Dodger Blue Bye-Yu – Part 2

The second man the Rangers got in the Yu Darvish deal was a righty named A.J. Alexy, a 19-year-old who joins Brendon Davis at Hickory for now, and who slots into MLB.com’s 19th slot on the Rangers prospect ledger.

Alexy is another tall kid with room to grow on his frame (6’4”, 195lbs).  as a prospect, he reminds me a lot of Davis, albeit from the mound. He’s fairly unpolished, but has what seems to be an almost natural curveball (he’s only been pitching for around 3 seasons now). His ceiling is considerable, although he’s very raw.

Here’s MLB.com’s take:

“Alexy made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he threw a nine-inning, 164-pitch complete game at Twin Valley High (Elverson, Pa.) in May 2016. A month later, the Dodgers selected him in the 11th round and gave him $600,000 to pass up a commitment to Radford. He made such a good impression in his first Spring Training that he earned an assignment to low Class A at age 18, and he continued to stand out before the Rangers acquired him in the Yu Darvish trade in July.

Alexy’s best present weapon is his curveball, which has depth and could become a true plus offering once it adds more power. He usually works at 88-93 mph with his fastball and should add more velocity once he fills out his projectable 6-foot-4 frame. His changeup is more of a work in progress, but has some potential.

He didn’t become a full-time pitcher until he was a junior in high school, so Alexy still has room for lots of growth. He has a quick arm and his pitches should continue to improve as he gets stronger and refines his delivery. Club officials praise his competitive nature.”

I never feel like I know a pitcher until I’ve seen them in trouble, so I can’t say much about Alexy, but this report from MLB.com cites his “competitive nature” and the fact that he’s putting up solid strikeout per in just his third year as a moundsman is a very good sign.

Here are his numbers, all in A-Ball, where he’s a good 3 years younger that the competition:

ERA IP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W
3.67 73.2 1.127 5.6 0.4 4.5 10.5 2.32

There are a few things that stand out here. First, he didn’t give up the long ball, although I’ve read Dow Diamond, with deep power alleys, plays like a pitcher’s park. Still, that’s a solid number, and it’s backed up by a good 5.6 H/9. His WHIP would easily be below 1 with a bit more control, but even at that, he doesn’t drop below 2 in the K/BB ratio; it would worry me a lot if he did. John Manuel, professor emeritus of almost everything at Baseball America, says of Alexy:

“An above-slot 11th-round pick in 2016, the 19-year-old Alexy has missed a lot of low Class A Midwest League bats with an 89-93 mph fastball with good life, as well as an effective curveball with plus potential.”

Here’s some video of Alexy, courtesy Fangraphs:

It’s hard for me to judge his motion, because I’m just not great at that. He gets a lot of momentum going towards home plate, but I can’t tell how much deceleration goes into his arm versus onto his front leg. You want as much of the latter as you can get.

I think his delivery has a bit of deception, too, as he seems to sort of ‘leap” at the hitter. I’m personally a big fan of that. If it worked for Bob Gibson, more guys can do it, even if they’re well below Bob’s skill level.

So again, we’re looking at a solid-odds lottery ticket here: bang or bust. Just like Davis.

And the cream of the crop is still to come, next time, as we wrap this short series on the Darvish deal.


The full series

Intro: Cruel, Cruel Summer

Dodger Blue Bye-Yu:

Chris Connor
As a lifelong DFW resident, Chris Connor is a diehard Rangers fan, and worships at the altar of Arlington. Along with John Manaloor, he co-owns Shutdown Inning, and serves as Editor in Chief for SDI.
He holds a Bachelors of Science in Management and an MBA, both from UT-Dallas.
As a writer, he acknowledges that he’s never had a brilliance for brevity, but tries to meander to a meaningful point as he channels Faulkner. He believes the only things more beautiful than Ted Williams’ swing are Yosemite Valley at sunrise and his wife.
He lives with the latter, along with their beloved dog and quite tolerable cat, in Allen, Texas.

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