Minor League Overview: The Pitchers

UPDATE: I've added in Price, Hagadone and the 2007 seasons for Chris Perez and Justin Masterson, the last full season of minor league action they both saw.

I haven't done a full system recap since the end of April, so we are definitely overdue for one, even before the trading deadline movements.  In this installment, I'll highlight some of the pitching performances so far this season.

Progress Score Leaders

  1. Hector Rondon: 6.78
  2. Jesse Todd: 6.23
  3. Jeanmar Gomez: 5.11
  4. Alexander Perez: 3.66
  5. Justin Masterson07: 3.13
  6. Nick Hagaone: 2.84
  7. Zach Putnam: 2.23
  8. Jason Knapp: 1.85
  9. Josh Judy: 1.81
  10. Steve Smith: 1.34
  11. Carlos Carrasco: 1.04
  12. TJ House: 0.41

A few notes on these numbers.  First, since PS takes into account games started, at this point in the season starters numbers are somewhat disadvantaged relative to relievers.  For example, Hector Rondon's 6.78 is a fine score, but if you project his 17 starts to 26 starts the number goes up to an even better 8.58.  Carrasco had a mid-6 score last season.  Knapp and Scott Barnes also had very high (6+) scores last season, albeit in limited playing time.  Kelvin De La Cruz only had 2 starts this season before being shut down, but in those two starts he put up a 12.19 progress score...obviously likely would have come down when his 42% K-rate and nearly 10:1 K:BB rate moved to more realistic numbers.

NET Leaders

  1. Hector Rondon: 48
  2. Jason Knapp: 45
  3. Scott Barnes: 39
  4. Jesse Todd: 34
  5. Zach Putnam: 33
  6. Steve Smith: 31
  7. Ryan Edell: 31
  8. Eric Berger: 30
  9. Santo Frias: 28
  10. Justin Masterson: 27
  11. Alexander Perez/CC Lee: 25

It should be clear that Hector Rondon is having a good season and now, just a step away at AAA Columbus, is arguably our top pitching prospect.  These scores seem to give a better view of what the front office sees in Knapp and Barnes.  I also think Putnam will be an interesting guy to follow, maybe turning into a cheap version of Bob Howry by late 2010 or 2011.

K/PA (%) Leaders
  1. Chris Perez07: 33.5
  2. Jason Knapp: 30.9
  3. Nick Hagadone: 30.5
  4. Jesse Todd: 29.6
  5. Steve Smith: 29.6
  6. Santo Frias: 29.4
  7. Josh Judy: 28.3
  8. C.C. Lee: 25.5
  9. Hector Rondon: 25.4
  10. Ryan Edell: 25.0
  11. Connor Graham: 24.9
  12. Matt Langwell: 23.7

Not surprisingly this is a reliever-dominated list (although Knapp's spot on the top is striking...and who knew Edell was showing such nice K-rates this year).  Other starters above 20% include Bryan Price (23.2), Bryce Stowell (22.7), Eric Berger (22.4), Carlos Carrasco (22.4), Alexander Perez (21.9), and Scott Barnes (21.7).  I don't really think Steve Smith is much of a prospect (he's old), but he probably should be pitching someplace higher than Lake County.  I still have hope in Santo Frias who was derailed by injury last season and converted to the bullpen.

BB/PA (%)

  1. Josh Tomlin: 4.1
  2. Russell Young: 4.2
  3. Steve Smith: 4.3
  4. Frank Herrmann: 4.7
  5. Hector Rondon: 5.2
  6. Ryan Edell: 5.6
  7. Paolo Espino: 5.6
  8. Justin Masterson07: 6.2
  9. Kyle Landis: 6.4
  10. Jesse Todd: 6.5
  11. Zach Putnam: 6.5

Rondon, Edell, Todd, Putnam...And in case you were wondering who has the best K:BB ratio, it is Steve Smith (6.88), Hector Rondon (4.88), Josh Tomlin (4.88), Jesse Todd (4.55) and Ryan Edell (4.46).

GB%

  1. Nick Hagaone: 70%
  2. Travis Turek: 64%
  3. Russell Young: 60%
  4. Justin Masterson07: 59%
  5. Chris Jones: 58%
  6. Carlton Smith: 57%
  7. Trey Haley: 56%
  8. TJ McFarland: 55%
  9. Zach Putnam/Josh Judy/Connor Graham/Neil Wagner/Jon Holt: 54%

Jeanmar Gomez, TJ House and Zach Jackson are right off this list at 51%.  Carlton Smith is doing better in Akron than his brother Corey ever did. 

The Movers:

Moving up...

Jeanmar Gomez has had a great season, and not just because of his no-hitter.  He's improved his K-rate, BB-rate, GB-rate, and HR-rate, all while advancing from A+ to AA.  There are still lots of questions about how he'll perform against higher competition and the quality of his "stuff", but he has without a doubt had a very good season.

Hector Rondon has also had a great season, improving his K, BB, and HR numbers while advancing within spitting distance of Cleveland.  While Gomez has improved the view of his ceiling, Rondon has more maintained his position but by moving closer to Cleveland and not stumbling has made the attainment of that ceiling more likely.

Alexander Perez is making the most of his first full season and seems to be at the head of the young, low-A pitchers.

Chuck Lofgren's year has been an improvement, if only because he is actually pitching and throwing strikes.  He is far from being the impact guy he once looked like, but he now looks like he might be able to fill a depth starter role in the future.  Similarly, Ryan Edell is not a great prospect, but he's had a good year and looks to be an emergency rotation fill-in sometime in 2010 or 2011.

Zach Putnam is having a good, if somewhat uneven (in part reflecting his movement from the rotation to the pen) full-season debut.  (ed. note: but Cleveland never drafts the right guys or promotes them aggressively!)

Moving down...

Kelvin De La Cruz and Joey Mahalic were both off to great starts before getting injured.  Those injuries trump their great starts.

Trey Haley, Danny Salazar and Bryce Stowell haven't had good seasons.  Stowell has had control issues, Salazar hasn't been missing enough bats (which at low-A isn't good), and Haley has had trouble with just about everything (0.6 K:BB !).

Our pitchers who have taken the biggest blows this year are, of course, the guys who have pitched in Cleveland.  SLewis's injury problems make him an uncertainty.  Huff hasn't been what he was last year.  Raffy and Jensen Lewis can lose, it turns out.  Carmona...

Final Thought

We have a lot of interesting young pitchers, many of whom are floating around Mahoning Valley and Goodyear, whose rosters I did not cover here.  But one of the things I noticed is that, especially the way this season has shredded some of our upper minors pitching depth, the recent acquisition of guys like Barnes, Graham, Knapp and Carrasco really do a lot to fill out our pitching depth.  This isn't to say we don't have interesting guys on pretty much all our full roster teams, but with the new pitchers we have multiple potential impact pitchers on each team, which is a much more reassuring position going forward.

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