A Look at Pitching Prospects from 2007 (warning long)

In a game thread earlier this week, a point was made that the Rockies have a horrible time with developing pitchers. I argued that the Rockies are no worse then any other organization at developing pitchers, and in some ways might even be better. Pitching prospects have always been hit or miss, and if you ask top baseball executives, they will say that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect. I set out to prove this point.

I used Baseball Americas Organizational Top 10 Prospects from 2007. I chose 2007 because I figured anything after 2007 is to early to tell what type of pitchers will pan out, and anything before 2007 is to far in to the past to get a look at what organizations are doing right now. Depending on the feed back, I'm willing to look at the data from 2004 and 2009, but understand this is a lot of work, so I'm hoping one year of data is sufficient to proving my point.

After looking at each teams top ten prospect list from 2007, I pulled out every pitcher that appeared for each team. I then looked up each pitchers fWAR, (I know bWAR is probably better for pitchers, but I don't like the website as much as fangraphs so I stick with them). If a Starting Pitcher has had a Career fWAR of over 5.0, I say they provided successful value for the team, and thus were a properly developed pitcher. For RP, I used the bench mark of 2.5 fWAR.

I will bold the players that achieved higher then 5.0 fWAR.

O's 0/5

Brandon Erbe
Pedro Beato
Radhames Liz
Garrett Olson
James Hoey

Red Sox 1/6

Clay Buchholz 7.9
Michael Bowden
Daniel Bard 4.2 RP
Bryce Cox
Craig Hansen
Kris Johnson

Yankees 3/8

Phil Hughes 7.2

Dellin Betances
Joba Chamberlain 7.9
Ian Kennedy 7.9
Chris Garcia
Tyler Clippard
J. Brent Cox
Mark Melancon


Jeff Niemann
Jacob McGee
Wade Davis
Matt Walker
Jeremy Hellickson

Blue Jays 1/5

Ricky Romero 9.7
Francisco Rosario
Brandon Magee
Jesse Litsch
David Purcey

White Sox 0/5

Kyle McCulloch
Charlie Haeger
Adam Russell
Lucas Harrell
Matt Long

Indians 0/5

Adam Miller
Chuck Lofgren
Tony Sipp
Scott Lewis
David Huff

Tigers 1/5

Andrew Miller
Jair Jurrjens 10.4
Jordan Tata
Eulogio de la Cruz
Dallas Trahern

Royals 1/5

Luke Hochevar 7.6
Tyler Lumsden
Erik Cordier
Billy Buckner
Brent Fisher

Twins 2/6

Matt Garza 14.7
Glen Perkins
Kevin Slowey 7.2
Anthony Swarzak
Pat Neshek
J.D. Durbin

Angels 0/5

Nick Adenhart
Young-Il Jung
Stephen Marek
Sean O'Sullivan
Tommy Mendoza

A's 1/3

Jason Windsor
Marcus McBeth
Trevor Cahill 5.3

Mariners 1/5

Brandon Morrow 8.3
Eric O'Flaherty
Mark Lowe
Ryan Feierabend
Tony Butler

Rangers 3/7

John Danks 16.5

Eric Hurley
Edinson Volquez 5.4
Thomas Diamond
Kasey Kiker
Nick Masset 3.3 RP
Josh Rupe

Braves 1/3

Matt Harrison 5.7
Jo-Jo Reyes
Joey Devine

Marlins 1/6

Chris Volstad 4.9
Brett Sinkbeil
Gaby Hernandez
Sean West
Aaron Thompson
Ryan Tucker

Mets 2/7

Mike Pelfrey 8.9
Philip Humber
Deolis Guerra
Kevin Mulvey
Jon Niese 5.3
Joe Smith
Alay Soler

Phillies 0/7

Carlos Carrasco
Kyle Drabek
Edgar Garcia
Scott Mathieson
Josh Outman
J.A. Happ
Matt Maloney

Nationals 0/5

Collin Balester
Colton Willems
Zech Zinicola
Glenn Gibson
Matt Chico

Cubs 0/5

Donald Veal
Jeff Samardzija
Sean Gallagher
Chris Huseby
Mark Pawelek

Reds 1/4

Homer Bailey
Johnny Cueto 8.5
Travis Woods
Sean Watson

Astros 0/7

Troy Patton
Matt Albers
Jimmy Barthmaier
Juan Gutierrez
Paul Estrada
Felipe Paulino
Chad Reineke

Brewers 1/5

Yovani Gallardo 12.9

Will Inman
Jeremy Jeffress
Mark Rogers
Steve Hammond

Pirates 0/5

Brad Lincoln
Yoslan Herrera
Josh Sharpless
Todd Redmond
Mike Felix

Cardinals 1/6

Jaime Garcia 6.5
Chris Perez
Blake Hawksworth
Adam Ottavino
Mark McCormick
Josh Kinney

Diamondbacks 2/5

Micah Owings
Dustin Nippert
Tony Pena 3.1
Brett Anderson 7.5

Rockies 1/5

Franklin Morales
Jason Hirsh
Ubaldo Jimenez 21.4
Greg Reynolds
Chaz Roe

Dodgers 1/3

Clayton Kershaw 17.2
Scott Elbert
Jonathan Meloan

Padres 0/3

Cesar Carrillo
Jared Wells
Cesar Ramos

Giants 3/4

Tim Lincecum 27.9
Jonathan Sanchez 8.4
Brian Wilson 6.9

Billy Sadler

What can we take away from all this?

3 of the Organizations were able to develop 3 successful pitchers, The Rangers, The Giants and the Yankees

3 more Organizations were able to develop 2 successful pitchers, The Diamondbacks, The Mets and The Twins

13 Organizations were able to develop 1 successful pitcher. The Rockies developed the Best Pitcher of this group in Ubaldo Jimenez, and outside of Tim Lincecum, Jimenez has the highest fWAR of the whole 2007 group.

11 Organizations were shutout, and didn't have a singe successful pitcher from the 2007 group.

To be fair, this isn't the best way to look at how organizations develop pitchers, but it does provide an insight into the fact that a lot of top pitching prospects end up failing. Of this huge list, only 28 of the 155 pitchers went on to have a good career. That is 18%. I'm sure if we look at other years, the results would be similar. The fact that the Rockies developed the second best pitcher on this list (WAR wise) is a huge plus to the organization. Add to the fact that guys like Francis (13.8 fWAR as a Rockie), Cook (21 fWAR), Jennings (15.2 fWAR as a Rockie) have all had successful careers before injuries took over, and you can say that the Rockies do a pretty good job considering. Chacin is even starting to look like Aaron Cook light (the good Aaron Cook that is) in his young career.

Yes there are teams that have developed great young pitching over the years, and it doesn't help that the Giants are one of them, but overall I'd say the Rockies are at the very worst, middle of the pack. However only 2 or 3 teams are above middle of the pack, and the bell curve is rather large in this instance.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

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