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“Gehlbach on the Farm” – 5 Under the Radar Pitching Prospects for 2019

First things first, let me say that I subscribe to the TINSTAAPP fully, but in a more weird way. I do not like hoarding high end pitching arms for the price they come at. I do like hoarding lower end pitching arms for the price they come at. However, you offer me Forrest Whitley or Corbin Martin, it’s an easy choice.

Last year an arm I was very big on early was Chris Paddack. When being asked about deals for him late in the year, I told inquiring owners that I would ask for him what I’d ask for Whitley (whom I also owned). This wasn’t reasonable to many, especially those who really buy into prospect rankings.

So prospect watch 2019. Who’s on the radar? Who’s off the radar but shouldn’t be? Who are some guys whose value has a chance to rise quickly in the next few months (be it the MLB or MiLB levels). Here are 5 guys I am keeping a close eye right now.

Deivi Garcia – NYY

Deivi Garcia is becoming one of the worst-kept secrets in fantasy circles. He’s also living proof that big things can come in small packages. His smaller stature has his skeptics questioning if he can stick in the rotation.

Garcia doesn’t possess overwhelming velocity, which is a plus for him in my book. A big guy throwing gas is someone I can buy into maintaining that. Garcia’s fastball can get up to the mid 90’s, but he’s a master of spin rate. His spin rate for his curveball is over 3,000 RPM. That’s something only a handful of major leaguers can stake claim to.

He has a career MiLB line of 182.1 IP, 115H, 71 BB, 251K, 2.81 ERA, 1.02 FIP, 3.5 BB/9, 12.4 K/9. His 2018 numbers stayed pretty close to that, but with a better ERA (2.55), better K/9 (12.8), and a lower BB/9 (2.4). After making an appearance in AA last season, look for Deivi to continue work there and make his way to AAA. He will turn 20 during the upcoming season and probably won’t see major league action this year (he’s yet to throw 75+ IP in a season). This is a strong dynasty stash, and he hasn’t went for much from what I’ve seen.

Shane McLanahan – TBR


It’s hard to not love a lefty with a triple digits heater. There’s minimal on this kid as far as minor league numbers (rookie ball, 7 IP, 13 K, 3 H, 1 BB), but that shouldn’t shy you away from him. McClanahan was as nearly as good as any arm in the 2018 draft. His fastball grades out as a future 70, with his slider, changeup and control grading out at 50, 55, and 50, respectively.

McLanahan turns 22 during the first month of the season. Even with limited MiLB exposure, I could see him end up with the Rays at the end of 2018 (he’d be an incredible weapon out of the bullpen). I think his long term upside is that of a front-end starter, but he will have a lot of competition for rotation spots as they become available (Honeywell, McKay, Liberatore, Baz, and De Leon to name a few of the competition arms).

I roster him in one league where 720 players total are rostered (majors and minors) because I can see him taking a big jump this year.

Luis Oviedo – CLE


No one had as big of a breakout as the 6’4” righty for the Indians. Oviedo was an international signing in 2015 and struggled to put quality numbers on the board… before 2018 that is. Featuring a mid-90’s fastball (as well as a slider, curve, and changeup) Oviedo is built to make guys miss.

Heading into last season Oviedo had posted seasons of a 4.00 and 7.14 ERA (across ~115 IP). His K rate was still strong (as high as 12.2), but nothing that suggested he’d do what he did. Oviedo ended up making 11 starts in A-/A ball, finishing with a 2.05 ERA, .98 WHIP, 2.7 BB/9 and 10.6 K/9. That number catapulted him to the 10th prospect in the Indians system after being previously unranked.

Darwinzon Hernandez – BOS


Walk rates can break a pitcher. It doesn’t matter how good your stuff is if you are putting a guy on base for free every other inning. Hernandez offers a low to mid 90’s heater that has some quality movement to it, as well as a really nice curveball. The changeup is a work in progress.

Standing in at 6’2 and 245 pounds, Hernandez is built like a brick… uh… brickhouse (for the PG crowd). If he can harness his control a bit he will be able to make a big impact at the major league level. There is upper end starter potential in this arm… IF he can throw strikes.

Looking at a guy like Blake Snell shows you exactly how high the upside can be for a guy with quality pitches but iffy control (once they can reign in the pitches a bit). Hernandez had a good spring training showing, which doesn’t hurt, but the walks were still a problem. Should he show he’s working in the zone more, and not putting guys on for free, this is a train you’ll want to jump on early.

Matt Swarmer – CHC


Swarmer is not a super toolsy guy. He throws a low 90’s fastball (generally topping out at 94/95) with a change up and a curve. He K’s over a guy an inning, which is always promising. His walk rate is low (sub 2.0/9), which is something else I really like to see. You don’t have to be overpowering to succeed in the bigs. Swarmer looks more like a guy who can just pitch. He’s already 25, no spring chicken by prospect standards. He’s coming off a really solid 2018 (24 starts, 128 IP, 1.5 BB/9, 9.4 K/9, 3.22 ERA, 1.04 WHIP).

Swarmer is about as cheap as a guy can get. I wouldn’t recommend rushing out to grab him, but I’d monitor him in the early going. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him in the bigs this year, depending on how things go on the North Side of Chicago this summer.

So, there you go. 5 guys who I’ve found tend to be really cheap in my leagues (or leagues buddies are in). If you’re in a 30 team league with 40 player minor league rosters, ok, you probably aren’t adding any of these guys. These guys aren’t talked about much in fantasy circles (yet), and don’t make an appearance on many, if any, prospect lists. Feel free to drop a comment below anyone you feel like deserves a bit more hype than they get, or to let me know how off-kilter I am.


Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday March 24th, 2019 from 7:30-9:45pm EST for episode #146 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 will be our first LIVE Major League Fantasy Baseball draft show. The boys will be doing a play by play while Kevin Bzdek is drafting in MLFB1. We will be taking live calls from the league owners as well.

Our guest this week is Kevin Bzdek. Kevin is a writer, editor, league mate with majorleaguefantasysports.com, and will be the live drafter.

Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Cole Freel, and Kyle Amore live on Thursday March 28th, 2019 from 9-10:30pm EST for episode #147 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 is our OPENING DAY special. Cole and Kyle will discuss the latest happenings in the world of MLB and fantasy.

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Husband and father of three. Have a love of all things baseball. When not burying myself in baseball (especially fantasy) I enjoy fishing, farming, hydroponics, woodworking, and teaching the kids to tinker with microcontrollers and building robots.

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