Pitching prospects 2010

May 8:

I wrote this recently in justification of the Marmol index (K/9 minus H/9):

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.

May 17:

Beliveau promoted to Daytona.

The Marmol index tends to favor relief pitchers. Starters near the top of the list are therefore notable. Starters currently in the first fifteen are Cashner, McNutt, Diamond, Bibens-Dirkx and Archer.

May 28:

Biggest movers this week were Rusin, up from #31 to 21, and Parker, down from 15 to 22.

June 5:

Moving up: Archer, from #10 to #6; Maine, from 23 to 16; Cales, 24 to 20.

Moving down: Leverton, from #15 to #21.

June 18:

Moving up: Hung-Wen Chen, from #42 to 34; Blake Parker, 30 to 21; and Jeff Samardzija, 16 to 7. Within the top 10, McNutt moved from 9 to 4, Archer from 6 to 3.

Moving down: Bibens-Dirkx, from #12 to 20; and Schlitter, from 22 to 40.

June 30:

Scott Maine up from #18 to 10; Larry Suarez dropping from 10 to 16; Samardzija down from 7 to 14.

July 16:

Jeff Samardzija up from #14 to 8; Chris Rusin, from 26 to 21; Chris Carpenter, 40 to 36; and Nick Struck, up from 43 to 33.

Larry Suarez down from #16 to 20.

July 31:

Starting pitchers with a Marmol index above zero deserve to be singled out. Here are the current standings:

McNutt, 3.79
Samardzija, 3.48
Archer, 3.13
Batista, 2.65
Wallach, 2.02
Diamond, 1.50
Bibens-Dirkx, 0.54
Rusin, 0.49

August 17:

In terms of who is promotable in September–AA and AAA playoffs permitting–I would list Archer, Shafer, Maine, Samardzija, Bibens-Dirkx, Carillo, Rusin and Smit. Gaub has been shut down, while Buchter and Stevens have high WHIPs.