Boxscore scouting

As a daily consumer of minor-league box scores, I was familiar enough with Jerry Blevins to be disappointed when I heard that the Cubs had traded him for Jason Kendall last year. Even Jim Hendry seemed to strike a reluctant note at the time.

“He’s a good, young left-handed reliever,” Hendry said. “He’s really gotten better and will certainly be a Major League pitcher. [Billy Beane’s] scouts did a good job, as they always do.

“You’re not going to fool the Oakland A’s.”

Scouting aside, Blevins simply had the best numbers in the Cub organization over a season split between Daytona and Tennessee. Second best might have been Sean Gallagher, whom the Orioles would pursue hard over the winter.

Here are the two sets of 2007 numbers.

name club inn hits runs er bb k era whip k/inn k/bb
Jerry Blevins Daytona-Tenn 52.3 36 6 6 13 69 1.03 0.94 1.32 5.31
Sean Gallagher Tenn-Iowa 101.2 87 37 35 37 91 3.10 1.22 0.90 2.46

I like all the usual pitching numbers–wins and losses, hits, runs, ERA, WHIP–but I’m particularly drawn to Ks per inning and Ks per walk. The best scouting report, after all, is what the opposing hitter mutters to himself as he trudges back to the dugout.

Blevins is gone, and Gallagher has made the team and made the starting rotation. With the minor league season half over, we have a new set of stats to work with. What do they tell us about the 2008 pitchers whom the Cubs might want to fast-track and other teams might want to steal?

There are three pitchers whose numbers stand out, Jordan Latham and Blake Parker at Peoria and Casey Lambert, mostly at Daytona this season but promoted to Knoxville a few days ago. Latham and Parker were in Tim Wilken’s first draft class in 2006, but Latham didn’t sign until 2007, while Parker spent that first professional summer in 2006 as a catcher before converting to pitcher the following spring. Lambert was drafted last June.

name club inn hits runs er bb k era whip k/inn k/bb
Jordan Latham Peoria 47.1 34 17 9 11 47 1.71 0.96 1.00 4.27
Blake Parker Peoria 45.1 31 7 6 17 49 1.19 1.06 1.09 2.88
Casey Lambert Daytona-Tenn 41.2 39 15 13 11 39 2.81 1.26 0.95 3.55

Here is another set of Cub pitchers with very agreeable 2008 stats, although not quite as eye-catching as the above-mentioned three.

name club inn hits runs er bb k era whip k/inn k/bb
Dae-eun Rhee Peoria 31 21 9 4 11 24 1.16 1.03 0.77 2.18
Hung-Wen Chen Peoria 65.1 62 24 24 12 42 3.31 1.13 0.65 3.50
Alessandro Maestri Daytona 78 72 39 32 27 66 3.69 1.27 0.85 2.44
Donald Veal Tenn 84.2 74 38 26 45 65 2.76 1.41 0.77 1.44
Carmen Pignatiello Iowa 24.2 26 13 13 10 25 4.74 1.46 1.03 2.50

Pignatiello’s ERA is way too high but it’s headed down. I’ve been watching his numbers for a couple of seasons and he strings together impressive skeins of scoreless outings, and he always gets a strikeout or two. This boxscore scout is intrigued by him.

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