Pedro Viola, relief pitcher
Does he have a pulse left, as a prospect?
Not really, no; he’s still got the proverbial puncher’s chance as a left-hander with a mid-90′s fastball but he’s now 29 and is still what he was at 26. Viola is a Dominican who wasn’t signed until he was 23, partly because he was a non-prospect outfielder who converted to pitching late. As I’ve said before, he has a very funky delivery — while on the rubber, he’s facing the second baseman — with consequently bad control. He’s managed to get AA hitters out, but has a career AAA ERA of 7.30 in 74 innings, with a 58-83 BB/K ratio.
Actually, Viola does have some positives besides his fastball. He apparently hasn’t been seriously hurt, which is a good thing, and he’s equally effective — or ineffective — against both left and right handed pitchers. Of course, the latter hurts his chances of developing into a left-handed relief specialist, and the former won’t matter if he walks 7 batters a game.
He’s very frustrating to watch, since it’s clear to me that he won’t develop the control he needs to be a major-league pitcher. And when he focuses control, he gets hit hard. Every time he comes in to pitch, he slows the game down to a crawl and most of the time hurts the Tides’ chances of winning.
It’s hard to be sure, but I think Viola is eligible for minor-league free agency. I don’t know whether or not the Orioles will want him back.