Scotto looks at how Bonderman's career trajectory might have been altered by his place on the historically bad 2003 Tigers team. At an age when most pitchers would be honing their craft in the minors, Bonderman was the #2 pitcher for a team that lost 119 games.
He showed some flashes of brilliance but, not surprisingly, didn't set the world on fire (4.79 FIP, 6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9). Putting up those numbers in the majors as a 20 year old did suggest he could be a special pitcher though.
I'll let Scotto speak for himself on Bonderman's chances:
It looked like (and still does) that Bonderman's development was altered by his rise to the majors, but Bonderman was just coming into his own right when he'd have been expected to have arrived, on a normal trek through the minors.
The early results from Bonderman, in 2005, have been outstanding. While his K/9 is down, that's largely of product of his more effective pitching; his K/PA has actually risen a bit, to .220, going into tonight's contest against the Angels (he's pitched exceptionally well, as of now). His control has also been impeccable. Through 7 innings tonight, Bonderman has his BB/9 down to 2.19.
We'll never know what would have happened if Bonderman hung around in the minors for another year. But the 22-year old ace has already notched 21 major league wins and is only getting better.
I'm sold on Jeremy Bonderman.
Unfortunately Bonderman has never really gotten on track. In some seasons he's been a slightly above average starter, but he's never become the ace everyone hoped he would be. Lately Bonderman's issues have been injuries rather than ineffectiveness.
I didn't choose this article to rip on Scotto for his prediction. I chose it to highlight how uncertain pitching prospects can be. For every Roger Clemens or Felix Hernandez, there are 10 Jeremy Bondermans, and probably 50 Bryan Bullingtons.
As an interesting side note, check out the poll at the end of the article that asks readers to pick the next 200 game winner.