Saturday, September 26, 2009

Discussion: Top Pitchers List

RaysProspectsWhen we put together our RaysProspects Top 15's we each make our individual lists and then combine them and hash out the differences to create the final lists. Here is my preliminary Top Pitchers list, feel free to comment/criticize. This is just a simple list of the names, the real list will include player backgrounds, career stats, scouting reports, reason for ranking, outlook for next year, etc. Remember, this is just my list, the final list will be different, and it's only preliminary, I'm still open to changes. So without further ado, my Top 25 pitchers:

1. Wade Davis - Very close, but by a hair over Hellboy.
2. Jeremy Hellickson - Continues to dominate at every level of the minors.
3. Matt Moore - Only concern is the walk rate.
4. Kyle Lobstein - Great first pro season, enough to pass Barnese for me.
5. Nick Barnese - Injury shortened season, drop in strikeout rate worries me.
6. Alex Cobb - Won me over this year, improved K rate, kept BB rate low, but is hittable.
7. Jason McEachern - Can't wait to see where Kevin ranks him.
8. Alexander Torres - Top 7 were pretty easy, now it gets harder. Listed at 5'10". Too high?
9. Alexander Colome - Might have had the best statistical season in the organization.
10. Matt Gorgen - Tremendous stats, ranking depends on how you value starters vs. relievers.
11. Mitch Talbot - Hard to place, turns 26 in October, is he MLB ready? Lower?
12. Aneury Rodriguez - Only 21 in AA, improved as the season went on. Higher?
13. Wilking Rodriguez - See yesterday's BA scouting report, could be the next big thing.
14. Joseph Cruz - First year in full-season ball was mixed, high hit rate (and BABIP).
15. Jake McGee - Came back healthy, next year is key, can he still be a starter?
16. David Newmann - Good year, but old for FSL.
17. Frank De Los Santos - Like Cruz, mixed results in full-season ball. Low K rate.
18. Jacob Partridge - Limited action, but great start for 18th rounder.
19. Victor Mateo - Strong season transitioning to the states from DSL.
20. Chris Andujar - Gets no fanfare, K rate is low, sleeper pick.
21. Darin Downs - Breakout stat season, but old for level (mostly A+) and skull fracture.
22. Josh Satow - Age/level and being a reliever are only knocks.
23. Julius Dettrich - Low K rate is a worry.
24. Zach Quate - 14th round pick dominated the New York-Penn out of the pen.
25. Heath Rollins - Personal favorite, but permanent transition to the pen hurts.

Just missed:
Albert Suarez - Coming back from Tommy John surgery.
Justin Garcia - Still a personal favorite.
Devin Fuller - 6th rounder had a low K rate and high BB rate, but a good ERA in debut.
Others: Andrew Bellatti, Omar Bencomo, Alex Koronis, Scott Shuman, Zach Rosscup, Brad Furdal, Marquis Fleming.

[Edit by Kevin 4:38 p.m.]
Here's my rough top 25(originally posted in the comments) for means of comparison. Comments added, too.

1. Wade Davis - MLB success gives him the slight edge over Hellickson.
2. Jeremy Hellickson - Statistically dominant, but has missed some time due to injury in multiple seasons.
3. Matt Moore - Overpowered the SAL, starting to shore up control.
4. Alex Cobb - Cobb doesn't really do anything poorly, and shows plus control.
5. Kyle Lobstein - Was dominant in his last 7 starts of the season.
6. Nick Barnese - Strikeout drop is worrying, but perhaps his arm wasn't full strength with the early injury.
7. Alex Colome - Not a bad stat to be found
8. Jason McEachern -I still love him but I can't justify him over Lobstein/Colome because of the strikeout difference in HV... even though McEachern is younger.
9. Alex Torres - Don't have a real good read on him yet.
10. Matt Gorgen - Here's hoping he isn't the next Ryan Reid.
11. David Newmann - Great season, but at 24 years old his ceiling is probably limited.
12. Mitch Talbot - And hey, here's a guy older than Newmann. Could get a crack at the Rays bullpen in 2010.
13. Jake McGee - Came back healthy, will the dominant fastball return next year?
14. Heath Rollins - His pedestrian stuff may not play at the higher levels.
15. Wilking Rodriguez - He's on helium watch.
16. Aneury Rodriguez - Shrugged off an awful start to finish with a 4.50 ERA. He's young, but the flyball rate is a big worry.
17. Darin Downs - You just hope he doesn't show any ill effects of the skull fracture.
18. Joseph Cruz - Doesn't totally thrill me. Future Alex Cobb type?
19. Kevin James - 9th rounder supposedly has electric stuff.
20. Scott Shuman - Came out throwing in the mid-high 90's in Princeton's pen.
21. Jacob Partridge - The best of the GCL Rays pitchers.
22. Zach Quate - Stats looked great, we'll see how it plays as he moves up.
23. Trevor Shull - He's a sleeper candidate for 2010 for me.
24. Shane Dyer - I smell a bounceback. Just a feeling.
25. Marquis Fleming - Intriguing reliever, but he's been old for his level.


  1. I think Kevin James would be on the list. I still haven't come close to finalizing my list, but here's a rough top 25 pitchers:

    1. Wade Davis
    2. Jeremy Hellickson
    3. Matt Moore
    4. Alex Cobb
    5. Kyle Lobstein
    6. Nick Barnese
    7. Alex Colome
    8. Jason McEachern (I still love him but I can't justify him over Lobstein/Colome because of the strikeout difference in HV... even though McEachern is younger)
    9. Alex Torres
    10. Matt Gorgen
    11. David Newmann
    12. Mitch Talbot
    13. Jake McGee
    14. Heath Rollins
    15. Wilking Rodriguez
    16. Aneury Rodriguez
    17. Darin Downs
    18. Joseph Cruz
    19. Kevin James
    20. Scott Shuman
    21. Jacob Partridge
    22. Zach Quate
    23. Trevor Shull
    24. Shane Dyer
    25. Marquis Fleming

  2. Go ahead and just add it to the main post for comparison if you want. I had a hard time with the 2009 draftees, almost left them off entirely due to sample size. Not disagreeing, just not enough info yet to have an opinion. And we weigh starter vs. reliever differently.

    We don't really differ as much as I thought (FYI, Kevin and I haven't shared these privately, this is the first either has seen the others list). Down to about 14 are very similar. Maybe I'm docking Heath too much for the move to the pen, and Downs age/injury too much, but Dyer was real disappointment this year and didn't get consideration despite being our '08 6th pick. Interested to see how others feel.

  3. Rollins strikeout rate really fell, so I don't blame you for dropping him like you did. Downs obviously has some red flags. Dyer's season was pretty bad(1-10 with an ERA over 5) but I like the groundball rate(2.21 GO/AO) and I think he'll turn it around in 2010 and post a line somewhat similar to David Newmann's this year.

  4. Hey I made some youtube videos of McEachern from a start this summer and this kid has a true 12-6 knockout curveball. If his velocity goes up a few ticks and improve his changeup, which by the way looked like a good pitch, we could be looking at a strong pitcher with a huge breakout next year. Lobstein's last 4 starts impressed the hell out of me and I think he could rise rapidly like a Derek Holland did last year jumping from SS-ball to AA in one year.

  5. Comparing the lists:

    1-3: We agree.
    4-6: A mixture of Barnese, Cobb and Lobstein.
    7-9: A mixture of Colome, McEachern and Torres.
    10-15: We agree on Gorgen, Talbot, WRod, McGee. I added ARod and JCruz, you added Newmann and Rollins.
    16-on: Cluster.

  6. Hey Mike, I'd love to see the videos of McEachern you have, do you have the link handy?

    As for Lobstein, it's possible he could make that jump but the Rays have proven to err on the conservative side when it comes to promoting prospects rather than the aggressive side.

  7. 1. Even though he has been very good in his MLB debut so far, I feel like Hellboy has did enough to push him just by Davis. Davis has better stuff, but Hellboy has better control and has the better offspeed stuff to throw off lefties.

    2. I love Lobstein, but to me it's close between him and Barnese. Kyle has more upside, but I think at this stage you have to give Barnese a slight edge because he has a longer track record of success.

    3. And I have to put Wilk-Rod and Cruz over A-Rod the pitcher. both Wilking and Joe have more upside, and have had better seasons.

  8. 1. Besides MLB success, the other thing that puts Davis over Hellickson for me is durability: Davis hasn't missed a start his entire minor-league career, whereas Hellickson has had a few nagging injuries(though nothing major). It really could go either way.

    2. Lobstein and Barnese both had somewhat similar lines when they pitched at Hudson Valley, but Barnese's strikeout rate fell in the SAL. Obviously Lobstein hasn't pitched above HV, so it's a tough call.

    3. I have no idea what to make of Aneury Rodriguez. His strikeout rate has fallen three straight years, but he was only 21 years old and pitching at AA. It's really hard to compare him to Wilking, who probably does have the higher ceiling but is so much further away.

  9. Got them right here, what is your opinion on him based on these. It was 90 degrees that day he pitched, arguably the hottest day of the summer.

  10. The more I looked at ARod the higher he went, maybe I went too high.

    Torres has a lot less experience at AA than I thought.

    Moore was only 13 days from this being his age-19 season. Not that season-age matters (age as of July 1st), but can you imagine what the guys who use that for comparisons would think of a 19 yo with those stats.

    Lobstein vs. Barnese is tough to call. Kyle is lefthanded.

    I had 10/25 lefthanders, wow.

    Cruz is also tough, high hit rate, but really high BABIP, so may fix itself next year at Charlotte.

    And thanks for the links, Mike. Maybe we can post the vid's???

  11. You can post the vids all you want. I'm high on McEachren and Lobstein and I think they both can be very good.

  12. Thanks for the links... That curveball he throws in the first video is really nice, but then it looked like he went back to it again the next pitch and it got hit hard. Definitely a good weapon to have though.

    As for other opinions, his mechanics look pretty orthodox to me. This is obviously a small sample, but he worked ahead in the count(he also did a good job of this in the game that the Renegades broadcasted via Twitter) but then nibbled a bit. The off-speed stuff he was throwing to lefties looked pretty good, too.

  13. Kevin,

    Any idea of what McEachern and Lobstein's velocities were this season. How are Lobstein's pitches progressing as I didn't make it to one of his starts.

  14. List looks good on both sides. One name missing in my opinion is Jeremy Hall. Led the Rays minor leagues with 14 wins while posting an 3.62 ERA with 115 K's and 35 walks. Hall was the keystone of the Stone Crabs rotation (Hall, Downs, Cobb abd Newmann) that dominated the FSL this season.

    Jake McGee: returning from injury, still not quite there yet. Yes he is Top 25, but in the 20's. Limited innings pitched while recovering but got rocked often. 19 earned runs in 30 innings pitched this season. This may be because he was limited to pitch count this year with the Stone Crabs, but in the two outings I saw him pitch, gave up a bunch of runs early to put the team in a hole. He shows potential but needs to get over the hurdle first.

  15. What exactly is Lobstein's ceiling? Are we talking about closer to a #2, or an ace?

  16. Hall turned 26 on September 16th, and he hasn't reached AA, so despite a nice year I don't consider him much of a prospect.

  17. If you check Hall's 3 year stats. They have gotten better each year. I think the Rays Org. know what they have in Hall. "Keystone of the staff" maybe was the reason not to move Hall until next season.I hate to think 26 is to old for you guys.

  18. I think Torres is nndervalued, In spite of his height, he should be higher ranking because of K/9, GO/AO, low ERA(#1 at CAL)

  19. I'm suprised a list of 25 pitching prospects doesn't include Paul Phillips. One of the better power pitchers in the organization with very good numbers to back him up. Quality innings at both the AA and AAA levels have put him on a short list of relievers to look at next spring.

  20. I agree on Phillips. The best kept secret in the organization. Saw him in Montgomery extensively. His stuff is electric at times. Fastball reaches high 90's, slider with late depth and sinker in low 90's serves him well. With his steady movement through the organization and placement in the AFL, it appears the Rays agree.

  21. Sorry to take so long to respond.

    On Hall: As I said before, good year, but 26 and hasn't reached AA. Not a Top 25 prospect to me.

    On Torres: As Kevin said, don't have a strong opinion on him yet. Like the age to level, but the BB/9 of 4.9 scares me a little. We'll have to do some digging on him, the height comment was just something that stood out to me as I was researching him. I can see arguments for higher and lower on the list.

    On Phillips: Nice year, mostly A+ and AA, with a little AAA time. Quite frankly I probably discount relievers too much, and there is the fact that he'll be 26 to start next season with a grand total of 7 2/3 innings at AAA. And there is the fact that in 2008 he finished the year pitching for the Pensacola Pelicans in the independent American Association, so I'm not the only one who was skeptical. Hope he does well in the AFL.

  22. Oops hit ENTER to quick.

    I will say the 2 guys who I left completely off that I was second guessing myself on before posting the list were Phillips and Rayner Oliveros. On Phillips, I'll wait to see how the AFL goes, but I'm probably not going to add him for the reasons stated above.

    On Oliveros, I could see putting him somewhere in the 20's.

    Anyone else that you think Kevin and I total left off our lists that should be on?

    One other thing, in case one of us throws up a preliminary Top Hitters list, you won't see Sean Rodriguez. When I was looking at him after the trade I noticed he had too many MLB AB's with the Angels to qualify as a 'prospect'. Great numbers in 2009, but not a 'prospect' for our purposes. Just an FYI in advance.