Thursday, November 15, 2012

Player Capsules - Jairo Asencio

The Brewers have made four player acquisitions so far this offseason, and three of them happen to be relievers (SHOCKER). Asencio is the only one with any Major League experience, but none of it could be quantified as a "good" experience, as his numbers are pretty awful. The Brewers signed him to a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training, but due to his experience will have as decent chance to make the Major League roster. Maybe Kranitz can teach him a cutter....

Name: Jairo M. Asencio (a.k.a. Luis Valdez)
Birthdate: May 5, 1984 (age 28)
Bats/Throws: R/R
Height/Weight: 6'2, 180
Position: RP
Looks like:

A native of the Dominican Republic, Asencio was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates in February of 2001 and as a starting pitcher reached Class A in 2006. Granted free agency in '07, Asencio was signed by the Braves with the false name of Luis Valdez and eventually made his major league debut in July of 2009. He spent most of 2010 on the restricted list due to visa problems (not the credit card), and in 2011 had another cup of coffee with the Braves under his rightful identity before being traded to the Cleveland Indians for legal tender. He made 18 fairly nondescript appearances for the Indians in 2012 before being DFA'd and subsequently claimed by the crappy Cubs, making 12 more nondescript appearances.

Asencio's pitching profile is not an encouraging one. While he put up some decent strikeout numbers in the minors, he hasn't been able to replicate those numbers (just 6.24 K/9) in the majors, an issue compounded by control problems (4.24 BB/9) and a penchant for giving up fly balls. While 53 Major League innings might not be a fair sample to judge, Asencio doesn't appear to have the velocity or the go-to pitch to consistently get major league hitters out.

Speaking of pitches, Jairo possesses four of them. A pair of fastballs (four-seamer and two-seamer) that hover in the low 90's, a decent changeup in the mid-80's, and a slider in the low 80's. He throws the change (his best pitch) almost as much as the fastball, but doesn't have enough velocity differential between the two to fool hitters and his slider isn't anything special.

It's hard to imagine Asencio making an impact for the Brewers in 2013, and if he somehow ends up pitching many leverage innings, the Brewers are probably in big trouble. Considering the team needs depth, this was a worthwhile pickup and if nothing else provides competition in Spring Training and a live arm for AAA Nashville. But as a flyball pitcher with control issues who can't get strikeouts, even in the best-case scenario I can't see him as anything more than the last man out of the bullpen.

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