First Two PR Pitchers Off Board

It looks like Rayan Gonzalez’s drop in velocity last month has hurt his draft stock, dropping him from potentially the top pitcher to be selected to still on the board with two Puerto Rican pitchers already gone.

Gonzalez was the ace of the Puerto Rico junior national team, where he pitched at 88-92 mph, but he struggled mightily last month at the biggest showcase for Puerto Rico prospects before the draft, as his velocity dropped about four mph and he got hit around pretty well.

While Gonzalez is still available, the Phillies made righthander Julio Rodriguez the first Puerto Rican pitcher selected this year, taking him in the eighth round. Rodriguez has the size that scouts love at 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and projects to have a plus fastball.

But the most interesting Puerto Rican pitcher is little lefthander Luis Cruz, who went in the ninth round to the Astros. Cruz is 5-foot-9, which immediately leads scouts to project him as a future reliever, but he likely has the best pitches on the island. He has a quality three-pitch mix, working off a quality fastball, curveball and changeup.