Hey everybody, sorry for the long lapse in posts. I took a bit of a vacation up to the North Carolina mountains, and then I had some family business to tend to, but it's time to get back to business, so let's get to it. For today's post I want to take a look at Brett Cecil -- one of the most overlooked pitching prospects in the minors -- and compare him to David Price, the most hyped pitching prospect in the minors.
I think most people would be very surprised to learn that not only has Cecil matched Price's stats, but he's done so at a younger age and has generally outperformed Price. To get things started, let's just look at the basics.
I don't want to spend a lot of time comparing and contrasting scouting reports or opinions about the 2 pitchers that are bouncing around the internet, but I would like to take a detailed look at each pitchers' stats and performance records over the last year or so.
For the record, Price was at advanced A ball earlier this year, which is a bit more difficult than regular A ball. But it's pretty obvious that Cecil performed very well, and perhaps even better than Price. The 18 months difference in age is quite significant as well.
The above AA ball stats are probably the best numbers to use in comparing these 2 pitchers. AA ball tends to be fairly uniform in terms of difficulty, and both pitchers had 50+ innings while at that level. Once again, the age difference between Cecil and Price is fairly significant, indicating that while their stats seem relatively similar, Cecil is in fact on a more advanced developmental curve than Price. Another interesting point to make is the difference in Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), which is an adjustment of ERA that takes into account a team's fielding percentage, park factors, and luck. Cecil's FIP was over a point lower than Price's, suggesting that Price wasn't nearly as dominant as he looked.
I'm not going to spend much time on AAA stats since both pitchers have under 20 innings at this point. Their numbers are a bit skewed, but the general trends are still apparent. Cecil continues to strike out more hitters at a younger age, while also inducing more ground balls. His control isn't quite as good as that of Price, but it's still very good for his age (speaking of his A and AA ball walk rates, and not so much his AAA stats). While their respective ERAs are very high, their FIPs indicate that they've both been a bit unlucky, and their allowed run totals should drop back to about 3 runs per game.
I don't really have much more to say about these 2 pitchers, except that while they are both very good, Cecil is the more talented of the 2. He has some very good comparables, including Roger Clemens and Phil Hughes, and his future looks very bright. I'll try and come up with some projections for him this week, but he easily ranks as one of the top 5 pitching prospects in the game right now, and will likely surprise a lot of people over the next few years.