A Mechanical Exploration of Raisel Iglesias
Little is known about the Cuban born pitcher Iglesias who was signed by the Cincinnati Reds this past June. Iglesias was signed to a 7-year-27 million dollar deal with a five million dollar signing bonus, which is quite a lot of money and trust to give to a 24-year-old reliever who had yet to be tested at the highest levels. After a brief seven inning stint in the Arizona Fall League and a strong start to spring training the Reds have decided to use him as their fifth starter for 2015.
Iglesias is an enticing raw specimen standing 6’2” and 185 lbs. with four-pitches that each could be effective at the big league level. Iglesias just turned 25-years-old but has been playing in the Cuban National Series for years and pitching effectively in a relief role. Obviously the competition is not what it is in America, but over 53.2 IP during 2012-2013 he posted a 1.68 ERA with 50 strikeouts and 20 walks. Iglesias has a heater that can touch 97 MPH to go along with a slider that flashes plus coming in at the high 70’s-low 80’s. In addition to those two pitches he is working on refining his change-up and curveball.
The results this spring have been promising for Iglesias having started in two games so far pitching 10.2 innings while striking out ten batters. In addition to the strikeout stuff being there his control and run prevention have been strong as he has posted a 2.53 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and an opponent batting average of just .209. While little can be read into just ten innings of work during the spring there are encouraging signs in this young hurler’s development.
To be an effective starting pitcher in the major leagues you need to be able to help yourself by limiting free passes as well as have the durability to go well over 150 innings per season. The question’s surrounding Iglesias’s ability to make it as a starter begin and end with his inconsistent mechanics and high effort delivery which must improve.
As you will see below Iglesias uses a tremendous amount of effort in his delivery and falls off the mound when delivering a pitch which can lead to the arm going across the body and the pitch missing outside and or high.
Another thing you will notice when watching the video is where Iglesias keeps his glove, instead of his glove hand staying close to the body it swings out leading to an inconsistent balance point and less power on delivery. His arm almost has to catch up with his body in this video and mechanically he is far too loud. This video was shot in November at Arizona Fall League.
The Reds staff has clearly worked hard with Iglesias to clean up his delivery over this past off-season as evidenced by the below video shot on February 25th a mere month ago now.
Iglesias is no longer falling off the mound rather staying more compact and transferring more power to his landing foot. His glove also stays close to his body towards the end of his delivery rather than flailing out leading to much more consistency. He also makes use of upper body torque just like fellow Reds pitcher Johnny Cueto. This motion if executed properly can help to increase velocity without compromising a pitchers control.
The Reds have obviously done a marvelous job with the talented Iglesias and are working hard to make the most out of his athletic frame and loose arm. He has shown the ability to digest what the coaches have been teaching him and make the necessary changes to his delivery to increase his velocity and accuracy. There is a real hope that with these mechanical changes and continued development of his off-speed and breaking offerings that he could become a very reliable starter in the near future.