Wichita State Pitchers in Professional Baseball, 1990-2010
Here is a look at all Wichita State University pitchers from 1990 through 2010 who either 1) made the majors or 2) were drafted between the first and sixth rounds. The list is organized chronologically.
Jeff Williams: RHP drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the second round in 1990. A hard thrower, he pitched in relief at the lower levels and performed well, picking up 23 saves with a 2.65 ERA and a 62/38 K/BB in 1991 in A-ball, but he then hurt his arm and missed all of 1992. He was never the same after that, struggling with severe control problems, never reaching the majors. Career 22-23, 4.88, 27 saves, 312/202 K/BB in 411 innings.
Tyler Green: RHP, drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round in 1991, 10th overall. Big kid with a strong fastball/curveball combination, struggled with injuries in 1992 though he pitched well in Double-A. reached Philadelphia in 1993 after a decent Triple-A season. Made 25 starts for the Phillies in 1995 with poor results, then missed all of '96 with injury. He got one more full season with the Phillies in ‘098 with poor results, before hurting his arm again and fading from the scene. 18-25, 5.16 in 384 innings, 5.02 FIP, 263/201 K/BB, 387 hits, ERA+ 83 WAR 2.1.
Kennie Steenstra: RHP drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 12th round in 1992. Very good in college but didn't throw hard so his draft stock was low. Spent four years as the rotation anchor for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs 1995-1998 and pitched well, but received just a four-game trial in Chicago, giving up seven hits and four runs in three innings. Lack of velocity kept him from a real chance, but he was a great Triple-A pitcher. 90-78, 4.04 ERA, 968/416 K/BB in 1580 innings in the minors.
Darren Dreifort: RHP drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round, second overall, in 1993. Universally considered the best pitcher available in the draft that year, he made his pro debut in the majors in 1994 but struggled and ended up back in the minors for a refresher course. He missed all of 1995 with injury, came back in 1996 in Triple-A, then pitched well in the Dodgers pen in 1997. He moved back to starting in '98 and was a decent, if somewhat disappointing, pitcher until hurting his arm again. His career ended at age 32. 48-60, 4.36 ERA, ERA+ 95, 4.09 FIP, 802/389 K/BB in 873 innings, 826 hits, WAR 10.4.
Jaime Bluma: RHP drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the third round in 1994. Short pitcher but had a good arm, got through the minors quickly and pitched well in Royals bullpen in 1996. Blew out his arm and missed all of 1997, and he was never the same after that, losing both velocity and command. Career ended at age 28. 3.60 ERA in 20 major league innings, 14/4 K/BB, five saves. Could have been a very good closer if he had stayed healthy.
Mike Drumright: RHP drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round in 1995, 11th overall. Big guy, threw hard, but lost his command when he reached Triple-A in 1997 and never got it back although he never lost significant pitching time to injuries. Never reached the majors. Minor league record: 49-83, 5.17, 1151 innings mostly in Triple-A, 912/595 K/BB, 1201 hits allowed.
Braden Looper: RHP, drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round in 1996, third overall. Projected as a closer and reached majors in a bullpen role in 1998, though he didn't actually get to close games until 2002 with the Marlins. Steady presence on major league rosters for the last decade, converted to starting in 2007 with the Cardinals. Missed all of '10 following knee surgery. Career 72-65, 4.15 ERA, 4.48 FIP, 669/373 K/BB in 1176 innings, 1242 hits, 103 saves, ERA+ 103, WAR. 5.9.
Ben Christensen: RHP drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the first round in 1999, 26th overall. Gained infamy after beaning a guy standing in the on-deck circle for "timing" his warm-up pitches. Pitched well in the minors in 2000 before blowing out his arm, and never pitched well again. Career ended at age 26. Karma? 12-19, 4.64 in 291 minor league innings, 241/133 K/BB.
Nate Robertson: LHP drafted by the Florida Marlins in the fifth round in 1999. Got hurt in 2000 but came back healthy in '01 and established himself in the majors with Detroit in 2004. A decent pitcher when things are going well, plus he's left-handed and that's kept him employed during rough patches. Career record 57-77, 5.01 ERA, 4.75 FIP, 775/420 K/BB in 1152 innings, 1279 hits, ERA+89, WAR 11.7.
Ben Keiter: RHP drafted by the Texas Rangers in the sixth round in 2001. Got hurt right away and missed most of 2002 and was never effective after that. Career ended at age 24. 5.31 ERA, 155/102 K/BB in 209 minor league innings.
Justin Maureau: LHP drafted in the third round by the Blue Jays in 2002. Excellent college reliever expected to move quickly through system, but he hurt his arm late in 2003 and was out of baseball by '05. Minor league record 3.42 ERA, eight saves, 96/51 K/BB in 103 innings.
Adam Peterson: RHP drafted in the fourth round in 2002 by the Toronto Blue Jays. Pitched well in relief role in the minors through Double-A in 2004, but fell apart in 2005 and never pitched again. Pitched three innings in the majors for Toronto in '04. Minor league record 15-13, 31 saves, 5.03 ERA with 190/96 K/BB in 209 innings. The ERA is deceptive; he pitched very well before getting hurt.
Tommy Hottovy: LHP drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round in 2004. Undersized lefty but with good breaking stuff, solid control, and deceptively good velocity in the bullpen. He relieved in college but the Red Sox made him a starter, which hasn't worked. Missed almost all of 2008 with injury. Still around as an organization arm. 22-38 record, 4.30 ERA, 413/198 K/BB in 536 minor league innings.
Mike Pelfrey: RHP drafted in the first round by the New York Mets in 2005. His story is well-known: he was probably rushed, lost the touch with his breaking stuff, but has worked his way into being a pretty decent starter the last three seasons and could still get better. Career 43-41, 4.31 ERA, 388/249 K/BB in 683 innings, 745 hits, FIP 4.18, ERA+ 95, WAR 8.0.
Kris Johnson: LHP drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the supplemental first round, 40th overall, in 2006. Hasn't performed nearly as well as fellow 2006 Shocker draftee Peltrey, struggling most of the time. Had an excellent rookie ball run and a good Double-A season in 2008 but has otherwise been very disappointing. Career minor league record 26-47, 4.82, 391/221 K/BB in 549 innings, 622 hits.
Travis Banwart: RHP drafted in the fourth round by the Oakland Athletics in 2007. Command and control type has reached Triple-A,but no major league trial yet. 25-21, 4.06, 348/158 K/BB in 448 innings so far. Could be a fifth starter or a reliever.
Aaron Shafer: RHP drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the second round in 2008. Threw hard early in his college career but velocity has dropped. Still shows excellent command and he pitched well after converting to bullpen last year, posting a 0.96 ERA in 47 Double-A innings with good peripherals. 17-13, 3.64 ERA so far, 183/57 K/BB in 230 innings. I can see him becoming a good middle reliever.
Anthony Capra: LHP drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the fourth round in 2008. Quite effective in A-ball, but had control problems last year in Double-A (89 walks in 131 innings). Exists on the borderline between power and finesse, needs better command either way. 16-25 so far, 3.77 ERA, 317/172 K/BB in 332 innings, 280 hits. If his walk rate comes down he could be a surprise.
According to WAR at least Nate Robertson has been the most successful Shocker of the last 20 years. Despite his ups-and-downs and injuries, Darren Dreifort ranks second. Mike Pelfrey can move past them this year if all goes well. Braden Looper lasted a long time pitching slightly above average baseball, certainly with more durability than Dreifort showed although WAR doesn't like him that much. Otherwise there are plenty of injury casualties and flameouts, as with the other schools we've looked at. I think Shafer can still surprise us.
I will do LSU next because I said I would, but after that I'm going to find some other, more comprehensive way to study this issue. Your suggestions are welcome.