Starting Pitchers & Tulsa WHIP!

My baseball prospect evaluation theory over the last several years has been based on a pretty simple concept and that is that AA performance determines future MLB value as a Rockies starting pitcher.  When pitchers dominate the opposing hitters while playing for the Tulsa Drillers over the years they have shown to be good bets when it comes to predicting success for the Colorado Rockies.  This is not to slight the starting pitchers that played for the Colorado Sky Sox, however it is really difficult to evaluate talent there using performance statistics, primarily because the Rockies seldom leave prospect starters there very long or they skip the AAA level entirely.


Looking at the raw numbers the things that I watch for and evaluate are as follows:

  1. Hits less than innings pitched.
  2. Strikeouts should be at least 2 x the number of walks.
  3. WHIP should be 1.25 or less.
  4. Lastly an ERA below 3.00!


These starting pitchers were selected for this analysis because for the most part they either made or at one time were projected to make the MLB starting rotation.  This list has been sorted by WHIP and it should be noted here that WHIP is a pretty good number to estimate potential success and in most cases mirrors the results of the ERA statistic as well.  The next thing that jumped out at me was that most of the Rockies “original” players came from the Rockies Latin American baseball program instead of the amateur draft.

What trends should you take from the analysis above?

  1. Chacin should be as good Ubaldo Jiminez before too long.
  2. Small sample size, but Juan Nicasio just might be the best of the bunch.
  3. Don’t give up on Esmil Rogers just yet.
  4. Despite the 2012 Spring Training hype, Friedrich is unlikely to make it.
  5. Francis was “off the charts good” at this point in his career!
  6. Yes, pretty small sample size for Pomeranz, White & Gardner – but wow!

Other pitchers like as Scahill and Houston probably didn’t have enough of an impact at AA and should now be considered as either relief pitchers or starting pitcher depth at AAA.

Finally I am really looking forward to seeing how well Bettis and Cabrera can do with Tulsa Drillers in 2012 as compared with the guys that have pitched there in previous seasons.  Based on their prospect status and what they did in Modesto in 2011, they should be near the top of this list next season.

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9 years ago

OrangeRocks…great statistical analysis! Enjoyed reading your insight and thoughts!!

Go Rox

9 years ago

Very cool analysis, thanks!

9 years ago

These stats go inline with what I think of the pitchers, except for White, in that he hasn’t impressed me as much yet…I know there isn’t much stats yet on him, but from listening to the games he’s pitched in I’m worried he isn’t above average – i hope i’m wrong..

Mike Raysfan
Mike Raysfan
9 years ago

I totally agree with 2 of the pitchers you mentioned. Nicasio and Friedrich.

Carefull with Friedrich. Many thought he was ready 2 seasons ago. I’ve been chastised pretty good a couple of times for not being on his bandwagon.

Nicasio, I believe he is the real deal.

Good stuff. Thanks for sharing.

9 years ago

OrangeRocks fantastic read on these pitchers. I still would like to see AAA play a bigger role in the Rox plans, but that would take not only a humidor but moving the stadium downtown and out of the win/weather coridor that makes the game Australian Rules Baseball. I totally agree with your words about the specifically mentioned pitchers, but I am wondering about Friedrich. He has been hurt some (thus the Reynolds similiarities) but I also get the sense that… Read more »

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