Friday, October 12, 2007

Farm System Piles Up Hardware

With their postseason brought to an abrupt and disappointing end, the rising juggernaut of Yankees young arms were recently rewarded for a dominant 2007. The Pitcher of the Year award for all of Minor League Baseball went to Ian Patrick Kennedy. Also worthy of recognition, Edwar Ramirez was named the Minor League Baseball Reliever of the Year after an absurd compilation of dominating statistics. Not to be outdone, Alan Horne was named the Pitcher of the Year in the Eastern League. An excerpt depicting each pitchers' domination appears below.

Ian Kennedy:
The California native was named MiLB.com's Pitcher of the Year, leaving Kevin Slowey in the unenviable position of bridesmaid for a second consecutive season. Kennedy finished the Minor League season with a 12-3 mark... [He] dominated at three different levels by posting a 1.91 ERA, a .182 opponents batting average and striking out 163 while walking only 50 over 146.1 innings pitched.
Alan Horne:
The 24-year old has been the ace of the Northern Division leading Trenton pitching staff, compiling a record of 12-4 with a 2.97 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP while striking out 158 batters and walking 51 in 142.1 innings of work this season. The 6’4”, 195 lb. hurler has been dominant for the Thunder all season, giving up one earned run or less in 13 of his 25 appearances and striking out at least seven batters in a game 13 different times.
Edwar Ramirez:
The 26-year-old's stats were indeed eye-popping. Between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Ramirez pitched 56 2/3 innings, allowing 26 hits and 22 walks while striking out 102. Five runs were charged to him all season in the Minors, resulting in a ridiculous 0.79 ERA. Hitters managed a .135 batting average against the reliever at both levels.

People tend to forget that Horne was a first-round draft pick back in 2001, but decided to attend Florida University instead of turning pro. Since that time, Horne was injured, required Tommy John surgery and has recovered. His 2006 season may seem a disappointment regarding numbers, but several mechanical and delivery tweaks certainly had something to do with it. This year's seen a more comfortable Horne take the mound, and the result was domination of AA hitters. Next year, he will likely join AAA-Scranton's rotation and compete for the first major league promotion of 2008.

Kennedy's and Edwar's rise was much more publicized, and for good reason. Though Kennedy's season was cut short by supposed back issues, the 165 aggregate innings thrown between the minors and majors probably forced Yankees management to shut him down due to an innings cap. While Edwar burst upon the major league scene by striking out a side o' Twinkies, he fell back to Earth once hitters adjusted to his changeup. Next year will determine if he can adjust back, hinging on an improved command of his fastball as well as the development of his slider.

Mark Newman and Damon Oppenheimer hope that next season will bare the same fruit, with potentially dominant relievers Mark Melancon and JB Cox each returning from arm surgeries.

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During a golf tournament he co-hosted along side Johnny Bench, Roger Clemens told reporters that he hasn't ruled out another comeback for 2008. The Yankees will not want or require his services on the field, but Clemens intimated that he would enjoy working with the numerous young pitchers off the field. And, like every other member of the team, the Rocket said he thinks Joe Torre should return next season.

1 comment:

Ted said...

I'm still curious if Kennedy was closed down due to actual injury or they wanted to be cautious of the inning count.