Minor League Player of the Year Candidates: Pitchers

We are in an era of pitching the major leagues hasn’t seen since the 1960’s. With the recent influx of young talent entering the league, and the playing field being leveled with the absence of steroids, the game is being dominated from the mound. With all of the great arms in the majors, here are 10 minor league pitchers who have enjoyed stellar seasons and are candidates for Minor League Player of the Year.

Matt Moore 6’2 LHP Age- 22 Team- Rays (AAA Durham)

22G) 11-3 1.98 ERA 0.91 WHIP 170K/33BB 127 IP

Moore’s season has been nothing short of phenomenal. How he is still in the minors is a reflection of the depth of pitching the Rays have accumulated through the draft over the years. He ranks 3rd in the minors in Ks, 3rd in WHIP and 4th in ERA. The 2-time defending minor league strikeout king has been even more dominant since his promotion to AAA going 3-0 1.09 ERA 0.77 WHIP 39K/5BB over 24.2 IP. He also tossed a no hitter on June 15th striking out 11 while walking 2. At this point, it would take a colossal collapse for him not to win the award.

Joe Wieland 6’3 RHP Age- 21 Team- Padres (AA San Antonio)

23G) 11-3 1.92 ERA 0.98 WHIP 141K/16BB 140.2 IP

Wieland has enjoyed a similar season to Moore in terms of dominance, even tossing a no hitter himself on July 29th. He is currently 2nd in ERA and his 8.8 K/BB ratio ranks only behind fellow teammate Robbie Erlin. Has gotten better as his competition has, going 5-0 1.64 ERA over 9 AA starts split between Frisco and San Antonio. Was part of the trade that sent reliever Mike Adams from the Padres to the Rangers.

Julio Teheran 6’2 RHP Age- 20 Team- Braves (AAA Gwinnett)

20G) 12-2 2.16 ERA 1.12 WHIP 104K/36BB 116.2 IP

The Braves are known for their pitching and Teheran is next in line. His 96mph fastball is effortless and his poise is beyond his years. He has absolutely owned AAA hitters, ranking 1st in ERA, 1st in wins and 2nd in WHIP. Went 5-0 1.10 ERA 0.74 WHIP in June and pitches better on the road, going 7-0 1.34 ERA 0.97 WHIP.

Brad Peacock 6’1 RHP Age- 23 Team- Nationals (AAA Syracuse)

21G) 12-3 2.61 ERA 0.96 WHIP 152K/38BB 124 IP

Peacock has been a huge surprise this season for the Nationals. A 41st round draft pick in 2006, he had gone 19-35 4.44 ERA 1.34 WHIP over his first 4 seasons. Before his promotion to AAA, he was leading AA with a 2.01 ERA 0.86 WHIP and .179 BAA. Has struggled at AAA going 2-1 4.97 ERA 1.34 WHIP over 5 starts but still ranks 5th in WHIP at 0.96.

Julio Rodriguez 6’4 RHP Age-20 Team- Phillies (A Clearwater)

22G) 15-6 3.13 ERA 1.07 WHIP 126K/50BB 126.2 IP

The minor league leader in wins, Rodriguez is an aggressive pitcher who attacks hitters with his 93mph fastball and late breaking curve, which he uses as his out pitch. Hitters are only hitting .192 against him but his 50 BB show the progress that still needs to be made. Ranks 5th in his league in WHIP despite the high walk total. With the Phillies having one of the best rotations ever assembled, they can afford to wait on the 20 year old to develop.

Robbie Erlin 6’0 LHP Age- 20 Team- Padres (AA San Antonio)

22G) 8-4 3.11ERA 0.89 WHIP 138K/13BB 133.1 IP

Erlin, another piece in the Mike Adams trade, is Greg Maddux like in the way he uses the strike zone as his canvass to paint the corners. His 10.6 K/BB ratio leads all minor leaguers and would rank as the 2nd best in MLB history for a starter. Through his first 2 starts for San Antonio, he has tossed 12 innings, giving up 1 ER, striking out 15 while walking 1. His 0.89 WHIP ranks 2nd in the minors.

Tyler Skaggs 6’4 LHP Age- 20 Team- Diamondbacks (AA Mobile)

22G) 7-6 3.23 ERA 1.07 WHIP 158K/43BB 125.1 IP

The youngest player on the list, Skaggs ranks 5th in Ks and his 11.4 K/9 is a reflection of the stuff he carries with him to the mound. He has actually increased his ratio to 12 K/9 with 33K to 9 BB over 24.2 IP since his promotion to AA. His presence on the mound, and ability to make hitters uncomfortable at the plate, are reminiscent of former Diamondback greats Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling.

Shelby Miller 6’3 RHP Age- 20 Team- Cardinals (AA Springfield)

22G) 9-6 2.93 ERA 1.23 WHIP 152K/47BB 122.2 IP

Miller, the Cardinals 1st round pick in 2009, is a hard throwing fireballer with great mound presence. Gave up 4 ER in just 2/3 of an inning in his last outing but has otherwise had an outstanding season. Uses his plus fastball with great movement to rack up a 11.2 K/9, ranking among the top in AA. Has only given up 4 HR on the season.

Eric Surkamp 6’4 LHP Age-24 Team- Giants (AA Richmond)

20G) 8-4 2.03 ERA 1.11 WHIP 156K/40BB 128.1 IP

Surkamp is a control pitcher who has been overpowering AA hitters all year. His 2.03 ERA leads AA and ranks 5th overall. He also leads AA in Ks with 156 while placing 6th in WHIP at 1.11. The Giants are another team known for their pitching and Surkamp should join Lincecum/ Cain/ Bumgarner soon to form an even more formidable rotation.

Greg Billo 6’4 RHP Age- 21 Team- Royals (A Kane County)

23G) 9-2 1.40 ERA 0.95 WHIP 105K/22BB 115.1 IP

Billo, a 28th round selection in the 2008 draft, has been one of the game’s biggest surprises this season. After a 2010 in which he went 4-8 5.17 ERA 1.61 WHIP, his 1.40 ERA currently leads the minors and his 0.95 WHIP ranks 4th. Made the transition to starter during the year and has been brilliant since the change. In 14 starts, he is 6-2 1.21 ERA 0.94 WHIP 70K/17BB over 82 IP.

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