The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired left-handed pitcher Jayson Aquino from the Toronto Blue Jays for cash considerations, according to a team press release. Aquino has been optioned to Bradenton. The left-hander was recently designated for assignment on May 5th.
Aquino is currently in his second option year, and will have one option remaining after this year. He’s in his age 22 season, and has been a starter for Dunedin this season, posting a 2.81 ERA in 25.2 innings, along with a 5.6 K/9 and a 2.1 BB/9 He’s reached the Double-A level for two starts, but has struggled in most of his time at the High-A level. I’d expect him to be used out of the Bradenton rotation at first.
There are a few scouts in attendance where I am in West Virginia, including a few American League scouts. I’m going to see if I can get some more information on Aquino.
UPDATE: I talked with an AL scout who saw Aquino this year. He said that he didn’t have the best command, and didn’t seem to trust his fastball, pitching mostly off the off-speed stuff. He was sitting 91-92 MPH with his fastball, despite reports that I saw saying he could hit 94. The scout felt that he profiles best in the bullpen, where he might be able to get more confidence in the fastball by throwing it harder and reaching the upper end of his range. I read that the curveball was a good pitch, but the scout liked his changeup as his best off-speed pitch.
Aquino looks like a project who seems to be getting looks from teams because of his arm strength for a lefty (the scout rated his fastball a 60, which is above-average). Based on the Pirates’ philosophy, I’m guessing they’ll try to get him comfortable pitching off the fastball by giving him a lot of innings in the Bradenton rotation. That might help him improve the fastball command. It sounds like he might have a better shot of reaching the majors as a reliever, and the scout liked him as more than a left-on-left guy. That said, he shouldn’t be viewed as more than a project and a live arm worth a low-cost look.