Prospect Pitching Rankings
“Diaper Dandies,” Under-the-Radar Prospects and 3rd Tier Contributors in 2017
Spring Training games begin on Friday. Spring weather has already taken over most of the country. Now is the time to go a little deeper and find some guys we can follow this training camp and grab them before your league mates. Normally, by the time you get to this point of the list, dynasty guys are looking for deep reaches and redraft guys have stopped reading. Fortunately for you all, this set of rankings are a bit unorthodox. In this episode of Spring Training Scoop: 2017 Prospect Pitcher Rankings Part 3, you will potentially find a future Ace, a future multi-category contributor and perhaps a future dominate reliever. Before we hit up Tier 3, let us review our Tier structure…
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 teenagers that are projected to be starts but don’t have enough pro ball under their belt to warrant a Top 25 ranking quite yet. Borrowing from Dick Vitale, these “diaper dandies” likely won’t be in the Majors for the next 3 to 4 years. Keeper leagues can pass, but they won’t be available in most dynasty leagues after this off-season. Also, we will be looking at a few guys that are poised to make an impact over the next two season.
Tier 3 – The List
|36||Robert Stephenson||CIN||24||SP/RP||RHP||MLB||Opening Day|
|37||Cody Reed||CIN||23||SP/RP||RHP||MLB||Early 2017|
|38||Matt Strahm||KC||25||SP/RP||RHP||MLB||Opening Day|
|39||Tyler Beede||SF||23||SP||RHP||AA||Late 2017|
|40||Chance Adams||NYY||22||SP/RP||RHP||AA||Late 2017|
The Kids are Alright!!!
Jason Groome (BOS) — 2.70 ERA // 1.050 WHIP // 5.4 BB/9 // 13.5 K/9 (ROOK, A- 6.2 IP)
Ho-hum, the Red Sox have another LHP who has nasty stuff and could be the Ace of the staff. I guess, if you are in to that sort of thing you would be pretty excited about this 18-year-old that probably should have been the #1 overall pick in the 2016 amateur draft. Making a stupid teen-age decision and rumor he was going to be tough to sign at a reasonable bonus, he fell to the Red Sox greedy arms at #12. They got him signed and they can take their time to ensure he matures both professionally and personally in the way befitting a Red Sox prospect. The reason he’s top of Tier 3 is he already has two plus pitches including a lively fastball sitting in the low to mid 90s and touching 97. His best pitch is a power 12-6 curve that is unhittable to lefties. His developing change-up should neutralize righties and allow his ceiling to reach Top 10 overall pitchers in baseball. Groome likely doesn’t see Fenway until 2019 or 2020, but if you are in a dynasty league, this may be your only chance to get him before he is locked up.
Braxton Garrett (MIA) — 0.53ERA // N/A WHIP // N/A BB/9 // 14.6 K/9 (Florence HS 65.1 IP)
LHP Garrett, 19-years-old, is in the same mold of Groome. He dominated his prep league and was drafted #7 overall in this past draft. His fastball sits in low 90s but the Marlins have him building arm strength and filling out his 6’3″, 190 lbs frame as he has yet to throw a professional pitch. I anticipate his fastball to develop into a true plus pitch to go with his hammer curve that sits 15 MPH slower than his fastball. His best trait is his surprising command for a teenager. He can throw his out pitch for strikes or make guys chase. He is working on a change-up to ensure he develops into a front of the rotation guy that the Marlins expect. He should be an Ace, but it will likely be 3 years before we see him in Miami. He’s already on the Top 50 on most prospect lists and after a year in pro ball (will likely start in low-A due to being advanced beyond most prep arms), he will be on every dynasty owner’s wish list soon.
Riley Pint (COL) — 5.35 ERA // 1.784 WHIP // 5.6 BB/9 // 8.8 K/9 (ROOK 37 IP)
Pint is the first RHP on this Tier and like Groome and Garrett, was a Top prep arm in the 2016 amateur draft. He is all about the fastball, able to hit triple-digits when needed and sitting in the mid to high 90s with movement. His slider flashes plus but his change-up and command need a lot of development. The Rockies continue to draft high-upside pitchers that they hope can succeed at Coors Field. His violent mechanics and inconsistent timing do worry me a little, but if he can work through these few concerns, he could develop into the Ace that Colorado covets sometime around 2019-2020.
Kolby Allard (ATL) — 2.98 ERA // 1.106 WHIP // 2.6 BB/9 // 9.8 K/9 (ROOK, A 87.2 IP)
Another teenager, Allard is actually in his 2nd season of pro ball. He did miss his senior year of high school due to a back injury, so there is not much mileage on that arm. Scouts are mixed on his fastball. It appears to be slightly above average but the sinking action does give it swing-and-miss capability. His true plus pitch is a power curve. He does show plus command and control which will help him settle in as a #2-#3 starter that can contribute in all categories. Delivery is smooth and repeatable, but the injury history definitely brings me concern on long-term impact.
Triston McKenzie (CLE) — 1.62 ERA // 0.960 WHIP // 2.4 BB/9 // 11.2 K/9 (A-, A+ 83.1 IP)
McKenzie is our 5th consecutive teenager on this list. He is not a household name…yet. Picked in the compensation round of the 2015 draft, McKenzie has risen to the
unquestioned Top pitching prospect in the Indians system after the trade of Justus Sheffield in the Andrew Miller deal. What scared teams away during the first round of the draft was his lanky frame (6’5″, 160 lbs) and fear this would lead to injury and/or lack of top end arm strength. However with his natural downward plane all his pitches play up. He had amazing command and control over 83 innings last season as an 18-year-old despite not having a true plus pitch (yet). Hitters through High A seemed to think he could pitch as he dominated despite his age. Fangraphs like him to develop 3 pitches to a potential 60 (plus) rating including his fastball, curve-ball and change-up. His plus command and control only increase these chances and projects him as a solid #2 starter. I like him to move quickly this season and perhaps end in AA. Most likely he debuts in 2019, but he will be locked up in most leagues this year if not already.
Matt Manning (DET) — 3.99 ERA // 1.159 WHIP // 2.1 BB/9 // 14.1 K/9 (ROOK 29.1 IP)
Manning was the 2nd highest rated RHP prep arm in last year’s draft. Athletic with bloodlines (Rich Manning, NBA) and room to fill out, his plus fastball projects as a 70 plus-plus offering by the time he reaches the Bigs. He has shown surprising command with his fastball which should increase in velocity as he fills out. His knuckle-curve and change-up are both raw but both project as above average and should equip him to be a front-line MLB starter in about 3 to 4 years.
The Under-the-Radar Guys for 2018
Erick Fedde (WAS)
Fedde has become the last man standing in the Nationals Farm System in terms of pitching. He has three MLB ready pitches which he has improved command over. On a different team, he would probably be getting a look in 2017, but the Nats have little reason to bring him up and repeat the Lil’ Gio fiasco. Perhaps a late cup of coffee is possible, but its more likely the Nats would use Austin Voth or one of their many AAA washed up starters to fill in for any injuries to their rotation.
Sean Reid-Foley (TOR)
After an early season demotion in 2016, Reid-Foley reestablished himself as the top pitching prospect in the Blue Jays organization. He improved his command and has 3 MLB ready pitches although none are truly plus pitches. He improved the consistency of his mechanics over the course of the season and likely will pitch in AA to prove he can do it against high level talent. Look for Sean to be in Toronto in 2018 and be an excellent source on innings and shouldn’t hurt you in any category, but won’t dominate any either.
Luis Ortiz (MIL)
There are some who feel Ortiz did so well since his trade from Texas that he actually has jumped over Josh Hader as best pitching in their system. Perhaps as they stand now, I can see the argument as Ortiz has shown better command and projects to have higher floor. I can’t see how Ortiz has a higher ceiling though. Yet another 3 pitch mix with potential plus fastball and slider, his command makes him a safer bet than Hader. His size and injury history is the only downside. The 21-year-old could progress quickly in the upper end of the farm system and see time in Milwaukee due to their rebuilding and pretty weak rotation. Most likely, he will be up early in 2018 and be a middle rotation contributor for a long time.
James Kaprielian (NYY)
The Yankees took him in first round in 2015 due to his polished college arm. He battled injuries in his first season as a pro but progressed nicely in 2016. He should start 2017 in AA, Trenton, to show off his four pitch arsenal. A clean and repeatable delivery has allowed him to command all his pitches and the velocity of his fastball regularly hit the mid-90s in the Arizona Fall League. We could see him late in 2017, or more likely, the Yankees will use one of their dozen or so AAAA type pitchers to fill in when needed and give James another year to prove his injury is behind him. He could be the Yankees #2 starter by the end of 2018.
The Fringe Impact Guys
Robert Stevenson (CIN)
Another Reds pitching prospect that seemed to be on the Top 100 list for years and never develops potential (see Homer Bailey). His fastball seems to have lost velocity and control has been a problem. Thanks to a horrible rotation, Stevenson likely breaks camp as the 5th starter and he could be nice depth in deeper leagues. Otherwise, there isn’t much to get excited about here. This could be his last chance to prove he can be a MLB starter.
Cody Reed (CIN)
Reed could get the first call up if Stevenson struggles. He sucked during his exposure to the Majors last year and I would think Cincinnati would like to get him back on track in AAA. That being said, he is a LHP with a power fastball and slider so will get another chance. If he can’t develop his change-up, he could be moved to the bullpen to bolster a strong unit. No need to draft, but watch the waiver-wire for Reed.
Matt Strahm (KC)
Everything I hear and read says that the Royals still view him as a starter. However, he was awesome in 22 innings in Kansas City last Fall and at 25-years-old the lefty should see tons of high-leverage opportunities out of the bullpen again this year. He should be a great source of holds and Ks in leagues that value middle relievers as he should break camp as the 7th inning setup guy.
Tyler Beede (SF)
After refusing to sign with Toronto in 2011, it has been a slow climb up the Giants Farm system. He has now established himself as the best in the system with no other competition other than AAAA journeyman pitchers. San Fran has a solid veteran rotation, but in the event one goes down for a significant stretch, the Giants may turn to their best pitcher to fill in. His improved command and four pitch mix should give him a lengthy career as a middle to back of the rotation guy. You can skip him during drafts but keep tabs on him for some depth later in the season.
Chance Adams (NYY)
I leave you this week with my sleeper pick of the year. It is no secret that the Yankees rotation is full of question marks this year. I’m not sure they know who will be their 4th and 5th starters to start the season let alone during the dog days of summer. We will likely see a combination of guys like Severino, Green, Mitchell, Warren, Cessa, Niese and Enns. Although currently not on the 40 man roster, I predict that Chance Adams will impress the Yankee brass by dominating Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes Barre in route to a “chance” to stop the bleeding in the Bronx. He has four pitches including a plus fastball and slider as well as a developing curve-ball and change. As long as he continues to show command of his arsenal, there is no reason not to give him a “chance” and I think he will be a revelation and earn a spot in the rotation for the last few months of the season. I recommend stashing him if you can.
(Click the RED link below to listen)
Major League Fantasy Baseball Show: Join guest host Lenny Melnick, 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. This week we break down both East divisions. We will discuss potential lineups, rotations, bullpens, and any minor league potential for each team along with a heavy fantasy spin.
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”
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