2005 GCL Nationals Pitching Prospect Review

Perks Lead All Starters In Several Categories

CapitolDugout.com looks at the peripherals stats of the Gulf Coast League Nationals' pitchers to project development and even give an early forecast where they might be playing in 2006. We'll examine the guys who played a majority of the season with the GCL Nationals, those who had a minimum of 20 innings with the team and did not collect more than 20 innings with any other team.

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Terrence Engles - RHP

Signed as an undrafted free agent in May of 2004, Engles repeated the rookie Gulf Coast level this past season after going 0-4 with a 9.75 ERA in 10 appearances with the GCL Expos in 2004. He did much better this past season, cutting his walk ratio by half and doing a much better job of keeping the ball in the ballpark after serving up five home runs in just 24 innings pitched in 2004. His numbers were solid enough this past season that he could have put himself into the fray in Savannah next season out of Spring Training.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

4.28

54.2

1.30

2.47

7.41

0.33

.262



Bartolo Francisco - RHP

Francisco was originally signed by the Phillies out of the Dominican Republic back in 2000 before pitching in the Indians organization after Philadelphia released him. The Expos took a chance at him in June of 2004 after Cleveland let him go and he made his debut in the Nationals' organization in the Gulf Coast League this past season. While the name "Bartolo" conjures up images of perhaps a big pitcher on the mound, the diminutive Francisco (5'9" & 150 lbs) is far from it.

His numbers were solid across the board, but showed greater success coming out of the bullpen. At 23 years old however, he was quite old for the Gulf Coast League. He looked shaky in his three starts for Savannah at the end of the year. Like Engles, Francisco has a shot at making the Savannah roster out of Spring Training next year because of the lack of pitching depth at the lower minor league levels for the Nationals. If he makes a move to the bullpen full-time though, he chances would increase even more.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.08

52.0

1.31

2.25

5.02

0.35

.268



Ryan Harrison - RHP

Drafted in the 23rd round of the 2004 MLB Draft, Harrison, like Engles, repeated the Gulf Coast League level again in 2005. The 19-year old however repeated the level to gain some more experience pitching professional baseball. Harrison posted some solid numbers as a reliever before getting lit up as a starter to finish the year. He'll have to learn to get a few more bats to miss as opposing Gulf Coast League batters hit .299 off of him in 2005. He has an outside shot of making the Savannah roster to begin the 2006 season, but chances are better than even that he'll find his way on to the Vermont team once the NY-Penn League season opens up in June.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

4.66

48.1

1.51

2.79

6.33

0.74

.299



Bryan Lambert - RHP

Lambert had some of the best peripheral statistics on the team. His walk ratio was superb and he kept hitters at bay with a .241 batting average. He was not only dominant coming out of the GCL Nationals' bullpen, he even tossed six shutout innings in his lone start for them late in the season. As good as he was though, it was not to be unexpected from a 23-year old pitching against much younger competition. Lambert, who got roughed up in one of his three relief appearances for Savannah at the end of the year, appears to be a frontrunner to land a bullpen spot with the Sand Gnats out of Spring Training in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

1.54

23.1

1.11

1.93

6.17

0.39

.241



Coby Mavroulis - LHP

Drafted in the 25th round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Mavroulis was used primarily as a spot starter and a long reliever for the GCL Nationals in his professional debut this past season. The 22-year old left-hander was hit pretty hard at the rookie level as Gulf Coast League hitter teed off on him for a .300 average. His strikeout ratio was among the team leaders, but his control was shaky. He'll have to cut down on his WHIP ratio if he's to earn a spot on the Savannah team next season. As of right now though, Mavroulis appears ticketed for Vermont.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

5.04

25.0

1.68

4.32

10.4

0.72

.300



Cruzito Ozuna - RHP

Ozuna's stats read like a pitching line from the fictional character "Nuke Lalouche" in the movie Bull Durham. His peripherals below are not a misprint. Aside from a 1-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio where he nearly averaged a walk per inning pitched, Ozunza also averaged nearly a wild pitch per inning. Nine GCL Nationals' pitchers had ERA's lower than Ozuna's WHIP ratio! Those types of numbers, even in just ten appearances, are bad enough to get most people released. If the 20-year old Ozuna is back with the Nationals in 2006, chances are he's going to get work in Extended Spring Training before a repeat in the Gulf Coast League.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

14.77

21.1

3.09

8.44

8.44

0.84

.455



Matthew Perks - RHP

Drafted in the 18th round of the 2004 MLB Draft, Perks was another pitcher that repeated the rookie Gulf Coast League level in 2005 after posting a 7.09 ERA in 11 appearances with the GCL Expos. Perks, who just turned 20-years old in late August, did a complete 180 degree turnaround from a year ago. His 1.13 WHIP ratio lead all the starting pitchers this past season and opposing Gulf Coast League hitters batted just .238 against him on the year. At 6'7" and 200 pounds, Perks is an intimidating figure on the mound. With the type of season he had in 2005, Perks is a leading candidate to secure a spot in the Savannah starting rotation coming out of Spring Training in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

2.83

60.1

1.13

2.54

6.12

0.30

.238



Jose Urena- LHP

Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Urena had a very good season for the Dominican Summer League Expos in 2004. He averaged nearly one strikeout per inning pitched and posted a respectable 3.05 ERA in 14 appearances before making his U.S. debut with the GCL Nationals this past season. While he once again showed his ability to strike batters out, his terrible control was a big reason he nearly averaged two base runners per inning pitched in 2005. Of course, the fact that opposing batters hit .299 off of him didn't help matters. Urena, despite turning 22 years old before the new season begins, still needs some more seasoning. He's a strong candidate to see time in Extended Spring Training and then break camp with one of the short-season teams next year.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

R

Gulf Coast

6.23

30.1

1.75

5.64

9.79

0.00

.299



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