This really was an easy choice considering how dominant this pitcher was for Los Mochis of the Mexican Pacific League. I was just surprised the KC Royals did not invite him to big league spring training.
The top pitcher award during the winter ball season goes to right-handed reliever Spencer Patton. For those of you who visit this site often, you know how much I rave about him. But numbers do not lie.
Patton left the MPL before Christmas to head home, which was before the regular season ended. However, he still ended up with ten saves and 32 strikeouts in 20 appearances.
Somehow in my everyday checking of winter league box scores, I missed his first five appearances. But his final 15 outings were impressive. He allowed just two hits over his final ten outings and did not allow a run (he only allowed a total of two runs in winter ball). He walked just four over his final 15 appearances (just six total).
Opponents in Mexico collected just ten hits off Patton in 25 innings (.119 average). His two wins came in his next to last week in the MPL. He had two wins and one save in his three appearances that week. All-in-all, he had just a 0.72 ERA.
Patton flat out dominated.
That was coming off a successful 2013 regular season where he went from High-A Wilmington, to Double-A NW Arkansas, to Triple-A Omaha to help the Storm Chasers win the Triple-A Championship.
If Patton continues his dominance over opposing hitters, he could be helping the Royals reach the postseason as a September callup in 2014. If not, I expect to see him in the big leagues by 2015.
*I am taking a short two day break (it could be more if something big goes down with the Royals over the next few days) from looking at the possible diamonds in the rough from the last two drafts.