Friday, August 21, 2009

TPC in Retrospect: 2009 Top 20 Pitching Prospects #6-10

Last week I reviewed my top 5 pitching prospects for 2009, so this week it's time for the other 5 guys I ranked in the top 10. While there are a few changes I would make given the chance, I think my top 10 actually came out pretty good.

6. Neftali Feliz -- Up until about 6 weeks ago I wasn't sure how this pick was going to work out. Last year Feliz rocked AA hitters, posting 47 strikeouts in 45 innings, while hitting 100 mph on his fastball at the ripe old age of 20 years old. But Feliz struggled in AAA this year, posting a relatively meager 18% K% in April and June. I'm not sure if the learning curve was a little steeper this year, or if Feliz focused more on his secondary stuff, but it took about 3 months and a move to the bullpen before he looked like the pitcher we saw in 2008. Of course, we all know how well Feliz has performed at the major league level for the Rangers, accumulating 17 strikeouts in 11.2 innings with 0 walks, and a WHIP of 0.34. It's obviously not a very large sample size, but still very impressive. I hope Frank Wren never again allows a guy like Feliz to slip out of the Braves farm system.

7. Rick Porcello -- My gut told me to rank Porcello a bit higher than I actually did before the season started, but it seemed like there was going to be plenty of opportunities to reevaluate the Tigers young ace since he hadn't yet thrown a single pitch above advanced A ball. Guess I was wrong. The Tigers gave Porcello a spot in their starting rotation, and he has done quite well given his age and experience level. Looking back, I think I should have given Porcello the #4 or #5 spot and dropped David Price to #7.

8. Jhoulys Chacin -- This doesn't seem like a very radical pick, but going into 2009 Baseball America had Chacin ranked as the 46th best prospect in baseball, right behind Tim Alderson. I'm not saying this was a great pick by me, but I think having Chacin in my top 10 was a smart move. He's not going to be a dominant pitcher any time soon, but I think he could be just as good Jair Jurrjens in a few years.

9. Jairo Heredia -- Heredia was my most radical top 10 pick. He still isn't on any other top 50 list as far as I know, and I don't think he's going to get much attention for at least another 6 to 12 months. Heredia spent the majority of 2009 on the DL for a mystery injury, but has put in 26 innings at A and advanced A ball since July, collecting 21 strikeouts and just 3 walks. In retrospect, I might drop Heredia to #11 or #12 and maybe replace him with someone like Jenrry Mejia, but Heredia still deserves a lot more attention than he's been getting.

10. Christian Friedrich -- Baseball America ranked Friedrich as the 95th best prospect in baseball going into 2009 right behind Brad Holt, Phillippe Aumont, and Andrew Brackman, so I think I can give myself a pat on the back for putting him in my top 10. In 103 innings between A and advanced A ball, Friedrich has 140 strikeouts with just 37 walks, and has allowed just 74 hits. He still has work to do, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a shot at the Rockies starting rotation early next year.

Overall, I'd give myself a B+ for my #6-10 picks. I probably should have included Tommy Hanson in my top 10, but I'm still not completely sold on him (I'll explain later).
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James said...

What's up Adam,

Glad to see you are still running this website. I've been really busy w/ everything :) You know how it is. Hope your year is going well.


James said...

P.S. Hanson is doing a lot better than your projection :) He's a gritty pitcher... Wish I could watch Braves games up here

Adam G said...

Hey James, good to hear from you! School has really cut into my baseball time this summer, but I guess that's how it goes.

You're right, Hanson has done much better then my pre-season projections, and I'm still trying to nail down the variables I didn't account for with him. He's obviously very talented, but any time I see a rookie 23 year old pitcher post an ERA under 3.50 I can't help but think that there will be some regression. Anyways, the N.L. looks really bad in terms of offense this year (did you see any of the John Smoltz highlights against San Diego), so I think that might have something to do with it. I'll post my thoughts on it later.

Good luck with school!

James said...

Unfortunately, with the amount of the innings he has pitched, it's inevitable that he will regress next year (or at least remain stagnant)

I caught a little of Smoltz's first start w/ the Cards. He looked like he was more confident with his pitches.

Gluck with school to you too!

apoxonbothyourhouses said...

Wren didn't trade Feliz. Schuerholz did.

apoxonbothyourhouses said...


the fact that you're not sold on Hanson makes me think that this whole site is farcical.