Jeremy Bonderman's 2007 ZiPS projection brought to you by the Baseball Think Factory:
ERA W L G Inn H ER HR BB K K/9 BB/9 HR/9 K/BB
3.60 15 8 31 205 197 82 21 56 176 7.73 2.46 0.92 3.14
These, of course, are simply computer projections that could easily be way off in a heartbeat, but let's pretend for a second that these will be Jeremy Bonderman's stats in 2007.
Bonderman will be 24 next season, and at that point will already have 4 years of major league experience for the Tigers. His rookie campaign, as everyone remembers, bordered on disastrous - he went 6-19 and almost became the 2nd Tiger pitcher that year to lose 20 games. All we heard about, though, was just how good Jeremy Bonderman would be as a major league pitcher despite his first-season struggles. Apparently the Tigers were thinking the same thing earlier this week, when they signed Bonderman to a 4-year contract extension through the 2010 season.
Looking at Jeremy's stats throughout his career (thanks to FanGraphs) the maturation process of the young pitcher is clear. In what seems to be some of the "more important" stats for a pitcher, Bonderman has improved upon his previous season stats almost like clockwork as he gets older. And if, as I said earlier, you account the 2007 projections as actual stats, this semi-recurring theme continues.
Wins ERA BB/9 HR/9 K/BB
2007 (15) 2007 (3.60) 2007 (2.46) 2006 (.76) 2006 (3.16)
2006 (14) 2006 (4.08) 2006 (2.69) 2007 (.92) 2007 (3.14)
2005 (14) 2005 (4.57) 2005 (2.71) 2005 (1.0) 2005 (2.54)
2004 (11) 2004 (4.89) 2003 (3.22) 2004 (1.2) 2004 (2.30)
2003 (6) 2003 (5.56) 2004 (3.57) 2003 (1.3) 2003 (1.86)
Of course, this is just hypothetical...but if you take out the 2007 projections Bonderman has continually improved as he matures as a major league pitcher. This is expected for someone who started out in the league so young and has had learning on the job as he has gone along.
He'll have a ceiling in the end, just like every player. But at this point it is very unclear to try and predict what that ceiling will be. Young major league pitchers are a tough group to project upon, so you never know what you're going to get out of them performance-wise. The only thing we know about Jeremy Bonderman is that he has the skills to be a great pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, and we'll be watching him through 2010. Something that seems very positive at this point.