I did this with the hitters and that was kind of straightforward. I like hitters that get on base and hit for power and on base percentage and slugging percentage measure these pretty well. Pitching is tougher though. How many runs a pitcher allowed is the bottom line so earned run average is important. However, there is a lot that goes into runs being scored other than a pitcher’s skill. Think about it. An umpire could be extra tough, defense varies wildly in the minors and there is a lot of luck involved in baseball. This just means that there is a lot more that goes into evaluating a pitcher than just looking at his ERA.
I also had to keep in mind that these are not major league pitchers. By that I mean that these are guys still in development that are often on an innings restriction. Normally I like to see a pitcher who can throw a lot of innings for a variety of reasons, but with these guys that is often out of their control. So for this list, considering it’s short season baseball, I set the minimum at 45 innings pitched to qualify and left it at that.
So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 starting pitchers in Brooklyn Cyclones history:
- Hansel Robles, RHP, 21-years-old in 2012 – 1.11 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, 0.784 WHIP: You don’t have to go back far to find the best pitcher in Brooklyn’s history. The 21-year-old Robles was amazing. He gave up four runs in his third start of the year and in 11 other starts he never allowed more than one run. He was completely unhittable. His best start, he tossed an eight inning one-hitter with no walks and seven strikeouts against the Vermont Lake Monsters on Aug. 10, 2013. Robles is still in the Mets system and is currently in High-A St. Lucie with a 3.90 ERA and a 1.438 WHIP in 64.2 innings.
- Eric Brown, RHP, 21-years-old in 2006 – 1.16 ERA, 7.1 K/9, 0.5 BB/9, 0.814 WHIP: Brown was repeating the Short Season Single-A season as a 22-year-old in 2006 and completely dominated thanks to perfect control. In 70 innings, he walked just four batters. Those are better numbers than the best Hall of Fame pitchers. Brown was never able to replicate that success within the system though and topped out in Double-A in 2009.
- Dylan Owen, RHP, 20-years-old in 2007 – 1.49 ERA, 8.6 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.871 WHIP: Owen was brilliant for the 2007 and never gave up even one home run in 72.1 innings that season. Owen is still in the Mets system, but was demoted to Double-A after he had a 5.58 ERA in 254.2 innings at Triple-A this season.
- Yohan Almonte, RHP, 20-years-old in 2010 – 1.91 ERA, 6.0 K/9, 1.5 BB/9, 0.926 WHIP: He actually struggled in his first two games that year, but settled down and held batters to a .201/.233/.354 line in the following 78.1 innings after that. Almonte had a phenomenal run with Brooklyn, but didn’t last very long in the Mets system as he is out of baseball after posting a 6.57 ERA in High-A last season.
- Ross Peeples, LHP, 21-years-old in 2001 – 1.34 ERA, 7.5 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.145 WHIP: The Cyclones debuted in 2001 and Peeples gave them a bona fide ace. His walk rate was a little high for this list, but there is no denying his results as he absolutely dominated. He never got passed High-A, but had a long career pitching in the independent league until he was 33. Pretty cool.
- Bobby Parnell, RHP, 20-years-old in 2005 – 1.73 ERA, 8.3 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 1.055 WHIP: Parnell is the first major leaguer on this list and the thing that stands out to me is that his 5.9 H/9 is the lowest on anyone on the list so far. It was because he was so hard to hit which made him dominate that year. Parnell was never actually that dominate in the minors after this season and had a 6.64 ERA in the year he was called up, but after the Mets moved him to the bullpen he had much more success.
- Brian Bannister, RHP, 22-years-old in 2003 – 2.15 ERA, 8.2 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 0.978 WHIP: Bannister barely passed the 45 innings pitched limit, in fact I lowered it from 50 to 45 because of him. I had to though because of his absolutely dominant 5.3 H/9 and zero home runs against. Bannister eventually reached the majors and was traded by the Mets to the Royals for Ambiorix Burgos after the 2006 season. Bannister was third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2007, but played just three subpar seasons before leaving the game after 2010.
- Bradley Holt, RHP, 21-years-old in 2008 – 1.87 ERA, 11.9 K/9, 4.1 BB/9, 1.051 WHIP: Holt put together an amazing season that year that was so good he was named the No. 94 prospect in all of baseball because of it. He was another guy who had a low 5.4 H/9, but unlike Bannister and Parnell, he was never able to reach the majors and was released earlier this season at the end of spring training. Holt had a no-hitter in a 5.1 inning appearance that year, but nothing topped his 14-strikeout on July 24, 2008 against the Vermont Lake Monsters.
- Luis Mateo, RHP, 22-years-old in 2012 – 2.45 ERA, 10.4 K/9, 1.1 BB/9, 0.900 WHIP: It’s actually kind of crazy that Mateo’s ERA was so high considering he just didn’t allow baserunners and struck out so many. The problem is that he had a few stinkers in between some really impressive games. Still, he allowed two runs or less in nine of his 12 starts. Mateo is still in the Mets system, but is struggling with his control and has a 6.17 ERA in High-A and Double-A this season.
- Evan MacLane, LHP, 21-years-old in 2004 – 2.48 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 0.8 BB/9, and 0.971 WHIP: I had to include MacLane on this list since he had a WHIP below 1.0 and an unbelievable 11.33 K/BB ratio. If anything he was a little too perfect with his control as he allowed five home runs (and just six walks). MacLane was actually promoted to Low-A midseason and had success there, but never had any standout seasons after that, bounced around the minors in the Mets, Diamondbacks, and Cardinals system, and got a cup of coffee with the Cards in 2010. He’s been playing in Japan since.
Some honorable mentions: Gabriel Ynoa in 2012, Dillon Gee in 2007, Chris Schwinden in 2008, Salvador Aguilar in 2005, Michael Devaney in 2004, Brandon Moore in 2009, Mark Cohoon in 2009, and Tobi Stoner in 2006. A case could be made for any of those guys to be at least No. 10 on this list.