So I remember and earlier thread when I said that Wade Davis wasn't the best pitching prospect on his team. After reviewing the information, the guys are neck and neck. Let's look at some information and see if we can come to a decision.
Age and Level
Davis split time between the bigs and AAA as a 24 year old. Usually, you'd like a guy to be a little younger than that in AAA (he spent a year and half in each AA and AAA). He's basically been one year a level type prospect. Hellickson split time between AA and AAA as a 22 year old. That's about what you would want from a a big time prospect. Frankly, given how conservative the Rays are with some of their guys, it's entirely possible that Hellickson will spend most, or all, of the year in AAA, and then he's in the same spot as Davis. Given that, I think this one is a push.
You can't teach speed, and Wade Davis has it. His fastball tops at 96, and he regularly sits at 93. Hellickson is no slouch either. He can touch 94 and he sits in the low 90s. Slight edge to Davis here.
Davis has a great curveball, and it certainly rates as a plus pitch. However, his changeup is not even considered average. I've also read he throws a cutter that is at least an average pitch (can somebody confirm that btw?). Hellickson has 2 plus secondary pitches, a curveball and changeup. Both pitches are big league ready and can be getting hitters out. Slight edge to Hellickson here.
As far as I can tell, Davis has never missed any significant time. Hellickson missed a start last year with a shoulder strain ("supraspinatus sprain in his shoulder"). This appears very minor, as it occurred on a pick off move. Still, you never like to hear about shoulder strains. I don't know enough about mechanics to make an educated guess, but slight edge to Davis here.
Davis has 2.32 SO/BB ratio in AAA. That's good, but not great. His walk rate was a little high at 3.6 bb/9. Career MiLB stats are 2.63 SO/BB and 3.3 BB/9. A little high, but nothing to scoff at. Hellickson had 4.67 so/bb in AAA and a 2.4 bb/9. Overall MiLB numbers are 5.07 so/bb and 2.0 bb/9. That's outstanding. Edge to Hellickson.
Sickels has Hellickson above Davis. So does Goldstein (BP), Baseball America, Fangraphs, and The Hardball Times. Mayo (MLB Network) and Law have Davis first. So does USA Today and the Forecaster. Project Prospect has a huge disparity in them, with Davis in the top 30 and Hellickson somewhere outside the top 50. Pretty close, but Hellickson gets the edge.
For those keeping score, that's Hellickson 3, Davis 2. For me the command seals the deal. So, missing anything above? Who really is the best pitching prospect on the team?
In my fridge: Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout (KBS), Central Waters Peruvian Morning, Bell's Batch 10,000, Dale's Pale Ale, Capital Brewery Amber, New Glarus Moon Man, and Guinness.