Overview of Texas A&M Pitcher Christian Roa
Texas A&M right-handed pitcher Christian Roa brings a lot of intrigue leading up to the 2020 MLB Draft. Roa currently ranks as the 89th overall prospect on MLB.com’s list. Additionally, the right-handed pitcher comes in at six-foot-four-inches, 220 pounds, and 21-years of age.
At the beginning of this season, Roa caught a lot of scout’s attention because he was striking out 15.8 batters per nine innings. That alone added to the intrigue surrounding Roa, but with the sudden end to the season due to the Coronavirus, there is still some unknown about what role the right-handed pitcher might have moving forward.
With the potential that he possesses, it would not be a surprise to see Roa get drafted in the second or third round. Additionally, there are many scouts who believe Texas A&M has quite a duo with Roa and fellow left-handed pitcher Asa Lacy. In fact, that duo could be the best out of the school in over twenty years.
Overall, the biggest thing to like about Roa is his ability to throw swing-and-miss stuff. The potential is there for Roa to be a high strikeout type of pitcher. During his four 2020 starts, he recorded a total of 35 strikeouts. Furthermore, against the 68 batters he faced in that span, he held them to a cumulative batting average of .230.
Among the intrigue is Roa’s fastball which usually sits in the low-to-mid 90’s. In the past, his fastball has reached 96 MPH, but scouts did notice it lost some velocity earlier this season. In addition, Roa features a slider, curveball and changeup all of which have varying looks depending on how he is performing on a given day.
Scouts have observed that Roa has a lot of fading and sink type of action on his changeup. In addition, the curveball follows a path across his body. On the scouting scale, both pitches receive a grade of 55. His fastball gets a grade of 55 and the slider getting a grade of 50.
Finally, Roa has a very strong build which benefits him when he’s on the mound. His height creates a lot of deception when he throws his pitches, tricking hitters on the opposing team.
While Roa features swing-and-miss stuff, resulting in a lot of strikeouts, he could afford to continue focusing on his overall command. Scouts note that he should focus more heavily on where his pitches are thrown at times. These issues are illustrated by his 4.25 era in three NCAA seasons.
Secondly, as part of the refining process moving forward, Roa should focus on fine tuning his slider pitch. With the movement and action of his changeup and curveball, having a slider that has that type of movement would further add to his value. Anytime a pitcher is able to throw three or four high quality, effective pitches, it makes their stock higher.
Watching video of Christian Roa, it’s easy to see how his windup benefits him when releasing his pitches. Roa uses his front leg as a support as the ball comes up and in a downward path towards home plate. With that being said, there is still some unknown regarding whether Roa will be a starter or reliever moving forward. Therefore, one potential comp is Atlanta Braves closer Shane Greene.
Both Roa and Greene are the same height, but Greene is 23 pounds lighter at 197 pounds. However, both right-handers have very similar windups on the mound and Greene will usually attack hitters in the bottom part of the strike zone. Greene’s primary pitch is his fastball which averaged 93 miles per hour last season, according to data compiled by Baseball Savant.
Beyond that, Greene features a cutter, which he threw 32% of the time last year with an average velocity of 88 miles per hour. His slider velocity sits in the low-80’s, similar to Roa. Moving forward, it could be the right-handers third complimentary pitch as it is for Greene. Another similarity between the two is that they are strike throwers. Greene had a 10.2 K/9 rate during the first half of last season with the Detroit Tigers.
If Roa ends up being a closer for a team, he could be a very valuable one. That is especially true with the movement of his changeup and curveball as well as his overall build and composure on the mound.
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