The Curious Case Of Thomas Shirley And David Rollins
World Series Champions!! This is what every team, player and fan longs to hear. Though free agents and top prospects are a strong way to build a championship team, sometimes depth in the system is very important. There will be guys who fly under the radar and be a big time contributor to a big league club down the road.
As the old saying goes, “pitching wins championships”, the Houston Astros have a couple of left handed pitchers in Corpus Christi (AA Affiliate) who have flown under the radar but continue to have success. These pitchers are Thomas Shirley and David Rollins.
Thomas Shirley, LHP, (DOB: 11/11/88)
Shirley was drafted in the 9th round out of Xavier University in 2010 and has been moving up the system ever since. He was never considered a big time prospect but he has great size (6-5, 220 lbs) and has always produced at every level.
Since joining the Astros system, the worst ERA he has posted in a season is 3.35. Shirley has always had good command with a career strikeout rate of 2.9 BB/9 and 9.2 SO/9. He has been slightly older than the average in every minor league stop but at some point, the numbers can not be ignored.
Shirley started out 2014 very strong and has continued to dominate.
2014 Stats: 5-3, 1.90 ERA, 75.2 IP, 53 H, 16 ER, 15 BB, 69 SO, 0.89 WHIP, 6.3 H/9, 1.8 BB/9, 8.2 SO/9
David Rollins, LHP, (DOB: 12/21/89)
Rollins was drafted in the 24th round out of San Jacinto College in 2011 by the Toronto Blue Jays. Rollins was acquired by the Houston Astros in the a 10-player trade in July 2012. Rollins, like Shirley, is a left handed pitcher that has also flown under the radar. The worst ERA he has posted in a season in his minor league career is 3.89.
Rollins may lack ideal size but he makes up for with his quick work and command of the strike zone. Rollins has a minor league career walk rate of 2.9 BB/9. Last season Rollins split time between A+/AA including a spot start in AAA. In that spot start Rollins went 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 SO for Oklahoma City.
Rollins suffered an injury in early April but has come back and pitched great since.
2014 Stats: 1-2, 2.84 ERA, 38.0 IP, 32 H, 12 ER, 10 BB, 40 SO, 1.10 WHIP, 7.6 H/9, 2.4 BB/9, 9.5 SO/9
Though these guys may never be consider “top prospects” they have worked their way through the minor league system and have found continued success in AA. I think it is safe to say that they will end up in AAA this season with a shot at helping the Houston Astros sometime next season.