Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Something Positive To Blog

In the midst of tonight's ugly drubbing by the Royals and heretofore 1-win pitcher Brian Anderson, I thought I would post something positive. Way back on May 1 (see second post) I said that Brandon McCarthy was one White Sox pitching prospect I wanted to know more about. And Mr. McCarthy has proven to be a prospect worth knowing more about. He's gotten some press lately for his 16 strikeout performance for Winston-Salem last week.

But Brandon has been producing all throughout his career, putting up probably the best performance of a White Sox pitching prospect in some time. Here are Brandon's career stats:



2002 AZL 78.1 78 24 15 79 2.76
2003 GF 101 105 41 15 125 3.65
2004 KAN 88 73 37 21 103 3.78
2004 W-S 37 26 11 3 44 2.68
Total 304.1 282 113 54 351 3.34

That's an outstanding 6.5 to 1 strikeout to walk ratio with a career walk rate of just 1.6 per 9 innings pitched and a career strikeout rate of 10.4 per 9 innings. Put simply, Brandon McCarthy is putting up Pedro Martinez numbers in the minors.

Like I said, McCarthy is putting up some of the best numbers from a White Sox minor league pitcher in a long time. Mark Buehrle, in his breakout year in Birmingham in 2000, put up a similar walk rate (1.3 per 9), but had a strikeout rate (5.2 per 9) far below McCarthy's. And remember, that was Buehrle's best year in the minors. When Jon Rauch was Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2000 (prior to his torn labrum), he put up great numbers - but his K/BB ratio was still only about 3.5 to 1. And, again, that was Rauch's best year and a pitcher of the year-year. That's not as good as McCarthy's career average. Neither Ruffcorn, Baldwin nor any of Schueler's untouchable arms ever had careers like this.

That said, McCarthy is still only at high-A Winston-Salem. The toughest jump in baseball is from A to AA ball. He's still young, still can get injured, and his velocity in the minors (topping out in the low 90's) may never improve.

One has to have high hopes for McCarthy. He's succeeded at every level he's faced, and has shown no appreciate decline in his strikeout rate or increase in his walk rate as he has progressed. It's a nice thought for a depressing August.

Tonight's Speculation

Was tonight's game Scott Schoeneweis's last start for the White Sox? One would think that if he's claimed on waivers, the Sox would let him go. It seems to make more sense to let Felix Diaz show whether he's learned from his early struggles that to watch Schoeneweis continue to struggle for the rest of the year.

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