Top-150 Pitching Prospects for Dynasty Leagues
Alright, we’ve gone through every offensive position. Now it’s time to discuss the men that get paid to limit offense. Men with blazing fastballs, sharp breaking pitches, and pinpoint control. We all love offensive barrages, but there’s something special about sitting down and watching two star pitchers duke it out for seven or eight innings. Fastballs on the black, back door curveballs, maybe even a little chin music to back the hitter off the plate. And with the pitching landscape changing every year, these star pitchers are becoming more and more valuable with each passing season. Ideally, I’d want my dynasty team to have 3-4 pitching prospects from the first three tiers and one from tier one if possible.
Pinpointing pitching prospects on the rise can also be key for any dynasty league team. That’s why I identified a pitcher or two from most tiers below that has the chance to leap up a tier or two in the upcoming season, even in the last tier with the back end of this top-150.
Check out all of Eric’s top-25 team by team prospect rankings here and don’t miss his top-250 overall prospect rankings for dynasty leagues. Also, make sure to check out the Fantrax Dynasty Podcast with Nathan Dokken, Van Lee, and Ron Rigney.
Top Prospects by Position – Pitchers
*Overall rank in my top-250 overall prospect rankings will be in parenthesis*
1. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros (10)
2. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Oakland Athletics (15)
3. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox (19)
4. Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (26)
5. Dylan Cease, RHP, Chicago White Sox (28)
6. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres (30)
7. Casey Mize, RHP, Detroit Tigers (31)
8. Chris Paddack, RHP, San Diego Padres (33)
9. Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (34)
This is what I like to call the “Ace” tier. Yeah, I could’ve maybe squeezed a few more names from tier two in here, but these are the “Nasty Nine” that I feel have the best chance at becoming Major League aces. Some of these names were here last year, but we also have a few new names to the ace tier.
Another name to shoot way up rankings thanks to a strong 2018 is White Sox righty, Dylan Cease. Owner of arguably the best curveball in the minors, Cease produced a 2.40 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, and 11.6 K/9 across 23 starts, reaching as high as Double-A Birmingham. With another strong performance in early 2019, we’ll likely see him in Chicago sometime around the All-Star break. It’s not out of the question that he’s a better option than Michael Kopech long-term. Speaking of Kopech, we’ll have to wait a year to be graced with his dominance again. Damn you Tommy John.
Coming back from Tommy John is the screwball specialist, Brent Honeywell. This ranking just shows how highly I think of Honeywell long term to still have him in the top tier after missing the 2018 season. With a strong start in Triple-A, Honeywell should be up with Tampa by the All-Star break and his deep five-pitch arsenal with four of them having plus potential should allow him to slot in right behind Blake Snell before too long. If you can acquire Honeywell at any sort of a discount in dynasty due to the surgery and time missed, now is your chance.
However, the chance to get Chris Paddack at any sort of a discount is gone faster than a burrito on Nathan Dokken’s plate. I like to think that Paddack missing the 2017 season was him just being a nice guy and giving minor league hitters a little break before unleashing his fury on them last season. I mean, just look at his numbers. Paddack finished with a 2.10 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 0.8 BB/9, and 12.0 K/9 while making hitters look foolish with one of the best changeups in the minors. And he’s not even the highest Padre on the list! That honor goes to MacKenzie Gore and his four potential plus pitches.
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) February 26, 2019
The top of the Padres rotation in 2021 or so is going to look really damn good with Gore and Paddack leading the charge. Beware National League hitters. Rumor has it that Bryce Harper didn’t go to the NL West because he feared this duo. Just kidding Bryce, dominate for all my teams you’re on this season!
Alright, we’ve saved the best for last. The top right-hander in the game, Forrest Whitley, and the top southpaw, Jesus Luzardo. I almost put these two on a tier by themselves, if we’re being honest. Luzardo went from really good to the top southpaw in the game after a dominant season spread across three levels, ending with Triple-A Nashville. His 2.88 ERA and 1.09 WHIP would look even better if you threw out his four Triple-A starts where he had a 7.31 ERA and 2.00 WHIP. With three plus pitches and rock-solid command, it’s only a matter of time before Luzardo is making routine starts on opening day in Oakland.
The rotation Houston has assembled over the last 12-18 months has become one of the best in the game. And soon enough, Whitley will join the mix. Just in time too as both Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are free agents after this season. The 2018 season was a roller coaster for Whitley, missing time due to suspension and various injuries, but when he was on the hill, he was his usual dominant self. His dominant four-pitch mix truly isn’t fair and paired with above-average command, makes him the top pitching prospect in the game. If he doesn’t become one of the top 10 pitchers in fantasy within the next 2-3 years, I’ll be shocked.
— Baseball America (@BaseballAmerica) October 10, 2018
10. A.J. Puk, LHP, Oakland Athletics (42)
11. Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (44)
12. Touki Toussaint, RHP, Atlanta Braves (45)
13. Mike Soroka, RHP, Atlanta Braves (48)
14. Matt Manning, RHP, Detroit Tigers (54)
15. Nate Pearson, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (57)
16. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Miami Marlins (59)
17. Ian Anderson, RHP, Atlanta Braves (61)
18. Luis Patino, RHP, San Diego Padres (71)
19. Brusdar Graterol, RHP, Minnesota Twins (75)
20. Deivi Garcia, RHP, New York Yankees (77)
This is about as sexy a second tier as you can get. While these 11 hurlers might not be part of the “Nasty Nine”, they all have the potential to become strong No. 2 starters or borderline aces. One of my personal favorites here is Matt Manning. Before Mize came along last June, Manning was the top pitcher in a pitching-rich Detroit farm system and his upside is arguably just as high as the 2018 No. 1 overall pick.
— Looting is a sign of rebellion (@Jasenelpartido) August 8, 2018
Several members of this tier are on the comeback trail from various injuries. A.J. Puk is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and should be ready before the summer. With a dynamic fastball/slider combination, the upside with Puk is still incredibly high, especially if he can develop the changeup some and keep his command in check. The same prognosis was feared for Hunter Greene and Sixto Sanchez late last season before each was shut down early. Fortunately, they appear to have avoided surgery for now, but the arm woes make each a risky stock to invest in moving forward.
Some would say all pitching prospects are risky. Heck, every minor league prospect carries some level of risk. But no pitching prospect in this tier, or perhaps on the entire list, is as much of a risk/reward investment as Nate Pearson. We’ve seen Pearson for a grand total of nine starts and 21.2 innings since being drafted due to random injuries, but the big right-hander got some work in during the Arizona Fall League last year, making six starts. Shaking off the rust was the best way to describe those six starts, but it was just good to see Pearson back on the mound and he looked really good at times, flashing triple-digits with the heater.
I’ve talked about both Braves arms a fair amount this offseason, so I’ll keep it brief. Both Touki Toussaint and Mike Soroka look like future No. 2 starters with high floors as mid-rotation arms. Touki appears to have the higher K upside while Soroka posts lower ratios. Flip a coin, they’re both great. And if you can find a three-sided coin, flip it again because Ian Anderson is right there with them, just further away from making an impact at the Major League level.
Finally, we have two candidates to join the first tier in 2020. Luis Patino was one of the biggest breakout pitching prospects of 2018 and has an equally as big leg kick, similar to Gore’s. And when I say breakout, it’s more like a continued breakout as Patino shined in 2017 as well.
- 2017 (RK): 56.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 2.9 BB/9, 9.3 K/9
- 2018 (A): 83.1 IP, 2.16 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 2.6 BB/9, 10.6 K/9
The 19-year-old Colombian has borderline ace upside and will likely be 30+ spots higher in my mid-season rankings if he continues to dominate like this.
21. Brendan McKay, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (80)
22. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (81)
23. Adonis Medina, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (83)
24. Adrian Morejon, LHP, San Diego Padres (86)
25. Triston McKenzie, RHP, Cleveland Indians (88)
26. Kyle Wright, RHP, Atlanta Braves (90)
27. Josh James, RHP, Houston Astros (92)
28. Michel Baez, RHP, San Diego Padres (93)
29. Cole Winn, RHP, Texas Rangers (94)
30. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (96)
31. Justus Sheffield, LHP, Seattle Mariners (98)
32. DL Hall, LHP, Baltimore Orioles (104)
33. Logan Allen, LHP, San Diego Padres (106)
34. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, Houston Astros (110)
35. Jon Duplantier, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (113)
36. Griffin Canning, RHP, Los Angeles Angels (115)
This tier is full of a bunch of No. 3 type starters with the potential to blossom into No. 2’s. In the American League, guys like Justus Sheffield, Josh James, and Griffin Canning all should play roles this season for their respective clubs. Same goes for Kyle Wright, Logan Allen, and Mitch Keller in the National League. James is the hot name here after dominating for the Astros down the stretch and lighting up the radar gun out of the pen against the Red Sox in the ALCS. I’m still not 100% sure he’s a starter long-term, but regardless of the role, Jame’s lively right arm carries immense upside.
When talking about the highest upside, it’s a battle between Adonis Medina and Cole Winn, with Matthew Liberatore not too far behind. The Rangers, as they usually do, held Winn out after drafting him in the first round last June. There’s ace upside here with Winn and he could be a fairly fast mover for a prep arm thanks to an elite arsenal and poise beyond his years. Liberatore’s arsenal isn’t as flashy, but he mixes his pitches well and can command all of his four above-average to plus offerings.
37. Justin Dunn, RHP, Seattle Mariners (123)
38. Brady Singer, RHP, Kansas City Royals (126)
39. Bryse Wilson, RHP, Atlanta Braves (131)
40. Shane Baz, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (141)
41. Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP, New York Yankees (142)
42. Franklin Perez, RHP, Detroit Tigers (148)
43. Dane Dunning, RHP, Chicago White Sox (149)
44. Ethan Hankins, RHP, Cleveland Indians (154)
45. Kyle Muller, LHP, Atlanta Braves (157)
46. Eric Pardinho, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (158)
47. Hans Crouse, RHP, Texas Rangers (160)
48. Logan Gilbert, RHP, Seattle Mariners (162)
49. Anderson Espinoza, RHP, San Diego Padres (165)
50. Shane McClanahan, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (166)
51. Clark Schmidt, RHP, New York Yankees (167)
52. Luiz Gohara, LHP, Atlanta Braves (169)
53. Taylor Widener, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks (170)
54. Alex Faedo, RHP, Detroit Tigers (173)
55. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (175)
56. Tony Santillan, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (177)
57. Corbin Martin, RHP, Houston Astros (178)
58. Jackson Kowar, RHP, Kansas City (181)
59. Nick Neidert, RHP, Miami Marlins (182)
Do you know how hard it was for me to rank my boy Luiz Gohara this low? It hurt my heart and soul. Here’s the thing. Both his fastball and slider are plus offerings but his changeup and command need a ton of work. When I got a live look at him last April, he couldn’t locate the few changeups he threw worth a damn and most of them were straight and left up in the zone. Those types of pitches are better known as meatballs with extra sauce and some grated parmesan cheese sprinkled on top.
Another one of my live looks came on a rainy August weekend in New Hampshire when Alex Faedo took the hill after a long rain delay. It wasn’t the best of outings, but like Gohara, Faedo showed a plus fastball/slider mix with a fringy changeup. After floundering a little down the stretch, it will be interesting to see how Faedo looks to start the 2019 season, likely back with Double-A Erie.
60. Michael King, RHP, New York Yankees (188)
61. Dustin May, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (189)
62. Luis Medina, RHP, New York Yankees (192)
63. Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Miami Marlins (193)
64. James Kaprielian, RHP, Oakland Athletics (197)
65. Ryan Weathers, LHP, San Diego Padres (198)
66. Mason Denaburg, RHP, Washington Nationals (202)
67. Roansy Contreras, RHP, New York Yankees (204)
68. Braxton Garrett, LHP, Miami Marlins (209)
69. Bryan Abreu, RHP, Houston Astros (211)
70. Beau Burrows, RHP, Detroit Tigers (212)
71. Kolby Allard, LHP, Atlanta Braves (219)
72. Trevor Stephan, RHP, New York Yankees (224)
73. Jhoan Duran, RHP, Minnesota Twins (226)
74. Sam Carlson, RHP, Seattle Mariners (232)
75. Joey Wentz, LHP, Atlanta Braves (234)
76. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (236)
77. Cole Ragans, LHP, Texas Rangers (243)
78. Patrick Weigel, RHP, Atlanta Braves (247)
79. Dennis Santana, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (249)
80. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (250)
81. Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City Royals
82. Alec Hansen, RHP, Chicago White Sox
83. Kyle Funkhouser, RHP, Detroit Tigers
84. Jay Groome, LHP, Boston Red Sox
85. Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
86. Garrett Whitlock, RHP, New York Yankees
We haven’t seen Jay Groome in minor league action since the 2016 season, but don’t be so quick to write off the former No. 12 overall pick. He was in No. 1 overall pick consideration for a reason, but it will be very interesting to see if he has the same stuff one he finally makes it back into game action.
You might see that this list is sprinkled with Yankee prospects, with a bunch of them residing in this particular tier. Out of them all, the one I’m most intrigued by moving forward is Luis Medina. With a mid to upper-90’s fastball and two potential plus offspeed pitches in his changeup and curve, Medina has the potential to become one of the best pitchers in the minors. Then why the heck is he in tier five as the 62nd best pitching prospect in baseball? One word. Well, three words. Control and command. Medina walk rate in 2018 sat at a puke-inducing 11.5 BB/9, and for basically the entire season, he wasn’t able to locate any of his three pitches. If he can improve in this area, expect to see him rise up the ranks this season.
Speaking of no control, hello Alec Hansen. Literally nothing went right for the big right-hander in 2018, finishing with a 6.31 ERA, 2.01 WHIP, and a 10.3 BB/9 in 51.1 innings. But remember, this was a name that sat in the back-end of my top-100 overall prospects just one measly year ago. With him and Groome, we might as well call this the Redemption Tier.
Some starters from this tier that appear poised to leap up a tier or two this season are Albert Abreu, Daniel Lynch, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Kyle Funkhouser. If you’re looking for some low-cost floor guys to round out your rotation, look to Kolby Allard, Sean Reid-Foley, and basically every other Yankees arm in this tier.
87. Dean Kremer, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
88. Luis Oviedo, RHP, Cleveland Indians
89. Daulton Jefferies, RHP, Oakland Athletics
90. Elvis Luciano, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
91. Spencer Howard, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
92. Colin Poche, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays
93. Seth Romero, LHP, Washington Nationals
94. Jonathan Hernandez, RHP, Texas Rangers
95. Kris Bubic, LHP, Kansas City Royals
96. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP, Boston Red Sox
97. Emilio Vargas, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
98. Domingo Acevedo, RHP, New York Yankees
99. Ryan Rolison, LHP, Colorado Rockies
100. Trevor Rogers, LHP, Miami Marlins
101. Brailyn Marquez, LHP, Chicago Cubs
102. JoJo Romero, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
103. Durbin Feltman, RHP, Boston Red Sox
104. David Peterson, LHP, New York Mets
105. Lenny Torres, RHP, Cleveland Indians
106. Griffin Roberts, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
107. Zac Lowther, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
108. Peter Lambert, RHP, Colorado Rockies
109. Luis Ortiz, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
110. Jordan Yamamoto, RHP, Miami Marlins
111. Alex Lange, RHP, Chicago Cubs
112. Jayson Schroeder, RHP, Houston Astros
113. Lewis Thorpe, LHP, Minnesota Twins
114. Tristan Beck, RHP, Atlanta Braves
115. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Minnesota Twins
116. Dillon Tate, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
117. Tony Gonsolin, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
118. Wyatt Marks, RHP, Oakland Athletics
119. Lyon Richardson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
120. Cionel Perez, LHP, Houston Astros
121. Steven Jennings, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
122. Cal Quantrill, RHP, San Diego Padres
123. Tyler Ivey, RHP, Houston Astros
It’s really hard to break up this many pitching prospects into tiers. It really is. So let me just rattle off some quick hits on pitchers I think can shoot up from this tier or interesting names in general. You’ll notice two relievers in this tier with Colin Poche and Durbin Feltman. Both possess a dynamic two-pitch combination that should land them in the 9th inning down the road. Both could make an impact later on in 2019 as well.
Over the past year or two, I’ve been notoriously low on Cal Quantrill and that’s not stopping now. He screams back-end starter to me and nothing more. Solid floor, but lacks a high upside. Another “floor guy” starting to make a name for himself is Jordan Yamamoto of the Miami Marlins. After loweing his ERA for a 3rd straight season down to 1.83, Yamamoto was one of the best pitchers in the Arizona Fall League. The upside isn’t overly high here, but with his arsenal, command, and pitchability, Yamamoto has a good chance of becoming a reliable back-end rotation arm.
124. Mitchell White, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
125. Tucker Davidson, LHP, Atlanta Braves
126. Mike Shawaryn, RHP, Boston Red Sox
127. Francisco Morales, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
128. Luis Gil, RHP, New York Yankees
129. Sean Hjelle, RHP, San Francisco Giants
130. Carlos Hernandez, RHP, Kansas City Royals
131. Blaine Knight, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
132. Braxton Ashcraft, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
133. Simeon Woods-Richardson, RHP, New York Mets
134. Adbert Alzolay, RHP, Chicago Cubs
135. Josiah Gray, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
136. Keegan Akin, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
137. Albert Abreu, RHP, New York Yankees
138. Edward Cabrera, RHP, Miami Marlins
139. Erik Swanson, RHP, Seattle Mariners
140. Enyel De Los Santos, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
141. Bryan Mata, RHP, Boston Red Sox
142. Shaun Anderson, RHP, San Francisco Giants
143. Ryan Helsley, RHP, St Louis Cardinals
144. Richard Gallardo, RHP, Chicago Cubs
145. Yoan Lopez, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
146. Dakota Hudson, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
147. Edwin Uceta, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
148. Wyatt Mills, RHP, Seattle Mariners
149. Tanner Houck, RHP, Boston Red Sox
150. Gregory Santos, RHP, San Francisco Giants
Not everyone can be a #1 or #2 starter. Sometimes finding some solid back-end starters for your fantasy team can help too, especially at the low cost it takes to acquire them. That’s exactly what we have with this final tier. Most of these guys above will carve out roles as back-end starters or middle relievers. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Every rotation needs five starters. Five and only five. None of this “opener” garbage.
Others to Monitor
Huascar Ynoa, RHP, Atlanta Braves | Justin Steele, LHP, Chicago Cubs | Jacob Heatherly, LHP, Cincinnati Reds | Riley Pint, RHP, Colorado Rockies | Elvin Rodriguez, RHP, Detroit Tigers | Jairo Solis, RHP, Houston Astros | Framber Valdez, LHP, Houston Astros | Yefri Del Rosario, RHP, Kansas City Royals | Zach Haake, RHP, Kansas City Royals | Jose Suarez, LHP, Los Angeles Angels | Aaron Hernandez, RHP, Los Angeles Angels | Michael Grove, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers | Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers | Jorge Guzman, RHP, Miami Marlins | Zack Brown, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers | Blayne Enlow, RHP, Minnesota Twins | Jorge Alcala, RHP, Minnesota Twins |
Franklyn Kilome, RHP, New York Mets | Anthony Kay, LHP, New York Mets | Thomas Szapucki, LHP, New York Mets | Matt Sauer, RHP, New York Yankees | Chance Adams, RHP, New York Yankees | Nick Nelson, RHP, New York Yankees | Freicer Perez, RHP, New York Yankees | Parker Dunshee, RHP, Oakland Athletics | Luis Escobar, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates | Travis MacGregor, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates | Cody Bolton, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates | Andres Munoz, RHP, San Diego Padres | Resly Linares, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays | Taylor Hearn, LHP, Texas Rangers | Brock Burke, LHP, Texas Rangers | Tyler Phillips, RHP, Texas Rangers | Joe Palumbo, LHP, Texas Rangers | Owen White, RHP, Texas Rangers | Will Crowe, RHP, Washington Nationals
Spring Training games have begun! It’s time you got your fantasy baseball season started as well. Leagues are already forming at Fantrax.com, so head on over and get your league started today.
Photo/Video Credit: Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire, Jason Woodell, Baseball America, Pitcher List
Eric Cross is the lead MLB/Fantasy Baseball writer and MiLB prospect analyst for FantraxHQ and has been with the site since March 2017. In the past, he wrote for FantasyPros and FanSided. He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA). For more from Eric, check out his author page and follow him on Twitter @EricCross04.
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