The Colorado Rockies promoted pitching prospect Rob Scahill to the major league roster this past week. He hasn't appeared in a big league game yet, but he has sleeper potential and should be seen as a potential contributor for 2013. Let's take a look.
Scahill was a starting pitcher at Bradley University in Illinois. He put together three solid although not outstanding seasons as a starting pitcher, which was enough to earn him a slot in the eighth round of the 2009 draft. Dispatched to Tri-City in the Northwest League for his pro debut, he went just 1-4 in 15 starts but posted a 3.14 ERA, along with a 58/20 K/BB ratio in 63 innings.
Bumped up to Modesto in the High-A California League for 2010, Scahill posted a 4.73 ERA. However, his season was better than the raw ERA implies. That's a tough environment for pitching, he went 10-7 in 27 starts, and his FIP was much better than the ERA at 3.48. His K/BB ratio was also solid at 140/53 in 156 innings. Promoted to Double-A Tulsa for 2011, he went 12-11 in 26 starts with a 3.92 ERA and a 104/60 K/BB ratio in 161 innings.
Scahill continued his one-level-at-a-time progression through the Colorado organization in 2012, making 29 starts for Colorado Springs in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. His ERA was 5.68, but that's another tough pitching environment, and once again his FIP was much better at 3.65. He posted a 159/74 K/BB in 152 innings this year, allowing 168 hits but with a 1.66 GO/AO.
Scahill is a 6-2, 220-pound left-handed hitter and right-handed thrower, born February 15, 1987 in DuPage County, Illinois. His high ERA marks have limited his status on prospect lists, but there are things to like here. He's very durable, eats innings without getting hurt, and has posted strong K/IP ratios. A ground ball pitcher, his FIPs are persistently better than his ERAs, and he could very well be more effective pitching in front of a major league infield defense compared to a minor league one.
He isn't a soft-tosser, working at 91-94 MPH as a starter, and at 93-95 in Arizona Fall League relief outings in '10 and '11. He also has a good curveball, and his slider has plus moments, giving him two workable breaking balls. His changeup comes and goes, ranging from below average to above average depending on the day, although this isn't quite as important if the Rockies use him in relief. His mechanics are easy and repeatable, and he's been extremely durable.
Scahill could use better control, but he has several markers of a sleeper prospect and needs to be tracked entering 2013. He could be a useful back-of-the-rotation starter, or a fine middle reliever