posted 6/27/12 5:25 PM PST
by Jim Brown
*MLBDepthCharts.com considers any player not on a team's 40-man roster, in AAA, or ranked as a top 10 prospect by Baseball America or top 11 prospect by Baseball Prospectus before the 2012 season as an 'under the radar' player.
Under the Radar Minor League NL Pitching Performance of the Week
LHP Frank Del Valle, Hi-A Daytona (CHC)
season stats: 3.63 ERA, 57 IP, 46 H, 14 BB, 47 K in 11 games (10 starts)
June 20-June 26: 6 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 11 K in 1 start
If I were to ask you, “Who’s the closer for the Cubs?”, I might get several answers, as it’s been a revolving door this season. Though he’s in the rotation for the Hi-A Daytona Cubs in the Florida State League, this 22 year-old Cuban-born lefthander may someday solve the closer woes in Wrigley Field. More on that later. Frank Del Valle Arrebato (he dropped the last name) threw his best game as a pro on June 22nd to earn his shot as the UTR Pitcher of the Week. This goes along as being listed as one of the pre-season UTR’s for the Cubs back in March. Del Valle threw six no-hit frames and struck-out a career high eleven batters. Side note: Del Valle faced Chase Utley during his rehab stint with the Clearwater Threshers and while he didn’t strike him out, he actually struck him (HBP). Hitting Utley and another batter were the only blemish on his outing. Had he not been on a pitch count and nursing a blister on his thumb, Del Valle could have a night where the radar would have beamed brightly upon him.
The Cuban defector was signed in June 2011. The 5’11”, 190 lb lefty had been a member of the Cuban Junior National Team where he set the national strikeout record and threw a no-hitter. Stateside, he began his pro career in the Arizona Rookie League and appeared in three games (8 IP, 1 H, 0ER, 3 BB, 11 K) before being shipped to Peoria. Lo-A proved to be no challenge, as Del Valle went 3-2 with a 2.95 ERA and a 3:1 K/BB ratio. When Hi-A Daytona found themselves in the 2011 playoff hunt, Del Valle was sent to lend a hand. He continued to pitch throughout the playoffs both as a starter and in relief. One of the first reports of Del Valle’s fastball came from a mistaken tweet, whereby someone apparently transposed the numbers and reported a 98 mph fastball. It was more likely 89 mph, but it created sort of a buzz anyway. De Valle does throw in the low 90’s and has a plus breaking ball along with a change-up that needs improvement. It's his undersized frame that is the main question mark as to whether he can stand the rigors of being a starter, and thus may prove to be the answer to that earlier question, if asked sometime in 2014.
Relief Pitcher of the Week
RHP Tyler Knigge, Hi-A Clearwater (PHI): 0.70 ERA, 38.2 IP, 22 H, 11 BB, 37 K, 7 Sv in 29 appearances; 4.2 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 8 K, 2 Sv in four appearances last week.
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UTR Minor League NL Hitting Performance of the Week
Under the Radar 2012 Archive