We are nearly two months into the Minor League season. Prospects are standing out, while others with top prospect status are struggling. Each year, pitching prospects breakout, and often it seems flukey, but some stick as genuine pitching prospects. Last season you could have picked up prospects like Eury Perez, Kyle Harrison, Brayan Bello, and Roansy Contreras off most waiver wires in dynasty leagues. Some early season standouts won’t rise to the status of those guys, but if you don’t take the chance at adding them, you could miss out on the next significant pitching prospects.
Today we will discuss several pitching prospects who are off to solid starts to the 2022 season and if those starts are sustainable. Let’s dive into the arms.
Pitching Prospects on the Rise
Joe Boyle, Cincinnati Reds
Joe Boyle has been off to a solid start in High-A in 2022 with a 0.53 ERA and a 0.89 WHIP, and a 39.8 percent strikeout rate in 33.2 innings. The most impressive feat is that he has faced 138 batters and allowed just six hits all season. The more significant issue remains walks as he has 24, or an 18.8 percent rate.
Boyle does have some control issues, but you are also going to walk a lot of hitters when you only have allowed six hits all season. Boyle’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and tops out at 100 with excellent carry. He also features a cutter, slider, and curveball, all excellent pitches. Even if Boyle doesn’t make it as a starter, there is a chance he can be a superb reliever(see Jhoan Duran). Buy Joe Boyle in dynasty.
This episode in "Farm Director Simulator" features Joe Boyle (CIN).
Boyle threw 36 IP total in college w/ a 12 bb/9 and 6.00 ERA. Drafted in the 5th. 0 GS.
Threw 6 IP tonight of no-hit ball, season line of 7 GS, 33.2 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 24 BB, 51 K. Four plus pitches.
What do? pic.twitter.com/qzb681NmVi
— Kyle Boddy (@drivelinebases) May 25, 2022
Tanner Bibee, Cleveland Guardians
Tanner Bibee was drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 draft and has looked like a first-rounder based on his strong performances. He has pitched 33.2 innings this season with 52 strikeouts and six walks. His ERA sits at 1.60 with a WHIP below one.
Since college, Bibee has made some tweaks to his delivery, and it has paid off. His fastball has also seen velocity gains this season, sitting mid-90s and topping out at 98. His curveball is a big breaker that generates plenty of swings and misses. His slider can be inconsistent at times but is a very solid pitch. Given Cleveland’s track record, Bibee is an excellent buy among pitching prospects.
#Guardians 23yr old RHP prospect Tanner Bibee struck out 7 more batters tonight for Lake County. Bibee now has 52 strikeouts over just 33.2 innings on the season.
Line – 6.0(IP) 7H 3R 2ER 0BB 7SO
— Guardians Prospective (@CleGuardPro) May 25, 2022
Dahian Santos, Toronto Blue Jays
Santos signed with the Blue Jays in 2019 and made his professional debut in 2021, and got mixed results. This season, he came back out as a 19-year-old in Single-A and has dominated. In 25 innings, he has a 1.44 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP to pair with 49 strikeouts of the 100 batters he has faced. He has walked just 12.
Santos is a bit undersized but utilizes a good three-pitch mix and is highly athletic. His fastball has seen velocity gains, and he throws it for strikes often. It sits between 92-93 mph, with room for more growth. His slider is a high spinner with a ton of movement. Santos’ changeup is still developing; it flashes being a useful pitch. Santos could be a fast riser up rankings and a pitching prospect to add in dynasty leagues.
Connor Phillips, Cincinnati Reds
You might be hard-pressed to find a hotter pitcher in MILB than Connor Phillips. His overall line sits at 3.00 over 36 innings with a 42.6 percent strikeout rate, but Phillips has a 1.64 ERA and a 0.73 WHIP in 22 innings over the last month.
Phillips was the player to be named later from Seattle in the Jesse Winker trade. It looks like the Reds could have found a real gem with Phillips. Over his last four starts, he has pitched six innings in three of those starts, and in those three where he pitched six, he allowed a total of one earned run. He struck out 13 of the 23 batters he faced in his recent outing.
His fastball has been good this season, sitting in the mid-90s and getting as high as 99. His slider is also a highly effective pitch, generating a ton of spin and late-breaking action. Phillips also mixes in a curveball that has distinct movement from the slider. His command has improved throughout May, though he still has some inconsistencies. If the improved walk rate sticks, it helps his chances of being a starter long-term.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) May 21, 2022
Antoine Kelly, Milwaukee Brewers
Antoine Kelly was once my favorite pitching prospect in the Brewers system, even above Aaron Ashby. Kelly had thoracic outlet surgery in November 2020 and pitched just 19 innings in 2021. The lefty has been strong in 2022. He has a 2.52 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 40 innings this season. Walks have been an issue for Kelly as he is walking 12 percent of hitters. Overall, his command has improved from last season, making him a more interesting pitching prospect.
His fastball is back up to the mid-90s and has topped at 97. Kelly’s slider is his best pitch. He struck out 13 of the 17 batters he faced in his most recent outing. According to Brewers Player Development, he had 30 whiffs in the start, which is the most by a Minor League pitcher in a game this season and the sixth-highest amount since 2017. If Kelly can continue to work his way back and develop a changeup, he has the potential to be a mid-rotation starter.
Thanks for stopping by to read about some intriguing pitching prospects, be sure to check out all our other great work at FantraxHQ.
Media and Statistical References: Fangraphs, Kyle Boddy, Guardians Prospective, MLB Pipeline