Jeremy Hellickson of the Tampa Bay Rays doesn't care that his FIP was more than a run higher than his ERA. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Here is a review of my PRE-SEASON Top 50 Pitching Prospects list for 2011. THIS IS THE PRE-SEASON LIST. IT IS NOT A NEW LIST.
As we discussed last week with the review of the 2007 list, it takes at least four or five years before we can tell how a list truly panned out. However, I always review the previous year's list in each book, and it is the best way to start off the process for 2012. REMINDER: We are now taking pre-orders for the 2012 Baseball Prospect Book!
Top 50 Pitching Prospects for 2011
1) Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade A: Went 13-10, 2.95 ERA, 117/72 K/BB in 189 major league innings. Obviously very successful, although his FIP was weaker than his ERA. I think he'll improve.
2) Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds, Grade A: 3.60 ERA, 71/41 K/BB in 50 major league innings, just 24 hits. Wobbly command and health issues kept him from reaching his full potential, but upside remains huge.
3) Julio Teheran, RHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade A: Went 15-3, 2.55 ERA, 122/48 K/BB in 145 innings in Triple-A at age 20. Posted 5.03 ERA in 20 major league innings, 10/8 K/BB. Remains an excellent prospect.
4) Matt Moore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade A: Went 12-3, 1.92 ERA, 210/46 K/BB in 155 innings between in Double-A/Triple-A, just 101 hits allowed. Looked excellent in brief major league and post-season action. Now the best pitching prospect in baseball.
5) Michael Pineda, RHP, Seattle Mariners, Grade A: Went 9-10, 3.74 ERA with 173/55 K/BB in 171 major league innings, 133 hits. Very successful debut, can't complain here.
7) Kyle Drabek, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade A-: Command collapsed. Posted 6.06 ERA with 51/55 K/BB in 79 major league innings, 7.44 ERA with 45/41 K/BB in 75 Triple-A innings. I noted last year that his component ratios weren't terrific and that there was some danger in rushing him, but this was still a surprisingly bad performance.
11) Jake McGee, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B+: 2.70 ERA, 38/8 K/BB in 33 Triple-A innings, nine saves. Had some command issues in the majors, posted 4.50 ERA with 27/12 K/BB in 28 innings. Upside remains quite high.
12) Danny Duffy, LHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade B+: 3.43 ERA with 48/10 K/BB in 42 Triple-A innings, went 4-8, 5.64 with 87/51 K/BB in 105 major league innings. He was rushed and it showed, but potential remains quite high.
13) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade B+: 3.98 ERA, 97/22 K/BB in 93 innings in Low-A, 89 hits. Scouting reports remain very positive, numbers were solid with a limited workload.
14) Mike Montgomery, LHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade B+: Erratic season, went 5-11, 5.32 in Triple-A with 129/69 K/BB in 151 innings, 157 hits. Problems with command and consistency of secondary pitches the issue here, but still just 22 years old.
15) Mike Minor, LHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade B+: 3.13 ERA with 99/27 K/BB in 101 Triple-A innings, 5-3, 4.14 with 77/30 K/BB in 83 major league innings. Already a solid big league pitcher and I expect further improvement.
16) Dellin Betances, RHP, New York Yankees, Grade B+: 3.70 ERA with 142/70 K/BB in 126 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 102 hits. Walked six in 2.2 major league innings. Has the necessary stuff, but control remains an issue.
17) Jordan Lyles, RHP, Houston Astros, Grade B+: 3.61 ERA, 42/17 K/BB in 62 Triple-A innings. Went 2-8, 5.36 in 94 major league innings with 67/26 K/BB and 107 hits allowed. Remains on the Brad Radke career track.
18) Kyle Gibson, RHP ,Minnesota Twins, Grade B+: Posted 4.81 ERA with 92/27 K/BB in 95 Triple-A innings, 109 hits, 1.94 GO/AO. Got off to a good start, slumped at mid-season, ended up with Tommy John surgery and will miss 2012.
19) John Lamb, LHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade B+: 3.09 ERA with 22/13 K/BB in 35 Double-A innings, season ended in June with Tommy John. Will miss much of 2012.
21) Brody Colvin, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies, Grade B+: 4.71 ERA with 78/42 K/BB in 117 innings in High-A, 131 hits. Hampered by back and groin injuries much of the year. Just 21 years old, potential remains high.
22) Chris Archer, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B+: Posted 4.09 ERA with 130/86 K/BB in 147 innings in Double-A/Triple-A. Command troubles early but pitched better late in the season, still has high upside.
23) Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade B+: Excellent in High-A (2.87 ERA, 103/22 K/BB in 78 innings) but ran into some problems with homers in Double-A (4.72 ERA, 54/22 K/BB, 13 homers in 69 innings). Very efficient pitcher but strong fly ball tendency hurt him in Texas League.
24) Tyler Matzek, LHP, Colorado Rockies, Grade B+: Dismal in High-A (9.82 ERA, 37/46 K/BB in 33 innings), recovered somewhat after going down to Low-A (4.36 ERA, 74/50 K/BB in 64 innings). Command issues obvious but he pitched the year at age 20 and has time to recover if he's healthy.
25) Alex White, RHP, Cleveland Indians, Grade B+: 1.80 ERA with 38/6 K/BB in 40 innings in Double-A/Triple-A. Went 3-4, 7.01 in 10 major league starts, 37/25 K/BB and 15 homers in 51 innings between Indians and Rockies following Ubaldo Jimenez trade. Lost time to finger injury. He's better than he looked in the majors.
26) Randall Delgado, RHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade B+: 3.88 ERA with 135/57 K/BB in 139 innings in Double-A/Triple-A. Posted 2.83 ERA in seven major league starts, 18/14 K/BB in 35 innings. Will need to make a few adjustments but overall a fine season.
27) Martin Perez, LHP, Texas Rangers, Grade B+: 3.16 ERA, 83/36 K/BB in 88 innings, 80 hits allowed in Double-A. 6.43 ERA, 37/20 K/BB in 49 innings in Triple-A with 72 hits allowed. He's been pushed very quickly and it shows.
28) Craig Kimbrel, RHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade B+: 2.10 ERA with 127/32 K/BB in 77 major league innings, 46 saves. Spectacular rookie season.
29) Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade B+: Opened year in major league pen but ended back up in the minors. 5.50 ERA with 44/40 K/BB in 56 innings in Double-A/Triple-A, 4.70 ERA with 13/11 K/BB in 15 major league innings. Still has great stuff, still has control problems.
30) Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Cleveland Indians, Grade B+: Sent to Colorado in Ubaldo Jimenez trade. Posted 1.78 ERA with 119/38 K/BB in 101 innings, 68 hits between High-A and Double-A. 5.40 ERA with 13/5 K/BB in 18 major league innings. Remains a top prospect.
31) Deck McGuire, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade B+: 3.02 ERA with 124/45 K/BB in 125 innings between High-A and Double-A. Effective strike-thrower, still a strong prospect.
32) Alex Wimmers, RHP, Minnesota Twins, Grade B+: Had to rebuild mechanics and confidence after disastrous start in April. Finished with 4.20 ERA and 39/22 K/BB in 41 innings in High-A, 28 hits. Wild card for 2012.
33) Zach Stewart, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade B+: 4.20 ERA with 79/27 K/BB in 101 innings in Double-A/Triple-A. Traded to White Sox, went 2-6, 5.88 with 45/18 K/BB in 67 major league innings, 90 hits. Capable of better, but not going to be an ace or rotation anchor.
34) Manny Banuelos, LHP, New York Yankees, Grade B: 3.75 ERA with 125/71 K/BB in 130 innings in Double-A/Triple-A. Had some command problems, but was just 20 years old and in the high minors. Still a fine prospect.
35) Simon Castro, RHP, San Diego Padres, Grade B: Got killed in Triple-A (10.17 ERA, 21/18 K/BB, 37 hits in 26 innings). Sent back to Double-A and was OK (4.33 ERA, 73/16 K/BB in 89 innings, 95 hits). Stock down, but still a prospect.
36) Tyler Chatwood, RHP, Los Angeles Angels, Grade B: Rushed to majors, went 6-11, 4.75 ERA with 74/71 K/BB in 142 innings, 166 hits. He kept his job but the component ratios were terrible, granted he was just 21 years old. Capable of better if he stays healthy.
38) Jordan Walden, RHP, Los Angeles Angels, Grade B: 2.98 ERA, 67/26 K/BB in 60 major league innings, 49 hits, 32 saves. Can't complain about this, a very strong season.
40) Casey Kelly, RHP, San Diego Padres, Grade B: Went 11-6, 3.98 ERA in Double-A with 105/46 K/BB in 142 innings, 153 hits, 1.66 GO/AO. Developing into an inning-eater type rather than an ace, but that's OK.
41) Jarrod Parker, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, Grade B: Went 11-8, 3.79 with 112/55 K/BB in 131 innings in Double-A, 112 hits. Recovery from Tommy John is complete, should be ready for the majors in 2012.
42) Jarrod Cosart, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies, Grade B: Posted 3.92 ERA with 79/43 K/BB in 108 innings in High-A, then 4.71 ERA with 22/13 K/BB in 36 innings in Double-A after trade to Astros. Scouting reports remain positive, but still a year away.
43) Stetson Allie, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade B: Serious command problems in the New York-Penn League resulted in 6.58 ERA, 28/29 K/BB in 26 innings. Has the stuff, but a thrower at this point, not a pitcher.
44) Chris Dwyer, LHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade B: 5.60 ERA with 126/78 K/BB in 141 innings in Double-A, 124 hits. Another guy with command issues, still has upside.
45) Zach Lee, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade B: 3.47 ERA, 91/32 K/BB in 109 innings in Low-A, 101 hits. Scouting reports positive, numbers decent, a solid debut.
46) Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Boston Red Sox, Grade B: 3.33 ERA with 50/16 K/BB in 46 innings in Low-A, 4.33 ERA with 67/30 K/BB in 81 innings in High-A. Not a terrible year, but didn't live up to expectations overall. Stock down somewhat.
47) Alex Colome, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B: Went 12-9, 3.82 with 123/72 K/BB in 158 innings between High-A and Double-A, 119 hits. Good stuff, but another guy working on his command issues. I trust the Rays more than most teams to help him develop.
48) Andy Oliver, LHP, Detroit Tigers, Grade B: Went 8-12, 4.71 ERA with 143/80 K/BB in 147 innings in Triple-A, 149 hits. Familiar story at this point on the list...has the stuff, but will he throw strikes?
49) Garrett Richards, RHP, Los Angeles Angels, Grade B: Went 12-3, 3.15 ERA with 103/40 K/BB in 143 innings in Double-A. Posted 5.79 ERA with 9/7 K/BB in 14 major league innings, 16 hits. Solid transition to upper minors, although groin injury limited his big league exposure.
50) Robbie Erlin, LHP, Texas Rangers, Grade B: Posted 2.99 ERA with amazing 154/16 K/BB in 147 innings between High-A and Double-A, was particularly excellent in Texas League after trade to the Padres. This seems like a good park environment for him.