The next prospect up for review is Robert Erlin, pitcher for the Texas Rangers.
How Acquired: Drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 3rd round of the 2009 amateur draft.
Age as of 4/1/11: 20
Scouting Reports and Statistics
The Baseball Cube
Year Lev W L ERA G GS GF IP ER HR BB SO WHIP
2010 A 6 3 2.12 28 17 2 114.2 27 9 17 125 0.924
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Hardball Times: #4 (TEX – 2011)
Deep Leagues: #93 (Overall - 2011), #41 (SP – 2011)
Baseball America: #4 (TEX – 2011)
John Sickels: #3 (TEX – 2011) B+
Top Prospect Alert: #4 (TEX– 2011)
Erlin was drafted out of high school by the Rangers in the 2009 amateur draft, and signed for a bonus of $425K. He did manage to make 3 appearances in the 2009 season, but threw just 4 innings for the Rangers’ Rookie affiliate. The Rangers moved him to the full-season Sally League for 2010, and he really thrived there. He posted a 2.12 ERA, and 125 strikeouts to just 17 walks in 114 2/3 innings pitched.
Something that I keep finding when I look at scouting reports about Erlin is that his size may not translate well to the Majors. That said, Mike Newman of Scouting the Sally had this to say in his scouting report on Erlin:
Yes, Erlin is not the ideal size for a pitcher, but I’d argue it works well for him. He’s small and compact which, combined with his athleticism, makes for easily repeatable mechanics. Erlin’s clean arm action and effortless velocity leads me to believe he could gain an additional tick or two on the radar gun as he continues to mature.
I think Erlin is going to be someone to watch as the 2011 season starts up. The Rangers had him start out in relief in 2010, and then transitioned him into starting. Jason Parks over at Baseball Time in Arlington had this to say about Erlin‘s weaknesses:
Lacks elite arsenal and prototypical size for a starter. When he doesn’t stay on top of his FB, the pitch tends to flat-plane and elevate, either catching too much of the upper zone or missing high. CB can get to loopy when it’s soft-tossed, causing a loose rotation and early break. CU is still a developing pitch with some arm speed inconsistencies causing the pitch to float and not tumble. Needs to sharpen his command within the zone
Overall, I always like a pitcher who shows good to excellent command, and 17 walks in 114 innings definitely falls in that range. he was still young, pitching as a 19 year old in the Sally League, and will be interested to see if they move him up to AA to start 2011.
Erlin really seems like a boom-or-bust type of prospect – either the Rangers are going to have a solid starting pitcher in the future, or they could end up with a reliever instead. Based on the reports I have read, he seems unlikely to grow into a more prototypical size for a pitcher, but that doesn’t mean he won’t see success anyway. I think the Rangers might be good to challenge Erlin and send him to AA as opposed to the hitters’ paradise that is the High-A California League.
Prediction for 2011
8 wins, 3.65 ERA, 140 strikeouts, 20 walks, 150 innings pitched (AA)
The Rangers don’t seem to have rushed a lot of their pitchers to the Majors necessarily, but I think that we are most likely to see Erlin in Arlington sometime in 2013. He seems destined (at the moment anyway) to go to either High-A or AA for 2011, with a promotion to AAA for the majority of 2012.