11.19.2005

The Giants Future Stars' War: The Pitchers at San Jose

This is the third and last in a series on the prospects in San Jose. The first one gave my introduction and went over my methodology and data sources plus discussed one thing I found from the analysis about age and how that pertains to Frandsen. The second one discussed the hitters who are the main focus of Giants management's long term vision for the future 2008-9 Giants roster. This one will discuss the pitchers who have not been given as much atttention by management, the press, or the public hype, but have some interesting prospects.

The Pitchers

The following are pitchers on the San Jose team who had more than 45 IP (this allowed me to include relievers; all bolded figures are in the elite range for that ratio):

Player ERA h9 hr9 w9 k9 WHIP k/w (sorry, blogger took out all my spacing for formating)
Bateman 1.91 6.5 0.1 2.6 9.6 1.01 3.6
Espinelli 2.66 7.8 0.3 3.4 7.7 1.26 2.3
Coutlangus 3.04 7.5 0.4 3.4 9.2 1.21 2.7
Waddell 3.40 7.9 0.8 2.8 8.3 1.20 2.9
Hedrick 3.55 6.5 1.1 3.6 11.6 1.11 3.3
McNiven 4.24 10.5 0.8 2.9 4.9 1.49 1.7
Broshius 4.40 10.3 0.9 2.1 7.4 1.37 3.5
Sadowski 4.64 8.6 0.9 3.0 8.4 1.29 2.8
Petersen 4.97 10.8 0.7 4.6 8.2 1.70 1.8
Reina 5.16 7.7 1.1 5.6 9.5 1.47 1.7
Floyd 5.18 9.9 1.3 3.8 7.7 1.52 2.1
Serrato 6.10 10.0 1.2 5.0 9.1 1.67 1.8
League 5.01 10.3 1.0 3.6 7.6 1.54 2.1

{If you want to view this better, you probably can cut and paste this table into Excel and then convert the text to columns under the Data menu; I will gladly take any advice on how to better present tables in Blogger}

A large number of pitchers made a nice showing. Joe Bateman, Gino Espinelli, Coutlangus, Waddell, Justin Hedrick, Garrett Broshius, and Ryan Sadowski all had elite stats for a large number of categories. The San Jose team was known more for their position prospects by Giants fans, but the pitching was pretty good as well.

A significant chunk of the reason is that the pitching staff was actually on the older side. With an average age of 23.7 years across the league and 23.2 years for players pitching at least 45 IP, these pitchers were on the older side, with one 21 year old, two 22 year olds, four 23 year old, four 24 year olds and two 25 year olds. Being older, the pitchers are expected to do better than younger players with less experience and maturity and was able to pull that off.

How the Pitchers Measured Up

Here are the players who did well in each ratio (elite bolded) and those who did poorly in italics following the semicolon:
  • ERA: Bateman, Espinelli, Coutlangus, Waddell, Hedrick; Reina, Floyd, Serrato
  • h9: Bateman, Hedrick, Coutlangus, Reina, Waddell, Espinelli, Sadowski
  • hr9: Bateman, Espinelli, Coutlangus, Petersen, Waddell, McNiven, Sadowski, Broshius; Serrato, Floyd
  • w9: Broshius, Bateman, Waddell, McNiven, Sadowski; Petersen, Serrato, Reina
  • k9: Hedrick, Bateman, Reina, Coutlangus, Serrato, Sadowski, Waddell, Petersen; McNiven
  • WHIP: Bateman, Hedrick, Waddell, Coutlangus, Espinelli, Sadowski; Floyd, Petersen
  • k/w: Bateman, Broshius, Hedrick, Waddell, Sadowski, Coutlangus, Espinelli

The most noticeable thing is that Bateman is in each ratio as a good stat, elite in almost every one. Of course, he is 25 and the average age for pitchers was 23, so he is much older for this league, by a lot. This means that he is doing what he should be doing, dominating the younger players. Espinelli, Coutlangus, Waddell, and Hedrick also did well, making this a strong pitching staff. Broshius and Sadowski also did well in a lot of ratios as well. Most of the staff was 23 or older, so it was a veteran, experienced pitching staff. But there were some young bucks as well: Espinelli was 22, Sadowski was 22, and Reina was 21. Espinelli and Sadowski were especially good.

How the Pitchers Ranked

A number of players were in the 80 percentile or higher (24th or better out of 120 players with 45 IP or more; bold if Top 10):

  • Joe Bateman was at 80+ percentile for ERA, h9, hr9, k9, WHIP, k/w.
  • Gino Espinelli was at 80+ for ERA, h9, hr9, and WHIP.
  • Coutlangus was at 80+ for ERA, h9, hr9, and WHIP. He was close in k9 as well.
  • Jason Waddell was at 80+ for ERA, h9, and WHIP and close in k/w.
  • Justin Hedrick was at 80+ for ERA, h9, k9, WHIP, and k/w.
  • There were three others to garner an 80+: Broshius with w9 and k/w (only one to rank well in w/9), Sadowski with WHIP, and Jesus Reina with h9 and k9.

Not only did Bateman show elite status based on his stats' performance, but also against the other pitchers in the league who pitched a significant of time; but again, his age. Espinelli was also good, that is probably why the Giants promoted him in mid-season. Coutlangus, Waddel, and Hedrick also had a nice showing.

Findings

The pitchers that have high potentials are not Bateman, Coutlangus, Waddell or even Hedrick - all of them are average or old for the league, which average age is 23.2 for all pitchers with over 45 IP, which helps explains their dominance and force us to take their achievements with a grain of salt - but rather Geno Espinelli and Ryan Sadowski, the only 22 year olds in this bunch. Both had good or better stats in 5 of the 7 metrics. Plus Sadowski's high ERA is probably a function of poor bullpen support, as his other ratios were good or better, less than a hit per inning, a homer per 9IP, almost a strikeout per inning, and his k/w ratio was very close to elite status, at nearly 3 times.

Jesus Reina is another one to keep an eye out for. Only 21, he was recently added to the 40 man roster in preparation for the Rule 5 draft. He is a strikeout machine but unfortunately is still very wild, with a lot of walks. Fortunately he balances that with a very low hit rate but he still needs work on keeping the ball in the park.

But just because they are older doesn't mean that they cannot contribute in some way in the future, just that their peak performance is probably lower. Coutlangus was also recently added to the 40 man roster. At 24, he is around the average age of players in the league, so he is battling on a relatively equal footing with every else. His walk rate is his worse stat, but not horribly so, and is compensated by his high strikeout rate. His stats are nice across the board but he needs to watch his walk rate because it cannot really go up much further.

Personally, I've been keeping an eye on Joe Bateman. Despite being old for the league at 25, still, he dominated, ranking 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in four of the metrics (ERA, h9, hr9, WHIP) and at 80 percentile or higher in k9 and k/w ratio. Even in w9, he was still in the 76 percentile. While I wouldn't say he could dominate in this way at the majors, I think he could be a thoroughly useful cog in the bullpen if given the chance. Scott Eyre has to be an inspiration for Joe because Scott didn't do anything good until his 30's.

Lastly, Hedrick is another to watch. He was 23, i.e. just under the average age of pitchers in the league, and ranked in the Top 10 in h9, k9 (11.6!), and WHIP, and in the 80 percentile or better in ERA and k/w. Unfortunately, for a reliever, he had a touch of the homer ball and wildness, falling under the 50 percentile in hr9 (though at 1.08, it is only mildly out of line, the ideal is keeping it under 1.0) and w9 (at 3.55, he needs to get it under 3.0 for it to be good, but with 11.6 k9, he can get away with it; if his k9 drops lower in moving up to a higher level, then he will need to get his walks down as well or his k/w will fall from elite status).

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