- Full name Elih Christopher Villanueva
- Born 07/27/1986 in Miami, FL
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 230 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Florida State
- Debut 06/15/2011
Drafted in the 27th round (808th overall) by the Miami Marlins in 2008.
View Draft ReportElih Villanueva transferred from Miami-Dade JC, where he posted a 0.81 ERA last season, and became the Sunday starter role for the Seminoles. He wound up leading the team in ERA with a 6-2, 3.23 mark in 14 starts. Villanueva uses plus pitchability to get the most of his average curveball, changeup and fastball--which sits between 89-91 mph.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Villanueva battled fellow 2008 late-round steal Tom Koehler on the Southern League pitching leaderboards last year, finishing first in ERA (2.26), innings (179), WHIP (0.96), complete games (four) and shutouts (three). He tied for the minor league lead in the latter two categories, and threw a rain-shortened, five-inning no-hitter against Carolina in mid-August. Villanueva is greater than the sum of his pitches, which play up because he mixes them so well and hits his spots. He attacks hitters with an 88-92 mph fastball that he can locate wherever he wants. Villanueva utilizes two different breaking balls. His 12-to-6 curveball could become an average pitch. He also throws a hard slider, which he can spot in the zone or throw outside of it to induce swings and misses. He gets good action on his changeup, which he keeps down. He's also working on a cutter. The Marlins love Villanueva's fearlessness and winning attitude. He's a dependable strike-thrower, averaging just 1.5 walks per nine innings as a pro, and he has a great feel for pitching. A deceptive wrist wrap in his delivery helps him hide the ball. The caveat is that Villanueva doesn't have a plus pitch, so his ceiling appears to be as a back-of-the-rotation starter or swingman. He already has defied expectations and should open 2011 in Triple-A.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Control in the Miami Marlins in 2011
- Rated Best Control in the Miami Marlins in 2010