by Luke Siler
5th entry in this series.
Ok, so after targeting 3 RHPs, some have pointed out the Orioles need for a lefty, especially in the rotation. The problem is, there wasn’t an abundance of interesting lefties who were rule 5 eligible.
After some thought and watching a bunch of video I decided on Nestor Cortes.
Cortes is undersized, under 6 ft, filled out but not particularly thick or muscular. Not a flashy athlete, but good body control and balance.
Cortes throws a fastball that usually sits in the upper 80s, but it can touch 90-91 at times. It’s pretty flat, but he commands it well and he changes speeds well which helps it play up. That’s not even getting into the deception which I’ll touch on later. He throws a curveball that is average at best, but again, deception and manipulation of speed (I saw 59-76 mph) allow it to miss a ton of bats and serve as an out pitch. He also has a change-up without much movement but good arm speed.
So if you’ve read this far, you’ve probably wondered how this guy was dominant in AAA as a 22-year-old this year and also why I selected him. Well, it’s the delivery. He has multiple deliveries. Yes, not just a windup and a stretch delivery, he has a sidearm delivery, a 3/4 delivery, and a more over the top delivery. In addition to the multiple deliveries, he varies the pace of each of the deliveries. He does the Cueto thing at times where he freezes mid-delivery with his leg in the air before coming to the plate, other times he’s lightning quick toward the plate, and he also does everything in the middle. He also steps toward first base sometimes in order to throw across his body. The amazing thing is that he does all this and still has at least above average command.
Why he wasn’t protected
He’s got poor stuff, even for a crafty lefty. He never had any pedigree, he’s undersized. His success is at least partially tied to a gimmick. There are probably many people who aren’t sure if it will work in the majors. It’s a unique profile, he doesn’t really have any good comps.
Why the O’s should select him
He’s a pitch efficient lefty who is young with a great track record of success. He’ll probably give up more hard-hit balls at the highest level due to lack of stuff, but I think he has enough command and trickery to be a decent back-end guy or middle reliever.