Tuesday, June 05, 2012

2012 Draft: Selects RHP Martin Agosta in second round

From the MLB Live Draft Tracker, go to Round 2:
When the year started, scouts may have been more interested in going to St. Mary's to see third baseman Patrick Wisdom. They may have left more intrigued by Agosta, the team's Friday starter. Some of that is because while Wisdom scuffled, Agosta has excelled, using a solid three-pitch mix to succeed. 
He's not the biggest right-hander in the Draft, which will certainly scare off some, but he's shown an ability to run his fastball up to 94 mph while sitting comfortably at 92 mph. Above-average run and sink make it an even better pitch. Agosta's curve and changeup both have the chance to be solid Major League average pitches, and he has a solid idea of how to keep hitters guessing. 
Undersized right-handers always have a tougher time proving themselves, but with the way he's pitched, a team that's willing to buck that conventional wisdom should take a shot within the first few rounds.
There is also a video version of this MLB text.  Mayo ranked him 92nd on his Top 100 list.

From BA roundup:
84. Giants: Martin Agosta, rhp, St. Mary's: Added pitchability this spring, fastball at 92-94 at his best, chance to start?
BA might consider him a bit of an overdraft as he was ranked 106th on their Top 500 draft preview list.

From Sickels Top 100 blog:
91) Martin Agosta, RHP, St. Mary's: Solid low-90s fastball, made big strides with secondary stuff this spring and can remain a starter.
From Haft:
The Giants added another arm to their farm system when they drafted Martin Agosta from St. Mary’s College with the 24th pick in the second round, 84th overall. 
The junior righthander went 9-2 with a 2.18 ERA for St. Mary’s, and has a fast ball that can reach the mid-90′s, as well as a working change up and curveball. Despite having a smaller frame for a pitcher, scouts have been impressed with Agosta’s movement on his fastball and his command of his breaking ball. 
The Northern California native played at Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., and is originally from Sacramento.
From Schulman:
The Giants drafted another college junior pitcher in the second round. They used the 82nd overall pick on St. Mary’s starter Martin Agosta, a Sacramento product who looks a bit like Tim Lincecum in stature, maybe a little taller. 
Agosta was 9-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 14 starts with 27 walks and 95 strikeouts in 103 1/3 innings for the Gaels. In his final start for St. Mary’s he held USF to one earned run in eight innings and outdueled Kyle Zimmer, who was drafted No. 5 overall by Kansas City. 
On Monday, scouting director John Barr insisted the team is not out to stockpile college pitchers but did say the front office was “mindful” that the team’s stock of high-ceiling arms took a hit with Zack Wheeler’s trade last year. 
And here is the ESPN Scouts Inc. writeup on Agosta:
Agosta doesn’t have size but he does have three pitches to profile as a potential starter, with significant promise if he has to move to the pen because of his stature. Agosta will sit 89-93, showing a little better than that but not sitting there, with a hard slurvy breaking ball at 79-81 that he can move around the zone and an above-average changeup that he doesn’t use often enough. 
The fastball has some late tailing life but not enough sink, and his stature means he can’t naturally get downhill plane on the pitch. Agosta cuts himself off slightly and comes a little bit across his body as a result, but he takes a long stride with good extension out front to partially alleviate the drawbacks of his height. The three pitches give him a mid-rotation starter ceiling, while he could be a top-tier reliever if the lack of fastball plane means he can’t start.
Schulman also included a link to Agosta's college profile website.  The school posted a news release on his being selected and noted that he's a life-long Giants fan, so he must be pretty jazzed.

Perfect Game does not release its mock drafts anymore, but since they provide names as part of the article, as labels, apparently they thought enough of him to include him in their third mock draft.  They noted that one could make the case for 50-60 players for the first 30 picks, and Agosta was among those in their conversation.

Here is Perfect Game's player profile:
(4/5/12): Undrafted in 2009 out of a Sacramento high school, Agosta went 3-6, 5.40 as a freshman for St. Mary’s, working primarily as a Sunday starter. He earned all-West Coast Conference honors a year later after assembling a solid but unspectacular 7-6, 2.81 record with 19 walks and 76 strikeouts in 90 innings. 
But it wasn’t until last summer, playing for the Cal Ripken League’s Bethesda Big Train, that Agosta firmly began to establish himself as an elite-level pitching prospect. He worked mostly in relief for the Big Train, mainly because of his heavy workload in the spring as a starter, but dazzled in that role, going 4-0, 0.99 with two saves. In 27 innings, he walked just three while striking out 30. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound righthander was a major contributor as the Big Train swept easily to Ripken League regular-season and playoff titles, and finished the summer as the nation’s No. 1-ranked summer-league team, according to Perfect Game. 
Just as dramatically, Agosta helped his own cause for the 2012 draft as he threw consistent strikes with a five-pitch repertoire, including a fastball that was consistently in the 91-93 mph range. He excelled at mixing all his pitches and throwing them with precision to every area of the striker zone, while also showing unusually good feel for his off-speed stuff. If anything, he got stronger for the Big Train as he pitched deeper into games. 
Inspired by his breakout summer-league success, Agosta has taken his game to another level this spring for the Gaels. His fastball has jumped into the 94-96 mph range, and the tilt and late life he typically gets on the pitch have only added to its effectiveness. He can pound his fastball down in the strike zone with regularity, and even cuts it effectively on occasion at 85-88. His cutter has been a nice complement to his slower, 78-80 mph slider, which he often won’t show hitters until late in a game, adding to its effectiveness. His curve is yet another solid breaking ball. 
The biggest change in Agosta’s development this spring into one of the nation’s premier college pitching prospects, though, has been in the improvement in his changeup. With his increase in fastball velocity, he has only added to the differential on his change, while maintaining the same arm speed on both pitches. He has not been afraid to throw his change in any count, and it has been extremely effective against both lefthanded and righthanded hitters. 
With the general improvement he has shown with his raw stuff, Agosta’s evolution into a top prospect has become somewhat complete as he has always been considered an excellent athlete (he is a scratch golfer), has a quick, loose arm and an extremely-competitive approach. Through his first seven starts this spring, Agosta has posted a 4-1, 1.56 record. In 52 innings, he has allowed 38 hits and 12 walks while striking out 48. He tied his career-high with eight strikeouts in his first outing of the season, and tied that mark twice more before fanning 10 in his latest start—ironically, his first loss, a 2-1 setback to Loyola Marymount. Agosto’s fast start this season helped St. Mary’s assume the national lead in team ERA at 2.03, five weeks into the season. Five straight losses by the Gaels, however, capped by a 14-13 midweek setback to Stanford, sent that mark soaring, but thanks mostly to Agosta, the Gaels are still on line to break the school record of 3.39, set just a year ago.
Giants Thoughts

Obviously, the Giants are not scared away by his slight stature - though his college bio lists him as 6' 1", 178 pounds and Perfect Game has him at 6' 1" and 170 pounds.   They have been fine with Lincecum and Romo.  And perhaps like Tim's athleticism helps him throw harder, maybe Martin's help him as well.

Based on the rankings, Agosta was a very slight overdraft, but this is where the Giants pick (84th) so if they didn't pick him now, he could be gone by their next pick (115th; which they used to pick Jonathan Williamson, who the MLB has no scouting report).  Though it appears that Perfect Games liked Agosta enough that he was in the conversation for the first round in their mock.  Like Stratton, sounds like he was not really on some teams' radar until the past year.  And like many Giants picks, he is considered athletic and competitive (and this is from the Perfect Game profile, not Giants PR).

Also like Stratton, his key abilities appear to be a broad mix of pitches that he can complement with a nice heater that gets regularly in the mid-90's range, keeping the hitters off-balanced.  In particular, his out pitch is his changeup - a favorite of the Giants, the change up was the key strikeout pitch for Jason Schmidt and Tim Lincecum.  His K/BB ratio is not as high but it was 4.0 last season and 3.5 this season, both excellent ratios (though not certain what is the level at which a pitcher is good in college, probably even depends on the league as well), with 2.4 BB/9 and 8.3 K/9.  He appears to be a pitcher, not just a thrower.

As one can see in the descriptions above, it is important to get a broad view of any prospect.  The early descriptions were actually pretty uninteresting and not compelling why the Giants selected him.  The ESPN and especially the Perfect Game rundown sold me how good he is right now as a prospect.

I like the pick.  Agosta appears to be advanced as a pitcher, which is something the Giants seem to go for, from my observations of recent drafts.  Obviously, heat helps, but the Giants appear to go for the combination of good fastball, good stuff, plus out pitches (slider in Stratton's case, changeup in Agosta's; these appear to be the out pitches for today's baseball), all that he can throw for strikes, wrapped up with a competitive player who is a pitcher and not a thrower.  Very nice pick, considering we are all the way out at the 84th pick, where it is very hard to find a good starting player back that far in the draft.  Hopefully he can at least be useful.  And I like picking Giants fans (nothing against other prospects), hope he can make his dreams come true.

6 comments:

  1. Nice post by Pavlovic on many of the Giants picks today: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/giants/2012/06/05/giants-take-college-pitchers-with-seven-of-first-10-draft-picks/

    Please read there for more info on them, I'll see if I can do something later, but if not, this is good too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here is Haft's take on today's draft picks, more players described too:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120605&content_id=32831762&vkey=news_sf&c_id=sf&partnerId=rss_sf

    Seems like mostly pitchers in the first 9 rounds, then all position players.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another tidbit that I read somewhere then was reminded by Pavlovic, is that Susac caught Agosta when they were in high school together in Sacramento. Small world and nice reunion for them, playing for their favorite team.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nice article on Agosta on MLB.com:
    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20120606&content_id=32837882&vkey=news_sf&c_id=sf

    Agosta thrilled to be drafted by favorite team

    St. Mary's pitcher Martin Agosta has too many memories as a Giants fan to count.

    They include spending summer nights on his Sacramento patio with his dad watching Giants games on TV and hopping into a car with his friends moments after the Giants won the 2010 World Series to take the 30-minute drive from St. Mary's to San Francisco to celebrate.

    "It's hard to describe into words," Agosta said. "It's a complete honor to even be drafted, no matter what team, but it's an even bigger honor to be taken by one that I am a huge fan of."

    Some scouts have pointed out Agosta's limited height and frame ... Barr said the team never had any concerns about Agosta's size.

    "We don't view him in that light at all," Barr said. "From what we saw of him, we liked his arm and his stuff right away."

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's been quite a while since you published this OGC, but it's an excellent writeup. Initially I had Agosta mixed up with some of our bonus babies, but I won't make that mistake again having read this!

    Either way, the stuff from Perfect Game is really interesting, and Agosta just seems to me like the kind of player that will succeed: He's got the great raw talent and repertoire, has performed very well at each level while showing hints of being dominant, and has the kind of veracity and competitiveness that I think pushes great-tool players over the edge.

    Personally, I won't be surprised if he ends up in the 'Pen, where he clearly was dominant for "Big Train," and his tenacious attitude would serve him very well.

    This is my first time scrolling around your blog. Really enjoy it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, I really like Martin, particularly his first name. :^) I am very encouraged, like you, that he can be a good contributor with further development. He was wild but dominant in rookie league, so I'm hoping that the wild was because he was tired and the dominant was because he has great pitches that fools hitters greatly.

      With the choice between middle rotation starter or top level reliever, that gives the Giants flexibility in how they proceed with Agosta. He will first definitely be a starter full-time, as the Giants will want to give him repetition and more opportunity to use his pitches. But as he advance upward, the needs at the major league level will then take precedence. With very expensive relievers filling the pen right now, and Wilson gone probably and Romo's elbow always barking from his sliders, the bullpen can use some new blood. Plus, just because someone starts out in the pen does not mean that he can't move into the starting rotation at some point, like Dirty did.

      As a starter, the first official opening (for now) is in 2014, since Lincecum is not signed beyond 2013 and Zito's option could be passed on by the team (though I think DrB is right that most likely the option will be picked up, particularly if Lincecum does bolt). I still expect Lincecum to be signed to some sort of long term deal this off-season (along with Posey), though you never know.

      I don't see Stratton, Agosta, Crick, or Blackburn to be ready by then. And I'm not sure if the Giants want to go with Heston or Kickham in the rotation then either (plus there is Surkamp, if he is healthy). So we will see.

      Again, thanks, glad you like what you see, check out my business plan in the link to the side to see my thoughts and philosophy about baseball. Also, my blog philosophy link is there as well.

      Delete

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