AFL Prospect Bios (Sixth Week 2008 Season)
Cleveland Indians prospect Josh Tomlin was one of the pitchers knocked around in the 28 – 1 “AFL supersized beatdown” on October 20th. Outside of this start he’s been decent and in 28 IP he’s struck out 28 against only 3 walks. This is the norm for Tomlin, super control with high strikeout numbers. In 2008, primarily in high A, Tomlin struck out 112 vs only 17 BB in 109.2 IP. An under the radar prospect (not even making the Indians top 30), Josh began the season as a relief pitcher. Towards the end of the season Josh had pitched his way into a rotation spot and looks to continue in that role when he begins 2009 in AA Akron. Tomlin has compiled a 39 – 11 record in his minor league pitching career.
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2005 draft, Toronto Blue Jays prospect Ryan Patterson led both low and high A in slugging percentage early in his career. A forearm shattering hit by pitch in the spring of 2007 (requiring a metal plate to be inserted into the arm) has slown down his progression through the Jays system.
Returning from the injury in 2007, Ryan spent the majority of the season in AA New Hampshire and while he continued slugging (.448), his OBP was a lowly .302. Repeating the level again in 2008 (his third go around in AA) Ryan once again produced a decent slugging percentage (.435) but his OBP slipped even lower, to .284. Unless Patterson can improve upon his OBP he realistically has no shot at becoming an MLB contributor. And he may be taking a different approach when looking at his AFL numbers. During the regular season he struck out 83 times vs only 22 BB for close to a 4:1 K/BB ratio. In the 2008 AFL he has 14 K vs 7 BB, for a 2:1 ratio. Obviously this is a small sample but if Ryan can carry over a patient approach to the 2009 minor league regular season then he may still have a shot at one day donning an MLB uniform.
Forget Ziegler, Street and others, Oakland A’s prospect Andrew Carignan may be the closer of the future. Between A & AA this season Andrew saved 28 games with a 2.01 ERA. In 62.2 IP he struck out 84 but he did walk 44. Opponents could only manage a .188 batting average off of Carignan. Control is certainly an issue, yet so far in the AFL he’s saved six games, and in 11 IP has stuck out 16 vs only 4 BB.
A fifth round pick in 2007, Andrew throws a 93 – 95 four seam fastball and also has a slurve and a change-up to his repertoire. Expect him to open the season in AAA, with a likely mid to late season debut at the MLB level.
The Tigers 2007 minor league player of the year, one Jeff Larish, is a straight forward home run hitter. In the above mentioned 2007 season, Jeff hit 28 HR, knocked in 101 RBI, K’d 108 times vs 87 BB and ended the year with a .906 OPS for the AA Erie Seawolves. In 2008 he hit 21 HR in a tough International League. He did see his average shrink to .250 and his K/BB ratio rise, with 109 whiffs vs only 50 BB. In limited MLB action Jeff hit only 2 HR in a little over 110 PA. Will Jeff ever get a legitimate full-time gig opportunity or be relegated to minor league duty like fellow Tigers HR hitting prospect Mike Hessmann?
Tommy Hanson, a pitcher that the Braves made 100% untouchable during the Jake Peavy negotiations, once again had a dominate start in the AFL. In five IP he struck out 10 vs only one hit. For the AFL season Hanson is 5 – 0 with a 0.63 ERA, allowing only 10 hits in 28.2 IP. During this time he has only walked seven and struck out 49! 49 AFL level prospects K’s (ie the best) in 28.2 IP. This performance may allow Hanson to skip AAA and open the 2009 season in the back half of the Braves rotation. Click here for Tommy Hanson’s Bio.