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Top 50 PRE-SEASON Pitching Prospects in Review

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Here's the post-mortem on the pithcers list from the 2009 book. With this finished, I'm now delving into writing player comments, beginning with the Twins.

Top 50 Pitching Prospects for 2009

 1) David Price, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
    10-7, 4.42 with a 102/54 K/BB in 128 innings for the Tampa Bay Rays, 119 hits allowed. I think he just needs more experience.

 2) Neftali Feliz, RHP, Texas Rangers
    3.49 ERA with 75/30 K/BB in 77 innings for Triple-A Oklahoma, 1.74 ERA with 39/8 K/BB in 31 innings for the Texas Rangers, just 13 hits allowed. Broke through in a big way after moving to relief.

 3) Madison Bumgarner, LHP, San Francisco Giants
    12-2, 1.85 with a 92/34 K/BB in 131 innings combined between Class A San Jose and Double-A Connecticut. Looked good in late outings with the Giants.

 4) Trevor Cahill, RHP, Oakland Athletics
    10-13, 4.63 with a 90/72 K/BB in 179 innings for the Oakland Athletics, 185 hits. Erratic rookie year, but he was pushed into the rotation with almost no upper level experience. 

 5) Rick Porcello, RHP, Detroit Tigers
    14-9, 3.96 with an 89/52 K/BB in 171 innings for the Detroit Tigers, 176 hits. I thought the Tigers rushed him too quickly, but he responded well and they kept his workload reasonable.

 6) Brett Anderson, LHP, Oakland Athletics
   11-11, 4.06 with a 150/45 K/BB in 175 innings for Oakland, 180 hits. Like Cahill he was pushed into the job with almost no upper minors experience. Component ratios point to a big future.

 7) Thomas Hanson, RHP, Atlanta Braves
    11-4, 2.89 with a 116/46 K/BB in 128 innings for the Atlanta Braves, 105 hits. Hard to find anything to complain about here.

 8) Brian Matusz, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
   11-2, 1.91 with a 121/32 K/BB in 113 innings, 87 hits between Class A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. Went 5-2, 4.63 in eight starts with the Orioles, 38/14 K/BB in 45 innings, 52 hits. A very successful pro debut overall.

 9) Michael Bowden, RHP, Boston Red Sox
    4-6, 3.13 with an 88/47 K/BB in 126 innings for Triple-A Pawtucket, 106 hits. Got knocked around in brief major league trial. Component ratios slipped this year and his stock has dropped slightly.

 10) Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
    9-2, 2.45 with a 132/29 K/BB in 114 innings between Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham, 72 hits allowed. Excellent season marred only by a sore shoulder in the spring.

 11) Jhoulys Chacin, RHP, Colorado Rockies
    9-8, 3.21 with a 97/48 K/BB in 118 innings between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Colorado Springs, 98 hits allowed. Looked promising in brief major league action but needs to sharpen control.

 12) Derek Holland, LHP, Texas Rangers
    8-13, 6.12 with a 107/47 K/BB in 138 innings for the Texas Rangers, 160 hits. He showed a lot of raw talent but was obviously rushed.

 13) Wade Davis, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
   10-8, 3.40 with a 140/60 K/BB in 159 innings for Triple-A Durham, 139 hits allowed. 3.72 ERA with 36/13 K/BB in 36 innings with Tampa, looked brilliant at times.

 14) Chris Tillman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
    8-6, 2.70 with 99/26 K/BB in 97 innings for Triple-A Norfolk, 85 hits. 5.40 ERA with 39/24 K/BB in 65 innings for the Orioles, 77 hits. Flashed talent in the majors but needs more consistency.

 15) Tim Alderson, RHP, San Francisco Giants
    Traded to Pirates. 10-3, 3.93 with 84/30 K/BB in 137 innings between Class A San Jose, Double-A Connecticut, and Double-A Altoona, 146 hits allowed. Velocity was reportedly down this year.  Throws strikes but will that be enough?

 16) Aaron Poreda, LHP, Chicago White Sox
     Traded to Padres. 3.95 ERA with 108/75 K/BB in 107 innings combined between Double-A Birmingham, Triple-A Charlotte, and Triple-A Portland, 83 hits allowed. Posted 2.70 ERA with 12/13 K/BB in 13 innings with the White Sox and Padres. Command is still a problem.

 17) Jarrod Parker, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
    3.14 ERA with 95/38 K/BB in 97 innings between Class A Visalia and Double-A Mobile, 94 hits allowed. Main concern here is health.

 18) Jake Arrieta, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
    11-11, 3.40 with a 148/56 K/BB in 151 innings between Bowie and Norfolk, 142 hits.  Command needs a bit more refinement but still a strong prospect.

 19) Brett Cecil, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays
     7-4, 5.30 with a 69/38 K/BB in 93 innings with Toronto Blue Jays, 116 hits. Flashed talent but still too inconsistent.

 20) Chris Perez, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
     Traded to Indians. 4.26 ERA with 68/27 K/BB in 57 innings combined between St. Louis and Cleveland, 41 hits. Great stuff, just needs to throw strikes.

 21) Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Washington Nationals
     3-5, 4.63 ERA with 92/29 K/BB in 91 innings for the Washington Nationals, 95 hits allowed. Blew out  elbow, had to have Tommy John surgery. Was doing very well before getting hurt.

 22) Jordan Walden, RHP, Los Angeles Angels
    1-5, 5.25 with a 57/29 K/BB in 60 innings for Double-A Arkansas, 72 hits. Was injured much of the season.

 23) James McDonald, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
     4.00 ERA with a 54/34 K/BB in 63 innings for the Dodgers, 60 hits. I think he's capable of taking a larger role if he can get the walks down.

 24) Carlos Carrasco, RHP, Philaldelphia Phillies
     Traded to Cleveland. 11-10, 4.64 with a 148/45 K/BB in 157 innings between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and Triple-A Columbus, 149 hits.  Lit up badly in major league action but will get more chances.

 25) Gio Gonzalez, LHP, Oakland Athletics
    5.75 ERA with a 109/56 K/BB in 99 innings for Oakland, 113 hits. Continues to rack up strikeouts at a strong rate, but can't seem to do anything else.

 26) Dan Cortes, RHP, Kansas City Royals
     Traded to Mariners. 7-11, 4.33 with a 112/85 K/BB in 135 innings between Double-A Northwest Arkansas and Double-A West Tennessee, 128 hits.  Control problems and bad behavior off the field reduce his stock.

 27) Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers
     4.62 ERA with 70/55 K/BB in 60 innings combined between Class A Brevard County and Double-A Huntsville, 42 hits. Terrific stuff, but can't stop smoking dope.

 28) Phillipe Aumont, RHP, Seattle Mariners
     3.88 ERA with 59/23 K/BB in 51 innings between Class A High Desert and Double-A West Tennessee, 45 hits, 16 saves. Relief conversion seemed to go well.

 29) Jon Niese, LHP, New York Mets
     3.82 ERA with 82/26 K/BB in 94 innings for Triple-A Buffalo, 95 hits. 4.21 ERA with 18/9 K/BB in 26 innings for the Mets. I still think he can be an effective strike-thrower type.

 30) Daniel Bard, RHP, Boston Red Sox
     3.65 ERA with 63/22 K/BB in 49 innings for the Red Sox, 41 hits. Outstanding K/IP ratio points to his potential if he can stay healthy and sharpen his command a bit more.

 31) Juan Ramirez, RHP, Seattle Mariners
     8-10, 5.12 with a 111/53 K/BB in 142 innings for Class A High Desert, 153 hits. This is credible performance considering the environment and he could surprise in '10.

 32) Michael Main, RHP, Texas Rangers
    4-6, 6.49 ERA with 54/37 K/BB in 61 innings, 75 hits between Class A Bakersfield and rookie ball rehab assignment.  Velocity and stamina were way down due to effects of a virus. Gets a mulligan.

 33) Sean West, LHP, Florida Marlins
      7-3, 4.78 with 65/28 K/BB in 64 innings for Double-A Jacksonville, 8-6, 4.79 ERA with 70/44 K/BB in 103 innings with the Florida Marlins, 115 hits. Wasn't terrible considering that he was rushed.

 34) Mat Latos, RHP, San Diego Padres
     8-1, 1.37 with a 73/12 K/BB in 72 innings between Class A Fort Wayne and Double-A San Antonio, 42 hits.  4-5, 4.62 with a 39/23 K/BB in 51 innings for the San Diego Padres, 43 hits. Very bright future if he stays healthy.

 35) Adam Miller, RHP, Cleveland Indians
     Injured all season. Again.

 36) David Huff, LHP, Cleveland Indians
     11-8, 5.61 with a 65/41 K/BB in 128 innings for the Indians, 159 hits.  Don't like the low strikeout rate in the majors.

 37) Jeff Samardzija, RHP, Chicago Cubs
       4.35 ERA With 72/17 K/BB in 89 innings for Triple-A Iowa, 98 hits allowed.  7.53 ERA with 21/15 K/BB in 35 innings for the Cubs. Remains unpredictable.

 38) Ryan Tucker, RHP, Florida Marlins
     6.08 ERA with 14/16 K/BB in 24 innings between Triple-A New Orleans and rookie rehab assignment.  Health and control remain issues.

 39) Jose Ceda, RHP, Florida Marlins
   Injured all year.

 40) Christian Friedrich, LHP, Colorado Rockies
    6-5, 2.41 with 159/43 K/BB in 120 innings between Class A Asheville and Class A Modesto, 94 hits. Was too good for A-ball, should move rapidly in '10.

 41) Michael Pineda, RHP, Seattle Mariners
   2.66 ERA with 52/6 K/BB in 47 innings between Class A High Desert and rookie ball rehab assignment, 31 hits. Great stats, needs to stay healthy.

42) Carlos Rosa, RHP, Kansas City Royals
      4.56 ERA with 80/32 K/BB in 71 innings for Triple-A Omaha, 69 hits allowed. His season was better than it looked and he can help in the pen in '10.

 43) Brad Holt, RHP, New York Mets
       Effective at Class A St. Lucie (3.12 ERA, 54/13 K/BB in 43 innings) but less so at Double-A Binghamton (6.21 ERA, 45/23 K/BB in 58 innings, 58 hits). Reports differ as to cause of the slippage.

 44) Junichi Tazawa, RHP, Boston Red Sox
       9-7, 2.55 with 94/27 K/BB in 109 innings between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket, 87 hits. Was crushed in 25 major league innings (7.46 ERA) but will get more chances.

 45) Ethan Martin, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
     6-8, 3.87 with 120/61 K/BB in 100 innings for Class A Great Lakes, 85 hits allowed. Needs better command but K/IP and H/IP are very strong.

 46) Michael Montgomery, LHP, Kansas City Royals
     6-4, 2.21 with a 98/36 K/BB in 110 innings between Class A Burlington and Class A Wilmington, 80 hits allowed. Looks very good at this point.

 47) Dan Schlereth, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
     0.98 ERA with 40/17 K/BB in 28 innings between Double-A Mobile and Triple-A Reno, 15 hits allowed. 5.89 ERA with 22/15 K/BB in 18 innings for the Diamondbacks, 15 hits. Clearly has the stuff to succeed if he throws strikes.

 48) Ryan Perry, RHP, Detroit Tigers
     3.79 ERA with 60/38 K/BB in 62 innings for the Tigers, 56 hits.  I felt he was rushed too fast, but like Porcello he proved he belonged.

 49) Cole Rohrbaugh, LHP, Atlanta Braves
     6-8, 5.77 with a 100/48 K/BB in 117 innings, 129 hits allowed for Class A Myrtle Beach.  Reportedly lost confidence as season progressed.

 50) Brandon Erbe, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
    2.70 ERA with 73/37 K/BB in 87 innings between Double-A Bowie and rehab assignment in the New York-Penn League, 57 hits.      

I'm a lot happier with this list than I am with the hitters list. Most of the guys who were disappointing had injury problems or were simply rushed too fast. I used to think that pitchers were more difficult to analyze than hitters, but I feel that in recent years I think I've done a better job with the guys on the mound.