I know, it's been a little slow around here. Inexcusable, what with pitchers and catchers reporting in just a few days. It'll pick up...pronto.
Until then, how about this factoid I couldn't help but notice when I was playing around with this year's ZiPS projections. We all know what a disappointment Ben Hendrickson has been, right? MVP-caliber year in AAA in '04, real tough time after his callup, never really got his stuff together last year. He'll be 25 this year, and ZiPS has him projected for a 4.71 ERA, a little more than a hit per inning, and a 2/1 K/BB ratio. Not great, but that would certainly do for the #5 hole in a lot of rotations.
There's this other guy, a year older, also spent last year in AAA. ZiPS projects him for a 4.78 ERA, about the same H/IP, and a slightly weaker, but very similar K/BB. That guy is Rich Hill--one of the players the Cubs have been reluctant to part with in trade rumors concerning Miguel Tejada and Barry Zito.
Of course, comparisons aren't as simple as all that--there's reason to believe that Hendrickson's struggles may be partly mental, and ZiPS does tend to be a little optimistic about guys who have mastered AAA but haven't yet convincingly made the jump. And, Rich Hill might be terribly overrated; he may follow Hendrickson's career path to this point and never amount to anything.
It does make you a little more excited about our 25-year-old pitching prospect, though, doesn't it?