Profile: 6'4" - 175lbs - BT:R - TH:R - 2011 Age: 20
FB 90-93: Late run, well commanded, could add velocity. (60-70)
SL 81-82: Too slurvy, but gets impressive movement, well commanded for his age. (45-65)
CV 75-77: Lacks ideal velocity, but gets good depth with 11/5 break, flashes plus. (45-65)
CH 83-84: Good late life, needs refinement. (50-60)
Salcedo was signed by the Twins as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic in 2007 as a 16 year old and emerged as a legitimate prospect after impressive season in the Dominican Summer League and the Gulf Coast League in 2008 and 2009 respectively where he struck out a combined 108 against just 11 walks. In 2010 he moved up to the Twins highest rookie ball team, Elizabethon, and again showed impressive command with an ability to miss bats.
Tall and still very skinny, Salcedo is the kind of pitcher who will likely add a mph or two as his body fills out, though he already generates consistent and sustainable low 90's velocity deep into games. His fastball has good late run, but not necessarily sink and will likely play as more of a ground ball neutral pitch.
All of his off-speed pitches have impressive movement for some who is still a very young and pretty raw product and I could legitimately see all three offering becoming plus pitches because they all move and he commands all four shockingly well for someone his age. Still, he's got a lot of work to do with them. His slider, which should be a tight, shorter breaking ball gets too long and he'll still hump his curve ball, making it easier to read. As he grows and gets stronger, it's likely that he'll be able to generate greater spin velocities and those pitches will become much more effective. His changeup is already pretty good given his age and while it lacks the potential of his breaking stuff, it's a solid offering in it's own right.
One thing Salcedo shouldn't have to worry about is command. His delivery is clean and repeatable and has been since signing with the Twins. That should help him stay healthy and regardless of how he progresses, be a strength he can continually fall back on.
When we talk about control pitchers, the list pretty much needs to begin with Salcedo. Despite being just 19 last year - an age where almost every pitcher fights their control - Salcedo walked just 18 batters in 93 innings. More impressively, for his career he's walked just 28 in 220 innings of work for a career walk rate of 1.2. Regardless of the lens through which you choose to view a prospect, that's an impressive performance.
That he's managed to pair that with solid/plus strikeout rates is why he's taken himself from an obscure foreign signing to legitimate prospect who Baseball America recently ranked as #8 in a very solid Twins system. Salcedo is still a very long ways from the Majors, but his stuff, combined with his performance at a young age lends credence to the notion that the Twins could have stumbled onto a potential gem. He'll open the 2011 season play A ball for a full season for the first time. If he repeats the success hes had in the rookie leagues, he's likely to rocket up prospect lists.
Nothing is guaranteed with young pitchers and he still has a long way to go, and a lot of work to do, but he's got the potential to be really good. Salcedo is still at least two years, and more likely three, from reaching the Majors but his raw stuff and performance, combined with the odds that he'll add size and velocity make him one of the more intriguing prospects you probably haven't heard of.
It certainly isn't hard to imagine him improving his breaking stuff, adding a mph or two and becoming one of the elite prospects in the game. Right now, he projects as at least a #3 or #4 - but he's got #1 or #2 potential and it wont take much to break right to make that a reality.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net and 312Sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.