View Full Version : Pedro Viola article from Reds website

10-21-2008, 07:18 PM
Viola finds relief as starter
Reds left-handed prospect transitions from bullpen to rotation

By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com

CINCINNATI -- Lefty pitching prospect Pedro Viola seemed well on his way to a future with the Reds as a reliever -- until plans changed.

Now Viola has a chance to make sweet music as a starter.

"He took the role and ran with it and got better every time out," Reds Minor League director Terry Reynolds said. "Starting is a role we're looking at for him next summer."

Viola made his third start of the Arizona Fall League season on Monday night. Over 4 1/3 innings for the Peoria Javelinas, the 25-year-old Dominican gave up one earned run and six hits without a walk, and struck out three.

Reds general manager Walt Jocketty traveled to Arizona on Monday and made it to the ballpark in time to catch Viola's last inning.

"The guys that saw him said that he was throwing well," Jocketty said on Tuesday.

In three AFL starts, Viola is 1-0 with a 5.23 ERA, 13 hits, two walks and seven strikeouts over 10 1/3 innings. He was roughed up for five runs over three innings in his first start, but rebounded with three scoreless innings and one hit allowed in his second outing.

After he began with the Reds' Dominican summer league team as a starter, Viola zoomed through the system quickly as a reliever. He was promoted three times in 2007, posting a combined 1.42 ERA, with his season ending with Double-A Chattanooga.

This season, Viola slipped to 1-6 with a 5.48 ERA in 45 relief appearances for Chattanooga with 61 hits allowed over 49 1/3 innings. He had made one spot start and moved full-time into the Lookouts' rotation late in the summer as starters moved up to Triple-A Louisville and created a void in Double-A.

Over seven starts, Viola was 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA. In 33 innings, he gave up 27 hits with nine walks and 30 strikeouts. Thus, a new career path was born.

"He seemed to be more comfortable and used all three of his pitches," Reynolds said. "He wasn't doing badly as a reliever, but as a starter, he seemed to be a better fit personally. He was more comfortable and relaxed. It wasn't something we blueprinted, but it just worked out that way."

Likely to begin next season in Double-A or Triple-A, Viola potentially offers the Reds something they've lacked at the upper levels and the Majors -- left-handed starters.


After struggling out of the Double-A Chattanooga bullpen, Pedro Viola went 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in seven appearances as a starter. (Tony Farlow/MiLB.com)

10-21-2008, 11:28 PM
I find Viola to be an intriguing prospect. He's 25 years old but didn't sign until he was 22 years old due to identification, birth certificate, and visa issues. He's got a nice arsenal: fastball in the 93-95 mph range, a plus slider with great bite, and a changeup. I'm not sure how good the changeup is at this point. 2007 was his first season in the States and he was quite dominant between A, A+, and AA: 82.1 IP, 55 H, 5 HR, 30 BB/94 K, 1.42 ERA. That was good enough for him to just miss Baseball Prospectus' top 11 Reds prospects list.

This year, on the surface it looks like had a bad season. He posted a 4.48 ERA and allowed 88 hits in 82.1 innings and walked 36 batters. On the bright side he still kept the ball in the yard with only six homers allowed and averaged over a K/IP with 84 in 82.1 IP. If you dig deeper you'll see he was a bit unlucky as his FIP ERA was a solid 3.65 and BABIP was .369. I still consider him a very good prospect.

If he can improve his control a bit (it was solid last year) and develop his changeup into an average or better pitch (it may already be, I'm not sure), then he could possibly develop into a solid starter. If not, I still like him a lot in the bullpen where he could be a shutdown caliber arm in the mold of a Rafael Perez. I look for him to debut in Cincy sometime next summer if he gets off to a good start.

10-21-2008, 11:37 PM
I agree Viola is very interesting, and I'm glad to see that the experiment with him as a starter is going to go on a bit. It's a reach but he could be the last piece we need in the rotation. His velocity and K's per inning are very impressive. Let's hope he can perfect that change.

10-21-2008, 11:42 PM
He is kind of an odd case in terms of innings, in that he has never thrown over a 100 innings in a season. Now that he has been moved to the rotation how many innings should we look for him to get next year?

10-22-2008, 02:38 AM
He is kind of an odd case in terms of innings, in that he has never thrown over a 100 innings in a season. Now that he has been moved to the rotation how many innings should we look for him to get next year?

He really shouldn't pitch more than 110 at most next year give or take a few. Of course with his age/level I wouldn't see the harm in 120.

10-22-2008, 03:49 AM
isnt Mario working with him, I thought I read that somewhere