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Trade Deadline Pitching Prospects To Target

The MLB trade deadline is fast approaching with big deals happening already with Scherzer, Giolito, and Lynn on the move. While writing this article top tier prospects such as Luisangel Acuna, Nick Nastrini, and Edgar Quero have been moved to new clubs. In this article, I’m going to talk about the pitching prospects you should look into targeting before your trade deadlines. These are pitchers you can acquire now and could be called up by the season’s end or early in 2024. Let’s dive in!

More great fantasy baseball advice and analysis: Waiver Wire & FAAB Recommendations | Daily MLB Injury Report | MLB DFS Picks | Line-up Analysis | Dynasty Rankings and Strategy | MLB Bullpen Updates | MLB Player Props | Prospect Rankings & Analysis | Fantasy Baseball Risers and Fallers

Deadline Prospect Pitchers To Target

Carlos F Rodriguez, RHP MIL AA

(18 GS, 85.1 IP, 114 K, .180 AVG, 2.64 ERA)

The Brewers pitching factory just continues to develop quality starting pitchers with Jacob Misiorowski and Robert Gasser jumping up rankings. I’m here to tell you Carlos F. Rodriguez won’t be far behind.

Rodriguez features a plus slider and change-up that have induced a ton of sing-and-miss for the 21-year-old right-hander. Across 18 starts in Double-A Biloxi, Rodriguez has struck out 114 batters in just 85.1 innings, good for a 12.02 K/9, and has a batting average against of just .180. Pair the big strikeouts with the solid 2.64 ERA and you have an intriguing pitching prospect that is starting to make waves.

The only concern for me is the walk rate which sits at 4.32 currently. Rodriguez is a breaking ball pitcher that relies on swing and misses outside the zone. This will contribute to his higher walk rates as he continues to develop. Regardless, Rodriguez should be on your radar as an arm to bolster your minor league system.

Jake Bennett, LHP WSH A+

(12 GS, 56 IP, 70 K, .218 AVG, 1.77 ERA)

Coming out of the University of Oklahoma, Jake Bennett has impressed not only the Washington Nationals but dynasty managers so far this season. The 45th overall pick in the 2022 MLB draft, Bennett has ascended two levels so far this season in Low-A Fredericksburg and now High-A+ Wilmington.

In nine starts in Fredericksburg Bennett struck out 54 batters in 42 innings and had a .222 average against. With a 1.93 ERA and a solid 1.71 BB/9, the Nationals saw enough to promote Bennett to High-A Wilmington. Once in Wilmington Bennett picked up where he left off, striking batters out at a 10.29 K/9 and currently has a 1.29 ERA across three starts.

The only number that jumped after the promotion was the walks to a 3.21 BB/9, I suspect this should come back down after a few starts as Bennett has been known for his control at Oklahoma and in Low-A. This is one of my favorite prospects to target in dynasty leagues as he has a low-end SP-3 floor with a true SP-2 ceiling if everything comes together.

Drew Thorpe, RHP NYY A+

(16 GS, 99.1 IP, 124 K, .198 AVG, 2.08 ERA)

The New York Yankees seem to have stumbled across an exciting pitching prospect in Drew Thorpe who has been giving batters fits in High-A this season. The 22-Year-old Thorpe features a plus slider and change-up, paired with above-average command that has impressed this season. Across 16 starts in High-A Hudson Valley, Thorpe has struck out 124 batters in just 99.1 innings and has a .198 average against. Paired with the 11.23 K/9, Thorpe has a 2.81 BB/9 and has been effective in keeping the ball on the ground (49.3%) while having a low 0.54 HR/9.

Round out Thorpe’s numbers with a solid 2.08 ERA and you can see why he is skyrocketing up dynasty rankings. Drew Thorpe profiles as an SP2 for dynasty purposes and should be a target here at the deadline as his value could continue to rise heading into the off-season.

Colton Gordon, LHP HOU AA

(19 G, 17 GS, 1 SV, 90 IP, 116 K, .203 AVG, 3.30 ERA)

Houston has a way of drafting college pitchers and fast-tracking them through the system while getting their maximum potential out. This appears to be the case for 24-year-old Colton Gordon over the last two seasons.

This season Gordon has primarily been used as a starter but has had two appearances as a reliever notching on a save in the process. This is not unusual for the Astros to do as they have prepared their starters to be ready to pitch out of the bullpen if the need arises for the major league club. Regardless Gordon has shown strong numbers in Double-A, striking out 116 batters in 90 innings pitched; good for an 11.60 K/9.

Colton Gordon had a .203 average against with a 3.30 ERA. The walks ticked up for Gordon this season, currently sitting at a 3.20 BB/9 up from the low 1.33 BB/9 he was putting up in 2022. To me, Colton Gordon looks like a “fast track” pitching prospect for the Houston Astros that could get the opportunity we saw J.P. France get this season.

As a 6’4” lefty Gordon is very appealing as a starter who has racked up the strikeouts over the last two seasons and could see a bump to Triple-A before making his debut in 2024.

Josh Stephan, RHP TEX AA

(13G, 12 GS, 66.2 IP, 78 K, .184 AVG, 2.30 ERA)

One of the best pitching prospects in the Texas Rangers system has to be Josh Stephan. The 21-year-old Stephan went undrafted in a shortened 2020 MLB draft and signed with the Rangers out of high school as a free agent. Steadily rising through the system over the last two seasons, everything seems to have clicked for Josh Stephan in 2023.

In 12 games and 11 starts in High-A Hickory Stephan struck out 73 batters in 62.1 innings with a .175 average against and a 2.17 ERA. Stephan paired his excellent 10.54 K/9 with a stellar 1.73 BB/9 before getting the call-up to Double-A Frisco.

Stephan profiles as a low-end SP3 or likely an SP4 long-term for Dynasty. This is an easy target in deeper dynasty leagues as a final piece to get a deal over the finish line.

Blade Tidwell, RHP NYM AA

(17 GS, 81.2 IP, 112 K, .188 AVG, 3.09 ERA)

Coming out of the University of Tennessee, Blade Tidwell was a solid draft choice for the Mets in the second round of the 2022 MLB draft. With a plus fastball and slider, Tidwell has the big strikeout upside the Mets were hoping to add and bolster the farm system. So far this season Tidwell has not disappointed; to this point he has a 12.34 K/9 to go along with a rough 5.07 BB/9.

The walks have been a concern so far in his short minor-league career but I believe there is still a starter long term here. Tidwell has a .188 average against and has done a solid job of keeping the ball in the ballpark. Tidwell struggled out the gates in High-A Brooklyn in April and May, but with the warm weather of June and July Tidwell thrived.

In June Tidwell had a .135 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 26.2 IP and carried the good times over to July where he had a 1.96 ERA in 23 IP. There is front-line starter potential with the big strikeouts Tidwell provides but it seems Tidwell will be a work in progress for the Mets as he moves up through the system trying to hone the control.

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