The Graduate: Joba Chamberlain | Born: September 1985 | Right-Handed Pitcher
Perhaps you’ve heard of this graduate. Joba Chamberlain was one of the most talked about young player of 2008 despite splitting the season between the starting rotation and the bullpen. A more defined and constant role in 2009 could help him become one of the best pitchers in the American League. Overall, he allowed 87 hits in 100.1 innings with rates of 3.50 BB/9 and 10.58 K/9. Chamberlain also allowed just five homers (0.45 HR/9). His fastball averaged out at 95 mph, which he threw 65.3 percent of the time. He also utilized a slider, curveball and occasional change-up.
The Riser: Zach McAllister | Born: December 1987 | Right-Handed Pitcher
Zach McAllister rebounded from a bumpy 2007 to post excellent numbers during the 2008 season. He allowed 133 hits in 151 innings split between two A-ball affiliates. In 14 starts in the second half of the season at High-A ball, McAllister posted a 1.83 ERA with rates of 1.32 BB/9 and 6.29 K/9. He showed solid control, but his low strikeout numbers temper his ceiling a bit. As a sinker baller, though, he relies on pitching to contact. McAllister has a solid change-up but needs to improve his slider.
The Tumbler: Alan Horne | Born: January 1983 | Right-Handed Pitcher
Alan Horne‘s 2008 season was ruined by injuries including a bicep strain, which caused him to miss a good chunk of the first half of the season. Horne, who was on the cusp of a Major League promotion before the injuries, will have to wait until 2009 for his debut. In 2008, during three rehab starts in High-A ball, Horne posted an ERA of 23.14. In eight Triple-A appearances, he allowed 35 hits in 32 innings of work and posted rates of 6.19 BB/9 and 6.75 K/9.
The ’08 Draft Pick: Corban Joseph | Born: October 1988 | Shortstop
Corban Joseph was nabbed in the fourth round of the 2008 draft as an offensive-minded shortstop out of a Tennessee high school. He had a solid pro debut and posted a line of .277/.358/.434 with an ISO of .157 in 159 Rookie Ball at-bats. His rates were: 11.2 BB% and 15.1 K%. Eventually, Joseph may need to move off shortstop, but he should have enough power to play third base in the Majors.
The ’09 Sleeper: Austin Romine | Born: November 1988 | Catcher
It’s easy for Austin Romine to get overlooked as he spent time in 2008 splitting the backstop position with one of the Yankees’ top hitting prospect – Jesus Montero. Romine more than held his own, though, with a line of .300/.340/.437 with a .138 ISO in 407 at-bats. He needs to be a little more patient at the plate with a BB% of 5.8, but his strikeout rate was a solid 13.8 K%. He has a much better chance of sticking behind the plate than Montero, although he allowed 18 passed balls in 54 games. He also threw out 20 of the 98 runners attempting to steal a base.
Up Next: The Houston Astros
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