Monday, May 10, 2010

Hector Noesi Shines at Tampa

Another nice performance this week by Tampa Yankees starting pitcher Hector Noesi. The T-Yanks only needed 1 run to get by the Dunedin Blue Jays, winning 1-0 behind 5 strong innings of pitching by Noesi. He allowed 4 hits and struck out 7, to pick up the win. He is now 5-1 (leading the Class A Advanced FSL in wins), and has a 3.09 ERA. This includes one bad outing on April 24th in which he he gave up 9 earned runs in 4 innings. Without that game his ERA drops to an amazing 0.64. In his other 5 starts he allowed earned runs (2) once on April 13th.

This performance follows up an even better outing last week in which he struck out 13, breaking his previous career high of 10 strikeouts. So far this season he has fanned 39 batters in 32 innings (11K per 9 IP) while only walking 5. His first 2 starts of the year earned Noesi the FSL's Pitcher of the Week award by posting a 2-0 record, allowing 5 hits and 2 earned runs while giving up one walk and striking out 16.

Signed by the New York Yankees as a 17 year old non-drafted free agent from the Dominican on Dec. 3, 2004, Noesi is a control specialist who has maintained an impressive K/9 throughout his career so far. He spent his first two seasons in the Dominican Summer and Gulf Coast leagues before sitting out the first 50 games of 2007 for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. An elbow strain ended up requiring Tommy John Surgery and landed him on the DL for most of 2007 and part of 2008. After returning in 2008 with the GCL Yankees, he was striking out over ten batters per nine innings while walking less than 2. He was eventually promoted to Staten Island where he finished the 2008 season. Seemingly fully recovered from surgery in 2009, he began the season throwing 27 2/3 scoreless innings for Class A Charleston and was named a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2009. He finished the season at High-A Tampa starting 9 games. Overall in 2009 he whiffed 118 batters in 117 innings, finishing the year 6-4 with a 2.92 ERA, striking out 9 and walking 1 per 9 innings over 26 games.

Yankees felt highly enough of Noesi to add the right-hander, to the 40-man roster. However, we hear very little about this prospect other than his weekly game results. It's somewhat puzzling (like bringing up Sanchez yesterday with so many others pitching better) as to why he started the year in Tampa. Being a 23 year old still playing in the A levels appears to have kept him off the top prospect radar. But there is obviously a significant amount of upside for this kid. He has great command of his pitches which include a 90-94 MPH fastball, a good curve that he uses as his out pitch, and an occasional change up. With this repertoire, he has been dominant against the younger more immature hitters at the A levels.

Noesi has been the stand out in the Tampa rotation that includes highly touted starter prospects Manny Banuelos (DL), Andrew Brackman, Jairo Heredia and Adam Warren. A few more starts like he has had so far this season will hopefully earn him a shot at Double-A so we can see what he can do against better hitters.

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