Thursday, July 19, 2012

Minor League Breakdown: The Pitching Prospects

Overall state of the farm

The system as a whole remains to be mediocre. Bright spots continue to be in Bowling Green (league-best, top prospect driven offense with an excellent, and very balanced pitching staff), in Montgomery (very balanced offense with Ryan Garko and Kyeong Kang leading the way) as well as in Hudson Valley (excellent pitching around Guerrieri and Henderson), Princeton (Andrew Toles, Omar Narvaez and Reid Redman lead the way) and the GCL Rays (Armenta, Gannon, De la Cruz, Havlicek as well as older relievers like Michael Quist and Jordan Harrison lead the way).

 OPS-CH and ERA-CH stands for the OPS and ERA change since the last minor league breakdown. Overall ERA and OPS are from ALL affiliates (including DSL, VSL and short season ball affiliates)

Prospects stats overview

Prospects on the rise
  1. Oscar Armenta ... Could he be the next Rays top pitching prospect out of South America? His state-side start looks encouraging.
  2. Josh Lueke ... As of late, he is dominating in AAA with a 2.05 FIP, 11.1 K/9 and 1.2 BB/9 over his last 14.2 IP.  
  3. Taylor Guerrieri ... Despite the little injury, this is what we were all hoping for: Excellent command as well as dominant stuff resulting in low hit- and high K-rates.
  4. Brandon Henderson ... He continues to reach excellent results with his pin-point control and finesse pitching.
  5. Stepan Havlicek ... No red flags to be seen. He even was a tad unlucky (low LOB%, higher ERA than FIP, above average BABIP)
  6. Jeff Ames and Blake Snell ... Both 2011 1st supplemental-round selections look excellent so far. 
  7. Merrill Kelly ... Despite a decreasing groundball rate, he seems of having found his niche in the pen. 
  8. Honorable mentions:  Roberto Gomez, Chris Rearick, Marquis Fleming.
Encouraging signs from players with <15 IP: Ryan Garton (36.1 K%, 2.8 BB%), Jordan Harrison, Nolan Gannon, Jose Molina, Zach Butler.

Prospects to be falling
  1. Bryan Augenstein ... While his stats still look excellent on the season, he is trending downwards with a 4.73 FIP (5.16 ERA) and mediocre. 
  2. C.J. Riefenhauser ... Are A+ guys figuring him out? Only 5.6 K/9 and a 5.87 FIP (7.57 ERA) over his last 22.2 IP are not what we were used to see from him.
  3. Enny Romero ... Is he ever going to find the strike-zone?
  4. Romulo Sanchez ... Not the dominating AAA/major league depth pitcher the Rays were hoping for.
Discouraging signs from players with <15 IP: Damion Carroll, Lenny Linsky.

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. You don 't even mention Carpenter or Floethe, both 9 wins both 1.09 and 1.10 Whip, mid 3 ERA, Floethe with a GB to FB ratio off the charts, Carpenter has only walked 15 guys in 103 innings, oh yeah they have less than 10 k's per 9 innings...not even Rivero who has pitched in bad luck but has been off the charts, ERA, Whip etc...oh yeah and don't gush about Gomez, pitcher of the month! Lets gush about short season guys with small sample sizes!!!

    1. Chill out man. Carpenter and Floethe may have a lot of wins, but that doesnt mean anything in the minors. There ERA is way more important and while there ERA is not terrible, 3.5 is not outstanding either. You could make a case for gomez and rivero though since their ERA is in the 2's. ALso while carpenter has only walked 15 he has only struck out 87 in those 103 innings. Thats not outstanding numbers for this level.

    2. Three of the four mentioned BG-pitchers have at least once been on the hot-sheet already and Gomez was a honorable mention this time. For this hot-sheet I was more or less looking at the stats since the 20th of June. Here they are (they all pitched well, by the way):

      Carpenter: 28 IP, 2.57 ERA, 3.48 FIP, 5.8 K/9, 1.3 BB/9
      Floethe: 18.1 IP, 6.91 ERA, 3.83 FIP, 7.9 K/9, 2 BB/9
      Rivero: 13 IP, 2.08 ERA, 3.14 FIP, 5.6 K/9, 3.5 BB/9
      Gomez: 20 IP, 3.15 ERA, 2.72 FIP, 8.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 (he was close, thus the honorable mention)

      For comparison (as examples):

      Guerrieri: 16 IP, 0.56 ERA, 1.76 FIP, 9 K/9, 1.13 BB/9
      Armenta: 21.1 IP, 0 ERA, 1.65 FIP, 8.86 K/9, 0.84 BB/9
      Henderson: 18.2 IP, 0.96 ERA, 1.97 FIP, 7.71 K/9, 0.96 BB/9

      As I mentioned earlier, all 4 BG-pitchers do pitch very well. There just have been a couple of guys who pitched better recently.

    3. Thanks for answering that BurGi, that's what I thought your 'on the rise' and 'falling' referred to. Maybe for readers who aren't here everyday you should put an explanation at the beginning like BA does on their weekly Prospect Hot Sheet:

      The Prospect Hot Sheet is not a re-ranking of the Top 100 Prospects. This is a snapshot of which top prospects are excelling and which ones are struggling right now. Stats cover the period July 6-12.

      You'd have to change some of the language, but that way someone new will understand.

      Back to the article, love reading this every week, always notice something new. Today it was just how bad Durham's starting pitching has been. Other than Archer, most of them are near the bottom of your chart, with lots of red. No wonder Durham is so bad.

    4. Excellent idea, Doug! I will do that the next time!

  2. What is going on with Linsky? Is he getting adequate innings?

    1. He has not been pitching a lot (check out his player page:

      His last 3 outings (the last one was yesterday) have been much better, results-wise. It looks as if he just needs more time to find his rhythm and get comfortable.

  3. I saw Linsky when he first came back, he was throwing mid 80s with looping sinker and slider. Last night he was throwing much harder with sharp movement.

    1. I think he's missed a lot of possible innings because of the storm and the All-Star break too. I think the storm hit right after he joined the GCL, and that cost them a ton of games. And in the FSL there are always rainouts. Maybe they just should have started him out back with Bowling Green. Glad to hear he was looking better last night. I think we need to pretty much write off his stats this year, hope he fully recovers, and see how he does next year. I was no fan of picking him where they did, but fair is fair, and this year isn't fair to hold against him too much.

  4. Makes much more sense now! I was looking overall not looking short term!

  5. You say the system is mediocre. While there seem to be no can't miss prospects, the depth is unreal. As someone who has followed the Ray's minors since day one, I've never been more excited. Yeah, Durham totally sucks and Montgomery and Charlotte is pretty bare, but from BG down we are totally stocked! With the 2010-2012 drafts, I think Friedman has put the org. in a position to be competitive for the next 10 years. I'm 100% bullish. Anyone else this optimistic?

    1. You're totally right. I was just referring to the overall W-L record and the system as a whole. I think that the Rays have as much prospect depth as they've ever had. Maybe a lack of very good "older" minor leaguers (a la Dan Johnson, Chris Richard or Carlos Hernandez) is one of the main reasons for mediocre results (save for Montgomery) at the upper levels

  6. I agree 100%! The rotations in BG, HV and below are stocked. Power arms, Ames, Guerieri, Snell, Markel, Rivero sprinkled with pitchers like Flothe, Carpenter and Gomez who are pitchers with a high ceiling...major league stuff who get people out. Then you throw in Partridge, Meachecen, Floro, Belatti, etc I whole heartedly agree. I have not seen anyone who compares arm for arm. I believe they will trade a couple of these boys very soon.