06 January 2006

Pending Pinstripes Prospect of the Week: Colter Bean

Colter Bean (Randall Colter Bean)
Position: P
Born: January 16, 1977
Height: 6-6 Weight: 255
Bats: Right Throws: Right
College: Auburn University
Drafted: Signed as undrafted free agent by New York Yankees in 2000

Colter Bean was added to the Yankees' major league roster in September 2005, during which he pitched only one game, two innings, allowing one hit and one run. He struck out two and walked two. That's just about as small a sample size as you can get, so it doesn't help us much. His minor league numbers, encompassing stints with six different teams over three levels in six seasons, should be more telling.

Level W L ERA G IP IP/G H/9 HR/9 W/9 K/9 WHIP
A 10 3 2.39 99 131.67 1.33 5.81 0.21 3.62 13.12 1.05
AA 0 3 4.96 16 16.33 1.02 9.37 1.10 4.96 9.92 1.59
AAA 17 12 2.70 168 223.33 1.33 7.01 0.52 3.59 10.52 1.18
Total 27 18 2.69 283 371.33 1.31 6.69 0.43 3.66 11.42 1.15

I’ve broken down his stats at each level, and as you can see he spent only about 16 innings at AA (over three seasons) so it’s probably best to mostly ignore that small sample as well. I have provided his rate numbers for Hits, Home Runs, Walks, and strikeouts per nine innings, as well as WHIP (Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched) and Innings per Game. I’m going to try to post at least one analysis like this every week, and I expect that this is the basic formula I’ll use, though for starting pitchers, I may include other complete games or something else.

What’s he got going for him?

Bean is a big dude, 6′6″, 255 lbs, but he doesn't throw hard. He relies on a funky sidearm delivery, and though his fastball gets up to about 87 mph once in a while, most of his offerings are in the 76-78 mph range. Despite the lack of velocit, his strikeout rates have been consistently high throughout his career, never dipping below one per inning for any whole season. His hit rates have generally been good, usually floating around seven per nine innings, which keeps his WHIP (baserunners per inning) right around 1.1, which is quite good. He’s never allowed many homers, with only 18 total given up in almost 400 minor league innings.

What’s he got going against him?

Colter will be 29 years old in a couple of weeks, which is pretty old to be calling him a “prospect” but he’s certainly got talent. The organization has not been high on him until recently, as his 2005 numbers at Columbus don’t look much different from his 2003 or 2004 numbers, and they didn’t bring him up then. He walks a good number of batters, 3 or 4 per nine innings in the minors, and of course major league hitters not named “Neifi Perez” generally tend to be more patient than those at AAA. Bean has been used exclusively as a relief pitcher in the minors (and he only started two games in his entire college career at Auburn) and has only been asked to get about four outs per game on average, so this is his lot. Statistically speaking, minor league closers don’t usually graduate into effective major league closers, but perhaps Bean has a shot as a setup man.

Prognosis for 2006:

With two other hard-throwing righties, Octavio “Don’t Ask” Dotel and Kyle “What do You Think This” Farnsworth, in the Yankees’ bullpen, Bean won’t likely see a lot of nail-biting action in the 7th and 8th innings, but he could get his feet wet with some mop up duty. I for one would love to see him succeed, but the reality is that he’ll probably have some growing pains and bounce back and forth between Columbus and the majors a lot this year. That walk rate makes me especially nervous. Bean may have been able to fool the novices in the International League, but the likes of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez will simply wait for their pitch and clobber it if Bean makes a mistake over the plate. He’s going to need to improve that walk rate to have a major league career.

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