2006 Ranking: NR
Cardinal: Selected in the 21st round of the June 2004 First-Year Player
Draft. 2006 G SV IP H BB K ERA WHIP
Jason Scott (24): Drafted in 2004, Sillman made our list for the first time this year. Using a deceptive submarine-style delivery and a slider that is said to be nearly unhittable, Sillman dominated the Florida State League in 2006 with opponents hitting just .167 against him. I don't see Sillman as a closer in the Major Leagues, but I do believe he could make a reliable reliever within the next couple seasons. I expect him to start the season as the closer for Springfield.
Leonda Markee (28): Sillman enters The Birdhouse's Top 40 for the first time this season and at exactly the slot at which I ranked him. His main strength this season was his K rate, 13.5, which led all Cardinals' minor league pitchers. Sillman's K/BB rate was 4.3 and he gave up just two home runs for the season. Sillman had the sixth-best DIPS numbers of the ninety-five pitchers in the Cardinals' system on whom calculations were done. The downside is his age (he turned 25 at the beginning of December) and his reliever status. Sillman's highest possible worth comes as a closer but that outcome is not likely at the Major League level. Most major league closers started at some point in their professional careers and Sillman has not. Still, anyone that can strikeout batters the way he did this year at high-A bears watching. He should start 2007 in the Springfield bullpen.
Ray Mileur (26): Sillman spent this season playing High-A ball for the Palm Beach Cardinals where he again led the team and was second in all of Minor League Baseball with 35 saves in 57 games. Sillman also led his team with a 1.10 ERA and recorded 13.50 strikeouts per nine innings pitched, ranking him second in Class-A.
Sillman had a strike out-to-walk ratio of better than 4 to 1, striking out 86 while walking just 20. His home ERA was a microscopic 0.56 in 30 games. He was the only member of the Palm Beach Cardinals to be named to the Florida State League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star team.
In November the Topps Company of New York in conjunction Minor League Baseball announced its 2006 Topps Class-A All-Star Team and Sillman was named as the All-Star Relief Pitcher.
I'm not sure closing in the minor leagues is the fastest way to get to the majors, but it is hard for anyone to ignore Sillman's 2006 season.
Brian Walton (NR): The former University of Nebraska closer opened eyes as he racked up great numbers at Palm Beach: 1.10 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 57 innings pitched. Coming off a record-setting year at Palm Beach, how will he fare in Double-A in 2007?
I fear the answer is not nearly as well. Now 25, Sillman is known as a finesse pitcher and doesn't seem to project as a major league closer. Especially at this level of play, those with the best arms are starting, not closing.
His best hope is to evolve into a set-up role, though I still see the odds being medium-high that doesn't happen. Hence, Sillman missed my Top 40.
STAFF COMMENTS KEY: Staff Member (Individual Ranking), NR = Not Rated
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