Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Minor League Breakdown: The Pitching Prospects

Overall state of the farm

The Rays minor league teams have had a pretty good week overall. 15 wins and 11 losses make up for a 57.7 winning percentage. Especially the Stone Crabs have been on a tear as of late. Their team OPS improved by nearly 5 points (from .644 to .692) from the 29th of April to yesterday. Looking at the pitching, we can see that Montgomery and Port Charlotte (while still being worst in the Southern League) improved by a significant margin over the last week while the Hot Rods' pitching continues to decrease from the very high level it showed at the beginning of the year and while the Durham Bulls' pitching remains historically bad. It can be seen that the pitching level decreases with each minor league level.

OPS-CH and ERA-CH stands for the OPS and ERA change since the last minor league breakdown.

Prospects stats overview

As sample sizes are still pretty small, I won't comment on pitchers with less than 20 IP. Here is the list:
(click on the image for a better view)

Prospects on the rise
  1. C.J. Riefenhauser and Felipe Rivero ... After being #1 and #2 on the prospects-on-the-rise-list the last time, they continue to shine. Both show pinpoint control and the ability to strike batters out on a consistent basis. Their stat lines over the last two weeks: 13.1 IP, 8.8 K/9, 0.7 BB/9, 1.47 FIP, 0 ERA (Riefenhauser) and 14.1 IP, 9.4 K/9, 2.5 BB/9, 1.02 FIP, 1.23 ERA (Rivero)
  2. Ryan Reid ... Do you remember his '08 season? 6.4 H/9, 4 BB/9 and 11.4 K/9 with an ERA of 2.91. It's only been 24 innings, but his 6.25 K/BB ratio is excellent
  3. Chris Archer ... He's slowly coming back after a horrid start. A 2.24 ERA over his last 24 IP with 9.4 K/9 are solid. The key: A BB/9 ratio below 5 (exactly 4.5, which is not good for most pitchers).

Prospects to be falling
  1. Joseph Cruz ... Will he ever be able to come back to old form. Remember the days when he was the hottest sleeper prospect in the system? 9.5 BB/9 and 4 K/9 (no, you have read correctly ... it's not the other way around) over his last 11.1 IP and a 0.83 K/BB ratio over the season are not pretty.
  2. Matt Torra ... While a HR/9 rate of 2.25 will decrease and improve his results, only 3.6 K/9 won't do it.
  3. Enny Romero ... While the ERA is fine, his peripherals are not. 5.6 BB/9 vs. 3.9 K/9 over his last 16 IP. A 1.18 K/BB ratio over the season? A pretty low BABIP. Not the start to the season we've hoped for.
All of the stats provided above are excluding the stats from the previous day. I preferrably use FanGraphs as source for the stats. Click on each stat for its explanation:


  1. Obviously this is a hot topic of conversation the last day or so, but i would like your take on the issue. What is the best option with Neimann on the DL? Davis moved to #5 with someopne being brought up to the pen, or bring up Archer or Cobb and leave Davis alone?

    1. Tough decision to make. Chris Archer is no possibility for me as he needs more time to consistently find his groove. Alex Cobb might yet not be where he was before the injury. I'd give him more time in AAA.

      Moving Wade Davis around a lot won't do him any good, either. Nevertheless, I think that I would go with him. He has earned this possibility with strong play out of the bullpen.

  2. It's been decided, at least partially. They brought up Josh Lueke. Who the 5th starter is will be answered in due course.