Saturday, July 13, 2013

Top 100 Prospect Pitchers of Note

A few days ago I looked at the tools rankings of the Top 100 Prospects that were hitters, as published by Baseball America (Thread Here).  And it was painfully obvious how easy it was to find the prospects with the best offensive tools, and almost all of them now have high end BC autos.

Today, I'm going to look at the pitchers that appeared in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospect List, and see if there's a pattern somewhere in the scouting grades.

47 pitchers made the list, and each is graded on 5 tools.  All pitchers have a grade for Control, Command, and three pitch types: fastball, changeup, breaking ball (specified as either a curveball or a slider).  My goal was to see if anything stuck out in terms of breakout prospects and their tools, and something did, almost as obvious as it did for the hitters.

You can separate the tools into two categories: pitch types and control/command.  I don't have to define pitch types for you, but control and command, believe it or not, are actually not universally defined.  There are two schools of thought on the difference between control and command.  The first is that control is accuracy while command is the ability to throw strikes.  To me, those are the same exact thing.  So, I prefer the second school of thought, which is control is accuracy whereas command is your ability to make pitches move the way you want them to (e.g. sink out of the zone, rise up out of the zone, etc.).  But what I found is that as long as you lump those two grades together, it doesn't matter.

Now, you can focus on total grade of a pitcher's pitches and total grade of his control/command.  Of the 47 pitchers in the Top 100 list, only 6 pitchers had a combined grade of at least 195 for their pitches, and only 5 had a combined grade of 120 for control/command.  What I found was either/or worked in terms of a prospect's success.

Starting with the 5 control/command  studs, there are:
Jose Fernandez
Kyle Zimmer
Andrew Heaney
Michael Wacha
Justin Nicolino

Now, what I absolutely love about this is that EVERY one of these guys is doing amazing, with their performance and more importantly, the value of their BC autos.  And even better, Wacha was all the way down at #76, and Nicolino was #86, so they were prime bargain candidates.

Next, the 6 pitchers who had a combined grade of 195+ for their 3 pitches were:
Gerrit Cole
Dylan Bundy
Jose Fernandez
Lucas Giolito
Trevor Bauer
Alex Meyer

Meyer was only ranked #59 and Giolito was #67.  Besides Bauer, the others are obviously studs.

So, what does this all mean?  Well, like the hitters, if you just looked to find the pitchers who had 3 possible plus pitches, or both control and command, you could have found Wacha, Nicolino, Meyer, and Giolito way down the list and made some money.  This is how I found Nicolino.

You could have also avoided overrated pitchers who lack 3 quality pitches and control/command (Danny Hultzen, Matt Barnes, Julio Teheran, Allen Webster, etc.).

That said, the most impressive toolsy prospects who I'd recommend are Kyle Zimmer and Lucas Giolito.  They are tied for 4th in total grades of all 5 categories, behind only Bundy, Fernandez, and Cole... good company to be in.


Rank Pitcher FB Curve Change Control Command
5 Jose Fernandez  75 65 55 65 60
6 Shelby Miller  70 60 50 60 55
7 Gerrit Cole (slider) 80 70 60 55 50
11 Zack Wheeler (slider) 70 60 50 60 55
12 Tyler Skaggs  60 65 55 60 55
14 Trevor Bauer  70 70 55 55 50
18 Taijuan Walker  70 60 55 55 50
19 Jameson Taillon  75 65 50 60 55
24 Kyle Zimmer  70 65 55 65 55
25 Archie Bradley  75 65 50 55 50
26 Kevin Gausman  70 50 60 60 55
29 Danny Hultzen  60 55 60 60 55
36 Chris Archer  70 70 45 50 45
38 Carlos Martinez  75 60 55 55 50
39 Trevor Rosenthal  75 55 50 55 50
40 Matt Barnes  65 60 50 60 55
42 Hyun-Jin Ryu  60 55 55 60 55
43 Andrew Heaney  60 60 55 65 60
44 Julio Teheran  65 45 65 60 55
45 Casey Kelly  60 60 55 60 55
46 Max Fried  65 65 50 60 55
49 Allen Webster  65 55 60 55 50
50 Lance McCullers Jr.   75 65 50 55 50
54 Noah Syndergaard  65 55 55 60 55
56 Robert Stephenson  75 55 55 55 50
59 Alex Meyer  75 65 55 55 50
62 Taylor Guerrieri  65 60 55 55 50
65 Aaron Sanchez  75 60 50 55 50
66 Kyle Crick  70 60 50 55 50
67 Lucas Giolito  75 65 55 60 55
68 Kyle Gibson  55 60 60 60 55
69 Wily Peralta  70 60 55 55 50
76 Michael Wacha  60 50 65 65 60
78 Luis Heredia  65 60 55 55 50
81 Martin Perez  60 55 60 55 50
82 Tony Cingrani  60 40 60 55 50
83 Arodys Vizcaino  70 70 50 60 55
85 Yordano Ventura  75 60 55 55 50
86 Justin Nicolino  50 55 60 65 60
87 James Paxton  65 65 50 55 50
89 Jesse Biddle  60 60 50 55 50
91 Henry Owens  55 50 60 60 55
92 Jake Odorizzi  60 50 55 60 55
93 J.R. Graham  65 60 50 60 55
94 Daniel Corcino  60 55 55 55 50
95 Bruce Rondon  80 55 45 50 45
98 Marcus Stroman  65 70 55 55 50


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