Up next in the MWaH/LAAI Top 30 Angels Prospect Countdown is Trevor Reckling, who feels like he has been on these lists for decades now. After a dismal 2010 campaign, did Reckling do enough to get his career back on track in 2011?
Position: Starting Pitcher Level: Double-A
Bats: Left Throws: Left Height: 6'2" Weight: 205 lbs.
Age: 22 Born: May 22, 1989
2011 Season Stats : 4-7, 99.0 IP, 3.73 ERA, 104 H, 11 HR, 35 BB, 63 K, 4.58 FIP, .29 BABIP, 0.97 GO/AO
Fastball – C+. Has movement, sits at 90 has touched 94, hides it very well.
Breaking Ball – A+. Probably has the best lefty curve in the minors. Best I’ve seen since Zito.
Change up – B. Very good pitch, would grade as an “A” if he could command it better.
Performance – B+. AA all-star, good bounce back after bad 2010. Currently on the mend.
Projection – B-. Looks like #3, 4 or 5 SP.
Comp – Floor: AAA flameout. Ceiling: Dontrelle Willis
Estimated MLB Arrival Date: Mid 2012/2013.
(*As always, the above scouting report is provided by Scotty Allen of LA Angels Insider)
Season Summary: Looking at Reckling's numbers this year, you'd be both right and wrong in assuming that his season was a failure. It is a failure in that Reckling spent yet another year in Double-A and he once again failed to replicate the numbers he posted in Arkansas back in 2009 that made him, at that time, the best pitching prospect in the Angels' system. Reckling was great that season, but in 2011, Trevor was only above average, which is also why Reckling's season was not a failure. Even back in 2009, it was believed that Reckling was pitching over his head and that he wasn't really a potential ace. Well, he definitely proved that right.
Still, this season was a step forward for Reckling since his bizarre loss of command in 2010 did not rear its ugly head again this season, so he at least has that demon bested for the time being. That really can't be overestimated enough. Reckling was a mental mess after he fell apart at Triple-A in 2010 and there was real fear that he was ruined as a prospect, but after putting together a solid season like this, his lack of dominance is greatly outweighed by the fact that he has his confidence back.
What is a little concerning is that Trevor's groundball rate did not recover. Up until 2010, Reckling induced a lot of grounders, but that dropped off a fair amount in 2010 and then seems to have stuck at that lesser level in 2011, which is somewhat concerning since Reckling also didn't see a bounceback in his strikeout rate either.
All that should be taken with a grain of salt though since Reckling did get shut down in July with elbow/forearm problems. There is no telling just when those problems started affecting him, but it is possible that he was held back physically for a large part of the season. He did not undergo surgery, so he should be fine to start the 2012 season, but it is something to monitor.
What to Expect in 2012: It is hard to be optimistic for a kid that has spent most of each of the last three seasons in Double-A, but Reckling might be the rare exception. For one thing, he is still very young, not turning 23 until a few weeks after the start of the 2012 minor league season. So, while he has stalled out the last two seasons, he is still on schedule, if not a little ahead, for players his age. However, he can only hide behind his realtive youth for so long. In fact, the 2012 season is shaping up to be a make or break year for Reckling.
Assuming he is ready to start the season health-wise, there is absolutely no reason for Reckling not to move up to Triple-A Salt Lake. Considering that his only other tenure in Salt Lake ended with him falling apart, this will clearly be a situation to monitor closely. Can his repertoire succeed in such an environment? Will his command abandon him again? Is he up to the task mentally? How will he react the first time he gets rocked?
I don't think I'm overstating matters too much here, but if Reckling can post decent numbers in Salt Lake in 2012, then he becomes a viable rotation candidate as soon as the All-Star break. However, if he gets pounded again, this might be the very last year we see him on an Angels prospect list, even if we extend it down to 50. It doesn't matter how old he is, if he fails at Triple-A again, then we have no choice but to assume that he is anything more than a Triple-A flameout.