The Atlanta Braves promoted Royber Salinas to High-A Rome.
Through 5 starts, 23.2 innings pitched, Royber Salinas had a 1.52 ERA, 1.97 FIP,1.97 xFIP, and 0.93 WHIP. Impressive.
Add in a 55.9% strikeout rate and it looks like a video game statistic. Salinas struck out 52 of the 93 batters face in Single-A.
His 52 strikeouts are actually the most in all of minor league baseball at this moment.
Who is Royber Salinas?
The 21-year-old pitcher from Venezuela joined the Braves organization without much attention. A relative unknown at the time of his signing.
He has become a consistent strikeout machine since joining the organization. In 2019 at the Dominican Summer League, Salinas pitched 33 innings with a 3.82 ERA, 3.67 FIP, and 4.10 xFIP that included a 25.0% strikeout rate.
The breakout really began last year when he came stateside for the first time following the pandemic.
Pitching in the Florida Complex League, he threw 25.1 innings with a 3.20 ERA, 4.70 FIP, 3.20 xFIP, 1.38 WHIP, and a 42.6% strikeout rate. This would allow him to end the year by pitching 14 innings in single-A with a 0.64 ERA, 3.33 FIP, 4.01 xFIP, 1.00 WHIP, and 32.7% strikeout rate.
His 2021 season saw him get a little more attention but not enough to get him ranked in any top 30 prospect lists. Now, Royber Salinas has found himself with a lot of attention.
He will head to Rome where he hopes to continue his success against more advanced hitters.
Salinas features a mid-90s fastball that he pairs with a violent slider. He also throws a curveball that looks more for show but can still serve a purpose.
He has a violent arm action on his pitches that allow him to get max velocity and movement, but it also leads to control issues. The control and command are the biggest issues facing Royber Salinas as he continues to progress through the minor leagues.
This year, he was walking batters 12.9% of the time. He was able to limit the damage by striking out over half of batters faced. As he rises through the minors, guys will have more plate discipline rather than swinging at every pitch, so he will need to work on his command if he wants to progress to the higher levels.
Either way, it is exciting to see a potential breakout prospect in the system. A relative unknown is being featured in national headlines. If he can continue his efforts at High-A Rome, there is a chance that Royber Salinas could sneak his way into midseason top 30s list.