Saturday, October 8, 2016
2016 Hagerstown Suns-The Pitchers
These Suns lacked a huge prospect arm on staff like the previous two versions like Lucas Giolito or Erick Fedde and I'm not even sure if there are many prospects for the future.
On the surface,the three players that made 20 starts have a lot in common-tall,lanky righthanders that project to throw harder as their arms develop.
In actuality,the above notes are about the only things in common among these three.
My favorite was Pedro Avila,who impressed at 19 with a solid 3.48 ERA and 92 whiffs in 93 innings.
Avila has good command (only 38 walks)and his numbers at a young age in the SAL marks him as a player to keep an eye on.
Hard throwing Joan Baez touches the high 90's,has a premium fastball and struck 119 in 125 innings.
Baez does seem to suffer from keeping his mechanics in order and could use some refinement still.but with an arm like that,Baez gives me hope for the future.
Jefry Rodriguez continues to disappoint in his second Hagerstown stint,but I saw a few things to give me pause before writing him off.
Rodriguez's WHIP dropped dramatically from 2015 and opponents hit just .240 against him.
Rodriguez will turn 24 in the middle of next year,so his time is running out as someone remotely considered as a prospect.
The other starters are a mixed bag.
Taylor Guilbeau split time between the rotation and the bullpen and pitched better as a starter.
His 3.61 ERA looks interesting,but the league hit almost .300 against him and I just don't see it.
I really liked Andrew Lee in last year's review and I was surprised to see him back in the Hub City.
His numbers were good enough,before suffering a season ending injury after eleven starts.
I'm unsure of Lee's current status.
I really loved hard throwing lefty Taylor Hearn (31 K's in 22 innings),who suffered an ankle injury in his first start and came back firing.
Hearn was traded to Pittsburgh in the Mark Melancon trade.I would have rated Hearn as my top prospect of this bunch had he finished the season here.
The only other starter to reach double digits in starts was soft tossing James Bourque,who at 23 and an five plus ERA looks like organizational filler to me.
The relievers are usually questionable prospects as most teams like to see their top level prospects in the rotation,but still worth looking at.
The next four pitchers all were little old for the level,college draftees and three of the four had chances at high A,
Mariano Rivera III had three good months and two awful ones to end up with OK numbers.
Rivera doesn't throw as hard as you would think and he is awfully small (listed at 5'11,I might say 5'9),but will likely be a major part of Potomac's pen next season.
Matthew Crownover was dominant in ten outings in Hagerstown (ERA barely over one),but didn't pitch as well in Potomac and Tommy Peterson was about the same.
Considering both players were college draftees,that's about as good as you could hope for.
I saw more of Peterson than Crownover and both should be back at Potomac to start next season.
Jorge Pantoja was excellent in Hagerstown (9-1 2.63),but bad in Potomac (6.30 ERA,opponents hit .349 against him) in six appearances and was quickly returned there.
Grant Borne keeps the ball down (2.36 ground to air ratio) and was good (3.34 ERA) and is worth looking at as a potential situational guy.
If you can keep the ball down,you have a chance to stick as a reliever arm somewhere in the game.
Jake Johansen was a surprising late season return to Hagerstown and was great in 11 games (ERA under two),but he'll be 26 when next season begins and I wonder how many chances Johansen has left.
The rest look like organizational soldiers to me.
Trey Lambert had great numbers (2.44 ERA in 24 appearances),but he should have at 25 and was released mid-season to be signed by the Marlins.
2016 draftee Jacob Howell had a rough eight games after arriving from Auburn
Mick VanVossen was decent,but not great (3.71) in his 29 appearances,Phillip Walby was similar after being added after a release from the Yankees and Luis Torres was released in July.
Torres was nothing special,but teams did hit just .237 against him and he was 22.I guess what I'm saying is that I've seen worse guys of similar age and they got more chances.
Wonder what was behind that?
I'm not listing any pitcher that didn't appear in eight games or more other than Tyler Watson,who looked interesting in (16 K's) three late season starts and should return to Hagerstown.
I like three players on this team as potential prospects-Pedro Avila and Joan Baez along with Taylor Hearn,now with the Pirates.
None of the three are sure things,but I see enough good things to consider them prospects....
Hope you've enjoyed this brief synopsis of the team-I started this twice and wanted to get them finished before I got too busy.
Back later with Ohio State-Indiana and NLDS...