Rotoprofessor’s Prospect Report: Pitcher’s Edition

Apr 22, 2009


Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

Today I want to take a look at how some of the brightest young pitching prospects are fairing early on this season.  All stats are through Monday, unless otherwise noted.

Don’t see one of the young pitchers you want to read about?  Let me know and I will be sure to add him onto the next report.

Carlos Carrasco – Philadelphia Phillies
Pitching at Triple-A, Carrasco has gotten off to a great start to his season despite not yet winning a game.  He’s allowed just 5 earned runs over 19 innings of work, good for an ERA of 2.37.  He’s struck out 20 batters, though that is not even the most impressive number.  That goes to his walk total, which stands at 1.  He’s never been known for elite control, with a BB/9 of 3.19 last season at Triple-A (36.2 innings).  That’s the number that certainly needs to be watched closely over his next few starts.  If he’s going to pitch like that, he’ll be ticketed quickly for the majors.

Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves
He’s struck out 23 batters over 14.2 innings just continuing his impressive Arizona Fall League performance to Triple-A.  Do any other numbers really matter?  It’s obvious that the Braves are putting a limit on his pitch count, pitching no more then 5.1 innings over his first three starts.  That should tell you that they want his arm fresh for later in the season.  It’s just a matter of time so sit tight.

Phil Hughes – New York Yankees
He struggled in his first start of the season, giving up 3 runs over 6 innings (he allowed two home runs), but he came back with a vengeance the second time, throwing 5.2 shutout innings.  He’s struck out 12 while walking just 2.  With the problems Chien-Ming Wang is currently sorting through I think it would be more surprising if he didn’t make a start for the Yankees within in the next two weeks.  Depending on the match-up he could be worth using.

Vin Mazzaro – Oakland Athletics
While Brett Anderson and Trevor Cahill enjoy pitching in the major leagues, another A’s pitching prospect is excelling in the Pacific Coast League.  Mazzaro has made three starts, posting an ERA of 1.93, giving up just 1 HR in the high-powered league.  It isn’t all positives, however, having walked 7 batters over just 14 innings.  The main culprit was his second outing, where he walked 4 over 4 innings.  He didn’t have control issues last season, with a BB/9 of 2.37, so this certainly is awfully surprising.

Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers
(stats include start on Tuesday) He’s one of the top prospects in baseball, but at 20-years old maybe pushing him to Triple-A was too much too fast.  After throwing 4 shutout innings in his first start Feliz has allowed 7 earned runs over his last 8 innings.  Even in the first start the control was a major issue and thus far he’s walked 10 over 12 innings.  It’s going to take some time so sit tight.

Junichi Tazawa – Boston Red Sox
At Double-A, I think many thought Tazawa could get off to a slow start as he adjusted to the game in America.  He’s excelled, however, to the tune of a 2.30 ERA over his first 15.2 innings.  The control is something to watch, as he’s gone from 1 walk in 5 innings to 2 walks in 6 innings to 3 walks in 4.2 innings.

Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays stock of young pitchers just seems to be endless, doesn’t it?.  Hellickson didn’t allow a run over his first two starts (10.2 innings), before yielding 2 over 5.1 innings his last time out.  That left him with a tidy 1.13 ERA and 0.81 WHIP.  Throw in a strikeout per inning and things have looked good in the early going.

Jhoulys Chacin – Colorado Rockies
The 21-year old has been extremely solid in the early going, posting a 2.30 ERA over his first 15.2 innings (3 starts).  His last time out he failed to strikeout a batter in 5 innings of work, certainly not what fantasy owners want to see.  He has more potential then that, having struck out 160 over 177.2 innings last season, so it could just be taking him a little bit of time to settle in to Double-A.  It’ll be interesting to see how he adjusts as the season progresses.

Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
He could be one of the more intriguing pitching prospects in baseball, though at 19-years old he could still be a year away from making any serious impact.  The lefty has made two starts at Single-A, going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA.  He’s allowed just 6 hits and 2 walks, striking out 9, over his first 11 innings of work.  He’s certainly worth keeping an eye on for the future.

What do you think of these pitchers?  Anyone you are extremely high on?  Anyone you think should be avoided?  Let’s hear your thoughts.

Rotoprofessor Bonus:  Prospect Report: Brad Bergesen

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