Friday, June 17, 2005

There's No Such Thing as a Sox Pitching Prospect

I dredged this up from some old e-mail files I was looking through. Phil Rogers wrote this in 2001:

If any organization can withstand this run of pitching injuries, the White Sox are the one. Their list of legitimate pitching prospects just keeps getting
longer. Youngsters Mark Buehrle, Kip Wells, Rocky Biddle and Jon Garland are playing big roles now and have guys like Danny Wright, Josh Fogg and Matt Ginter behind them. The next wave has previously unsung guys like right-hander Matt Guerrier (9-3, 3.38) at Double-A Birmingham, right-hander Kyle Kane (2-0, 1.54 and .130 opponents' batting average between three levels), right-hander Ed Almonte (1.43, 16 saves at Double-A Birmingham), right-hander Jeff Bajenaru (2.38 ERA, 43 strikeouts in 34 innings at Class A Winston-Salem), left-hander Corwin Malone (10-1, 2.08 at Class A Kaanapolis and left-hander Dennis Ulacia (8-1, 2.43 at Kaanapolis).

Buerhle has been great, Garland has been about average before this year, Wells was traded after he struggled with the Sox, Fogg went with him, Ginter was useless as a middle relieve and was given to the Mets, Guerrier was traded for Marte, Kyle Kane got hurt and was released, Ed Almonte had a 11.12 career ERA, Bajenaru is stuck in AAA, Malone got hurt, and Ulacia has been hurt and/or ineffective. Biddle was traded (among others) for Colon, and is pretty much out of baseball. So much for the "stockpile" of arms.

On the other hand, it is true that the Sox developed 4 pitchers who are currently in starting rotations (Buehrle, Garland, Fogg and Wells). One of those is All-Star quality (Buehrle), and Garland may just join Buehrle in the All-Star category this year. Guerrier got turned into Marte who, before this year, was perhaps one of the most effective left-handed relievers in baseball the last few years.

Comments-[ comments.]
I suspect that if you did this for most any organization, you'd get similar results. Between injuries and the inability to cope with shrewder hitters, pitchers are the longest of shots. Which is why the White Sox draft so many, although that's probably a bad strategy since the difficulty in developing pitchers doesn't seem to translate into trade value later.
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