The Top 20 Cubs Prospects - #20 Alex Maestri
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Prospect #20 - Alessandro "Alex" Maestri
You may have seen Alex Maestri a couple of years ago when he was pitching for Italy in the World Baseball Classic. He served a first-pitch homer to Moises Alou and threw a wild pitch. Under more pleasant settings, you've also possibly seen him if you've made the trek to Peoria to watch Ryne Sandberg manage the Chiefs - he went 6-3 last year in 48 games, including 4 starts. And in 2008, upon being promoted to Double A, Maestri made history - although it wasn't the kind that impacts your chances of reaching the Majors.
You see, Maestri was born and raised in Italy. Before him, there had never been a player born in the country of Italy who made it above A Ball. Maestri was discovered by the Cubs in a baseball clinic and was signed after being observed by Larry Rothschild and Randy Bush. Maestri has a long way to go before he reaches his goal of playing in the majors, but he's moving in the right direction, mostly.
When it comes to prospects I will be the first to admit that I am no expert, but I've uncovered the following about Maestri.
- He's tougher on righties than on lefties. Halfway through his '07 season in Peoria, righties were batting .077 against him
- He's got respectable control and is an efficient pitcher
- At the lower levels so far, his stuff has been fairly dominating. In 215.1 innings of minor league work, teams have had only 179 hits and 58 walks, while striking out 194. That gives him a WHIP of 1.10
- He started full-time in '08, pitching in 15 games for A+ Daytona, where he went 5-3 in 78 IP with an ERA of 3.69 and 66 K's to 27 BB's
- He was pretty well hammered in his first 2 starts at Double A. He made 2 starts, pitching 11 innings, and he surrendered 14 hits and 8 earned runs while walking 3 and striking out 10
Alex Maestri remains a bit of an unknown, which is perhaps why he ranks in the Top 20. 2009 will be telling - will he pitch well enough in the Spring to get another crack at Double A? How will he do there over a full season?
Odds of reaching the Majors = falling four stories without breaking any bones
Odds of becoming a successful player at the Major League Level = Monty Python reunion
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