FanPost

This might be the PTBNL in the Pence trade

I'm posting this as a FanPost, not a front page story, because it's based on rumor and speculation.  Nonetheless, I thought it would be interesting to share.

I read a rumor earlier this evening on TheGoodPhight that the Astros' list of players to choose from as the player to be named later includes seven arms from the Lakewood Blueclaws, not including Jesse Biddle.  This would make sense, as the fourth player will not be a "major prospect" according to mainstream sources.  Not being a major prospect probably also rules out toolsy outfielder Domingo Santana, although he would be a great pick if he is on the list.

So what does that leave?  Lakewood has an assortment of decent grade C/C+ arms, but the best of them is probably 21-year old RHP Lisalberto Bonilla.  Bonilla sports a sparkling 2.06 ERA at Lakewood with an excellent 73/15 K/BB ratio (9.4 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.9 walks).  He made Baseball America's Hot Sheet earlier this month, and they had the following to say about the young righthander:

Bonilla, signed in 2008 out of the Dominican Republic, spent the first two months of the season in the low Class A Lakewood bullpen. He moved to the rotation in early June and looks comfortable in his new role...

...Bonilla has learned to trust his fastball, a lively pitch that usually sits in the low 90s and can touch 95 mph. His changeup is a plus pitch, and he's got a usable slider to go with it.

Kevin Goldstein over at Baseball Prospectus shared his opinion:

Moved to the rotation in early June, Bonilla features an average-to-plus fastball with natural sink, but his changeup is his best pitch, as a true plus offering with plenty of depth and fade.

If this is indeed the fourth player the Astros get back, he sounds like a much better prospect than I expected to get.  A solid to above average fastball, plus changeup, and decent slider with good command paints the picture of a future middle rotation starter--and Bonilla's stat sheet is impeccable, funny name notwithstanding.

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