Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Non-Prospect Prospects to Watch - Part 2

Since everyone was coming up with lists of top prospects, I decided to dig a bit deeper and find a few players who don't appear on any top prospect list anywhere, but whose upside could land them there eventually.  In case you missed it, I covered the position players in Part 1 here.  This week I will be looking at the pitchers.

LHP MITCHELL LAMBSON
In 22 games with Tri-City, the 6'1" 198 lb. lefty went 2-6 with 2 saves, a 4.33 ERA, a 1.160 WHIP and a .248 batting average against with 39 strikeouts and 8 walks in 35.1 innings pitched.  What first caught my notice with Lambson was his 9.9 SO/9 and his 4.88 SO:BB ratio so I decided to dig a little further.

He was projected by Baseball Prospect Report to work mostly around 86-88 with the ability to bump 90, but it wasn't his fastball that they wanted to talk about:
"The seperator for Lambson is the above-average change-up, CHG in shorthand, though some scouts might write OMG. I had it at 72-74 and I’m sold on the arm slot repetition. These lefties with the change-up need to have a fearless side to them, the willingness to throw it any time in the count ...  He won’t be an overpowering guy so the change , the moxie and the downhill fastball movement will punch the ticket."
And Baseball Draft Report agreed:
"Lambson’s change is so good and he relies on it so heavily, there really is no other way to talk about him without first mentioning the pitch ... a funky lefthander with the chance to put up surprising results in an unconventional manner. In other words, don’t sleep on Lambson."
They go on to mention his plus command and plus control.

Finally, I looked at his splits.  He had a 2.25 ERA and a 1.167 WHIP against lefties and a 5.40 ERA and a 1.157 WHIP vs. right-handed hitters.  Of his 8 walks and 4 home runs allowed, all were against right-handed batters, and although he struck out right-handed batters at a higher rate and kept them to a lower batting average, those walks and home runs came back to hurt him.  He will have to find consistency against right-handed batters to avoid being pigeonholed as a LOOGY, but if he continues to miss bats at his current high rate, I will keep watching this 21-year old.

RHP LUIS ORDOSGOITTI
Ordosgoitti spent most of his 2011 season at Greeneville where he was 2-4 with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.227 WHIP in 9 appearances (7 starts) over 44 innings pitched.  The then 18-year old also had an 8.6 SO/9 and a 6.00 SO/BB ratio for Greeneville.  If that's not enough reason to watch him, Orodosgoitti will be 19 for the entire 2012 season and at 6'4" 180 lbs. has plenty of room to fill out and increase velocity.

There's not a great deal of information out there on the big Venezuelan right-hander.  Nathaniel Stoltz of Seedlings to Stars calls him "a really intriguing sleeper arm" who he wouldn't be shocked to see on some top 100 lists next year.  I asked Jeff Luhnow about Ordosgoitti.  He wasn't familiar with him, but after looking him up, said that "reports are very positive as are his numbers," and went on to cite a good fastball, developing curveball and change-up ... "a possible major league starter."

Luis is another pitcher that will miss a lot of bats.  His biggest problem in 2011 were his road numbers.  While he had a 1.59 ERA at home for Greeneville, his road ERA was 6.33.  If he can get his road numbers under control and continues to fill out that 6'4" frame, Ordosgoitti could be going places quickly.  I look forward to seeing what he can do in 2012.

LHP REYMIN GUDUAN
Guduan wasn't on my original list of three until I saw a tweet from Jeff Luhnow when he was in the Dominican Republic that Guduan had an "impressive arm" and "was up to 97 in fall."  And he might still not be on my short list had I not delved a little more deeply on his numbers.

Guduan was definitely on my "watch list" with his 2.16 ERA and 12 SO/9 for the DSL in 13 starts, but there was the matter of 42 walks to go with 61 strikeouts and the 13 wild pitches and the 4 hit batters that gave me pause.  But hitting 97 on the radar gun will get you a little more leeway, particularly for a 6'4" 185 lb. lefty who still has time to fill out since he doesn't turn 20 for a couple of weeks.

So I looked for improvement and I found it.  In 2010, he had a 0.61 SO/BB ratio and 8.40 SO/9.  Here is how he fared last summer:
June   3.24 ERA   1.740 WHIP   0.95 SO/BB   9.72 SO/9   10.26 BB/9
July   1.47 ERA   1.582 WHIP   2.08 SO/BB   13.25 SO/9   6.38 BB/9
Aug   0.93 ERA   1.138 WHIP  2.50 SO/BB   13.97 SO/9   5.59 BB/9

Sure, I'd still like to see less wildness, but "effectively wild" can work too.  Did I mention that he's a lefty that can throw 97?  Yeah, that will get you on the short list every time.

HONORABLE MENTION

LHP GABRIEL GARCIA

  • Why he could have made the list - 8.8 SO/9 and 4.25 SO/BB ratio for Lexington, a very strong winter in Venezuela and this (about 1:08 in - dude has moves!)
  • Why he didn't make the list - edged out by LHP's Lambson and Guduan

RHP RYAN COLE

  • Why he could have made the list - 10 saves, 2.33 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, 4.17 SO/BB ratio for Tri-City, intangibles and pure gut feeling
  • Why he didn't make the list - I ran out of room

RHP JASON CHOWNING

  • Why he could have made the list - terrific numbers (2.45 ERA, 1.261 WHIP and 9.2 SO/9 in 35 appearances for Lexington) before he got hurt
  • Why he didn't make the list - he got hurt; we'll have to see how he bounces back

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