Joan Gregorio | RHP, 22 yo, 6-7, 180 | IFA 2009 DR | (Low A) 14 G, 13 GS, 69.2 IP, 4.00 ERA, 8.4 H/9, 2.2 BB/9, 10.9 K/9
This is the part where this list really starts to get fun. As with Derek Law (#15 on the list), you could build a strong case that Gregorio belongs higher up these rankings… and a few people already have. If you go by raw stuff, he might be one of the top 3 pitchers in the system right now, with a fastball running up to 95 and two potential above average secondary pitches (changeup and slider). Add in his 6-foot-7 frame and career 2.4 bb/9, and we could be looking at a monster here. However, he was a bit inconsistent this season (likely due to injuries), and the Augusta beat writer David Lee ranked him below both Chris Stratton and Kendry Flores. For those reasons, I decided to bump him down a little… but I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if he took off next season.
Gregorio has been on the prospect radar for quite some time, as he posted solid ERA’s and respectable K/BB rates in his two years of rookie ball. He took a bit of a step back in 2012 however, to the tune of a 5.54 ERA in Salem-Keizer. While his H/9 saw a pretty significant increase, his K/9 was also a career high 8.1. Last year was his first in full-season ball, and he jumped out to a very impressive start before going down with an oblique strain. He missed all of May, and was pretty inconsistent in June and July when he returned. A great example are his consecutive starts on July 18 (7.1 no-hit innings, 10 K) and July 26 (2 IP, 11 H, 8 ER). He made only one appearance in both August and September, due in large part to a nagging blister. So, you can conclude that his season started off on a very high note, but ended on a bit of a sour one.
One thing is for certain with Gregorio: He has monster upside, especially if he can add a little more strength to his lanky frame. He’s got the fastball, and has shown flashes of a plus changeup. He also allowed lefties to hit only .140 off him last season, a big-time reverse split! But his mechanics will likely always be an issue. Injuries kind of took over his 2013 season, but to call him injury prone after one oblique strain and a blister, you’d have to call Kyle Crick injury-prone as well. Gregorio will be looking for a bit of a bounce-back season in San Jose this year. If he can make 20+ starts and keep developing his secondary pitches, he could be a tremendous breakout candidate.
They said it: “Gregorio might be the lankiest pitcher I’ve ever seen. No matter how much he fills out, he will forever be lanky with height disproportionate to his weight. Yet, he’s able to maintain good command/control despite that and the subsequent unrepeatable delivery.” ~ David Lee, Augusta Chronicle