Scouting Report: Michel Inoa

June 26th, 2008 · 11 Comments

By Kiley McDaniel

As mentioned in the last article, SaberScouting.com’s sources are indicating that 16 year old Dominican right-hander Michel Inoa is expected to sign with the Oakland A’s for a bonus between $4.25 million and $4.50 million as the headliner of the international signing period that starts on July 2nd.

Inoa has a frontline starter profile despite being only 16 years old, and has the potential to be a Rick Porcello-level prospect when he’s 18. There are still plenty of big-time players available after Inoa, and, as usual, it includes projectable arms and toolsy bats.

The top bat is up for debate, with some people in the camp of Rafael Rodriguez, a power-hitting outfielder from the Dominican, but the majority prefer Yorman Rodriguez (no relation) who is a tooled-up Venezuelan centerfielder with Carlos Beltran-like upside.

The top arm after Inoa is Adis Portillo, an inconsistent, lanky righty from Venezuela that shows flashes of low 90’s velocity and a solid curveball and changeup. He figures to get an inflated price as the consolation prize to the clubs who weren’t willing to pay the price for Inoa.

Check out a comprehensive Inoa scouting report after the jump, and stay tuned for reports on the rest of the top 15 Latin prospects coming shortly…

(Michel Inoa photo credit: Victor Perez/ESPNDeportes.com)

1. Michel Inoa, RHP, Dominican Republic
There has certainly been much said about Inoa in recent weeks, so I’ll stick to reporting what I’ve heard rather that what you can already read there. Inoa is 6′7 and an athletic 205 pound right-handed pitcher whose fastball has been as high as 96, but sits in the 91-93 range presently.

He is especially noted for his outstanding frame: he’s already enormous for a 16 year old, but has plenty of remaining projection, amazing body control, and mechanics that translate into borderline unbelievable command for his age and size. Most 6′7 teenage pitchers (there aren’t that many to begin with) are gangly, all arms and legs, raw, lack command and body control, and generally just a long way from being a finished product. One source termed Inoa frame as, “a basketball body with some definition—he’s still skinny—but he’s projectable and has basketball athleticism.”

These qualities have some projecting him to hit 100 in a few years, and that isn’t too far-fetched considering the fact that he’s had little to no high-level coaching. Inoa’s mechanics are clean and the ball “comes out of his hand shockingly easy,” according to another source. Inoa comes from an athletic family, has a clean and fluid arm action, and earns high marks for his makeup and work ethic.

Inoa has advanced feel a curveball that already flashes above-average and most project for plus, along with a splitter than one insider called “dirty.” He’s been called a , “once in a decade talent,” by more than a few. The first source said that elements of Inoa remind him of Dellin Betances as a high school prospect, with the big projectable frame, lack of high-level instruction, easy velocity, and feel for a potential plus curveball, but then points out the differences that make Betances a $1 million bonus 18 year old and figure to make Inoa a $4 million plus bonus player at 16 years old.

Inoa has superior body control, command, and third pitch with an overall more polished package, and obviously is two years younger. He could very well be Rick Porcello in two years and that would seem to make $4 million a bargain. I’ll get into more detail about the logic and risk of amateur bonuses and Latin versus draft spending an article after the Latin scouting reports.

By now, tou can see what kind of talent Inoa has; plenty to justify multiple visits to the Dominican from big hitters like Brian Cashman and reportedly four visits from Billy Beane. The talk has been until recently that the Yankees were out in front and the final price would be in the $3.0 million to $3.5 million range, but it appears once talk of numbers north of that range became prevalent, most teams still in the running dropped out almost on principle, if $4 million is the new starting point.

Since I know anyone that’s reading this site desperately wants a breakdown on the 20-80 scale for Inoa, I’ll do the irresponsible thing and throw you a bone. I won’t be so foolish as to come up with an OFP, since Latin prospects have a completely different scale, just like the draft amateurs and professional players do, but these 20-80 grades come after consulting a few sources, so it’s pretty close to the stuff on a team’s scouting report.

Fastball: 55/70
Curveball: 50/60
Splitter: 45/55
Command: 45/60

Those future grades are on par with what I came up with after seeing Rick Porcello, while the present grades, obviously, aren’t a whole lot to write home about on their own, but from a 16 year old, it’s enough to write…well, a little over 600 words so far.

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Tags: International · News & Notes · Scouting Reports

11 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chase // Jun 27, 2008 at 1:57 am

    Awesome report guys. Was not expecting a lot of info regarding the international scene. It’s nice to be pleasantly surprised.

  • 2 Chase // Jun 27, 2008 at 9:47 am

    One more thing. I’ve noticed that you list a splitter as one of Michel’s pitches, but a lot of sources I’ve read says he has a change.

    I know I’ve brought this kind of thing up before in a past scouting report, but I’m just curious about it.

    Is it possible that the change gets splitter action? Does he throw both pitches? Yada yada yada. I’m sure you guys get the gist.

  • 3 jordan // Jun 27, 2008 at 10:54 am

    It’s nice to have this much of an in-depth scouting report on Inoa. Most other places I’ve read about him have just said “low 90s fastball, good feel for a curve, projectable frame”, but this was a surprise.

  • 4 Sour Bob // Jun 27, 2008 at 11:00 am

    Just for the sake of argument, if his age has been, let’s say… “misrepresented” and he’s really, say, 19, how do you rate him then?

  • 5 Bob Michaels // Jun 27, 2008 at 11:20 am

    He signs with A`s for 4 Mil, his ETA would be 2012?

  • 6 kileymcd // Jun 27, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Chase,
    We’re here to pleasantly surprise you, especially given all the times we’ve horribly embarrasesd you.

    As for the Inoa changeup issue, it’s a distinction scouts have trouble with all the time. Whenever there’s a question in the stands, usually the scouts ask the guy charting pitches from that team and clear it up.

    That luxury isn’t really there for July 2, and there’s a chance he’s been fiddling with two grips, too, but the splitter is what I was told he throws, and it’s identifiable in general by higher velo and later, sharper, more vertical drop.

    That being said, a splitter normally looks a lot like a straight change anyway and it really doesn’t matter that much in the long run unless it’s plus or better because it’ll look about the same as any changeup.

    Jordan,
    That’s why we’re here. That bugged the bejesus out of us, too.

    Sour Bob,
    Sour indeed, Bob. As a hypothetical 19 year old (though 18 would be easier), he’s still a seven figure guy, easily, maybe more of a mid first round projection arm. He’s probably the top prep arm in the ‘08 draft, like a bigger Ethan Martin with better feel. About half the price I’ll say, and I’ll go a step farther and say $1 million or a notch below if he’s a 21 year old college junior.

    Bob Michaels,
    Really tough to say as often 16 year olds look like a different prospect when they eventually get stateside. If forced to project, I’d say complex league at 17 (’09), low-A at 18 (’10), and then he could go on the Porcello/Kershaw (which would be about ‘12) track or slow down depending on his low-A performance.

  • 7 Scouting Reports: The Other International Prospects | SaberScouting // Jun 28, 2008 at 12:34 am

    […] Log in ← Scouting Report: Michel Inoa […]

  • 8 Athletics For Life - An Oakland A’s Blog by Wisconsin’s #1 A’s Fan » Blog Archive » $$$$ // Jun 30, 2008 at 8:42 am

    […] But today, it looks like the A’s are getting ready to pony up some $$$$. And it’s not on an established major leaguer - it’s on a 16-year-old 6-foot-7 pitcher named Michael Inoa. […]

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  • 11 waddy // Jul 21, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    he is going to be good no question about it ….

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