Top 50 Pitching Prospects from 2005 In Review

Here are my Top 50 Pitching Prospects from 2005. I think this list holds up better than the hitting list. Let's see how they did. You can find a review of the 2004 list (based on what we knew in '08) here.

Top 50 Pitching Prospects for 2005

1) Felix Hernandez, RHP, Mariners: 58-41, 3.45 ERA, 125 ERA+ in 905 innings. One of the best young pitchers in the game.

2) Adam Miller, RHP, Indians: Can't stay healthy.

3) Jeff Francis, LHP, Rockies: 51-44, 4.74 ERA, 101 ERA+ in 778 innings, injured in '09.

4) Chad Billingsley, RHP, Dodgers: 47-30, 3.55 ERA, 119 ERA+ in 634 innings. One of the best young pitchers in the game.

5) Scott Kazmir, LHP, Rays: 57-46, 3.83 ERA, 117 ERA+ in 870 innings. One of the best young pitchers in the game.

6) Jesse Crain, RHP, Twins: 32-20, 3.50 ERA, 126 ERA+ in 314 innings. Excellent '05 rookie season, has faded since then. Never got a chance to close; this ranking assumed he would.

7) Dan Meyer, LHP, Athletics: Shoulder injury zapped his stuff. 3-8, 5.09 ERA, 83 ERA+ in 104 innings in the majors, but had some Triple-A success.

8) Huston Street, RHP, Athletics: 25-13, 129 saves, 2.91 ERA, 149 ERA+ in 331 innings. Great closer.

9) Gavin Floyd, RHP, Phillies: 36-29, 4.67 ERA, 99 ERA+ in 578 innings. Struggled at first, but has done better since coming to Chicago.

10) Matt Cain, RHP, Giants: 44-51, 3.53 ERA, 126 ERA+ in 872 innings. One of the best young pitchers in the game.

11) Mike Hinckley, LHP, Nationals: Shoulder problems zapped his stuff, now trying to find his way as a LOOGY.

12) Brandon McCarthy, RHP, White Sox: 20-24, 4.56 ERA, 101 ERA+ in 373 innings. Essentially an average pitcher when healthy.

13) Brandon League, RHP, Blue Jays: 7-10, 4.09 ERA, 108 ERA+ in 202 innings. Has had moments of strong success but erratic.

14) Merkin Valdez, RHP, Giants: 3-1, 5.24 ERA, 84 ERA+ in 67 innings. Tommy John surgery and command problems.

15) Ian Snell, RHP, Pirates: 38-48, 4.71 ERA, 92 ERA+ in 757 innings. Above average in 2007 but has been mediocre otherwise.

16) Anthony Reyes, RHP, Cardinals: 13-26, 5.12 ERA, 85 ERA+ in 293 innings. Had some success in 2008 but otherwise disappointing.

17) Jose Capellan, RHP, Brewers: 5-7, 4.89 ERA, 92 ERA+ in 123 innings. Faded out after some flashes of success in the majors in '05 and '06.

18) J.D. Durbin, RHP, Twins: 6-6, 6.19 ERA, 74 ERA+ in 73 innings. Outstanding stuff, but control problems and durability issues have kept him from success.

19) Scott Baker, RHP, Twins: 43-33, 4.27 ERA, 101 ERA+ in 653 innings. A very nice inning-eater with occasional flashes of brilliance.

20) Joe Blanton, RHP, Athletics: 63-54, 4.21 ERA, 102 ERA+ in 1027 innings. Like Baker, he eats innings and keeps his team in the game.

21) Yusmeiro Petit, RHP, Mets: 10-20, 5.57 ERA, 83 ERA+ in 229 innings. Hasn't lived up to the minor league numbers.

22) Jairo Garcia, RHP, Athletics: Age-Gate guy, now Santiago Casilla. 6-4, 5.11 ERA, 84 ERA+ in 160 innings. Has the stuff, just doesn't do much with it.

23) Richie Gardner, RHP, Reds: Got hurt in 2005, never the same. Out of baseball.

24) Denny Bautista, RHP, Royals: 9-15, 6.26 ERA, 72 ERA+ in 190 innings. Dominican version of J.D. Durbin.

25) Kyle Davies, RHP, Braves: 34-44, 5.54 ERA, 79 ERA+ in 523 innings. Was rushed by the Braves, sometimes looks good but just doesn't put it together.

26) Jacob Stevens, LHP, Braves: Command collapsed in '05, stuff declined as well, hanging around now as a mediocre A-ball pitcher.

27) Jon Papelbon, RHP, Red Sox: 14-11, 151 saves, 1.84 ERA, 254 ERA+: Pretty freaking good I would say.

28) Chad Orvella, RHP, Rays: 4-10, 5.79 ERA, 77 ERA+ in 82 innings. He had a good rookie year in '05 but fell apart after that.

29) Scott Olsen, LHP, Marlins: 33-44, 4.77 ERA, 90 ERA+ in 642 innings. Flashes of good pitching but inconsistent, head case.

30) Jered Weaver, RHP, Angels: 51-27, 3.73 ERA, 121 ERA+ in 672 innings. A personal favorite.

31) Gio Gonzalez, LHP, White Sox: 7-11, 6.24 ERA, 69 ERA+ in 133 innings. Still just 24, still has a chance, continues to fan people at a strong rate.

32) Jonathan Broxton, RHP, Dodgers: 19-12, 55 saves, 2.92 ERA, 146 ERA+ in 317 innings. Another personal favorite.

33) Zach Duke, LHP, Pirates: 37-55, 4.30 ERA, 99 ERA+ in 805 innings. A league-average inning eater.

34) Justin Verlander, RHP, Tigers: 65-43, 3.92 ERA, 116 ERA+ in 840 innings. Was just coming out of college in 2004 which is why he was this low. Excellent in '06, '07, and '09, '08 was just a hiccup.

35) Glen Perkins, LHP, Twins: 18-11, 4.73 ERA, 90 ERA+ in 282 innings. Strikeout rates don't support long-term success.

36) Thomas Diamond, RHP, Rangers: Working his way back from arm problems. Still has a slight chance.

37) Jeff Niemann, RHP, Rays: 15-8, 4.03 ERA, 112 ERA+ in 197 innings. Strong '09 rookie season. I like him going forward.

38) J.P. Howell, LHP, Royals: 18-20, 20 saves, 4.47 ERA, 100 ERA+ in 322 innings. Working off the statistical hangover from being rushed by the Royals. Has been outstanding in the Rays pen the last two years.

39) John Danks, LHP, Rangers: 31-33, 4.06 ERA, 114 ERA+ in  534 innings. Bad rookie season but has been very strong since.

40) Thomas Pauly, RHP, Reds: Hurt his arm, missed all of '05 and '06, came back and pitched badly in '07, out of baseball.

41) David Purcey, LHP, Blue Jays: 4-9, 5.81 ERA, 73 ERA+ in 113 innings. Command issues stalled him out in Triple-A.

42) Edwin Jackson, RHP, Dodgers: 38-39, 4.66 ERA, 96 ERA+ in 670 innings. Struggled at first because he was rushed, average in '08 then very strong in '09.

43) Juan Dominguez, RHP, Rangers: 5-10, 4.60 ERA, 104 ERA+ in 110 innings. Remember this guy? He looked really good for a bit, but got hurt.

44) David Aardsma, RHP, Giants: 13-9, 38 saves, 4.38 ERA, 103 ERA+ in 216 innings. Looked like a failure until a strong '09 season.

45) Josh Banks, RHP, Blue Jays: 4-7, 5.38 ERA, 71 ERA+ in 115 innings. An excellent Triple-A pitcher due to his command, but stuff is just a bit short for the majors.

46) Fernando Cabrera, RHP, Indians: 8-7, 5.12 ERA, 87 ERA+ in 174 innings. He looked terrific in 2005 but has done nothing after that.

47) Fernando Nieve, RHP, Astros: 6-7, 4.20 ERA, 104 ERA+ in 144 innings. Still trying to get established, but he's been decent in limited action.

48) Cole Hamels, LHP, Phillies: 48-34, 3.67 ERA, 121 ERA+ in 737 innings. Missed most of '04 with a bad elbow, which is why he was this low.

49) Adam Harben, RHP, Twins: Sleeper pick that didn't pan out, pitched well in '05 but faded out after that, got hurt.

50) Yhency Brazoban, RHP, Dodgers: 10-12, 4.70 ERA, 21 saves, 88 ERA+ in 115 innings. Looked good at times but couldn't sustain it.

I am very happy with this list, and I think it speaks for itself. Most of the failures are guys who got hurt. The Top Ten worked out great.

The conventional wisdom is that pitching prospects are harder to predict than hitting prospects. In general terms their injury risk is obviously higher, though in '05 the pitching list turned out to be better I think, at least at the top.

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