Coming into the season right handed pitcher Raisel Iglesias was rather unknown. The Cincinnati Reds signed him to a 7-year deal worth $27M in June of 2014, but he didn’t pitch after signing until the Arizona Fall League where he just got his feet wet with seven innings of relief appearances.

The Reds signed him with the idea that he could start, though most teams thought he was a reliever. His first three starts of the season combined for just 14.1 innings pitched as he had a limited pitch count, throwing under 80 pitches in each start.

In his fourth start of the year he finally had the reins let go a little bit and he threw 95 pitches in a 7.0 innings outing for the Louisville Bats. He only threw 75 pitches in his next outing, again being limited in his usage. The next start came in the big leagues and he was stretched out, throwing 103 pitches in 8.0 innings against the Braves, but his next three outings combined for just six innings with two of them coming out of the bullpen.

The last appearance of May was a start against the Nationals. He would throw 105 pitches in 5.2 innings. He would hit the disabled list with a strained oblique and miss an entire month before going on rehab. He’d make two starts with Louisville, tossing 7.2 total innings before rejoining the Reds on July 11th.

His first start back didn’t go well as the Marlins scored five runs in 4.1 innings against him on just 77 pitches. After that he’s turned things around and has seen both his usage and results improve.

He’s made six starts since then and only one of them failed to reach at least 6.0 innings, going 5.2 against the Chicago Cubs. He’s throw 90+ pitches in all six games as he’s been stretched out. In that span he’s thrown 37.1 innings and posted a 2.89 ERA. He’s walked just nine batters and four of those game in one start. Iglesias has countered that with 37 strikeouts.

Iglesias didn’t pitch for basically two full seasons, last throwing in Cuba during the 2012 season and waiting until October of 2014 before throwing again in a competitive environment. He had never really started in the past, and with so much off time it has taken him time to build up the stamina.

The results have been very strong of late. Early in the season he seemed to wear down once he hit that 70-75 pitch mark, but lately we have seen him push past that point and maintain his stuff. The stamina seems to have caught up with the stuff and we are now seeing the guy take the mound that the Cincinnati Reds envisioned when they originally signed him.

He’s throwing a four-seam fastball, a two-seam fastball, a change up and a slider. And he throws all of them from different arm slots, giving hitters a whole bunch of different looks on top of just four pitches.

Of his four pitches, three of them are currently rating out as above-average. Here is how each pitch ranks among pitchers with at least 60 innings pitched this season according to the Fangraphs Pitch F/X leaderboard

Value per 100 Rank (total pitchers)
four-seam 1.23 16 (146)
two-seam 0.25 40 (109)
Slider -0.90 82 (110)
Change Up 1.88 14 (145)

Looking at the chart above, we can essentially say that Raisel Iglesias is showing off a plus four-seam fastball and a plus change up, at least in terms of the results that each pitch is generating. His two-seam fastball is slightly above-average as well. The slider hasn’t been nearly as successful as the other three offerings, ranking 82nd out of 110 qualified pitchers that throw a slider.

Two plus pitches, an above-average pitch and a below-average pitch mixed in with a guy who has thrown strikes and missed bats? That sounds like a guy that you can stick near the top of your rotation. While there is still some question as to whether he can hold up to a full season, he’s only thrown 95.1 innings this season between the Majors and Minors, he’s showing everything that you want to see out of high upside arm in his first professional season and he’s gotten better as the year has progressed.

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