Sunday, November 25, 2012

Prospect Countdown: #38 Greg Billo

38. Greg Billo Starting Pitcher

Paden Bennett (NR): This is a HUGE year for Greg Billo.  At 22 years old he is fairly old for Wilmington. We need to see consistency and fairly big strides made.  Like Dan said, I would love to be able to watch Billo painting the outside corner with fastballs in Northwest Arkansas this season.  Billo has shown flashes of brilliance and could easily move up with a little consistency.

Joe Cox (NR): Billo is a 22 year-old right handed pitcher who has been in the Royals organization since 2008. Billo only appeared in 12 games last year and is clearly on this list because of his impressive 2011 season where he led the Midwest League in ERA. For a team desperate to see consistent improvement from their minor league pitching, Billo still has a chance to regain his form from the not so distant path. It looks like Billo was forced to work without his best pitch, his slider for the time he pitched in 2012 which may account for his struggles. If Billo starts using all of his pitches and stays healthy he could move up this list. However Billo is getting old for his level, and needs to take a big leap in 2013 to become relevant again as any part of the Royals future.   

Damion Mandalas (NR): As Joe said, Billo's current claim to fame is his 2011 Midwest League ERA title. Billo is also a name recognized by prospect hounds, because he was once named as a sleeper prospect by Baseball America. Entering 2013, Billo will likely open the season for the Wilmington Blue Rocks with an opportunity to earn a quick bump to Northwest Arkansas if there is a spot for him. Yes, Billo's ERA was the highest of his career in 2012, but he struck out batters at a higher percentage than the average Carolina League pitcher and he continued to limit home runs. I think Billo has 4/5 starter upside and there is definitely value in that. The Royals clearly need front of the rotation starters, but guys like Billo in that they provide the depth necessary to get through a 162 season. Also, Billo is a type of guy who could be an appealing additional piece in a smaller trade. Think Justin Marks in the David DeJesus trade. 

Dan Ware (29): As far as ERA is concerned, Billo has been up and down the past few seasons.  His 2011 campaign with Kane County was certainly a confidence boost.  I did a little research on Greg to figure out where the success came from.  Alan Barrington of 'Kings of Kauffman' interviewed Greg back in March, asking what contributed to his 9-5 year, "I learned to keep the ball down and that was a big help for me.  Being able to throw my off-speed pitches for strikes made it so much easier to pitch, and a few mechanical changes and little tweaks."  I'm hoping to see Billo in a Naturals uniform this season.  Greg brings a hard work ethic to the table, which can help revamp the rotation in Northwest Arkansas. Yordano Ventura, Justin Marks, and Tim Melville, along with Billo could make for some fun in the sun in 2013.

Total Points: 2

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