Alex Vesia, LHP, MIA

Thanks to Nick Randall of PitcherList and his article there today, I was made aware of Alex Vesia. You should be made aware of him too!

Video courtesy of Ely Sussman
  • Born: April 11, 1996
  • B/T: L/L
  • 6’2″, 195-lbs
  • Drafted by the Miami Marlins in the 17th round of the 2018 MLB June Amateur Draft out of California State University, East Bay (Hayward, CA)

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

I love it when it’s all greens and blues. Look at that strikeout rate jump! If you are striking out 38% of the batters you face, you are allowed to walk 7% of them.

But Vesia had a tale of two halves last year, so let’s dig a bit deeper, and even include his Arizona Fall League appearances which came after the above chart. So here is his 2019 broken out by level:

Now we’re cookin’! That WHIP was iffy at his A-ball level. And it was the walks that were doing it. So he gets bumped to Class A Advanced, and it’s like a light bulb goes off in his head:

In A+ he struck out a third of the batters he faced, and he figured out his control problems and then some.

In AA he struck out almost half of the batters he faced, and threw in that token single walk just to keep us honest.

Then he goes to the Fall League where he faces 37 batters, strikes out 16 of them, and begrudgingly decides to allow two more batters to walk.

Are you kidding me?! When you see a K%-BB% hovering around 40%, you sit down and catch your breath for a moment.

Yeah, you see his Class A “struggles” (most pitchers would kill to have their struggles register as a 2.56 ERA), and then it was lights out after that no matter who he faced. Just pure dominance, even if the occasional run slips through the wall of strikeouts. That said, he does better against righties due to his pitch selection.

Look at those singles! Spread evenly everywhere. Same with the doubles for the most part. Same with the home runs.

See, even in his struggles at A-ball, he was climbing and climbing and climbing. He got to A+ and after a quick adjustment he showed those batters who was boss. Then he went to AA and showed them who was CEO.

The Scouts

The scouts typically do not track minor league relief prospects, and for good reason.

Warnings

He’s a relief prospect who has only reached AA. You can go broke quickly gambling on the chances of such prospects making it in the majors. Most relievers in the majors are failed starters, not minor league career relievers.

Conclusion

That said, Colin Poche took this path, and James Karinchak, and Kevin Ginkel, and there are others like him. And Vesia plays for the Marlins organization, and they love to get bullpen parts cheap.

Vesia has a mid-90s FB that touches 97, and as a lefty that gets on the hitters quickly. He also has a high spin rate on his FB, so there’s deception in that and in his delivery.

Because his best secondary pitch is his low-80s changeup, he has been more dominant against righties. If he wants to dominate lefties, he will need to tighten up his curve ball as a weapon against them.

Vesia was invited to Spring Training this year, so he’s on the Marlins’ radar. He should be on your radar too.

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