Another part of that Sean Murphy trade, Royber Salinas does something that astonishes me.
- Born: April 10, 2001
- B/T: Right/Right
- 6’3″, 205-lbs
- Signed by the Atlanta Braves in 2018 out of Venezuela
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:
That walk column is like a superhighway bursting through the chart. But what I find amazing — no, astonishing — is how well the rest of the chart looks despite that smoking crater of a walk rate.
And really, it’s thanks to that superior strikeout rate. When you see a strikeout rate that begins with a “3,” you know you have dominance. When it begins with a “4” it’s headline making. So when I see a “5” I remove my hat and shoes and bow in my best not-worthy manner. A-ball batters were soooo glad to see Salinas move to High-A.
There his strikeout rate settled back into normal excellence, his walk rate remained the same as it was on the day Salinas was born, and the WHIP and xFIP were decent.
Ignore September, for that was just one start, and it shows on any given day you might see a Salinas gem.
But the rest of the time it’s so rock solid, other than the Ks dipping in June, that I think Salinas must wake up on game day and wonder to himself which three or four batters he’s going to walk that day.
Handedness K% and BB%
A (vs RH): 55%K and 13%BB. (vs LH): 58%K and 13%BB.
A+ (vs RH): 35%K and 13%BB. (vs LH): 31%K and 15%BB.
Again, A-ball dominance so complete that if he hadn’t walked a bunch of guys they might be rethinking their life choices about now.
I see no splits. He strikes out anything that moves, and then draws three or four names out of a hat to feel sorry for.
Well, the walks, silly!
He hasn’t reached Double-A yet, so what will his strikeout rate be when he gets there?
Plus there was this recent report:
The A’s seem to have combed Atlanta’s system for Absolute Units and picked the 21-year-old righty Salinas, whom Eric describes as a “husky guy.” Salinas sits 94-95 with an excellent slider and a seldom-used curveball that gets an elite swing-and-miss rate. In 2022, he made 25 starts across two levels of A-ball and struck out 175 batters in just 109 innings; it’s easy to see why Oakland likes him. The drawbacks: 63 walks in those same 109 innings, and substantial reliever risk because of a lack of athleticism as well as a high walk rate. But his breaking stuff is so good that if he ends up airing out in the ‘pen, he could become a very good reliever.FanGraphs 12/12/2022
The kid has a talent for striking guys out. Managers love that.
The kid has a rock-solid tendency to walk guys. Managers hate that.
Managers really hate starters who walk too many. Salinas as a reliever? Scary good, if a bit messy on the base paths. As long as he cleans up his own messes, managers will love a guy like this.
But until you see his control improve (and he’s 21 now, so we are running out of excuses), this is a pen arm in the making. A good one, but just that.