Baseball’s top 15 pitching prospects: 2010 outlooks and future stat projections

Stephen Strasburg / SP / Washington
2010 thoughts:
Strasburg will get his feet wet at Double-A Harrisburg and Triple-A Syracuse for a couple of months, but expect him in Washington by June.

Madison Bumgarner / SP / San Francisco
2010 thoughts:
Bumgarner will start at Triple-A Fresno, but don’t expect him to remain there for long. I’m calling a July permanent call-up.
Average-year projection:
204 IP / 3.38 ERA / 1.20 WHIP / 15 W / 9 L / 197 SO / 183 H / 61 BB
Prime-year projection:
216 IP / 2.99 ERA / 1.12 WHIP / 17 W / 8 L / 223 SO / 185 H / 57 BB

Brian Matusz / SP / Baltimore
2010 thoughts:
Matusz is in the majors to stay.
Average-year projection:
206 IP / 3.61 ERA / 1.22 WHIP / 14 W / 10 L / 202 SO / 189 H / 63 BB
Prime-year projection:
217 IP / 3.24 ERA / 1.15 WHIP / 16 W / 10 L / 228 SO / 191 H / 58 BB

Neftali Feliz / SP/RP / Texas
2010 thoughts:
Despite Feliz’s poor spring, Texas is counting on him as its setup man. No one knows for sure what his future role is, but I think he is in Texas to stay.
Average-year projection:
184 IP / 3.73 ERA / 1.32 WHIP / 13 W / 10 L / 183 SO / 175 H / 68 BB
Prime-year projection:
198 IP / 3.31 ERA / 1.24 WHIP / 15 W / 9 L / 213 SO / 183 H / 63 BB

Martin Perez / SP / Texas
2010 thoughts:
I expect Texas to slow down Perez’s development and keep him at Double-A Frisco for the year.

Christian Friedrich / SP / Colorado
2010 thoughts:
Double-A Tulsa should be home to Friedrich for a majority of the year, but the sooner he dominates, which he is more than capable of, the sooner he moves. And he could end up in Colorado late in the year, right in the middle of a pennant race.

Hector Rondon / SP/RP / Cleveland
2009 thoughts:
It is difficult to judge Rondon’s 2010 expectations due to his questionable role. I say he starts for a couple of months at Triple-A Columbus, but he should be called up permanently in some capacity by July.
Average-year projection:
193 IP / 3.73 ERA / 1.33 WHIP / 13 W / 10 L / 173 SO / 189 H / 68 BB
Prime-yaer projection:
204 IP / 3.34 ERA / 1.25 WHIP / 15 W / 9 L / 198 SO / 194 H / 62 BB

Jeremy Hellickson / SP / Tampa Bay
2010 thoughts:
The Rays’ rotation is set for the time being, and if everything works out the way they want, Hellickson will spend most of the year in Triple-A Durham. Only a bullpen role would propel him to the majors later in the year. Of course, an injury to a current starter could change things.
Average-year projection:
190 IP / 3.79 ERA / 1.31 WHIP / 13 W / 9 L / 176 SO / 184 H / 64 BB
Prime-year projection:
199 IP / 3.40 ERA / 1.23 WHIP / 16 W / 10 L / 200 SO / 186 H / 59 BB

Jhoulys Chacin / SP/RP / Colorado
2010 thoughts:
Chacin should receive a good amount of starter’s work at Triple-A Colorado Springs, but he should be in the majors to stay by July, most likely as a reliever in the short term.
Average-year projection:
195 IP / 3.84 ERA / 1.31 WHIP / 13 W / 10 L / 172 SO / 188 H / 68 BB
Prime-year projection:
207 IP / 3.41 ERA / 1.23 WHIP / 16 W / 10 L / 191 SO / 192 H / 63 BB

Tyler Matzek / SP / Colorado
2010 thoughts:
It looks as if Matzek won’t join Single-A Asheville initially, but I fully expect him there by midseason at the latest.

Zack Wheeler / SP / San Francisco
2010 thoughts:
Wheeler is making his full-season debut at Single-A Augusta, and he should remain there for the entire season.

Jacob Turner / SP / Detroit
2010 thoughts:
Turner is in Single-A West Michigan, but he might not stay there for long. There are whispers going around that he could move up a rung or two this season if he uses his strong spring as a jumping-off point. Stay tuned.

Jenrry Mejia / SP/RP / NY Mets
2010 thoughts:
Mejia made the 25-man roster out of spring training, but I think the promotion came too fast. I expect him to spend plenty of time at Triple-A Buffalo, and he may even bounce back and forth a couple of times.

Shelby Miller / SP / St. Louis
2010 thoughts:
St. Louis seems prepared to leave Miller in Single-A Quad Cities for the year.

Casey Kelly / SP / Boston
2010 thoughts:
Kelly is making the huge jump to Double-A Portland, where I expect him to remain throughout 2010.

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  1. Jonathan Sher said...

    John – Picking top pitching prospects is a crap shoot, so while I like Kyle Drabek, I don’t understand how anyone can get so upset that someone else has a different top 15 than what he would have. Among other pitchers to be considered but not listed here are Aroldis Chapman, Wade Davis, Tanner Scheppers, Mike Montgomery, Chris Withrow, Matt Moore and Drabek’s teammate, Zack Stewart. But Matt’s list is perfectly reasonable. Rather than get upset, why not offer your own projection for Drabek?

  2. John said...

    Re. Comments from Jonathan Sher:

    “I don’t understand how anyone can get so upset” / “Rather than get upset, why not offer your own projection for Drabek?”

    Upset?  Not me. I’m sorry if you are.

  3. Jonathan Sher said...


    There is virtually no correlation between a pitcher’s ranking within the top-100 prospects and their future performance. Those slotted 90-100 tend to find nearly as much success as those slotted 1-10. There’s been good research on the issue.

    That’s why I find posts like yours amusing— you are so adamant that a particular pitcher belongs on someone’s top-15 list.

    Why do you like Drabek more than Stewart?

    “He should have definitely been on this Top 15 list.”

    “What gives?”

  4. Lucky Strikes said...

    Only 10 pitchers in the majors last year struck out 200 or more batters.  Based on that, I think the SO for Bumgarner look overly optimistic.  Same might be said of Matuz, though he seems to have more upside.  Matuz has been compared to Hamels more than anyone, and with better velocity, he might hit that 200 K level, but I’m betting it’s the ceiling.

  5. John said...

    Kyle Drabek, who went to Toronto in the Halladay trade, is not noted. He should have definitely been on this Top 15 list. What gives?

  6. Jericho said...

    Ardolis Chapman?

    From a fantasy standpoint…Strasburg looks great. Bumgarner could be too, if that velocity comes back. Matusz is tough. No dominant pitch, and that AL East is a bitch. But he can probably be decent. Odds on favorite for AL ROY after all. I’d just avoiding Texas and Colorado pitchers all together. Curious to see how some of the high school arms pan out.

  7. bk said...

    i really enjoy reading your projections, but i do have two comments on your above list.

    the first is as already mentioned the subjectiveness of the pitchers. it seems like you go upside more than anything else. but it would be interesting to read your take on pitchers like leake and gibson where there’s a mixed consensus on if they have frontline material or just back rotation.

    the second has also been highlighted, with the concerns over Bumgarner’s loss of velocity i’m not sure he’s worth a top 15 pitching prospect ranking, much less the optimistic forecast you have on him. his loss in velocity isn’t a sudden occurance (which makes it worrying), it’s been like that since mid last yr (if my memory serves me correct). his fb is what makes him such a great prospect. if he’s lost the velocity he shouldn’t be up there.

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