Thursday, August 23, 2012

Minor League Breakdown: The Pitching Prospects

Two weeks ago I've posted the last MiL-Breakdown. Sorry for the week delay. Here is the newest breakdown of the pitching prospects (sadly not including Stepan Havlicek's and Chris Archer's excellent performances yesterday).

Overall state of the farm

Louisville is doing all it can to squeeze the Bulls pitching staff out of last place in the International League, but the Bulls remain resistant as they have increased their team ERA up to 4.71. Nevertheless, the overall trend of the farm system is positiv. Since mid-July, the Rays MiL affiliates have a record of 126 wins vs. 99 losses. That's the pace of a 91 win team. Especially Hudson Valley with excellent pitching as well as a balanced offense is responsible for that.
Side note: The system-wide ERA of 4.07 is the lowest it has been all season.

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

As nearly all pitchers in the Rays minor league system have taken the hill this season, I'm going to look at the leaders in a specific stat every week. This week: Hits allowed per 9 innings pitched (min. 20 IP). Starters (min. 50% of performances are starts) are in italic.
  1. Nick Sawyer (PRI, GCL) ... 2.8 H/9
  2. Dane De la Rosa (DUR) ... 4.9 H/9
  3. Ryan Garton (HDV) ... 5.1 H/9
  4. Nolan Gannon (GCL) ... 5.5 H/9
  5. Oscar Armenta (GCL) ... 5.9 H/9
  6. Enny Romero (CHA) ... 6.2 H/9 ... please let the control come around
  7. Jeff Ames (HDV) ... 6.3 H/9
  8. Chris Rearick (CHA, MON) ... 6.4 H/9
  9. Kirby Yates (MON) ... 6.5 H/9
  10. Blake Snell (PRI) ... 6.5 H/9
I've removed all stat-lines with less than 5 IP in order to keep the length of the table from becoming way too long for a post. Rehab assignments are excluded as well.

The following lists are no prospect rankings. They just show which players have been hot/cold and/or show positive/negative trends over the last 2-4 weeks.

Prospects on the rise
  1. Nick Sawyer ... His last 13 IP: 0 ERA, 0.28 FIP, 17.3 K/9, 2.1 BB/9. He has outgrown rookie ball. I hope we'll see him in HDV or BG as soon as this season.
  2. Jesse Hahn ... While it's way too early to tell, the gamble the Rays took by selecting him may pay off. His last 4 starts: 17.2 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 21 K, 3 BB. Over the whole season he struck out 24.6 % of the batters he faced, which is excellent, while having the 3rd lowest FIP among starting pitchers in the system (with 2.30, only trailing Oscar Armenta and Taylor Guerrieri)
  3. Ryan Garton ... What a season: 29.3 K%, .158 AVGagainst, 1.69 ERA, 1.79 FIP over 21.1 IP in Hudson Valley.
  4. Taylor Guerrieri ... His last 3 starts: 13 IP, 12 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 10 K, 1.88 FIP. He is striking hitters out less than I expected, but ... man ... this control is unreal! On the season he only has walked 1.4 % of batters faced and has a K/BB ratio of 15!!!
  5. Jake Floethe ... He has been very consistent on a high level all season long, while recently even upping his game: His K-rate improved all season long while his last 3 starts have been pitched with a 1.89 FIP and 6.3 K/BB-ratio.
  6. Kevin Brandt ... Already having been on the last on-the-rise list, he continues to dominate Appalachian-league hitters: His last 15 IP: 1.21 ERA, 2.13 FIP, 9.6 K/9, 0.6 BB/9.
  7. Kevin James ... After coming back from a two week break, he - for the first time since being drafted - posted three solid starts in a row: 11 IP, 2.38 FIP, 11.5 K/9, 1.6 BB/9.
  8. Shane Dyer ... While the move up to Durham was not pretty, he feels comfortable back in Montgomery: His last 15.2 IP: 0.57 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 6.3 K/9, 0.6 BB/9.
  9. Enny Romero ... His last three starts: 17.2 IP, 1.50 ERA, 2.64 FIP, 8.6 K/9, 2 BB/9
  10. Jeff Ames ... Since last MiL-breakdown: 13.1 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 2.47 FIP, 3 BB, 14 K
  11. Honorable mentions:  Luke Goodgion, Matt Ramsey (strong start after injury, hopefully he can live up to his pre-injury scouting report), Sean Bierman, Damion Carroll, Braulio Lara (excellent in three starts before yesterday's more than mediocre performance), Robert Gomez, Eduar Quinonez, Randy Davis, Ryan Reid, Geisel De la Cruz, Theron Geith, Luis Cabrera, Kirby Yates (24 K in last 13.1 IP, but also 11 walks), Dane De la Rosa, Chris Archer (even without yesterday's start)
Prospects to be falling
  1. Brandon Gomes ... The peripherals remain strong (9.5 K/9, 1.4 BB/9), but the results are not pretty (last 12.1 IP, 5.84 ERA, 4.74 FIP ... all driven by two bad outings). Maybe I'm too harsh on him to put him on this list, but I'm setting higher standards for him than for others.
  2. Felipe Rivero ... See comment above
  3. Ryan Carpenter ... Last 19.1 IP: 6.37 FIP, only 4.2 K/9.
  4. Frank De los Santos ... I shouldn't have praised him. 5.6 BB/9, only 4.5 K/9 and a 7.72 FIP since then.
  5. Nolan Gannon ... He has completely lost his control over the last 4 appearances (12 IP)
  6. Jake Thompson ... When are the Rays finally moving him to the pen? He is not striking anybody out and even walking more batters than he strikes out. A high ERA (and FIP) are the result.
  7. Nick Barnese ... His comeback could have been better, to be polite. Only 11.7 K% and an ERA over 5 (FIP: 4.63) won't do it. But, we should give him time. 
  8. Chris Kirsch (4.5 K/9, 5.6 BB/9 over last 8 IP) and Eliazer Suero (8.3 K/9 and 10.5 BB/9 over last 12 IP).
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. I see Ames and Guerriri in Port Charotte next year with Markel, Rivero and Gomez. I think Floethe goes to the Biscuits maybe Carpenter if he gets his velo up. Wonder who goes to the Arizona Winter league?

  2. Guerreiri is very very young, so I see him in Bowling Green. Rumon has it that Jesse Hahn has been shut down for the season. Is this true? Hudson Valley just lost starter Sean Bierman and spot starter Reynaldo Lopez to BG this week. Hope we still have Hahn for the playoffs.