Top 50 Pitching Prospects of 2006 In Review

Top 50 Pitching Prospects from 2006 in Review

Yesterday we looked at the Top 50 Hitting Prospects from 2006, to see how they looked five years later. Today we'll take a look at the Top 50 pitchers. You can find the review of the 2005 list that I did in January 2010 here.


1) Justin Verlander, RHP, Detroit Tigers: 83-52, 3.81 ERA, 118 ERA+, 18.7 career WAR. Excellent.

2) Francisco Liriano, LHP, Minnesota Twins: 38-32, 3.97 ERA, 109 ERA+, 8.4 career WAR. Not the pitcher he was before Tommy John, but still above average.

3) Matt Cain, RHP, San Francisco Giants: 57-62, 3.45 ERA, 126 ERA+, 20.9 career WAR. Excellent.

4) Chad Billingsley, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: 59-41, 3.55 ERA, 116 ERA+, 12.8 career WAR. Very very good.

5) Craig Hansen, RHP, Boston Red Sox: 2005 draft pick ranked very high coming into '06 as future closer. 6.34 ERA, 73 ERA+ in just 94 innings, -2.2 career WAR. Huge bust. Was rushed, had serious command problems.

6) Jason Hirsh, RHP, Houston Astros:  8-11, 5.32 ERA, 89 ERA+ in 166 innings, career WAR -0.8. Still hanging around Triple-A.

7) Cesar Carrillo, RHP, San Diego Padres:  13.06 ERA in 10.1 major league innings. Injuries left him a Triple-A pitcher.

8) Jon Lester, LHP, Boston Red Sox:  61-25, 3.55 ERA, 130 ERA+, 18.1 career WAR. Excellent.

9) Jon Papelbon, RHP, Boston Red Sox:  2.22 ERA, 209 ERA+, 188 saves, 15.1 career WAR. Excellent.

10) Fernando Cabrera, RHP, Cleveland Indians:  5.24 ERA, 86 ERA+ in 175 innings, career WAR -0.3.  It was really stupid to rank  him this high and I don't remember what my thinking was.

11) Scott Baker, RHP, Minnesota Twins:  55-42, 4.32 ERA, 100 ERA+, career WAR 11.4.  A solid starting pitcher.

12) Joel Zumaya, RHP, Detroit Tigers:  3.05 ERA, 148 ERA+ in 210 innings, career WAR 4.4. A very effective pitcher
when he isn't injured.

13) Jon Broxton, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers:  3.11 ERA, ERA+ 136, 77 saves, 6.1 career WAR. Can't complain.

14) Luke Hochevar, RHP, Unsigned:  19-32, 5.60 ERA, 78 ERA+, career WAR -0.5. Awful.

15) Mike Pelfrey, RHP, New York Mets: 43-41, 4.31 ERA, 95 ERA+, career WAR 4.4. Strong '08 and '10 seasons. I keep expecting him to take a big leap forward at some point.

16) Scott Elbert, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers:  6.84 ERA in 26 major league innings. Has been effective in the minors most of the time, with bouts of command problems and injuries. Still a prospect.

17) Jeremy Sowers, LHP, Cleveland Indians:  5.18 ERA, 84 ERA+ in 400 innings, career WAR 1.7. Pitched well in the majors in 2006 but unable to replicate success.

18) Scott Olsen, LHP, Florida Marlins: 37-49, 4.85 ERA, 88 ERA+ in 723 innings, career WAR -0.2. Pitched well in '06 and '08, but badly otherwise.

19) Troy Patton, LHP, Houston Astros:  13 major league innings. An average Triple-A pitcher at this point, lost much of his velocity due to injuries.

20) Anthony Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals: 13-26, 5.12, ERA+ 86, career WAR 0.4. Looked good at times but never put it together.

21) Jered Weaver, RHP, Los Angeles Angels: 64-39, 3.55 ERA, ERA+ 12, career WAR 20.0. Excellent.

22) Yusmeiro Petit, RHP, Florida Marlins: 5.57 ERA, 82 ERA+ in 229 innings, career WAR -0.2. Turned out to be a Quadruple-A type.

23) Anibal Sanchez, RHP, Florida Marlins:  31-29, 3.74 ERA, 114 ERA+, 7.6 career WAR. A solid pitcher when healthy.

24) Jose Capellan, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers: 4.89 ERA, 93 ERA+ in 123 innings, -0.2 career WAR. Blah.

25) Merkin Valdez, RHP, San Francisco Giants: 5.53 ERA, 80 ERA+ in 68 innings, -0.7 WAR. Injury casualty.

26) Phil Hughes, RHP, New York  Yankees:  31-18, 4.20 ERA, 105 ERA+, 4.9 career WAR. Just getting started.

27) Eric Hurley, RHP, Texas Rangers:  Made five starts in 2008. Injury casualty.

28) Homer Bailey, RHP, Cincinnati Reds: 16-16, 5.09 ERA, 83 ERA+, -0.5 career WAR. Has the stuff, but consistently inconsistent.

29) Edinson Volquez, RHP, Texas Rangers: 28-22, 4.36 ERA, 101 ERA+, 4.2 career WAR. Excellent in 2008 but hampered by injuries since.

30) Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP, Houston Astros: Got killed in three starts for the Pirates in 2008.Injury issues, and unable to replicate A-ball success at higher levels.

31) Matt Garza, RHP, Minnesota Twins:  42-44, 3.97 ERA, 107 ERA+, 9.8 career WAR. Very good pitcher.

32) Anthony Swarzak, RHP, Minnesota Twins:  6.25 ERA, 70 ERA+ in 12 starts in 2009. Got hit hard in Triple-A last year. Not a lot of hope in my view.

33) Jairo Garcia, RHP, Oakland Athletics:  Now known as Santiago Casilla. 4.30 ERA, 99 ERA+ in 216 innings, six saves, but was effective in 2010 with a 1.95 ERA for the Giants, 1.3 career WAR.

34) Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies: 22-20, 4.43 ERA, 96 ERA+. Took a huge step forward in '10, 15-9, 3.23, 128 ERA+, 4.3 WAR.

35) Ray Liotta, LHP, Chicago White Sox: Injury casualty.

36) Mark Pawelek, LHP, Chicago Cubs: Injury casualty, velocity vanished.

37) Bobby Jenks, RHP, Chicago White Sox:  3.40 ERA, 136 ERA+, 173 saves, 9.6 career WAR. No complaints.

38) John Danks, LHP, Texas Rangers:  46-44, 3.96 ERA, 115 ERA+, 17.2 career WAR. Excellent.

39) Thomas Diamond, RHP, Texas Rangers:  6.83 ERA, 64 ERA+ in 29 innings for the Cubs last year. Looked like an injury casualty but fought his way back.

40) David Purcey, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays:  5.33 ERA, 81 ERA+. Much more effective in pen last year, probably his best role for the future.

41) Chris Ray, RHP, Baltimore Orioles: 4.02 ERA, 111 ERA+ in 248 innings, 51 saves, 49 of them in '06 and '07.  3.6 career WAR.

42) Cole Hamels, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies:  60-45, 3.53 ERA, 123 ERA+, 17.0 career WAR. Excellent. Deserved to rank higher.

43) Ricky Romero, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays:  27-18, 3.99 ERA, 107 ERA+, 5.8 career WAR. Looked like a possible bust until 2009 but has been very good since.

44) Chuck James, LHP, Atlanta Braves:  24-19, 4.48 ERA, 98 ERA+. Effective in 2006 and 2007 but didn't last long. 2.6 career WAR. Pitched well in Triple-A last year and could reemerge.

45) Travis Bowyer, RHP, Florida Marlins: Strong relief season in Triple-A in 2005, got hurt and never pitched again.

46) Dustin McGowan, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays:  20-22, 4.71 ERA, 94 ERA+ in 354 innings through 2008. 1.7 career WAR. Injury casualty.

47) Matt Torra, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: 2005 first rounder. Suffered labrum injury and was never the same, lost 7 MPH off fastball. Now a Triple-A inning-eater.

48) Donald Veal, LHP, Chicago Cubs: Stalled out in upper minors with mechanical problems, control issues.

49) Wade Davis, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays: 4.01 ERA, 100 ERA+ in 204 innings, 2.1 career WAR. Just getting started.

50) Dustin Nippert, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks:  5.31 ERA, 86 ERA+ in 268 innings, 0.1 career WAR. Looked like a bust but has pitched well for the Rangers the last two years.

With just a couple of exceptions I am very happy with this list. Most of the busts were injury-related. I've noticed the last few years that the pitching lists have turned out better than the hitting lists, although generally pitchers are supposed to be less predictable. I'm not sure why that is, although in general I have a better feel for analyzing pitchers both sabermetrically and scoutingly than I do for hitters.

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