Randall Delgado made a lot of strides in 2011, ending up in the major league rotation to finish the season, but at the end of the day, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Delgado's year started in Mississippi, where he started 21 games and threw 117 1/3 innings. In his stint at Mississippi, he struck out 110, walked 46, and allowed 11 homers, all coming together to give him a 3.82 FIP.
He took a step back after being promoted to Gwinnett, where in four starts, Delgado threw 21 2/3 innings while striking out 25, walking 11, and allowing four homers. That is a 4.82 FIP stint in AAA.
Then in Atlanta, Delgado would get seven starts over the course of the season. Despite a 2.83 ERA, Delgado threw just 35 innings in his seven starts, striking out 18, walking 14, and allowing five homers. That's a 5.14 FIP, over two runs higher than his ERA.
At the end of the day, Delgado is a fantastic prospect, especially when you consider that he threw 174 innings over three levels at age 21. That's an admirable thing. Regardless of all that, and his low ERA in the majors last year, Delgado is absolutely not ready for the majors. He showed that he wasn't ready during his stint at Gwinnett, where he allowed too many homers and walked too many batters. But because of injuries, he was given the shot in the major league rotation, and he held his own.
With the Braves glut of starting pitching right now, Delgado is probably seventh overall among starting pitchers on Atlanta's depth chart, behind the five major league starters and top prospect Julio Teheran. I'd put him above Arodys Vizcaino due to Vizcaino's use in the bullpen last year and his unsure future as a starter or a reliever. At any rate, Delgado will be starting his year in Gwinnett, with another shot in Atlanta looming in case of an injury to one of the starters. I'd assume that the decision on whether or not to call up Teheran or him would be based on who's scheduled start is closest to the needed start, much like it was last season.
At any rate, we should be seeing Delgado again very soon. But it won't be on Opening Day at Citi Field.Check out Delgado's projection on THT here
Photo credit to Joe Lucia