Major League Pitchers, Age 25 or Younger
Here are more capsule summaries on how I view key young major league pitchers, age 25 or younger. This does NOT include anyone who is still a rookie. The list is alphabetical. Also note that if a guy pitches the majority of 2012 at age 26, he doesn't count as 25.
Brett Anderson, LHP, Oakland Athletics: Age 24. On hold until we see how Tommy John recovery goes.
Rex Brothers, LHP, Colorado Rockies: Age 24. Seems like the kind of guy who will be in major league bullpens for the next 20 years, picking up saves here and there and lasting forever as a power short reliever.
Trevor Cahill, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Age 24. Was rushed and it shows at times. Can he make further progress with his command, and what kind of effect will the switch in leagues have? Was considered for Top 12.
Aroldis Chapman, LHP, Cincinnati Reds: Age 24. A unique talent with an incredible ceiling. Questions about long-term role and command remain in play, but superior upside. Strongly considered for Top 12.
Aaron Crow, RHP, Kansas City Royals: Age 25. I think he's better off in the pen than starting at this point. My guess is that he will be consistently inconsistent throughout his career.
Kyle Drabek, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays: Age 24. There were warning signs here, namely a higher-than-ideal walk rate in Double-A in 2010, and lack of command undid him last year. Triple-A Las Vegas is about the worst place you can send a young pitcher with command issues. It is too soon to give up on him but expectations should be tempered.
Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers: Age 25. I have nothing scientific to back this up, but I think the big breakthrough will happen in 2013, not 2012. Was considered for Top 12.
Dan Hudson, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks: Age 25. A personal favorite since he was in college and strongly considered for the Top 12. I like guys who exceed expectations but he's not a fluke.
Kenley Jansen, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers: Age 24. A few command issues, but has all the markers of a future closer. Also considered for Top 12.
Mike Leake, RHP, Cincinnati Reds: Age 24. I expect performance about midway between his '10 and '11 numbers. Should be a consistent inning-eater with a few seasons where he gets beyond that.
Jordan Lyles, RHP, Houston Astros: Age 21. Seems to be a forgotten guy already outside of Astros fandom. Reminds me of Brad Radke at the same stage of his career.
Brian Matusz, LHP, Baltimore Orioles: Age 25. Let's just forget 2011 ever happened. I have him on my fantasy team, held onto him, and have rejected numerous trade offers, which indicates a greater level of confidence than I actually should have logically.
Jonathon Niese, LHP, New York Mets: Age 25. I have liked Niese since he was in high school and I think he's going to surprise a lot of people (positively) within the next year or two.
Ivan Nova, RHP, New York Yankees: Age 25. The 16 wins were a fluke, but I like Nova (more than I rationally should). He could easily pitch much better yet win fewer games this year.
Ryan Perry, RHP, Washington Nationals: Age 25. You have to respect his velocity, but command issues have to be resolved and I don't like the way the Tigers handled him. Perhaps change of scenery will help.
Rick Porcello, RHP, Detroit Tigers: Age 23. Inning-chewer, has never quite lived up to his reputation in my view, but he was pushed awfully quickly and in some organizations (cough, Tampa Bay, cough) he would just now be making the majors.
Chris Sale, LHP, Chicago White Sox: Age 23. I'm optimistic that the conversion to starting will go well, provided the White Sox don't do something stupid with his workload. Considered for Top 12.
Drew Storen, RHP, Washington Nationals: Age 24. Last year's performance was no accident and I like him, but we'll have to see if his elbow woes this spring are a precursor of negative events to come.
Chris Volstad, RHP, Chicago Cubs: Age 25. The Rick Porcello of the National League.
Jordan Walden, RHP, Los Angeles Angels: Age 24. Again, this depends on how you value closers as opposed to starters. It would not surprise me to see him get hurt but until that happens he should be productive.
Vance Worley, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies: Age 24. I liked him in college and rated him as a Sleeper Prospect entering 2011, and he exceeded even that positive expectation. He might settle back into being a league-average pitcher but even that has value if he eats enough innings, which he will.