Following up on a previous post discussing the “age appropriateness” of pitchers in the minor leagues, I thought it would be interesting to look at the pitching staffs at the Nationals various affiliates and take a look at the ages. NOTE: I did most of this analysis prior to the promotions of AJ Cole and Robbie Ray to Hagerstown. I’ll put in notes about them in the appropriate section.
To review, based on dividing the ages of every pitcher in each league into quartiles, and then naming the quartiles, here’s our starting point:
|Really Young||25.22 or younger||24.11 or younger||22.33 or younger||21.56 or younger|
|Young||25.22 – 26.61||24.11 – 25.05||22.33 – 23.50||21.56 – 22.52|
|Old||26.61 – 28.47||25.05 – 26.32||23.5 – 24.45||22.52 – 23.33|
|Really Old||28.47 or older||26.32 or older||24.45 or older||23.33 or older|
Here’s an affiliate-by-affiliate look at the pitching staffs, their ages and how that age is “ranked.” Syracuse first:
|Syracuse||Collin Balester||6/6/1986||24.91||Really Young|
|Syracuse||Ross Detwiler||3/6/1986||25.17||Really Young|
|Syracuse||Yunesky Maya||8/28/1981||29.69||Really Old|
|Syracuse||Tom Milone||2/16/1987||24.22||Really Young|
Not surprisingly, several names (Martin, Mock) are included as being “old” for the level. Maya is a special case of course. Ironically, a lot of these players are young or really young for the level. Of note would be Tommy Milone, who is the 23rd youngest pitcher in the International league (out of 193 pitchers) and is holding his own in the rotation. Ironically, Ross Detwiler “seems” to be much older than he really is, since his name has been in the minds of Nats fans for years, but he’s still quite young even for AAA. Brad Meyers recent promotion counts him in the younger category as well, a good sign for our continued player development.
Trivia: The youngest pitcher in the International League was (at the time of this analysis) Julio Tehran, uber-Braves prospect who turned 20 in April and is seemingly ready for his MLB debut. The rich get richer. In fact, he did get promoted and made a start on Saturday 5/7 for Atlanta. Meanwhile the oldest pitcher in the International league is Mark Hendrickson, who last appeared in a minor league game in 2003. He didn’t make the Orioles’ roster out of spring and is trying to hang on.
|Harrisburg||Erik Arnesen||3/19/1984||27.13||Really Old|
|Harrisburg||Jimmy Barthmaier||1/6/1984||27.33||Really Old|
|Harrisburg||Matt Chico||6/10/1983||27.90||Really Old|
|Harrisburg||Carlos Martinez||3/30/1984||27.10||Really Old|
|Harrisburg||Shairon Martis||3/30/1987||24.10||Really Young|
|Harrisburg||Ryan Mattheus||11/10/1983||27.49||Really Old|
|Harrisburg||Patrick McCoy||8/3/1988||22.75||Really Young|
|Harrisburg||Brad Peacock||2/2/1988||23.26||Really Young|
|Harrisburg||Cory VanAllen||12/24/1984||26.36||Really Old|
What is concerning here is the number of “Really Old” pitchers we have on the staff in Harrisburg. Luckily they’re all relievers, not considered key prospects going forward. The best starter in AA (Brad Peacock) is quite young for the level (22nd youngest of 166 hurlers in the league). Other starters in Harrisburg are on the “right side” of the median, including Davis and Martis. Tatusko is getting too old for the level (hence my prediction that he’d be promoted prior to the season), and probable rotation replacement member Arneson is definitely too old for the level to be considered a prospect.
Interesting trivia; the oldest pitcher in the Eastern league is one Kei Igawa, who also holds the distinction of being (in my opinion) the worst FA starting pitcher ever signed based on dollars per win for the life of his contract plus posting fee. Meanwhile the youngest AA pitcher is Detroit Tiger’s 2009 1st round pick Jacob Turner, who is holding his own after getting drafted out of high school.
|Potomac||Paul Demny||8/3/1989||21.75||Really Young|
|Potomac||Patrick Lehman||10/18/1986||24.55||Really Old|
|Potomac||Adam Olbrychowski||9/7/1986||24.66||Really Old|
|Potomac||Joe Testa||12/18/1985||25.38||Really Old|
By virtue of the number of college pitchers we’ve drafted in the past couple of years, we have a stockpile of these guys who now make our Potomac roster seem relatively old. Our ace in Potomac Danny Rosenbaum is almost exactly the median age of pitchers in his league (he’s listed as “old” but missed the cutoff by a few days). Same with newly promoted Cameron Selik, who now pitches in a league where he’s almost exactly the average age. Potomac’s 2nd most effective starter this season has been Paul Demny, who is the 15th youngest pitcher of a 112 in the league. Its great to see such a youngster pitching so effectively. Meanwhile Mitchell Clegg and Trevor Holder are relatively old for the level already and are struggling this year, a sign they may be moved to the bullpen or be defined as “non-prospects” sooner or later.
Lastly, here’s Hagerstown pre Cole and Ray:
|Hagerstown||Sam Brown||6/10/1987||23.90||Really Old|
|Hagerstown||Ben Graham||11/23/1987||23.45||Really Old|
|Hagerstown||Bobby Hansen||12/17/1989||21.38||Really Young|
|Hagerstown||Shane McCatty||5/18/1987||23.97||Really Old|
|Hagerstown||Christopher McKenzie||12/6/1989||21.41||Really Young|
All things considered, we’re fielding a relatively young-for-the-level pitching staff in Hagerstown. The two youngest starters (Bobby Hansen and Chris McKenzie) are right at the 25th percentile cusp (so they’re still young for the league but not amazingly so). That being said, Hansen is probably Hagerstown’s 2nd most effective starter after Taylor Jordan, and they’re both young for the league. Even the two oldest starters in Hagerstown (Matt Grace and Paul Applebee) are both right around the median age for pitchers in the league. Selik was very old for the league before earning his promotion, possibly a sign that his age allowed him to dominate younger guys. Only the bullpen guys are “old” or “really old” for the league, and even they are not “overly” old.
AJ Cole and Robbie Ray, named to the team over the weekend, become the 3rd and 6th youngest pitchers in the league. This is all the more interesting considering Ray’s sterling 5/9 debut.
The younger guys we have in Syracause are for the most part the prospects; the older guys are mostly organizational arms not likely to feature in the majors. We are definitely “old” in both Harrisburg and Potomac, all the more concerning since both staffs are struggling. I like how young we are in Hagerstown, considering just how well that team is playing (19-10, 1/2 game out of first having played a ton of away games so far).