Drafted from Anaheim, California, Princeton Rays pitcher Jacob Faria skipped his chance to play major college baseball and went straight to the Tampa Bay minor league system.
When he was selected in the 10th Round of the 2011 June Draft, he was just 17 years old. He was the youngest player on the GCL squad last year and once again is the youngest player on the 30-man roster of the Princeton Rays.
"It's a big jump just from the talent level. In high school, you can miss your pitching spots once in a while," said Faria of the transition from high school. "But in pro-ball you have a lot smaller luxury of missing your spots. Guys will jump right on it."
After a successful amateur career at Gahr High School, Faria was described by baseball scouting database, 'Perfect Game' , as having a, "3/4 arm slot... arm speed...some late effort, sink[ing] fastball, 11/5 curveball, [and a] sink[ing] changeup."
Faria still maintains a majority of what made him a valuable prospect in high school, but has strengthened his pitches and slightly altered his 3/4 arm slot to one that is more 'over-the-top'. He feels that he is now more prepared for extended innings this summer and has increased his overall velocity.
"For the slider and the changeup it's basically the same. The slider is a little tighter," said Faria of his new pitch arsenal. "I still love to throw the changeup. The fastball, however, last year was 90-91 MPH, this year I was sitting around 93-94. It's just [about] getting my arm stronger for the long haul this season."
In his first season in the Tampa Bay minor league system, Faria exemplified that he can learn quickly, throwing 15+ innings, with a strikeout-to-walk split of 15K's to just 1BB. He also sported a respectable 2.87 ERA.
In addition to his consistency on the rubber, Faria is mature beyond his years and understands that winning is also a priority. Early in the season, Faria expressed his belief that the new look Princeton Rays are capable of making an impact.
"I think we are a really good team," said Faria. "We have a good shot of winning the Mercer Cup and the Appalachian League Championship."
Next to fellow P-Rays starter, Blake Snell, Faria is considered one of the organization's top minor league starters and a prospect that is fully capable of moving up the ladder efficiently. Look for this versatile starter to gain more attention and move up the Rays' prospects rankings this summer.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.