As the first month of the season closes, I like to peruse the minor league numbers to see how the touted prospects have started their seasons. This is my subjective list of 10 pitchers (plus honourable mentions) to watch. The ranking is based in part on something I call Dominance Ratio, which weighs strikeouts against walks, hits allowed and home-runs allowed. It is designed to give a summary of a pitcher's dominance over the opponent hitters. Other factors, such as age versus level of play and previous experience are taken into account in a more subjective way. However, this is not intended to be a top prospect list.
It should not be a surprise who the number one is on this list.
Ages given are not current age, but rather "baseball" age (as listed at baseball-reference.com)
1. Dylan Bundy - 19 - A level - BALTIMORE - 17 IP - 19.23 Dominance Ratio (DR)
It's only the start, but the top high school prospect of 2011 is blazing an unprecedented trail. Recently gave up his first hit.
2. Taijuan Walker - 19 - AA - SEATTLE - 22 IP - 3.13 DR
Any other year, Walker would be number 1 with a bullet. Not too many teenaged pitchers have dominated AA the way Walker has so far.
3. Jameson Taillon - 20 - A+ - PITTSBURGH - 24.2 IP - 4.31 DR
The quasi-Canadian Texas product has begun his second year in pro ball with authority.
4. Cody Buckel -20 - A+ - TEXAS - 27.1 IP - 3.55 DR
Part of a deep Texas farm system, Buckel could be the best of the bunch. His main problem will be breaking into a solid Rangers' staff.
5. Danny Hultzen - 22 - AA - SEATTLE - 26.1 IP - 2.94 DR
Starts his career at AA and has not disappointed. We'll likely see him in the Seattle rotation soon, as the younger Walker will not be promoted as aggressively.
6. Tony Cingrani - 22 - A+ - CINCINNATI - 23 IP - 5.38 DR
Unheralded prospect has made the jump from rookie ball last year to Advanced A and dominated like few others so far this season.
7.Tyler Skaggs - 20 -AA - ARIZONA - 23.1 IP - 2.91 DR
Rumour had it that a call-up was in the cards, but the young fireballer was passed over for now. Bauer gets more hype, but Skaggs has put up more impressive numbers so far.
8. Jose Fernandez - 19 - A - MIAMI - 28.1 IP - 3.98 DR
A first round pick last season, Fernandez begins his first full year at low A. Should be promoted to advanced A by mid-season.
9. Christian Friedrich - 24 - AAA - COLORADO - 24.1 IP - 2.88 DR
A very impressive start, considering Colorado Springs is his home park.
10. Aaron Sanchez - 19 - A - TORONTO - 15 IP - 3.64 DR
Part of a celebrated trio at Lansing. Makes the list due to being a bit younger than the equally impressive Nicolino.
Deolis Guerra -23- AA (MIN)
Andrew Chafin -22- A+ (ARZ)
Justin Nicolino -20- A (TOR)
Trevor May -22- AA (PHI)
David Holmberg -20- A+ (ARZ)
Trevor Bauer -21- AA (ARZ)
Zach Wheeler -22- AA (NYM)
Gerrit Cole - 21- A+ (PIT)
Dominance Ratio is Strikeouts divided by (.5*(non-intentional walks + Home-runs allowed) +.3*hits allowed)