Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Who is Robert Coello?

Ask and ye shall receive!  Robert Coello is a big(listed 6'5", 250 lb) RHP who showed up on the Giants new AAA team, the Sacramento River Cats, this spring and was their Opening Day starting pitcher.  Yesterday he made his second start of the season and both have been better than Quality.  So, who is this guy and is he someone who might help the Giants this year or next?

Coello is 30 years old, so he's hardly a prospect anymore.  He has bounced around with multiple organizations over the years, yet, if you look up his career stats, he has always pitched quite well, well enough that it is a bit mystifying why he has not gotten more and longer chances at the MLB level.  He was originally drafted in 2004 apparently out of HS by the Cincinnati Reds, but did not sign.  He attended Northwest Florida State College and next showed up in the rookie Arizona League with the Angels in 2007.  Despite pitching well in limited innings, he pitched in Indy ball in 2008.  The Red Sox signed him in 2009 and he progressed all the way to the majors in 2010 when he made 6 Appearances which did not go so well.  His next MLB appearance was with the Blue Jays in 2012 with 6 more Appearances which also did not go so well.  He was back with the Angels in 2013 where he made 16 appearances as a reliever with not terrible results:  2-2, 3.71, 17 IP, 4.24 BB/9, 12.18 K/9.  Last year he was in the Yankees organization strictly as a reliever and posted an ERA of under 2.00.

In summary, Coello's minor league numbers have been quite consistent over the years making his career minor league stat line representative of his work:  37-21, 3.15, 446 IP, 4.08 BB/9, 10.17 K/9.  Although his MLB career line does not look as good, his one season that could be considered longer than brief actually looked very similar to his minor league line.  Now, look at those double digit K/9's and tell me he could not help some MLB team right now!  His line after two starts for Sacramento is 1-0, 1.50, 12 IP, 4 BB, 12 K's.

What Coello throws is actually a very interesting story.  He relies mainly on a 4 seam FB that goes 89-92 MPH which he throws about 80% of the time.  He has always been an extreme flyball pitcher.  It's his secondary pitch that is unique.  It is a forkball which he sticks farther back in his hand than most pitchers.  Perhaps it is his size that allows him to do so?  He also holds the ball in such a way that his fingers do not touch any seams!  The ball has unpredictable movement and behaves almost like a knuckleball.  Coello calls it his "forkleball" in interviews.  Privately he calls it his "WTF" pitch.  It actually is not a very good pitch as it is hard to throw strikes with it and it is not a swing and miss pitch.  It is essentially a "show me" changeup.  If you are interested in reading more about it, along with some video, look up his profile in Fangraphs, linked to the left, which has a link to an article by Eno Sarris from his 2013 stint with the Angels.

I am not sure how a guy with 1 pitch plus a novelty "show me" offering plays with extended looks a the MLB level, but his track record is interesting.  After seeing descriptions of his stuff, I wonder if the Giants could get him to add a two-seam FB and/or Cutter to his arsenal which might allow him to take it to the next level.  So far, his extremely low GO/AO would suggest he is still throwing the 4 seamer almost exclusively.


  1. I think if he can learn a Cutter he can be a effective back end starter or a really good long man

  2. I really wonder about the "conversion" to starting pitching for a guy that has been in relief most of his career. Maybe he did add a new pitch? Maybe he's just filling in in the #1 spot until Heston gets back to AAA? Which would mean we are seeing two guys really step up when the opportunity arose.

  3. I was wondering about him, very interesting. His problem all during his career is too many walks, but he's always been right on the edge between good and OK. But so far not that many walks with the Giants.

    How does it work with two-seamer? From what I recall, pitchers can throw faster with a four-seamer but is more wild with that than a two-seamer. So that would help with reducing his walks. But if his four-seamer is only 89-92, then what is the normal velocity going to two-seamer, minus 2 MPH? 3? Even at 2, that's 87-90 MPH, that's borderline doable, right? But, yeah, if he added either of those two pitches, he would get a lot more grounders, great point.

  4. There's a pitch that's thrown in Japan called a Shake Ball which is similar to his hybrid Forkball. I think he should take a look at it, would have to use a web browser and type in 4 Shake Ball

  5. He should take a look at this YouTube video and the pitch that's being thrown is called a Shake Ball which is similar to his hybrid Forkball