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Top 50 Pitching Prospects from 2007: In Review

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Top 50 Pitching Prospects from 2007: Where Are They Now?

One thing I do every year is go back and examine how my old prospect lists turned out. It takes at least four or five years to get an accurate read on a list. With the end of the 2011 season upon us, I want to go back and look at how my lists from 2007 panned out, to see what things went right and what things went wrong. Yesterday we looked at the Top 50 Hitters, so today we will logically turn to the Top 50 Pitchers list.

1) Phil Hughes, RHP, Yankees: 36-23, 4.47 ERA, 4.13 FIP in 443 innings, 7.0 WAR. Has been effective when healthy.

2) Matt Garza, RHP, Twins: 51-54, 3.84 ERA, 4.00 FIP in 916 innings, 14.8 WAR. Can't complain here, he's been excellent at times.

3) Yovani Gallardo, RHP, Brewers:
53-34, 3.63 ERA, 3.53 FIP in 712 innings, 13.3 WAR. Again, can't possibly complain here.

4) Homer Bailey, RHP, Reds:
25-23, 4.89 ERA, 4.35 FIP in 436 innings, 4.9 WAR. Flashes potential, but hasn't found consistent success just yet, though he's improved this year.

5) Tim Lincecum, RHP, Giants:
69-41, 2.98 ERA, 2.93 FIP in 1028 innings, 28.6 WAR. Outstanding pitcher. He had just been drafted in 2006 so his ranking at number five on the list was aggressive at the time given his lack of pro experience. I still wish I had put him ahead of Bailey.

6) Adam Miller, RHP, Indians:
Hasn't reached the majors. Career undone by weird hand injury.

7) Andrew Miller, LHP, Tigers:
21-29, 5.79 ERA, 4.77 FIP in 359 innings, 2.7 WAR. Was rushed but no matter how you slice it, he's been a huge disappointment. Like Lincecum, he was a 2006 draftee so this was aggressive.

8) Mike Pelfrey, RHP, Mets:
50-54, 4.40 ERA, 4.24 FIP in 877 innings, 8.7 WAR. Not a star, but he'll eat innings for you.

9) Clayton Kershaw, LHP, Dodgers:
47-28, 2.88 ERA, 3.04 FIP in 716 innings, 17.3 WAR. Another guy drafted in 2006, so this was also an aggressive ranking for me.

10) Luke Hochevar, RHP, Royals:
30-43, 5.29 ERA, 4.41 FIP in 586 innings, 7.7 WAR. Another 2006 draftee. He's driven Royals fans batty over the years but looks like he made some real progress this year.

11) Eric Hurley, RHP, Rangers:
1-2, 5.47 ERA, 5.93 FIP in 25 innings, 0.0 WAR. He was never the same after hurting his arm in 2008. Injury casualty.

12) Scott Elbert, LHP, Dodgers:
2-2, 4.37 ERA, 3.93 FIP in 60 innings, 0.3 WAR. Bounced around the minors for several years until taking a role in the bullpen this year with good results.

13) Chuck Lofgren, LHP, Indians:
Never reached the majors. Got out of condition, lost velocity, just fell apart in general.

14) John Danks, LHP, White Sox:
54-56, 4.03 ERA, 4.14 FIP in 918 innings, 16.5 WAR. Has been excellent at times, not quite an ace.

15) Jason Hirsh, RHP, Rockies:
8-11, 5.32 ERA, 5.82 FIP in 166 innings, 0.2 WAR. Never got over the Triple-A/major league hump. Pitching in Colorado didn't help, but the quality of both his stuff and command slipped.

16) Phil Humber, RHP, Mets:
11-10, 4.20 ERA, 3.98 FIP in 208 innings, 3.4 WAR. Looked like a big disappointment until breakthrough season in 2011 with the White Sox.

17) Franklin Morales, LHP, Rockies:
8-12, 10 saves, 4.61 ERA, 4.64 FIP in 180 innings, 1.1 WAR. Significant command issues were the main problem here, but he's still just 25 years old.

18) Jake McGee, LHP, Rays:
3-2, 4.35 ERA, 4.52 FIP in 31 innings, -0.1 WAR. Lost a year to injury, has dominated the minors but still looking for a major league role.  Only 25.

19) Michael Bowden, RHP, Red Sox:
2-2, 5.75 ERA, 4.49 FIP in 56 innings, 0.3 WAR. Very effective Triple-A pitcher, was outstanding after conversion to relief this year but still looking for a role in Boston. He'd be in the rotation for some teams. Still 25.

20) Clay Buchholz, RHP, Red Sox:
35-24, 3.64 ERA, 4.13 FIP in 447 innings, 7.6 WAR. Outstanding season in 2010 but needs to stay healthy.

21) Matt Albers, RHP, Astros:
19-29, 5.04 ERA, 4.58 FIP in 382 innings, 1.7 WAR. Developed into an adequate back-end bullpen guy but limited by command issues.

22) Brandon Morrow, RHP, Mariners:
29-30, 16 saves, 4.38 ERA, 3.84 FIP in 517 innings, 8.2 WAR. It took a couple of years but he's developed into a solid starter.

23) Wade Davis, RHP, Rays:
25-22, 4.22 ERA, 4.55 FIP in 388 innings, 3.0 WAR. I thought he could be better than this, but he's a perfectly adequate inning-eater, though declining strikeout rate is of concern.

24) Sean West, LHP, Marlins:
8-8, 5.03 ERA, 4.57 FIP in 113 innings, 1.0 WAR. Command problems and elbow trouble have prevented consistent success.

25) Humberto Sanchez, RHP, Yankees:
Pitched two innings for the Yankees in 2008. Undone by command problems and injuries, now in the Mexican League.

26) Jeff Niemann, RHP, Rays:
38-23, 4.16 ERA, 4.32 FIP in 506 innings, 5.8 WAR. Durability issues, but has been effective when all is well.

27) Nick Adenhart, RHP, Angels:

28) Craig Hansen, RHP, Red Sox:
4-9, 3 saves, 6.34 ERA, 5.27 FIP in 94 innings, -0.3 WAR. Extremely disappointing, undone by command problems. Being rushed didn't help, but this guy was supposed to be a star closer. Hansen and a similar experience with Ryan Wagner turned me off relief prospects.

29) Donald Veal, LHP, Cubs:
1-0, 7.16 ERA, 6.77 FIP in 16 innings, -0.3 WAR. His mechanics fell apart, destroying his command. He still flashes talent but can't find consistency.

30) Troy Patton, LHP, Astros:
2-3, 3.29 ERA, 3.90 FIP in 41 innings, 0.4 WAR. Elbow injury cost him velocity and almost ruined his career, but he seems to have found a niche in the bullpen.

31) Carlos Carrasco, RHP, Phillies:
10-15, 4.93 ERA, 4.58 FIP in 192 innings, 1.6 WAR. Still only 24 years old, but will miss 2012 recovering from Tommy John surgery.

32) Brandon Erbe, RHP, Orioles:
Hasn't reached majors yet. Very inconsistent minor league record and hasn't been healthy in three years.

33) Kevin Slowey, RHP, Twins:
39-29, 4.66 ERA, 4.24 FIP in 533 innings, 7.2 WAR. A fine pitcher for the Twins 2008-2010, but for some reason he lost his job in spring training this year. I think he would thrive with a change of scenery.

34) Brad Lincoln, RHP, Pirates:
3-7, 5.74 ERA, 4.80 FIP in 100 innings, 0.2 WAR. Hurt his arm in 2007 and was never the same.

35) Tyler Clippard, RHP, Yankees:
22-12, 2.97 ERA, 3.92 FIP in 276 innings, 2.4 WAR. Has developed into a very effective reliever.

36) Mitch Talbot, RHP, Rays:
12-19, 5.30 ERA, 4.96 FIP in 233 innings, 1.0 WAR. He had a nice year for the Indians in '10 but wasn't able to duplicate it this year.

37) Glen Perkins, LHP, Twins:
23-16, 4.43 ERA, 4.40 FIP in 364 innings, 4.0 WAR. Has found a niche in relief.

38) Sean Gallagher, RHP, Cubs:
10-10, 5.64 ERA, 4.99 FIP in 207 innings, 0.5 WAR. Got a chance as a starter in 2008 but wasn't able to hold onto the role.

39) Gio Gonzalez, LHP, White Sox:
37-32, 3.99 ERA, 4.10 FIP in 527 innings, 6.9 WAR. Very impressive this year and last after struggling earlier in his career.

40) Edinson Volquez, RHP, Rangers:
33-28, 4.67 ERA, 4.53 FIP in 490 innings, 5.3 WAR. Very impressive season in 2008, but hasn't been the same since getting hurt.

41) Matt Harrison, LHP, Braves:
30-19, 4.53 ERA, 4.43 FIP in 405 innings, 5.0 WAR. He is pitching much better this year and seems to have found his groove.

42) Chris Volstad, RHP, Marlins:
32-38, 4.61 ERA, 4.54 FIP in 578 innings, 4.5 WAR. He didn't become the star that some scouts envisioned, but he didn't turn 25 until this week and he could still take a step forward.

43) Will Inman, RHP, Brewers:
Unable to replicate excellent 2006 A-ball season at higher levels, and has not reached the majors. Been pitching Triple-A for three years.

44) Jon Meloan, RHP, Dodgers:
4.58 ERA, 3.67 FIP in 18 major league innings, 0.1 WAR. Still trying to come back from 2010 surgery.

45) Garrett Olson, LHP, Orioles:
14-22, 6.14 ERA, 5.49 FIP in 287 innings, 0.0 WAR. Got a chance to start for the Orioles in 2008 but has bounced between Triple-A and the majors ever since. Basic replacement level pitcher at this point.

46) Cesar Carrillo, RHP Padres:
Career destroyed by injury.

47) Jimmy Barthmaier, RHP, Astros:
Another injury casualty, still hanging around as a mediocre Double-A pitcher.

48) Joey Devine, RHP, Braves:
8-3, 2.75 ERA, 3.27 FIP in 88 innings, 1.6 WAR. Has been very effective in limited action.

49) Pat Neshek, RHP, Twins:
12-7, 3.21 ERA, 4.01 FIP in 154 innings, 1.4 WAR. Very effective reliever until he got hurt.

50) Anthony Swarzak, RHP, Twins:
6-14, 5.12 ERA, 4.77 FIP in 155 innings, 0.8 WAR. Not great, basically a guy you run out there.

Aside from the inevitable injury casualties that threaten every pitcher list, I think this is OK. Andrew Miller fooled a lot of people. Nowadays, I'm a lot more skeptical about putting relief pitchers high on prospect lists than I was four years ago. Someone like Neshek probably wouldn't rank on a Top 50 list for me today. The sudden success of Phil Humber and improvements from Matt Harrison for example remind us that it can take time for even a really good pitching prospect to adapt.