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May 192010

Today, its time to look at probably the guy with the most helium in the system right now, Hector Noesi. His stat line is a thing of beauty:

Year Age Tm Lg Lev ERA G IP H R ER HR BB SO H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2006 19 Yankees GULF Rk 1.29 5 7.0 5 1 1 0 1 11 6.4 0.0 1.3 14.1 11.00
2007 20 Charleston SALL A 4.50 5 20.0 25 10 10 2 8 11 11.2 0.9 3.6 5.0 1.38
2008 21 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk-A- 3.33 14 48.2 43 23 18 7 10 55 8.0 1.3 1.8 10.2 5.50
2008 21 Yankees GULF Rk 3.65 9 24.2 23 11 10 2 3 24 8.4 0.7 1.1 8.8 8.00
2008 21 Staten Island NYPL A- 3.00 5 24.0 20 12 8 5 7 31 7.5 1.9 2.6 11.6 4.43
2009 22 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-A+ 2.92 26 117.0 96 42 38 6 15 118 7.4 0.5 1.2 9.1 7.87
2009 22 Charleston SALL A 2.38 17 75.2 62 24 20 3 11 78 7.4 0.4 1.3 9.3 7.09
2009 22 Tampa FLOR A+ 3.92 9 41.1 34 18 18 3 4 40 7.4 0.7 0.9 8.7 10.00
2010 23 Tampa FLOR A+ 2.72 8 43.0 35 14 13 3 6 53 7.3 0.6 1.3 11.1 8.83
5 Seasons 3.06 58 235.2 204 90 80 18 40 248 7.8 0.7 1.5 9.5 6.20
Let’s just get this out the way: that K/BB ratio is pretty much the best you’re ever going to see from a minor league pitcher. He couples pretty strong strike rates with amazing control. Walk rates generally start to rise as pitchers climb the minor league ladder with lesser stuff. Noesi’s stuff isn’t really too suspect (90-91 mph with good secondary stuff), but it also isn’t exemplary. I don’t expect him to post a 1.1 BB/9 in the majors. However, he could double his BB rate and still have plus major league control, which could make him a useful pitcher even if the wheels come off everything else. His strikeout rate is strong, and robust enough to survive a similar drop as he ascends.

Now that he’s finally in Trenton, Noesi will have more eyes on him. We’ll be able to get a read on a key remaining question: is he a starter or reliever on a first-place team? I think he is a starting pitcher, and could lock down a rotation spot in New York as early as mid-2011.

However, I do think that Noesi faces several significant road blocks along the way. Injuries will always be a concern for him following his 2007 Tommy John surgery. He followed that up with a 2008 suspension for a positive drug test. The result is that Noesi’s 117 innings in 2009 represented his first full minor league season at the ripe age of 22. We don’t know if he can handle a full major league workload as a starting pitcher yet. We do know, however, that he can get hitters out, and go deep in to games when his leash is let go.

The Yankees promoted Noesi to Double-A, and he will probably start there Thursday.  To make room for him, the Yankees finally made the necessary move and pushed Ryan Pope to the bullpen. I think he’ll be in Trenton for the rest of the season. While the Yankees have shown a willingness (Kennedy, Joba, Melancon, Aceves) to move more experienced prospects quickly from Double-A to Triple-A in the past. Still, I think that Noesi needs some time to build up his innings. With Nova and McAllister hanging out in Scranton, there is no pressing need. The Yankees hold option years for Noesi for both 2011 and 2012.

I hesitated to pull the trigger on Hector (and others) in my fall top-30 prospect ranking, but I won’t make the same mistake again. I plan on being very aggressive across the board with my spring ranking. A preview: Hector is the third best starting pitcher in the organization, behind Zach McAllister and Ivan Nova. Now hopefully he doesn’t burn me.

Tomorrow, its time to look at Brandon Laird.

2 Responses to “Rising: Hector Noesi”

  1. I like him better than Ivan Nova.He has a better arm.  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

  2. Hey EJ -
    Thanks for the look at Noesi. I’ve been watching him, and saw him a bit during ST. Wasn’t blown away by his stuff, but he doesn’t seem like the electric blow-away kind of guy. More the workhorse who gets the job done.

    Here’s a question for you: Why do you think Melancon just hasn’t been able to show the same success at the MLB level as he has in the minors? Is it just that he needs some time? Or are there real reasons to be concerned? I’ve always been excited to watch Melancon pitch when he’s been called up, but I’m honestly starting to lose faith that he can contribute at the MLB level. Hopefully time proves me wrong. Thoughts?

    Thanks,

    JLG  (Quote)

    [Reply To This Comment]

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