The Nats Major League top three of Strasburg, Gio, and Zimmermann are mighty impressive as is the descriptions and scouting reports of yesterday’s first round pick Lucas Giolito, but it is important to not forget the players already in the system. The Nationals farm system is built on pitching and although they traded away Peacock, Milone, and Cole for Gio Gonzalez this past winter that didn’t come close to leaving the system bare. Let’s go ahead and look at some of the starting pitchers who could have an impact on the Nats in the years to come.
First let’s start at the top with recently demoted to the bullpen Ross Detwiler. Detwiler did have a couple rough starts, but that is all they probably were and the quick hook by Davey isn’t all that surprising as Detwiler fits in the bullpen much better than Wang. Looking at the numbers and it can be sumized that Detwiler should top any list of starting pitchers in the Nats system. In his 9 starts Detwiler put up a 3.88 ERA with a 3.53 FIP while striking out 17.5% of the batters he faced and walking 7.3%.
Digging deeper into the system and there are top prospects like Ray and Meyer, and then there is Danny Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum is a lot like Tommy Milone who was part of the package sent to Oakland for Gio. Rosenbaum doesn’t have the stuff, but he has managed to get the job done. This season he has a 1.75 ERA which is near the top in the Eastern League and a 3.04 FIP which means he might be due for some regression, but only from great to good. Rosenbaum has also struck out 5.26 per 9 while walking only 1.52 per 9. He is a control lefty and might find himself used in the same way as Milone was as there are other prospects creeping up on him that do have the stuff to go along with the productions.
One of those guys right behind Rosenbaum is Robbie Ray who does have the stuff but doesn’t have the production yet. Ray ran roughshod over the South Atlantic League last season, but has struggled ERA wise in Potomac to start this season. So far in 2012 in six starts Ray has an ERA of 5.01 with a FIP of 3.97 and has struck out 6.96 per 9 while walking 2.51. It is important to remember that Ray is still only 20 years old and that is considered young for high A so his struggles can’t be that surprising. He has the stuff to be a top pitcher in baseball and the time to figure it out.
The most forgotten about player in all this Giolito talk and hype is perhaps Alex Meyer who was drafted out of Kentucky in the first round just last season. Meyer is the typical tall hard throwing pitcher who has to learn how to command his pitches, and while a BB/9 of 3.88 at low A isn’t great it isn’t wild either especially when paired with a K/9 of 10.46. Meyer also has an ERA of 3.71 and a FIP of 2.77. All are decent numbers and show a player that could be on their way to a good future after only 11 professional starts.
This also doesn’t mention guys like Purke and Solis who are still fighting their way back from injury but when they get fully healthy could still have good careers ahead of them. Giolito is exciting and it is fun thinking about adding a pitcher with the upside of Roy Halladay to a rotation that already contains Strasburg, Gio, and Zimmermann, but don’t forget the players already in the system that also profile as Major League pitchers.