The following pitchers have a fair bit more in common than may be discernible at face value. Each was, at one time or another, lauded as a top prospect (albeit to varying degrees). All five experienced enough success at the Major League level to stoke the flames of their respective fanbase’s fiery prospect love. And finally, the lot of them were decried for a loss of velocity from one season to the next, as if such an occurrence was an affront to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.
Without further ado:
2008 – 94.67 MPH, 10.51 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, 2.62 ERA, 2.62 FIP, 3.13 xFIP
2009 – 93.22 MPH, 10.42 K/9, 2.72 BB/9, 2.48 ERA, 2.34 FIP, 2.83 xFIP
2009 – 94.81 MPH, 9.74 K/9, 4.79 BB/9, 2.79 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 3.85 xFIP
2010 – 93.18 MPH, 9.34 K/9, 3.57 BB/9, 2.91 ERA, 3.12 FIP, 3.64 xFIP
2010 – 93.26 MPH, 7.45 K/9, 2.96 BB/9, 4.19 ERA, 4.25 FIP, 4.13 xFIP
2011 – 92.10 MPH, 5.67 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 5.79 ERA, 4.58 FIP, 4.90 xFIP
2010 – 90.58 MPH, 7.33 K/9, 3.23 BB/9, 4.30 ERA, 4.05 FIP, 4.31 xFIP
2011 – 88.63 MPH, 6.89 K/9, 4.35 BB/9, 10.69 ERA, 7.66 FIP, 5.22 xFIP
2010 – 92.05 MPH, 6.65 K/9, 3.25 BB/9, 4.64 ERA, 4.19 FIP, 4.29 xFIP
2011 – 89.81 MPH, 5.33 K/9, 2.61 BB/9, 2.96 ERA, 3.99 FIP, 4.23 xFIP
What can one take away from this? Well, Lincecum improved quite a bit, and an argument can be made that Kershaw did so as well. Nary a Yankees fan can forget the plight of Hughes last season, regardless of how much we would like to do so, while Matusz’s awe inspiring awfulness serves as a sobering reminder that it could always be worse. And Jurrjens … stayed the course.
So, in short, not much. And as I ricochet back and forth over the line of “limited commentary” and “full-blown rant,” I will wrap things up thusly – a loss of velocity portends a heaping pile of nothingness.
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