2. Nestor Molina, RHP
BORN: Jan. 9, 1989
EXPERIENCE: 5 seasons
ACQUIRED: 2006 non-drafted free agent (Toronto)
2010-11 TOP 10 RANKING: Off
SCOUTING REPORT: I came very close to ranking Molina No. 1 overall in the White Sox system. As a Jay, he would have ranked in the six to eight range – which tells you a little bit about the depth of the two systems. Some online publications have referred to Molina as a “control pitcher” which has a negative connotation and implies that his stuff is below average. While the Venezuelan has plus control, his stuff is at least average – if not better. He has an 87-93 mph fastball and a potentially plus splitter that is his out-pitch. He also has a decent slider.
YEAR IN REVIEW: When his breaking ball improved to the point where the Jays organization felt it could be at least MLB average, Molina was moved into the starting rotation for good in 2011. He had a breakout season and reached double-A. The 22-year-old hurler spent the majority of the season in high-A where he posted a 2.45 FIP (2.58 ERA) in 108.1 innings. He showed his outstanding control by posting a walk rate of 1.16 BB/9. Molina also sent a large number of batters back to the dugout shaking their heads (9.55 K/9).
YEAR AHEAD: Molina received five late-season starts in double-A and showed that he was far from over-matched: 0.47 FIP, 0.82 BB/9, 13.50 K/9. He probably needs about half a season at double-A before moving up to triple-A and could be ready for the Majors by the end of the season. Chicago tends to be overly aggressive with some of its pitchers so I wouldn’t be shocked to see Molina in triple-A to begin 2012.
CAREER OUTLOOK: Molina has the makings of a No. 3 starter at the MLB level. The big question for him is his durability. Originally an outfielder, he was moved to the bump permanently in 2008 and has pitched more than 100 innings just once (2011). There is also some concern over his delivery and that, unless it gets smoothed out, he’ll be a high-leverage reliever at the MLB level.
For the other prospects hit the link.