Chris Sale, Matt Moore and Baseball's 10 Most Electric Young Lefthanders
On Monday, two of the game's top young left-handers squared off as the White Sox' Chris Sale and the Rays' Matt Moore took the hill.
The White Sox came away with a 2-1 win, but both pitchers were impressive as Sale (7.1 IP, 15 Ks) and Moore (7 IP, 10 Ks) both pitched well enough to win.
Those two are not the only southpaws who have a bright future, as there are a number of good young left-handers on their way to making a big impact in the MLB.
Here is a look at the top 10 most electric young left-handers in baseball, with starters, relievers and minor leaguers all included.
To provide some guidelines, I only included pitchers with two seasons or less of big league experience in their current role. So while guys like Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw can certainly be considered young they have already experienced a good deal of success so were not included.
Robbie Ross, Texas Rangers
18 GS, 5-0, 1.85 ERA, 17 Ks, 24.1 IP
Wade Miley, Arizona Diamondbacks
10 G, 7 GS, 6-1, 2.41 ERA, 32 Ks, 52.1 IP
Jesse Biddle, Philadelphia Phillies
9 GS, 2-2, 3.12 ERA, 43 Ks, 43.1 IP (at High Single-A)
Jed Bradley, Milwaukee Brewers
9 GS, 4-4, 3.94 ERA, 38 Ks, 48 IP (at High Single-A)
Scott Diamond, Minnesota Twins
5 GS, 3-1, 2.27 ERA, 21 Ks, 31.2 IP
Martin Perez, Texas Rangers
10 GS, 3-4, 5.80 ERA, 32 Ks, 49.2 IP (at Triple-A)
Mike Montgomery, Kansas City Royals
10 GS, 2-2, 5.17 ERA, 37 Ks, 55.2 IP (at Triple-A)
10. Drew Pomeranz, Colorado Rockies
2012 Stats: 5 GS, 0-2, 4.70 ERA, 20 Ks, 23 IP
The prize acquisition of last season's Ubaldo Jimenez to the Indians trade, Pomeranz was the fifth-overall pick in the 2010 draft.
In 20 minor league starts last season, he went 4-3 with a 1.78 ERA and 119 Ks in 101 innings pitched, and while he has yet to hit his stride this season, he has the potential to be a future staff ace.
9. Tyler Skaggs, Arizona Diamondbacks
2012 Stats: 9 GS, 3-3, 2.72 ERA, 52 Ks, 46.1 IP (at Triple-A)
Acquired from the Angels in the Dan Haren trade, Skaggs spent half of last season in Double-A at the age of 19 and he has started the year there again in 2012.
The Diamondbacks won't rush him, but if he continues to pitch at his current level he'll play his way into the MLB rotation. Combined with Trevor Bauer, Wade Miley and Archie Bradley the Diamondbacks have the makings of a dominant future rotation.
8. Jake McGee, Tampa Bay Rays
2012 Stats: 21 G, 2-1, 1.65 ERA, 20 Ks, 16.1 IP
Drafted back in 2004 out of high school, McGee was a top prospect as a starter. With the rotation full in Tampa Bay, he moved to the bullpen last year and saw his first significant big league action.
After appearing in 37 games and posting a 4.50 ERA in 28 innings of work, McGee has taken a big step forward this season and he has the overpowering stuff to profile as the team's closer of the future.
7. Manny Banuelos, New York Yankees
2012 Stats: 6 GS, 0-2, 4.50 ERA, 22 Ks, 24 IP (at Triple-A)
After spending the end of last season at Triple-A, Banuelos has opened the year there and while he has struggled a bit, the Yankees remain incredibly high on him.
He'll likely be a major part of the Yankees rotation moving forward, and could be called up sooner rather than later as they have struggled to find consistent starting pitching over the last few seasons.
6. Felix Doubront, Boston Red Sox
2012 Stats: 10 GS, 5-2, 3.86 ERA, 59 Ks, 56 IP
A Red Sox top prospect since signing as a 17-year-old, Doubront has seen limited big league action over the past two seasons, mostly as a reliever.
However, with two rotation spots open this spring, he managed to capture one and has been the Red Sox best starter so far this season, as he averages over one strikeout per inning and has a team-high five wins.
5. Danny Hultzen, Seattle Mariners
2012 Stats: 10 GS, 5-3, 1.59 ERA, 61 Ks, 56.2 IP (at Double-A)
Selected second overall in last season's draft, Hultzen started his pro career this year in Double-A and he has been dominant enough that he'll likely make his debut with the Mariners this season.
He may not have dominant, future staff-ace stuff but he is one of the most polished college arms to come along in years, and he should settle into a lengthy career as a middle-of-the-rotation starter.
4. Drew Smyly, Detroit Tigers
2012 Stats: 9 GS, 2-1, 3.14 ERA, 46 Ks, 48.2 IP
A second-round pick in 2010, Smyly made his pro debut last season and went 11-6 with a 2.07 ERA and 130 strikeouts in 126 innings, between High Single-A and Double-A, to emerge as one of the game's top left-handed pitching prospects.
While most expected top prospect Jacob Turner to fill the fifth starter spot in the Tigers rotation coming out of spring training, Smyly won the job and has been a solid No. 2 starter behind Justin Verlander.
3. Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds
2012 Stats: 21 G, 4-0, 3 Sv, 0.00 ERA, 44 Ks, 26 IP
There may be no pitcher in baseball this season that has been more dominant than Chapman, as he has just seven hits and eight walks in 26 innings of work and has a ridiculous 15.2 K/9 mark.
It remains to be seen if his future will be as a starter, but for the time being he has recently moved into the closer's role and he gives the Reds a light-out closer with stuff that is literally unmatched by anyone else in the game today.
2. Chris Sale, Chicago White Sox
2012 Stats: 10 G, 9 GS, 6-2, 2.34 ERA, 61 Ks, 57.2 IP
The White Sox first-round pick in 2010, Sale made just 11 minor league appearances after signing before he was in the White Sox bullpen.
In 79 relief appearances over the last two years, he posted a 2.58 ERA and 10.6 K/9 as the White Sox primary setup man. This year, he has moved into the rotation and has been dominant and terrific, although arm soreness forced him to the bullpen briefly.
He's a future staff ace.
1. Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays
2012 Stats: 10 GS, 1-5, 4.76 ERA, 58 Ks, 56.2 IP
While his transition from minor league stud to big league starter has been a bit bumpy so far, there is no denying the talent and potential of Matt Moore.
After piling up 594 strikeouts over 422.2 innings of work in the minor leagues the past three seasons (12.6 K/9), Moore should only get better and if his last four starts are any indication, (22 IP, 30 Ks, 3.27 ERA), he may be turning a corner.
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