Thursday, March 1, 2012

High School to the Majors: Pitchers


About 3 weeks ago, I wrote an article detailing rapid-ascension high school draftees who arrive in the big leagues quickly.  That article focused on positional players.  In the article, I promised a follow-up article on pitchers.  Better late than never I guess.  The primer on that article is after the jump.


"Recently, I ran across a criticism of the Pittsburgh Pirates, specifically how they handle prospects.  The criticism alluded to the fact that the Pirates generally are conservative with pushing prospects, especially high school draftees.  The general statement bemoaned the fact that expecting a player to make the major leagues within four full years of being drafted is nothing more than a foolish wish.  Under Neal Huntington, college players drafted have beat that four year limit.  Pedro Alvarez made it to the big leagues by his second full year as a professional.  Chase D'Arnaud made the show last year in his third full year.  On the high school level, the criticism is fairly accurate.  In 2008, Huntington's first draft class, the Pirates paid two high school players - Quinton Miller and Robbie Grossman - either seven figures or nearly seven figures.  Miller has been a bust and while Grossman has turned himself into a top prospect (on Keith Law's top 100 list for example) but will start next year in AA and is unlikely to arrive in Pittsburgh by the end of the year.  That will give him one more year to make the show by his fourth full year in the big leagues.  This reality can be particularly disheartening as Pirates fans watch high school phenoms such as Jason Heyward and Mike Trout fly to the major leagues, with the former taking his first at-bat for the Braves at age 20 and the latter taking his first at-bat for the Angels still as a teenager.

I decided to take a more in-depth look at how quickly prospects, specifically those drafted out of high school, move through the minors.  To do so, I used the following criteria.  First, I used fangraphs to identify each batter (I will do pitchers later)that had his rookie season.  My time period was the last five years, from 2007-2011.  From there, I determined which of those batters were high school draftees that made it to their rookie season within five years of being drafted.  That means every player on my list played a maximum of four full seasons in the minor leagues."

Here are the pitchers tables

2007

Player Name
Draft Bonus
Draft Position
Draft Year
Current Team
John Danks
2.10
1 (9)
2003
CHI
Phil Hughes
1.40
1 (23)
2004
NYY
Kyle Kendrick
135K
7 (205)
2003
PHI

2008

Player Name
Draft Bonus
Draft Position
Draft Year
Current Team
Clayton Kershaw
2.30
1 (7)
2006
LAD
Chris Volstad
1.60
1 (16)
2005
CHC
Matt Harrison
395K
3 (97)
2003
TEX
Aaron Laffey
363K
16 (468)
2003
TOR
Collin Balester
290K
4 (114)
2004
DET
Sean Gallagher
Unknown
12 (366)
2004
CIN

2009

Player Name
Draft Bonus
Draft Position
Draft Year
Current Team
Rick Porcello
3.58
1 (27)
2007
DET
Brett Anderson
950K
2 (55)
2006
OAK
Gio Gonzalez
850K
1s (38)
2004
WSH
Trevor Cahill
560K
2 (66)
2006
ARI
Vin Mazzaro
380K
3 (101)
2005
KC
Brad Bergesen
310K
4 (109)
2004
BAL

2010

Player Name
Draft Bonus
Draft Position
Draft Year
Current Team
Madison Bumgarner
2.00
1 (10)
2007
SF
Travis Wood
600K
2 (60)
2005
CHC
Jon Niese
175K
7 (2009)
2005
NYM
Jaime Garcia
Unknown
22 (680)
2005
STL
Alex Sanabia
Unknown
32 (965)
2006
MIA

2011 

Player Name
Draft Bonus
Draft Position
Draft Year
Current Team
Kyle Drabek
1.55
1 (18)
2006
TOR
Blake Beavan
~1.50
1 (17)
2007
SEA
Jordan Lyles
930K
1s (38)
2008
HOU
Zach Britton
435K
3 (85)
2006
BAL
Danny Duffy
365K
3 (96)
2007
KC

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