Signed in 2015 as a 19 year old from the Dominican Republic, the 6’6” Charles has drawn attention for his high-90’s heat. Listed at his signing weight of 220, Charles now weighs closer to 250 pounds, a large human with an intimidating mound presence and no fear throwing inside with his big fastball. Coming into 2018, he has been unable to find the strike zone with any consistency as a professional and is a full-time reliever.
In this look, any previous control concerns were unapparent. Charles stayed tall and stable over the rubber, keeping his big frame on line to home plate with a high 3/4s release. His fastball was up to 98 mph, sitting 95-to-96 mph and featuring heavy sink down in the zone with plus plane given his height. Excellent extension adds to the perceived velocity of the pitch, a future double-plus offering if the command in this outing sticks. He moved the pitch in and out versus RHH’s to set up his slider, a hard mid-80s vertical breaker he mostly stayed on top of. When he did, he located the pitch both inside and away to RHH’s. It’s a future 60-grade secondary.
The track record for reliever-only types who have yet to taste full-season ball having MLB impact isn’t great. And yet, Charles’ still has a chance to be the rare exception. He is athletic for his size and already flashes two swing-and-miss pitches. It’s extreme risk, but he has the stuff and mound presence of a leverage reliever. Charles needs to demonstrate that he can limit his walks in full-season ball, and I believe he has the delivery to do so. Until he shows it, he projects to a middle-relief role with high-leverage upside.