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“Alluhring Strategy” Spring Training Scoop: 2017 Prospect Pitching Rankings Part 4

Prospect Pitching Rankings


Best of the Rest

This last week has been glorious as baseball is back on TV. I love to hear the crack of the bat and the pop of the mitt while watching MLB.TV’s spring training coverage. I love that they scroll many of the prospects’ results on the bottom of the screen. It’s time to find out who might sneak into the back-end of the rotation. It’s time to get excited about the prospects that are seeing major league caliber competition, perhaps for the first time. Dynasty and deep keeper drafts are in full swing and there is still value to be found in the 4th Tier. We can still find guys that might help this season. We can find guys that can be nice dynasty grabs a year before everyone has heard of them. Before we hit Tier 4, let us review the unique guidelines we have been using for the Tier rankings…

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 with a couple more guys that could be sneaky picks for 2017.


This is the final week of ranking pitching prospects. I did start out with a list of 75, butimages have narrowed it down to 50 so that I could give some analysis and not have 10,000 word articles. No one wants to read that. Tier 4 mostly consists of the next group of guys that should make significant impact in the next 2-3 years. These guys might not become All-Stars but should all reach mid-rotation status and help fantasy teams. They may still be under the radar enough to get a reasonable price but will likely be Top 50 overall prospects by the end of 2107. The two exceptions here are numbers #49 and #50. They are not necessarily one of the 50 best prospects, but they are my list two guys to consider grabbing for impact this season. If you are crazy enough to be in a super deep dynasty league, these guys are likely gone, but they can still be acquired at a reasonable price. That may not be the case by the end of the season.

I have had the privilege to be included in a 20 team dynasty startup with the guys fromimgres-1 Prospects 1500. This league only allows players to be drafted if they haven’t exceeded the Rookie threshold of 130 career at bats or 50 career innings. There isn’t much chance to pull out a sleeper on the guys that have written about their respective’s teams Top 50 prospects. The following pitchers in by 4th Tier, were gone by the 10th round. Keeping this in perspective, you can probably score some nice sleepers and future gems by getting the following guys on your radar now…


Tier 4 – The List

41 Stephen Gonsalves MIN 22 SP LHP AA 2018
42 Justus Sheffield NYY 20 SP LHP AA 2018
43 Domingo Acevedo NYY 23 SP RHP A 2018
44 Walker Buehler LAD 22 SP RHP A 2018
45 Fernando Romero MIN 22 SP RHP A+ 2018
46 Cal Quantrill SDP 22 SP RHP A 2019
47 Dylan Cease CHC 21 SP RHP A- 2019
48 Mike Soroka ATL 19 SP RHP A- 2019
49 Brock Stewart LAD 25 SP RHP AAA Early 2017
50 Chad Greene NYY 25 SP/RP RHP MLB Early 2017

One Year Out! 

Steven Gonsalves (MIN) — 2.06 ERA // 1.021 WHIP //  3.7 BB/9 // 10.0 K/9 (A+, AA 140 IP)

The Twins top pitching prospect was able to put up 140 total innings over two stops in images2016 including AA Chattanooga. Although his control got worse with the promotion, his K rate, ERA and Batting Average Against actually improved. He may not have the best “stuff” but he does have a four-pitch mix that sets hitters up with an above average fastball only to put them away with a devastating sinking change-up. His curve-ball should play at least as league average and if he can develop the slider, he will have enough weapons to have a successful mid-rotation career in the Major Leagues. He will likely start back in AA and if he works out his control inconsistency, he could see Minnesota by the end of the year. More realistically, he is battling next Spring for a spot in the Twins rotation.


Justus Sheffield (NYY) — 3.09 ERA // 1.277 WHIP //  3.8 BB/9 // 9.3 K/9 (A+, AA 125.1 IP)

Sheffield was the top Indians pitching prospect last season before he was shipped off to imgresthe Yankees organization as part of the Andrew Miller trade last season. 2016 was his first full season of pro ball and he finished the season with one start in AA Trenton before being shut down for the season with 125 innings. His numbers over three stops don’t jump off the page, but he looks to have a plus fastball and potentially a plus slider. The latter is particularly impressive as he just added the pitch this past season and dumped the curve-ball. He projects to develop an average change-up and average control which should get him comfortably in the Bronx at some point in 2018 if not competing for a spot in what might be 5 open rotation spots. He is a Top 10 Left-handed pitching prospect that has potential to be a #2 or #3 starter in the rotation.


Domingo Acevedo (NYY) — 2.61 ERA // 1.129 WHIP //  2.1 BB/9 // 9.9 K/9 (A, A+ 93.0 IP)

Back-to-back Yankees’ pitchers further shows how far this farm system has improved over the last year.  Although no Top Tier prospect pitchers, they have represented four of the last 10 spots on this list. Acevedo dominated during his 8 starts in Charleston, but his numbers dropped a little over his last 10 starts against better competition in High A imgresTampa. It was his first season over 50 innings so there is some concern on his durability and injury history. This has caused him to be miss most Top 100 lists. However, he does have a plus fastball that sits in the mid-to-high 90s and can hit triple digits. His change-up is developing into an above average offering but he lacks a third pitch. If he can develop his slider into Major League average, he has the potential to jump up the prospect chart over the next year. The Yankees will be conservative getting his inning ups likely to around 130 innings this season while working on his slider. I expect that he starts in Tampa and spends nearly half the season in AA Trenton. With his fastball, if he stabilizes his control and gets his slider to above average, he could be a top of the rotation arm in a few years. If he sticks with only two plus pitches, he could become a dominate closer. Either way, I think more of him than most to have significant impact in the next few years.


Walker Buehler (LAD) — 0.00 ERA // 0.600 WHIP //  5.4 BB/9 // 10.8 K/9 (Rookie, A 5.0 IP)

Ok so Buehler has only 5 innings in his pro ball career. So why is he on this list? There is a reason that the Dodgers still selected him in the first round in 2015 knowing he was imgreslikely going to have Tommy John Surgery to repair his elbow. The answer is he was a polished top of the rotation arm on a potent Vanderbilt club that will move quickly through the system. He has four pitches of which his fastball, curve-ball and slider are already considered to be plus pitches. His change-up should be at least Major League average. In his five appearances at the end of last year, he was throwing harder than he did in college although I don’t expect that to continue in a full season, especially as they are trying to build up arm strength and stamina.  This was a potentially #1 overall pick before the injury and he has the tools and make-up to be an Ace if the body holds up. He is probably pitching in AA Tulsa by the end of the season with an eye for debuting in LA during the 2018 season. If you can pick him up cheap due to the injury history, do it!


Fernando Romero (MIN) — 1.89 ERA // 0.897 WHIP //  1.5 BB/9 // 9.0 K/9 (A, A+ 90.1 IP)

My last sleeper potential Ace is Fernando Romero, hidden gem of the Twins organization. Another guy that falls under the radar after a year rehabbing for Tommy imgres-1John. He flat dominated over 90 innings in A and High A last season. This guy throws hard and throws strikes. He just needs to master his secondary pitches and he could be the future #1 starter in Minnesota. You may not have heard of him, but you will this year. His fastball is in the same Tier as Alex Reyes and Tyler Glasnow. His slider projects to be above average and his change-up at least Major League average. If he can get these two offerings just a notch higher than projection, look out! His fastball touches triple digits and sits in the mid 90s. If he can keep that fastball in that average range of the course of a full season with a starter’s workload, we will see him in AAA but the end of the season. I don’t see him getting the call in 2017, but 2018 is a safe bet to make an impact at the big league level barring a set back in health. Buy!!!


Two Years Out!


Cal Quantrill (SD) – Son of former big league pitcher, Paul Quantrill, Cal projects to exceed Father’s contribution. Yet another young pitcher that has under-gone Tommy John, he did get 37 innings last season over three levels. He should move quickly through the Padres’ system as he is a polished collegiate pitcher with two plus pitches already (fastball and change-up). His slider projects to be at least Major League average and he has shown decent control. He could see San Diego by the end of 2018 and should be entrenched in the rotation in 2019.


Dylan Cease (CHC) – Stop me if you have heard this before…”would have been a first round pick, but had to have Tommy John surgery.” This is the fourth consecutive pitcher on this list that has succumb to TJ. He has ace potential sinking fastball and hard curveball combo, but some question whether a third pitch or control can even become average. If not, he could be the right-handed version of Zach Britton which is still pretty damn good. Don’t sleep on the Cubs top pitching prospect.


Mike Soroka (ATL) – Our only teenager in Tier 4, Soroka has already logged 143 pro ball innings. He has shown an advanced approach for a 19 year old with above average command and three above average pitches. His sinking fastball, curve-ball and change-up all elicit ground balls and less than 2 BB per 9 innings will give him a floor of mid-rotation type pitcher. The Braves don’t need to rush him and he should be ready for 2019.


Sneaky Late Round Grabs!


Brock Stewart (LAD) – Cup of coffee in 2016 didn’t go well. Despite this, Stewart is competing for the 5th spot in the rotation this Spring. Dodgers may go with Julio Urias out of camp, but if they decide to let him get more work in AAA, Steward could get the nod and he would be potentially help in several categories. He has strike-out potential and won’t hurt you with his command. Keep and eye out for this battle during the Spring and get ready to pounce, if he takes the spot.


Chad Greene (NYY) – I know there is about a dozen pitchers that could take the last two spots in the Yankees’ rotation this Spring. He did have 8 games started in New York last season, and although not great, the experience could help him land the gig to start 2017. He did dominate in AAA over 16 starts and could be a solid fantasy perform if he gets the gig. Similar to Stewart, he could offer around a 3.00 ERA, low 2’s BB/9 and high 8’s K/9. Innings eater worth the waiver add if he gets the call.



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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Our guests this week are Hernan Batista, and Jesse Ellison. Jessie is the owner of Ellison Baseball Instruction in S.E. VA. You can visit his organization at Hernan is a frequent guest on our shows, and an experienced MLFB league member.

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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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