Young Pitcher Symposium Summary
Zach Duke: Compares well to successful southpaws like Britt Burns, John Candelaria, Steve Avery, Mike Hampton. Main question from a comparison basis is durability; some of his comps didn't last very long, at least as above-average pitchers. My Guestimate: I think we will see some regression towards the mean here, but he could still be a 12-14 game winner with an ERA better than league.
Ambiorix Burgos: Comparable at this stage of his career to guys like Mike Jackson, Roberto Hernandez, and Juan Berenguer if he remains in the bullpen. If he returns to starting rotation duty, he has some similarity to Jose Rijo. He could also burn out quickly if his command falls apart or if he gets hurt. My Guestimate: Burgos will put up numbers very similar this year to what he did last year. He will eventually be the Royals closer once MacDougal moves on, and will be fairly successful in this role. Not a superstar, but a solid closer.
Mark Prior: The general consensus is exactly what you'd expect: Prior is an excellent pitcher when healthy, but can't seem to stay healthy. Comparables include guys like Erik Hanson, Stan Williams, Steve Busby, Mario Soto, and Ramon Martinez, all dominant pitchers at times but who had problems with the doctors. A possible career profile, using comps as a baseline, shows Prior with a 13-year career, 1926 innings pitched, a 123-99 record, and an ERA+ of 106. That's a solid career, certainly nothing to be ashamed of, though it falls short of what most expect from Prior right now. But if he continues to get injured, it is close to what we should expect.
C.C. Sabathia: Some see him as on the verge of a massive breakout. Others believe he will continue on as he has, an above-average and occasionally excellent pitcher but not quite in the elite category. Comparables to this stage show both examples. Personally I believe he will avoid an early burnout. . .sometimes these guys who look fat are actually more durable than the guys with pure muscle mass and no padding. My guestimate: Sabathia will last a long time, pitch close to 3,000 innings, much of it as his current level of performance, will win 150-175 games but will be rather mediocre after the age of 30.
Dan Haren and Joe Blanton: Considered as a pair, Haren comes out slightly better statistically and with comps. I think this is correct; Haren has more breakout potential and a better chance for a long career. Both of them should be good in the short and medium runs.
Brett Myers: A breakout looks quite possible in the next year or two, but beyond that I think there is significant injury risk. Eightof the nine most comparable pitchers to Brett Myers broke down physically by the age of 30 and were no longer effective. Think Alex Fernandez.
Noah Lowry: Should the Giants have given him the new contract? If he turns out like Jamie Moyer or Scott McGregor, sure. If he turns into Chris Nabholz or Scott Karl, not so much. Like Myers, most of Lowry's comps were finished by age 30, although I think he has a better chance than most to end up in the Moyer category when all is said and done.
Scott Kazmir: If everything goes right, Kazmir could be Koufax. If everything goes wrong, he could be Pete Falcone or Jerry Garvin. The middle outcome is a solid but somewhat erratic power lefty like Steve Barber or Juan Pizarro. If he avoids injury, I think Kazmir will be better than Barber/Pizarro but not as good as Koufax, which would still make him an outstanding pitcher.
Andrew Sisco: The Royals want him in the bullpen for psychological reasons as much as roster concerns. He could outgrow that and move into the rotation eventually, or he could be a power bullpen lefty in the Arthur Rhodes/Norm Charlton mode. Personally I think that the latter is the most likely outcome, something like a Rhodes/Charlton cross. I don't think he will be Randy Johnson.