2012 Prospect Rankings Review: American League Starting Pitchers

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

Fake Teams ranked the top fantasy starting pitching prospects in the preseason and again at midseason. How did the prospects with American League teams fare this season, and did we learn anything new from this performance?

Over the past week, I have been taking a brief look back at how the top prospects at each position (as ranked during the preseason and again in the midseason) performed this year, and whether they improved or worsened their stock this year. Note that each of these reviews are not new rankings, and will not discuss anyone not on either of those rankings. We have finished up the infield, and will be breaking both the outfield and starting pitcher discussions into separate posts by league.

You can find the previous reviews here: Catcher, First Base, Second Base, Shortstop, Third Base, NL Outfield, AL Outfield

You can also find our preseason SP rankings here, as well as the midseason SP rankings here. All statistics are courtesy of Baseball Reference, and are through Monday's games.

Matt Moore (Rays)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

1

Not Eligible

MLB

10

11

3.92

172

157

75

18

79

171

1.372

September aside, Moore really showed a lot of what he could be going forward from June through August. I had Moore ahead of Darvish at the start of the season, and at this point I think Moore is just a slight bit behind Darvish in terms of his long-term outlook.

Yu Darvish (Rangers)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

2

Not Eligible

MLB

16

9

3.90

184.2

147

80

13

88

214

1.273

Darvish hasn't wilted in the Texas heat, as had been expected of him before the start of the season. At least not in the way that was necessarily expected. Darvish's performance in the middle months (June-August) was a bit all over the board in terms of ERA, but some of the advanced metrics seem to point toward a bit of bad luck. He's shown the potential to be an elite level starter, and I would say the only thing keeping him from that class is the consistency, especially regarding the walks.

Jarrod Parker (Athletics)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

16

Not Eligible

AAA/MLB

12

8

3.27

190

177

69

11

64

147

1.26

Parker has been as good as expected for Oakland, cementing himself in their rotation early in the season. His walk totals are a slight concern, but pitching in Oakland should help him to reduce the effect of those walks overall. That said, unless the strikeout rate climbs some more, he's probably going to be more of a fantasy #3 or #4 starter than a #1 or #2.

Martin Perez (Rangers)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

17

28

AAA/MLB

8

8

4.15

160.1

157

74

13

69

90

1.41

This really wasn't what the Rangers were hoping to see from Perez as he repeated AAA this year. The precipitous drop in strikeout rate and rise in walk rate are both very concerning, and it's hard to just write that off with his young age. He could be a very nice sleeper next season, but he probably won't be on any of my teams.

Jacob Turner (Tigers/Marlins)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

8

32

AAA/MLB

9

8

3.29

153

137

56

14

54

100

1.25

Turner was included in the Anibal Sanchez trade midseason, and I absolutely love this move for Turner's long-term outlook. He's moving to the easier league, will be making half of his starts in what appears to be a very spacious home park, and I personally like the move away from the Tigers' organization. I wonder if his development would have turned out differently had he started in a different organization.

Dylan Bundy (Orioles)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

10

1

A/A+/AA/MLB

9

3

2.07

104.1

67

24

6

28

119

0.91

It's hard to imagine a better professional debut out of a top pitching prospect than what happened with Bundy this year. He completely overpowered Low-A hitters, and then pitched well in both High-A and AA before receiving a September call-up into a pennant race. While I don't think he'll start the season back in the Baltimore rotation, I think he will be there before the end of the season, and there to stay despite being just 19 currently.

Jake Odorizzi (Royals)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

NR

16

AA/AAA/MLB

15

6

3.52

150.2

138

59

15

51

138

1.25

Odorizzi posted excellent numbers back in AA, and then pitched extremely well for AAA Omaha this year. The advanced metrics point out that Odorizzi didn't necessarily pitch as well as his standard numbers showed. Given that he was in the PCL for most of the season, I think his performance was pretty solid overall. He'll likely be in the Royals' opening day rotation next season, and could be a nice sleeper candidate.

Danny Hultzen (Mariners)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

12

4

AA/AAA

9

7

3.05

124

87

42

4

75

136

1.306

Hultzen was thoroughly dominant in his time in AA, and was promoted to AAA Tacoma after the Futures Game. However, his control appeared to have been left back in Jackson somewhere, as his walk rate ballooned from 3.8 in AA to 8.0 per 9 innings in AAA. John Sickels wrote about his struggles this week, and I would definitely take a look at it.

Taijuan Walker (Mariners)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

13

2

AA

7

10

4.69

126.2

124

66

12

50

118

1.374

Walker was skipped right past High-A, and played nearly the full season at age 19 in AA. The numbers don't reflect the upside still in Walker, as he is one of the few pitching prospects in baseball viewed with true #1 potential. He still has some things to work on, but could reach the Majors at some point next year.

Manny Banuelos (Yankees)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

18

25

AAA

0

2

4.50

24

29

12

2

10

22

1.625

Banuelos missed most of the season with an elbow injury, and until he throws again it really will be tough to get a good feel for where he should be ranked going forward.

Matt Barnes (Red Sox)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

NR

18

A/A+

7

5

2.86

119.2

97

38

6

29

133

1.053

Despite being drafted out of UConn, Barnes was given an Opening Day assignment in Low-A. He thoroughly dominated the Sally League before being promoted to High-A in the Carolina League. He had the pedigree coming into the season since he was a first round pick, but the performance really helped to cement his status as one of the top pitching prospects in the minors right now. He seems to me like a high-floor type pitching prospect, who could be in Boston by late next season.

Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

NR

19

A

8

5

2.49

90.1

64

25

3

51

97

1.273

The reports on Sanchez out of the Midwest League were very complementary, and hopefully next season the Blue Jays will allow him to pitch deeper into games. Our own Craig Goldstein wrote up an in-depth profile of Sanchez earlier in the season that I recommend you check out for more info on him.

Taylor Guerrieri (Rays)
Preseason Rank Midseason Rank Level W L ERA IP H ER HR BB K WHIP

NR

15

A-

1

2

1.04

52

35

6

0

5

45

0.769

The Rays moved Guerrieri at what seems to be their usual pace: slow and steady. Guerrieri started the year in extended spring training until the short season leagues started, and then was sent to the Appy League. He was excellent in Hudson Valley, and should move up prospect lists with this performance. I wrote a profile of Guerrieri back in August as well.

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