Dane De La Rosa: Outpacing the Competition

FT. MYERS FL - FEBRUARY 22: Dane De La Rosa #49 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays Photo Day on February 22 2011 at the Charlotte Sports Complex in Port Charlotte Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Yesterday's Rays' Tank linked to a well-timed article on Dane De La Rosa. Most of you know that I also cover prospects from a fantasy baseball angle for Rotowire and my most recent piece there covered strong statistical performing pitchers in Triple-A that were age 28 or younger and threw at least 50 innings in the International League or the Pacific Coast League last season. I found 230 pitchers qualified based on those criterion  and the more filters I chose, the more De La Rosa's name popped up.

For example, there were just 12 pitchers out the pool of 230 pitchers that had a SIERA of under 3.00; De La Rosa was one of those 12. The other members of that dirty dozen included:

It is nice to see that talent from the Rays' organization makes up 25 percent of that group. Being in that group guarantees nothing as guys like Whelan are wearing that Quad-A label loud and proud, but there is some good talent in that group. Not only did De La Rosa do well in that regard in Triple-A, he excelled in several metrics while pitching for Durham last season. The chart below shows the average score for the 230 pitchers in the selection pool for the article I wrote compared to De La Rosa's score in each (data courtesy of minorleaguecentral.com)

OSwing% 11% 10%
ZSwing% 70% 75%
OCon% 37% 26%
ZCon% 83% 72%
Zone% 58% 60%
SwSTR% 73% 76%
P/PA 3.8 4.1
Swing% 45% 48%
Con% 79% 68%
K/BB 2.3 3.2
AB/K 5.0 3.1
KS/KL 3.7 5.8
K% 19% 28%
BB% 9% 9%
LD% 19% 20%
GB% 42% 43%
OFFB% 28% 26%
GB/FB 1.3 1.3
BABIP .313 .324
HR/OFB 11% 17%
vsISO .144 .128
H/9 9.3 8.1
HR/9 0.9 1.0
BB/9 3.6 3.3
K/9 7.4 10.6
ERA 4.41 3.20
FIP 4.17 3.56
SIERA 4.17 2.99


You will quickly notice that De La Rosa outpaced the average performance in most of those metrics, with the caveat that the numbers include pitchers from both the International League and the more hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. Still, the fact he exceeded the average in so many categories is quite impressive. 

What he can do at the big league level is a giant unknown as he only has 7.1 innings of experience and the early returns are a mixed bag of nuts. Still, only Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Jake McGee, and Brandon Gomes should have guaranteed roles in the 2012 bullpen barring injury, surprise trade, or complete Grapefruit League implosion. Gomes was the only one of the four players obtained in the Jason Bartlett trade to show any major league value in 2011 but De La Rosa shows the potential to join Gomes in 2012 as a positive contributor. 

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