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After a nice break of time because I've been very busy, its back to the grind with the prospect report! Tonight, we're going to take a look at some of the pitching prospects hanging out in Myrtle Beach. The Beach is actually last in the Carolina League in ERA despite some decent enough prospects. Lets take a look...
Cole Rohrbough, SP: 4-4, 4.96. Rohrbough was rated as the Braves 6th best prospect going into the season, and finished up at the Beach, where he went 2-2, 3.41 in limited time after an ankle injury slowed him down a little bit. His ERA is unfairly skewed by one really bad start against Winston Salem (2 2/3 IP 11 H 10 ER. Yikes) If you take out that start, his ERA drops to a much more manageable 3.30. Its been a real bad June actually for Rohrbough...aside from that start on the 2nd, he allowed 4 runs in 7 on the 12th and 5 in 4 2/3 on the 19th. So far this year, his strikeout rate is great, but not terribly outstanding. His walk rate is way too high and needs to drop to around 2 or so, and his BAA is very high (again, skewed by that start against Winston Salem). Rohrbough is still one of the Braves top prospects, and at 22, you have to keep faith in him, and possibly look for a promotion to Mississippi near the end of the season.
Richard Sullivan, SP: 6-5, 4.12 (3 levels). Sullivan started the season at Rome, went up to the Beach in May, then got called up for a start in Mississippi a week or so ago, and is now back down in Myrtle. OK then. He was just drafted by the Braves last season and started off in Danville, where he absolutely dominated (2-0, 1.40, .149 BAA). After 4 starts, he was promoted to Rome, where he didn't DOMINATE, but pitched very well (2-2, 2.80). Sullivan started off in Rome, where he allowed a lot of hits, but didn't walk anyone at all (5 BB in 29 innings) and averaged nearly a strikeout an inning to be promoted to the Beach. Sullivan has been fine at Myrtle, as his BAA has dropped to a normal level. His walks however have jumped, and his strikeouts have fallen off a good bit. Sullivan's rate stats remind me a good bit of Rohrbough's, and since they are the same age, they should be grouped together. Sullivan is criminally underrated in the Braves system, and he should soon start getting the attention he deserves.
Craig Kimbrel, RP: 0-0, 4.26. Craig Kimbrel, just drafted last season, took the Braves system by storm after the draft last season, as he jumped from Danville to Rome up to Myrtle Beach, absolutely running roughshod throughout each league to finish his season with a line of 3-2, 0.51, .131, and 51 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. Fans had high hopes for Kimbrel coming into the year, and...things didn't start off too well. Kimbrel started off the year with the Pelicans, and quite frankly, he got killed. During April with Myrtle, Kimbrel posted a sexy 10.97 ERA and a walk rate of 13.89 per 9. So naturally, he was demoted to Rome, where he regained his form. In 16 games with Rome during May and June, Kimbrel allowed 9 hits and 6 walks in 20 innings, while striking out 38. So yeah, I think his confidence is back. Kimbrel reemerged in Myrtle on Thursday, where he threw a scoreless inning, striking out 2. If Kimbrel officially has his groove back, the tail end of the Myrtle Beach bullpen could be a frightening sight for hitters during July and August.
Erik Cordier, SP: 3-2, 2.89. Cordier is a lot like some of the other Braves prospects I've previewed: he's got great "convential" numbers, but when you dig deeper and look at some of the numbers that actually matter, things get horrifying. Cordier is striking out 6.36 per 9...and walking 5.40 per 9. Not a good early sign. Past the walks though...its really not all that bad. He's only allowed 3 homers in 46 2/3 innings, and is keeping the ball on the ground more than in the air. Cordier can survive without the strikeouts if he keeps the ball on the ground and doesn't let it get out of the park, but he absolutely must cut down on the walks. He's 2 years removed from Tommy John surgery, so his strength should be fully returned, and if he's going to shine, now is the time.
So that does it for Myrtle Beach. Next up is our low A team in Rome...I'm going to aim to get the hitting preview up tomorrow, so we'll see how that goes. Until we meet again...