Shoulder problems have plagued the Cuban defector since he signed with the KC Royals back in 2009. That contract was a big league deal. Still Noel Arguelles came in at number 17 in Baseball America‘s top prospects list for the Royals heading into the 2012 season.
Arguelles made his professional debut with High-A Wilmington in 2011 and held his own. There, the lefty was 4-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 31 starts.
That performance earned him a promotion to Double-A NW Arkansas for the 2012 season. There, he struggled until his last five starts (four of which he allowed two runs or less). Overall, Arguelles was 4-14 with a 6.41 ERA in 25 starts (119.1 innings). He allowed 146 hits, 12 homeruns, and 66 walks. He struck out just 59.
Arguelles’ plus command was lost a bit in 2012. When the command is there, it allows his fringy stuff to play better. His fastball sits around 87-89 mph and apparently the velocity has returned since his shoulder issues. His best pitch is his changeup, which he will throw in any count. He also throws a curveball.
The Royals still see some promise and believe he is ready to regain his potential. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star ranks Arguelles at number 24 in the Royals Top 25 prospect list at the end of the season. I expect that he will return to Double-A to start the 2013 season, but you never know. I thought I’d see him again in Wilmington in 2012 after his disastrous start with the Naturals, but never did.
Check out video from an Arguelles May 2011 start with Wilmington via royalsprospects: