Futures Market: Andy Sonnanstine
Andy Sonnanstine hasn’t been as highly touted as other prospects, getting drafted in the 13th round out of Kent State in 2004. Regardless of this fact, the Rays didn’t waste any time working sending him through the system, having Andy spending only one month in rookie ball and ending his draft year in low A. Sonnanstine has been very hard to hit throughout his minor league career, and has always produced a low WHIP right around 1.05. After breezing his way through low & high A, Andy spent all of 2006 in AA Montgomery. With an unusually high minor league workload (185.2 IP), Andy only allowed 151 hits for a 7.32 H/9. He struck out 153 & only walked 34, for nearly a 5:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Promoted to AAA Durham for the start of the 2007 season, he has 11 starts (with a 66/13 SO/K ratio) before getting called up to the Devil Rays last week.
In his second major league start on Sunday, Andy featured a downright nasty slurve in his 10 strikeout performance (with 0 walks). He isn’t going to set any radar guns on fire (his fastball was around or under 90, with the slurve clocked at 76 – 78), yet you could see a good deal of movement on his pitches. Along with the slurve, his best pitch is his changeup, taught to him by Jamie Shields. Historically, his G/F ratio is slightly above 1, which makes sense considering the movement on his pitches. While I doubt Sonnanstine will strike out 10 every game, he could have a good 2007. The Devil Rays offense should give him some decent run support. Hopefully the poor middle & set-up relief core in Tampa won’t cost him too many games. If Sonnanstine can emergence as a legitimate #3 or #4 starter, the Devil Rays should be tough to beat in a season or two, with a projected 2009 rotation of Kazmir, Shields, Price, Jeff Niemann & Sonnanstine.
Non-Related Career Prediction
You can disregard this section if you’d like. We’ve all been enamored with prospects, and have been extremely over-optimistic on their production levels. Hell, go ahead and check out many fantasy experts predictions of Alex Gordon & Delmon Young’s 2007 stats if you need a reference. With that out of the way, I’m ready to move onto my own crazy prediction. I believe Sonnanstine can end his career with a top 30 all-time SO/BB ratio. In the history of the MLB, only 28 pitchers have a 3:1 ratio with over 1000 IP. Minor league stats don’t mean much too many, yet I can usually find some value in them. In his minor league career, Andy has a 6.17 SO/BB ratio. In 74 milb starts, he’s walked 75 batters. He’s off to a good start, with a MLB 15:0 SO/BB ratio. Taking into account his past accomplishments, a career 3:1 ratio for Sonnanstine isn’t too far fetched. Crazy prediction for a 13th round pick, sure. Maybe I’ll come back to this at the end of the season and see if he can post a 4:1 or better SO/BB ratio over the course of an MLB year. We can then re-evaluate the prediction from there.