is an intriguing pitch, but lacks another pitch to complement it. Left-handedness gives him an advantage and should be able to stick around due to strike-throwing ability.

Photo Credit: Rio Gomez, Joan Martinez, John Schreiber, Dominic LoBrutto by Kelly O'Connor.

Ian Cundall is Director of Scouting for SoxProspects.com. Follow him on Twitter @IanCundall.