Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Colorado Rockies
It was a big summer for Drew Pomeranz: he was traded from Cleveland to Colorado for Ubaldo Jimenez, then he had an appendectomy. Now, he's starting for the Rockies on Sunday.
Drew Pomeranz was a starting pitcher for three years at the University of Mississippi. He was solid as a freshman (4.16 ERA, 81/30 K/BB in 71 innings), quite good as a sophomore (3.40 ERA, 124/37 K/BB in 95 innings), and superb as a junior (2.24 ERA, 139/49 K/BB in 100 innings), earning a spot as the fifth-overall pick in the 2010 draft. The Indians selected him with the idea that he could become a number one or two starter for the Tribe, and indeed he did, although perhaps not quite in the way originally envisioned: he was a big part of the package that brought Ubaldo Jimenez east from the mountains to the shores of Lake Erie.
His field performance this year was excellent: he posted a 1.87 ERA with a 95/32 K/BB in 77 innings for High-A Kinston. Promoted to Double-A Akron shortly before the trade, he posted a 17/9 K/BB in 14 innings with a 2.57 ERA. After the trade, he made one start for Double-A Tulsa, before going down with an appendectomy. It was feared he would miss the rest of the year, but he came back remarkably quickly, making a three-inning outing for the Drillers on September 5th. He is expected to start for the Rockies this coming Sunday.
Overall, he posted a 1.78 ERA with a 119/38 K/BB in 101 innings this year, allowing just 68 hits, three homers, and a .189 average against.
Pomeranz is more than just gaudy statistics, of course. He's got impressive size at 6-5, 230 pounds. His delivery is deceptive and he repeats it well. His fastball operates at 91-95 MPH, but even on days when he doesn't have peak velocity, the pitch has a lot of movement, making it a genuine plus offering. His breaking ball, a knucklecurve, is also excellent, giving him two overpowering pitches.
He didn't use his changeup much in college but is gradually working it into his arsenal in pro ball. He could still use more experience with it, and it isn't as good as the fastball and breaking ball at this point. However, his command is quite good for a young power pitcher, and even if his changeup is just average, the other two pitches will be enough for him to succeed.
Although Pomeranz has just a handful of innings in Double-A, he's done enough this year to make me quite optimistic about his future, and I can understand why the Rockies want to take an immediate look at him. Assuming he stays healthy and avoids unexpected command lapses, he profiles as a number two starter at least. If his changeup develops to its maximum potential, he can be a genuine number one rotation anchor in the mode of Cliff Lee or Clayton Kershaw.