By Kiley McDaniel
As mentioned in the last article, SaberScouting.com’s sources are indicating that 16 year old Dominican right-hander Michel Inoa is expected to sign with the Oakland A’s for a bonus between $4.25 million and $4.50 million as the headliner of the international signing period that starts on July 2nd.
Inoa has a frontline starter profile despite being only 16 years old, and has the potential to be a Rick Porcello-level prospect when he’s 18. There are still plenty of big-time players available after Inoa, and, as usual, it includes projectable arms and toolsy bats.
The top bat is up for debate, with some people in the camp of Rafael Rodriguez, a power-hitting outfielder from the Dominican, but the majority prefer Yorman Rodriguez (no relation) who is a tooled-up Venezuelan centerfielder with Carlos Beltran-like upside.
The top arm after Inoa is Adis Portillo, an inconsistent, lanky righty from Venezuela that shows flashes of low 90’s velocity and a solid curveball and changeup. He figures to get an inflated price as the consolation prize to the clubs who weren’t willing to pay the price for Inoa.
Check out a comprehensive Inoa scouting report after the jump, and stay tuned for reports on the rest of the top 15 Latin prospects coming shortly…
(Michel Inoa photo credit: Victor Perez/ESPNDeportes.com)
1. Michel Inoa, RHP, Dominican Republic
There has certainly been much said about Inoa in recent weeks, so I’ll stick to reporting what I’ve heard rather that what you can already read there. Inoa is 6′7 and an athletic 205 pound right-handed pitcher whose fastball has been as high as 96, but sits in the 91-93 range presently.
He is especially noted for his outstanding frame: he’s already enormous for a 16 year old, but has plenty of remaining projection, amazing body control, and mechanics that translate into borderline unbelievable command for his age and size. Most 6′7 teenage pitchers (there aren’t that many to begin with) are gangly, all arms and legs, raw, lack command and body control, and generally just a long way from being a finished product. One source termed Inoa frame as, “a basketball body with some definition—he’s still skinny—but he’s projectable and has basketball athleticism.”
These qualities have some projecting him to hit 100 in a few years, and that isn’t too far-fetched considering the fact that he’s had little to no high-level coaching. Inoa’s mechanics are clean and the ball “comes out of his hand shockingly easy,” according to another source. Inoa comes from an athletic family, has a clean and fluid arm action, and earns high marks for his makeup and work ethic.
Inoa has advanced feel a curveball that already flashes above-average and most project for plus, along with a splitter than one insider called “dirty.” He’s been called a , “once in a decade talent,” by more than a few. The first source said that elements of Inoa remind him of Dellin Betances as a high school prospect, with the big projectable frame, lack of high-level instruction, easy velocity, and feel for a potential plus curveball, but then points out the differences that make Betances a $1 million bonus 18 year old and figure to make Inoa a $4 million plus bonus player at 16 years old.
Inoa has superior body control, command, and third pitch with an overall more polished package, and obviously is two years younger. He could very well be Rick Porcello in two years and that would seem to make $4 million a bargain. I’ll get into more detail about the logic and risk of amateur bonuses and Latin versus draft spending an article after the Latin scouting reports.
By now, tou can see what kind of talent Inoa has; plenty to justify multiple visits to the Dominican from big hitters like Brian Cashman and reportedly four visits from Billy Beane. The talk has been until recently that the Yankees were out in front and the final price would be in the $3.0 million to $3.5 million range, but it appears once talk of numbers north of that range became prevalent, most teams still in the running dropped out almost on principle, if $4 million is the new starting point.
Since I know anyone that’s reading this site desperately wants a breakdown on the 20-80 scale for Inoa, I’ll do the irresponsible thing and throw you a bone. I won’t be so foolish as to come up with an OFP, since Latin prospects have a completely different scale, just like the draft amateurs and professional players do, but these 20-80 grades come after consulting a few sources, so it’s pretty close to the stuff on a team’s scouting report.
Those future grades are on par with what I came up with after seeing Rick Porcello, while the present grades, obviously, aren’t a whole lot to write home about on their own, but from a 16 year old, it’s enough to write…well, a little over 600 words so far.