Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Monthly Prospect Review, Part 2

A look at the pitchers of note, by level:

AAA (Las Vegas)

Marc Rzepczynski - Not technically a rookie any more, but as long as he's not a firmly entrenched major leaguer, he's a prospect as far as I'm concerned. Zep's having a bit of a lost year, not so much in lack of success as in the ability to get on a consistent roll anywhere. Vegas is tough on the best of pitchers, but Zep seemed to have figured it out before his short promotion to Toronto where he was inconsistent. But it's worth noticing that in his last eight starts in AAA, he's put together this line: 51.1 - 41 - 17 - 19 - 48 - 3.33 - 1.17
There's really not a lot he has left to prove in the minors.

Brad Mills - you know of course that Mills acquitted himself quite well against an admittedly easy target in the Baltimore orioles while spot starting for the Jays last week. You might be less aware that in three starts since returning from the DL, Mills had a 2.00 ERA over 18 innings of work and looked much like his early-season self. Mills is in a very uncomfortable spot with Six guys on the depth chart in front of him and at least two highly regarded prospects on his heels. But he's keeping himself in the conversation.

Jesse Carlson - Not a rookie at all - but you might be interested to know that he has a 3.18 ERA since the first of June and has been doing fine work for 10 weeks or so now. Too bad for him that the Jays have so many options (and can't bring themselves to ditch Brian Tallet for some reason).

Josh Roenicke - still technically a rookie coming into the year (he was on BA's list you might recall). Like Zep, there's not a lot left for him to prove here. one of the biggest losers when the Jays didn't find a taker for Frasor or Gregg.

Jeremy Accardo - you all know his story. The question is, does his 2.34 ERA (and 1.31 since June 1) reflect his age and experience relative to the league, or that he has his old mojo back?

AA (New Hampshire)

Kyle Drabek - the Jays #1 prospect continues to demonstrate his mastery of AA. Speculation abounds about the Jays' intentions regarding his development as he seems to have nothing left to prove at AA. Jeff Blair and others have reported the Jays intend to cap his IP at about 160 this year - strange since that wouldn't be an increase on his 158 last year. But if true, he only has about 4-5 more starts before they shut him down. there seems little point in subjecting him to the rigors of Vegas for so small a sample. Also, while many fans drool over the prospect of his appearing in Toronto in September, if the 160 report is legit, he won't have the innings left, and you can't, as was suggested by at least one, shut him down for a few weeks and then bring him back. Plus, he doesn't need to go on the 40 this winter and AA is unlikely to burn a roster spot and an option year for the sake of a token appearance.

Zach Stewart - Stewart struggled mechanically the first two months of the season but has since made a case that he, too, has got the AA-ball gig down. Since June 1, he has a 2.28 ERA (better than Drabek over the same period). The walk rate is still higher than you'd like but otherwise, he's back on track.

Trystan Magnuson - has cooled some from his incredible run of efficiency. But other than one horrendous inning when he was allowed to stay in long enough to give up five runs, he's got an ERA of 2.00 on the year. in a less deep organization, he could potentially skip AAA and break camp with the Major league club next spring.

Danny Farquhar - blazed out of the gate, then went completely off the rales in May. but he's been dynamite again for the last month plus. Like the other AA pitchers mentioned so far, he has nothing left to prove here.

Alan Farina - Not as great a story as Tim Collins was, and doesn't have the crazy K numbers but still a dominant guy. Another guy who, though he has a very small AA sample, looks like he could pitch now at a higher level. probably will be a step behind the other two relievers here though.

A (Dunedin)

Chad Jenkins - With eight starts under his belt in A ball, Jenkins has only turrned in one real stinker - without that game his ERA is 3.15, but he has oddly low strikeout numbers so far. Still, in the seven good starts he's had 0 or 1 walk issued in each game. He's not necessarily coming fast as was projected, but he doesn't necessarily need to. All in all though, I wouldn't be shocked if he opened 2011 in AA.

Henderson Alverez - Something has gone badly off the tracks here. The kind who looked unhittable in the first six weeks of the season has become nothing of the sort since. One assumes it might be mechanical, or possibly the team is forcing him to refine lesser pitches. but there's no definitive pattern of getting better right now. given his age and track record, my guess is that he repeats Dunedin next season. He's still a heck of a prospect though, make no mistake there.

Joel Cerrano - doesn't get a lot of buzz when prospects are discussed, but he's led the system in K's for a lot of the season. Cerrano has 138 in 107 IP and a 5:1 K:BB ratio. Hard to ignore that.

Frank Gailey - He's 24 and a reliever in A ball, so moderate your reactions. BUT he's also left handed and 5'9" and has 71 K's against only 9 BB in 64.1 IP - he'll never be a "top prospect" but he might very well be a pretty decent major leaguer some day.

A (Lansing)

Egan Smith - Made it to the end of July without ever having even one moderately mediocre start, let alone a bad one. A six-five lefty taken in the seventh round in 2009, Smith is not a "known name" but other relatively late roound choices have taken off before (Zep, for instance) so keep Smith in mind.

Ryan Tepera - Toronto writers recently honored him with a spot on the "all system" team. I'm not really sure why. His strikeout numbers should be better unless he has something else going for him I'm not seeing.

Short-Season (Auburn)

Andrew Hutcinson - Marvelous in five of his last six starts, the 2009 15th round pick is begining to look like a potential steal.

Casey Lawrence - signed after the draft as an undraftd free agent, Lawrence has cruised through seven starts for the Doubledays. He's 22 so he's somewhat older than the league but not enough so that it's illegitimate to ask if he is really THIS good. I'd love to see the Jays push aside one of the stiffs at Lansing and give him a few turns against tougher competiton.

Asher Wojciechowski - Shut down after three starts because he through so many innings in college. Gave up only one run in 12 IP and there's not a lot we can draw from that sample.

SS (Gulf Coast)

Aaron Sanchez - not enough innings to comment on, but Alex Anthopoulos told Mike wilner that no less a voice Mel Queen's virtually demanded we draft Sanchez saying he was one of the best pitchers that age he'd ever seen. quote: "He's better than Carpenter." My man-love for Sanchez just tripled when I heard that.

Noah Syndergaard - Like Sanchez, too early to draw conclusions.

Devy Estrada - I may be the only one in on this guy but from what he did in the DSL last year at 16, I'm gonna stick with him til he blows up. Respectable work in almost 30 IP so far.

There's no point in discussing relievers at the lowest levels. You can't tell yet who'll rise like cream to the top.


Drew said...

I think Cerrano's age plays a big part in his quiet profile. This is his second time through A ball after struggling (sort of) in Double A last year.

Anonymous said...

and can't bring themselves to ditch Brian Tallet for some reason

I thought Cito made it clear: Tallet does everything that's asked of him...presumably, including pressing Cito's slacks, fetching coffee and nicotine patches, etc.

Gil Fisher said...

I think your review of Alvarez is severely flawed. He's actually improved in June and July, stiking out 8.7 and 7.9 per nine (compared to 5-6% in April/May), which was the crutch of the doubters.

His ERA has increased on the back of unsustainable monthly BABIPs of .451 and .397 for June/July despite low LD% of 16.3% and 12.9%.

I wouldn't get too worked up about his ERA - it was too low early and too high lately for his peripherals. His season FIP of 3.73 is about right and excellent for a 20 year-old in A+.