Lucas Duda led the systems in home runs in 2010
Before every season, InsidePitchMagazine.com lays out its official predictions for individual prospects that will lead different categories and achieve certain superlatives. Did the predictions hold up? Did these prospects meet the expectations and/or predictions? Look inside for the full recap.
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For Starting Pitchers:
Preseason Prediction - Jeurys Familia
Actual - Dillon Gee
Coming off a season in which he won 10 games with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2009, the expectation was that Familia would make the jump in winning pitching and lead the organization in 2010. That never materialized. Familia failed to win a decision through the first two months of the season and finished with a 6-9 record in St. Lucie this season.
Instead it was Gee who led the system in wins, earning 13 victories in 28 starts. Gee, who was later called up to New York, finished second in the International League wins. Gee is 27-18 overall in his four years in the minors.
Preseason Prediction - Brad Holt
Actual - Dillon Gee
Holt’s reasons for coming up short on this prediction is well-documented; it was the worst season of his professional career. In the end, Holt struck out just 87 in 95 innings pitched after striking out 99 in 101 1/3 innings last season.
Gee, conversely, struck out 165 and set a Buffalo Bisons franchise record in punchouts. Savannah’s Armando Rodriguez placed second in the system with 152 strikeouts in 146 innings pitched. Familia took third by striking out 137 in 121 innings pitched.
Best Walks Per Nine Innings
Preseason Prediction - Michael Antonini
Actual - Pat Misch
Well the winning pitcher doesn’t quite qualify as a prospect, but Misch’s command and ability to not burn himself with walks was a pivotal piece to his success this season. Misch issued just 24 walks in 150 2/3 innings, good for a 1.43 BB/9 ratio. As for pitchers we consider prospects, it was Antonini who came out on top with a 1.65 BB/9 ratio. Antonini walked 31 in 168 1/3 innings. Mark Cohoon took third, with a 1.78 BB/9 ratio having walked 32 batters in 161 1/3 innings.
Preseason Prediction - Jeurys Familia
Actual - Yohan Almonte
It was the short-season leagues, but Almonte dialed up the best ERA of any starter on the farm this year. The 20-year-old right-hander posted a 1.91 ERA in 15 starts for the Cyclones. He got there by surrendering just 10 earned runs over his final 60 2/3 innings (1.48 ERA).
James Fuller came in second with a cumulative 2.19 ERA. Fuller posted a 1.93 ERA in 19 starts with Savannah before tallying a 3.38 ERA in five starts in St. Lucie. Mark Cohoon found himself near the top of the leaderboard in this category thanks to a 2.57 cumulative ERA. Cohoon compiled a 1.30 ERA while pitching in Savannah before posting a 4.18 ERA in Binghamton. Armando Rodriguez checks in at number four with a 3.08 ERA with the Sand Gnats.
Preseason Prediction - Rhiner Cruz
Actual - Michael Powers
There are no relievers in the system that are being groomed exclusively as closers. Cruz led the system in 2009 with 22 saves, so the thinking was he’d get his shot to do the same in 2010. That was not the case as St. Lucie went closer by committee for much of the season. In the end, Cruz saved just six games.
In fact it was Michael Powers who led the system with 15 saves. The 2008 31st round pick was the man at the back of the Sand Gnats bullpen. Powers went 3-4 with a 2.28 ERA in 51 1/3 innings for Savannah. 2010 16th round pick Ryan Fraser placed third in the system by saving 12 games for the New York-Penn League runner-up Brooklyn Cyclones.
Lowest ERA (min. 25 IP)
Preseason Prediction - Nick Carr
Actual - T.J. Chism
Carr was an aggressive prediction as the thinking was he would be back sooner from his Tommy John surgery than what eventually transpired. Carr posted a 4.70 ERA in 30 2/3 innings split among three levels, but numbers were not the priority for Carr. It was health.
Instead it was 2009 32nd round pick T.J. Chism that posted the best number in the system. The 22-year-old southpaw began the year in Kingsport where he allowed one earned run in 20 innings. He received a bump to Brooklyn late in the summer where he allowed one earned run in 5 2/3 innings. In all, Chism posted a 0.70 cumulative ERA. Ryan Fraser took second with his 1.44 ERA.
Most Strikeouts Per Nine Innings (min. 25 IP)
Preseason Prediction - Eric Niesen
Actual - Josh Edgin
Niesen was the pick with the belief that this would be the year he would transition to the bullpen and use the strikeout to his advantage. Well, Niesen made the switch to relief, but his lack of command suffocated his ability to strike batters out at the strong clip he showed last season. Instead, Niesen fanned just 59 batters in 77 innings (6.8 K/9).
Out of seemingly nowhere, however, it was Josh Edgin who made his mark by leading the farm in the statistical category. The 2010 30th round pick isn’t exactly a hard thrower, but he figured out how ring up 46 strikeouts over 34 2/3 innings this season which was good for a system-leading 11.9 K/BB ratio.
For Position Players
Highest Batting Average
Preseason Prediction - Josh Thole
Actual - Darrell Ceciliani
The thinking behind the Thole pick was that the backstop would remain in Buffalo for much of the season before a later promotion to New York. In between Thole would hit for a high average coming off his 2009 season during which he hit .328. That never materialized as Thole got off to a brutal start, hitting .172 in April. He recovered to hit .317 over his final 33 games in Triple-A before leaving for New York for the rest of the season.
In his place was the emergence of Darrell Ceciliani who set a Brooklyn Cyclones record and led the New York-Penn League with a .351 average. Ceciliani’s contact approach made him an on-base and extra base machine. The next question is whether or not he will sustain it as he moves up to a long season club in 2011.
Most Home Runs
Preseason Prediction - Kirk Nieuwenhuis
Actual - Lucas Duda
Nieuwenhuis was a solid prediction considering the scorching finish to his 2009 season, but while Nieuwenhuis put himself in the conversation his 18 home runs fell just short. Yet, the 18 home runs aren’t dismissed seeing as the number does fall in the range of his projected power.
Lucas Duda instead took the home run crown. Duda’s power exploded in a big way when he was promoted to Buffalo. After hitting just six home runs in the first half of the year with Binghamton, Duda tacked on 17 more in Triple-A bringing his season total to 23. Sean Ratliff experienced a similar surge upon his move up to Double-A. Ratliff hit only five home runs in St. Lucie before moving up to Binghamton and hitting 16 more.
Highest On-Base Percentage
Preseason Prediction - Zach Lutz
Actual - Darrell Ceciliani
Lutz was no slouch when it came to his on-base percentage this season. The B-Mets third baseman registered a .380 overall OBP, but that numbers climbs to .389 when singling out the 61 games he played in Binghamton this year (72 overall).
Ceciliani, however, offers no surprise by winning this category. Ceciliani finished with a .410 OBP which was obviously aided by his .351 batting average. Rylan Sandoval (.407), Josh Satin (.399), Lucas Duda (.398) and Cory Vaughn (.396) all threw their names in the ring.
Most Stolen Bases
Preseason Prediction - Darrell Ceciliani
Actual - Cesar Puello
Ceciliani got the nod with the preseason expectation that he was off to Savannah rather than Extended Spring Training and later Brooklyn. Ceciliani still made the most of his opportunities by stealing 21 bases in 35 tries this season. The ratio needs improvement, but had he been on a long season club, he certainly would have pushed the leader in total steals.
Puello’s speed is known as was his penchant for stealing bases in his first two seasons (18-for-28 in ’08-’09). Yet, the Sand Gnats outfielder took a big leap in 2010 by leading the system with 45 stolen bases. A young player built beyond his years with a striking contact ability, his base running is yet another tool propelling him up the system depth chart.
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