Reno, Nevada —— Entering play on Sunday morning, New York Mets left-handed pitching prospect Alberto Baldonado is 0-2 with six saves and a 3.92 ERA in 29 games (all relief) across the 2017 season split between the Double-A Binghamton Rumble Ponies and the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s, with 41 strikeouts against 17 walks and 33 hits in 39.0 innings pitched. I’ve observed the New York Mets’ 24-year-old lefty from Panama twice in 2017; below is Baseball Census‘ full Alberto Baldonado scouting report, including video from a June outing in Triple-A.
Alberto Baldonado Scouting Report — Video
Our video of New York Mets left-handed pitching prospect Alberto Baldonado comes from a June 20 outing on the road against the Reno Aces, in which he allowed a run on two hits with two strikeouts in one inning:
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Alberto Baldonado Scouting Report — Notes
Alberto Baldonado shows a three-pitch mix out of the bullpen from a high three-quarters arm slot: fastball, changeup, and a true overhand curve ball with some depth. The fastball is deceptive at times, sitting 90-92 mph but occasionally exploding to touch 96 mph. It’s got a pretty good downward plane when thrown right, but if it’s left up in the zone it flattens out with little life and stays hittable. I only saw one changeup, at 84 mph, and it was pretty straight with a little bit of vertical tumble. Baldonado’s curveball is interesting and inconsistent, working 74-77 mph. He’ll throw one or two very tight curves that get weak swings or bad recognition from hitters, and then he’ll leave one up in the zone that lacks bite and hangs; feel for the pitch isn’t yet where it needs to be, especially considering he’s coming out of the bullpen in short stints.
His delivery is pretty standard but with some very minor deception; he’ll turn his back to hitters (which should affect lefties more so than righties) and he varies tempos and pacing pretty well both with runners on base and without. He stands on the first base side of the rubber and lands even more closed off to the plate from there, throwing across his bod. That accounts for some of his inconsistent fastball and curveball command, but also some of his deception. That will make for a tough combo on lefties, and if Alberto Baldonado is to reach the big leagues with the New York Mets, it’ll be lefties he must get out consistently.
Alberto Baldonado Scouting Report — Projection
Baldonado absolutely dominated in Double-A early this year: eleven appearances, six saves, no runs allowed, and just eight hits and five walks granted against 25 strikeouts over 16 innings. That earned him a promotion to Las Vegas where he’s pretty much done the opposite in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League: 25 hits and 12 walks against just 16 strikeouts over 22.1 innings pitched, and a 6.85 ERA and .284 opponents’ batting average. Each sample size is small but it points to a larger projection: Baldonado’s raw stuff is good enough to survive in the upper minors, but not refined or consistent enough to give him a reasonable expectation for success against even better hitters. His curve will show as an above-average pitch, but not often enough to make him a late-inning threat. There’s no question he has legitimate arm strength from the left side, but his command and control are too inconsistent to allow him to set up sequences against hitters like he should be doing in a late-inning role.
Alberto Baldonado is still just 24, and this is his first taste of Triple-A, so there will be growing pains. He should improve over the next few months, and there’s no reason to think he couldn’t find consistency in his command and repertoire one day in the PCL. If that happens, his outlook will be much brighter, but for now he’s a Triple-A reliever with little remaining ceiling. His lefty matchup ability alone may get him a cup of coffee in The Show at some point, but he’ll need to improve consistency and command to make any sort of lasting impact in Triple-A, let alone the big leagues.