Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Sickels on Buehrle
If you have not read John Sickels' minor league blog on Sportsblogs, you should. I recently noted that he posted an article looking back at Mark Buehrle as a prospect in the minor leagues, linked here. More than anything, it demonstrates how players like Buehrle - with a "baseball intelligence" or, I guess a certain Je Ne Sais Quoi, can slip through the cracks and surprise people by outperforming their statistics or "tools."
The Cheat, who reads BlackBetsy from time to time, commented on Sickels' thread noting that because of their low draft position, Brandon McCarthy (17th round) is often compared to Mark Buehrle (38th round) in the Sox organization. That's only a fair comparison as far as they are both late round surprises, but McCarthy has had much better of track record thus far. Here's a comparison between the two at similar ages:
As you can see, McCarthy fared slightly better in terms of hits per 9 innings, has only as slightly poorer walk rate, and had a much, much higher strikeout rate. Now, just for fun, I'll throw in the Greatest Sox Pitching Prospect Of Recent History, Jon Rauch, in his Minor League Pitcher of the Year Season (2000):
As you can see, Rauch probably had a better season than Buehrle, but his was still behind McCarthy's 2004. And, lest we not forget, Rauch was Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2000. Three pitchers, three great minor league years. Of course, Buehrle has the ultimate advantage on the other two - he's been successful in the majors for 5 years now. Rauch has been injured, but pitched decently for the Expos last year and still is likely to be a starter for someone. McCarthy...we can all just wait and see. But I think he's got top-of-the-rotation-starter written all over him.
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