Following the Indians' minor league hitters this year has been fun. The pitchers have been less fun. We all know that this is an exercise in attrition, but it would be nice if at least one arm or two would make a big jump forward. We know the vast majority will be lost; we're just searching for the right two or three. (So, yeah, I'm going to this image again)
I had some time today, and thought I would take a moment to see how our pitching "prospects" are doing. This isn't a ranking, it's just a bookkeeping exercise. I just wanted to see everyone's line in one place.
I'm taking Sickels' list from back in January ("But the pitching. . .wow, there is a lot of depth in pitching") and checking on each guy. (oh yeah, I added one guy - Price. There are other guys who could be on here based on their performance this year, and perhaps I'll put them in the comments. But I really think Price should have been on there in January, and it's my post).
I have divided the players into 4 broad categories (good, neutral, bad, and injured). I probably could've have just combined the last two. A couple of things jumped out - first, we don't have as many horrible/injured performances as I thought. Just lots of guys in the neutral category. Second, our "good" performances really aren't great, aside from Gardner. There's no doubt that each pitcher's placement below reflects some of my own expectations for the guy.
The order of players in each category is not important -- just roughly from highest to lowest level. I also left off major league stats and stat lines of less than a handful of innings. I just typed these in, so let me know if there are any errors. I've been fighting with the spacing for a while, and am giving up. And hey, if you only want to see the good, stay above the jump!
Mitch Talbot - 26
You know this guy.
Hector Ambriz - 26
Columbus 8.0 IP, 9 H, 0 HR, 1 BB, 15 K, 1.12
Obviously, he’s in Cleveland now and doing just OK. Sure seems like he should be getting more strikeouts. I think he’ll stay on the roster for the rest of the year.
Jess Todd – 24
Columbus 28.2 IP, 29 H, 4 HR, 11 BB, 30 K, 3.45
Stevens – Meloan – Todd. We have an awful awful pen, and here’s a guy we acquired by trade, who is doing pretty well in the upper minors. Maybe we should try him. Or did we see something, after the trade, that suggests that he just will not translate? Are those 20 IP that he got last year (and the punishment that came along with them) the end of the story?
Alex White - 21
Kinston 44.0 IP, 32 H, 4 HR, 19 BB, 41 K, 2.86
Akron 30.7 IP, 14 H, 3 HR, 13 BB, 19 K, 1.47
Eastern League hitters are tougher. But this is good progress.
Joe Gardner – 22
Lake County 25.0 IP, 17 H, 2 HR, 11 BB, 38 K, 3.24
Kinston 45.1 IP, 26 H, 1 HR, 17 BB, 40 K, 1.79
Maybe the only guy on this list with any kind of positive breakout. Not that he was an unknown. He lost his crazy K numbers at Kinston, but guys still can’t get hits off of him. He’ll damage Chisenhall beyond repair someday.
TJ McFarland (L) - 21
Kinston 66.7 IP, 57 H, 4 HR, 13 BB, 43 K, 2.16
He was appearing on the minor league ERA leaderboard for a while. Another big groundball guy, obviously. He was a 4th round pick. Let’s move him up in a month and see what happens.
TJ House – 20
Kinston 65.0 IP, 65 H, 4 HR, 31 BB, 59 K, 3.32.
That line might be short of dominant, but it’s good. Fellow draftee Trey Haley, on the other hand, still can’t find the strike zone.
Tony Sipp (L) - 25
Deserves his own fanshot. But let’s just admit that we have no idea whether its better to send a struggling player down to rebuild (LaPorta, Carmona), or to keep letting him experience major league at-bats (Sipp, Valbuena).
Carlos Carrasco - 23
Columbus 74.7 IP, 74 H, 10 HR, 25 BB, 63 K, 4.22
In line before or after Laffey? Unless he gets hurt, we’ll see him in Cleveland this year. He’s healthy, but the lack of any significant step forward is disappointing. His FIP is 4.36, and the MLE for that is 5.82.
Yohan Pino – 26
Columbus 68.3 IP, 71 H, 11 HR, 26 BB, 56 K, 4.74
He was doing so good to start the year, and has now fallen off. But it is his good April, rather than his bad May/June, that is closer in line with his career numbers. He’s really lost his control lately. He’s not knocking down the door, but he’s done enough to remain in line behind CC and Laffey if there’s a need at the major league level.
Josh Judy - 24
Columbus 13.3 IP, 17 H, 4 HR, 3 BB, 18 K, 4.72
You could probably make a case for putting Judy in any of my 4 categories. He’s missed a big chunk of the year, but back to his fantastic K/BB in his short return. That’s a quick 4 bombs though.
Zach Putnam – 22
Akron 40.3 IP, 47 H, 2 HR, 7 BB, 27 K, 4.02
Not sure why Zach has stopped striking guys out. Like Judy, he’ll be in Cleveland within the next 12 months, barring injury. But neither are on the 40-man yet.
Paulo Espino – 23
Akron 63.7 IP, 52 H, 8 HR, 23 BB, 51 K, 3.39
I could swear that he’s 26 and been in the organization since 2003.
Bryan Price – 23
Akron 26.3 IP, 29 H, 6 HR, 6 BB, 30 K, 4.78
Always forgotten, but he’s better than nobody.
Scott Barnes (L) - 22
Akron 55.3 IP, 56 H, 5 HR, 25 BB, 59 K, 6.18
I had to stop myself here, because I was going to put Barnes on the bad list and White on the good list, but their peripherals are almost identical. Barnes is a full two years older, and one level up, but the whole age/level thing is not as straightforward for pitchers. If you ignore ERA completely, and note that Barnes is doing the same thing at a higher level, maybe he should be ranked ahead of House. Anyway, in three starts in June: 16.3 IP, 2 BB, 20 K.
Eric Berger (L) -24
Akron 48.0 IP, 45 H, 3 HR, 29 BB, 41 K, 5.25
Drafted in the first 5 rounds? No. Trade acquisition? No. Dominican or Venezuelan? Nope.
Ok then, I’m going to assume that you’re organizational filler. Prove me wrong.
Kelvin De La Cruz (L) - 21
Kinston 34.0 IP, 22 H, 3 HR, 8 BB, 28 K, 2.91
Akron 33.2, 34 H, 5 HR, 22 BB, 25 K, 5.35
Seriously though, Eastern League hitters are much better. He’s got time to adjust, get hurt, and then adjust again. Like Hagadone, he's close to the good list, but that walk rate needs to be not-absurd.
Nick Hagadone (L) - 24
Kinston 37.7 IP, 28 H, 2 HR, 29 BB, 45 K, 2.39
Akron 12.7 IP, 10 H, 1 HR, 9 BB, 12 K, 4.26
Will he figure out his control problems? And would a move to the pen even help that? I think they’re a long way from considering moving him to the pen, but if there are comments that indicate otherwise, post them.
Clayton Cook – 19
Lake County 54.0 IP, 54 H, 4 HR, 21 BB, 36 K, 4.50
For those of you who want to draft more high school lottery picks, here you go. He’s certainly not embarrassing himself at Lake County.
Jeanmar Gomez – 22
Columbus 71.7 IP, 88 H, 11 HR, 31 BB, 46 K, 6.28
His Ferrey close-up is heartbreaking. I don’t know why; that’s just the impression I got. "BlueJeanmar" is a classic, but how about simply "Margo"? And yes, he did have an excellent start last time out.
Conon Graham - 24
Akron 35.0 IP, 39 H, 3 HR, 23 BB, 19 K, 3.60
Honestly, that ERA is pretty amazing.
Hector Rondon - 22
Out for the year. (right?)
Columbus 31.3 IP, 48 H, 12 HR, 10 BB, 33 K, 8.53
Sigh. At least he’s just 22, and by all accounts a very smart pitcher. I’m just going to throw all my Rondon stock in a shoe box in the back of my closet. I am still convinced that Carrasco taught him his Home Run Hanger pitch in the offseason.
Jason Knapp - 19
Shoulder injury, but the Indians are sure that it’s no big deal and he’ll be back at full strength any day now.