The Roto Grotto: pitching prospects strikeout and walk rates

For dynasty teams looking to rebuild or stash players for the future, the September waiver wire may be a bit barren, even for prospects. It has been a couple of months since most of the midseason prospect updates released, so that scramble of reassessment is behind us. Most of the news that casual deep-league owners receive between then and the offseason is bad news, such as Dylan Bundy’s Tommy John surgery.

One way to keep semi-informed is simply to check up on those prospects’ basic statistics. For fantasy purposes especially, prospect rankings do not always match up with the players with the greatest potential to help your team. Outliers, either good or bad, can give you a clue as to which prospects that may still be available are worth the acquisition or which touted prospects you should look to sell.

What follows is a table of prospects (as well as rookie-eligible pitchers that make for interesting comparisons) from Keith Law’s and Baseball America’s midseason updates. I’ve included only players with innings in A-ball or higher.

In general, I included their strikeout and walk rates from the level in which they threw the most innings this season. If two levels were fairly close, I went with the higher level. In many cases, the pitcher already has moved beyond the listed level. I sorted the table by level first, and then by strikeout-to-walk rate.

One final warning: do not lend more weight to this table than it deserves. Prospects use the minors to prepare for the majors, and so their goal is not always to perform as well as possible. Often, lower-level pitchers will stop throwing their best pitches to develop new ones.

For that reason, I put less stock in poor walk rates at lower levels. At higher levels, poor walk rates do worry me, and I expect prospects to miss bats at every level. For fantasy purposes, strikeouts are more valuable than they are in actual baseball. On the whole, use this list as a means to discover which available players or players on your team may merit a trade, or which ones you should look for more recent information on.

Pitcher Hand Organization Age (as of 9/1/13) Level IP K/9 BB/9 K/BB
Tony Cingrani LHP Reds 24 MLB 97.2 10.3 1.1 9.3
Gerrit Cole RHP Pirates 22 MLB 85.1 6.4 1.9 3.4
Kevin Gausman RHP Orioles 22 MLB 36.1 7.7 2.5 3.1
Dan Straily RHP Athletics 24 MLB 122.1 7.2 3.2 2.2
Chris Archer RHP Rays 24 MLB 102.1 6.2 2.8 2.2
Brandon Maurer RHP Mariners 23 MLB 68.1 6.5 3.0 2.1
Zack Wheeler RHP Mets 23 MLB 83.0 7.8 3.7 2.1
Wily Peralta RHP Brewers 24 MLB 159.2 6.0 3.4 1.7
Brad Peacock RHP Astros 25 MLB 58.2 8.0 4.8 1.7
Kyle Gibson RHP Twins 25 MLB 51.0 5.1 3.5 1.5
Danny Hultzen LHP Mariners 23 AAA 30.2 10.0 2.1 4.9
Michael Wacha RHP Cardinals 22 AAA 85.0 7.7 2.0 3.8
Jake Odorizzi RHP Rays 23 AAA 124.1 9.0 2.9 3.1
Tyler Skaggs LHP Diamondbacks 22 AAA 104.0 9.3 3.4 2.7
Allen Webster RHP Red Sox 23 AAA 105.0 9.9 3.7 2.7
Yordano Ventura RHP Royals 22 AAA 77.0 9.5 3.9 2.5
Taijuan Walker RHP Mariners 21 AAA 57.1 10.1 4.2 2.4
Carlos Martinez RHP Cardinals 21 AAA 68.0 8.3 3.6 2.3
Trevor Bauer RHP Indians 22 AAA 121.1 7.9 5.4 1.5
Noah Syndergaard RHP Mets 21 AA 54.0 11.5 2.0 5.8
Zach Lee RHP Dodgers 21 AA 142.2 8.3 2.2 3.7
Jameson Taillon RHP Pirates 21 AA 110.1 8.7 2.9 2.9
Alex Meyer RHP Twins 23 AA 70.0 10.8 3.7 2.9
Anthony Ranaudo RHP Red Sox 23 AA 109.2 8.7 3.3 2.7
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP Orioles 20 AA 59.2 8.9 3.6 2.5
Archie Bradley RHP Diamondbacks 21 AA 123.1 8.7 4.3 2.0
Jesse Biddle LHP Phillies 21 AA 138.1 10.0 5.3 1.9
Mike Foltynewicz RHP Astros 21 AA 103.1 8.3 4.5 1.8
Jonathan Gray RHP Rockies 21 A+ 24.0 13.5 2.3 6.0
Andrew Heaney LHP Marlins 22 A+ 61.2 9.6 2.5 3.9
Kyle Zimmer RHP Royals 21 A+ 89.2 11.3 3.1 3.6
Eddie Butler RHP Rockies 22 A+ 67.2 8.9 2.8 3.2
Kyle Crick RHP Giants 20 A+ 68.2 12.5 5.1 2.4
Henry Owens LHP Red Sox 21 A+ 104.2 10.6 4.6 2.3
Aaron Sanchez RHP Blue Jays 21 A+ 86.1 7.8 4.2 1.9
Robert Stephenson RHP Reds 20 A 77.0 11.2 2.3 4.8
Taylor Guerrieri RHP Rays 20 A 67.0 6.9 1.6 4.3
Julio Urias LHP Dodgers 17 A 54.1 11.1 2.7 4.2
Miguel Almonte RHP Royals 20 A 130.2 9.1 2.5 3.7
Mark Appel RHP Astros 22 A 33.0 7.4 2.5 3.0
Lucas Sims RHP Braves 19 A 116.2 10.3 3.6 2.9
Lance McCullers, Jr. RHP Astros 19 A 104.2 10.1 4.2 2.4
Max Fried LHP Padres 19 A 118.2 7.6 4.2 1.8

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