5 Young Pitchers

When it’s the dead of winter and it’s 18 degrees out and there aren’t any baseball games to talk about (at least in this country), we baseball fans tend to analyze, predict, re-analyze, forecast, and over-analyze.  It’s in our nature.  Oh and we make lists.  Lots of lists.  Because they’re nice and neat and orderly. 

Tim Kurkjian of ESPN does his part.  He came out with his list of five young pitchers with Cy Young potential. 

I won’t quote the article but I will tell you who the pitchers are.  If you want to see his review of each one, you can read his article on ESPN’s web site.  For time being, you’ll have to put up with my comments.

1.  Dontrelle Willis:  Kurkjian saying that Willis is Cy Young material isn’t much of a stretch.  After all, he was among the top three candidates in 2005.  Granted he is 24 years old but putting the D-train on a list like this isn’t saying much.  Captain Obvious to the rescue.

2.  Rich Harden:  Harden is a pitcher who’s been in the majors for 3 years, pitched well but hasn’t really made a name for himself.  Yet, 2006 may be the year he puts it all together and name recognition may not be an issue.  His WHIP is low and control is “well under control”.

3.  Zach Duke:  I was a big Duke fan during the 2005 season when he won his first 6 starts.  That was very exciting.  But I’m hearing suspect reports over the off-season.  Nothing really negative.  Just that his 2005 season was really a fluke and more specifically what you saw in the latter part of the season was the real Zach Duke as opposed to the Zach Duke that won 6 straight.  Maybe the batters just figured him out.

4.  Scott Kazmir:  Ok, here I will quote Kurkjian:

 Future Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar wasn’t easily impressed by pitchers, especially young ones, but the first time he faced Kazmir in batting practice in spring training, he said, “I’ve never seen a young left-hander who throws that hard, and his ball moves that much.”

I got a chance to see Kazmir pitch on the TV two straight starts.  Very impressive.  Cy Young?  Maybe.  But give him a couple years.

5.  Felix Hernandez:  I don’t know a whole lot about Hernandez other than the media’s comparisons to Dwight Gooden.  The young pitcher has some obvious real talent.  Youth generally is an advantage in scouting.  But when you get down to the teens, it does have some drawbacks (see Dwight Gooden).  For his sake, I hope he can hold it together.


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