Rotoprofessor’s Prospect Report – Pitcher’s Edition

May 9, 2009


Written by Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

We are now about a month into the 2009 season, so it’s the perfect time to update how some of the brightest young pitching prospects are fairing early on this season.  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.

Madison Bumgarner – San Francisco Giants
2009 Statistics (Single-A): 3-1, 24.1 IP, 1.48 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 23 K
The sky is the limit for this youngster and by mid-2010 I could see him emerging as a solid fantasy starter.  Concerned about the strikeouts?  Last season he posted 164 Ks over 141.2 innings and they want him to work on pitches other than his fastball.  Do not worry about him in the slightest.

Carlos Carrasco – Philadelphia Phillies
2009 Statistics (Triple-A): 0-3, 31.1 IP, 5.46 ERA, 1.32 WHIP, 34 K
He had started off extremely strong, but over his past three starts he’s allowed 14 earned runs over 12.1 innings.  His control has continued to be excellent, however, despite his turn in performance.  For the season he’s walked just six batters, certainly an elite number.  He needs to figure out how to get righties out, as they are currently hitting .307 against the southpaw.  He has a chance to make an impact this season, especially with the struggles the Phillies have had in the rotation, but he needs to get things straightened back out.

Jhoulys Chacin – Colorado Rockies
2009 Statistics (Double-A): 2-3, 26.0 IP, 4.15 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 19 K
The numbers are skewed from one awful start, giving up 7 runs on 10 hits and 1 walk, striking out 4, over 4.2 innings.  Outside of that he’s given up just 5 earned runs over 21.1 innings of work.  He also has posted a groundball rate of 60.0%, making him the perfect pitcher to succeed in Coors Field.  Look past the ERA and realize that he is certainly worth watching.  At 21-years old, it would not surprise me to see him get a chance in the second half of 2009.

Neftali Feliz – Texas Rangers
2009 Statistics (Triple-A): 1-1, 19.2 IP, 5.16 ERA, 2.03 WHIP, 21 K
For a pitcher that is considered one of the brightest pitching prospects in the game, those numbers are downright ugly.  Some of it is bad luck, with a BABIP of .410, and part of it is his own doing, with a BB/9 of 7.50.  He hasn’t pitched more than five innings yet in any start and has at least two walks each time out.  The strikeouts are nice, but at 21-years old (on 5/2), he may be overmatched for this level.  He threw only 45.1 innings at Double-A, so be patient and give him time to adjust.

Tommy Hanson – Atlanta Braves
2009 Statistics (Triple-A): 1-3, 32.2 IP, 1.65 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, 48 K
He has not pitched more than six innings in any of his six starts, the only potential negative that you can point out.  He’s been lights out, striking out nine batters or more on three occasions already.  He’s allowed only 1 home run.  He’s handled lefties (.200) just as well as righties (.161).  Yeah, the 12 walks put him at a BB/9 of 3.35, but even that’s acceptable.  It’s just a matter of time before he steps onto a major league mound.

Jeremy Hellickson – Tampa Bay Rays
2009 Statistics (Double-A): 2-1, 30.0 IP, 2.10 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 36 K
He has dazzled this season, including walking just 8 batters over his first six starts of the season.  One thing to watch is his FB%, which is currently at 54.1%, yet he’s given up just one home run.  Sooner or later that is going to catch up to him, which will cause his ERA to rise.  His biggest problem, however, is being buried behind a talented young pitching staff that has not yet given David Price an opportunity in 2009.  With his control (he walked 20 in 152 innings in ‘08) and strikeout potential, he certainly is worth keeping an eye on.

Vin Mazzaro – Oakland Athletics
2009 Statistics (Triple-A): 0-2, 29.0 IP, 4.34 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 23 K
Before we get all upset, he has had his fair share of bad luck with a BABIP of .345 in the early going.  He also had been fantastic over his first four starts before struggling in the last two, giving up 11 earned runs over 9 innings.  That obviously is going to have a negative effect on his overall numbers, but very easily could just be considered a little cold spell.  He’s managed to keep the ball in the ballpark in the high-powered Pacific Coast League allowing just 2 HR, a very positive sign.  The key is that he has gotten opponents to continually drive the ball into the ground, with a groundball rate of 65.2%.  Last season he was at 50.4%, so while he is a groundball pitcher this is a little bit too far.

Junichi Tazawa – Boston Red Sox
2009 Statistics (Double-A): 3-2, 32.1 IP, 3.34 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 28 K
He had one bump in the road (6 ER over 5.2 innings on 4/25), but has given up two earned runs or less in each of his five other starts.  Outside of that, there really isn’t much negative to say about him thus far.  With a 7.85 K/9 at Double-A, you can say that he doesn’t seem like he’ll be a good strikeout pitcher as he progresses, and that’s fair.  Still, he’s not likely to contribute in the major leagues until 2010 at the earliest, so he has plenty of time to continue his development.

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

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