Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Roansy Contreras (RHP, #19)
Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with RHP Roansy Contreras.
Signed in 2016, Roansy Contreras has made very quick promotions look easy before spending a whole year with the Charleston RiverDogs in 2019. As the only rookie pitcher to qualify by innings, Contreras led the league in wins with 12 alongside a 3.33 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, showing advanced baseball IQ and abilities at a very young age considering his opponents. A three-pitch starter, some scouts question his ability to miss bats and keep the ball on the ground, but with more command and refining, Contreras should stick around in the rotation.
(Screenshot From 20/80 Prospects Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inE5aLTPCgA)
Roansy Contreras, RHP (#19):
Age/Date of Birth: 20 Years Old (11/07/1999)
2019 Team(s): Charleston RiverDogs (Class A Advanced)
2019 MiLB Statistics: .219/.301/.335 (0.636 OPS), 1 HR, 16 RBIs, 14 Walks, 22 Strikeouts (40 Games, 155 At-Bats)
Height/Weight: 6’0”/175 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the New York Yankees as part of the 2016 IFA Class
MLB ETA: 2022
Roansy Contreras Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):
What to Know:
Coming out of the Dominican Republic, Roansy Contreras was a good international prospect, ranking on some Top-30 lists like BaseballAmerica, while missing out on others like MLB.com. This was an interesting time for the Yankees with being able to sign international free agents as they were penalized for going over their bonus pool during the 2014-15 signing period, yet being restricted to a max bonus of $300,000 didn’t stop them from landing a solid pitcher, even at a little bit of a reduced price of only $250,000.
That next season, 2017, Roansy began his professional career, starting like most in the Dominican Summer League (DSL) where he stayed for just over a month from June 2nd to July 8th. Pitching to a 3.68 ERA over 6 games started and 22.0 innings, Contreras didn’t record a win, but showed enough to get promoted to the Gulf Coast League Yankees West (and then to the Yankees East about a week later). He pitched to a 4.26 ERA over 8 games (6 starts) and 31.2 innings in the GCL, while recording a 4-1 record and at seasons end he had showed enough to be promoted the next season.
Starting 2018, Contreras began with the Staten Island Yankees (Class A Short Season), where he again earned a promotion in just over a month of work showing in 5 games- all starts- a 1.26 ERA over 28.2 innings and a WHIP of 0.84. As this was near the middle of the season, this progressed Contreras onto his first MLB.com Yankees Top-30 prospect list, going all the way from unranked up to #18. His next stop was the Charleston RiverDogs (Class A Advanced). To end the 2018 season, Contreras started 7 games to a 3.38 ERA over 34.2 innings and a 1.18 WHIP. Then only 18, it was clear that Contreras was far beyond his peers.
That next season, now 2019, Contreras stayed with the RiverDogs, increasing a previous workload from a high of 63.1 innings to 132.1 at seasons end through 24 starts. This transition is often one of the hardest for a pitcher as they have to be ready to start ball much earlier and learn how to pitch to stay effective through a long season. To put this into perspective, Roansy started the same amount of games in 2019 and he did in 2017 and 2018 combined. Even so, it’s clear why he started the season ranked #10 (and moved to #12 after the draft and IFA because of Jasson Dominguez and Anthony Volpe), especially after recording a 3.33 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and striking out 113, all while recording 12 wins which led the South Atlantic League (SAL). He was also the only teenage pitcher to qualify, again showing his advanced tools.
Overall, Ronasy Contreras has an arsenal of three pitches, all ranked as average or above with a fastball, curveball, and changeup combo. His fastball sits comfortably between 92 and 95 MPH, topping out at 97 MPH with high spin rates, although it doesn’t have much movement and sometimes appears too straight. On top of this, his changeup takes about 10 MPH’s off, sitting in the mid-80s with good break and a curveball with good movement but is seen as average. His biggest current flaw comes in his inability to miss a lot of bats alongside a high Ground-Out to Air-Out ratio (0.82) which isn’t fantastic for Yankees pitchers.
What Will the Future Hold?
Given how he only just turned 20 in November and how it isn’t unlikely to see a player spend parts of three different seasons in the SAL, Contreras should be expected to make a few starts there. However, once he moves up to the Trenton Thunder and Double-A ball, anything could happen, problem is when that should be expected. Given his 2022 ETA to the big leagues, it could happen this year, with next season bouncing around Double and Triple-A, before breaking into the bigs after solidifying himself with the RailRiders that following season, which would keep him on that track.
Scouts look at Contreras and are very positive of his advanced feel of his pitches, repeatable delivery, and strike-zone IQ, but with no pitch that truly overpowers hitters he has seen a lot of fly balls and too few strikeouts so far. With increased command he could stick as a rotation piece, of which many expect, but a floor of being a solid reliever shows how highly he should get valued. Honestly, a drop from #12 to #19 surprised me going into the 2020 season, but it may be a little bit of prospect fatigue bringing his ratings down. At this point, Contreras could comfortably sit anywhere in the teens and that would make sense given his advanced game, high floor, and solid ceiling.