MLB Prospects: 9 Must-See Young Pitchers in MLB's Weekend Games

Mike Rosenbaum@GoldenSombreroMLB Prospects Lead WriterApril 27, 2012

MLB Prospects: 9 Must-See Young Pitchers in MLB's Weekend Games

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    Heading into the weekend, there are a number of young starting pitchers scheduled to toe the slab who are worth watching.  While some of these pitchers are rookies, others are several years into their respective big league careers. 

    Regardless, they are absolutely worth checking out this weekend and for years to come.

    Here is your weekend preview.

Friday: (BOS) Daniel Bard @ Chicago White Sox: Friday, 8:10 PM ET

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    Despite owning a 1-2 record through his first three outings, Bard has been one of the bright spots in a scuffling Red Sox starting rotation.  Granted, his lack of command has forced him to leave too many starts already with runners on base, but his stuff continues to be electric. 

    In his last start on April 16 against the Tampa Bay Rays, Bard was saddled with the loss after tossing 6.2 innings of one-run baseball, as he both walked and struck out seven batters. He was then moved back to the bullpen temporarily where he picked up his first win of the season against the Twins on April 23. 

    If Bard can somehow tone down his walks as he did in his first start, he’d in turn have a lower pitch count and work deeper into games.

Friday: (NYM) Chris Schwinden @ Colorado Rockies, 8:40 PM ET

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    The 25-year-old right-hander will make his season debut on Friday night at Coors Field.  Schwinden, who made four starts for the Mets in 2011 (0-2, 4.26 xFIP, 17 K/6 BB in 21 innings) will be replacing the injured Mike Pelfrey in the rotation.

    Pitching at Triple-A to begin the 2012 season, Schwinden was 2-2 through his first four starts, and registered a 2.05 ERA, 3.84 FIP and 13 K/9 BB rate.

    He’s not a strikeout pitcher by any means, so he’ll need to locate each of his pitches to be successful this season in major leagues.

Friday: (COL) Drew Pomeranz vs. New York Mets, 8:40 PM ET

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    Opposing Schwinden on Friday night, left-handed prospect Drew Pomeranz will make his third start of the young season.  In his season debut against the Diamondbacks, Pomeranz struggled as he allowed five earned runs on nine hits and two walks over 4.1 innings. If there was one positive from that start, the southpaw did record nine ground-ball outs.

    In his second start against the Brewers, Pomeranz fared considerably better, as the Ole Miss alumnus yielded just two earned runs on two hits and three walks while fanning six.

    He’ll look to build upon that start on Friday night and has the potential for a strong outing against the Mets.

Friday: (WAS) Ross Detwiler @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 10:10 PM ET

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    Detwiler has been one of the best success stories of the season, as the left-hander enters tonight’s contest with a 2-0 record over three starts spanning 16 innings.  He’s registered a 2.71 xFIP with 15 strikeouts and four walks, and has held opposing hitters to a paltry .190 batting average.

    Friday night will be a test for Detwiler, though, as he’s slated to oppose the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw on the bump.

Saturday: (DET) Drew Smyly @ New York Yankees, 4:05 PM ET

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    Of all the pitching prospects to debut this season, Smyly has easily been the most impressive.  A bulldog on the mound, the left-hander is aggressive with how he attacks both right and left-handed hitters, working both sides of the plate with all his pitches.

    He’s yet to pick up his first win in the major leagues—not that wins matter—in his first three starts, but has still posted some impressive numbers: 16 IP, 8.44 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, 1.13 ERA, and 3.52 xFIP. 

Saturday: (ATL) Randall Delgado vs. Pittsburgh Pirates, 7:10 PM ET

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    After breaking camp as the Braves’ fifth starter over fellow (and more highly-touted) prospect Julio Teheran, Delgado is 2-1 in his first three starts. However, that’s not to say that he’s been particularly effective.

    Over 15.2 innings, Delgado has registered a 5.74 ERA, though his xFIP sits at a more respectable 3.70.  He’s fanned 17 batters thus far, but has also walked nine while giving up 15 hits.  He’s pitched well enough to hang around, but don’t expect the Braves to tolerate ongoing ineffectiveness, especially with Teheran in the minors.

Saturday: (WAS) Stephen Strasburg @ Los Angeles Dodgers, 9:10 PM ET

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    Strasburg looks like a pitcher capable of throwing a no-hitter each time he takes the mound. His stuff? Electric. His command? Superb. Suffice it to say, the right-hander has established himself as one of the top pitchers in the game this season.

    Through his first four starts, Strasburg has posted a 1.08 ERA and 2.88 xFIP, and has already registered a 1.0 fWAR.  In 25 innings, he’s fanned 25 batters compared to only six walks.

    There have been plenty of pitchers with electric stuff like Strasburg, but it’s his command that separates him from the field. Every one of his starts has been a must-watch event.

Sunday: (SFO) Madison Bumgarner vs. San Diego Padres, 4:05 PM ET

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    My preseason prediction to win the National League Cy Young, Bumgarner is an ace trapped behind Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain in the Giants’ starting rotation.  The left-hander is 3-1 after his first four starts while posting a 2.96 ERA and 4.49 xFIP.  He’s logged 24.1 innings for the Giants and has tossed at least six innings in each of his last three starts.  Although he’s been effective, Bumgarner’s strikeout totals are down, as he’s only fanned 11 batters compared to seven walks.

    However, he could easily reverse that trend on Sunday when he faces a soft-hitting Padres lineup in San Francisco.  On a side note, it was a great move locking this kid up.

Sunday: (COL) Jamie Moyer vs. New York Mets, 3:10 PM ET

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    Okay, so I’m kidding.

    But really, why wouldn’t you want to watch this guy?