Last year, the AZL Giants displayed brand new draft picks in game one of rookie ball. Ryan Howard, Heath Quinn, Ryan Kirby, Brandon Van Horn, Chris Falwell, and Caleb Baragar all saw action on day one of the season. Strangely, no new 2017 draftees have been added to the current AZL roster yet, and the squad has played four games.
This meant the majority of the roster was comprised of Caribbean talent making their United States debuts, as well as leftovers from last year's club. But it certainly didn't mean their was any shortage of exciting prospects to cover.
Over the next week, I'll roll out a string of posts highlighting notable viewings. We'll start with Dominican right-hander Camilo Doval.
Doval was signed in late 2015 and made his professional debut as an 18-year-old in 2016 with the Dominican Summer League Giants. He was used primarily in middle-to-late relief, and frequently pitched more than one inning. In 12 appearances, Doval pitched beyond one inning eight times.
There was a lot to like about Doval's debut year looking at the numbers. He struck out 27.6% of the batters he faced. Opposing hitters averaged just .176 off him. And of those 13 hits in 21.2 innings, only two went for extra bases.
Like many young arms, though, Doval did struggle with control. He walked hitters at a 12.6% rate. But because the hits were so far and few between, Doval's WHIP finished the year just above one at 1.11 and his ERA was fifth lowest on the team at 1.66.
Doval is super lanky. Just six feet, two inches, his wiry frame makes him appear two to three inches taller. Plus he has remarkably long arms, and he uses them to his advantage. He lifts his leg, turns it in slightly, and then reaches way back behind him before slinging his lengthy arm from a three-quarter release.
He's capable of mid-90s velocity with his fastball but is typically in the 89-93 range with occasional natural cut. The only secondary offering I noticed during his debut was a slider, which at times looked average-to-above average. It is more of a straight-down slider than side-to-side. He was getting equal amounts of swing-throughs with both the fastball and slider.
- At 0:37 he blows a fastball by the hitter for a swing-through.
- At 0:48 he gets some nice straight down snap on a slider for another whiff.
- At 1:11 and 1:15 he throws back-to-back backdoor sliders.
- At 2:02 he pours the slider in to steal strike one.
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