A top right hander that burst onto the scene in 2014, but underwent Tommy John Surgery at the end of 2015. He missed the entire 2016 but made a comeback in the Arizona Fall League.
RHP Marcos Molina
R/R, 6’3″ 200 LBS, 3/8/1995 (21), Signed IFA January, 2012 for $100,000
|All Levels (4 Seasons)||17||13||3.30||46||39||229.0||199||84||6||57||213||1.118|
One of the more talented pitchers in the system, Molina returns this year to full season ball, and I’m excited what becomes of him. Signed for 100K in January, 2012 Molina pitched well for the Mets DSL Teams in 14 games, (13 starts), but struck out only 40 in 55 innings. They moved him on to the Gulf Coast team, and during that time he pitched so well that Baseball Prospectus’s Jason Parks (now of the Cubs) had him as #10 on the Mets top 10 prospects.
It turns out that the Cubs got their money’s worth on Molina because he stepped onto the big stage in Brooklyn and just flat out dominated the league. With a 1.78 ERA in 12 starts spanning 76 innings, he only allowed 46 hits while striking out 91 as a 19 year old. With that came lofty praise from Baseball America who named him top prospect of the league for 2o14, out-edging current top prospect Amed Rosario.
The next year, the Mets felt confident enough to send Him, Rosario, and another young prospect who excelled in Jhoan Urena up to St. Lucie, along with top draft pick Michael Conforto. Marcos didn’t do too well in the following year in High-A, but I have a feeling he may have been already pitching hurt, and he went down with an elbow injury afterwards. He attempted to come back in August, but was shut down again.
The next month it wasn’t reported, but I got word that he had underwent Tommy John Surgery on his pitching elbow.
As for his scouting report, let’s give you a lesson in development. This is what his scouting report was like when he was signed at 16:
The Mets signed Almeida and Dominican righthander Marcos Molina in January of 2012. Molina, a 17-year-old who signed for $100,000 from Ivan Noboa’s program, threw well in the DSL, where he had a 3.58 ERA with 40 strikeouts and just 14 walks in 55 1/3 innings. Molina signed at 6-foot-2, 170 pounds, but he quickly grew and got up to 6-foot-3, 195 pounds. The ball comes out of Molina’s hand smoothly and he repeats his delivery, which enables him to throw plenty of strikes. He has a short stride, throws his fastball 88-92 mph and has an above-average changeup. His curveball is his third-best pitch, but he lowered his slot a bit to give it more of a slider look. Molina earns high praise for his work ethic, as he’s known for beating coaches to the field.
When Molina dominated the New York-Penn League in 2014, his report was a little different. Prior to Tommy John Surgery, Molina remained a strike thrower, and a very good one at that that would just pump strikes into the zone. His fastball started going to around 90-95, regularly 93, and bumping at times 96 with some good movement. In addition, he found shape to his slider, which BA notes has late life and has put in the above-average to plus range. The only thing that hasn’t changed from his original report is the changeup, which still is above average.
The true issue was mechanics, and this GIF was exhibit A:
While I can assure every one of you that no pitching motion is natural for a human being in general, this one wasn’t great either. There little movement in his lower half to speak of, and he relied mostly arm-speed. Some may believe this was likely a ticking time bomb for his elbow with the over reliance. This made it no surprise to many of us that he went down with Tommy John Surgery the next year. We all hoped that while he was out, he could change his mechanics somewhat.
Molina pitched in the Arizona Fall League this past season, and there were slight changes to his delivery. This is what I found from a video of him in the Arizona Fall League on November 3rd.
The mechanics are a little messy so far, but he has more movement in his bottom half including a longer stride, but still not too great. We’ll see how far these new mechanics take him.
As for his results, Molina pitched in seven games, starting two, spanning over 16.2 innings. He allowed eight hits, walked seven, and struck out eight and registered a 3.78 ERA. Mixed results right now, but this was a guy rusty playing in-game action against the elite prospects of the Arizona Fall League. So….not bad so far?
His scouting report had him getting his velocity back but not the feel for his off speed and throwing strikes was obviously not back year. Some reports had him getting back to 96, which was good news, and with pitchers who just got TJS, velocity can even increase, so if there is one, have no surprise.
The soon-to-be 22 year old Molina will certainly be on an innings limit in 2017 and will likely end up right back where he was in Port St. Lucie. Definitely keep an eye on him moving forward but stay caution, he may be a reliever in the long run. As a starter, he has a lot of upside.
A note I always love to make on Molina:
This isn’t completely baseball related, but back in Brooklyn a few years ago, they had interview questions for each player such as “favorite player”, “favorite food”, etc. The last question on each list to all players was “If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you buy?”
The American kids named a fancy sports car, the Latin kids (except Amed Rosario and Juan Urbina who came from families with money) said they wanted to buy a house for their mother. Marcos said “Start a home for Abandoned Children”. I’m a Social Worker by day so this resonates with me.
This is why I’ll always be a fan of him…
(Featured Photo Credit: Bryan Green, SNY.tv)
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