As promised, today we’ll dig into the pitching aspect and try to find out who might have performed a bit better that what we see on the surface, ie, just looking at ERA and WHIP and wins. The main statistic I’ll use today is DICE, which I’ve discussed before. DICE is basically a form of component ERA which tries to determine what a pitcher’s ERA should have been based on the hits, walks, strikeouts and home runs he allowed. It’s a good indicator of luck, which pitchers were fortunate and which got a bit unlucky. For a more detailed explanation, go here. And again, just a reminder, this is mainly to try and find guys who are undervalued. A guy like Carlos Carrasco was expected to pitch well, so he’s not really undervalued.
1. Kyle Slate, RHP — Slate, an obscure 37th round pick in 2007, pitched only 2 innings last summer in his debut, and pitched 27 innings in 2008, again pitching in the GCL. Slate had a ridiculous 29:2 K to BB ratio, and allowed 28 hits in the 27.1 innings he pitched. He did allow 3 HR, which is a bit too high. His actual ERA was 4.55, but his DICE was only 2.96. He showed swing and miss ability, and even though he’s 19 and should have been in Williamsport, he’s still young enough to not be considered that out of line. He’s listed at 6’5, 200 lbs, a nice pitcher’s frame with some room to fill out. The one area of concern is that he induced only 30% groundballs compared to 46% flyballs.
2. Edgar Garcia, RHP — If you’ve been around here a while, you know I’m a big fan of Edgar Garcia. Based on all the reports, his stuff is very real, but his biggest issue is consistency, not only from start to start, but inning to inning. At 20 years old, he was one of the youngest pitchers in the Eastern League this year after being promoted. He predictably struggled, but he’s still shown flashes of his ability. He struggled with his control at AA, but prior to his promotion had flashed the same control we’ve come to know him for, issuing only 2.28 BB/9. He also struck out 7.96/9 at Clearwater, again a league in which he was younger than the average prospect. He didn’t carry those numbers over at Reading, but he struggled in general. His ERA at Clearwater was 3.97, compared to a DICE of 3.37, over half a run difference. His ERA at Reading was a bloated 8.22, compared to a DICE of 5.62, over a 2.5 run difference. So obviously on the surface, things didn’t go well. But he still has some of the best control in the system, his raw stuff is excellent, and as he matures, and if he can find a way to be more consistent, I still think we’re looking at a mid-rotation arm, not bullpen fodder/#5 starter.
3. Justin De Fratus, RHP — If you’re a phuture phillies veteran, you also know about my Justin De Fratus boosting tendencies. Following up on a nice GCL debut, De Fratus pitched very well in Williamsport. While he didn’t sustain his ridiculous 34:3 K to BB ratio, he still limited walks to 2.71/9, much better than the league average of 3.37, and he continued to generate swings and misses, striking out 8.01 per 9. De Fratus’ ERA was 3.67, not a bad number, but his DICE was only 2.35, a difference of about 1.3 runs per 9. If he continues to flash plus control and continues to rack up strikeouts as he moves up the ladder, he’ll continue to make these kinds of lists.
I actually changed my mind on tomorrow’s scheduled output. Instead of starting with league recaps, I’m going to just devote tomorrow to mentioning a few guys who might be overvalued, sticking with the theme of over/undervalued prospects. So check back for that tomorrow.