When are minor league numbers not to be fully relied upon? When the skills behind the numbers give scouts pause. Meet Nick Frasso.
- Born: October 18, 1998
- B/T: Right/Right
- 6’5″, 200-lbs
- Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2020 MLB June Amateur Draft out of Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA)
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:
Other than the so-so walk rate, this is the mark of dominance. Frasso is outclassing his young competition, and needs to be in Double-A sooner and not later. I know he just reached High-A, so we will wait a month or two. And he really could work on that walk rate in the meantime, but man.
The only hint of mortality came from righties in A-ball, but there’s nothing here other than dominance. So what’s the issue? Let’s let Eric Longenhagen tell it:
Ah, improvement to explain the dominance, that’s good. But “likely to be a solid big league reliever,” is not that great for our purposes, is it?
He has a good FB and slider, but unless that changeup develops, he isn’t likely to be a big league starter, A-ball hitter results notwithstanding.
BaseballHQ, in their Minor League Baseball Analyst book, says this about Frasso:
If he does develop that changeup, and if his health allows (he already had Tommy John surgery), he would then have the stuff to be a mid-rotation arm. But even if his control does not improve, his FB/SL combo could wipe out major leaguers from the pen. Notes from the video above say he was reaching 98 mph on his FB, so yeah, it could be big league quality.
- Rotowire: Not on their Top 400
- Fantrax: Not on their Top 400
- Fantasy Six Pack: Not on their Fantasy Baseball Prospect Top 407
- Imaginary Brick Wall: Not on their Top 472
His health is a question mark.
He hasn’t faced Double-A yet.
Without a quality third pitch, upper level batters won’t succumb as easily to his pitches.
Here is a textbook case of a pitcher dominating the competition, but the scouts look and think, ‘nice, but he’s probably a pen arm.’ And realistically, they are probably correct.
But if you hear his changeup is improving, and if he finishes the year healthy and still dominating — say Double-A by then — you might be seeing the emergence of a big league starter.
For now, think bullpen. And a very good one at that. And remember that it takes more than just overwhelming low-level batters to prove you can be a major league starting pitcher.