In 2004, the Oakland A's hit it big by selecting a Texas collegiate reliever early in the draft.…
By The Numbers: Stockton Pitching Staff
Stats good through Friday, May 23
Lefty Brett Anderson, who I billed as the A's 2nd best prospect coming into the year, has cooled off after a strong start and has watched his ERA rise to 5.68. However, Anderson's peripherals are in great shape, so all signs point to a fluky high BABIP causing his recent struggles. The UVI translations take seven hits out of his line, giving him 41 hits allowed in 47 innings. His 3.45 ARA and .364 UVI show that there's nothing wrong with Anderson, whose struggles might be attributed to a sore thumb that landed him on the DL this week.
Ace Trevor Cahill has absolutely dominated so far, posting even better walk, strikeout and home run rates than Anderson, which is no small feat. Cahill's been slightly lucky, but his ARA is almost perfectly in line with his ERA. With an incredible UVI of .326, Cahill has nothing left to prove in High-A.
Closer Sam Demel has struck out 28 batters in 19.1 innings thus far, which makes him very interesting. However, he has also walked 12. When you walk more than five batters every nine innings in High-A at age 22, it's not a good sign. Demel's ERA has gone down in May, but his walk rate is actually higher than it was in April. Like Midland's Andrew Carignan, Demel's fastball-slider combination makes him a good relief prospect, but also like Carignan, Demel needs to locate more pitches in the zone if he's to succeed in the long run. Not to slam Demel, though; even with the high walk rate, his UVI is .360, which is great. The translations call for him to allow a measly .257 SLG, and even with the walks, just a .302 OBP. The walks may catch up to him later, and need to be monitored, but for now it's working.
As a starter, Jared Lansford showed good command and sink on his pitches, but any projection looked sour due to an exorbitantly low strikeout rate. Striking out four batters every nine innings in A-ball doesn't project too well. This year, however, Lansford has moved to the bullpen and watched his K-rate more than double. Unlike Demel and Carignan, Lansford has also showed excellent command out of the ‘pen, walking just six batters in 28 innings while striking out 34. This amazing progress has led Lansford to a 3.86 ERA and 1.18 WHIP this year, but what's even more impressive is that he's been unlucky on balls in play. Lansford's translated WHIP is 0.99 and his ARA is a very low 2.84. Lansford's UVI is even better than Cahill's, checking in at .308. If Lansford keeps this up, he may sneak by Demel and Carignan on the relief depth chart.
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