Who is Gerardo Concepcion?

You wouldn't like Gerardo Concepcion when he's angry.

So you’ve heard of Yoennis Cespedes, and you’ve heard of Jorge Soler, but have you heard of Gerardo Conception? He is the latest Cuban player to hit the hot stove news circuit after emerging as a free agent on Wednesday. Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes Los Angeles reported that the left-handed pitcher was scheduled to attend a training session at the Yankees’ Dominican camp on Thursday.

Concepcion projects to be everything the Yankees value in young pitchers. At 17, he broke out in the Cuban National Series, winning rookie of the year for his 2010-2011 performance. In that season he posted a 10-3 record with a 3.36 ERA through 101.2 IP. Now, 18, Concepcion is listed at 6’1” and 175 lbs, a thin frame that figures to grow and add velocity to his 89-91 MPH fastball. Concepcion’s secondary pitches include a plus curveball and solid slider and changeup.

2010-2011 Cuban League
Age W L ERA G GS IP H R ER HR BB SO H/9 BB/9 SO/9 FIP
18 10 3 3.36 21 16 101.2 103 42 38 6 43 53 9.1 3.8 4.7 4.75

As you can tell by the chart, the 4.75 FIP indicates Concepcion’s success in Cuba was most likely luck. His 4.7 SO/9 does not compliment the report of a plus curveball. Still, the other numbers are quite impressive when you consider his age and competition. A 3.8 BB/9 at such a young age, for a pitcher topping out at 94, illustrates above average control. When you combine the relative control with his 9.1 H/9 and a 0.53 HR/9, against Cuban hitters ten years older and in their prime, the statistics suggest that Concepcion has a very advanced feel for pitching.

As a young thin finesse left-hander, Concepcion projects to miss bats along with an ability to pitch to contact. Predicting the cost of such a prospect is difficult, but fellow Cuban Noel Arguelles offers a decent comparison. Arguelles inked a 5 year $7 million contract from the Royals back in late 2009, but with the new collective bargaining agreement, players under 23 years old count against a team’s spending pool, which should lower the price on such young players. The Yankees haven’t been huge spenders on the international market recently; I wouldn’t be surprised to see them grab up some of the young Cuban players available this offseason, Concepcion included.

Correction 1/20/12: According to Jim Callis of Baseball America, players who reach free agency in 2012 before the July 2nd International Signing Period, are not subject to the $2.9m spending pool. So assuming Concepcion signs before July 2nd, he will be one of the last young free agents to avoid the new CBA rules. Big thanks to commenter Ralph.

Mike is the co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money. Outside of blogging baseball, Mike is also a musician, a runner, and a beer lover.

11 thoughts on “Who is Gerardo Concepcion?

  1. Ralph

    I believe the new rules in the new CBA for international spending doesn’t kick in until July when the new crop of 16 yr old prospects can sign which would suggest he can sign for more than what would be expected under the new rules. But ifreely admit I could be misunderstanding the new CBA

    • You’d be right. As per the correction, Jim Callis confirms so in his report about Jorge Soler’s free agency. As long as Concepcion signs before July 2nd, he’s free from the spending pool. Like wise, I found the CBA is very wordy about this and focuses more on the qualifications to be included rather than the dates. Thanks for the correction.

      • Rob

        The CBA is purposely vague as they want to leave enough wiggle room to make changes and not pin themselves into a corner. This is a work in progress.

  2. T.O. Chris

    Soler and Concepcion should snapped ASAP even if they have to go above every other offer by 4-5 million. The ability for the Yankees to grab high end talent is going to become more and more limited, they need to strike now while their considerable monetary advantage can be used. Neither may ever make it to the major leagues, but young projectable talent is exactly what they should be going after. I’m not huge on Cespedes just because of age and the fact that he is going to be paid as if he was a major league player already, but Soler and Concepcion are both extremely young and probably won’t be paid more than 12-15 million a piece for a total contract on the high side of things. The Yankees can certainly afford that kind of risk.

    • Michael P.

      I agree. The Yankees need to use their financial might and flex it. They will most likely never be able to acquire young high end talent without giving something up. They need to take advantage and sign Soler and Concepcion. These are the kind of risks that a team like the Yankees can take and shrug off. Its all nice and good to talk about the need to get younger and cheaper but the key is those players actually have to perform. When your picking at the bottom of the draft year in and year out thats going to be tough.

    • Ted Nelson

      The $15 million + Soler will probably get is a big opportunity cost (Leonys got $15 mill and Soler is pretty widely considered to be better). If they see that kind of value in him, sure. If they don’t, though, throwing that kind of money at him might directly impact their ability to use the money in better ways.

      • T.O. Chris

        What is 15 million, that doesn’t count against the luxury tax, going to do to the Yankees? Absolutely nothing. This isn’t 60 million, 120 in total, for Darvish. Or even 30+ for Cespedes. It’s the last chance the Yankees have to flex their financial might on the IFA before the new CBA makes it an impossibility. They have to grab up the two high upside prospects now, before they no longer have the chance.

  3. john renz

    i getting tired of the yankees talking about cutting back.these new agreements are going hurt baseball i.e draft etc.They should on a few of these cubans while the old rules apply.Texas rangers are spending more money on young players than yanks.that 15 million bid on yu the japanese pitcher was a disgrace,wake up!!!

    • T.O. Chris

      Darvish doesn’t come close to comparing to Concepcion, Soler, or any other young IFA. He was a 120 million dollar flier on what amounts to a rookie pitcher, one who’s thrown a scary amount of innings and even more pitches than you would expect with those innings by 25. I have absolutley no problem with the Yankees not going after Darvish hard. In fact if it came down to trading for Pineda or signing Darvish I would go Pineda 100 times over. He’s younger, much cheaper, and I feel has much more upside.

      There’s no reason for them not to sign Concepcion or Soler, there is many reasons not to go nuts on Darvish or Cespedes.

      • Watcher

        Whether the Yankees should have been more aggressive bidding for Darvish or not, I don’t understand why the decision would not be largely independent of whether or not they traded for Pineda. I don’t see why it was one or the other. It seems to me that each decision stood (or not) on its own merits or lack thereof.

        • T.O. Chris

          The argument of many is that the Yankees ONLY traded for Pineda because they didn’t want to spend the money on Darvish, Wilson, Hamels, Cain, etc… Thus in order to save money and be under the 189 million by 2014 they decided to trade for Pineda. It’s a ridiculous assertion, one that is not only insulting Cashman but Pineda as well.

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