Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Prospect Arms Race

I have decided to have a look back at how some of the Blue Jays prospects/minor leaguers have performed so far in 2013. Now, I know it has only been 1 month and small sample sizes need to be considered. I just find this a fun exercise, so fuck it.

Deck McGuire, Marcus Walden, and Ryan Tepera are 3 similar profile pitchers. All 3 are right handed throwing starters with similar profiles. The main difference: Deck was a top draft pick, picked in the 1st round in 2010 with the hope that he could be a fast riser and help the MLB team at the back of the rotation.

Then something happened. McGuire shit the bed. He shit the bed so badly. Once he hit AA in 2011, he proceeded to forget how to get people out at a consistent rate. Across 190.2 IP in AA, Deck has posted a 5.71 ERA in 36 games (35 starts). He is walking 3.9/9 IP and only striking out 6.7/9 IP.

Tepera was a 19th round pick in 2009 and has slowly risen up the system, with mixed results. Not much is expected as he is not and has never really been, much of a prospect. In AA now, Tepera is usually good for 5 IP a start, which makes him more of a swing type, which might allow his stuff to play up.

Walden was taken in the 9th round in 2007 out of a Junior College. After missing 2010 due to injury, Walden has turned a corner. Another 5 IP per start type, Walden might be better served in the long run as a swing type as well. In 2012, across 3 levels, Walden threw 139.1 IP with a 2.97 ERA. Now in AA, Walden has started strong with a 3.29 ERA in 27.1 IP.

In High A Dunedin, there are 3 RH starters with similar profiles to the above mentioned to go along with the top prospect in the system. Those 3 are Scott Copeland, Casey Lawrence, and Jesse Hernandez.

Casey Lawrence has shown flashes, but has struggled in his brief experiences in AA and AAA. He is currently pitching to a 2.67 ERA in 27 IP in Dunedin in 4 starts. He made an emergency start in Buffalo and got creamed early this season.

Jesse Hernandez has found some success in the Minors, but has seemingly struggled upon promotions. At 24, and repeating high A, Hernandez has a 2.38 ERA in 34 IP across 6 starts.

Scott Copeland came over during last season from the Orioles organization after being released, and pitched well with a 2.70 ERA in 36.2 IP (6 starts, 1 relief game). He has continued that success with a 2.53 ERA in 32 IP this season in 5 starts.

The top prospect left in the system (and top including the guys they traded away to some, me included) is Aaron Sanchez. His stuff is top notch and if he can gain better command, he could be one of the top arms among all of the prospects in baseball. Standing 6’4’’ and weighing 190 pounds, Sanchez is the prototype for the lean starter who should be able to be a horse for the Blue Jays in a few years. He’s off to a solid start, with a 3.16 ERA in 25.2 IP across 5 starts.

Roberto Osuna, the number 2 ranked prospect, is a big bodied, psychically mature pitcher with an MLB bloodline (father Antonio was a MLB reliever). Still just 18, Osuna was pitching in the Mexican League (think AAA with more burritos) when he was 16. He was very effective pitching against Rookie League and Low A hitters last season, striking out 10.1/9 IP with a 2.27 ERA. He could move quickly if the Blue Jays wanted him to, but he’s young and there is no need to rush him.

Well, that does it for the right handed starters in the system in High A or up. The right handed relievers will be next. 

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