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Low-A Pitching Prospect Standouts

With the promotion of Guardians pitching prospect Matt Wilkinson, we can now take a look at some of the standout names down in Low-A. Most of these prospects could be getting a promotion to High-A in short order so now is the time to stash before the stock rises. We will dive into the California League, Carolina League, and Florida State League in this article so let’s dive in!

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Low-A Pitching Prospects That Standout

Gary Gill Hill, RHP TBR

(7 GS, 35 IP, 37 K, 9.51 K/9, 2.31 ERA)

Performing well in the Carolina League has been 19-year-old Gary Gill Hill. Featuring a three-pitch mix in his fastball, slider, and change-up Gill Hill has been carving up Low-A batters early on. In seven starts with Low-A Charleston Gill Hill has 37 strikeouts over 35 innings pitched, good for a 9.51 K/9 with a .190 average against, and currently has a 2.31 ERA. The walks per nine have come down from his time split between Complex Ball (4.10) and Low-A Charleston (4.91) in 2023 now at 2.57 BB/9.

In addition to the improvements in the walks allowed Gill Hill has kept the ball on the ground at 60.2% so far with a low 26.5% flyball rate. The sixth-round pitch by the Rays in 2022 out of High School is showing signs of growth early on and if this continues a bump to High-A Bowling Green could happen soon.

George Klassen, RHP PHI

(6 GS, 27 IP, 42 K, 14 K/9, 0.33 ERA)

One of the biggest stories to follow early on has been George Klassen down in Low-A Clearwater. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of Minnesota, Klassen is most recently back from missing a turn in the rotation with a right shoulder “issue.” Klassen features a 97 mph four-seam fastball, 91 MPH Cutter, and an 85 mph curveball all three of his offerings are generating well above average spin rates early on. Across six starts for Clearwater Klassen has 42 strikeouts over 27 innings pitched, good for a 14 K/9 with a .111 batting average against, and currently has a solid 0.33 ERA.

In his first start back the Phillies sent Klassen out for just two innings in which he allowed no hits or walks while striking out three. We might see a start or two before Klassen is back up to the five to six innings pitched per outing as the Phillies continue to monitor his right shoulder. For dynasty managers, this is still a buy situation as it should be long after he’s ramped up innings-wise for Klassen to head up to High-A Jersey Shore.

Will Schomberg, RHP SEA

(8 GS, 38 IP, 48 K, 11.37 K/9, 1.89 ERA)

Signed as an undrafted free agent out of Davidson College. In his senior season, Schomberg started 13 games striking out 68 over 65.2 innings pitched with a .217 batting average against and finishing the season with a 3.97 ERA. Schomberg did win Atlantic 10 first-team honors before signing as a non-drafted free agent with the Seattle Mariners. Now, in his first full season of professional ball, Schomberg has been dominant in the California League, which is primarily a hitter-friendly league. Across eight starts Schomberg has 48 strikeouts over 38 innings pitched, good for an 11.37 K/9 with a .169 average against, and currently sports a 1.89 ERA.

Schomberg features a solid three-pitch mix in a fastball, slider, and change-up that has solid movement on the breaking pitches and the fastball has great ride up in the zone. This is an excellent under-the-radar prospect who should start to get more attention as he continues to climb Seattle’s organization.

Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz, RHP BOS

(7 GS, 29.1 IP, 45 K, 13.81 K/9, 2.76 ERA)

Quickly emerging as a strikeout artist in Boston’s organization is Elmer Rodriguez-Cruz in Low-A Salem. The 20-year-old stands 6’3” at 160 pounds featuring a fastball, curveball, and change-up that has been effective early on. In seven starts for the Salem Red Sox Rodriguez-Cruz has struck out 45 batters over 29.1 innings pitched, good for a 13.81 K/9 with a .202 average against, and currently has a 2.76 ERA. Early on in his career, Rodriguez-Cruz has done a solid job not allowing home runs as he has yet to allow one in 2024 and has only allowed four across 123 career innings pitched.

The only downside to Rodriguez-Cruz has been the walks. The high walk rates are not new as Rodriguez-Cruz has constantly posted walks per nine north of 4.00 in his three stints at Low-A. For dynasty managers, this is a prospect who has an upside in deeper formats as the reliever risk is much higher.

Darlin Saladin, RHP STL

(6 GP, 5 GS, 32 IP, 36 K, 10.13 K/9, 2.25 ERA)

There is some magic happening in the Cardinals Low-A Palm Beach when it comes to their starting pitchers. When looking at the numbers you could put any one of them on here but we really need to take Darlin Saladin seriously. The 21-year-old is on his second stint in Low-A (after one appearance for two innings pitching in 2023) where he has been absolutely dominant. Saladin features a four-seam fastball that comes in 93 mph but the ride on the fastball is elite. Saladin also has a hooking curveball that comes in at 81 mph, a slider at 83 mph, a change-up, and a sinker.

In six appearances (five starts) Saladin has 36 strikeouts over 32 innings pitched, good for a 10.13 K/9 with a .205 average against while sporting a 2.25 ERA. The mechanics have been working early on as Saladin has lowered his walks per nine from 3.99 over 47.1 innings pitched at Complex Ball in 2023 to a solid 1.69 BB/9. along with the command and control, Saladin has done a fantastic job limiting hard contact and giving his defenders a chance to make a play. This is a prospect to watch going forward as the numbers on the fastball are really impressive early on.

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