Dan Cortes, stolen from the Royals in the 2009 Yuniesky Betancourt deal (along with the now-invisible Derek Saito), showed us exactly what kind of pitcher he is in his four appearances with the major league club.
9/26/10: 1 inning pitched, 3 strikeouts, 0 walks, 0 hits allowed. Cortes was nasty. His fastball and curve looked excellent, and he mowed down all three of the Rays hitters he faced with ease.
9/29/10: 1.1 innings pitched, 1 strikeout, 3 walks, 1 hit allowed. Cortes looked confused, as if he had momentarily forgotten the concept of a strike zone. He was wild, and thus ineffective. Admittedly, the start was against Texas, but Cortes was nonetheless very bad.
He’s 23 years old, 6’6″, and under club control for 6+ years. He was wild but somewhat effective as a starting pitcher for the last couple of years. After making the transition to the bullpen, his walks decreased and his strikeouts increased. He’s a flyball-centric lefty. If his change-up and other secondary pitches improve even slightly, Cortes can realize his potential to be a nifty relief ace.
That’s about all you need to know.
Outlook: Positive. I like Cortes, and I think he’ll make a great reliever – especially in a ballpark that suits his style. Who’s to say he won’t enjoy a lot of success as the Mariners’ closer from 2011 on? Then again, prospects are volatile, and Cortes might never even be an average major-league pitcher. Fortunately, the odds are with him.