2005 Vermont Pitching Prospect Review

Aaron Jackson Had Some Encouraging Signs

CapitolDugout.com looks at the peripherals stats of the Vermont Expos' pitchers to project development and even give an early forecast where they might be playing in 2006. We'll examine the guys who played a majority of the season with the Vermont Expos, those who had a minimum of 30 innings with the team and did not collect more than 50 innings at a higher level.

Marco Estrada - RHP

Drafted in the 6th round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the Nationals out of Long Beach State University, Estrada found his transition to the pro game, at least initially, a little tougher than expected. One of the better college pitchers on the west coast in 2005, Estrada finished his college career going 8-3 with a 2.43 ERA in his final season. Estrada is a strikeout pitcher with normally good control, but his command failed him in his professional debut with the Vermont Expos. His walk ratio in the NY-Penn League was twice as high as it was in college. Despite the sub-par results however, the Nationals aren't about to slow down his progress after just nine professional appearances. He should be a mainstay in the Savannah rotation next season.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

5.08

33.2

1.40

4.28

9.89

1.07

.231



Warmar Gomez - RHP

The Puerto Rican native was drafted in the 16th round of the 2001 MLB Draft out of Casiano Cepeda High School. The 22-year old just completed his fourth year in the system, posting very solid numbers in two stops between Savannah and Vermont. Gomez absolutely hates walking batters as his walk ratios below will show. In fact, over the course of his entire career, Gomez has walked a little over just two batters per nine innings pitched. However, as his opponents' batting averages show, Gomez may want to begin walking a few more batters to keep them honest. Opposing batters hit well over .300 against him in 2005, which is too high a number, especially at the lower levels. With his control though, he'll be afforded every opportunity to develop. Gomez should be a fixture in the Savannah bullpen in 2006 and a call-up to Potomac later in the year is not out of the question.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Savannah

4.70

30.2

1.57

1.17

4.70

0.59

.336

A

Vermont

3.76

38.1

1.33

1.17

4.46

0.47

.301



Aaron Jackson - RHP

Drafted in the 22nd round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of St. Augustine High School, Jackson's overall performance in his second professional season wasn't too great. However, for a 19-year old pitching against much older competition in the NY-Penn League, there were some encouraging signs. His walk ratio was not only acceptable, but an improvement from his debut season in 2004 with the GCL Expos. He also did not allow a home run in over 60 innings pitched. While he was hit a little too often, he wasn't hit hard at all. Opponents hit for extra bases in just 17% of his hits allowed, a very promising sign for the young hurler. It is these hidden stats that make Jackson a likely candidate to be in the Savannah starting rotation in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

6.13

61.2

1.67

3.94

6.42

0.00

.295



John Lannan - RHP

Drafted by the Nationals in the 11th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Siena College, Lannan's professional debut with Vermont was a complete 180 degree turnaround from his last year of school where he went 10-2 with a 2.29 ERA. His control failed him in the NY-Penn League, uncharacteristically walking too many batters. His WHIP ratio and opponents' batting average allowed were also below average. As bad as his debut was however, Lannan may get a pass from the Nationals considering it was the first time he had pitched so many innings in one year. Lannan will battle in Spring Training for a spot on the Savannah staff and it won't be a surprise if he's in the rotation next season.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

5.26

63.1

1.66

4.41

5.83

0.71

.287



Carlos Martinez - RHP

Martinez, signed out of the Dominican Republic, played with the DSL Expos in 2004. He's a prime example of why prospect followers should not go by stats alone to determine a player's ability or value to an organization. While his overall stats were less than impressive, his peripherals tell a different story. Often the victim of a lack of run support or defensive lapses, Martinez went just 1-7 on the year. Still, his walk ratio was above average, kept hitters off balance, and did not allow many home runs at all. Forget his record and ERA, Martinez is a likely candidate to be in Savannah's starting rotation in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

4.63

68.0

1.40

2.78

5.16

0.26

.274



Nehomar Ochoa - RHP

Signed out of Venezuela as an International free agent way back in 1999, the 23-year old right-hander pitched in his third straight season with the Vermont Expos this past season. And instead of getting better over the course of those three years, Ochoa has gotten progressively worse. After posting a 1.80 ERA in 2003 with Vermont, Ochoa went 0-3 with a 4.70 ERA in 2004 before tail spinning this past summer. He gave up better than one home run per nine innings pitched, highest on the Vermont staff. His lack of progression over the years is the type of thing that gets pitchers released in a hurry. If he's back with the Nationals in 2006, it likely won't be anywhere but in short-season baseball again.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

5.93

30.1

1.65

4.15

8.01

1.19

.283



Edward Rodriguez - LHP

Rodriguez had a below average year with the Vermont Expos in 2005. His strikeout-to-walk ratio wasn't impressive at all and he surrendered more than one and half base runners per inning pitched. Throw in the fact that opponents hit .313 off of him, Rodriguez may have pitched himself out of contention for a spot on the Savannah staff next season. He'll need a strong Spring Training to avoid heading back to Vermont in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

4.81

48.2

1.62

3.51

5.36

0.55

.313



Richard Shefka - RHP

Drafted by the Nationals in the 20th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of Coastal Carolina University, Shefka had an inauspicious professional debut. His approach is to go right after batters, seldom giving up a free pass. The problem is he was lit up pretty hard. Opposing batters hit .357 off of him, the highest average allowed by any Vermont pitcher with a minimum of 30 innings pitched. Shefka is going to find it hard breaking Spring Training with a long-season league next season. A stretch in Extended Spring Training seems more likely and he's currently the leading candidate to repeat the Vermont level in 2006.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

6.53

30.1

1.85

2.97

5.93

0.59

.357



Craig Stammen - RHP

Drafted by the Nationals in the 12th round of the 2005 MLB Draft out of the University of Dayton, Stammen's game is all about control. He finished his college career going 9-6 with a 2.80 ERA for the Flyers before making his professional debut with the Vermont Expos this past season. It was a solid, but unspectacular first year. As expected from a control pitcher, his walk ratio was stellar and he was adept at keeping the ball in the ballpark. However, he got hit early and often as NY-Penn League batters hit .297 off of him. He is certainly a candidate to open up the 2006 season on the Savannah roster, but it remains to be seen if it will be as a starter or a reliever.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Vermont

4.06

51.0

1.45

2.12

5.65

0.35

.297



Gene Yost - LHP

Drafted in the 20th round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Averett University, Yost had a solid debut with the GCL Expos last season, going 6-1 and exhibiting great control. He began the 2005 season as a reliever with Savannah and posted phenomenal peripheral numbers, albeit in very limited action. Once the NY-Penn League opened up, Yost was sent to Vermont to help anchor the Expos starting staff. He doesn't have dominating stuff but uses a wonderful pitch combination and command to keep hitters off balance. It remains to be seen whether or not the Nationals will keep him as a starting pitcher at the minor league level. If he's moved to the bullpen in Spring Training, he could open up with Potomac in the Nationals' bullpen. The smarter money says he'll be back in Savannah in the starting rotation to begin the 2006 season.

Level

Team

ERA

IP

WHIP

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

Avg.

A

Savannah

2.63

13.2

0.80

1.32

10.5

0.66

.184

A

Vermont

3.25

83.0

1.20

3.25

6.07

0.76

.224


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