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2023 D50: Prospect #46

Updated: Feb 14, 2023


Each post will feature these words, so feel free to skip accordingly. I offer the same always-standing apologies for the lackluster quality of my writing, as well as the stream of consciousness nature that I write with. I sincerely wish that I was better at writing than I am but, alas, here we are. Also, I'm very good at this as compared to most, but I am still VERY bad at it. Just think about that for a second, for context purposes.

I want to start off by reminding everyone that these posts are aided and enhanced by the works of Baseball Reference, FanGraphs, Baseball America, and Prospects Live. Each embedded link will take you to their subscription pages and you should absolutely do that. Shout out to Geoff Pontes and Matt Thompson from Baseball America and Prospects Live, respectfully, because they're awesome. FanGraphs stats are OBVIOUSLY clutch and awesome, and that's why they are used in nearly every "Dirty" post. LOVE that FanGraphs.

Accordingly, @Cardinalsgifs provides his artistic touch to the pictures in each article, and I wouldn't do this at all if he wasn't a part of it. Special shoutout to @KareemSSN who is a must follow for Cardinals prospects stuff. His partner in crime is @Cardinalsreek and they have their own prospect list coming out soon!! Shoutout to Blake Newberry (@BT_Newberry) and Brian Walton (@B_Walton) for their work on their list over at The Cardinal Nation, too.

I also want to remind everyone that my list is different in that I don't include players with rookie eligibility that have made a Major League debut. So, you'll have to look elsewhere for Matthew Liberatore, Ivan Herrera, Alec Burleson, Nolan Gorman, Juan Yepez, Brendan Donovan, Jake Walsh, Andre Pallante, and ZacK Thompson. Some of these guys have exhausted their prospect status, anyway. I'm just trying to get ahead of this because I will 100% be asked about each. I did almost add 32-year-old Rule 5 draft selection Wilking Rodriguez to the list, but decided against it because he's 32-years-old, entering his age 33 season, and the coverage of him will surely be overly saturated by the time that Spring Training gets going. Also, I didn't add recently acquired Jose Fermín because I just don't care at all. I'm sure he'll make a Major League debut at some point in 2023 which will be cool but I just can't find it in me to care about it at all.

The last thing that I'd like to do is remind everyone that this is just a snap shot of THIS moment. I'm not 100% sure what every player on the list has worked on or has been doing this offseason. So, when I'm a little more conservative with a player like, say, Michael McGreevy, it's without the knowledge of what he's worked on this offseason, along with the gains that he's made in the areas that I'm concerned about. You never know when/if things are going to click for a player, and there's more reason now than ever before - with the advancements in modern baseball technologies - for a prospect to catapult themselves from out of nowhere. Vice versa, it's easier than ever for a prospect to fall off into obscurity.

Finally, I'd like to provide links to other sites that rank Cardinals' prospects. The Cardinal Nation, Prospects Live, and Baseball America all have their 2023 lists published, and MLB and FanGraphs will link to their most recent rankings from 2022:

THE CARDINAL NATION (Subscribe to the damn site, dummies) MLB


RHRP Gianluca Dalatri

Age 25 Season

Undrafted Free Agent in 2020

Listed at 6'6, 250


Now, back to the shitshow...

THIS MOTHERFUCKER'S NAME IS GIANLUCA DALATRI. What a fucking baller. His name is so fucking cool that he can shorten it and go by "Luca" and he still sounds like he fucks. Just incredible.

Aside from his name, I'm fascinated by Dalatri. He quickly became one of my favorite relief pitching prospects to watch in the organization during the 2022 season. He dominate the High-A level with an ease that you rarely see. There were few barreled balls. Dalatri was throwing free and easy, and you could really tell that he hid the ball extremely well and created a bunch of deception with his motion. His arm looked quick and in sync with the rest of his body.

The issue is, Dalatri got smoked at AA. Like, hammered. Like, "oh boy, what the hell" kinda hammered. Like, that as a statement and not a question kinda hammered. You can draw a straight line from "more multi-inning appearances" to "getting hammered". Sometimes this is coincidence and sometimes it's something more. We'll have to wait and see with Dalatri. His mechanics seemed a little out of whack towards the end of the season, too.

A lot of the struggles that he ended up having seemed to stem from the fact that his 93-ish MPH fastball didn't really have the life on it that it had early in the year. In addition, Dalatri was probably throwing the heater too much. Dalatri's 2200 RMP curveball - a pitch that was dominant in High-A - was exposed a little bit at AA, too, and seemed to lose some of it's bite, as well. You'll be able to see in the gif below that it's capable of being a great pitch against lefties. It really feels like it's going to be all about how he uses all that he has in order to maximize the effectiveness of his arsenal.

Whatever the real reason for his troubles in AA, the bottom line is that he went from being a prospect that I was considering ranking as my top non-Freddy Pacheco right-handed relief pitcher on The Dirty, to someone that was clinging on to the back of it. As most of you know, I'm not one to turn on a pitcher like that, but Dalatri's performance at AA left me no choice.

You can see in the gif above why his sinker is such a great pitch. It has a lot to do with his motion and his arm angle, but also the arm-side run that it has. You'd have to think that it's probably in his best interest to go sinker heavy instead of four-seam heavy moving forward, then use his curve more than he uses his slider - even to righties - with a sprinkle of the changeup to continue to keep lefties off of him. Modern pitching tells us the benefit of using the four-seam fastball up in the zone then dropping this type of curveball off of it and vice versa. It's tough to say "use the sinker more than the four-seam but keep using the curve" because it's contrary to what we know to be effective. I guess all of these words are here really to say that Dalatri has a pretty deep arsenal of (at least) usable pitches and finding the sequencing of those pitches at the upper levels will be key for him.

One way or the other, Dalatri is going to have to do something with his arsenal and approach to keep lefties off of him, as they hit 258/378/455 off him in 2022. His stuff is good enough, and I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but it's just a matter of figuring it all out.

If you read the piece above by Dalatri then you know that health is a big key for him. He's dealt with some health issues - both hip and arm - and those issues were the main reason that he went undrafted in the shortened 2020 draft. As you also know if you read the article that I linked to at the beginning of this post, Dalatri is a highly-decorate pitcher with accolades and props for days. There's no doubting that Dalatri is a big-time competitor, and he's just trying to figure things out like the rest of us.

I think that some of the small tweaks and recommendations that I made above will help, but I leGit don't know shit. I'm currently wearing pajama pants with dogs on them between episodes of Interview With The Vampire. There's a lot to like within Luca's arsenal. Now it's just a matter of putting it all together.

Maybe don't listen to me.

Thanks For Reading!! Kyle Reis


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