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“Alluhring Strategy” Spring Training Scoop: 2017 Prospect Pitching Rankings Part 2

Prospect Pitching Rankings


Blue Chip Risers and 2nd Tier Contributors in 2017

So less than a week after I declare Alex Reyes the best pitching prospect for 2017…he proceeds to discover a partial tear in his pitching elbow. His season is done and deals a imgresserious blow to his projection as well as leaves the Cardinals hanging. They were counting on him for a significant contribution this year. Michael Wacha is all but guaranteed a spot in the rotation and this raises the value of Luke Weaver, who will now likely be the first man up from the Farm this season.

This week will look at Tier 2 of my prospect pitching rankings for 2017. As a reminder as well as a clarification for those that missed last week, this list is not simply the “best” pitching prospects. Rather this is the list that I believe is relevant to impact and risers during the 2017 season. That being said, last week the back-end of the Top 15 were not necessarily the best projectable pitchers, but those I felt were going to impact their teams and potentially your fantasy teams this season.


Tier 1: Likely Impact in 2017

These pitchers are top prospects or high potential contributors for this season.

Tier 2: Possible Impact in 2017 and/or Likely Impact in 2018

These pitchers are the next level prospects that could contribute in some capacity this season and Top Prospects likely to contribute next season

Tier 3: Best of the Teens, Fringe Impact in 2017 and/or Potential Impact in 2018

These highly project-able future stars are 3 years or further away and haven’t pitched in any of the upper levels of the minor leagues., and/or the next best of the prospects that could contribute in the next two years.

Tier 4: Best of the Rest

This is not a list of organizational depth players like a traditional Tier 4, rather these pitchers are guys I like to make a significant contribution in the next few years that are not household names.


This week, we will be looking at the young risers that likely won’t be in the Majors this year but if you don’t secure them now, you will likely miss out on them in your dynasty and deep keeper leagues. The back half of the list cover the next tier of potential contributors for this season.


Tier 2 – The List

16 Michael Kopech CHW 20 SP RHP A+ Mid 2018
17 Anderson Espinoza SDP 19 SP RHP A Late 2018
18 Mitch Keller PIT 20 SP RHP A+ Late 2018
19 Yadier Alvarez LAD 21 SP RHP A Late 2018
20 AJ Puk OAK 21 SP LHP A- Late 2018
21 Robert Gsellman NYM 22 SP/RP RHP MLB Early 2017
22 Sean Newcomb ATL 23 SP LHP AA Mid 2017
23 German Marquez COL 22 SP RHP MLB Mid 2017
24 Amir Garrett CIN 24 SP LHP AA Late 2017
25 Carson Fulmer CWS 23 SP/RP RHP MLB Mid 2017


imgresThe Next Big Thing

These next five guys are somewhat interchangeable but all must be on dynasty rosters this off-season or you will not get them. They are all on the younger side and I’ve seen their ETA vary from 2018 – 2020. All have proven to be a fast-riser when healthy and will all likely be Tier 1 prospects next off-season.


Michael Kopech (CWS) — 2.08 ERA // 1.101 WHIP //  5.3 BB/9 // 13.7 K/9 (A-, A+ 56.1 IP)

As far as talent and projection is concerned, Kopech could have been listed with the Top 5 pitching prospects. Arguably as important as Moncada in the Chris Sale deal, Kopech imgres-1could touch triple digits and has been sitting in the high 90s. His fastball may be the only prospect that projects at an 80 on the 20-80 scale. His developing hard slider shows potential to be a plus pitch. He will likely spend most of 2017 working on his change-up to round out his arsenal. He has been compared to Noah Syndergaard with ace potential though Kopech does have the same command the Noah has developed. He likely would be pushing for a promotion this year if it weren’t the 50 game suspension and a broken hand. If he can’t handle the workload of a starter, he could be the right-handed version of Aroldis Chapman in the 9th inning. He could see high leverage innings out of the pen in 2018 to give him a taste of the Bigs before turning him loose as a starter in 2019. He’s already living the dream and pro athlete lifestyle with his reality TV star girlfriend.


Anderson Espinoza (SD) — 4.49 ERA // 1.385 WHIP // 2.9 BB/9 // 8.3 K/9 (A – 108.1 IP)

Another top prospect of the Red Sox that gets traded over the past year. This time, Espinoza, heads to San Diego in the Drew Pomeranz trade. This teenager has moved images-2 quickly in the two seasons as a pro due to his three plus offerings. His fastball is already plus as it touches 100 MPH but sits in the mid-late 90s. His change-up shows plus as it mimics the fastball upon release and sinks at the end. Curve-ball is also legit but needs to be developed to be more consistent. He has a fantastic approach and surprises with control for his age and experience. He likely spends much of 2017 in AA with a call up in late 2018 once he consistently dominates there. Almost a “can’t miss” front of the rotation type which is unusual for a player entering his Age 19 season.


Mitch Keller (PIT) — 2.35 ERA // 0.921 WHIP // 1.3 BB/9 // 9.5 K/9 (A+, A- 130.1 IP)

Another youngster that pitches smarter than his age. He feature a plus fastball offering with a huge hook on his curve-ball as an out pitch. He is in the top echelon of the youngsters imagesbecause also has a 3rd pitch (change-up) that could be effective in the Majors. Biggest plus here is uncanny control and command as he boasts a 1.3 BB/9 and 7.3 K/BB in 2016. Fun fact is he had 11 HBP and only 19 BB last season. Clearly he is not afraid to move guys off the plate. Another front of the rotation guy in the Pittsburgh system could form a nasty “big 3” (Cole, Glasnow, Keller) for the Pirates as early as 2018.


Yadier Alveraz (LAD) — 2.12 ERA // 1.028 WHIP // 3.2 BB/9 // 12.3 K/9 (ROOK, A- 59.1 IP)

The 20 year-old Cuban import looks to be the real deal. He showed uncommon polish imgresand command of his four-pitch mix. Fastball is rated at a 75 but his put-away slider is nearly 20 MPH slower. It’s hard to project with such as small sample size, but he totally dominated at Low-A. Four major league pitches and command should bode well for his future. Many don’t believe we will see him until 2019, but I think he will sky-rocket through the system in 2017 and should get a call late 2018.


AJ Puk (OAK) — 3.03 ERA // 1.071 WHIP // 3.3 BB/9 // 12.0 K/9 (A- 32.2 IP)

Only the 3rd LHP on our list so far, Puk was just drafted out of Florida in 2016 and imagesdominated in his first taste of pro ball. A 6’7″ frame throwing from the left side, he has the makings of an Ace. He does have three pitches that projects as plus to MLB average. He is last on this list of blue-chip prospects because he is the greatest risk of the five to bust due to lack of command as a result of trouble repeating his delivery. High Ceiling: he is capable of moving quickly through the system and becoming the next Chris Sale. Floor is a high leverage left-handed specialist out of the pen. Oakland will do all they can to see him at top of their rotation in the next two to three years.


imagesThe Contributors

Robert Gsellman (NYM)

Gsellman spanned three levels last year to pitch 44.2 innings in the Majors. His most successful stop in perhaps his career, were those 44.2 innings. He gave his best Jacob deGrom impersonation coming out of nowhere to show deceptive velocity mixed with a power slider. He will likely be the first man up in Citi Field this year and could break camp in the rotation as Zach Wheeler doesn’t appear to be healthy. Take him as a late flier in deep redrafts.

Sean Newcomb (ATL)

176 innings at AA over the last year plus should get him to AAA to start the season. He is another LHP fastball/slider workhorse in the Jon Lester mold. Once he can show some consistent control, he will be up in the Bigs to give that old-ass Braves rotation some innings. Hold on drafting in standard leagues, but keep on waiver radar

German Marquez (COL)

“What the hell is going on around here!” This is the second Rockie prospect in the Top 25. Of course the Rockies are trying to rush him through (3 levels in 2016) and his taste of Coors didn’t go well. That being said, he has three solid MLB pitches and control so he should be able to hold down the fort in Colorado. If Chatwood or Hoffman struggle early, Marquez could be up and can give you innings. He is waiver-wire worthy in deeper leagues.


Amir Garrett (CIN)

The Reds top pitching prospect is already on the 40 Man roster and shouldn’t be held off by Scott Feldman or Tim Adleman for long. He had a great showing in AA last season but struggled with command in AAA. Seems to be a trend here…once he shows some consistent command, expect to see him get some starts in the Majors. Dynasty league owners should try and get him for cheap now as his price will likely go up next off-season.


Carson Fulmer (CWS)

Wrapping up the Top 25, Carson Fulmer spent two years in the minors as a starter and got called up to pitch in Chicago as a reliever. He didn’t have much success there but his failure to develop a third pitch to compliment his plus fastball and curve could see him transition to the bullpen full time. Quite frankly, with the additions of Lopez, Giolito and Kopech, the Pale Hose should seriously consider this strategy and allow him to let it loose in the late innings. If he breaks camp with the club it will be in the bullpen and likely to stay. Take a wait-and-see approach to see how things develop in camp and keep as a waiver-wire target if he’s called up as a reliever.


Bryan Luhrs

Major League Fantasy Sports
Writer & Contributor
Real Deal Dynasty Sports
Owner, League Developer & Executive Commissioner



Major League Fantasy Football 2017 League Openings

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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday February 12th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #75 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. This is our first show of the 2017 season. We will discuss the important player movement and how it affects their value for the 2017 season.

Our guests this week are the “Legend” Lenny Melnick and Joe Iannone. Be sure to visit Lenny’s website, and listen to his Sirius satellite show on the fantasy sports station from 7-10am every Sunday morning with host Craig Mish. Joe is a writer with MLFS and you can check his articles every Sunday morning throughout the season.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”



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Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore live on Sunday February 26th, 2017 from 7-9pm EST for episode #76 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host.

Our guest’s this week will be Andrea Lamont, and Hernan Batista. Hernan is a frequent guest on our shows, and an experienced MLFB league member. Andrea is a former member of the website rotoxperts, an experienced female fantasy baseball connoisseur, and is married to the Legend Lenny Melnick. Amongst other things she does baby sit Lenny and change his diapers. Lets say she is the brains of the operation. Andrea will join us from 8-9pm EST.

You can find our shows on I-Tunes. Just search for Major League Fantasy Sports in the podcasts section. For Android users go to “Podcast Republic,” then download that app, and search for “Major League Fantasy Sports Show”

Faith, Family and Fantasy Sports.These are the three words that best describe me. I am a faithful husband and father of 6 amazing children. I work to earn a living, but I live for every precious moment I can spend with my family and a passion for sports.

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