After making a name for himself in 2008, visa issues kept Luis Noel in the Dominican Republic for all of 2009, limiting him to the Dominican Summer League. He returned to the U.S. in 2010 where he posted some impressive numbers at Delmarva, earning him a mid-season promotion to Frederick. His play tailed off a bit with the Keys, but he still struck out batters at a good clip and posted solid ground ball numbers.
The Orioles limited Noel to about 5 innings per start in 2010, but should allow him to pitch deeper into games this season. He has some troubles with stamina and is often tired out by the 4th or 5th inning.
Noel isn’t going to wow you with stuff and it’s his good fastball location that has allowed him to post high strike out numbers. His fastball sits in the 89-91 mph range, touching 93 mph. He pitches to contact and the life on his fastball enables him to get a decent amount of ground balls.
His secondary offerings include an average slider and a below-average–but improving–changeup.
With just 41 innings with the Keys in ’10, Noel is likely headed back to Frederick. He needs to improve the command of his secondary pitches and would benefit by adding some strength, which should allow him to add a few ticks and pitch deeper into games. If he pitches well for the Keys, a mid-season promotion to Bowie isn’t out of the question.
As it stands, Noel looks like a future middle reliever. But if he improves his changeup and works deeper into games he could turn into a back end starter.