Everyone who follows baseball intently knows that it is the most rigorous sport when it comes to making it to the majors after being signed or drafted. Players must perform at several levels of the minors before they are given an opportunity to finally show their skills in the big show.
One prospect has been lighting up the New York Penn League all season and has flown under the radar thus far. Sure, it is tough to project a 19-year old kid. Yes it is only short-season. Still, when a player has such a pronounced skillset, it cannot go ignored and unnoticed.
The prospect in this case is right-hander Marcos Molina, the ace of the Brooklyn Cyclones. Molina has been perhaps the most dominant pitcher in the league this season, earning the starting nod in the league’s All-Star Game.
Molina is the only starting pitcher in the league with a sub 2.00 ERA, coming in at 1.77. He has proved his ability to put away batters with his arsenal, tallying 91 strikeouts so far this season (to put it into perspective, the next qualifying pitcher has 67 strikeouts). Perhaps even more impressive than the K’s is his league best 0.84 WHIP. Control is often hard to come by for 19-year old pitchers.
A two-seam fastball is the go-to pitch for Molina that sits around 91-93 with lots of natural movement. While scouting reports have indicated that his changeup is a plus pitch, his slider might be the most improved offering he has this season.
“He has thrown it (the slider) to both lefties and righties and gotten called strikes and swings & misses with it,” Stuart Johnson said, the Cyclones radio play-by-play broadcaster.
Keep in mind, that despite leading the NYPL in many of the top pitching metrics, Molina is 2.5 years younger than the average player in the league. It makes his breakthrough season all the more impressive.
“Molina is very athletic and competitive,” Johnson said. “He takes his conditioning very seriously and fields his position well. He is very quick to home plate which makes him tough to run on.”
Johnson also pointed out that Molina tends to be a bit top-heavy, or in other words, he doesn’t use his legs much in his delivery. Throwing like this can sometimes put excess strain on the arm.
The Dominican native did not disappoint on Saturday, striking out 10 batters, his third double-digit strikeout game in his last four outings. Additionally, Molina has allowed three or fewer runs in 11 of his 12 starts this season and is holding the league to a .174 batting average.
This exciting prospect has certainly earned a promotion, but it’s late in the minor league season and he’ll likely stick with the Cyclones for their playoff series.
Molina is definitely someone to watch as the young righty advances through the Mets system. Yet another promising arm in a Mets farm system full of them.