Daily Notes: The Top Minor-League Starters by kwERA

Table of Contents
Here’s the table of contents for today’s edition of the Daily Notes.

1. The Top Minor-League Starters by kwERA
2. Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
3. Today’s Complete Schedule

The Top Minor-League Starters by kwERA
Minor-league regular seasons everywhere have come to their respective conclusions. What concerned readers want to know now — or, at least what the author is presently supposing they want to know — is which qualified minor-league pitchers have recorded the best fielding-independent numbers this year. Moreover, concerned readers are adding this caveat — namely, that they’re interested in a fielding-independent metric that accounts only for strikeout and walk rate, but not home runs, owing to how much more quickly the first two become reliable.

Leaderboard: The Top Minor-League Starters by kwERA
kwERA is an ERA estimator which accounts only for strikeout and walk rate, and was popularized — to the degree that it’s popular, at all — by Tom Tango at Inside the Book. Below are the top-10 qualified minor-league pitchers by kwERA this season. (Note: pitchers who made zero appearances above rookie-level ball have been excluded.)

Rank Name Team Level Age IP TBF K% BB% kwERA
1 Ryan Doran D-backs Rk, A- 22 77.0 310 27.4% 2.9% 2.46
2 C.J. Edwards Cubs A, A+ 21 116.1 468 33.1% 8.8% 2.48
3 Michael Feliz Astros A- 19 69.0 273 28.6% 4.8% 2.54
4 Noah Syndergaard Mets A+, AA 20 117.2 472 28.2% 5.9% 2.73
5 Edwin Escobar Giants A+, AA 21 128.2 532 27.4% 5.6% 2.78
6 Kendry Flores Giants A 21 141.2 551 24.9% 3.1% 2.79
7 Robert Stephenson Reds A, A+, AA 20 114.1 465 29.2% 7.5% 2.79
8 Christopher Johnson Giants A- 21 83.0 326 23.9% 2.5% 2.82
9 Zachary Petrick Cardinals A, A+, AA 23 113.1 453 26.9% 6.0% 2.88
10 Danny Winkler Rockies A+, AA 23 157.0 618 28.3% 7.6% 2.91

Three Notes
• While a number of notable prospects appear among the leaders here, it’s mostly anonymous right-hander Ryan Doran who appears atop the list. The 2013 season represented Doran’s first in affiliated baseball. Undrafted after playing as a senior this year for San Diego State, the 23-year-old (playing in his age-22 season, it should be said) appears to have signed with the Diamondbacks in mid-June. Per Aaron Fitt of Baseball America, Doran features “an 82-87 fastball, a slow curve and a serviceable 76-78 slider.” Not overpowering, it would seem, but effective enough for the low minors thus far.

• Among those pitchers who played at a level more appropriate for their respective age, it’s probably fair to say that either right-hander C.J. Edwards (Chicago NL) or other right-hander Michael Feliz (Houston) was most impressive by this methodology. The former, featured on multiple occasions in this site’s weekly Fringe Five column, was sent to the Cubs from Texas in July (along with others) in exchange for Matt Garza. The latter was signed by the Astros out of the Dominican in 2010, and throws a fastball that sits at 94-96 mph, according to Jason Parks of Baseball Prospectus. At The Crawfish Boxes, contributor reillocity has a detailed account of Feliz’s July 12th start.

• The calculation of kwERA in this instance makes no allowances either for park or league. Adjust conclusions accordingly.

Today’s MLB.TV Free Game
Los Angeles AL at Houston | 14:10 ET
Jerome Williams (151.2 IP, 107 xFIP-, 0.0 WAR) faces Paul Clemens (56.1 IP, 128 xFIP-, -1.2 WAR).

Readers’ Preferred Broadcast: Houston Radio, Maybe?

Today’s Complete Schedule
Here’s the complete schedule for all of today’s games, with our very proprietary watchability (NERD) scores for each one. Pitching probables and game times aggregated from MLB.com and RotoWire.

Note that these NERD scores are calculated using the methodology introduced recently and designed to account for the influence of playoff odds on the watchability of games. ***Unlike in recent iterations of this table, the author has adjusted the day’s NERD Game Scores such that, combined, they average 5.0.*** This allows said table to resemble more closely the Game Scores that have appeared here over the preceding four months.

Away   SP Tm. Gm. Tm. SP   Home Time
Miguel Gonzalez BAL 4 0 2 0 4 TOR Mark Buehrle 13:07
Jeremy Guthrie KC 2 2 4 0 9 DET Max Scherzer 13:08
Tom Koehler MIA 4 0 2 0 5 NYN Dillon Gee 13:10
Travis Wood CHN 3 0 9 8 9 PIT Francisco Liriano 13:35
Tyler Cloyd PHI 1 0 3 0 9 WAS J. Zimmermann 13:35
Burch Smith* SD 8 0 4 0 7 ATL Julio Teheran 13:35
Jerome Williams LAA 4 0 2 0 3 HOU Paul Clemens* 14:10
Bronson Arroyo CIN 5 1 3 0 4 MIL Yovani Gallardo 14:10
Zach McAllister CLE 3 9 10 0 10 CHA Chris Sale 14:10
David Price TB 8 7 8 0 1 MIN P. Hernandez 14:10
Erasmo Ramirez SEA 6 0 10 9 9 STL Shelby Miller 14:15
Jarrod Parker OAK 4 1 7 5 7 TEX Martin Perez 15:05
Jhoulys Chacin COL 5 0 3 0 7 AZ Randall Delgado 16:10
Ryan Vogelsong SF 1 0 1 0 3 LAN Edinson Volquez 16:10
Ivan Nova NYA 7 1 4 0 7 BOS Clay Buchholz 20:05

To learn how Pitcher and Team NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
To learn how Game NERD Scores are calculated, click here.
* = Fewer than 20 IP, NERD at discretion of very handsome author.

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Carson Cistulli occasionally publishes spirited ejaculations at The New Enthusiast.

12 Responses to “Daily Notes: The Top Minor-League Starters by kwERA”

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  1. Yaya Pigwius says:

    Carson, thanks for introducing us to new terminology. Whether it’s new baseball metrics or French phrases, I get more new stuff in my brain every time I click your posts.

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  2. triple_r says:

    Why the fuck is Cleveland at Chicago AL a 10?

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  3. Gerald Westerby says:

    If we are going to consider age for the level (which we obviously should), I think Syndergaard probably had the most impressive season. Wilson is a year older and a level behind, and Feliz – while a year younger than Mr. Syndergaard – is a few steps down on the development chain. I don’t see many 20 year olds doing what Syndergaard has done at AA in 2013.

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    • Cliff says:

      see: Stephenson, Robert

      younger age by about 6+ months. finished the season at the same level as Syndergaard. don’t get me wrong, 9-4 with a 3.06 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .243 BAA, and 10.2 K/9 shows that Synd is an elite pitching prospect…but there were reports throughout the season that his off-speed stuff is still lacking to some degree, and without at least 2 more average offerings to compliment his fastball, his success in the majors could be short-lived. Stephenson went 7-7 with a 2.99 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, .217 BAA, and 10.7 K/9. If given the choice between the two, I would take Stephenson without much hesitation. Something about Snydergaard reminds me of Phil Hughes. Fairly similar numbers at the same age at the same level(although Hughes’ were a good bit better).

      oh and by the way, “was most impressive BY THIS METHODOLOGY.” Edwards and Feliz simply had better kwERA, and Syndergaard was a distant 4th behind them.

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      • Who? says:

        Those reports of lacking off-speed stuff are outdated. You just can’t dominate the Eastern League with just a great fastball and average off-speed stuff like NS did. No disrespect to Stephenson but if you are comparing them based on stats then NS’s season is more impressive than RS’s.

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  4. filihok says:

    Edinson Volquez has a 3 NERD? :Raised eyebrow:

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  5. Anon says:

    Why isn’t Edwin Escobar getting more hype? His numbers are great for someone his age/level and he doesn’t even make the Fringe 5 prospects!

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    • Wobatus says:

      Escobar is 15th on the overall Fringe Five leaderboard, and made the Fringe Five twice, and the next five, or beyond the fringe, a few times as well.

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  6. mario mendoza says:

    I hope there’s a Vlad Guerrero send-off article coming soon.

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