Baseball America released the first Prospect Hot Sheet of the year on Friday afternoon. Tony Cingrani came in on top of the list, which shouldn’t be much of a surprise given his 0.00 ERA, 21 strikeouts and 2 walks in 13 innings to begin the year. It even gets a little bit into the whole “slider” issue when it said this:
Cingrani has improved his slider a bit this year, and more and more it’s looking like he could be a big league starter, although his fallback position as a power reliever is an even safer bet.
JJ Cooper, the writer who covers the Reds for Baseball America and I had this conversation via Twitter shortly after the hot sheet came out, because as I noted after his first start, to me it looked like he was throwing a curveball.
Me to JJ: I saw two different sliders last year from Cingrani. Both had downward action, the loopy and harder ones, but both were 77-82. No sweep. Cingrani’s breaking ball this year is 71-76 this year, sweeps across the zone as well. Didn’t see that last year. Did you?
JJ to Me: Was talking about that in office. Reds official told me yesterday they/Cingrani think it’s same slider. To me it looks like a curveball. It adds to what several scouts have said to me/others in office, that it’s often best to just call it a breaking ball.
So, that really doesn’t clear up much on what exactly it is that is going on with the pitch, but either way, the pitch is certainly a lot different than the one he was throwing last year. You can also check out the chat for another tidbit on Cingrani and one on Billy Hamilton as well.
Matt Garrioch has up an article that looks at the pros and cons of the new International Bonus system at Minor League Ball. He notes that if you exclude the Cuban’s who defected last year, there is just over $8M more money “available” to guys to sign this year with the new system. There is a whole lot in the article and quoting a bit here or there doesn’t do it enough justice. So if it is something you are interested in, go check out the entire article.