Image: TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains
I’ve always obsessed over prospects. I remember thinking Jeremy Sowers was the next Tom Glavine. Don’t lie, after his rookie season so did you! For me, understanding what a prospect might become in the future evolved quite a bit. However, I can still get tricked. Do I still get excited when a Oscar Gonzalez hits 30 home runs? Yes. I understand now that Gonzalez’s profile is one that might not be very successful in the major. Personal growth, I guess.
Anyways, today, let’s focus in on a prospect who I am personally over inflating in my mind. Ever since Bieber, Civale and Plesac hit the league with a K/9 of over 10 and BB/9 under three, that is what I look for. I listen to Jeff Ellis quite a bit and he harps on the Guardians type of pitcher all the time. They like guys who are intelligent, don’t walk people and have at least a little strikeout ability. Logan T. Allen hovered right around a BB/9 of two and a K/9 over 11 in 2021. He held strong when he moved up to Double-A. We will see where those numbers go in 2022 as I expect at a minimum he will end up in Triple-A.
Cliff Lee – No, No, No. I am not saying Logan Allen is going to be a Cy Young awarding pitcher. Well, yes, I am saying he will be. All jokes aside, Cliff Lee has a similar profile in that he is not a flame throwing lefty but had good command and mound presence. In 2002, Lee hit a few different levels. Over 146 innings, Lee sat at a K/9 of just under 10 and a BB/9 just over three. He was 23 that year and Logan Allen is currently 22. I would have loved to see Cliff Lee under the current pitching regime in Cleveland.
John Means – I think this is an interesting comp. Means does not have a devastating fastball. In his year 23 season in the minors, his K/9 was 6.5. The BB/9 was nice at 2.2. Means is interesting for me because he was not that flashy of a prospect. However, in the majors he settled in with a K/9 of around 8 while maintaining a BB/9 of 2. He is an effective pitcher in the majors. The control is something to pay close attention to. If a pitcher does not have the ability to miss a lot of bats, being able to pinpoint his pitches becomes that much more important.
Sean Manaea- I like this comp. Manaea was a college arm who moved aggressively through the minors. I am highlighting his year when he was 23. He had a BB/9 of three and a K/9 of almost 11. His year 22 was not bad either but the BB/9was a little higher.
I did not do this with others, but lets look at Manaea’s major league career. He has kept a low BB/9 throughout his major league career. In 2016, his K/9 was around eight but he still had a really nice season and kept his WHIP respectable. In 2021, his K/9 jumped up to nearly 10 per nine innings while keeping his BB/9 low.
I think it’s useful to look at different comps to get an understanding of where pitchers who have found success in the majors were at in the minors. There are no guarantees obviously, but Logan T. Allen really had a nice debut year in the Guardians system. His production so far points to a pitcher who should at least be a nice middle of the rotation starter. If he continues to work on his craft, he could flash as a number two for a few years. I am excited to see his progression in 2022.