Best Minor League Deals: Pitchers

It would be hard to argue that R.A. Dickey wasn't the best minor league signing of the year in 2010. The knuckleballer posted a 2.84 ERA in 174 1/3 innings, establishing himself as a fixture in the Mets' rotation. He has since signed an extension, but hundreds of players are now in the same position Dickey found himself in a year ago. One month into the season, some of this year's minor league deals are starting to pay off and when it comes to pitching, the Yankees' minor league signings are standing out:

  • Bartolo Colon, Yankees – Not only does Colon have a 3.00 ERA in 33 innings, he has the peripheral stats to back it up: 9.0 K/9, 1.6 BB/9, 48% ground ball rate, 3.16 FIP, 2.65 xFIP.
  • Freddy Garcia, Yankees – The Yankees wanted low-risk starting pitching options who could eat innings and Garcia has thrived as a back-of-the-rotation starter despite posting his highest walk rate in years. The 35-year-old has a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings with 8.3 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9.
  • Jason Isringhausen, Mets – Izzy has allowed 4 hits and 4 walks in 8 1/3 innings, striking out 6 for a 3.24 ERA after barely playing pro ball in 2010. Honorable mention to Tim Byrdak, who has 10 Ks through 8 innings of relief in the Mets’ ‘pen.
  • Barret Loux, Rangers – The Diamondbacks selected the 6'5" right-hander sixth overall last year, but didn't sign him after looking at his shoulder. So far, the 22-year-old has a 2.88 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9 in the Rangers' system.
  • Guillermo Mota, Giants – Mota has already pitched 19 2/3 innings and the results are excellent: a 2.29 ERA with 8.7 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9.
  • Juan Cruz, Rays – Andrew Friedman had to take some chances on relievers after most of the Rays' bullpen signed elsewhere as free agents. Cruz has paid off so far, allowing 3 hits and 8 walks in 12 innings. He has 10 Ks for a 2.25 ERA.
  • Dontrelle Willis, Reds – He hasn't appeared in a game for the Reds yet, but his Triple-A numbers – 2.10 ERA, 30 innings, 8.7 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 – show he's making a strong case for another chance in the majors.
  • Rodrigo Lopez, Braves – The Braves got Lopez on a minor league deal after he logged 200 innings in 2010 and have stashed him at Triple-A, where he has a 1.67 ERA and three times as many strikeouts as walks through five starts. 
  • David Bush, Rangers – Bush has allowed just two earned runs as a swingman for the Rangers this year.
  • Miguel Batista – Cardinals – Despite an ugly 9K/8BB ratio, the 17-year veteran has an astounding 0.64 ERA.

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