The Chicago Cubs acquired 26 year old reliever Robert Coello from the Boston Red Sox today. The Red Sox designated Coello for assignment, and consequently, agreed to a trade with the Chicago Cubs. In exchange, the Cubs will be sending minor league infielder Tony Thomas to the Red Sox.
Coello made his major league debut last September with the Red Sox. In six games with the Red Sox, Coello consummated an ERA of 4.76 with 5 strikeouts and 5 walks. That small of a sample size is not enough to determine his true value as a pitcher. For that, let’s take a look at a scouting report provided by SoxProspects.com.
"Big righty with a powerful frame. Smooth, deceptive delivery. Heavy fastball sits between 91-93 mph and tops out at 94 mph. Also uses a nice low-80s forkball, a mediocre curveball, and an developing changeup. Attacks the zone and throws strikes. Gets a ton of strikeouts but can be hittable when he works too much down the middle of the zone. Projects as a middle reliever at the major league level, one that might be able to be utilized in high-leverage situations. Still learning how to pitch. Coello was well-regarded as a catcher when he was drafted by Cincinnati in 2004. However, he missed the 2005 season with a rib injury and the Reds released him in the spring of 2006. He converted to pitching after signing a one-year minor league deal with the Angels in September 2006. The right-hander dominated much younger competition in the rookie-level Arizona League in 2007, but the Angels opted not to re-sign him to a long-term deal. He impressed with Edmonton of the independent Golden Baseball League in 2008, and Boston acquired his rights from Edmonton in November 2008. Sox Prospects"
At 26, Coello would figure to be ready for the major leagues in the near future. Coello led the Red Sox minor leagues in strikeouts last season with 130, and went a combined 7-6 with an ERA of 3.86 in 107.3 innings between Double A- Portland and Triple A- Pawtucket last season.
In a lot of ways, Coello reminds me of current Cub Angel Guzman. Like Guzman, Coello is a hard throwing right hander who is capable of being a starting pitcher or a relief pitcher. The only thing that may hold Coello back is his inability to throw strikes. Coello was placed on the Cubs 40 man roster, and figures to have a chance at breaking camp with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs middle relief picture is bit bleak right now, and Coello may have an opportunity to slide into the Cubs bullpen.
In 37.7 innings of winter league action in 2010, Coello had an ERA of 4.94 with 36 strikeouts and 19 walks.