The 2006 season has featured an impressive crop of rookie pitchers, many of whom are also solid prospects going forward. Here's my ranking of the 10 best in the group, considering both how they're likely to do the rest of this year and how they're likely to perform over the next five years.
Chad Billingsley, rhp, Los Angeles Dodgers
I'm not sure if Billingsley's listed height of 6 feet, 2 inches is an illusion, or if he just looks short because he has a stocky build rather than the traditional power-pitcher's frame. Of course, there's no reason a power pitcher has to be lanky.
Billingsley pitches primarily off his 89-94 mph straight fastball. His best pitch is a 12-to-6 curve that he commands very well, although now and then he'll release one a little early and end up with a softer curve that's more of a hanger. His changeup is a work in progress and he hasn't used it much in the majors. He's easily the least advanced of all of the pitchers on this list, and he'll probably end up getting a little more AAA time before he's up for good by September.