We continue our look at the 2013 Hagerstown Suns with some thoughts on the pitchers and their prospects for the future..
We'll start with pitchers that took the ball to begin games with Brett Mooneyham.
Mooneyham looked very good in Hagerstown,although he missed some time with injury.
Two things concern me about Mooneyham,the first is minor-he was lit up in three starts at High A Potomac,which is a minor quibble,but the other makes me wonder.
Mooneyham struck just 79 in 93 innings,which makes me think that this could be a case of an advanced college pitcher (23) using breaking stuff against less advanced younger hitters..
Mooneyham throws strikes so I have a feeling that his best projection might be as an innings eating reliever..
Pedro Encarnacion had his best year as a pro in Hagerstown in posting his first sub-four ERA as a professional and also has reasonably strong control (just 37 walks in 128 innings).
Encarnacion too is not overwhelming with his stuff,but I was intrigued enough to keep track of him next year at Potomac as he was just effective enough to make me think there are some prospect possibilities.
Matt Purke's numbers were super as a Sun,but watching him pitch here-I saw little of the arm that once lifted TCU to college prominence.
Purke would throw pitches that would almost fall to the ground before reaching the plate with overeager SAL hitters reaching out and flailing away.
Now,one could say that I'm being overly critical and not give Purke credit for retiring the batter,but my point is in looking at the future and smarter and more experienced hitters are not going to fall for that.
To me in my seeing Purke pitch,he looks like his arm is not once it was once was.
Dixon Anderson's numbers were great in 15 starts before he was injured,but he was 24 in a league that he should have dominated and makes me think of the same questions that I noted in Brett Mooneyham.
Nick Lee's peripheral numbers were nothing to get excited and his fastball seems a bit straight to me,but I loved his 102 K's in 91 innings.
As I have noted in the past-my number one stat in the SAL for pitchers is strikeouts per innings pitched,so those catch my eye.
Lee might project best as a reliever...
Ronald Pena was a swingman that kept the ball down and was solid enough,but doesn't appear to have the type of arm that will play at the top levels...
Kylin Turnbull returned to the Suns and pitched very well in the final month of the season,but considering his age (24) and numbers that really weren't stunning (.287 against him),I don't see Turnbull as a prospect.
The pitcher I really liked was Ivan Pineyro,who was traded to the Cubs in mid-season for Scott Hairston.
Age appropriate (21),nice on strikeouts (65 in 66 IP) and solid in BA (.236),made me bullish on Pineyro's chances as a prospect.
Chicago must have thought the same way in acquiring him....
The final two of interest were 2013 draft picks Jake Johansen and Austin Voth,who each made late season cameos.
Johansen,who was the Nationals first selection in the draft,made one regular season start here and was dynamite in his first trip through the order and then then allowing five runs in the next inning and a third.
Johansen was dominant in five innings of two hit pitching in the Suns only win in the SAL finals against Savannah.
The huge (6'6 235- Isn't that what Big Bad John 's numbers were?) Texan throws hard and certainly has the potential to move through the system as either a starter or possibly a setup man/closer.
Austin Voth pitched well in the final game of the regular season against Lakewood here and won game one of the SAL Northern finals in West Virginia.
Voth showed good stuff but was injured in the second inning against Savannah in the championship series.
I have no information on the injury,but assuming he's Ok,my biggest concern is mechanical.
Watching Voth makes me think that injuries could be an issue-Just a hunch....
Ian Dickson was another pitcher used as a starter and reliever after being obtained from the Cubs.
Dickson throws fairly hard but lacks movement and I don't like his prospects moving up the ladder.
Low A relievers generally are not usually filled with prospects,but the Suns did have a few that I liked.
Robert Benincasa struck out 30 in 21 innings as the team used him as their closer in the first half.
Benincasa had similar numbers for Potomac and at 23 for next year,might have potential...
Travis Henke didn't hit low A until he was almost 25 (he is 25 now) and ordinarily I would rule him out for that reason.
However,Henke's numbers in August for High A Potomac make me think that he might be a late bloomer or at least a quality bullpen pitcher for the Atlantic league,
Gilberto Mendez is a smallish pitcher that might be high maintenance due to his high effort delivery,but one cannot deny his effectiveness. Hitters hitting under .200 against him and his 33 K's in 29 innings can be tough to deny.
I like Mendez a lot,but durability could be a eventual issue...
That's about it for the relievers that I liked,but there were others.
Cody Davis is another smallish hurler in stature that was effective in the SAL (2.76 ERA 46 K's in 42 IP),but I don't think his arm will play at higher levels.
Bryan Harper's stuff is just average and at his age (now 24),an older pitcher should have notched an ERA closer to two than four.
Derek Self was highly thought of entering the season,but pitched poorly in Potomac to the point of demotion and only improved marginally in Hagerstown.
Christian Meza and Justin Thomas appear to be headed for organizational soldiers that might get more time than they warrant due to be left handed.
I like the 2013 Suns pitchers more than hitters as prospects.
There are players in this bunch that have a real chance to mature,which is more than I can say for the hitters.......