Which 2013 Draft Pick Had the Best Professional Debut?

Mason Katz points to his future... or his past... I don't know. - Crystal Logiudice-US PRESSWIRE

With the minor league season coming to an end, we take a look at the inherently small sample size performances of the Cardinals' 2013 draft class.

To get a better feel for how 2013 picks have fared since being drafted, I decided to list their stats all in one place. Hitters and pitchers were split into two different tables. The statistics are current for games prior to 9/1/13, which means that these numbers will exclude a couple of games for Peoria (A) and State College (A-) players.

Pitching statistics were taken from Minor League Central. Hitters stats are from FanGraphs since they list wRC+, a stat that contextualizes a player's performance by comparing him against the league in which he plays. Most of you know this by now, every point above or below 100 represents a percentage point better or worse than league average. Players who have not yet appeared at any level were omitted.

Pitchers
Player Rd, Pick Level(s) IP K% BB% GB% BABIP ERA FIP
Marco Gonzales 1, 19 GCL, A+ 23.1 24.7% 8.6% 40.3% .279 2.70 2.81
Rob Kaminsky 1, 28 GCL 22.0 28.6% 9.2% 51.7% .373 3.68 2.61
Mike Mayers 3, 93 GCL, A 36.1 18.1% 7.4% 49.1% .299 2.97 3.70
Ian McKinney 5, 155 GCL 30.1 19.2% 9.6% 39.5% .274 0.89 3.10
Jimmy Reed 6, 185 A- 52.2 18.4% 5.5% 50.6% .309 2.05 2.92
Andrew Pierce 8, 245 A- 38.2 21.6% 3.7% 58.0% .345 2.33 2.01
Nick Petree 9, 275 A- 50.0 22.2% 7.2% 50.0% .273 1.08 3.02
Steven Farinaro 11, 335 GCL 24.1 18.3% 5.2% 38.4% .405 6.29 3.53
Chase Brookshire 20, 605 A- 17.2 22.5% 4.2% 50.0% .327 1.53 1.90
Zach Loraine 21, 635 R 39.2 29.2% 6.8% 36.3% .283 2.04 1.91
Michael Holback 25, 755 R 33.0 31.4% 12.1% 50.6% .311 2.18 2.65
Will Anderson 26, 785 R 42.0 16.0% 3.4% 56.4% .331 4.50 3.60
Kyle Webb 32, 965 A- 23.0 17.2% 4.0% 52.0% .338 3.52 2.50
Nick Lomascolo 34, 1025 R 31.0 31.9% 16.3% 29.4% .297 2.90 3.49
Blake McKnight 38, 1145 R 60.1 18.8% 3.3% 57.1% .301 2.54 2.39
Kevin Herget 39, 1175 A- 44.0 14.1% 3.3% 46.3% .366 3.07 3.36
Arturo Reyes 40, 1205 A- 38.1 14.9% 8.4% 54.7% .250 1.88 4.11

Not surprisingly, the Cardinals' number one draft pick, Marco Gonzales, advanced the furthest through the system. His performance was solid in that he missed a decent amount of bats and showed average control. Blake McKnight logged the most innings and walked the fewest percentage of batters. Two players (Michael Holback and Nick Lomascolo) struck out at least 30% of the batters they faced, but they also handed out too many free passes.

When considering a combination of results (ERA), peripherals (FIP), and innings pitched, Zach Loraine of the Johnson City Cardinals arguably had the best performance. Factor in level, and Nick Petree or Andrew Pierce probably get the nod.

Hitters
Player Rd, Pick Level(s) PA K% BB% AVG OBP SLG ISO BABIP wRC+
Oscar Mercado 2, 57 GCL 179 21.2% 9.5% .199 .285 .301 .103 .250 79
Mason Katz 4, 125 A- 218 21.1% 9.2% .255 .349 .367 .112 .324 120
Chris Rivera 7, 215 GCL 139 23.0% 5.8% .188 .245 .328 .141 .215 72
Malik Collymore 10, 305 GCL 60 38.3% 5.0% .228 .267 .333 .105 .364 79
Ricardo Bautista 12, 365 GCL 118 22.9% 11.9% .237 .333 .299 .062 .311 95
Jimmy Bosco 13, 395 A- 250 20.4% 7.6% .288 .347 .447 .159 .358 139
Elier Rodriguez 14, 425 GCL 116 22.4% 6.9% .272 .330 .320 .049 .354 98
DeAndre Asbury 15, 455 GCL 130 26.9% 6.2% .175 .260 .237 .061 .253 54
Richy Pedroza 17, 515 R 152 9.9% 17.8% .270 .408 .361 .090 .306 132
J.J. Altobelli 18, 545 R 188 16.0% 8.5% .284 .353 .414 .130 .336 124
Michael Schulze 19, 575 A- 106 6.6% 2.8% .283 .311 .354 .071 .312 100
Luke Voit 22, 665 A- 159 16.4% 11.3% .231 .346 .306 .075 .271 106
Alex De Leon 23, 695 A- 115 27.8% 7.0% .208 .287 .366 .158 .254 100
Devante Lacy 24, 725 R 68 33.8% 4.4% .190 .235 .238 .048 .293 38
Jake Stone 27, 815 GCL 148 14.9% 9.5% .302 .378 .442 .140 .352 144
Justin Ringo 28, 845 R 231 9.5% 11.3% .300 .387 .445 .145 .312 142
Vaughn Bryan 35, 1055 R 261 20.7% 8.4% .275 .337 .390 .114 .343 111
Anthony Ray 36, 1085 GCL 134 20.9% 4.5% .226 .271 .282 .056 .289 67

While James Ramsey and Stephen Piscotty both started above low-A in 2012, none of this year's hitters advanced beyond State College (A-). Of the three early-round "shortstops" drafted by the Cardinals, Oscar Mercado was the only one to actually appear at the position while Chris Rivera and Malik Collymore split time between second base and DH.

Deciding which hitters had the best professional debut is a little easier with the all-encompassing wRC+. Jake Stone and Justin Ringo are two late round picks who stand out by this measure, but Ringo accumulated more plate appearances and played at a higher level (Johnson City compared to the GCL). Ringo combined decent pop with a sound approach at the plate that included more walks (26) than strikeouts (22).

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