Some quick thoughts on J-Rod and Lisalberto Bonilla

I watched bits and pieces of last night’s Phillies game and got to see Julio Rodriguez and Lisalbert Bonilla both take their shot against the Yankees reserves and backups. Neither guy had a night they will cherish, but both flashed some positive things, and I think both are definitely interesting guys to watch in 2012. Here are some very brief thoughts on both guys


* His fastball was mostly 87-90, consistently hitting 89 from what I saw. It did have a little bit of late life with movement in to righthanded hitters
* The deception people talk about is very real. Though he’s not the wiry skinny kid he was when he was drafted, he still creates a lot of funk with his arms and legs in his delivery, and some of the hitters took late, defensive swings because they weren’t able to really see the ball.
* His location wasn’t great, and he did miss up a few times, which we’ve heard about before.
* His slow curveball was in the low 70s and it did not look like a swing and miss offering. Definitely the big thing he’ll need to work on this year.
* He threw one or two solid changeups, a weapon he’ll need against lefties.

Nothing in his performance really changed my opinion of him. Because of the deception he creates, I think he will be able to generate swings and misses at the next level. I do think his future is likely in the bullpen. Tyler Clippard has proven you don’t need to throw 95 mph to be a successful short reliever, and he gets by with deception. Rodriguez is going to need to tighten up both his changeup and curveball significantly to get to that point, but I think he does have that potential.


* What struck me about Bonilla is how calm the first part of his delivery is, as he stays compact until his arm crosses his body, but his follow through is really violent, and he ends up falling off the mound to the first base side almost every time. This is going to cause command problems.
* His fastball was generally 90-92 from what I saw, I think I saw one 94. He has average or better arm strength.
* Like Rodriguez, his command was pretty poor, probably a case of nerves. He gets a pass.
* He threw a couple of really wicked changeups with excellent tumble and fade away from the lefthanded hitters. I believe he also hung one that got belted.
* His breaking ball was fringy, but he threw mainly fastballs.

I should have tivo’ed the game so I could have tried to capture the video and post it here, but this is from memory. If anyone else watched them pitch, please share your thoughts.

15 thoughts on “Some quick thoughts on J-Rod and Lisalberto Bonilla

  1. I’m sure it was a nerve wracking experience for both. Btw, the Lackwood roster was posted. Villalobos got beat out by Gonzalez, Duffy beat out Stossi, and in a stunner to me, they sent Shreve back here. Why???

    1. The lineup and pitching staff of Lakewood is pretty much what I expected. The only minor surprises being Gonzalez over Villalobos, and both Kenny Giles and Ethan Stewart making the staff. I thought it would be one or the other, not both.

        1. Is the plan to have Giles start later in the season? Or do the Phillies seem him a reliever through and through? A bit disappointing if it’s the latter . . .

        2. The Phillies almost never take a HS or JC pitcher and immediately make them Relievers.
          Seems that the Phillies are taking 6 starters to both Clearwater and Lakewood, to limit guys innings.

  2. Shreve returning to Lakewood was a shock here, too. This can’t be a great sign for Colby.

  3. The Phil’s threw several more young arms today. The one guy who was impressive was Juan Sosa. He looked very good to me.

    1. Can’t even get Mitchell’s vitals correct on the roster! Two weeks ago he was clsoe to 220 lbs and sculpted. He lost quire a bit……now down to 185.

      1. What you see there is common on some of the milb sites, it appears the guy who made up the roster simply looked up the height and weight from the draft list at the time the player was drafted. I know one thing he’s not 185.

  4. On Bonilla: I did not notice that his follow through was violent. I was pleasantly surprised by the looseness of his arm action. It looked like he had potential to add more to his fastball. He will have to command it better, though. But he is young.

  5. Gotta comment on J-Rod:

    The gun read 92 once on his FB. He threw one great change-up. The MPH was posted; it read 92 once. Otherwise, it read 88-90. It seems he varies his FB speed purposefully.

    He threw one excellent change-up that brought plaudits from the Yankee announcers.
    Perhaps you were at the park; I watched the game on MLB network.

    His curve was loopy and not under control. I agree that it needs to be tightened, but suspect that was not his usual curve. I didn’t see him throw any sliders. He is a big guy and may add 1-2 MPH.

    Despite a couple of walks he showed a familiarity with the strike zone on the low outside corner. He likes to throw his fast ball inside (a great sign IMO) and the above mentioned change-up was on the mid-thigh inside corner…the batter was surprised that it looked like his fastball but was 10-12 MPH less and was a called strike.

    His 2011 season showed a guy who frequently pitched into the late innings. With the success he’s had as a starter, he should continue in that role at Reading. I view him as a potential starter as a #3 or #4. He seems the kind of guy who has a good idea on the mound and is likely to continue development of a slider or split finger and will become better as he refines his pitches. He seems to me to be a great prospect to take command of the strike zone in a while. Another season or so learning his craft—

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