Brad Peacock & Other AA Pitchers on the Precipice of Promotion
Brad Peacock, RH SP Washington
With a sparse track record of success entering this season, including an 18-34 W/L split over the last three seasons, the 2011 Brad Peacock has officially reached "lights out" status.
The 23-year old, a former 41st round pick in 2006, has already been named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week twice. His stats definitely spark the imaginative juices: 8-2, 2.46 ERA, 50 hits allowed in 80 1/3 innings, 108:17 K:BB ratio (12.1 per nine) and .179 BAA. He's whiffed at least six in every start (high of 14).
Apparently an added element on deception in his delivery has been the primary cause of his buoyed fortunes, improving command and adding velocity to his fastball. His 1.36 K/BB last year has soared to a mind-boggling 6.35 figure this season.
Peacock throws a 4-seam fastball in the 92-95 range, a plus knuckle-curve and a developing 2-seam heater. His change is there for scouting report fodder only at this stage. His delivery looks far from max-effort, utilizing a strong lower body (abbreviated leg kick) and quick arm action.
Peacock entered the season as an afterthought working in long relief, but has transformed himself into inevitable promotion material in 11 starts. If you’re seeking pitching aid in deeper leagues, it wouldn't be a bad bet to snatch him up now and avoid the bidding war. Those K totals are Brandon Beachy-esque.Dellin Betances, RH SP NY Yankees
Standing at 6'8 260 pounds with an electric arm, Betances has many a batter shaking in his cleats entering the box.
An unfortunate checklist of elbow problems have halted his rise up the ranks, but outside of a blister issue his 2011 has been injury-free.
After dominating the FSL in 2010 (8-1, 2.11 ERA) he's continued to up the ante in his first taste of AA ball. In 12 game starts he's pitching to a 2.61 ERA, allowing 41 hits in 58 2/3 innings (.186 BAA) while striking out 67. When he's not missing bats, he's getting ground balls, sporting a 1.34 GO/AO ratio and .245 BABIP.
Betances has bared down considerably with runners in scoring position, yielding a feeble .181 BAA in clutch situations and stranding 74.2% of runners.
The downside: he's yet to pitch beyond six innings in any start, and his command continues to be hit or miss with 31 BB. His mechanics are herky jerky with a handful of moving parts, including a head jerk just prior to release. From a "stuff" perspective, he's essentially a two-pitch guy with a 4-seamer in the mid to upper 90's (high as 98) and a sharp, downer curve.
Yankees GM Brian Cashman hinted that he wouldn't be opposed to using Betances out of the bullpen, and there have been rumors he could inhabit the role Joba took on in 2007.
He's clearly being treated with kid gloves in terms of workload, so I'm not sure why'd the organization would disrupt the course of another young arm. To be determined.Casey Kelly, RH SP San Diego
It's fair to say Kelly, 21, hasn't lived up to the advanced hype. Yet.
The former High School shortstop had a rough go in the Eastern League last season, finishing up with a 5.31 ERA and .307 BAA (118 hits in 95 IP). Through 15 Texas League starts in 2011 he's been much sharper, but still quite hittable. He's 6-2 with a 3.94 ERA and 1.69 GO/AO ratio (1.43 last year), however, he's still surrendered 92 hits in 82 1/3 innings and opposing batters are squaring him up at a .283 clip. Kelly is striking out a pedestrian 6.89 per nine innings, made even less attractive given his .323 BABIP number. While these saber numbers are not encouraging, what do they really mean?
The strengths of Kelly are not necessarily recordable by stats, especially given his lack of experience. What he does have is: pitchability, advanced command and mound intelligence. Kelly's delivery is effortless, looking like he's casually soft tossing in warmups. The life on his fastball continues to develop, reaching up to 92-94 consistently this season, in addition to seasoned secondary offerings in a curve and change.
Overall, he's extremely projectable, and his potential far exceeds what he's displayed up to this point. Another centerpiece prospect in the A-Gon deal, Peter Gammons has reported that Kelly will join the Padres rotation imminently. There is no proof to support to contradict this claim from organizational brass. It doesn't appear that he's ready for the leap, but perhaps a bump in competition will serve to motivate and unlock a level he's yet to reach.