- Full name Samuel Gervacio
- Born 01/10/1985 in Sabana De La Mar, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 175 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- Debut 08/14/2009
Organization Prospect Rankings
Used exclusively as a reliever since signing in 2002, Gervacio has struck out more than a batter per inning at each of his stops in pro ball. He was effective after joining the Astros last August, recording six holds and allowing runs in just four of his 29 outings. Gervacio's best pitch is his slider, a plus pitch in the mid-80s. He trusts his slider and uses it more than his fastball, an 89-93 mph offering that touches 95. Hitters have a difficult time picking up the ball out of his crossfire delivery from a low three-quarters arm slot, making him tough on righthanders. He does a good job of inducing groundballs and has allowed just 30 homers in 448 pro innings. His changeup can be a solid pitch at times, but Gervacio uses it sparingly, leaving him more vulnerable against lefthanders. He throws across his body, but durability isn't as much of a concern with him working out of the bullpen. Gervacio was prepping for the 2010 season with a stint in the Dominican League. Barring a disastrous spring, Gervacio has claimed a middle-relief role in Houston's bullpen. If free agent Jose Valverde doesn't re-sign with the Astros, Gervacio could get an opportunity to close games, though he'll have to prove he can get lefties out with the game on the line.
The Astros added Gervacio to the 40-man roster after the 2007 season, and while he hasn't reached the majors yet he did open eyes in a late-season promotion from Corpus Christi to Round Rock. In his final two appearances he mowed down 13 in six innings, and he has consistently averaged better than a strikeout per inning. Throwing from a three-quarters delivery and at times sidearm, Gervacio creates deception and can run his fastball up to 94 mph, even touching 95 late in the season. He throws two versions of his slider, and both are effective. One breaks sharply down and away, a big emphasis in the Astros system, and he also throws a backdoor slider that starts in and dives back over the plate. His changeup can be a plus pitch, but he goes to it only on occasion. To get major league hitters out he'll have to sharpen his fastball command and reduce his reliance on the slider, which can get him into trouble. He always falls back on it in key situations, rather than leaning on a fastball that would cross up hitters in breaking ball counts. Because he varies his delivery, his release point gets inconsistent, and he complicates the situation by being out of position as he falls off to the first-base side of the mound. He'll return to Round Rock to start the season but could pitch his way into the big league bullpen at some point.
Gervacio has been consistently successful in his five years as a pro, striking out more than one batter per inning at every stop and limiting opponents to a .190 average overall. He's the rare prospect who has been a full-time reliever since signing, which in some ways is odd because he has three pitches and a resilient arm. He's not physical but he has a quick arm that produces low-90s sinkers that seem to jump out of his hand. He also shows a plus changeup that he'll throw in any count, and a slider that he commands well. There's a lot of deception and guile to Gervacio, who will vary his arm angles from three-quarters all the way down to sidearm. He's impossible to fluster and he'll throw any pitch in any count. On the right day, he'll flash three above-average pitches. His stuff isn't as consistent as his results, but it's not short either. The Astros haven't tried to start him because they don't believe his slight frame would hold up, but his repertoire and durability as a reliever at least make it a possibility worth considering. Houston added him to the 40-man roster this offseason and he could get his first taste of the majors at some point in 2008.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Slider in the Houston Astros in 2010
- Rated Best Slider in the Houston Astros in 2009
- Rated Best Changeup in the Houston Astros in 2008