A link at The Hardball Times Blog sent me spinning over to my own private heaven. Saber-Scouting is a site "where sabermetrics and traditional scouting are friends and work together like the Justice League, with less spandex." They're trying to do what I've been trying to with all my thinking about league average pitching and Win Shares and bullpen construction, except they're trained scouts while the rest of us are pretty much self-taught. Needless to say, I'll be checking back often.
So for one of their first pieces, they tackle a subject near and dear to us (or at least to me): scouting the indy leagues. fpiliere44 uses walks to try to rank the level of competition of the indy leagues, the various minor leagues and the bigs because
This got me thinking about the Yanks' two indy league refugees, Edwar Ramierez and Scott Patterson. My man-crush on the Wicked Witch has been well documented. I campaigned for Edwar and Chris Britton to replace the deadwood in the Yanks' pen last summer, and I got half of my wish. As with most half-wishes, the results were not quite what I would have hoped for.
While I still believe that Edwar could be a useful ancillary piece, the Yanks' currently have enough raw talent to not need ancillary pieces. So I hope Edwar goes back to dominating AAA and Cash can flip him midseason a la Scott Proctor.
But I can't shake the feeling that Edwar's low walk rate is what made him stand out in the Indy Leagues, where he was great with a single plus pitch and fringy secondary stuff.
Which brings me to Patterson. The boys over at RAB have been pushing hard for Patterson, who is among the finalists for a coveted bullpen spot.
While Patterson has some advantages over Edwar, I'm worried the differences might not be enough. Patterson is 6'7" and 230lbs (to Edwar's 6"3" 165), but like Edwar he's a two pitch pitcher with an average fastball (89-91) and a good curve. He uses his height to his advantage with a truly straight over the top motion (video). PinstripePlus reports he worked with Nardi Contreras on adding depth to his curve by speeding it up a little in more of a slurvy (paywall, sorry).
There's still plenty of time for Patterson to prove to me that he isn't Edwar, but as a pitcher moves up through the levels great control becomes less of a distinction and more of an expectation. I'm afraid that this is a case of better than average command being enough to get him to the Show, but not having enough stuff to stick- at least, not with the Yankees.