South Not As Impressive

This morning I wrote about the numerous players from the North roster in the 2003 Eastern League All Star Game who have not only gone on to play in the major leagues, but as everyday regulars. Marc then discussed some of the players from the same roster who failed to live up to their prospect hype, really never making the major leagues. When looking at the South roster, listed below, you will notice that there are very few that actually made it to the major leagues, with only one standout player… hint… he might not be better than Curtis Granderson.

  1. Max St. Pierre, C
  2. Scott Ackerman, C
  3. Jose Castillo, IF
  4. Ivanon Coffie, IF
  5. Mike Fontenot, IF
  6. Luis Gonzalez, IF
  7. Josh McKinley, IF
  8. Chan Perry, IF
  9. Juan Richardson
  10. Shawn Garrett, OF
  11. Noah Hall, OF
  12. Jeff Inglin, OF
  13. Grady Sizemore, OF
  14. Jeremy Ware, OF
  15. Taylor Buchholz, P
  16. Sean Burnett, P
  17. Fernando Cabrera, P
  18. Kyle Denney, P
  19. Brian Forystek, P
  20. Mike Johnston, P
  21. Josh Karp, P
  22. Seung Lee, P
  23. Homero Rivera, P
  24. Brian Schmack, P

Of these players, most baseball fans will have heard of Castillo, Sizemore, Fontenot, Buchholz, Burnett, and that’s it. Fernando Cabrera has also seen his fair share of playing time, pitching out of the Cleveland bullpen for the last several years, but it is definitely clear that this group produced not just less major leaguers, but less everyday or solid players. Sizemore is an all-star, will be an all-star, and is one of the top commodities in the game of baseball. Outside of him, on this list, the players are not too impressive.

Castillo spent 2004-2007 with the Pirates, playing third base, before splitting time between Houston and San Francisco this year. His best WPA/LI came in 2005, at -0.97. With such poor offensive numbers, he would need to have a great glove to stay around, right? Well, according to the +- system, Castillo was a -15 in 2006 at 2B, just about 0 in 2007, all told, and a -6 this year. How he still has a job is a question I just cannot answer.

Sean Burnett debuted in 2004, making 13 starts for the same Pirates. His FIP was 5.06 with a K/BB of 1.07. He spent the next few years in the minors before returning to the Pirates this year, pitching out of the bullpen. His K/9 has gone from 3.77 in 2004 to 6.80 today… however, his BB/9 has risen from 3.52 to 5.69, ultimately producing an abysmal 1.19 K/BB.

Fontenot seems to be solid for the Cubs, OPS’ing .909 in 108 games right now, so we can leave him alone. Taylor Buchholz, however, cannot be left alone. Formerly a prized prospect in the Phillies system, he was traded to the Astros as part of the Billy Wagner deal, and after a poor 2006 season in Houston, was sent to the Rockies, where he has thrived? Buchholz may have the reputation of a prospect gone wrong, but his numbers tell a different story. Last year, in 41 appearances, he posted an ERA of 4.23, a K/BB of 3.05, and an FIP of 3.75. This year, in 63 appearances, a 2.17 ERA, 3.11 K/BB, and an FIP of 3.30.

The amount of players from the South that have succeeded in the major leagues may be lesser than that of the North, but a perennial all-star in Sizemore, and a solid reliever in Buchholz are doing quite well.

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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.

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Burnett had some major injuries along the way.