Welcome to another season of ranking pitching prospects according to the Marmol Index, where we subtract hits per nine innings from strikeouts per nine innings. Here is what I wrote recently in justification of this unusual metric:
It’s easy to defend the Marmol index. These are the strikeout pitchers. The best scouting report, after all, is what a hitter mutters to himself on the way back to the dugout. A pitcher near the top of this list is a batboy’s friend, routinely forcing hitters to carry their own bats back to the rack.
WHIP is a fine pitching stat, but it rewards pitchers with better control, and control doesn’t tell you much about a prospect’s arm. The Marmol Index ignores walks (as does Marmol, and as must his pitching coach and manager). A high Marmol-index score means your arm is propelling you toward the majors. When the WHIP falls into line, you’re ready.
After a month of games, two lefties, Beliveau and Buchter, are at or near the top, just as in 2009, when both were at Peoria. Buchter skipped Daytona this year, while Beliveau began there but was soon sent back to Peoria, apparently to get used to working out of the pen. He had been a starter in ’09. By the numbers, it’s not clear what else he can accomplish at Peoria.
Players are ranked, as I indicated, by K/9 minus H/9, the far-right column. Five of the first eighteen–McNutt, Grife, Suarez, Nagel and Struck–are at Peoria for the first time, so the pipeline is being filled.
It’s good to see Andrew Cashner and Aaron Shafer, first and second rounders in 2008, scoring well here. Shafer’s WHIP puts him at number 4 behind Leverton, Suarez and Jackson.