Unreal. Look at what a kid Cone was here. If Broder’s information is correct, and this is from 1986, it would have made him 23. And he looks all of it, too. What I really want to look at, though, are Cone’s numbers coming into KC. Was he a worthy candidate? The answer kind of surprised me, actually. Cone’s record entering 1986 was 39-34, not too bad, with a 2.20 ERA. Good looking prospect, right? Well, not so fast. First of all, he was hurt by the jumps to AA and AAA, putting up bad win-loss records and ERAs.
Of course, that doesn’t tell the whole story. How about the peripherals? As you would guess, his hits/9, BB/9, and K/9 took a hit with the AA and AAA jumps. He went from an average 7.07 H/9 with a 6.87 K/9 in the low minors to an 8.55 H/9 with a 6 K/9. So that kind of points toward him having a fairly off time in the majors when he was called up in 1986, despite improving tremendously in AAA in 1986. The big question for me would have been whether that year was the fluke or the earlier jumps were the flukes.
Well, as we all know, he became a 20 game winner with the Mets two years later, and went on to a very productive career. But there were some legitimate resons to question whether he’d be a successful major leaguer early on. Interesting, huh?