Welcome back to our run through the performance that we think stand out in the Triple-A International League. This time we turn our attention to the pitchers. As with the hitters, older players with major league experience dominate the leader board. We can’t help touch on some of them, but we will also try to dig through the numbers and see how the true prospects of the IL are doing, good or bad. So let’s get right to it!
The Arm’s Race
Todd Redmond RHP Braves – Age 27 - Continuing the current theme of older prospects in the International League, Todd Redtmond, despite the odds just keeps hanging around. He was a 39th round pick in 2004 and has yet to make it to the show. He has 32 career wins in the International League alone. He was pretty good in 2011 and picked up where he left off this season. He’s 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA and a 51/12 K/BB ratio over 51.1 innings. As with almost all the pitchers so far on this list, Redmond doesn’t have amazing stuff and isn’t likely to have a lengthy career as a major league starter, but he’s sure deserving of a start in Atlanta. Keep an eye on him, he might just surprise a few people this summer.
Dylan Axelrod RHP White Sox – Age 26 – Axelrod spent about 20 days in the majors between his April 22nd and May 12th starts in the International League. He was 0-1 with a 3.52 ERA with a 6/3 K/BB ratio over 7.2 innings in 3 games, 1 of which was a start. For the season with the Charlotte Knights he is 3-1 with a 0.95 ERA and a good 40/9 K/BB ratio over 38 innings. He’s likely to bounce between the majors and AAA a few times this season as both a sp and a rp. He will most likely settle into a career as a long arm out of the bullpen in the majors at some point.
Chris Schwinden RHP Mets – Age 25 – The 2008 22nd round draft pick got his feet wet in the majors in 2011 with 4 starts with the Mets. He went 0-2 with a 4.71 and a 17/6 K/BB ratio in those starts. This season he’s already spent a little time in the majors, however he has not fared as well. He went 0-1 with a 11.25 ERA and a 1/3 K/BB ratio while giving up 4 HRs in just 8 innings. Otherwise, he’s 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA and a 33/13 K/BB ratio over 39 innings with the Buffalo Bisons. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets more starts with the Mets, however I would be puzzled if it was more than a few. He’s a prime candidate for the bullpen.
Steve Johnson RHP Orioles – Age 24 – Originally drafted by the Dodgers in 2005 and later traded to the Orioles, Johnson is a bloodlines player. His father Dave Johnson was a pitcher for the Orioles and is a broadcaster for MASN. Johnson is in his 8th season in the minors and has yet to sniff the freshly cut grass of a big league field. That could all change this summer as he is currently 1-3 with a 2.62 ERA and a 36/13 K/BB ratio over 44.2 innings. Given his families ties with the Orioles, it’s only a matter of time before he gets a start with Baltimore. Likely though, if he has a career in the majors it’s going to be out of the bullpen.
Thad Weber RHP Tigers – Age 27 - The 2008 16th round pick is in his 3rd season in the International League and got his first call to the show early last month, albeit short-lived. He went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA and 1/2 K/BB ratio in 4 innings out of the bullpen before being returned to the Toledo Mud Hens. With the Hens he is 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA and a very acceptable 35/6 K/BB ratio over 39 innings. It’s always nice to see older minor leaguers get their 1st shot at the majors and it’s possible Weber might catch on as a reliever in time.
D.J. Mitchell RHP Yankees – Age 25 - The 2008 10th round pick made his major league debut earlier this season by going 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1/1 K/BB ratio over 2.2 innings out of the bullpen for the Yankees. He went 38-20 in his 1st 3 seasons in the minors prior to 2012. He’s currently 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA and has a 33/10 K/BB ratio over 36 innings with Scranton. While there’s still a chance the Yankees will give him some starts in the majors, he’s really looking like a sound bet to be a great addition to their bullpen.
Andrew Oliver LHP Tigers – Age 24 – Oliver was a consideration for the “Currently Misfiring” list. He is 3-2 with a 3.25 ERA and 50 K’s over 44.1 innings, so we are cutting him some slack. However, as we discussed in our Tigers top 10 prospects for 2012 and our Baseball Instinct 360 season preview, he has some control issues that need to be addressed and that is very evident in 2012 with his glaring 36 BB. There is no question that he has big league stuff. Will he ever harness it?
Jeurys Familia RHP Mets – Age 22 – Like Oliver, Familia hasn’t had much control of his pitches and his command has been off in 2012. Despite that, he’s 4-1 with a 4.35 ERA and has 45 K’s in 41 innings as a 22-year-old in AAA. His 34 walks is not pretty, especially if you consider that he had just 43 last season over 124 innings. He’s very talented and will likely get it figured out at some point this season. However, I wouldn’t expect a call up anytime soon.
In The Show
Scott Diamond LHP Twins – Age 25 – Diamond has been a pretty good story. He was not drafted by any team, but signed as a free agent with the Braves in 2007. He would later join the Twins. He was 4-1 with a 2.60 ERA and a 26/7 K/BB ratio over 34.2 innings with Rochester. He’s currently an-odds-defying 3-0 with a 1.40 ERA and 13/2 K/BB ratio over 19.1 innings with the Twins since being called up. It’s extremely unlikely that his luck will hold up, however despite not having a plus pitch to call his own, he spots his pitches very well and doesn’t get himself into too many jams. He went 1-5 with a 5.08 ERA and a 19/17 K/BB ratio in his 39 big league innings last season. If he can average out last season and this season for the rest of 2012, he could make a decent back of the rotation guy for you fantasy leaguers.
Zach McAllister RHP Indians – Age 24 – As of May 2nd, the 2006 3rd pick of the Yankees was 3-1 with a 2.83 ERA and had a 32/11 K/BB ratio over 35 innings for Cleveland’s AAA team the Columbus Clippers. Currently in 2nd major league stint after starting 4 games last season, he’s 1-1 with a 4.34 ERA and a 19/6 K/BB ratio over 18.2 innings for the tribe in 2012. He’s actually pitched decent and his numbers would be even better if it wasn’t for some sloppy defense by the Indians.
Dellin Betances RHP Yankees – Age 24 – The 6’8″ 260 pound mountain of a man-child is 2-4 with a 5.24 ERA and an ugly 39/38 K/BB ratio over 44.2 innings. Many a Yankees fan had hoped this would be the season that Betances arrived in the Bronx with authority, and he still might, however theres a lot of work to do on spotting his pitches and it’s just not there right now. Patience.
Chris Archer RHP Rays – Age 23 – One of the key pieces in the 2011 Matt Garza to the Cubs trade, Archer is 3-4 with a 5.01 ERA and has 49 K’s over 46.2 innings. He also has 32 walks to go with 39 base hits. He’s allowing far too many base runners and has fallen back into his early ways of 2011 in the Southern League. If he can get back to pitching under control as he did late last season, he should find his way into the majors before long.
Adam Warren RHP Yankees – Age 24 – As my Queen’s friends would say “What is this the pick on the Yankees hour? C’mon guy!” Of course, that was the clean, made for family viewing version, but you get the point. True enough though, Scranton is just 22-20 on the season and less than stellar performances have them bogged down. Warren is 2-2 with a 4.98 ERA with a 32/15 K/BB ratio over 43.1 innings. He’s never really walked many and that’s true enough in 2012, however he’s getting hit around a lot. The IL is hitting a robust .313 with 57 hits and 7 HRs. He held opponents to just a .240 average over his past 3 seasons. I’ve been asking the questions around about his pitch movement and velo and waiting for answers before I speculate on arm issues. My best guess at this point is just early season dead arm.
That’s it for the International League for this edition and it concludes our 1st run through the 10 minor leagues in play currently. We are going to take a break on the league reports for a bit and come back at you with a much requested team reports shortly. We will take a look at each organization’s system as a whole and present it to you. As always, thanks for playing along and keep those requests rolling in. We live to provide you the information that you, our readers, want to see.
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