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Top 80 Starting Pitcher Prospect Rankings For 2023

When playing in dynasty leagues, having a stable of starting pitcher prospects waiting in the wings has been a strategy I have used to help mitigate injuries in the major leagues. For me getting in on the bottom floor with these arms is key. You don’t want to get stuck paying over market value for a prospect on the verge of making their major league debut.

My top 80 starting pitching prospect rankings should give you a leg up in your dynasty leagues on grabbing the top names before it’s too late. If you are playing in deep leagues like the 30-team leagues I play in, you can find my top 530 starting pitcher prospects on the Weekly Streamer Patreon.

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Top Five Starting Pitcher Prospects

Grayson Rodriguez, BAL

Dynasty managers have to be happy with the short returns for Grayson Rodriguez so far this season. Rodriguez has been regarded as one of the best pitching prospects in the minors for at least the last two seasons and it’s easy to see why. Drafted out of high school in 2018, Rodriguez has put up big strikeout numbers throughout his minor league career. Since 2018 Rodriguez has a 12.65 K/9 and a 2.77 BB/9 throughout his minor league career. In 2022 Rodriguez got off to a strong start to his season before going down with a Grade 2 right lat strain. Regardless, Rodriguez struck out 109 batters in 75.2 innings pitched keeping batters to a .176 average against and holding a 2.62 ERA in 17 starts.

These strong numbers in 2022 and Rodriguez coming into spring training healthy, started the conversation of Grayson breaking camp with the Orioles. Baltimore elected to send their top pitching prospect to AAA Norfolk to start the season and after dueling with Rays top pitching prospect Taj Bradley, received the call to the majors. Since being up with the Orioles, Rodriguez has struck out 41 batters in 33.2 innings and holds a 5.08 ERA in seven starts.

Currently, his .284 average against is over .100 points higher than his career norm as well as his home run per nine at 1.87. Rodriguez seems to be adjusting to big-league hitters and his high BABIP of .360 and lower FIP tell me he is getting a bit unlucky at the moment. I am still extremely confident in Grayson Rodriguez in the long term as an SP 1 profile for dynasty managers.

Andrew Painter, PHL

One of the most exciting pitching prospects in 2022 was without a doubt Phillies right-hander Andrew Painter. The Phillies selected Painter out of high school in the 2021 MLB draft.

Painter ascended three levels in 2022, finishing his season in AA Reading. He features a high-90’s four-seam fastball that has plus spin rates and a two-seam fastball that has a solid sink. His slider might be one of the best strikeout offerings that like his fastball has plus spin rates that contribute to big movement and even bigger swing-and-miss potential. Painter can pinpoint his change-up and have it drop on command and tosses in a high 70s curveball that dives out of the strike zone.

With these offerings, Painter struck out 155 batters in 103.2 innings pitched, keeping batters to a .181 average and holding a 1.56 ERA over 22 starts. As the old saying goes, “Pitching prospects will break your heart.” Unfortunately, during spring training Painter went down with a sprained UCL in his right elbow. Painter elected to rest rather than have surgery and as of this writing, Painter is starting to throw in a controlled setting.

Painter was my top pitching prospect prior to Spring Training as it’s easy to see the upside this young pitcher has. Hopefully, the UCL will hold up and we could see Painter make his MLB debut this season. Even if he does succumb to Tommy John surgery he is only 20 years old and figures to have SP one upside.

Gavin Williams, CLE

The Guardians have been labeled a pitching factory for years now and when they announced they were taking one of the best college arms in the draft, dynasty managers took notice. Just how dominant was Gavin Williams at ECU? Williams made 15 appearances for the Pirates, striking out 130 batters in 81.1 innings pitched and holding batters to a .193 average with a 1.88 ERA.

Williams is a bulldog on the mound. Standing at 6’6”, he dominates hitters with a high-90s fastball that touches triple-digits. The Guardians have worked with Williams on getting more spin on the baseball, resulting in a tight slider sitting in the mid-80s and mixing in a high-70s curveball that has solid movement. Pair these offerings with an 86 MPH changeup that has solid fade and Williams features a true four-pitch mix.

So far in 2023, Williams has been dominant, starting the season in AA Akron and striking out 20 batters in 14.1 innings while keeping batters to a .120 average and holding a low 0.63 ERA in three starts. With the promotions of Logan Allen and Tanner Bibee, it was no surprise that the Guardians promoted Williams to AAA Columbus. Gavin continued his dominance there, striking out 21 batters in 16 innings, keeping batters to a .118 average, and putting up a 1.13 ERA in his three starts with the Clippers.

With Grayson Rodriguez more than likely moving off the list in the next start or two and the uncertainty behind Andrew Painter, it would not be surprising to see Gavin Williams in the number one spot, but I doubt he will remain in the minor leagues long enough to get there.

Eury Perez, MIA

The excitement is running high for Eury Perez who made his major league debut with the Miami Marlins this past Friday. Perez is yet another of the young pitching phenoms taking the major leagues by storm. The 20-year-old Perez has dominated the minor leagues in his short time in the Marlins system holding a 12.18 K/9 and a low 2.76 BB/9 in his 184 innings pitched. Perez features a four-pitch mix in a high 90’s fastball that regularly hits triple digits and plays nicely off of the upper-80s changeup that has massive swing-and-miss upside. Last season Perez introduced a mid 80’s slider that has sharp breaking movement and has begun to use it more frequently than his high-70s curveball that he will pepper in.

The Marlins sent Perez back to AA Pensacola where in six starts he has struck out 42 batters in 31 innings pitched keeping opposing batters to a .148 average against and holding a 2.32 ERA. This strong start for Perez enticed the Marlins enough to forgo triple-A and call Eury Perez up to make his major league debut on Friday against the Reds. Perez profiles as a top-tier pitcher if he can repeat what he has done in the minor leagues so far. There is no doubt dynasty managers are excited to see the results for Eury as well as see him entrench himself in the Marlins rotation for years to come.

Taj Bradley, TBR

It seems fitting that Tampa Bay’s right-hander Taj Bradley rounds out the top five of what I believe are five true SP one prospects in the game right now. The 22-year-old Bradley has impressed with his early season numbers with the Rays though they continue to play games sending back and forth to AAA Durham. Taj Bradley took a major step forward in 2022 striking out 141 batters in 133.1 innings pitched keeping them to a .213 average against and holding a 2.57 ERA in 28 starts spread between AA and AAA.

Bradley features a high-90s fastball and a mid-80s cutter that features a bit more movement than a standard cutter. Taj has a split-finger changeup that sits upper-80’s but will dive out of the zone effectively making it a solid out pitch to pair with his fastball. Although Bradley has a curveball he really doesn’t throw the pitch that often and it grades out as a below-average offering.

The tale of 2023 for Taj has been a strange one as the Rays started him in AAA Durham and despite lackluster results in his first start against Grayson Rodriguez and Norfolk got the call to the majors. In his first three starts in the majors Taj had 23 strikeouts in 15.1 innings pitched a .214 average against and a solid 3.52 ERA. Taj dominated the strike zone holding a 13.5 k/9 and a 1.17 BB/9 the best he has ever had! Regardless, the Rays sent him back to Durham where he has struggled. In 12.2 innings pitched with the Bulls, Taj only has 11 strikeouts and an ugly 11.37 ERA in 4 starts.

This tale of two players begs the question: what is going on with Taj Bradley? Personally, I think the Rays playing games with Bradley has affected him mentally on the mound in AAA. I still view Taj Bradley as a front-line starting pitcher for the Rays long-term and a must-grab in all dynasty formats.

Five Pitching Prospects To Stash

Ben Brown, CHC

The Chicago Cubs has become one of the best minor league farm systems in all of baseball. With solid player development and well-executed trades, they look poised to turn that corner sooner than most expected. One of my favorite pitching prospects in the Cubs system is Ben Brown. Formerly a Philadelphia Phillies prospect Brown came to the Cubs for David Robertson in 2022 and since his trade Brown has gone off for his new club. The 23-year-old Brown features three plus pitches in his mid-to-high-90s fastball, a power curveball that sits in the mid-80s with a downward break, and a sharp breaking slider that tops out at 91 MPH.

In 2022 Brown struck out 149 batters in 104 innings pitched, holding batters to a .221 average with a 3.38 ERA across 22 starts split between the Phillies and Cubs organizations. The Cubs had Brown start the 2023 season in AA where he dominated, in his four starts Brown struck out 30 batters in 20 innings pitched keeping batters to a .186 average and holding a .045 ERA. This was more than enough to see Brown moved to AAA where in his two starts he has struck out 17 batters in only 10.2 innings keeping batters to a .135 average against and holding a 0.84 ERA.

This is an immediate go-out-and-grab prospect because, make no mistakes, if he was a year or two away he would be up in the top five for me. With Brown on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, it’s only a matter of time before he gets his chance to lock down a spot for years to come.

Jacob Misiorowski, MIL

Similar to the Cleveland Guardians, the Brewers have been labeled as a “pitching factory” and one stands out to me as a name to watch. Jacob Misiorowski was drafted in the second round of the 2022 draft out of Crowder Junior College and was impressive in his final season, striking out 136 batters in 15 appearances. The 6’7” Misiorowski touches triple digits with a fastball that features high spin rates, A mid-80s slider that has good movement and induces a ton of swing and miss. The curveball and changeup are works in progress for Misiorowski but we have seen the Brewers develop effective changeups in their pitching prospects.

Now 21 years old, Misiorowski is back at low-A Carolina where he has 19 strikeouts in 10.2 innings pitched keeping batters to a .114 average and holding a 2.53 ERA in five starts. What is impressive for me is the big fastball-slider combination that can lead to big strikeouts. Now if he can limit the walks as he develops, don’t be surprised if he skyrockets up not only in the organization in 2023 but also in my rankings this season.

Emmet Sheehan, LAD

When looking through the Dodgers farm system, I could easily write a whole article on the pitching prospects coming up the pipeline. One of the most intriguing for me is Emmet Sheehan. The former Boston College Eagle was selected in the sixth round of the 2021 draft by the Dodgers. Since becoming a Dodger, Sheehan has been a strikeout machine, with 183 of them in 108 innings pitched. Sheehan features a high-90s fastball and a plus changeup that has good fade. In addition to the fastball and changeup Sheehan also features a slider that sits in the low 80s and is a current work in progress for him.

In 2022 Sheehan opened some eyes as he ascended two levels, finishing in AA Tulsa. For the season Sheehan struck out 106 batters in 68 innings pitched keeping batters to a .177 average and holding a 2.91 ERA in 20 appearances, 14 of which were starts. The Dodgers sent the now 23-year-old Sheehan back to AA Tulsa to start the 2023 season. In 24.1 innings he has struck out 43 batters, good for a 15.9 K/9 with a .141 average against and a 2.59 ERA in six appearances, five of which are starts. Don’t let the relief appearance alarm you. Sheehan has what it takes to be a solid starter long-term. Surely the Dodgers are trying to find the fastest path for him to get to the majors. This to me is a win either way for Sheehan who can be a solid SP 2-3 or an elite back of the bullpen arm that could rack up saves and holds quickly.

Luke Little, CHC

Shout out to Ed “The Irish” Fingerhut for turning my attention to Luke Little of the Chicago Cubs. Little has quickly become one of my favorite stash candidates and it’s easy to see why. The Cubs nabbed Little in the fourth round of the 2020 draft out of San Jacinto junior college where there was video footage of the 20-year-old lefty touching 105 MPH.

Now Little has one of the best fastballs in the minor leagues sitting at 95-98 and hitting triple-digits frequently in starts. The slider throws batters off, sitting in the low-80s and fitting the mold of the modern sweeper that we have been seeing in the major leagues. So far the change-up has not developed so well for Little to this point. Regardless the Cubs have been running the 6’8” flamethrowing lefty as a starter and the results have been fantastic.

In 2022 the Cubs started Little in Low-A Myrtle Beach and finished him in high-A South Bend. In Little’s 24 appearances, with 22 of them being starts, he struck out 101 batters in 65.2 innings with a .180 average against and a 2.47 ERA. No doubt the strikeouts are there for Little but what will keep him a starter is limiting the walks. This is something that he needed to improve upon in 2023 as the Cubs assigned Little back to High-A South Bend. In five appearances Little has struck out 21 batters in 17.1 innings, holding batters to a .194 average with a 0.52 ERA. Luke limited the walks to 3.63 BB/9 which is acceptable and got the call to AA Tennessee. Time will tell if the Cubs will utilize Little as a starter or elite reliever but either way the upside is big with Little.

Josh Stephan, TEX

Stephan might be one of the most underrated pitchers in the minor leagues. Right now on Fantrax Josh Stephan is only 3% owned. This has got to change. It seems Stephan has been an underdog from day one as he went undrafted out of high school in the five-round MLB draft in 2020. Texas signed him after the draft and sent him to the complex league. The Rangers held no punches back using the 19-year-old for 7 appearances and 6 starts in complex ball where he struck out 31 batters in 28 innings pitched. Now most teams protect young prospects you rarely ever see them go above 15 innings in complex ball. The Rangers then sent him to low-A where he started in three games and struck out 19 in 12 innings.

All this sounds very dramatic I’m sure, but believe me, we don’t see this kind of movement often with pitching prospects, especially high school arms. But because he went undrafted, the Rangers were not afraid to see what they had. The 2022 season saw Stephan back with the low-A Wood Ducks where in 16 starts he struck out 102 batters in 91.2 innings with a .221 average against and a 3.34 ERA. This was enough for the Rangers to promote Stephan to High-A Hickory to finish his season. Now let’s skip ahead to the 2023 season. The 21-year-old Stephan is back in high-A Hickory and has continued to dominate, striking out 29 batters in 25 innings with a .151 average against and a fantastic 1.80 ERA in four starts.

With Stephan’s career 10.94 K/9 and solid walk numbers, it should not be long now till we see Josh Stephan promoted to AA Frisco. As he continues to climb the organizational ladder so too has he climbed my rankings. Make sure to go and stash him now.

2023 Starting Pitcher Prospect Rankings

RnkPlayerPosTeamAgeETAPrev Rnk
1Grayson RodriguezRHPBAL23Debuted9
2Andrew PainterRHPPHL20202412
3Gavin WilliamsRHPCLE23202424
4Eury PerezRHPMIA20202313
5Taj BradleyRHPTBR22Debuted48
6Ricky TiedemannLHPTOR20202416
7Brandon PfaadtRHPARI24202340
8Kyle HarrisonLHPSFG21202420
9Tink HenceRHPSTL21202451
10Bryce MillerRHPSEA24Debuted70
11Bobby MillerRHPLAD24202361
12Mick AbelRHPPHL21202473
13Logan AllenLHPCLE24Debuted198
14Tanner BibeeRHPCLE24Debuted76
15Gavin StoneRHPLAD24Debuted78
16Andrew AbbottLHPCIN232023221
17Ben BrownRHPCHC232023275
18Max MeyerRHPMIA24Debuted81
19AJ Smith-ShawverRHPATL202025283
20Brock PorterRHPTEX192025148
21Daniel EspinoRHPCLE22202434
22Cade HortonRHPCHC212024139
23Owen WhiteRHPTEX232023141
24Matthew LiberatoreLHPSTL23Debuted273
25Drey JamesonRHPARI25Debuted124
26Wilmer FloresRHPDET222023131
27Jhony BritoRHPNYY25DebutedNR
28Jack LeiterRHPTEX22202493
29Dylan LeskoRHPSDP192026145
30Ty MaddenRHPDET232024149
31Jared ShusterLHPATL24Debuted151
32Joey CantilloLHPCLE232024216
33Jake EderLHPMIA242023161
34Landon SimsRHPARI222025157
35Dylan DoddLHPATL24DebutedNR
36Emerson HancockRHPSEA232023160
37Jackson JobeRHPDET202025162
38Connor PrielippLHPMIN222025164
39Ryne NelsonRHPARI25Debuted165
40Kumar RockerRHPTEX232023231
41Quinn PriesterRHPPIT222023169
42Jordan WicksLHPCHC232023188
43DL HallLHPBAL24Debuted129
44Jacob MisiorowskiRHPMIL202025172
45Cooper HjerpeRHPSTL222024137
46Bubba ChandlerRHPPIT202025175
47Brandon BarrieraRHPTOR192025133
48Shane BazRHPTBR23Debuted178
49Emmet SheehanRHPLAD232023296
50Clayton BeeterRHPNYY242023180
51Mason MillerRHPOAK24Debuted182
52Jarlin SusanaRHPWSH18202594
53Frank MozzicatoLHPKCR192025354
54Cole WilcoxRHPTBR232024191
55Mason MontgomeryRHPTBR222024107
56Cade CavalliRHPWSH24Debuted85
57Cody MorrisRHPCLE26Debuted103
58Luis OrtizRHPPIT24Debuted199
59Chase PettyRHPCIN202025201
60Maddux BrunsLHPLAD202025258
61Nick FrassoRHPLAD242024243
62Robby SnellingRHP SDP192026323
63Owen Murphy RHPATL192026308
64Ryan PepiotRHPLAD25Debuted194
65Blake WalstonLHPARI212023228
66Gunnar HoglundRHPOAK232025173
67Luke LittleLHPCHC222024338
68Blade TidwellRHPNYM212025239
69Carson WhisenhuntRHPSFG222025285
70Robert GasserLHPMIL232023245
71Joe BoyleRHPCIN232024249
72Connor PhillipsRHPCIN212024343
73Gordon GraceffoRHPSTL232023146
74Jackson FerrisRHPCHC192026360
75Nick NastriniRHPLAD232024348
76Prelander BerroaRHPSEA222023195
77Ethan SmallLHPMIL26Debuted269
78Gabriel HughesRHPCOL212025276
79Drew RomLHPBAL232023620
80Landon KnackRHPLAD252023386
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