This is a final, end-of-season list of Cub pitching prospects ranked according to the formula K9-(H9+BB9). That’s strikeouts per nine innings minus the sum of hits-per-nine and walks-per-nine. Three pitchers on the list–Edwards, Jr., Garner and Buchter–have strikeout totals that exceed the sum of hits allowed and walks surrendered. Similar rankings in years past have taught me that very few apprentice pitchers become major leaguers, and that it is appropriate, therefore, to set the bar very high. The numbers indicate that Edwards, Jr., is our top pitching prospect today. Most of our other high prospects are lower down in the system, with nine of the top twenty just having completed a championship season at high-A Myrtle Beach. Those nine Pelicans, highest to lowest, are Garner, Markey, Berg, Skulina, Farris, Underwood, Rakkar, Pugliese and Martinez. (Pugliese finished the season with two relief appearances at Tennessee, and did not participate in Myrtle Beach’s playoff run.)
I know that bench space is limited in the pen, but Buchter and Francescon look like they might be able to help the big-league club right now.
Ryan Williams is tenth or eleventh on the list, depending on whether you include Trevor Cahill with his scant 7.2 innings. Williams is held down by modest strikeout numbers, but 109 hits and 18 walks in 141.2 innings is crazy. Williams skipped Myrtle Beach and put up most of his numbers at AA Tennessee in just his first full year as a pro.
Williams was also the Cubs’ winningest minor-league pitcher at 14-3, with ten of those wins for Tennessee. This is anecdotal, and does not affect the rankings in any way. Mitch Atkins–never considered a strong pitching prospect–was 13-4 in 2006 and 17-7 in 2008. But Atkins’ numbers in those two years, according to the K9-(H9+BB9) formula, were -7.20 and -7.83, whereas Williams this year is at -1.84.