Saturday, May 19, 2012

Numbers Game: Pitching Prospects

Thanks to excellent research done by Victor Wang and Scott McKinney we know that roughly 1 in 4 pitching prospects will be successes at the Major League level. So very simply let's just break down the Royals pitching prospects into two lists and see what we can expect should the percentages just play out for the Royals farm hands.

Middle to front of the Rotation Guys:

  1. Aaron Crow MLB (2011Baseball America #9)
  2. Danny Duffy MLB (2011 Baseball America #7)
  3. Mike Montgomery AAA (2012 Baseball America #1, 2012 John Sickels B)
  4. Jake Odorizzi AAA (2012 Baseball America #4, 2012 John Sickels B+)
  5. John Lamb DL/AA (2012 Baseball America #6, 2012 John Sickels C+)
  6. Jason Adam A+ (2012 Baseball America #8, 2012 John Sickels C+)
  7. Chris Dwyer AA (2012 Baseball America #9, 2012 John Sickels B-)
  8. Yordano Ventura A+ (2012 Baseball America #10, 2012 John Sickels B-)
Back end Rotation Guys:
  1. Everett Teaford MLB (2012 Baseball America #26, 2012 John Sickels )
  2. Noel Arguelles AA (2012 Baseball America #17, 2012 John Sickels C)
  3. Tim Melville AA (2012 Baseball America #19, 2012 John Sickels C+)
  4. Will Smith AAA (2012 Baseball America #22, 2012 John Sickels )
  5. Greg Billo A+ (John Sickels C+)
  6. Justin Marks AA (John Sickels C)
  7. Elisaul Pimentel AA (2011 Baseball America # 29, 2012 John Sickels C)
  8. Leonel Santiago A+ (2012 John Sickels C)
Now obviously you could argue with the entire thought process of this post, and I'm not making any sort of argument that this is a research based post and obviously I'm just toying around with a success percentage and doing my best to classify Royals pitching prospects into one of two arbitrary categories.

Also, you may disagree with my inclusion of certain players and you may very well believe that I have neglected a certain player. Each player I used appeared in either the 2011 or 2012 Baseball America Top 30 or John Sickels 2012 list. 

Also, I have chosen only to include pitchers that have pitched in High-A or up. The reason for this is because I'm looking at guys that could conceivably break into Kansas City within a couple years should things break totally right. Bryan Brickhouse, Kyle Smith, and the rest of that group aren't a part of this exercise because their ETAs are so far away.

So with eight prospects in each group, the Royals can reasonably expect two from each group to reach Kansas City and be successful. That means two front end guys and two back end guys. Obviously, if only four of those sixteen starts find success most Royals fans will feel disappointed with the crop. However, statistically speaking the Royals would have developed pitchers at a pretty average mark.

It should also be pointed out that a big league rotation is only comprised of five starters, so if four of the aforementioned prospects find Major League success, the rotation will pretty well be set. Not to mention that if four of the five rotation spots are held by cost controlled players making the minimum or arbitration, Kansas City should have some money available to fill the last spot with another front end guy.

If things really start to click in the Royals player development process and instead of a 25% success rate the Royals produce just one more success from each group, they all of the sudden have a surplus. Again that is just six out of sixteen. 

Consider too that the Royals will likely take a near Major League ready starter in the draft on June 4, and it is even easier to be more confident that the Royals will build at least an average rotation in the not too distant future. 

I plan on following up this post, on what the rotation could look like to open 2013, and if that rotation will be strong enough to contend.


  1. Who is Scott McKinney? I think I have heard of him before, but his occupation and what he is known for in the baseball world escapes me.

  2. He's actually a Royals blogger. But about a year ago he did some excellent research on the success rates of Major League prospects.