According to the baseball prospect site Scouting Book, the No. 104 and 105 prospects in baseball right now are, respectively, left-handed pitcher Josh Outman of the Oakland A’s and right-handed pitcher Will Inman of the San Diego Padres.
And yes, I am interested in who the 105th best prospect in baseball is, aren’t you?
Outman, 24, who has about the best name for a pitcher since Barney Strikeout back in the ’20s, came over from Philadelphia in the Joe Blanton trade. He’s not just a prospect, he’s a rookie. He had a cup of coffee last year and made the A’s rotation out of spring training. After two poor starts he’s in the bullpen.
So far in two starts and two relief outings he has an ERA of 5.23, with 11 strikeouts and six walks in 10 and a third innings. He has a mid-90s fastball and an arsenal of breaking balls, but control has been a problem.
Inman, 22, is a little guy — for a pitcher, that is; he’s 6-foot, 200 pounds — who has dominated in the minors, striking out well over a batter per inning with a better-than 3-1 strikeout to walk ratio. But his size and unorthodox pitching motion have led scouts to discount the results. Here’s ESPN’s Keith Law after watching Inman pitch in the Futures Game last year:
Will Inman’s delivery drew a lot of laughs in the scouts’ section — he looks like he’s “doing the pigeon,” for you old-school “Sesame Street” fans — and he throws severely across his body with a fringe-average fastball and a big, slow-roller curveball. He’d have a hard time being a fifth starter in most parks, although Petco Park might make him a No. 3.
Inman was pretty good at Double-A with San Antonio last year, posting a 3.52 ERA in 28 starts with 140 strikeouts in 135 and a third innings, but he also walked 71, which is too many. He’s back at San Antonio, and he’s off to a rough beginning. In three starts, he’s 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA. His walks are under control, with only two in 13 innings, but so are his strikeouts — only 10 so far.
Inman vs. Outman. In vs. Out. Which is better? It’s almost like a parallel to the debate about whether bloggers (OUTsiders) or reporters (INsiders) are more effective at covering a subject, isn’t it?
No. No, it isn’t. Not even a little. That’s just stupid. But I’m going to follow Inman vs. Outman anyway.