Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 7/31/13
Every year around this time, the fantasy landscape undergoes a rapid shift. Teams that thought they had closer stability are left lacking — though this hasn’t been the case thus far this season, Jose Veras aside — and the first teams to pounce of young talent waiting for a call-up or platoon players prime for playing time often end up with top-150 talents at no cost.It’s been rumored for weeks now that Jake Peavy is going to be trade. His start last night was pushed to Wednesday, conveniently three hours after the trade deadline, and in his place the White Sox called up the first ever Brazilian born pitcher, Andre Rienzo.Rienzo promptly went 7 innings, allowing just 5 hits, and 3 walks while striking out 6. He allowed 3 runs, but none of them were earned. He threw 99 pitches, 61 of them for strikes, and induced 8 grounders versus 7 fly balls.I am not surprised at all by his success.Why not? Let’s start with his repertoire, where Brooksbaseball.net is the number one place to go. This is what they had to say:Andre Rienzo has thrown 146 pitches that have been tracked by the PITCHf/x system between 2012 and 2013, all of them occuring in Fall/Winter Ball. In 2013, he has relied primarily on his Cutter (88mph) and Fourseam Fastball (91mph), also mixing in a Curve (78mph).In his start last night against the Indians, Rienzo balanced four pitches rather evenly as this chart from Brooksbaseball.net shows:Andre Rienzo’s start vs. CLE (7/30) – Courtesy: BrooksBaseball.netHe maxed out at 94 mph with his fastball and 92 mph with his cutter. While it’s still early (after all, he’s just 7 innings into his big league career), this kind of pitch variety is an extremely good sign.Speaking of good signs, Statcorner.com carries minor league split stats, which are useful when determining how successful an inexperience pitcher will be. Remember, in general there are three things we look for when determining the likelihood of immediate success with young starters:High strikeout rateLow walk rateHigh ground ball rateHow does Rienzo stack up in these three areas? He struck out 113 batters in 113 innings at triple-A this season, so the strikeouts are there. He’s also walked 46 batters this year (3.66 BB/9), which isn’t elite but is still pretty good for raw talent like the Brazilian born Rienzo. Two-for-two (or close enough in my book).What about the ground balls? Statcorner.com lists Rienzo’s grounder rate at 51.4% versus the 44.5% league average at the level he was playing. They list his GB:FB ratio at 2.20, noticeably higher than the 1.62 league average. It should be noted that batted ball data varies by source, but comparing it to the league average at the same source allows us to have some context for discussing the rates.I like Rienzo this season. He’s average 5.2 innings per start at triple-A this season, which is about a 180-inning pace for a full 32-start season, and he went 7 in his first major league start. It’s not certain that Rienzo stays in the rotation for the remainder of 2013 — Dylan Axelrod is a starter operating out of the bullpen — but Rienzo’s early success should buy him a couple more starts to prove himself. I think he’ll do just that.Rienzo should be an important name to know for 2013, and if not, he certainly will be in 2014.Projected Rest-of-Season Line: 9 GS | 51 IP | 3 W | 3.92 ERA | 1.37 WHIP | 45 K | 7.95 K/9
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