Top 100 Pitchers By The Numbers

See also: Top
100 Prospects

See also: Top
Prospects By Position

See also: Top 100 Batters By The Numbers

This is the second and final installment in a series examining 2008 on-field performance of Top 100 Prospects. We looked at batters last time. This time, we turn our attention to pitchers.

Presented here
are the 32 pitchers who made the Top 100 while also compiling at least 100 innings in full-season ball. One exception was made. Jeremy Jeffress, who fell six innings short of meeting the 100-inning standard, is counted among the starters because he fell only one start shy of qualifying. As it stands, every starting pitcher here took at least 18 rotation turns. Pure relievers (Daniel Bard, Chris Perez) and two righthanders who had their seasons truncated by injry (Phillippe Aumont, Adam Miller) are examined separately in a small, four-pitcher group.    

Only statistics compiled in full-season
leagues count toward the totals here. The pool of 28 starting pitchers is broken into two camps: righthanders and lefthanders. Their cumulative averages:






19 2,561 3.20








9 1,174








Because this is not intended as a strict
ranking, players are listed alphabetically, with commentary and other
triviality following each of the charts. The number in parentheses is the player’s rank in the
Top 100 Prospects; LVL is simply the classification at which the
player spent the most time in ’08; and AG is the player’s age as of April 1,

The data presented is raw, and not adjusted
for league or home park, though extreme or interesting cases are often
noted in the commentary. A rundown of the statistical categories: IP and ERA are self-explanatory.
WHIP here includes hit batsmen, which really is no different than a walk.

G/F is a pitcher’s ratio of groundouts to flyouts. Groundball pitchers generally allow fewer extra-base hits, including home runs, than do flyball pitchers. However, groundball pitchers can be susceptible to more hits overall if singles repeatedly find holes in the infield.

K9, W9 and HR9 are strikeouts, walks and home runs scaled to nine innings pitched, just like ERA. Intentional walks are not counted here (though no prospect here issued more than the two that James McDonald and Jordan Zimmermann did) because they are not a reflection of skill. Like walks per nine innings, KBB, or strikeout-to-walk ratio, does not consider intentional passes.


Pitcher, Org, Top 100 LVL AG IP ERA G/F WHIP K9


Nick Adenhart, LAA (68) AAA 22 145 5.76 1.33 1.73 6.8 4.6 0.9 1.5
Tim Alderson, SF (45) HiA 20 145 2.79 1.02 1.12 7.7 2.1 0.2 3.6
Jake Arrieta, Bal (67) HiA 23 113 2.87 1.14 1.21 9.6 4.1 0.6 2.4
Michael Bowden, Bos (83) AA 22 144 2.62 0.87 0.98 8.1 1.8 0.6 4.5
Trevor Cahill, Oak (11) HiA 21 124 2.61 2.43 1.10 9.8 3.6 0.4 2.7
Carlos Carrasco, Phi (52) AA 22 151 3.69 1.11 1.39 9.2 3.4 0.8 2.7
Jhoulys Chacin, Col (46) LoA 21 178 2.03 2.83 1.13 8.1 2.1 0.3 3.8
Daniel Cortes, KC (90) AA 22 117 3.78 0.76 1.42 8.4 4.2 1.0 2.0
Wade Davis, TB (32) AA 23 161 3.47 0.96 1.38 7.6 3.6 0.7 2.1
Neftali Feliz, Tex (10) LoA 20 127 2.69 1.19 1.16 10.8 3.6 0.2 3.0
Tommy Hanson, Atl (4) AA 22 138 2.41 0.71 1.09 10.6 3.4 0.6 3.1
Jeremy Jeffress, Mil (100) HiA 21 94 4.31 1.41 1.50 11.0 5.0 0.7 2.2
James McDonald, LAD (56) AA 24 141 3.26 0.65 1.26 9.0 3.3 1.0 2.8
Jarrod Parker, Ari (29) LoA 20 118 3.44 1.01 1.30 8.9 2.5 0.6 3.5
Rick Porcello, Det (21) HiA 20 125 2.66 2.48 1.28 5.2 2.4 0.5 2.2
Jeff Samardzija, CHC (79) AA 24 113 4.29 0.80 1.45 6.7 4.6 0.9 1.4
Chris Tillman, Bal (22) AA 20 136 3.18 0.82 1.36 10.2 4.2 0.7 2.4
Jordan Walden, LAA (70) LoA 21 156 2.76 2.11 1.17 8.1 3.2 0.4 2.5
Jordan Zimmermann, Was (41) AA 22 134 2.89 1.36 1.15 9.0 3.0 0.7 3.0

WORKLOAD: The Rockies certainly don’t shy away from letting their young starters gain mound experience. Jhoulys Chacin, 20, racked up 177 2/3 innings in ’08—doing so in hitter-friendly environments in Asheville and Modesto—to finish two innings shy of the minor league lead. He also edged Nick Adenhart for the lead in batters faced per game (25.4 to 25.2); for his part, Adenhart ranked just fifth with 145 1/3 minor league innings, but he shoots to third if one accounts for his 12 big league innings. But back to the Rockies . . . 22-year-old Modesto righthander Brandon Hynick in ’07 paced the minors with 182 1/3 innings, all in the Cal League, while his Nuts rotation-mates Alan Johnson (181 2/3) and Chaz Roe (170 1/3) ranked second and 10th. Elsewhere in the system, Asheville lefty Keith Weiser (175 1/3) ranked sixth, but he jumped to No. 1 in innings last year with 179 2/3, most of them coming in the Cal League. Chacin, Johnson (175 2/3) and Hynick (172 1/3) all ranked in the top nine in ’08. Other workhorses among the Top 100 include Wade Davis, Jordan Walden and Carlos Carrasco. The bottom five (and the reason why): Jeremy Jeffress (suspension), Jake Arrieta (Olympic team), Jeff Samardzija (big league callup at end of July), Daniel Cortes (hamstring injury) and Jarrod Parker (reduced workload during first full season). Arrieta, though, faced an above-average 23.2 batters per game, in sharp contrast to Neftali Feliz, who at 18.9 BF/G often exhausted his pitch count before he could get through the lineup twice.

STRIKEOUTS: Jeremy Jeffress, Neftali Feliz, Tommy Hanson and Chris Tillman all registered double-digit strikeout per nine marks, with Trevor Cahill falling just short at 9.8. In point of fact, Feliz (30 percent) and Hanson (29 percent) actually whiffed the highest percentage of opposing batters; Jeffress (28 percent) presented himself with more strikeout opportunities because of a higher than average walk rate. Rick Porcello focused on pounding the zone with his two-seamer and on learning a curveball last season, and coupled with his tender age (19) in high Class A, he fared poorly in strikeout rate (5.2). Don’t lose faith. Roy Halladay, at age 19 and in the Florida State League in ’96, fanned just 5.9 per nine. Nick Adenhart, Jeff Samardzija, Wade Davis and Tim Alderson all clocked in at under eight whiffs per nine, though Alderson was just 19 and in high Class A. Davis rediscovered some of his previous strikeout mojo after a promotion to Triple-A (55 whiffs in 53 innings).

WALKS: Michael Bowden’s control (1.8 walks per nine) could be described as breathtaking, especially for a pitcher in the high minors, while A-ballers Tim Alderson, Jhoulys Chacin, Rick Porcello and Jarrod Parker all finished with three or fewer walks per nine. He’s still young, but Jeremy Jeffress’ career walk rate has hovered in the 5.0 range he showed last season, a tendency that exposes him to the occasional big inning. Nick Adenhart, Jeff Samardzija, Chris Tillman, Daniel Cortes and Jake Arrieta all fall in the danger zone of four or more walks per nine innings. Adenhart and Tillman, in particular, were on the young side for their levels of competition.

GROUND CONTROL: Jhoulys Chacin, Rick Porcello, Trevor Cahill and Jordan Walden all notched at least twice the number of groundouts as airouts, and all three have the sinkers and scouting reports to back up the performance. Not surprisingly, all of them fared well in terms of limiting home runs, and add to that mix Neftali Feliz and Tim Alderson, who each posted miniscule 0.2 home runs per nine rates—that’s seven bombs in 273 innings of work. On the flip side, James McDonald, Tommy Hanson, Daniel Cortes, Jeff Samardzija and Chris Tillman all feature plus peak velocity and tend to work up the zone, thus they feature the five lowest ground/fly rates. Hanson and Tillman were not especially easy to take deep (they pitched in the Carolina, Eastern and Southern leagues—go figure), but he other three, plus Nick Adenhart and Carlos Carrasco, all served up their share of home runs.

PITCHER’S BEST FRIEND: Nothing quashes an opposing offense’s momentum quite like an opportune double play. Pitchers who can locate a fastball or a slider low and away from a batter can induce double-play grounders and escape from wild stretches with a single, well-placed pitch. In terms of raw number of double plays induced, Nick Adenhart leads the way with 25. Jhoulys Chacin was next with 20, while Carlos Carrasco (13), Jordan Zimmermann (12), Rick Porcello (12) and Trevor Cahill (11) all registered double-digit totals. But intuitively we know that a pitcher who allows a lot of baserunners is going to have more double play opportunities than a more efficient pitcher. To get around this, we’ve taken the number of double plays generated and scaled it to an estimated number of runners on first base—or singles + walks + hit batsmen. Under these conditions, Adenhart still comes out on top (12.6 percent), followed by Chacin (11.8), Zimmermann (10.5), Cahill (9.2) and Porcello (9.0). Which pitchers benefited the least from the double play? That would be James McDonald (2.2 percent), Tim Alderson (3.0), Daniel Cortes (3.7), Jeremy Jeffress (4.2) and Wade Davis (4.9). This quintet induced just 26 total DPs—or one more than Adenhart did all by himself.

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: Most every team would welcome with open arms a 27-year-old righthander who went 12-10, 4.21 in 188 innings while pitching for a 99-loss team and doing so in the rugged AL East. But what if that same pitcher also led the league in walks (106), hit batsmen (20) and wild pitches (15)? Well, it happened in ’03 when Victor Zambrano won the “wildness triple crown” as a member of the Devil Rays’ rotation. Undeterred, the Mets did more than speculate on the control-challenged righty, sending Scott Kazmir to Tampa Bay at the ’04 trade deadline—and this despite Zambrano leading the AL with 96 walks at the time of the trade. In 128 innings! No AL pitcher would catch him in that department that year, though he finished a disappointing second with just 16 hit batsmen. In honor of the great Zambrano, we present the prospect version of the wildness triple crown—the VZ Award, which is (walks + hit batsmen + wild pitches) per nine innings. Jeremy Jeffress (52 BB, 7 HB, 5 WP in 94 IP) takes the top spot with a 6.1 mark, followed by solid showings by Jeff Samardzija (5.4), Nick Adenhart (5.4), Trevor Cahill (5.3) and Chris Tillman (5.3). High walk rates sabotaged three of the four, but Cahill took a unique path with 11 hit batsmen and 12 wild pitches. The most in-control righty? Either Michael Bowden (2.0) or Tim Alderson (2.6).

YOUNG MAN/OLD MAN: Reigning Florida State League ERA champion, Rick Porcello (born: Dec. 27, 1988) will pitch the entire ’09 season as a 20-year-old in Double-A, and maybe higher. Fellow ’07 draftees Tim Alderson (born: Nov. 3, 1988) and Jarrod Parker (born: Nov. 24, 1988) are only about a month older than Porcello. An 11th-round draft-and-follow from ’02, James McDonald (born: Oct. 19, 1984) spent his first pro season (’03) as a pitcher, the next two as an outfielder (career .208/.280/.244 hitter in the minors) and has worked exclusively as a pitcher since ’06.

FIRST-ROUND PICKS: Jarrod Parker (ninth overall, 2007), Jeremy Jeffress (16th, 2006), Tim Alderson (22nd, 2007) and Rick Porcello (27th, 2007). The Red Sox took Michael Bowden in the ’05 draft’s supplemental first round.

LOW DRAFT POSITION: Would you believe Tommy Hanson lasted until the 22nd round of the ’05 draft? He did, but he waited until the following year to sign, after a strong year at Riverside (Calif.) CC. As such, the Braves’ $325,000 investment—that’s late third- or early fourth-round money—might rank as the best value among the Top 100 Prospects. Among non draft-and-follows, Nick Adenhart waited the longest to get drafted, falling to the ’04 draft’s 14th round—but only because teams thought that his strong commitment to North Carolina would make him a tough sign. The Angels bought him away from higher-learning leanings for $710,000 which, believe it or not, is not the record for a player taken in that round. Taken four picks earlier that same year, Dexter Fowler received $925,000 from the Rockies. Setting aside DFEs and over-slot signings, Daniel Cortes, a tall but raw prep righthander from Pomona, Calif., lasted until the seventh round of the ’05 draft.

HEAVIEST/LIGHTEST PLAYER: Listed at 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Jake Arrieta is one of the heaviest pitchers here, though a trio of 6-foot-5 righthanders all weigh in at 220 pounds: Wade Davis, Jeff Samardzija and Jordan Walden. Holding the distinction of lightest player at 6-foot-1, 168 pounds, Jhoulys Chacin is only one of three short-ish righties. He’s joined by Jeremy Jeffress and Jarrod Parker, who are listed as either 6-feet or 6-foot-1, depending on the source.

ORGANIZATION NO. 1 PROSPECTS: Nick Adenhart (Angels), Neftali Feliz (Rangers), Tommy Hanson (Braves), Jarrod Parker (Diamondbacks), Rick Porcello (Tigers) and Jordan Zimmermann (Nationals)

NEW DANCE PARTNERS: As they did with Elvis Andrus, Tyler Flowers and Max Ramirez, the Braves traded away Neftali Feliz, before he reached his prospect zenith, sending him to Texas (along with Andrus) for Mark Teixeira. Signed for $100,000, Feliz is a product of Atlanta’s deceptively-productive Latin American pipeline—they’ve also deployed Santos Rodriguez and Jose Ascanio in trades in the past two years. And that doesn’t even take into account Julio Teheran, Concepcion Rodriguez and Christian Bethancourt, three players to watch in ’09 . . . At the time, the White Sox’ haul from the ’05 draft seemed very ordinary (we gave them a C in our ’07 Prospect Handbook, the first time the class was subject to a grade), but in addition to producing big leaguers Lance Broadway (first round), Chris Getz (fourth) and Clayton Richard (eighth), Chicago’s scouting department also identified three future Top 100 Prospects. As noted above, Daniel Cortes lasted until the seventh round because of a lack of polish, but it’s safe to say that for whatever his flaws, the White Sox would rather have him now than the pitcher he was traded for: Mike MacDougal. As touched on with the hitters portion of this analysis, Chicago also drafted Aaron Cunningham (sixth) and Chris Carter (15th) in ’05. To be fair, all three of the traded prospects rank in the second half of the Top 100 . . . Like an outtake from SNL’s old Bad Idea Jeans commercial, the Mariners traded Chris Tillman and Adam Jones and three other pitchers of varying utility for Erik Bedard prior to the ’08 season. The early returns were not positive.

LUCKY NUMBERS: 5—The number of righthanders from the Northeast or the upper Midwest: Michael Bowden (HS—Aurora, Ill.), Jarrod Parker (HS—Ossian, Ind.), Rick Porcello (HS—West Orange, N.J.), Jeff Samardzija (Notre Dame) and Jordan Zimmermann (Wisconsin-Stevens Point). And that count swells to six if you count Philllippe Aumont, who hails from Quebec but did not play ball in high school because it wasn’t offered . . . $425,000—The sum paid by the Braves to sign both Tommy Hanson (as an ’05 draft-and-follow) and Neftali Feliz (out of the Dominican in ’05), who rank as the Nos. 4 and 10 prospects in baseball.

Pitcher, Org, Top 100 LVL AG IP ERA G/F WHIP K9 W9 HR9

Brett Anderson, Oak (7) HiA 21 105 3.69 1.92 1.21 10.1 2.3 0.7

Madison Bumgarner, SF (9) LoA 19 142 1.46 0.86 0.93 10.4 1.3 0.2

Brett Cecil, Tor (72) AA 22 119 2.88 2.28 1.23 9.8 3.1 0.5

Gio Gonzalez, Oak (97) AAA 23 123 4.24 0.99 1.36 9.4 4.4 0.9

Derek Holland, Tex (31) LoA 22 151 2.27 1.20 1.02 9.4 2.4 0.2

Jonathon Niese, NYM (77) AA 22 164 3.13 1.54 1.30 7.9 3.2 0.5

Aaron Poreda, CWS (63) AA 22 161 3.13 1.39 1.20 6.6 2.2 0.3

David Price, TB (2) AA 23 110 2.30 1.45 1.17 8.9 2.5 0.6

Sean West, Fla (96) HiA 22 101 2.41 1.40 1.38 8.2 5.3 0.3


WORKLOAD: Jonathon Niese and Aaron Poreda ranked first and second in terms of both innings and batters faced per game—and they had identical 3.13 ERAs. Weird. Poreda faced 24.4 BF/G to Niese’s 23.7, but Niese’s 14 big league innings in September (not reflected in totals above) push him over the top. Derek Holland emerged from obscurity to log 151 innings, a total that ought to make Nolan Ryan proud. Sean West (first year back from major shoulder surgery), Brett Anderson (Olympic team), David Price (elbow injury) and Brett Cecil (strict pitch counts stemming from bullpen conversion) each logged fewer than 120 innings on the year, with Cecil averaging a crazy-low 17.8 batters faced per game.

STRIKEOUTS: Madison Bumgarner, Brett Anderson, Brett Cecil, Derek Holland and Gio Gonzalez all averaged at least a strikeout per inning, relying on either a plus-plus fastball (Bumgarner, Holland) or plus fastballs and a knockout second pitch (Anderson, Cecil, Gonzalez). Despite (and probably owing to) their durability, Aaron Poreda and Jonathan Niese trailed the field in strikeout rate.

WALKS: Though he was the only lefty to spend the year exclusively in low Class A, Madison Bumgarner’s premium control (1.3 walks per nine) is impressive nonetheless. He struck out nearly eight South Atlantic League batters for every one he walked. Aaron Poreda’s fine control helped propel him to Double-A in his first full season, while Brett Anderson, Derek Holland and David Price exhibited control of their own in walking 2.5 or fewer batters per nine. Gio Gonzalez’s wildness truly manifested itself in the big leagues (25 walks in 34 innings), but his walk rate in Triple-A (4.4) and for his career (4.0) are on the high side. Sean West walked a full 14 percent of Florida State League batters he faced, as the 6-foot-8 lefty struggled not only to repeat his mechanics but also to stay on the field. Blisters on his pitching hand kept him sidelined for most of April and May, and that came on top of missing the entire ’07 season after having labrum surgery on his left shoulder.

GROUND CONTROL: Though he can reach the mid-90s when working in shorter stints, Brett Cecil’s sinker/slider combo make him a premier groundball lefty. Brett Anderson got similar ground/fly results last year, with a different repertoire, but he also got touched for 0.7 home runs per nine innings. That’s a bit misleading, though, because he spent most of the year in the California League. Even though they focus on throwing fastballs and show a flyball tendency, Derek Holland and Madison Bumgarner combined to allow just six home runs in 292 1/3 innings. A flyball pitcher, Gio Gonzalez allowed the highest rate of home runs (0.9), but of the 12 he allowed, just two were to lefthanded batters.

PITCHER’S BEST FRIEND: In terms of raw double plays, no lefty topped Jonathon Niese’s total of 18. Gio Gonzalez and Aaron Poreda tallied 11 apiece, while Sean West and Brett Cecil induced 10 twin killings each. Niese (11.1 percent) and Gonzalez (8.7) did the best work in eliminating excess baserunners (and they had to work around more than most pitchers here) via the double play. Brett Anderson (4.0 percent) and Madison Bumgarner (4.4) were least successful in this regard.

WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: Though his sky-high walk rate gives him an inherent advantage in the Victor Zambrano Award race, Sean West still paced all lefties with 13 wild pitches and six hit batsmen in 100 2/3 innings, leaving everybody else in his wake with a 7.1 score. It would be nearly impossible to be more precise than Madison Bumgarner was in ’08. Not only did he lead the minors in ERA (1.46), but he also almost never beat himself, allowing just 21 walks, five hit batsmen and three wild pitches in 141 2/3 innings. He saved the best for last: In 10 July and August starts, he walked just seven batters and hit two others, all while not allowing a home run. This for a kid coming down the stretch in his first full pro season.

YOUNG MAN/OLD MAN: Despite being drafted just two years ago, in ’07, David Price (born: Aug. 26, 1985) is the oldest lefthander here, about a month older than ’04 draft pick Gio Gonzalez (born: Sept. 19, 1985). On the flip side, Madison Bumgarner (born: Aug. 1, 1989) won’t turn 20 until the season’s final month.

FIRST-ROUND PICKS: David Price (first overall, 2007), Madison Bumgarner (10th, 2007) and Aaron Poreda (25th, 2007). Teams weren’t shy about selecting lefties in the supplemental first round, where Brett Cecil (2007), Gio Gonzalez (2004) and Sean West (2005) all went. That’s six of nine lefthanders taken before the second round, and Brett Anderson made it only to the 11th pick in the ’06 draft’s second round.

LOW DRAFT POSITION: As with Daniel Cortes in the righthanders’ camp, Jonathon Niese went in the ’05 draft’s seventh round, six spots ahead of Cortes. Niese and Derek Holland, a 25th-round draft-and-follow from ’06, are the only two lefties in this sample who went unselected past the second round.

HEAVIEST/LIGHTEST PLAYER: His fastball isn’t the only thing heavy about Aaron Poreda. At 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, he’s the heaviest pitcher to qualify for this exercise—though 6-foot-10 Yankees righty Andrew Brackman is listed at 270 pounds, making him one of the heaviest players, period. He has yet to throw a regular-season pitch as a pro. (In case you’re wondering, 6-foot-8 Sean West is the tallest lefty.) Slight, 185-pound lefties Gio Gonzalez (5-foot-11) and Derek Holland (6-foot-2) are credited with being the lightest.

ORGANIZATION NO. 1 PROSPECTS: Brett Anderson (Athletics), Madison Bumgarner (Giants) and David Price (Rays).

NEW DANCE PARTNERS: You have to give to get, or so states the baseball trade adage. If that’s the case, the Diamondbacks gave much of their organizational depth, including Brett Anderson, Chris Carter, Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez, to the Athletics to get Dan Haren prior to the ’08 season. Anderson’s whirlwind ’08 tour took him from high Class A Stockton to Double-A Midland to the Futures Game to the Beijing Olympics to the Triple-A Pacific Coast League playoffs with Sacramento . . . The A’s landed Gio Gonzalez from the White Sox about two weeks later in the deal that sent Nick Swisher to Chicago. A match made in heaven, Swisher took full advantage of U.S. Cellular Field, bashing his way to a career high in home runs . . . no, wait a minute, the bottom fell out of his batting average and he had his worst year during his age-27 season. The Yankees bought low during the offseason.

LUCKY NUMBERS: 4—The number of hard-throwing, physical lefties taken within the first 38 picks of the ’07 draft: David Price (first overall, Devil Rays), Madison Bumgarner (10th, Giants), Aaron Poreda (25th, White Sox) and Brett Cecil (38th, Blue Jays) . . . 38—Gio Gonzalez (2004) and Brett Cecil (2007) both went 38th overall in the draft . . . 2—The number of major league pitchers to hail from Defiance (Ohio) HS after Jonathon Niese made his debut last September. Chad Billingsley is the other.

Pitcher, Org, Top 100 LVL AG IP ERA G/F WHIP K9 BB9 HR9

Phillippe Aumont, Sea (93) LoA 20 56 2.75 1.73 1.24 8.1 3.1 0.6

Daniel Bard, Bos (98) AA 23 78 1.51 2.18 1.00 12.4 3.5 0.5

Adam Miller, Cle (82) AAA 24 29 1.88 1.44 1.33 6.3 3.8 0.0

Chris Perez, STL (91) AAA 23 25 3.20 1.47 1.18 13.5 4.3 1.1


SHORT NOTES: All four of these pitchers possess ridiculous arm strength and a hard slider, which goes a long way toward explaining their status as first- or supplemental-first round picks . . . Aumont (elbow soreness) and Miller (finger injury) worked as starters but missed significant time with injury . . . Aside from being standouts at Atantic Coast Conference schools, Bard (North Carolina) and Perez (Miami) have something else in common: They rarely allow the opposition to put the ball in play because of high strikeout and walk rates. In Bard’s case, he complements it with a strong groundball rate, and he induced the double-play grounder in 11.8 percent of estimated opportunities. Perez clocked in at 4.2 . . . Three of the four pitchers stand 6-feet-4; Aumont is 6-foot-7, in addition to being the youngest as well as the highest draft pick (11th overall, 2007).