Name: Drew Pomeranz
Notable 2011 Stats: 1.87 ERA, 2.36 FIP, 2 HRA, 32 BB, 95 K, and 51% GB% in 77 IP with Kinston (High-A);
2.57 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 1 HRA, 6 BB, 17 K, and 26% GB% in 14 IP with Akron (AA);
0.00 ERA, 1.80 FIP, 0 HRA, 0 BB, 7 K, and 29% GB% in 10 IP with Tulsa (AA);
1.78 ERA, 2.39 FIP, 3 HRA, 38 BB, 119 K, and 45% GB% in 101 IP total in minors;
5.40 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 0 HRA, 5 BB, 13 K, and 47.4% GB% in 18 1/3 IP with Rockies
Why He’s This High: Pomeranz blitzed through the minors in less than one season, throwing just 101 minor league frames in his first year of pro ball before making four decent starts with the Rockies in September. While he may have been slightly rushed to the majors, his minor league results were beyond reproach at both the High-A and Double-A levels.
The fifth overall pick in 2010 by the Indians, Pomeranz has a deceptive wraparound delivery that hides the ball extraordinarily well. He features an average fastball with some sink and a plus curveball, and his delivery and curveball help him maintain effectiveness against righties as well as lefties.
Thanks to the sink on his pitches, Pomeranz does a nice job getting ground balls, and he did a nice job keeping the ball in the park, just allowing three homers in the minors and none in the majors.
Why He’s This Low: It’s easy to look at Pomeranz’s draft position and early results and picture him as a huge stuff guy, but he’s more of a Mike Minor type of pitcher, and his stuff may not even be that good. He worked mostly at 87-91 mph in the majors, touching 92 occasionally, so he’s not overpowering hitters with sheer velocity. He also doesn’t have much of a changeup, as his curve’s been good enough for him to get by as mainly a two-pitch guy to this point.
While the early returns on Pomeranz in the upper levels are good, we should remember that he’s thrown all of 42 1/3 innings at Double-A or higher, and he’s already 23 years old. He also wasn’t completely pristine in High-A, as his 32 walks in 77 innings attest.
Conclusions: I feel like Pomeranz is this year’s Zach Britton–a nice young lefthander who is close to the majors and has solid mid-rotation upside, but is often made out to be perhaps a bit more than what he is. I really don’t see why he’s considered miles ahead of a guy like David Holmberg (who I rank exactly two spots below him on this list)–they both are big lefties with fairly similar stuff, and they performed somewhat similarly in High-A this year, except Holmberg was 19 and Pomeranz was 22. Heck, just by that, you’d think Holmberg was better!
Pomeranz certainly has some good things going for him, and he could break camp in a big league rotation in 2012, never to look back. However, his arsenal isn’t deep and he lacks premium velocity, so I’m finding it quite difficult to envision him as a front-of-the-rotation starter.
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