Atlanta Braves 2012 Prospect Review: Randall Delgado

Jun 9, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Randall Delgado (48) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 9, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Randall Delgado (48) pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

We close in on the end of the 2012 Atlanta Braves Prospect review series. This time we take a look at the number 3 prospect Randall Delgado. As always, check out the previous editions here:

Randall Delgado Future Stud?

There was a time that Randall Delgado was considered one of the best pitching prospects in all of baseball. Not only was he the 3rd ranked prospect in the Braves system, but he was the 42nd prospect in baseball according to MLB pipeline.

The scouting report at the time said he had a solid three pitch mix with his breaking ball being the best of the three. His fastball would sit in the low 90s and his changeup was viewed as a serviceable pitch. He struggled with command in the minors but always showed an ability to make adjustments as needed in the minors.

Delgado came to the Braves as an international free agent in July 2006 and made a noticeable impression almost immediately. The Braves were patient with him as he signed as a sixteen-year-old and allowed him to move through the system at a solid pace. Take a look at his minor league journey:

  • 2007 Rookie: 11 games (10 starts), 45.0 IP- 2.00 ERA, 2.74 FIP, 2.49 xFIP, 1.02 WHIP, 28.1% strikeout rate, & 6.7% walk rate
  • 2008 Rookie: 14 starts, 69.0 IP- 3.13 ERA, 3.90 FIP, 3.76 xFIP, 1.35 WHIP, 27.7% strikeout rate, & 10.3% walk rate
  • 2009 A: 25 starts, 124 IP- 4.35 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 3.18 xFIP, 1.39 WHIP, 26.0% strikeout rate, & 9.0% walk rate
  • 2010 A+: 20 starts, 117.1 IP- 2.76 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 3.22 xFIP, 1.03 WHIP, 25.6% strikeout rate, & 6.8% walk rate
  • 2010 AA: 8 starts, 43.2 IP- 4.74 ERA, 3.55 FIP, 3.90 xFIP, 1.28 WHIP, 22.1% strikeout rate, & 10.5% walk rate
  • 2011 AA: 21 starts, 117.1 IP- 3.84 ERA, 3.93 FIP, 3.72 xFIP, 1.38 WHIP, 21.7% strikeout rate, & 9.1% walk rate
  • 2011 AAA: 4 starts, 21.2 IP- 4.15 ERA, 4.85 FIP, 3.37 xFIP, 1.38 WHIP, 27.2% strikeout rate, & 12.0% walk rate
  • 2011 MLB: 7 starts, 35.0 IP- 2.83 ERA, 5.14 FIP, 4.97 xFIP, 1.23 WHIP, 12.2% strikeout rate, & 9.5% walk rate

Solid numbers throughout the minor leagues for Delgado at each stop. He did not scream “Ace,” but he was giving the vibe of a guy who could be a constant in a major league rotation for many years. His play earned him a spot start on June 17th in favor of Tommy Hanson who had been scratched with a minor shoulder issue. Delgado came up from AA and realized competition was much stiffer in the majors. In 4 innings, he allowed 7 hits, 2 BB, 4 R, 3 ER, and struck out 2 against the Texas Rangers.

After a quick taste of the majors, he was sent back to AA. He pitched well enough to earn a quick promotion to Gwinnett. His play earned him another spot start for Tommy Hanson, this time against the San Francisco Giants. This spot start was the reason all the scouts fell in love with Delgado. He pitched 6 innings, his only hit allowed was a home run to Cody Ross, walked only 1, and struck out 4. A much better performance.

Delgado got more starts as a September callup a few weeks later. In 5 starts, he totaled 25 innings with a 2.52 ERA. It looked great on the surface! It had a lot of people excited going into 2012. The peripherals should have alerted some people. He had a 5.07 FIP, 5.16 xFIP, 5.31 SIERA, & his strikeout rate dropped to 11.3% with a 10.4% walk rate.

Either way, the hype was real heading into 2012. People were excited of a potential rotation of Julio Teheran, Mike Minor, and of course Randall Delgado.

The regression showed up in 2012. In 18 games (17 starts) and 92.2 innings in the majors, Delgado had a 4.37 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 4.13 xFIP, 4.35 SIERA, 1.41 WHIP, 19.0% strikeout rate, & 10.5% walk rate. It resulted in him being demoted back to Gwinnett at the time.

There was also a small moment where he was reportedly almost traded for Ryan Dempster. The one that Dempster supposedly vetoed thanks to his 10/5 rights. Thankfully that did not happen.

The Cubs also were fine with the deal falling through. They eventually traded Dempster to the Texas Rangers for Kyle Hendricks

It was fine though. No reason to worry, right? He was a young kid and as we know, not all prospects developments are the same. Especially when it comes to pitchers.

However, that was a slight issue rising. The Braves wanted to compete soon. They needed one of Teheran or Delgado to turn into a key piece of the rotation. They also wanted to make a big splash and add some offense. They were tied to one guy, Justin Upton, as a potential trade solution after the 2012 season. The Diamondbacks wanted pitching and the Braves had plenty of depth.

It became a hot topic of Julio Teheran vs Randall Delgado. Who should the Braves keep?

Randall Delgado Heads to the Desert

On January 24th, 2013 the Atlanta Braves sent Randall Delgado, Nick Ahmed, Brandon Drury, & Martin Prado to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Chris Johnson & Justin Upton. The Braves chose Teheran over Delgado.

Arizona was happy to get Delgado. A top ranked pitching prospect with several years of control!

Things were not great for the young pitcher in 2013. In 20 games (19 starts), he had a 4.26 ERA, 4.99 FIP, 3.94 xFIP, 4.02 SIERA,1.19 WHIP, 16.7% strikeout rate, & 4.9% walk rate. It was not a disaster, but it was not what the Diamondbacks were hoping for. They were looking for him to take the next step in his development.

The biggest issue was Delgado was not missing bats like he did in his minor league tenure. He could get swings and misses in the minors but not so much against major league talent.

The Diamondbacks would move Delgado to the bullpen in 2014, using him as a long reliever and occasional spot starter. Hoping he would develop into something more. Here are his splits between the roles in 2014:

  • Starter: 4 games, 16.1 IP- 6.61 ERA, 4.23 FIP, 5.25 xFIP, 10.3% strikeout rate, & 9.0% walk rate
  • Reliever: 43 games, 61.1 IP- 4.40 ERA, 3.16 FIP, 3.48 xFIP, 29.9% strikeout rate, & 10.7% walk rate

Much better when he came out of the ol’ “arm barn.” This led to Delgado being turned into a full-time reliever in 2015 & 2016 (1 spot start) with solid results. He did have his best year in 2017 that saw him make 5 starts but still mostly used as a reliever. In 2018, it did not go well. Here are those numbers by the year:

  • 2015: 64 games (1 start), 72.0 IP- 3.25 ERA, 3.07 xERA, 3.79 FIP, 4.14 xFIP, 3.75 SIERA, 1.33 WHIP, 23.7% strikeout rate, & 10.7% walk rate
  • 2016: 79 games, 75.0 IP- 4.44 ERA, 3.56 xERA, 4.24 FIP, 4.74 xFIP, 4.37 SIERA, 1.51 WHIP, 20.2% strikeout rate, & 10.7% walk rate
  • 2017: 26 games (5 starts), 62.2 IP- 3.59 ERA, 3.92 xERA, 3.16 FIP, 3.53 xFIP, 3.59 SIERA, 1.18 WHIP, 23.2% strikeout rate, & 5.4% walk rate
  • 2018: 10 games, 11.1 IP- 4.76 ERA, 3.95 xERA, 7.31 FIP, 7.22 xFIP, 6.32 SIERA, 1.50 WHIP, 9.8% strikeout rate, & 11.8% walk rate

An oblique injury in Spring Training really hampered Delgado. It prevented him from building upon his solid 2017 season. He would not debut that season until July 8th and just was not the guy he was the year prior. He would be designated for assignment on July 25th, 2018. He was released by the Diamondbacks on July 31st but would sign a minor league deal with the club on August 18th. At the end of the year, he would elect free agency.

Randall Delgado Never Recovers

Randall Delgado never really recovered. To this date, the final major league appearance came in Arizona. He would sign with the Chicago White Sox on January 1st 2019 on a minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training. He was released by the club on March 20th, 2019.

He would sign with the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent American Association on April 15th, 2019. Delgado stayed with the club for just a month, as the New York Yankees would purchase his contract on May 27th, 2019. They would assign him to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders where he would start 10 games, pitch 51.1 innings, with a 6.49 ERA, 5.24 FIP, 4.42 xFIP, 1.52 WHIP, 19.6% strikeout rate, & 7.1% walk rate.

I personally cannot find any information about Delgado in 2020 or 2021. It is very likely he opted out of playing in 2020 like so many others. It is a possibility that he did pitch in an indy ball league somewhere during this time, I just have not been able to track it down. My apologies and feel free to let me know in the comments if you find anything.

On May 6th, 2022 he signed with the Gastonia Honey Hunters of the Atlantic League and pitched with them through the end of August.

This past winter, I discovered that Delgado did pitch for the Águilas Cibaeñas of the Dominican Baseball League. He was recently released from the team.

Translation: “The Baseball Operations Manager of the @aguilascibaenas
,Ángel Ovalles, reported Monday that the team had released pitchers Randall Delgado and Tommy Eveld.” Some stats were shared in a follow up tweet:

The translation says during the regular season, Delgado worked 5 games (2 starts) with a 0-1 record, 12.2 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 9 K, 1.42 ERA. Then in Round Robin play, he worked 3 games with 4.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 3 K, 9.00 ERA.

He has since joined the Atlánticos of the Panamanian Baseball League. He pitched two scoreless innings with 1 hit and 2 strikeouts.

A Wrap on Randall Delgado

It unfortunately never quite worked out for Randall Delgado. He did manage to hang around the big leagues and appear in 8 different seasons. That is more than most ever accomplish.

It is a testament that even the highest rated prospects are not guaranteed to turn into anything. As mentioned earlier, there was a time it was a question of Julio Teheran or Randall Delgado. The Braves chose correctly between the two, but imagine for a moment how different things would be if they dealt away Teheran instead of Delgado?

A fun thought that we will never really know the answer to. Instead, we look back on Delgado’s career wondering what went wrong to prevent him from reaching his ceiling.

One thing we can look at is a fun series of events that saw the Braves have Justin Upton for two season. Then trade Upton to the San Diego Padres for a package that included none other than Max Fried.

Up next, we look at the 2nd ranked prospect. We look at the interesting career of Arodys Vizcaíno.