Inside Pitch continues its look back at preseason predictions, but this time we look at the…
MMLN – 2008 Predictions: A Look Back Part II
Preseason Prediction: Jonathon Niese
Actual: Dylan Owen & Jose Sanchez – 13
Niese, who was tied for the most wins on the farm in 2007, matched that number this past season as he earned six wins in 22 starts in Double-A and five while in Triple-A New Orleans. As for the leaders, Owen was tied for the league lead with 12 wins while in St. Lucie [against six losses] before taking a victory in his first start with the B-Mets on August 20. Owen finished the season with a 13-7 combined record following his 9-1 effort in his 2007 rookie season.
As for Sanchez, he came out of virtual anonymity to finish tied for second in the Eastern League in wins. Sanchez too recorded a 13-7 record. He finished with just a 4-9 record in 27 starts for the B-Mets in 2007, but by the midpoint in the season he already earned eight wins against five losses in 20 outings. Following the All-Star Break, Sanchez tallied five more weeks in seven starts.
Preseason Prediction: Bobby Parnell
Actual Jonathon Niese – 144
Parnell, with his tough fastballs and devastating slider, was a logical choice to repeat as the system's leader in strikeouts after registering 136 punchouts in 2007. However, it was his 2007 runner up in Niese that assumed the strikeout king this past season. The left-hander recorded 112 strikeouts in his 22 Double-A starts and 32 more in his seven Triple-A outings in which he threw 39.2 innings.
As for Parnell, he exceeded the century mark once again but came up third in the organization with 114 strikeouts. It was Dylan Owen with his 131 strikeouts who was the runner-up to Niese.
Lowest Walks Per Nine Innings: [minimum 70 IP]
Preseason Prediction: Eric Brown
Actual: Dillon Gee – 1.39
Brown's 29 walks in 123 innings pitched in 2008 once again exemplified that no matter the trouble he runs into, he maintains his control and still goes after hitters. However, it was Gee who took the baton this season as his 24 walks in 154.1 innings pitched set the bar even higher. Gee walked just 19 batters in 127.1 innings while in St. Lucie before moving onto Binghamton and walking five batters in 27 innings pitched. For his career to this point, after walking just nine batters in 62 innings with Brooklyn in 2007, Gee has issued just 33 walks in 216.1 innings pitched—good for a career 1.37 BB/9 innings pitched ratio.
Lowest ERA: [minimum 70 IP]
Preseason Prediction Eric Niesen
Actual: Brad Holt – 1.87
It is tough to predict when a rookie will come in and lead the organization in ERA, but Brad Holt proved that possible as he finished second in the NY-Penn League in ERA. Holt, after Dylan Owen in 2007, is the second straight rookie to lead the farm in this category. The big right-hander's finest month came in August when he allowed just four earned runs in 29 innings over five starts.
As for Niesen, the St. Lucie left-hander never quite found consistency this season as he ranked near atop the Florida State League list of most losses with a 6-12 record. He ended the year with a 4.64 ERA with his best month coming in June when he posted a 2-3 record and a 3.14 ERA.
Preseason Prediction: Carlos Muniz
Actual: Eddie Kunz
Muniz was the organizational leader following the 2007 after recording 23 saves with the B-Mets. He arrived in New Orleans at the start of the year to become the Zephyrs' anchor in the bullpen, but his services were often requested in Queens to early in the season as he went back and forth in the first half. While in Triple-A, Muniz locked up eight saves prior to the All-Star Break and one after the break.
In fact, it was second-year closer Eddie Kunz who took home the most saves as he notched 27 of them while in Binghamton. The former top overall pick blew four saves this year and finished third in the Eastern League in saves before his departure for the big league club and ultimately New Orleans.
In Muniz's absence in New Orleans, Nate Field filled in the closer's role and buttoned up 13 victories for the club.
Lowest ERA: [minimum 20 IP]
Preseason Prediction: Stephen Clyne
Actual: Jimmy Johnson – 1.25
In 23 outings and 36 innings pitched, the southpaw Johnson picked up five victories in addition to allowing just five earned runs this season. Johnson came up huge down the stretch as the Cyclones pushed for the post-season, surrendering just two earned runs over his last 20.2 innings pitched.
As for Clyne, his season did not go as planned. Ideally, the organization wanted to see him hold down the closer role in St. Lucie, but early injury and inconsistency eventually landed him back in Brooklyn this summer where he regained closer role from 2007. In 60.1 combined innings pitched, he compiled a 4.77 ERA.
Most Strikeouts Per Nine Innings:[minimum 20 IP]
Preseason Prediction: Eddie Kunz
Actual: Yury Santana – 12.97
The Brooklyn right-hander was often featured as the club's closer, showing the propensity to succeed in the role because of his high strikeout ratio. Santana's game centers around going after hitters with his fastball/slider combination, and he was strong and consistent enough to stay in the strike, baiting free-swinging NY-Penn League hitters.
The development of Kunz's secondary pitches and the effectiveness of his sinking fastball prevented him from reaching such a ratio as Santana. Simply put, his fastball is effective enough to get opposing hitters to commit to the pitch and thus the majority of the time they pound it into the turf.
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