Five Notable Steamer MLEs from 2013 (Pitchers) by Carson Cistulli October 29, 2013 Yesterday, in these electronic pages, the author presented five notable major-league equivalent batter lines (MLE) as calculated by Jared Cross’s Steamer projection system. Today, the author presents a very similar thing, except for pitchers. Indeed, below are five notable pitcher MLEs from the 2013 season, where notable appears to be defined as belonging to a player who (a) was 27 or younger in 2013, (b) received little (or nothing) in the way of major-league playing time in 2013, (c) received little (or nothing) in the way of exposure in 2013, and (d) recorded over half his appearances as a starter. For each pitcher are included his translated strikeout and walk rates according to Steamer, and the kwERA that such rates would produce. Following that (and marked by an asterisk to denote that the author has taken terrible, terrible liberties with the Steamer data) is an estimate of the relevant pitcher’s translated WAR over 150 innings. Name: Paolo Espino, 26, RHP (Link) Organization: Cleveland Level: Triple-A (International) MLE: 62.0 IP, 267 TBF, 21.8% K, 7.5% BB, 3.68 kwERA, 2.5 WAR150* Notes: A brief inspection of Espino’s player page reveals that he has spent the past four years splitting time between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Columbus. Not a ringing endorsement, that, for a 26-year-old pitcher. He finished the season, however, by recording a 38:3 strikeout-to-walk ratio over five starts and 29.0 innings for the latter club — i.e. a more promising thing. Reports on Espino’s present repertoire appear to be entirely absent from the internet. An inning’s worth of video from Espino’s August 26th start against Louisville (during which start he posted a 7:0 K:BB in 6.2 IP) reveals that the right-hander at least throws a curveball with which minor-leaguers have some difficulty. Like here, to Louisville’s Denis Phipps for a strikeout: And here to Nevin Ashley, for another strikeout: Name: Bryan Evans, 26, RHP (Link) Organization: Miami Level: Double-A (Southern) MLE: 78.2 IP, 318 TBF, 19.4% K, 2.8% BB, 3.41 kwERA, 3.1 WAR150* Notes: Evans threw 37.1 innings at Double-A Jacksonville in 2011 and recorded walk and strikeout rates of just 16.6% and 11.7%, respectively. He threw many more innings than that in 2012 (135.1, precisely), but posted almost precisely the same figures there (16.5% K, 10.5% BB). This past season, however, Evans improved considerably, recording a 25.5% strikeout rate and just 2.2% walk rate in 78.2 innings — once again, with Jacksonville. Is it because he’s mastered the level, or because he’s made real true-talent gains? A question for someone smarter than the author, is what that is. Either way, his performance merits some attention. Name: Pete Kelich, 22, RHP (Link) Organization: San Diego Level: Rookie (Arizona) MLE: 58.0 IP, 219 TBF, 17.6% K, 0.8% BB, 3.39 kwERA, 3.1 WAR150* Notes: By the methodology employed by the author here, only three pitchers performed better than Kelich in terms of translated WAR per 150 innings: Cleveland’s Danny Salazar, New York Mets prospect Noah Syndergaard, and other New York Mets prospect Rafael Montero. The reader will correctly identify all three of those pitchers as “actual prospects people have heard of.” Kelich is less one of those. Selected in the 38th round out of Bryant College in Smithfield, Rhode Island, during this past June’s draft, the right-hander appears to have converted to pitching on a regular basis only during the middle of his college career. Of Kelich’s MLE line, Steamer proprietor Jared Cross notes that, for a number of reasons, performances from lower minor-league levels “are given less weight when used in the projections.” Of Kelich’s stuff, prospect writer Al Skorupa (himself a resident of Rhode Island) says “He’s… a command and control guy who knows how to pitch and change speeds, locate.” And also: “I’m not sure the stuff will translate as he moves up… but hey, I wouldn’t have thought he’d do THAT well even given all that, so he could surprise, I guess.” Name: Lewis Thorpe, 17, LHP (Link) Organization: Minnesota Level: Rookie (Appalachian) MLE: 44.0 IP, 172 TBF, 20.5% K, 6.4% BB, 3.71 kwERA, 2.5 WAR150* Notes: Signed in 2012 for $0.5 million as an international free agent out of Australia, this past season marked Thorpe’s first in affiliated baseball. The results, one finds, were impressive. Moreover, those results appear to be supported by scouting reports. Of Thorpe, Baseball America wrote recently: “When [he] signed, he sat at 86-88 mph and touched 91 with long arms, but he’s grown an inch and added 55 pounds, which helped his fastball tick upward. He pitched at 88-93 mph in the GCL, then in Taiwan he touched 95.” Name: Aaron West, 23, RHP (Link) Organization: Houston Level: High-A (California) MLE: 108.2 IP, 471 TBF, 18.1% K, 4.8% BB, 3.81 kwERA, 2.3 WAR550* Notes: Originally taken in the 17th round (out of Univ. of Washington) in the 2012 draft, West appears to have added some velocity since his collegiate career, with reports suggesting, for example, that he was throwing as hard as 98 mph at the end of the 2013 season. Meanwhile, the right-hander has walked only 3.6% of opposing batters in 170.1 minor-league innings. It’s not universally, but frequently, the case that pitchers with excellent velocity and control are successful. That’s a combination West appear to offer presently.