Checking in on two practically perfect pitching prospects, several seasons on.
On the night that Homer Bailey pitched his second career no-hitter, fanning nine Giants against only one walk, Phil Hughes was also in action. Hughes had a good outing, but hardly a historic one: he threw seven innings of one-run ball against the Twins, striking out three and walking two. Bailey’s start was the one that led SporsCenter, but it’s appropriate that the pair’s spots in their respective rotations were synched.
Bailey and Hughes have been linked for a long time. Both were hard-throwing, right-handed high schoolers selected in the first round of the 2004 draft. Hughes stands 6’5”; Bailey stands 6’4.” Hughes is less than two months younger. On our list of the top 100 prospects of 2007, Hughes placed second and Bailey ranked fourth, which made comparisons between them inevitable. Just breathe in the August, 2006-ness of this excerpt from Future Shock:
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Do pitchers who play in full-season leagues at age 17 or 18 often find success, or is there still no such thing as a pitching prospect?
As part of last week’s Prospects on the Bubble series, we looked at hitters who had played full seasons at advanced Class-A as 17- or 18-year-olds. A number of readers asked about pitchers who have done the same thing, and the results (using a minimum of 100 innings pitched) are significantly less impressive in terms of both quantity and quality.
In the wake of the Matt Moore extension, revisit Nate's discussion of the perils of counting on pitching prospects and his remarks on the most promising southpaws.
While looking toward the future with our comprehensive slate of current content, we'd also like to recognize our rich past by drawing upon our extensive (and mostly free) online archive of work dating back to 1997. In an effort to highlight the best of what's gone before, we'll be bringing you a weekly blast from BP's past, introducing or re-introducing you to some of the most informative and entertaining authors who have passed through our virtual halls. If you have fond recollections of a BP piece that you'd like to nominate for re-exposure to a wider audience, send us your suggestion.
Last week, the Rays signed young lefty Matt Moore to an extension that should prove to be team-friendly if he stays healthy, but as Nate discussed in an article which originally ran as a "Lies, Damned Lies" column on April 12, 2007, it's never safe to assume that a young pitcher's arm will remain intact.
It may seem as though everyone involved in the Aces-for-Prospects swaps came out ahead, but it simply isn't so.
The Blue Jays, Phillies, Mariners, and Athletics put together a blockbuster trade that has rarely been seen in baseball history: nine players will belong to new organizations next year, including two former Cy Young winners very much in their prime.
A look at the who's who of the first winter league to begin play down in Venezuela.
We interrupt our Arizona Fall League preview series to take a trip even further south, as the Venezuelan Winter League-or as it's knows to the locals, Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional, begins play tonight. The political situation there, as well as fears of crime, has kept many teams from sending many American players there lately, but there are still a number of outstanding prospects who will get some more reps in when they go home for the winter.
A review of the top half of baseball's player development systems.
1. Tampa Bay Rays Last Year's Ranking: 1 Why They're Unchanged: Evan Longoria's full-season debut went even better than expected, and they added No. 1 overall pick David Price to the system. Strengths: Yes. There are just tons of prospects everywhere, as 20 of MLB's 30 teams don't have one prospect ranked higher than Tampa's fifth-rated player. Weaknesses: It's hard to figure out what to do with all of this talent. Seriously, they're not just No. 1, they're No. 1 by a mile. Outlook for 2009 Ranking: Unchanged. Even with Longoria in the big leagues, the Rays have more than enough talent to remain at the top, and once again, they have the first overall pick in June.
Having completed the swing through the 30 systems, reviewing the bottom half of MLB's player development systems.
16. Chicago Cubs Last Year's Ranking: 21 Why They're Up: The struggles of Donald Veal and the graduation of Felix Pie are both offset by Geovany Soto's breakout seasons and what is looking like a very strong 2007 draft. Strengths: Solid offensive prospects at nearly every level, with Josh Vitters providing big-time potential. Despite disappointing 2007 performances, there are several power arms in the system. Weaknesses: Very little pitching that is close to being ready to help; Soto's move to the majors leaves little else in the way of power. Outlook for 2009 Ranking: Down a tad. Soto is now in the majors; Sean Gallagher and Eric Patterson could both be moving on or out as well.
The ten worst defenses in the minors, and the pitchers that learned to hate going to the office because of them.
While going about the business of minor league player evaluation, I think we can sometimes forget that baseball is a team game. Often in the minor leagues, it seems a game between eight players that will never make it, and the one blue-chip player you came out to the ballpark to see. Scouts are able to watch a game with blinders that allow them to focus on one player's individual skills, independent of the other players around him. This is what separates amateur-talent scouts from the average baseball fan, but in statistics, we try to do this by accounting for context. What league was the player in, relative to his age? Was he consistently dominating? What type of environment was the player hitting or pitching in?
Everything you wanted to know about the BP Kings Charity Scoresheet Draft.
Peter Gammons' unfortunate incident focused the spotlight on cerebral aneurysms, but my connection is more personal. My mother had a cerebral aneurysm rupture way back in 1977 and was fortunate to survive.
Draft Strategy: Be strong at scarce positions offensively, avoided the dreaded Pitcher-AAA as always, and work on building a better bullpen to compensate for the lack of early starting pitchers. I sort of strayed from that strategy by taking John Lackey relatively early, and I might have a problem at second base if Jose Lopez doesn't pan out. I wanted to build a good core under the age of 30, and I did a fairly decent job of that. One of my harder decisions was my first one--Grady Sizemore vs. Joe Mauer. The consensus seems to be that I went the wrong with Sizemore--the consensus could be right, but I get the idea that three years from now Mauer won't be catching as often, to preserve his knees. Maybe that's too far forward to look, but at the same token, I see Sizemore as basically being risk-free.
I participated in the Mock Draft in the Scoresheet newsgroup, and because of that I expected the draft to be a little more prospect-heavy early-on. With the notable exception of Nate Silver, it wasn't, which suits me fine. I'm happy to have Brignac and Adam Miller among my top prospects.
Draft Strategy: Our only real strategy was to get big bats with the first few picks, then turn to pitching. Other than that, we basically reacted to the draft. We had the third pick, and in a league with an obvious top three, that made things easy. The one who's left is your guy, and that was Joe Mauer, whom we were happy to have. When Vernon Wells fell, we felt, to us at No. 22, we had our theme for the early part of the draft: Young, studly up-the-middle guys.