Another week, another LA Angels prospect feature. Apologies for missing last week’s countdown, life got in the way of the article. It will be made up soon, however. This week, we focus on a young prospect who not many expected much out of, but is already impressing.
The LA Angels selected right-handed pitcher Cole Duensing in the sixth round of the 2016 MLB Draft. The prep arm was seen as a raw prospect, but he is already showing much more polish than originally anticipated.
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Duensing is only 19 years old, so his development is far from over. He has a lot of time to add muscle to his current 6’4″, 175 pound frame. Even with the lanky frame, Duensing has already shown to be a legitimate prospect.
He has shown three above-average pitches. His fastball is his best pitch, and the 90 MPH is clocks at right now could become 94-96 MPH by the time Duensing is done developing. His curveball has shown excellent break and has the chance to be a dangerous second pitch. However, much like his changeup, Duensing has shown inconsistency with his off speed stuff.
After posting a ridiculous 1.38 ERA over eight games in 2016, Duensing came back down to Earth this season, and rather abruptly at that. He posted a 9.15 ERA this season across two levels of Rookie League. The adjustment from the Arizona League to the Orem Owlz Rookie team was hard for Duensing, as he posted ERA’s of 3.12 and 10.74, respectively.
Duensing still has major potential. His fastball is already solid, with late life on it that often induces weak contact. He just needs to work on bulking up and commanding the ball better in 2018. If he does, Duensing could begin flying up this list.
LA Angels Comparison: Tyler Skaggs
While the two pitchers face opposite directions on the mound, they have quite a few similarities. Both were drafted as lanky prospects, and Skaggs’ body frame is what can be expected from Duensing. They both have amazing breaking balls, which are nearly untouchable when well controlled. However, they also both struggle with command of those breaking balls.
Much like Skaggs, Duensing projects as a fourth or fifth option with potential to become the third guy for the Angels. He isn’t due in Anaheim for at least a couple of years, but when he shows up, his curveball will determine how long he stays.