Bradenton had the top pitchers in the farm system at the start of the year, making them the team to watch. A few other pitchers stepped up, although the majority of the arms profile as future relievers. The most intriguing arm to step up this year was Casey Sadler, who made the jump from a reliever to a starter after Gerrit Cole was promoted. Bradenton had a lot of arms promoted to Altoona this year, which meant a lot of the second half innings went to organizational guys, or guys who profile as middle relievers at best.
Below are the stats from each pitcher in Bradenton, broken down by age groups. The first age group is where you’ll find the majority of prospects. The second group can include prospects, but these guys are getting closer to being too old for the level. The final group is mostly organizational depth. A breakdown of each group can be found below.
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The Marauders started the year with the two top prospects in the farm system. Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon gave Bradenton one of the best prospect duos in the minors. However, both pitchers struggled at times during the year. Cole started off slow, giving up 12 earned runs in 28 innings over his first six starts. After that he settled in, giving up eight earned runs in 39 innings over his final seven starts.
Taillon had a different season. He started off dominant in his first seven starts, giving up six earned runs in 36.2 innings. After that, he went on a big slump, giving up 28 earned runs in 31 innings over six starts. The struggles continued in to July until around the end of the month. Taillon had been dealing with some confidence issues with his pitches, although he made some big strides in that area in late-July. He carried those end of the year numbers up to Altoona, where he was impressive in three starts.
After Cole and Taillon left, additional spots were opened in the rotation. One of those spots went to Casey Sadler, who was taken out of the JuCo ranks in the later rounds of the 2010 draft. Sadler throws a 91-93 MPH sinker, a hard slider, and a changeup. His change developed this year, mostly a result from using the pitch more often. That allowed him success in the rotation, leading to a 3.93 ERA in 91.2 innings as a starter.
Josh Poytress put up good overall numbers as a reliever, although he did struggle with his control. Porfirio Lopez, another lefty reliever, also put up good numbers in a limited time at the level. Both pitchers are good left-handed relief prospects, although they’ll need to have success in the upper levels before cracking any top prospect lists.
Quinton Miller, who signed for $900,000 as a 20th round pick in 2008, returned to Bradenton for a second straight year. The results were largely the same, with Miller struggling for a second straight year, only this time out of the bullpen.
There were a lot of relief pitching prospects in this group. Hunter Strickland was a starter in his time in Bradenton, putting up good overall numbers. He was eventually moved up to Altoona where he switched to the bullpen. Jeff Inman only made six appearances at the level before he moved up to Altoona’s bullpen. Both players are eligible for the Rule 5 draft this off-season, although neither player really stood out in his time with Altoona.
Tyler Waldron, Matt Benedict, and Eliecer Navarro all got time in the rotation, but all three profile more as relievers. Benedict struggled in his time in Bradenton’s rotation, after having some success in West Virginia. Navarro was much better out of the bullpen, posting a 2.56 ERA in 45.2 innings, with a 41:9 K/BB ratio. That’s compared to a 4.34 ERA in 66.1 innings as a starter, with a 47:18 K/BB ratio. Waldron moved on to Altoona where his numbers were slightly better in the Double-A rotation. He has the best chance of all three to make the majors.
Jason Townsend is another interesting bullpen arm who made the jump from Bradenton to Altoona this year. Townsend didn’t strike out a lot of batters in Bradenton, and didn’t put up many strikeout numbers in Altoona. He had good movement on his pitches, getting a lot of ground ball outs (2.40 GO/AO ratio between the two levels), which helped him to a low ERA at both levels.
Kyle Kaminska was brought in at the trade deadline as part of the Gaby Sanchez deal. He made a few relief appearances with Altoona before being sent down to Bradenton to get work as a starter. After three successful starts, he moved back to Altoona where he remained a starter.
Ages 25 and Up
These three pitchers got a lot of action, mostly due to so many pitchers being promoted to Altoona throughout the season.