I still don’t understand why relievers don’t get noticed more often as top prospects in the minor leagues. It seems that most fans only pay attention to them once they start getting saves or more than 1 K per inning pitched. Meanwhile, most MLB teams will tell you that having a great pen is crucial to having a great season. With the volatility of starters, teams need to invest in getting better relievers from within, without having to pay ludicrous amounts of money for guys like Kyle Farnsworth and other mediocre relievers.
Well, the Jays certainly fit the bill of a team that has a world of depth in relief pitching and Dustin Antolin is the latest addition to that depth. He was born in Hawaii in August of ’89, stands 6’2″ 195 lbs, and was drafted in the 11th round of the 2008 draft. He and fellow Lansing RP Nestor Molina were the youngest pitchers on Lansing in 2009 by a year or more, and Dustin showed some poise, ending the season with 28 GP and 40 Ks in 48 IP. He had a 4.47 ERA, 1.407 whip, and hitters hit .261 against him, but he showed progress as the year wore on. Dustin started the ’10 season on the right foot with 2 perfect innings, no hits or walks allowed and 3 Ks. Look for more of the same as Dustin gains experience.
The guys at Batter’s Box had this to say about Dustin’s pitching style and form:
"Antolin pitches out of the stretch at a 3/4 arm angle with a nice loose delivery. He throws a 91-94 mph fastball with some movement. He also has a change-up but it was inconsistent and lightly used. Antolin threw 90% fastballs in his three inning stint on Friday. Antolin could develop nicely if he can develop that second and third pitch to go with his good fastball."
His size, poise at a young age, and adjustment to life outside of Hawaii make him an outstanding prospect to watch in 2010. He should impress and could be right behind Daniel Farquhar and Tim Collins on the relief prospect depth chart for the Jays before long.