Robbie Ray is having a nice bounce-back 2013 so far. Photo: Natsnewsnetwork.blogspot.com
In 2011, I managed to do “Rotational Review” posts for both the MLB team and the minor league system for the whole summer. That turned out to be a pretty hefty time commitment, and an endeavor that I couldn’t keep up with. I managed to do all 33 MLB rotation reviews but gave up on the minor league systems around the all-star break. For the entirety of 2012 I never once published much of an in-season look at any of the minor league teams. But I want to stay aware of the minor league pitchers; its basically the reason I started this blog. I wanted to be up on the rising talent, always on the lookout for the next home grown pitching talent.
In 2013, I’ve modified my approach. With the help of daily doses of Luke Erickson‘s NationalsProspects.com daily looks, I’m taking the time to give a quick “grade” to each Starter’s outing by looking at the stat-line and the peripherals, in order to gauge how guys are looking. Instead of the previous “good-bad-soso” analysis, I’ve adopted somewhat of a letter grade system, from A+ to F. It isn’t a hard and fast grading system, but generally speaking we start with a run-of-the-mill quality start being graded a C (lets face it, 3 earned runs in 6 innings for a 4.50 ERA is average) and then go from there. 6 shutout innings gets somewhere between an A+ and an A- depending on # of hits/walks/Ks, while a complete meltdown (e.g. 7 runs in 3 innings) earns an F. You get the idea.
So, without further ado, here’s the April 2013 look at the starters by team, with grades for outings and some commentary. We’ll do an expanded view of the MLB rotation in the next post. The grades are through 4/30′s outings; the stats may be slightly off since I wrote the bulk of this prior to this morning.
- Ohlendorf: A,B,D+,D,C-
- Young: F,D
- Maya: C,D,D,F,D-
- Perry: D-,B+,C-,B
- Rosenbaum: A-,A,C+,A
- Roark: A,D,F->demoted to bullpen,A
- Tatusko: D,A-
Discussion: Syracuse YTD Stats are here for reference
(A quick note explaining the notation; the top 5 pitchers are the current rotation, and guys who have been starters before promotions or demotions, or who have spot starts are noted below the current rotational members. The rotation is listed in current appearance order).
So far, the AAA rotation (which i like to call the “desperately seeking to find an injury backup starter” group) has been mostly a mess this year. Former Major league starters Ross Ohlendorf and Chris Young sport ERAs of 5.46 and 9.00 respectively. Yunesky Maya has been even worse; a 7.45 ERA and a 1.62 whip. Ryan Perry rebounded after a rough debut outing. Tanner Roark was holding Young’s rotation spot and was either excellent or awful; even with two grade-A outings he’s sporting an 8.44 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. Only Danny Rosenbaum has shown himself worthy of a potential call up; after trying out for the Colorado rotation all spring on a Rule-5 invitation, he was returned and has really thrown well in Syracuse. (side note on Rosenbaum; is he now officially “Daniel?” Sort of how we went from Tom Milone to Tommy? I’ll have to update all my tags in the blog system).
In the Bullpen, Erik Davis, Fernando Abad and JC Romero each sport sub 1.00 ERAs in relief; the rest of the bullpen ranges from mediocre to awful. As noted in a prior post comment, there’s not a lot of relief backup were one of our MLB arms to go down. Davis is showing why the team protected him last November though.
- Broderick: C-,C+,B-,F,B-
- Treinen: F,D,A,C,B+
- Demny: A-,D,C,C-,F
- Clay: D,A,A,C,B+
- Karns: F,A,A,B+
Discussion: Harrisburg YTD Stats are here for reference
As with Syracuse, there’s a lot of up-and-down so far in Harrisburg. Brian Broderick, who should be in AAA frankly, is barely holding on in AA. He’s yet to have anywhere close to a dominant outing. Blake Treinen (throw-in from the Michael Morse trade) started really slow and has clawed his way back to respectability. Paul Demny has been up and down too. Caleb Clay (a MLFA signing who spent 6 years in the Boston organization) has been surprisingly sucessful as an Eastern League starter; he was relatively UNsuccessful the last two years playing for Boston’s AA affiliate in the same league as a middle reliever. We’ll see if he can keep this up. Lastly Nathan Karns, who in my mind is the “next best Nats starter prospect” to keep an eye on (with apologies to Rosenbaum, AJ Cole and Lucas Giolito) himself rebounded from an awful 2013 debut to put in 3 dominant starts. He now sits with a 3.80 ERA and 29 ks in 21 innings through 5 starts with nearly a 4/1 K/BB ratio.
Trevor Holder got a spot start and has been otherwise decent. Ian Krol (the PTBNL in the Morse trade) has been lights out; one run allowed in 13+ innings so far. Michael Broadway, who we picked up as a MLFA just a few days before the season started, has also been good in short sample sizes. Aaron Barrett has 4 saves and 15 ks to just 3 walks in his 11 innings this month. Most of the rest of the Harrisburg bullpen are showing great K/9 rates right now with good numbers thus far.
- Ray: A-,B,B-,A,A
- Jordan: A,B,B+,B-,B-
- Cole: D,B,D,D,C+
- Schwartz: A,A
- Hill: C+,A-,A+,C,C-
- Turnbull: D-,D,F->demoted
Discussion: Potomac YTD Stats are here for reference
Potomac is led by a series of guys who are all on good rolls. Robbie Ray, Taylor Jordan and Taylor Hill each are sporting sub 2.00 ERAs at the end of the month. Hill’s outings are a combination of excellent and mediocre; his stat line looks better than his Start grade line. Kylin Turnbull turned out not to be ready for High-A, but his promoted replacement Blake Schwartz certainly looked like he was ready in his first start (6ip, 3hits, zero runs) and followed up that outing with another dominant outing on 4/30. Only A.J. Cole has really struggled out of this group, a disappointing start so far for the re-captured prospect. Is High-A going to turn out to be his tripping point? The California league is tough on hitters, but the Carolina league isn’t; what is going on with Cole?
In the bullpen, Tyler Herron has an amazing 20 Ks in 10 1/3 innings, while Richie Mirowski has given up just 4 hits in his 10+ innings of work for the month.
- Anderson: B+,B+,A,B,A
- Turnbull: A
- Pineyro: D,D,Inc,C-,A+
- RPena: B,F,D,A-,B+
- Encarnation: B+,C-,C-
- Schwartz: B+,A,B-,A+->promoted
- Mooneyham: B-,A,A->dl
- Dupra: B,A,B-,D->promoted
- Rauh: C,C,B-,D-
- Fischer: A+
- Hudgins: A,A-
Discussion: Hagerstown YTD Stats are here for reference
Hagerstown has a “rotation,” and then they have something akin to a “tandem” pitching plan in place, where the 2nd guy in goes nearly as long as the starter. Hence the larger number of guys who are given grades on their “starts,” when in reality guys in the lower group don’t have any starts. If a guy goes 3-4 innings in a game, they generally have a grade here.
Dixon Anderson is leading the way with 5 excellent outings and a 2.25 era/0.87 whip. Brett Mooneyham had three good starts as well before hitting the D/L. Schwartz proved too dominant in his 4 outings (21 Ks in 14 innnings) and was promoted; Dupra’s line earned him a promotion as well. Pedro Encarnation is finally putting it together outside of short-season. Turnbull looked very dominant in his low-A return as expected. David Fischer and Wil Hudgins longer outings may have been good, but their other outings have drug down their stat lines. DSL grad Pineyro is somewhat holding his own in full-season ball, with up and down nights that hopefully will even out. Lastly Ronald Pena is living up to his “sleeper” potential; the 16th round 2012 draft pick has picked up right where he left off in full-season ball.