Friday, January 23, 2009

James McDonald 2009

James McDonald is the Dodgers top pitching prospect, and one of the better prospects in baseball. He's got an outside chance of winning a job as the fifth starting at the major league level. In 2007 he was dominant in high A and AA ball, strikout out 168 and walking only 37 in 134.2 innings. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite as dominant in AA in 2008, striking out 113 and walking 46 in 118.2 innings. He did rebound with 22.1 great innings at AAA, striking out 28 and walking 7. Anytime I see a declining strikeout rate in a young pitcher I'm somewhat concerned, but in this case the decline wasn't great enough to be sure what it means. Its very possible that McDonald's ability lies somewhere between what he did in 2007 and 2008, although its certainly possible that he's lost some effectiness. Overall, I'd expect him to have a decent strikeout rate in the majors in 2009 (let's say 7.0 K/9), but to struggle with his control (maybe 4.5 BB/9). As with any young player, improvement is not only possible, but relatively likely.

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