Danny Cortes

Only have a second here, but do have a vid, so:


=== Most-Comparable Dept. ===

Could be viewed as a rough comparable, value-wise, for Chris Tillman. Probably even a little more valuable.  

(*Speaking in terms of where Tillman was at when he was in our system, naturally.   In 2009, Tillman has made nice gains and is of course well ahead of where Cortes is, at the moment.

I wouldn't give you Tillman for Cortes as we speak, no.  But Cortes more-or-less replaces the commodity we had going in Tillman when he was coming up through the system. )


=== Pedigree ===

Was BBA's #90 overall pick coming into the season.  Was the Royals' best pitching prospect for two years in a row.  Combines "best fastball" and "best curve", which is pretty unusual for BBA.

Results in minors were fair-to-good coming into 2009.  For some reason, this year he has regressed badly, while repeating AA (control ratio isn't much better than 1.0 this year).  This is nothing to be alarmed about, but OTOH does remove him from "Golden Arm Fast-Tracked To #5SP" status.

My first question, on the fix, relates to his mechanics.  See below.


=== Makeup ===

Evidently has a narcissistic, forget-you, what-are-you-gonna-do-about-it attitude -- as Chris Tillman did.  This doesn't concern D-O-V much at all; we agree with Geoff Baker that "baseball is full of these guys." 

Even the Delmon Young-level foulups tend to rein it in, as they get close to the finish line and start smelling the money.  What's to rebel against, once you're given the nirvana of a major-league clubhouse?


=== Delivery ===

Three cheers to Jason at Prospect Insider, who hooks us up with a vid from the last Arizona Fall League.

I read somewhere that some folks consider Cortes' delivery "dangerous."  Can't imagine why.  Until the point of release, he resembles Jered Weaver:

Stands tall

Incredibly loose backstroke, hand very relaxed

Coils very comfortably behind high, lanky front knee

Nice stride forward considering the high CG

Connects ball to CF and to torso very well


The guy even physically resembles Weaver. 

Cortes does lead with a higher, more bent front arm than Weaver does, as most ML pitchers do.  And he brings the ball through the release zone a bit higher than Weaver does, but his forearm-to-upper-arm angle is still pretty straight (Cortes leans to 1B like Lincecum to create the shoulder tilt).

For those who focus on the 'inverted W,' Cortes appears to keep his rear elbow fairly low "at the top."

Brings his arm through fairly easily, though it would be easier if he bent his cap closer to the ground like he should. (Maybe he does when he's pitching in a live game.)


I was amused at the mechanical flaw.  See if you can find it.  Answer below the signoff (no peeking!).


=== Mechanical Fixes ===

The minor suggestion would be to bring his glove through low, as Weaver does, and the major one would be to pattern his finish and followthrough after Weaver's.  Both of these would be easy for Cortes and IMHO he would then be all systems Go.


=== RP?  Um, Why? ===

Cortes has a natural starter's motion. 

Though he's warming up here, it's obvious that the Jered Weaver / Danny Cortes motion is NOT a "charge down the mound" max-effort reliever's motion.  It's a motion conducive to getting in rhythm and to staying limber over the course of two hours.

We're referring not to PI here, but to the general rumble around the 'net that Cortes should relieve.  Could I ask specifically why?  Is it just that if you don't care for a pitcher, you label him a reliever?  Is that what's going on with all these recommendations to make #1-org pitchers closers?

What would be the specific reason that Danny Cortes shouldn't start?

If it's his motion, could we ask exactly what about his motion makes him more physically risky than any other minor league starter?


Jason, as scouts will, likes to be conservative in the mph report, giving Cortes credit for "sitting" 92-94.  Royals' fans emphasize that he hits HIGH 90's, and of course Cortes consistently gets credit for a fastball better than any other Royals' farmhand.

In general, you're looking at a guy who probably moves into the M's top 5 prospects right away, with Aumont-type power and potential.

If each Cortes, Aumont and Ramirez has a 25% chance to become an impact starter, it's nice to have a handful of cards to play.


Dr D


*hint:  think Phillippe Aumont and watch the vid again :- )


JH's picture

Love the optimism, but I don't see it.  Tillman's control and breaking ball are far, far superior, as is his statistical track record.  He's also dominating Triple-A while Cortes is scuffling, and Tillman's a year younger.  Cortes is a great arm and I'm really glad the team picked him up for dead weight, but Tillman's a consensus top-5 pitching prospect in the minors, while Cortes is probably a top 10 prospect in the Mariners system.
Coming into the year Cortes had some hype behind him, but he's regressed.  If his command comes back, he's got the upside of a #3 starter, maybe a #2, or a lockdown reliever with a great fastball.  Tillman's got ace potential.  As with all prospects and future projection, there's a non-zero chance that Cortes contributes more in the majors, but Tillman's the much more valuable commodity right now.


If he ever contributes in the majors, it will be an upset.
But -- the #1 pitcher in the Royals system is typically going to be a better pitcher than anybody in our system.  Cortes was in Baseball America's Top 100 and the only reason he wasn't higher than he was, was because of the lack of results that you mention.
Chris Tillman became a blue-chipper in the eyes of M's fans, the moment he was no longer a Mariner.
As it stands RIGHT NOW, Tillman is well ahead of where Cortes is.  At the time Tillman was a Mariner, he had value comparable to that of Cortes now.


I'd be pretty shocked ....
Should have made more clear, though, that we're speaking in terms of where Tillman was, when he was coming up through our system.  In 2009, he's made nice gains and is of course well ahead of where Cortes is, at the moment.
Cortes more-or-less replaces the commodity we had going in Tillman when he was coming up through the system.   I wouldn't give you Tillman for Cortes as we speak, no.
As far as Tillman projecting to Opening Day starter... we Seattle fans get bullish on our minors players after they're gone.  If Tillman were *currently* a Mariner we'd be hearing cautions, caveats and no cheering in the press box.  :- )
I can only imagine what the assessments of Michael Saunders would become, if he went out in a deal for (say) Adam Dunn. 

glmuskie's picture

Idiotic mechanical musings here...
I wonder if locking the front leg allows a pitcher to get more leverage on the latter part of delivery, and thus to throw harder.  Also I would image that keeping the knee bent requires more strength in that leg.  My thinking is this is why tall pitchers (or any pitcher) might get used to doing it, it gives you a couple mph.  When you don't need as much control in the lower tiers, the velocity makes you good...
But when you look for it and see it, it really does look like a problem and you can see where it would sap any efforts at control.
Did notice he's landing ball-of-foot first, so he's got that going for him.  The bent leg would make his release & follow through much smoother.

JH's picture

aren't the only ones talking about Tillman as a potential ace.  BA has him as one of the top 2-3 prospects in the minors, as does Goldstein.  You're also underrating where he was at in the minds of talent evaluators when he was dealt.  He was universally written about as a breakout candidate, having come out of High Desert with a non-stratospheric ERA and a very good K/BB rate. 
I'd be surprised if he turns into a Cy Young candidate as well, but he's got that kind of upside.  I'd be more shocked if he turns into anything but an above-average starter for any reason other than injury at this point, though.

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