Navigating the Hitter/Pitcher Split (by Enoch Tang)
In a draft involving prospects, hitters should be prioritized over pitchers. This is due to pitchers’ likelihood of getting injured and development time when they enter the majors. While this is a rule for me, you’re still going to need to draft pitchers at some point. I generally draft pitchers with the intention of trading them when their value rises.
I have a profile of pitchers I like to follow for major leaguers. I do the same, with some tweaks, for minor leaguers:
GB% is over 44%
K/BB above 2.5
K/9 over 8.0
Swinging strike % over 9%
I believe that if the pitcher can keep the ball down and get swings and misses, good things happen. If they are able to repeat aspects of this profile through different MiLB levels, then that gives me more confidence that they are moving in the right direction.
When running this profile against A-ball pitchers for the year of 2017, it comes back with a handful of pitchers, including Bryse Wilson, Jose Suarez, and Dustin May. In 2018, all three of them made it to AA before the age of 21. Looking at other levels, Jesus Luzardo fit this profile as well in 2017, splitting time between rookie ball and Low-A.
By no means is this a perfect system. It is meant to give one a starting point to find value in the mid-to-later rounds of the draft when we have to draft some pitchers.