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Drew Rucinski: Top Angels Prospect Performances of 2014

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Taking a look at Drew Rucinski, who put up one of the top performances on the Angels' farm in 2014.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

22.  Drew Rucinski, 25, AA. RA-9 WAR: 2.5, FIP WAR: 4.0 148.1 IP / 3.16 ERA / 23% k-rate / 7% BB-rate

Things Rucinski does well:
(1) Demolishes right-handers, posting above average strikeout, groundball, and pop-up rates while keeping the walks and damaging contact down. Righties tend to pull the ball often, but usually on the ground, so the most common results are a lot of routine plays at third and short.
(2) He's a FIP machine overall, and if I used that metric to compute WAR he'd have put up the best pitching performance in the system.
(3) In short stints at least, he can really bring it, averaging 94 mph with both the four-seam and two-seam in last year's trial with the Halos.
And (4) He inspires us all, advancing from independent ball to the majors in just one calendar year.

Things Rucinski needs to work on:
(1) He still doesn't fan enough lefties, so needs to take one of his curveball, splitter or change-up offerings to the next level in order to convince the brass that he's a legit starter.

and (2) ... Uhm. Get over the debut butterflies? He has enough stuff and command to hold down a middle relief role, and could step into the MLB bullpen early in 2015 if some of the depth craps out, but he might also be better than that. I imagine that he opens the season in Salt Lake's rotation and gets the opportunity to prove that he's worth a look as a starter, even if he's buried behind better-known arms now.