^^"Cooking With Gas" by Yordano Ventura
At the beginning of each season, I comb through the lists of my favorite prospect gurus and compare rankings and scouting reports to find targets for my drafts. In 2013, I had déjà vu. Two of my favorite prospects went by the same nickname: Little Pedro.
It’s not hard to see why Carlos Martinez and Yordano Ventura are often compared to Pedro Martinez. Both are diminutive, live-armed right-handers with wicked breaking stuff from the Dominican Rupublic.
The scouting reports, however, seemed incongruent with their rank. Pre- 2013, Baseball Prospectus had Martinez and Ventura as the #43 and #62 prospects in baseball. Odd for two starting pitchers who consistently flirt with triple digits.
vFB (From Pitchf/x) from 2013
Carlos Martinez: 97.5 (vFT 94.2)
Yordano Ventura: 97
For reference, Martinez’ average fastball velocity in 13’ is behind only Aroldis Chapman and Bruce Rondon; and Ventura, it’s these gents plus Kelvin Herrera and Henry Rodriguez. That’s elite company. Yes, most of Martinez’s appearances were in relief, but watching a few starts in Memphis, I can attest to seeing him flash 95 + in the 6th inning. Ventura’s average velocity was culled from his first two major league starts. He went 5.2 innings in each.
So what’s the catch?
The short answer: Pedro is the exception, not the rule. These guys appear lower on prospect rankings than pitchers like Matt Barnes and Aaron Sanchez mostly because of their body type; they lack the so-called "tilt" and "durability" of taller starters. Perceived as long-term injury risks, scouts are divided as to whether or not they end up as starters or high-end relievers. And since starters are A LOT more valuable than relievers, The Pedros’ perceived value in the prospect world is tempered.
What we need to recognize in fantasy land is these "question marks " may very well be a market inefficiency. The Cards and Royals seem intent on giving these guys shots as starters. And instead of paying the premium for more hyped prospects like Jameson Taillon, Archie Bradley and Taijuan Walker on draft day, poke through the bargain bin and find yourself some Little Pedros.
Baseball Prospect Nation
Spencer Silva @WordSmithSilva