In George We Trust
A(nother) blog about the most storied franchise in sports
Monday, March 20, 2006
Prospect Profile: Matt DeSalvo
Name: Matthew Thomas DeSalvo
Position: RHP
Vitals: 6'0", 170 lbs
Bats/Throws: R/R
Born: September 11, 1980
Hometown: New Castle, Pennsylvania
Signed: Signed as an undrafted free agent in 2003.

Background: DeSalvo had a dominant run at Division III Marietta College (Ohio), going a remarkable 17-1 his junior year, which including a 19 strikeout game at Salisbury State University. After taking a medical redshirt his senior year, DeSalvo wrapped up his Pioneer career as a fifth year senior in 2003 by going 16-3 with a 1.36 ERA and .93 WHIP. DeSalvo holds the NCAA record for career wins (53), career strikeouts (603), and single-season strikeouts (205). Despite all of his college success, DeSalvo went undrafted in 2002, landing with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent.

Strengths: DeSalvo is extremely polished, throwing effortless strikes with two solid fastballs: a four-seamer that now sits at 92-94 mph, and an 87-92 mph sinker with hard movement. His sinker, 12-to-6 knuckle-curve, and dynamite changeup give him 3 swing-and-miss pitches. His deep repertoire is rounded out by a decent slider, an average cutter and a below-average forkball that he rarely uses. DeSalvo gets outs, holding batters to a measly .206 BAA in 323 pro innings. The ultimate competitor, High-A Tampa manager Bill Masse says DeSalvo is "all about hating the batter."

Weakness: The biggest knock on DeSalvo is his smallish frame, which doesn't lend itself well to pitching. A back injury forced DeSalvo to miss a good portion of 2004, and he also missed his fourth season at Marietta due to a knee injury. DeSalvo's back problems can be traced to his delivery, which resembles that of Kevin Brown (also plagued by back problems) as he briefly turns his back to the batter.

Comparison: DeSalvo didn't miss a beat going from amateur to pro ball, continuing his dominance at every step of the ladder. He's thoroughly outperformed two college pitchers that were drafted in the first round the year DeSalvo was passed on (stats are career minor league numbers):

Drafted Hper9BBper9Kper9HRper9WHIP
Bryan Bullington1st overall (PIT) 8.842.526.89.841.26
Joe Saunders12th overall (LAA)9.462.706.34.421.42



The oldest of the group (less than 3 weeks older than Bullington), DeSalvo has had the most successful minor league career to this point (save his walk rate). Both Bullington and Saunders have reached the majors however, as they were on the fast track after being drafted so high.

Outlook: "Pleasant surprise" doesn't do justice to what DeSalvo has been for the Yankees. He's has made himself into a prospect by constantly getting batters out and exceeding expectations, going from undrafted to All-Star in 2 years. His stuff falls short of that of a frontline starter, however he could be an outstanding number 3 or 4 guy. Fearless on the mound, DeSalvo will likely start 2006 at Triple-A Columbus, where he'll have to battle Jeff Karstens, Sean Henn and Darrell Rasner for a rotation spot. If his health remains in check, he could force his way into the big leagues by September, possibly sooner if injuries at the major league level become rampant.
Blogger Mike A said...
Am I the only one that's blown away by a career .206 BAA? That means if he faced 27 batters, less than 6 would get hits.

I'm simply in awe of that.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
For those of you that dont know guys are in for a treat!!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
This kid is for real. You may see his debut as early as May at the Twins. Springtraining numbers were good and Torre liked his stuff.

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