Prospects On Deck: RHP Anderson Espinoza – Padres
In 2015, the Boston Red Sox signed Anderson Espinoza as an International free agent for $1.8 million, which was a new signing bonus record for a Venezuelan prospect. The previous record was held by RHP Francisco Rodriguez who was signed by the Los Angeles Angels in 1998 for $900,000.
Espinoza pitched in the Dominican Summer League after the signing and in four games he had a 1.20 ERA, with 21 strikeouts in 15 innings. He was then sent to the Gulf Coast League (Rookie) and in 10 games, he posted a 0.68 ERA, with 40 strikeouts in 40 innings. On September 5, which would be his last game of the season, he was sent to the Greenville Drive (Class-A Full Season) and tossed 3.1 innings, allowing three runs and striking out four.
In 2016, Espinoza made his debut on MLB’s Top 100 Prospect list at #13, and then started 17 games for the Drive posting a 5-8 record, with a 4.38 ERA, and 72 strikeouts in 76 innings.
The Red Sox then made a surprise move during the All-Star break, by trading the Caracas native to the San Diego Padres for Drew Pomeranz.
After the trade to the Padres, the 6’0″ right hander was sent to Fort Wayne Tin Caps (Class-A Full Season) and in eight games (1 relief appearance) he was 1-3, with a 4.73 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 32.1 innings pitched. In total in 2016, he struck out 100 batters in 108.1 innings.
On Saturday, MLB unveiled their 2017 Top Prospect list and Espinoza is slated at #25.
If just looking at the numbers, one would think Espinoza has a long way before he becomes an impact pitcher, but he is less than two months away from turning just 19 years old and only two years pitching in pro ball. The slip in the rankings can be because of his mediocre numbers in 2016, but doesn’t negate that Espinoza has a bright future a head of him and a new organization to prove his worth.
The MLB scouts have established that Espinoza has a lightening-quick arm, and a fastball that can hit triple-digits, while mostly reaching 94-97 MPH. The hope is that as he matures as a pitcher, he can possess three plus pitches which also include a curveball and change-up.
It is also not bad that he has been compared to the great Pedro Martinez, with his size and potential.
Great things to come for Padres Top Prospect, Anderson Espinoza.