Each day this week we'll be running one question, with answers coming from across the Rays blogosphere. This year's panel:
*Tommy Rancel and FreeZorilla of DRaysBay
*Cork Gaines of RaysIndex
*Ricky from DRaysBay and RaysProspects
*Jason Collette from DockOfTheRays
*Jake Larsen, Doug Milhoan, and Kevin Gengler of RaysProspects
Today's question is: Who's the better prospect to you, Wade Davis or Jeremy Hellickson? Here is everyone's responses:
Cork Gaines: I guess this depends on what your definition of "prospect" is. Personally I have Wade Davis ranked as the Rays top prospect even though Jeremy Hellickson has the higher upside. I give the edge to Davis because we already know that Davis can be good at the big league level. History is littered with prospects that had dominating numbers in the minors that didn't translate to the majors. So until we see what Hellickson can do in the bigs, we have him a touch behind Davis. On top of that, we love Davis' build and his delivery. Even if Big Dub is never dominant, he has the better shot at staying healthy and pitching 220 innings every year.
Tommy Rancel: This question is like asking me which one of my children I love more. I'd have to give the slightest edge to Davis because I've seen him more, and I've seen what he can do at the major league level. That said, Hellickson has been a favorite prospect of mine for a few seasons now and I'm eager to see him at some point this year.
FreeZorilla: What a great problem to have! I think Davis is more of a sure thing at the MLB level, but Hellickson's youth, ability to throw any pitch on any count and wicked swinging strike tallies lead me to believe his ceiling is higher.
Ricky: Davis. I find them both very similar in their stuff and pitching mentality. But Davis has a slightly better fastball than Hellickson, so I give him the edge.
Jason Collette: Hellickson. He doesn't have the velocity of Davis or the power curve that Davis has but Hellickson's sum of parts is great than Davis as a whole. Hellickson commands the strikezone like few in the minor leagues which sets him apart from most pitching prospects and a well located 92 mph fastball is better than a poorly placed 97 mph any day of the week.
Jake Larsen: Jeremy Hellickson would be my pick for the better pitching prospect, between Wade Davis and himself. However, in terms of who's going to have a better career as a SP, Wade Davis will be my pick. Not to slight against Jeremy, but I think he's going to eventually be converted to relief duties. Jeremy has dealt with "dings" in his career already and I think his smaller frame does exactly spell a career as a workhouse, while Davis' does.
Doug Milhoan: There a some things I prefer about Hellickson, but overall I would choose Davis. I like his fastball (heavy, sinking 93-94 mph) and curveball (11-to-5, 78-80 mph) more than Hellickson's. His frame (6'5", 220 lbs. vs. 6'1", 185 lbs. for Hellickson) makes me a little more confident that he can remain a starter in the majors. Davis has better demonstrated over his minor league career that he can handle a heavy workload of innings. He's also further along, with over a year of AAA experience and a successful major league debut last September. Put differently, he has nearly as many starts in the majors (six) as Hellickson has at AAA (nine). I'm not as worried about Hellickson's injury risk/history as some others I've read, but it is a bit of a factor. So if I have to pick today, I'll take Davis, but I'm still a big believer in Hellickson.
Kevin Gengler: I'll take Wade Davis by a slight margin. Jeremy Hellickson's control and command are better, while their stuff is pretty much even. Davis is the power pitcher(hard fastball and curve), while Hellickson gets it done with a solid fastball and a plus change-up. But what separates the two for me is the injury risk. I've criticized ProjectProspect for dropping Hellickson so much for perceived injury risk. I don't think it's as bad as they say, but does have a smaller frame and has missed time due to various minor arm injuries. Davis, meanwhile, has pitched at least 146 innings every year since 2006(146, 158, 160, and 195). He's the better bet to hold up as a starter, so I'll take him by a hair.
Feel free to weigh in using the comments section. Davis "won" the battle 5-2(with one split), but whichever one we took, the other surely isn't far behind.