Pitching Prospects: Looking toward 2018

This is our ranking of pitching prospects going into 2018.

Prospects are 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. Thus we only look at four numbers–innings, hits, walks, strikeouts. What else is there? Well, age is a factor. The lower the age, the higher the upside. The years work against you when you’re 25 and over, because you won’t get better and thus won’t be as good in the majors as you are now. But in the spirit of keeping things simple, I would rather not try to quantify the age factor. The reader will be expected to keep two balls in the air, the player’s age and my rightmost-column number based on innings, hits, BBs and Ks.

To make the list, you have to have pitched at least some innings at A-ball (South Bend) or higher. If you do that, then you’re on the list and your numbers at Eugene and even rookie league in Arizona are counted.

According to this ranking, the interesting starting pitchers on the Cub farm are Rucker, Alzolay, Swarmer, Frankoff, Tseng, Robinson, Hatch. (Cease, their best starter prospect according to this ranking, was sent to the White Sox in the deal for Quintana.)

The interesting non-starters on the list are Jhon Rhomero, Pedro Araujo, Dillon Maples, Dakota Mekkes, Craig Brooks, Jake Stinnett, Manuel Rodriguez, Yapson Gomez, Steve Perakslis, Elvis Diaz, Daury Torrez, Brad Markey, Chad Hockin, Alec Mills, Felix Pena–I’ll stop at the top fifteen. I give their first names because these are mostly unfamiliar names to many fans, including this fan. I omit the names of two relievers, Jack Leathersich and Pierce Johnson, who rank quite high but were cut loose by team management recently. That may seem an anomaly, but consider that they were both age 26. I would say that at the end of your age-26 year with this team and with no proven ability to pitch in the majors, your time has run out. By this rule, next year will be make-or-break for Dillon Maples with the Cubs.

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