Yesterday, 26-year old RHP-Armando Gabino was designated for assignment by the Baltimore Orioles to make room for the recently signed Mark Hendrickson. Now that he is fresh on the market, does he fit into the present or future of the Kansas City Royals? Let’s take a look to find out.
Gabino was signed by the Cleveland Indians as a non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic back in April of 2001. He was later drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft in December of 2004 and remained in the organization through the 2009 season. On November 9th the Orioles claimed Armando off waivers from Minnesota. If he winds up getting claimed by another team, his time in the Baltimore organization will amount to just over three months.
In six minor league seasons he has a 3.30 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 6.4 SO/9, and 2.29 SO/BB in 344.0 IP. Gabino has spent the majority of his professional career as a reliever, but has made 15 starts out of 178 games pitched. 2009 was his first taste of Triple-A baseball. He pitched in 38 games, 7 of them starts, with the Rochester Red Wings and in 98.0 innings had a 2.94 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 2.67 SO/BB. Armando made his major league debut with the Twins on August 25th against, of all teams, the Baltimore Orioles. He started the game, but lasted only 2.2 innings. After allowing 5 hits, 3 walks, and 4 earned runs he was pulled. He would pitch again for the Twins on September 11th, but the results were similar; 1.0 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB.
All told, he has put up solid to impressive numbers the last three seasons, but hasn’t cracked the top-30 in any of the Baseball America Prospect Handbooks. He also hasn’t been profiled in any of John Sickels’ Baseball Prospect books, at least not in the 2007-2010 editions. From what I’ve been able to piece together from various sources, Gabino features a low to mid 90s fastball with natural movement and complements it with a slider and a solid changeup.
I was able to find this video of him pitching for the Fort Myers Miracle back in 2007:
It is easy to see the 17.18 ERA, and 3.82 WHIP in his 3.2 innings of major league work, and proceed to immediately dismiss Gabino. To do so is to sell Armando short because he is one of those guys that has gotten better as he has climbed through the minors. He has shown the ability to keep guys off the bases and has a 8.4 H/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in his minor league career. Last season, in Triple-A, he was able to drop those numbers to 7.3 and 2.2 respectively.
Gabino turned 26 in August and still has time to develop and continue his improvement. Even if he stays the course, he is on the cusp of being able to contribute to a major league team as a reliever. In my opinion Armando Gabino just needs an extended chance to prove himself. Since he is already with the Baltimore Orioles, the Royals have the first crack at Armando on waivers.
Market Watch Update:
The Oakland Athletics have now released OF-Willy Taveras (28) and will pay him the bulk of his $4 million salary for 2010. Astros GM Ed Wade has already expressed interest in bringing Willy back to Houston for the major league minimum.
RHP-Gaby Hernandez (23) and RHP-Yusmeiro Petit (25) cleared waivers and were outrighted by the Mariners to Triple-A Tacoma.