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Starting Pitching Going Forward

Talk shop about the various prospects and teams that make up the Cleveland Indians organization.

Starting Pitching Going Forward

Postby elrod enchilada » Wed May 04, 2011 11:18 am

It is likely that the Tribe's starting pitching cannot remain this effective all season; some of these ERAs, like Tomlin's and Masterson's, will likely increase over the course of the season.

That being said, the success of the starting pitching has not been a mirage or a fluke. These guys began to get it together late last season. Consider the seven starting pitchers the Tribe has used in 2011:


All seven are young--ranging from 22 to 27-- and all seven are the Tribe's property for at least the next three seasons. I think it is pretty clear you can mold a pretty good winning team around a five-man rotation carved out of these seven guys. If White performs as he may well, this could be one of the top 5-8 rotations in MLB. Good enough to be the basis for a contender, and better than any Tribe rotation in many years.

Now this is where it gets interesting for Tribe fans, especially those obsessed with the farm system like anyone reading this post.

Consider the seven best starting pitching prospects in the farm system as of July 2011. The list is highly debatable, but for sake of discussion let's say it is (in no particular order):

Drew Pomeranz
Hector Rondon
Jason Knapp
2011 no. 1 pick
Zach McAllister
Scott Barnes
Austin Adams

Note I include this year's no. 1 pick, because it seems highly likely that the best player on the board will be a pitcher. Also, by most accounts the pitcher will be the equal of Pomeranz as a prospect. This draft is drowning in fantastic arms at the top of the draft.

If we are to assume Knapp and Rondon will return to full health, this is a talented list of prospects. It seems likely that several of these guys will be major league pitchers, and two or even three of them may be high-quality starters. You could likely go a long way toward putting together a decent, possibly very decent, MLB rotation for 2015 right here.

Now consider the next seven best starting pitching prospects in the system:

Kelvin de la Cruz
Clayton Cook
Kyle Blair
Joe Gardner
Felix Sterling
Michael Goodnight
Giovanni Soto

Again, this is a quickly thrown together list for discussion purposes. The point is that if these were the seven best prospects in our system, it would not be bad at all. That these guys rank 8-14 indicates very good depth. To put it in context, each of these guys is probably ranked far higher as a prospect now than Josh Tomlin was at a comparable stage of his career. Odds are that at least one of these guys will have a decent career as an MLB starter, and another one or two of them will make it to the majors.

Then consider the next seven best starters in the system, number 15-21:

David Huff
Corey Kluber
Matt Packer
TJ House
Mike Rayl
Brett Brach
TJ McFarland

There have been more years than I wish to remember when the Tribe farm system arguably would have gladly had these seven guys as their best seven starting pitching prospects.

What to make of this, besides the fact we are loaded?

First, the idea of putting the losers of the competition in the bullpen will not really help, because our bullpen depth situation is almost identical. Indeed, we may be more stacked there if Bryson and Stowell get healthy. We have already moved Putnam and Hagadone to the pen. We have a ton of great arms there up and down the system.

Second, and most important, the Tribe has a ton of chips to use in trades to get position and role players in the next few years. How the Tribe handles these deals will be a crucial test of the GM, and greatly determine the success of the Tribe for the next decade. The parallel is to the late 90s when Hart traded the surplus position player talent of the tribe system to try to get pitching and role players. I still cringe when I think of what horse crap deals we made for Giles, Casey, Sexson et al. As a small market team we cannot afford to be hasty or sloppy in making our deals.
elrod enchilada
Draft Prospect
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Re: Starting Pitching Going Forward

Postby danh8 » Wed May 04, 2011 12:46 pm

It's absolutely alarming how much high quality pitching depth we have throughout our system. I really can't ever remember seeing any system this deep with quality. If you consider 10% realize their potential we are in great shape.

That's just 10%...
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