Yesterday, I identified a half-dozen “rookie” (for the most part) pitchers who I think could help the Yankees at some point in 2006. And, then the question of “Why these and not some others?” came up.
To come up with my list, I used 2005 Major League Equivalencies (MLE) which is basically taking last year’s minor stats and adjusting them to what the numbers would mean in terms of major league level performance. The source that I used for the MLE data was Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster 2006.
Related, I thought this would be a good time to look at the MLEs for some of the pitchers in the Yankees system. Here goes:
Jason Anderson – 2005 MLE ERA: 3.04
Colter Bean – 2005 MLE ERA: 3.67 (Nice, but, he walks too many batters)
Jorge DePaula – 2005 MLE ERA: 5.28 (But, note, this was a rehab year for him)
Matt DeSalvo – 2005 MLE ERA: 3.96
Sean Henn – 2005 MLE ERA: 3.17
Jeff Karstens – 2005 MLE ERA: 4.95
Charlie Manning – 2005 MLE ERA: 4.62
Ramon Ramirez – 2005 MLE ERA: 4.73
Eric Schmitt – 2005 MLE ERA: 6.54
Matt Smith – 2005 MLE ERA: 3.65
Jose Veras – 2005 MLE ERA: 4.26
Steven White – 2005 MLE ERA: 8.13
When you look at these numbers, I think it explains why I chose the pitchers that I did pick. Now, some might say “What about Phil Hughes, Christian Garcia, Tyler Clippard, Jeff Marquez, J. Brent Cox, and T.J. Beam (among others)?”
To that I would answer “How many innings have they logged at Double-A or above in 2005?”
Seriously, the jump from Double-A to Triple-A is huge for a pitcher. And, the jump from Triple-A to the Majors is even bigger than that. So, how can you expect someone who’s never pitched at Double-A yet to be a help in the big leagues this year? That’s asking a lot.
Now, personally, if someone like J. Brent Cox can make that leap in 2006 and help the big team, well, I would do a hand-stand out of sheer joy. But, I’m not going to count on it.
Of course, MLE ERAs are not fool-proof. Wang and Small had less than great 2005 MLE ERAs – and they pitched better at the major league level. But, neither of them were typical “bush leaguers” – as Small had major league experience and Wang pitched in big games for his country.
Still, based on the numbers, I like the chances of Henn and DeSalvo the most (out of all Yankees farm system pitchers) to be the ones to help at the major league level in 2006.