It’s hard to believe we are almost to March. We have had some Spring games under our belt and have already overreacted to hot starts and vague injury reports. Apparently, some GMs have already determined that certain high profile prospects “don’t look like Major League Players.” Give me a break, if you are going to manipulate service time at least try to hover near the truth so you don’t get a grievance filed against your team. And I digress…
Part 3 of our Pitching Prospect Rankings for 2019 looks at the next wave of potential impact pitchers for this season as well as the next group of guys ready to make a big jump this season to become the next hot prospect in coming years.
As a review of how the first two parts were organized, this list is intended to provide something for everyone regardless of if you are playing in a redraft, keeper or dynasty league and regardless of size. This week is part three covering players #31 thru #45. As a refresher, I did not just go straight down the list based on talent and stuff. I weighed different aspects of the pitcher and tiered them up in a way that could be easily referenced depending on what you are looking for. The pitchers in each tier could easily be interchanged but they are grouped together due to similar impact. Here are the criteria I used to generate this list…
- Previous Success
- Proximity to the Majors
- Injury History
- Gut Feeling
I will be focused on the guys more likely to make an impact in 2019 as it will appeal to a wider audience. I will still offer a sentence or two on the young guys that are looking to make a huge leap into fantasy relevance over the next few years.
#31 – Logan Allen, SD (21) — ETA Mid to Late 2019
2018 Stats (AA, AAA) — 148.2 INN, 2.54 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 2.96 K/BB, 0.7 HR/9
There were a few readers that felt that I snubbed Allen by not including him in the Top 30. I understand the disappointment, but the way my tiers unfolded, I didn’t feel comfortable with the lefty in the Top 20. Here he is at my top guy in the next tier and the youngest of the group. He was drafted in the 8th round of the 2015 draft out of IMG Academy by the Boston Red Sox and shipped to San Diego a few months later in the Craig Kimbrel trade. He doesn’t have the pedigree that a few of the other Padres’ prospects that we have discussed over the last two weeks, but he may be one of the first that helps out at the Major League level. After the recent acquisition of Manny Machado, the franchise will want to improve their pitching staff to prove to their fans they are ready to compete (once they get another year of service time from Tatis). Unlike Chris Paddack, who I also think will get some play this season, Allen is not on their 40 Man roster yet. Space could and should be made seeing that their current projected rotation is Joey Lucchesi, Robbie Erlin, Brian Mitchell, Eric Lauer and Luis Perdomo. With Garrett Richards and Dinelson Lamet likely to miss most if not all the season, pitchers in the upper levels of their minor league system should get a chance to shine at the Show. Allen could be a candidate as he moved quickly through the system ending last year with an impressive 27.2 innings at AAA El Paso.
Logan features a four-pitch mix led by a plus changeup that he plays of a decent fastball that he commands. A slider and curveball round off his arsenal but they are much less developed than the other two. Although the Padres’ bullpen is stronger than their rotation, his advanced approach and two major league ready pitches with command could lead to a call up in the bullpen despite his young age. He should be on everyone’s radar for waiver wire pickup around mid-season. He should be a dynasty league target.
#32 – Dane Dunning, CWS (24) — ETA Late 2019
2018 Stats (A+,AA) — 86.1 INN, 2.71 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 3.85 K/BB, 0.2 HR/9
Dunning is a pitcher that I have brought a lot of stock in dynasty leagues. He is a safe bet to be productive when on the mound due to a command of all four of his pitches, however, he ended last year with an elbow injury and already has been bothered by forearm discomfort. This is NOT a good sign as it often is a precursor to a major elbow injury.
Putting the injury concerns aside for the moment, Dunning came over to the South side of Chicago in the Adam Eaton deal that also saw them acquire Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez. Both the latter spent 2018 in the Majors and struggled mightily with their command as they were near the bottom of the league in walks. Dunning was a late 1st round pick in 2016 due to his polished college arm in a big-time Florida Gators rotation. Although he is a high floor guy, none of his four pitches have a plus grade and sinking movement on his fastball and an advanced command is his calling card. He gave up at a total of two HRs in 86.1 innings last season. Make no mistake that he is a starting pitcher. I don’t see a bullpen stint in his near future. I expect him to start the season in AAA if healthy and to see time in the rotation by the end of the season. The news out of training camp of the forearm tightness takes him off my draft list in all formats other than dynasty. If he needs surgery, he drops down these rankings significantly.
#33 – Jonathan Loaisiga, NYY (24) — ETA Early to Mid 2019
2018 Stats (RK,A+,AA) — 56 INN, 2.89 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 8.38 K/BB, 1.0 HR/9
2018 Stats (MLB) — 24.2 INN, 5.11 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 2.75 K/BB, 1.1 HR/9
The righty hit the MLB scene with a bang last year with a sparkling debut against the Rays. He began to get exposed in his subsequent appearances but did skip AAA to get there. He ascended rapidly last season through three levels of the minors with a plus fastball and two quality secondary offerings (changeup and curve). The theme continues as Jon was a high command guy as well which failed him in the Majors. His history of shoulder injuries is scary, but his TJS seems to be holding up. He ascended quickly through the minors last year and after a few months in AAA, he will be ready for the call again this year. I believe he will be better prepared to sustain success. With the Yankees rotation on the older side, there should be an opportunity this season and he should provide excellent ratios and worthy of a waiver pickup when promoted.
#34 – Jon Duplantier, ARI (24) — ETA Late 2019
2018 Stats (RK-AA) – 74 INN, 2.55 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 2.57 K/BB, .5 HR/9
Many in the dynasty community began to think that Jon as a bust after an injury-plagued first season. He had an incredible 2017 season with a minor league-best 1.39 ERA. He had more injuries in 2018 which brings a question to his ability to stay healthy and his mechanics may lend itself to this. His plus fastball is effective to produce groundballs and get strikeouts. His secondary pitches are good but none great all with decent command. Duplantier should start in AAA and if he dominates and stays healthy, should see time in Arizona later in the Summer.
#35 – Taylor Widener, ARI (24) — ETA
2018 Stats (AA) – 137.1 INN, 2.75 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 4.09 K/BB, .08 HR/9
Another pitching prospect in the desert to keep an eye on but he is quite different from Duplantier. He spent all of 2018 in AA and was fairly dominant. His stuff plays up as a reliever which he was in college, but Arizona keeps trotting him out as a starter. So far, he is rewarding their patience with 25 starts in 2018. He has a solid changeup, slider, and control so it really could go either way. I expect to see him start in AAA this season and continue to work as a starter. There is more opportunity for him in Arizona as a reliever but could still see the desert later this season as a starter if the team trades Grienke or the rotation struggles with injuries.
#36 – Dakota Hudson, STL (24) — ETA Opening Day Bullpen
Hudson made 26 appearances in STL last year out of the bullpen due to a plus one-two punch with his fastball/slider. A power pitcher with a cutter and punch out slider could keep him in the pen but he has five total pitches which still tempts STL in stretching him out as a starter. Those pitches likely won’t develop into MLB average so he likely will be most effective as a high leverage reliever which should earn him a spot on the opening day roster.
#37 – Bryse Wilson, ATL (21) — ETA Late 2019
Bryse has great stuff and great command, but he may not have the ability to sustain it as a starter. Many scouts project him as a stud reliever and he had a taste in Atlanta as both a spot starter and reliever. Atlanta doesn’t quite know what he yet so expect him to spend a good portion of the season in AAA until they do. He should see time late in the season either way and he is worth a waiver pick up offering good ratios.
Next Wave of Rising Stars
#38 – DL Hall, BAL (20) — ETA 2021
Limited innings in his first full season for the prep arm of Georgia, Hall is already a top 10 LHP prospect with three Major League pitches featuring a plus fastball.
#39 – Franklin Perez, DET (21) — ETA 2021
The prize of the Verlander deal in 2017, the J2 signee from 2012 came into his own just prior to the trade showing off four legit pitches including a plus fastball/curveball combination. He struggled with shoulder and arm injuries which limited him to less than 20 ineffective innings in 2018. He is expected to be healthy and working his way back to full strength. Tigers won’t need him for another year or two.
#40 – Corbin Martin, HOU (23) — ETA 2020
2017, 2nd round draft pick, has proven he should be able to stick as a starter by utilizing all four of his pitches with high command. Featuring a plus fastball he should be able to develop at least two secondary pitches. Worst case he resorts back to his dominate college bullpen days, but Houston seems committed to letting him develop as a starter.
#41 – JB Bukauskas, HOU (22) — ETA 2020
Back to back Houston, high draft picks from 2017, JB has two plus pitches already (fastball/slider) with little to no command. He does have a cutter and changeup but they are much less effective and he seems destined for the bullpen dropping him below Martin. He could be a dominant closer in the next few years.
#42 – Tony Santillan, CIN (21) — ETA 2020
Thick and durable, Santillan looks to be the real deal and a legit potential front line starter. 70-grade fastball with two above-average pitches (slider/changeup). Improved command allowed him to average nearly six innings per start in 2018 and should spend most of 2019 in AA perfecting his craft. Love him to jump in the Top 50 specs by mid-season.
#43 – Hans Crouse, TEX (20) — ETA 2021
Plus-plus fastball and plus slider could form a #1 future starter. Wacky mechanics could cause injury and limit him to a dominant reliever, especially if his changeup and command don’t develop.
#44 – Ryan Weathers, SD (19) — ETA 2021
Still a teenager, Weathers has time to develop a plus pitch, but as of now, he is a jack of all, master of none. The lefty has the athleticism and pedigree be a star but his stuff has not proven to be a top-flight starter and he is not even a Top 10 spec in the Padres’ organization. This is an important season to see development through the single-A levels.
#45 – Nate Pearson, TOR (22) — ETA 2021
2018 was a lost season but a positive showing in the Arizona Fall League put him back on the map. 75-grade fastball reached 103 in the AFL All-star game and flashes a plus slider. He still needs to develop a 3rd offering and his command but he could be a future star in Toronto if he stays healthy.
Next week we finish up this journey with some deeper dives with # 46-60.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join Corey D Roberts, and Kyle Amore on Thursday February 21st, 2019 from 8pm – 9:45pm EST for the Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show. Call in number is 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. Our topic for tonight will be the A.L. West.
Be sure to check out our Sunday night show February 24th from 8pm to 9:45pm EST. They will cover the N.L. West.
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel live on Sunday February 24th, 2019 from 8-9:45pm EST for episode #140 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. You can listen live on blogtalk, majorleaguefantasysports.com, or download the podcast on I-Tunes or any Android podcast app. This week we will break down the N.L. West.
Our guests this week is are Kyle Klinker, and Bilal Chaudry. Both Kyle and Bilal are veteran owners in Major League Fantasy Baseball leagues and have won several titles between the two of them.