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Old 23.05.2019, 08:49   #1
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Toledo’s gotta have that Funk in 2019

."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Detroit Tigers AnalysisDetroit Tigers Prospect NotebookDetroit Tigers Game ThreadsDetroit Tigers NewsDetroit Tigers PodcastsMLB prospects & minor leaguesDetroit Tigers Prospect NotebookScouting Reports2019 BYB Tigers Prospects #11: RHP Kyle Funkhouser needs to stay healthy in 2019New Alan Trammell Jersey ,33commentsToledo’s gotta have that Funk in 2019.ESTShareTweetShareShare2019 BYB Tigers Prospects #11: RHP Kyle Funkhouser needs to stay healthy in 2019Peter G. AikenHave you ever had a freak injury? I have. It was fourth grade and my mom dropped me off for school 10 minutes early, like usual, so I could go play outside at my school’s playground before the teachers let us in and started class. I took about three steps, fell on a patch of ice, and fell straight on my head. The injury required around six stitches, but I was back to full health in about a week (you would really think the janitors would salt the ice right there).Flash forward to late July 2018. Kyle Funkhouser is walking home from a game, but falls victim to an uneven portion of the sidewalk. I know what you’re thinking: what a funky injury, right? (Is that “Jungle Boogie” I hear in the background?)No. Stop that right now. This is a man that fell to the Tigers in the fourth round of the 2016 draft after he was a late first round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2015. Like we mentioned in our 2018 top 30 prospect coverage of Funkhouser, his future success will primarily rely on how much work his arm can handle moving forward.BackgroundFunkhouser gambled on himself by returning to Louisville for his senior year in 2015. Unfortunately for him, he lost some cash in the process, as the Tigers selected him the fourth round the following year.Since then, he has had two injury-shortened seasons; he made five phenomenal starts for High-A Lakeland in 2017 before elbow inflammation shut his season down — at least he posted a 2.23 FIP and 9.77 strikeouts per nine innings — and he pitched 89 innings for Double-A Erie and 8 2鈦? innings in Triple-A Toledo last year before the sidewalk incident. The 6’2, 220-pound prospect will turn 25 on March 16, so it’s likely the Tigers will continue to aggressively push him through the system in 2019.StrengthsFunkhouser wouldn’t be a Tigers pitching prospect without a plus fastball (60 FV per FanGraphs), but don’t worry; he sits in the mid-90s and can reach 98 miles per hour. His repertoire is completed by a two-seam fastball, a plus slider (55/60 FV), and an above-average changeup (50/55 FV) , the latter a pitch herarely utilized at Louisville but has since developed with pro instruction. MLB Pipeline dove into that a bit more in their latest team rankings update.Let’s see what that combination of a 60 FV fastball and a 55/60 FV slider did to top Colorado Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers last season.As you can see, this diverse repertoire translates to strikeouts. Funkhouser has struck out a batter or more per inning in every stop he has made in the minors, the lone exception being his injury-shortened stint for Toledo last season. He has also posted an encouraging xFIP at every stop along the way thus far — 2.57 for Low-A Connecticut, 2.33 for Single-A West Michigan, 2.43 for High-A Lakeland, and 3.84 for Double-A Erie. Hopefully, the combination of two plus pitches, his fastball and his slider, will translate to strikeouts at the big league level.WeaknessesLet’s talk about Funkhouser’s command. It receives the lowest grade on his FanGraphs scouting report (45/50 FV), and has never been projected as a true weapon. While Funkhouser only issued 1.72 walks per nine innings for High-A Lakeland, he walked 3.94 batters per nine in Double-A Erie in nearly three times as many innings. He then proceeded to issue 10 walks in just 8 2鈦? innings for Triple-A Toledo before his injury.Funkhouser’s future as a middle-of-the-rotation starter will rest on this command moving forward. Should he struggle to find the strike zone, he could very well end up being another right-handed pitcher out of the bullpen.Projected 2019 Team: Toledo Mud HensDespite a couple of missteps in 2018 (okay, I’m done, I promise), Funkhouser is primed to begin the season in Toledo’s rotation. He will be fully healthy entering spring training, so his future is firmly back in his hands. While he will not be the first starting pitcher in Toledo to receive a call-up in 2019 — that will almost assuredly be Spencer Turnbull — it wouldn’t be surprising to see Funkhouser receive a spot start or two this season. If he continues to develop, he should compete for a spot in the 2020 rotation. Just remember: he’s somewhat of a boom-or-bust prospect Lance Parrish Jersey , despite his proximity to the majors. If the walks keep coming, he may be destined for the bullpen. If he limits them, the Tigers may have a very solid number-three pitcher on their hands. Jasseel De La Cruz struggled through an injury plagued 2018. The Atlanta Braves right-handed prospect put that behind him Tuesday night in Rome."WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections Talking Chop User’s GuideTalking Chop PodcastAround the NL EastBaseball Analysis PrimerThoughts on Braves RHP prospect Jasseel De La CruzNew,3commentsJasseel De La Cruz struggled through an injury plagued 2018. The Atlanta Braves right-handed prospect put that behind him Tuesday night in Rome.EDTShareTweetShareShareThoughts on Braves RHP prospect Jasseel De La CruzWayne Cavadi | Talking ChopROME, GA — Jasseel De La Cruz took the bump in the Rome Braves home opener Thursday night from State Mutual Stadium. To say he delivered would be an understatement. De La Cruz went 4 1/3strong innings leaving the R-Braves in a position for a much-needed win. Let’s take a look at what we can take away from the 21-year-old righty’s start.De La Cruz was signed by the Braves as an 18-year-old out of the Dominican Republic back in 2015. A lanky raw prospect then, he spent his first three seasons in Rookie ball learning how to hold his command and velocity through a lineup before making his Rome full-season debut last season at the age of 20.He was still lanky then, listed at 6’1” and 175 pounds. He came out of the gates red hot, allowing one unearned run in his first two starts, striking out 14 and walking three in his first 10 innings. But then, in late April, injury struck, and then in June again, and then in August again. Simply put, De La Cruz wasn’t the same pitcher the remainder of the season.De La Cruz works from the first base side of the mound, nearly off the rubber as he begins his wind up. Last year he seemed a little herky-jerky in his delivery, but this year he looks much more comfortable, and in turn , confident. He had good, full extension and a leg kick that works in a pump-style fashion.He certainly bulked up this season, which could help both his durability and power. In a report from that second April start in 2018, De La Cruz was listed at 175. Exactly one year later he’s listed at 215. It didn’t seem like he had gained 40 pounds, but there was extra weight for sure, more likely in the 20 pound range. In his second start of the 2018 season, De La Cruz was sitting 92-93 comfortably with his fastball. He was up in his second start of the 2019 season, sitting 95 well into the fourth. He touched a little higher on the gun, but the command wavered a bit when he did. His slider was sharp last season, but had even more bite to it this year, getting people to chase. That pitch roughly stayed the same velocity-wise as 2018 (mid to high-80s) with a little more shape. The change picked up a tick or two from last season (high of 89 but sat 86-87 in 2018) and froze people a couple of times, deceptively looking like his fastball delivery at times. His Thursday start was reminiscent of the De La Cruz that enticed Braves fans at the beginning of 2018. Never mind the velocity spike, he was fearless in attacking the strike zone. In the first inning, he pounded the zone landing eight of his ten pitches for strikes (primarily fastballs). He struck out his first batter on three-straight pitches, catching him looking for the backwards K. The second inning was more of the same. Twelve pitches, nine strikes, two more strikeouts. He was getting people to chase the slider Travis Wood Jersey , badly at times. He labored in the third and even more so in the fourth, and started to fall behind a little bit in the counts, but was able to get out of it with big strikeout after big strikeout.“He was nasty,” Rome skipper Matt Tuiasosopo said. “His stuff was electric. He throws so hard, and his off speed stuff is just unhittable. He’s a tough guy to face. He threw the ball well last start, but he threw better this time out. He felt good being able to pitch the home opener.”De La Cruz final line was impressive. He went 4.1 innings, allowing seven hits and no runs or walks while striking out nine. Of his seven hits, none were hit very hard, in large part because hitters simply couldn’t square up and get a good barrel on it. He landed 49 of his 71 pitches for strikes, but the balls were inflated in the fourth and fifth. He was lights out through two, and still relatively sharp in the third. The strength of his first three innings and fall off thereafter still may project De La Cruz to be a reliever when it’s all said and done. However, he hasn’t given the Braves a reason to give up on him as a starter. De La Cruz had to show he was healthy, and he did that Thursday. Another strong day in Rome, and he should start his climb up the ladder.
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