What to Expect: Wil Myers and Tony Cingrani (Part Two)

By Nick Tom
Steve Mitchell-USA Today Sports

You can find part one here.

Tony Cingrani

With minor leaguers, who you don’t get to watch on a daily basis like major leaguers, all you can do to gauge their quality is look at numbers and scouting reports. Unfortunately with the southpaw Cingrani, this might be misleading.

If you look at his numbers, you’ll see a bona fide stud. In rookie-ball in 2011 he posted a 1.72 ERA in 13 starts; between high-A and double-A in 2012 he posted a 1.73 ERA in 25 starts. He has a career 11.8 SO/9 and 4.63 SO/BB. He has a career sub-one WHIP, allows 5.8 H/9, and 0.4 HR/9. In 14.2 triple-A innings this season he’s yet to allow a run and has struck out 26 hitters while walking two. That’s just a 13 SO/BB.

If you skipped all those dry numbers: they’re fantastic. These numbers make me feel things I’ve never felt before — for anything, not even a girl. I picked up Cingrani and I think I felt a mix of love/lust/adulation/love/love/love/pride. Wait, this guy is this good? This is awesome!

But slow down; there are still scouting reports to look at. Because they can sometimes be extremely boring, I did you a favor and read them for you. According to Jonathan Mayo, MLB.com’s “draft and prospect expert” (I wish I had a title like that), Cingrani is considered the Cincinnati Reds‘s third-best prospect behind Billy Hamilton and Robert Stephenson, but is projected to be an average MLB’er. Mayo even considers it a surprise that he’s a starter and believes him to be a reliever in the future. Yes, this scouting report came before 2013 began, but it bodes inauspicious for Cingrani and his chances of continued success upon his call-up.

Another reason to worry is Cingrani’s ground-out/air-out rate. Even during his thus-far dominant season, he’s only getting 0.46 ground-outs for every fly-out. If you believe FanGraph’s study that says ground balls create 0.05 runs/out and fly ball create runs/out, Cingrani might struggle against stronger hitters in hitter-friendly Great American Ballpark. His above-average control will reduce the necessity for an abundance of ground balls and double plays, but even if Cingrani retains a low WHIP, he might be extremely susceptible to home runs.

Though he’s replacing injured Johnny Cueto, Cingrani will ultimately be challenging Mike Leake for a spot in the Reds rotation. Fortunately for Cingrani owners, Leake is pitching terribly. A former first-round pick, Leake’s control, strikeout ability, and overall effectiveness have regressed this year. He’s walked as many as he’s struck out and is serving up 1.5 yard monsters a game.

Cingrani will most likely be called up to pitch in a series vs. the Miami Marlins, a team easily victimized by a pitcher on a hot streak — Cingrani is one of those, obviously. If he continues to pitch as well as he has his entire professional career, the door is wide open for a permanent spot in the Cincinnati rotation. Perhaps it’d be in your best interest to catch a few innings of his first start and gauge his scary fly-ball rates. If you don’t manage to watch, do not worry, I’ll write a follow-up.

Remember though, all logic argues that Cingrani will indeed be up this week, but it’s not official yet. He was pulled after two innings in his last triple-A start, which hints at a call-up, but there’s not been any word from the Reds organization yet.

In synopsis, Wil Myers will be a better fantasy player during his career than Cingrani will be during his. Myers has the potential of a 25-homer, .300 guy with gap-power and a whole lot of doubles, while it might take a while for everyone to believe Cingrani’s production. Roster both in a keeper league; roster Myers in any league if you need OF depth.

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Again, read part one here.

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