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Double-A Transition Monitor: Dallas Braden

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Dallas Braden pitching for Texas Tech
*Dallas Braden, LHP, Oakland Athletics
I get lots of questions about Dallas Braden. He started off 6-0, 2.68 in 7 starts at Class A Stockton this spring, with a 64/11 K/BB in just 44 innings. Promoted to Double-A Midland, he has continued to pitch well in the Texas League, going 9-5, 3.73 in 15 starts. But his component ratios have slipped considerably since his promotion: note his 70/30 K/BB in 94 innings, with 95 hits allowed. The raw K/BB is decent, the K/IP and H/IP less impressive but still OK for the Texas League. One positive is his home run rate: just 5 homers given up since his promotion. All in all, he is well on his way to passing the Double-A Finesse Pitcher test, but we need to see exactly how the ratios compare to end-of-season Texas League context before knowing if he passes "with honors" or merely passes. He's not a hard thrower and his margin for error is not huge, but he has a good feel for pitching. Still, at this point I can't consider him one of the top lefty prospects around. He's interesting but not elite.