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are-the-waves-of-pitching-talent-breaking | January | 2012 Articles

Are the Waves of Pitching Talent Breaking?

Written by Mark Smith on .

When I wrote about the Braves’ pitching depth last year, I mentioned that the best thing about the Braves’ pitching depth was that it was coming in waves. Almost a year later, it’s time to re-examine the starting rotation and ask whether or not the depth is still there.

We’ve already seen some turnover this off-season, and we even expect a little more. Derek Lowe was traded to the Cleveland Indians for salary relief and a relief prospect that may make it to AA. Now, we wait to see if Jair Jurrjens will share Lowe’s fate, but as the off-season wanes, it’s becoming less-likely that he’ll be traded. Although we’re all a little bummed that no hitter or prospects are headed our way, it really isn’t the worst thing in the world. Jurrjens should perform well enough to retain his value, though there’s obviously some injury risk, and there will certainly be trade partners looking for pitching at the deadline. All the while, the Braves retain the added pitching depth. Speaking of that, let’s take a look at this year.

2012

MLB

AAA

AA

High-A

Low-A

Tim Hudson

Julio Teheran

Sean Gilmartin

Carlos Perez

JR Graham

Jair Jurrjens

Randall Delgado

Zeke Spruill

Cody Martin

Tommy Hanson

JJ Hoover

Chris Masters

Brandon Beachy

Mike Minor

The rotation looks mostly like I thought it would, and the only change is the surprise trade of Lowe. I really didn’t think they’d ever get rid of him, but never doubt Frank Wren, I guess. While it’s uncertain if Hudson or Hanson will start the season in the rotation, it doesn’t seem like they’ll miss more than a month, and if/when they do, that’s why this is a depth exercise. Comparing it to last season, some of the depth and upside is gone from the back-end of the minor-league system. Teheran and Delgado were fantastic, and I’ll include Hoover until they officially make him a reliever, which I think is a bad move for the moment. Moving down to AA, Gilmartin, Spruill, and Masters are likely to be 4/5 starters, but they’re still decent depth. Perez, at High-A next season, is the one pitching prospect that really let us down, but that’s about what you expect in regard to prospect attrition. Another level down, Graham and Martin look to be given a chance to start, but I’m not sure how long that will last.

2013

MLB

AAA

AA

High-A

Tim Hudson/Jair Jurrjens

Julio Teheran/Randall Delgado

Carlos Perez

JR Graham

Tommy Hanson

Sean Gilmartin

Cody Martin

Brandon Beachy

Zeke Spruill

Mike Minor

Chris Masters

Julio Teheran/Randall Delgado

In the above table, the “/” means either/or. If Hudson’s option is picked up, then I expect Jurrjens to be traded, and If the Braves think it’s better to hold onto Jurrjens and/or Hudson’s back continues to act up, I expect the Braves to pass on the option. As for Teheran and Delgado, it’s really up to who performs better this season. Along with the loser in the battle between Teheran and Delgado, Gilmartin, Spruill, and Masters will pitch in AAA. Well they will if they don’t get traded. When you have surplus of back-end starting prospects and a rotation of guys who could be better, you trade the back-end starters, and I expect Hoover (not shown above because I’m guessing he’ll be moved to the bullpen; I made my stand in the last section), Spruill, Masters, and/or Perez to be traded at the deadline like Brett Oberholtzer and Paul Clemens were this past season. Watch which two do best, and they’ll probably be gone.

-----------------------------

So are the waves breaking? Kind of. There was certainly some attrition last season. Paul Clemens and Brett Oberholtzer were traded. Carlos Perez lost some of his luster. Dave Filak kind of fell on his face. But there were some additions, like Gilmartin and the rebirth of sorts from Spruill. What we see coming from further down the pipeline isn’t the same type of mid-to-front-line pitching at AAA now. It’s more of the 4/5 variety. That’s not surprising for a couple reasons. One, this collection of talent doesn’t happen often, and two, the Braves have been college- and reliever-heavy in past drafts. As a result, the lower levels don’t have the high-upside prospects. That, of course, could be fixed if the Braves draft differently come June or if they pump in a few more Latin American prospects. But for now, the Braves still have a lot of depth ready to help the major-league team, which is way more important than lower levels.

1 comments
congtysangoviet1
congtysangoviet1

The rotation looks mostly like I thought it would, and the only change is the surprise trade of Lowe. I really didn’t think giá sàn gỗ inovar malaysia they’d ever get rid of him, but never doubt Frank Wren, I guess. While it’s uncertain if Hudson or Hanson will start the season in the rotation, it doesn’t seem like they’ll miss more than a month, and if/when they do, that’s why this is a depth exercise. Comparing it to last season, some of the depth and upside is gone from the back-end of the minor-league system. Teheran and Delgado were fantastic, and I’ll include Hoover until they officially make him a reliever, which I think is a bad move for the moment. http://bit.ly/mo-ro-hau-mon-co-dau-khong Moving down to AA, Gilmartin, Spruill, and Masters are likely to be 4/5 starters, but they’re still decent depth. Perez, at High-A next season, is the one pitching prospect that really let us down, but that’s about what you expect in regard to prospect attrition. Another level down, Graham and Martin look to be given a chance to start, but I’m not sure how long that will last.


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