Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #20 Noel Arguelles

20. Noel Arguelles Left Handed Pitcher

Carl Kline/
Age: 23
Position: LHP
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 225
B/T: L/L
Acquired: Signed as International Free Agent
From: Guira, Cuba

Paden Bennett (24):  I was so excited when we signed Noel Arguelles, I had imagined him becoming a fixture in the Royals rotation for years to come.  So far at 23, Arguelles has done nothing to make me think he will even be in the Royals rotation at all.  He has been a disappointment.  In Northwest Arkansas last season Arguelles walked more guys (66) than he struck out (59).  The reason I still have Arguelles ranked 24 on my rankings is because I am still holding a brief glimpse of hope that he can become the pitcher I envisioned when we signed him.   This season Arguelles has to go out and prove he belongs, no question about it.

Joe Cox (23)Noel Arguelles turned 23 over the winter and the Royals are still looking to cash in on the talented Cuban that received a $7 million contract prior to the 2010 season.  Three years later injuries have allowed only two full professional seasons from the 6-3 lefty, and his results have been underwhelming.  After showing good command and an ability to limit home runs, Arguelles was good but not great in high A in 2011.  The Royals moved him up to AA last season and unfortunately took a step backwards in his development. 

Through 119 innings and 25 starts Arguelles walked more batters than he struck out and finished the season with a 6.41 ERA and a 5.23 FIP.  It is likely that Arguelles will start the year in AA again to begin the year, but the Royals have to hope that he can regain his command of the plate and move up the ladder this season.  I would not hesitate to say this is a make or break season for the up to this point disappointing Arguelles, and it is hard to give him a ceiling of anything better than a back end starter.  That is not likely without a strong 2013. 

Damion Mandalas (NR): After a statistically promising 2011, Arguelles took another step back in Northwest Arkansas last season. It has been no secret that his stuff hasn't returned since the surgery following his signing, but at least in Wilmington he displayed excellent control on the mound. Unfortunately, there is a distinction that must be made between control and command, the latter of which Arguelles doesn't have.

At this point, one has to hope that his velocity, which has been in the mid 80s since surgery, will somehow return to 89-93 mph. If he can get back some velocity there's hope that the rest can follow. If the velocity doesn't come back, there really isn't much hope for this Cuban defector. Arguelles threw a perfect frame in the first intrasquad game of the season. Let's hope this is a sign of things to come.

Dan Ware (22):  I remember when we signed Arguelles to a 7 million dollar contract thinking we found a special lefty.  I was was everyone else.  Noel has been an utter disappointment, dealing with injuries and issues on the mound.  Last season going 4-14 with plus 6 era while lowering his K/9 and doubling his BB/9 didn't help his case at all.  I'm with Joe on this one, saying Arguelles starts off with the Naturals this season.  At 23, he can come into ST with the mindset of starting off fresh to reclaim his name.  He's got a LONG ways to go before he can put on the Royals jersey.

Total Points: 24

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