Mid Season Pitcher Rankings
Everyone interested in the minor leagues likely does some type of ranking of prospects. A problem we all face is determining what these rankings should be based on other than hearsay, newspapers and publicity. To address this problem, I developed a formula which ranks all minor league pitchers within a team‘s system. After last season was completed, the formula was fine tuned and has now been applied to all pitchers on the four full season clubs as of July 7th. It must be noted that this formula does not necessarily rank pitchers as prospects, rather, it ranks their performance during the first part of this season.
The formula uses a combination of math applied to various statistics combined with a smaller subjective factor. The formula is based on 100 points using several factors, including: 1) age versus normal age for the league playing in (AAA, 25 to GCL, 19); 2) ERA with a base of 4.00; 3) innings pitched with a base of 90 (150 for the full season); 4) Strikeouts per 9 innings with a base of 9; 5) walks per 9 innings with a base of 3; 6) home runs allowed per 9 innings with a base of one-half; and 7) WHIP per inning with a base of 1.25. The points range from a low of 5 points for home runs to a high of 25 for ERA. A pitcher doing better than the base will receive more than the allotted points, while another pitcher not meeting the base would receive less than the allotted points for each category. No individual factor can earn more than double the allotted points, otherwise a single factor such as walks could have to great of an effect on a player's total (such as Kevin Slowey who rarely walks anyone). For obvious reasons, a pitcher's won and loss record is not a factor in determining their overall score.
In addition a player can earn up to 5 bonus points for being named an all-star, league honors or named as a Top 20 prospect after the season by one of the scouting services. Each pitcher also earns additional bonus points for a complete game (+1) or shutout (+1). Finally, there is a subjective factor ranging between 4 and 20 points for each pitcher's ceiling (for example, someone who could potentially be a Number 1 or 2 starter would earn 14-16 points, whereas, someone expected to have a ceiling of the 40-man roster would earn 4 points).
Pitching in AAA is more advanced than A and a player's likelihood of making it to the Twins increases as they move up the ladder from A to AAA. Therefore, when each player's total is determined it is discounted based on level of play. For example, a player pitching in AAA would receive 96% of their total points, while a player pitching at single A Beloit would receive 76% of their total points when determining their final score.
Following is the mid-season ranking of all 50 pitchers appearing in the system this season. For comparison, last year's top ranked pitcher was Francisco Liriano who compiled a year ending score of 153.608.
The Top 10:
#1 Kevin Slowey AA 21 155.723 #3 127.581
#2 Matt Garza AA 22 146.280 #30 91.571
#3 Pat Neshek AAA 24 144.197 #6 123.058
#4 JD Durbin AAA 24 127.552 #31 91.081
#5 Julio DePaula AA 23 127.045 #19 104.289
#6 Beau Kemp AAA 25 121.829 #20 103.545
#7 Oswaldo Sosa A 20 120.581 #60 62.050
#8 Jason Miller AAA 23 117.839 #22 99.794
#9 Boof Bonser AAA 24 108.959 #15 108.406
#10 Brian Duensing Hi-A 23 108.733 #25 95.562
Garza and Slowey were arguably the top two pitchers in the Florida State League until their promotions to New Britain. Garza has been New Britain's most effective pitcher since joining the team in late May. Slowey has also performed very well since his promotion following the Florida State League all-star game that he started and was named the Most Valuable Pitcher. Slowey had a 1.01era/0.68WHIP and Garza a 1.42era/0.86WHIP while at Ft. Myers. Slowey has 116 strikeouts in 110.1 innings and Garza has 121 strikeouts in 101.2 innings this season at Ft. Myers and New Britain. Their performances during the first three months of the season clearly separated them as the top starters in the organization. Reliever Pat Neshek was nearly perfect at Rochester (1.95era with 87 strikeouts in 60.0 innings) which is reflected by his excellent score of 144.197 points, earning Pat his recent promotion to the Twins bullpen.
J.D. Durbin has recovered from his disappointing season last year with a 4-3 record and 2.33era in 16 starts for Rochester. Unfortunately, JD's arm is bothering him again and he was recently placed on the DL. Julio DePaula and Beau Kemp are less known relievers at New Britain and Rochester, respectively. DePaula began the season without allowing an earned run in 15.1 innings at Ft. Myers. He has continued to pitch very well at New Britain with a 2.73era and 28 strikeouts in 33.0 innings. Kemp has an excellent 2.37era in 49.1 innings for Rochester. Oswaldo Sosa may be Beloit's top starter with a 6-6 record and 2.61era in 16 starts. Lefty Jason Miller began the season in Rochester's bullpen before moving into the starting rotation last month. Miller has a sterling 2.47era to go with 49 strikeouts in 51.0 innings. Boof Bonser's total is the combination of his results from both Rochester and the Twins, therefore, his ranking would be significantly higher if based solely on his results for the Red Wings where he had an excellent 2.01era and 47 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. The final spot in the top 10 goes to 2005 3rd round pick Brian Duensing. Duensing began the season at Beloit where he was 2-3 with a 2.94era in 11 starts. He didn't lose anything with his move to the Florida State League where he is 2-4 in 6 starts with a 2.77era and 32 strikeouts in 39.0 innings. Slowey, Garza and Duensing, who were drafted in the first three rounds of last years draft, have all pitched well enough in their first full season of professional ball to be amongst the top ten pitchers in the system.
The next 10:
#11 Eduardo Morlan A 20 107.811 #32 89.128
#12 Yohan Pino A 22 106.851 #36 87.692
#13 Kevin Cameron AAA 26 106.616 #21 100.350
#14 David Shinskie A 21 106.518 #68 46.109
#15 Scott Baker AAA 24 104.582 #2 137.518
#16 Glen Perkins AA 23 103.379 #16 108.223
#17 Ricky Barrett AAA 25 101.229 #49 72.593
#18 Levale Speigner AA 25 99.926 #23 99.292
#19 Adam Harben AA 22 99.362 #9 114.695
#20 Danny Vais A 21 98.955 #53 67.355
Eduardo Morlan is the hard throwing starter who struck out 78 batters in 65.2 innings to go with a 2.60era at Beloit, unfortunately, he also was recently placed on the DL. Yohan Pino has been Beloit's most effective reliever, compiling a 1.60era in 45 innings with 56 strikeouts. Kevin Cameron moved up to AAA where he has a 2.80era with 31 strikeouts in 35.1 innings. David Shinskie is another Beloit reliever who was honored earlier this season as a Midwest League Pitcher of the Week. Shinskie has a 6-5 record with a 2.21era and 46 strikeouts in 57.0 innings. Scott Baker began the season with the Twins before being sent back to AAA where he has pitched very well as evidenced by his 2.92 era in 7 starts with 41 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. As was the situation for Bonser, Baker's overall score includes his results while with the Twins.
Glen Perkins may have been the Twins top pitching prospect out of spring training. He has pitched very well at times for New Britain, however, has been inconsistent. Although he had only a 2-9 record, his 4.24era and 92 strikeouts in 85.0 innings demonstrate that he isn't far from being the type of pitcher everyone was expecting this season. Ricky Barrett is a lefty reliever for Rochester who has a history of arm and control problems. His walks are down this year and when healthy, he can be a dominant reliever with well over one strikeout per inning pitched. This season Barrett has a 5-1 record, 3.68era and 48 strikeouts in 44.0 innings of relief for the Red Wings. Levale Speigner has been a very effective reliever for the Rock Cats, with a 3.09era, 6 saves and 28 strikeouts in 43.2 innings. Adam Harben was added to the 40-man roster last November. Harben moved up to AA this year and began the season without allowing hardly any earned runs the first month of the season. Since April, he has struggled and was eventually moved to the bullpen. Harben has a respectable 3.66era, however, has allowed 42 walks in 66.1 innings. Danny Vais is another excellent reliever working out of the Beloit bullpen, with a 2.00era and 43 strikeouts in 45.0 innings.
The rest of the Twins system pitchers, 21-50:
#21 Kyle Waldrop A 20 97.108 #35 88.348
#22 Errol Simonitsch AA 23 94.521 #10 112.444
#23 Dan Powers Hi-A 23 93.771 #34 88.480
#24 Justin Jones Hi-A 21 91.454 #26 95.136
#25 JP Martinez Hi-A 23 90.978 #11 111.936
#26 Tristan Crawford AA 23 90.129 #43 78.631
#27 Mike Smith AAA 28 88.380 Not with Twins
#28 Anthony Swarzak Hi-A 20 86.998 #18 105.843
#29 Bobby Korecky AAA 26 85.666 #67 46.245
#30 Angel Garcia Hi-A 22 85.391 #56 64.642
#31 Henry Bonilla AAA 27 84.384 #50 71.231
#32 Frank Mata A 22 83.168 DL-Did Not Play
#33 Jay Sawatski AA 23 82.703 #48 72.953
#34 Pete Munro AAA 31 82.384 Not with Twins
#35 Justin Olson AA 26 78.793 #43 79.233
#36 Kyle Aselton Hi-A 23 77.453 #24 98.599
#37 Ryan Mullins A 22 77.089 #12 110.126
#38 Nick Blackburn AA 24 74.595 #5 123.314
#39 Chris Schutt Hi-A 24 74.013 #33 88.704
#40 Tim Lahey Hi-A 24 71.928 #46 74.787
#41 JP Thomas AA 24 68.933 #65 52.042
#42 Jose Mijares Hi-A 21 68.473 #38 83.885
#43 Alexander Smit A 20 67.688 #27 94.592
#44 Adam Hawes A 22 62.513 #4 124.346
#45 Josh Hill Hi-A 23 58.480 #42 79.376
#46 Colby Miller Hi-A 24 55.869 #29 91.726
#47 Matt Ford AAA 25 51.539 Not with Twins
#48 Ryan Callahan Hi-A 25 45.006 Not with Twins
#49 Jose Cordero A 22 34.136 #44 78.967
#50 Jon M Cline A 24 33.464 Not with Twins
#51 Jannio Gutierrez Hi-A 23 Disabled #8 116.753
#52 Jay Rainville Hi-A 20 Disabled #14 109.748
#53 Kyle Edlich 19 Disabled #28 93.006
#54 David Gassner AAA 27 Disabled #40 81.833
Because one factor is number of innings pitched, several pitchers including Kyle Aselton, Adam Hawes and Angel Garcia had lower rankings because they missed part of the season as well as under performing as a result of their arm problems. Others, such as Bobby Korecky have improved substantially in part because last season's ranking was lower because of injury.
Other pitchers have more unusual situations which have had an effect on their results. A good example is Jose Mijares who was added to the Twins 40-man roster last November following an excellent 2005 season. For some reason he wasn't effective as a starter, starting 4 games during May, pitching 14.0 innings with 15 earned runs, 17K/12BB and 17 hits for a 9.64era and 2.07WHIP. When pitching out of the bullpen, the hard throwing lefty appeared in 13 games, pitching 26.2 innings with 7 earned runs, 27K/8BB and 21 hits for a 2.36era and 1.08WHIP. Had he only been used as a reliever, his results would have totaled 101.548 points for a ranking of 17th compared with his ranking as number 42. He is now used exclusively as a reliever and appears to be back on track with a promotion to New Britain likely in his future.
Players such as David Shinskie, Danny Vais, Eduardo Morlan, Yohan Pino and Oswaldo Sosa have taken huge strides forward this year at Beloit, as has Jason Miller at Rochester. Will they continue to pitch well during the remainder of this season? Will any of the starters at New Britain who had tremendous seasons last year at Ft. Myers step up during the second half? Who will improve during the second half and push to be included amongst the top 10 at the end of the year?
Roger is currently a frequent contributor to SethSpeaks.net, and writes a weekly "Minor League Report" that appears on TwinkieTown.com each saturday. Roger has written several articles on the Minor Leagues and draft in GameDay-Minnesota, which is sold outside the Dome prior to all Twins games.