There’s also a wild card in the mix.
Right-hander Luis Mendoza, 27, showed little over the previous four seasons in short big-league stretches for the Rangers and Royals. But he currently leads the Pacific Coast League with a 2.37 ERA while compiling a 7-4 record at Omaha.
The Royals are wary of letting Mendoza get away.
"We’ve got to find out," Moore said. "I don’t want another Philip Humber situation."
Well, let's take a look at Luis Mendoza and Phil Humber in AAA before we go into the overall review of Omaha.
Phil Humber's longterm success is not exactly a given. But at the same time, it's more likely than Luis Mendoza having major league success for more than 15 starts. For those of you unfamiliar, the strikeouts are a lot more important than the ERA. Let's just say the two Royals pitchers with lower K/9 rates than Mendoza's career AAA line are Hochevar and Francis.
The Royals are more likely to have to play an entire season in Arrowhead than Luis Mendoza is to be a successful major league starter. I don't know what to say for you if you live with concern that the Royals might lose Luis Mendoza. And if Luis Mendoza is one of your 5 best starters, then something is wrong.
Now, an overall look into Omaha's starters who aren't Jeff Suppan
One of these days, curiosity about what we got for David DeJesus might prove to be too much and Mazzaro might wind up in the rotation for a little bit. After all, "Royals starting pitcher" has not proven itself to be a position with 5 cornerstones in awhile and openings occur.
Montgomery has been improving a bit and is only just a bit of control away from being a legitimate contender to be in the rotation in 2012 (57 walks in 112 1/3 innings).
Sean O'Sullivan is someone who some fans probably forgot is still with the organization. His K numbers are slightly above his usual AAA strikeout numbers.
Going down to Springdale
Odorizzi's AA performance is way too early to make a call about. Osuna continues to have a year where his K/9 and ER/9 rates are nearly the same. Chris Dwyer's doing pretty well with the strikeouts and not so much with earned runs or control (control being way more important). Dwyer's ERA at home is 8.41 and his ERA on the road is 4.18, so he may not miss pitching at Arvest. Will Smith pitched part of a no hitter, aside from that, he's just pitching and not doing much to write home about.
Now, the Pitcher's paradise
Marks is looking pretty good there, with 56 Ks in his last 10 games (over 52 1/3 innings). Pimentel left the Wilmington rotation in mid-July for Mariot, but he looked pretty good compared to the team. Hopefully Pimentel can return to the rotation sometime soon (or become a good reliever in the meantime). Tim Melville had a 3 week stint in the bullpen and struck out 9 in 10 1/3 innings in his last 2 starts. Tyler Sample seems to be following a less radical version of the Osuna method. Michael Mariot has been far better in the bullpen than the rotation but it's too early to say that for sure. Noel Arguelles? his K rate in his first 9 starts was low, and the last 10 starts dragged it below 6. Considering the realities of Arguelles and his 40 man roster spot, he's probably far more likely to take the spot of "reliever who people want to start games" in a few years when he has to be on the 25 man roster.
And Kane County
|Sugar Ray Marimon||13||7.36||54||66.00||3.68||27|
Ventura's overall numbers look pretty good, and as a 20 year old pitcher, he could rise up the charts within the next year. Billo went from being an awesome reliever to an awesome starting pitcher in Kane County. Santiago has the best K:BB ratio on the team with a 92:19 ratio. Marimon has been on the DL since June but he still has the best name in baseball. Jason Adam is doing pretty well so far. And if the pitcher with the worst K rate is putting up numbers like Leondy Perez's, then you're in good shape for that team.
As for Idaho Falls, Arizona, Burlington NC and the Dominican, those pitchers haven't started enough to really merit deep analysis, but here's some pitchers who are striking out people on those teams.
Idaho Falls: The best strikeout starters are Brian Peacock (2009 draft/31st round) and Kellen Moen (2011 draft/7th round). Based on history, Moen is probably a better bet to move up the ladder in the next year. Royals 9th round pick Aaron Brooks has 8.5 Ks per walk (34 strikeouts and 4 walks in 39 innings)
Burlington: Matthew Murray (11th round/2011) is the top strikeout starter with 42 in 39 2/3 innings. While Angel Baez and Eric Cantrell (2010/7th round) are mixing strikeouts with troubling walk rates.
AZL Royals: 14 pitchers have started in the 33 AZL Royals games, a rate only topped by several mid-2000s Royals teams. Only 3 starters have more than 2 starts for the AZL Royals. Of those, Eric Diaz (2009 draft/16th round) has 7.8 Ks per 9 (down from his first two stints in Arizona where he struck out over 10 and walked quite a few). Cesar Ogando (2011 draft/6th round) has struck out 12 and walked 14 in 12 1/3 innings. Stephen Lumpkin (2011 draft/11th round) has struck out 18 and walked 16 in 24 innings). Remember Sam Runion? he's pitching for the AZL Royals in his 5th season of minor league action.
DSL Royals: Aroni Nina and Sergio Rosario both have struck out over 10 batters per 9 in the hitter-unfriendly Dominican Summer League. Rosario's pitching (50 Ks and 10 BBs in 41 innings) got him promoted to the Arizona Royals this month. Nina has pitched for the DSL Royals since 2008 but this is his first stint as a starter.
Overall, the marquee prospects seem to be held back by walking way too many batters. And there's some guys who might be 2 years or so away from being considered a prospect or being put on our radars.
As for Luis Mendoza, if he goes, he goes, if he stays, then good for him. But Luis Mendoza isn't Phil Humber.