Monthly Prospect Update: Pitchers, July 2019
Each month, The Dynasty Guru will provide a prospect update, including notable performances (good and bad), assignments, promotions, trades, injuries, and suspensions. Most importantly, the monthly update will examine prospects with increasing and decreasing fantasy value, from the elite to the obscure.
At the beginning of July, TDG reviewed June performances for infielders, outfielders, and pitchers. Since then, several notable prospects exceeded rookie limits and others arrived in the majors. As this update only reviews performances for one month, please note this bright, flashing warning: SMALL SAMPLE SIZE!
Notable Pitching Prospect Performances
The Rising Pitching Prospect
Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers. Gingergaard has arrived! Like his namesake, May possesses a big fastball, relying on a mid-to-upper-90s sinker (95.4 mph avg), and impeccable control. In addition to his heater, he boasts a lethal, hard cutter (90.5 mph avg) and mixes in a low-80s curveball. All three pitches flash plus, and, most impressively, he commands each well. Given his sinker-heavy repertoire, however, May generates tons of ground balls (53%) and less swing-and-miss than typical fantasy aces (∼10% swinging strikes). With that said, he compares very similarly to Mike Soroka, and he can still be an top fantasy pitcher even without a lot of strikeouts. It is unclear whether May will stick in the rotation for the rest of the season, but he will be a long-term fixture as soon as next year.
— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) August 7, 2019
Tarik Skubal, Detroit Tigers. In the 2018 draft, Skubal fell to the ninth round after a rough junior year returning from Tommy John surgery (56 BB in 80 IP). Command and control often take longer to regain after surgery, and he flashed improved control in his debut (33/4 K/BB). Since June this year, Skubal has allowed 1 earned run or less in all but 1 start between FSL and EAS (1.22/0.97, 59 IP, 101/19 K/BB). In fact, he has missed even more bats in Double-A (51.7% K, 20.5% SwStr)! His swing-and-miss ability stems from his lively, 92-98 mph fastball, which plays up further due to his deceptive delivery. In addition, Skubal flashes two average-to-above breaking balls (curveball and slider) and a promising change-up. However, he struggles at times with command due to his crossfire motion. With further command gains and more consistent secondaries, Skubal is a future mid-rotation starter.
— Evan Giddings (@egiddings10) July 8, 2019
The Graduated Pitching Prospect
Zach Plesac, Cleveland Indians. Through his first 13 starts, Plesac has a sparkling 3.13/1.15 ERA/WHIP and 6 wins, but, underneath those shiny surface stats, there is cause for concern. Specifically, he has enjoyed one of the best LOB% in the majors (83.6%), a low BABIP (.228), and a poor strikeout rate (18.5%). This overperformance shows through in his other rate stats (4.95 FIP, 5.13 xFIP, 5.20 SIERA). However, Plesac is also better than he has pitched, with an above-to-plus change-up and two solid breaking balls (slider and curveball). Although his fastball has solid velocity (94 mph), it has played borderline-average with below-average movement. Further, major league hitters have exposed his control-over-command profile, and he will need to improve his command to stick as a future 4-starter.
— SportsTime Ohio (@SportsTimeOhio) July 26, 2019
Cal Quantrill, San Diego Padres. Since moving to the bullpen in late June, Quantrill has had a nice run (1.97/1.03), continuing his success upon moving back into the rotation. Notably, he has decreased usage of his well-regarded change-up, which has been surprisingly poor (-3.7 pitch value), and increased usage of his mid-90s fastball (94.9 mph). As a result, Quantrill is developing into an effective pitcher, with a plus or better fastball and solid control.
Cal Quantrill, Nasty 85mph Changeup. ?
Dickerson's "f me" was a nice touch. pic.twitter.com/WzdjiTlV2O
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 28, 2019
Jordan Yamamoto, Miami Marlins. Since the All-Star break, Yamamoto has fallen back to Earth, allowing 19 earned runs over his last 20 innings. His success is simply not sustainable, as he has benefited from a .208 BABIP, though his 62.7% left-on-base percentage is among the worst in the majors. With that said, his four-pitch repertoire keeps hitters off balance, including a low-90s fastball (91.8 mph), an upper-80s cutter, low-80s slider, and mid-70s curveball.
Jordan Yamamoto is bringing the ? tonight for the #Marlins.
0 R (1.29 ERA this year)
7 K pic.twitter.com/6T8nWqKyxq
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) July 6, 2019
Others of Note:
- Sean Reid-Foley, Toronto Blue Jays
- Ranger Suarez, Philadelphia Phillies
- Erik Swanson, Seattle Mariners
- Taylor Clarke, Arizona Diamondbacks
- Zack Littell, Minnesota Twins
- Duane Underwood Jr., Chicago Cubs
- Colin Poche, Tampa Bay Rays
- Josh Staumont, Kansas City Royals
The Major League Pitching Prospect
Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays. Over his first six starts, McKay has demonstrated his superb control, with a 33-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.4% BB). Meanwhile, his stuff has been solid, with both his fastball (93.9 mph) and curveball flashing above-average, but far from spectacular. McKay lacks the upside of similar elite pitching prospects, but his floor is incredibly high and he is arguably the safest pitching prospect (if there is such a thing) in baseball.
Brendan McKay, 94mph Fastball and 81mph Curveball, Overlay. pic.twitter.com/bsH2rOzjg3
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) July 13, 2019
Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox. Last month, I commented, “it would not be surprising if [Cease] is wildly inconsistent in the majors this year.” Sure enough, he has already had some ups and downs since the White Sox promoted him in early July. Despite huge velocity (96.5 mph), his fastball lacks much movement, and he struggles commanding it. Consequently, major league hitters have obliterated it (.333/.434/.565). Meanwhile, his secondaries have all impressed, even his change-up, which has generated 21.4% swinging strikes. If, and when, Cease develops his command, he is a potential top-of-the-rotation arm.
Dylan Cease had himself a major-league debut.
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 4, 2019
Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks. At the trade deadline, the Marlins dealt Gallen to the Diamondbacks for Jazz Chisholm. In his debut, he has exhibited a nasty, plus or better change-up, which has generated a staggering 27.1% swinging strikes. His elite change-up has allowed his low-90s fastball (92.7 mph) to play up. Further, Gallen has two solid breaking balls (slider and curveball), though they can blend together. One dominant pitch combined with several average pitches can elevate a pitcher to a mid-rotation arm.
I'm loving Zac Gallen going to his changeup more often tonight, especially when they look like this.
Pitches like these are why I love baseball. pic.twitter.com/GWEousdMtR
— Pitcher List (@PitcherList) July 25, 2019
Others of Note:
- Adrian Morejon, San Diego Padres
- Michel Baez, San Diego Padres
- Andres Munoz, San Diego Padres
- Darwinzon Hernandez, Boston Red Sox
- Tony Gonsolin, Los Angeles Dodgers
- Devin Smeltzer, Minnesota Twins
- Jose Suarez, Los Angeles Angels
- Tyler Beede, San Francisco Giants
- Peter Lambert, Colorado Rockies
- Ryan Helsley, St. Louis Cardinals
- Patrick Sandoval, Los Angeles Angels
- Chance Adams, New York Yankees
The Good Top 200 Pitching Prospect
Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners. A first round pick in the 2018 draft, Gilbert has flown through the minors this year. Most recently, he received a promotion to the SOU after a stellar stretch in the CAL (1.73/1.03). Notably, Gilbert has recovered the fastball velocity he flashed in the Cape Cod League last year, sitting in the mid-90s. In addition, he has three average-to-above secondaries (slider, curveball, and change-up) and average-to-above control (5.9% BB).
Josiah Gray, Los Angeles Dodgers. Few pitching prospects have made as much noise as Gray this year. In July, he capped off an amazing performance in the CAL with three brilliant starts (0.44/0.73). Upon his promotion to the SOU, Gray continued his epic run with three more strong starts (1.56/0.81). A converted position player, he has shown uncanny pitching ability and control. Gray boasts a low-to-mid-90s fastball, a potential plus slider, and a promising change-up.
Spencer Howard, Philadelphia Phillies. A second round pick in the 2017 draft, Howard closed last year on fire (2.12/1.10, 59 1/3 IP, 81 K), including a complete game no-hitter in his final postseason start. This year, he landed on the injured list for over two months with shoulder soreness. Since his return, he has been electric between FSL and EAS, allowing just 1 earned run with a 28-to-3 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 19 2/3 innings. Howard sits in the mid-90s with three average-to-above secondaries (slider, curveball, and change-up). Command refinement will dictate whether he develops into a 2- or 3-starter.
Batter #2 for Spencer Howard becomes strikeout #2 … Another fastball at 98 pic.twitter.com/7R47PIdQFk
— Mitch Rupert (@Mitch_Rupert) July 26, 2019
Others of Note:
- Sixto Sanchez, Miami Marlins (SOU: 3.30/0.87, 30 IP, 29/6 K/BB)
- Luis Patino, San Diego Padres (CAL: 1.19/0.71, 22 2/3 IP, 29/4 K/BB)
- Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves (SOU: 1.78/1.03, 25 1/3 IP, 34/4 K/BB)
- Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves (INT: 2.49/1.14, 25 1/3 IP, 27/5 K/BB)
- DL Hall, Baltimore Orioles (CAR: 1.77/1.03, 20 1/3 IP, 28/11 K/BB)
- Edward Cabrera, Miami Marlins (SOU: 2.20/1.01, 28 2/3 IP, 33/9 K/BB)
- Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals (TEX: 2.59/1.21, 31 1/3 IP, 31/7 K/BB)
- Ethan Hankins, Cleveland Indians (NYP: 1.17/1.13, 23 IP, 20/8 K/BB)
- Justus Sheffield, Seattle Mariners (TEX: 1.89/1.14, 33 1/3 IP, 32/9 K/BB)
- Eric Pardinho, Toronto Blue Jays (MID: 1.88/1.08, 24 IP, 23/10 K/BB)
- Jhoan Duran, Minnesota Twins (FSL/SOU: 2.66/1.31, 23 2/3 IP, 23/9 K/BB)
- Quinn Priester, Pittsburgh Pirates (GCL: 2.25/1.15, 20 IP, 24/6 K/BB)
- Simeon Woods Richardson, Toronto Blue Jays (SAL: 1.77/0.79, 20 1/3 IP, 24/4 K/BB, promoted to FSL and traded from the Mets to Blue Jays)
- Braxton Garrett, Miami Marlins (FSL: 2.96/1.21, 27 1/3 IP, 21/9 K/BB)
- Kyle Muller, Atlanta Braves (SOU: 2.03/1.39, 26 2/3 IP, 26/16 K/BB)
The Good Non-Top 200 Pitching Prospect
Luis Frias, Arizona Diamondbacks. A rising short season prospect, Frias was exceptional in the NWL, with 72 strikeouts and 19.7% swinging strikes in just 49 2/3 innings. At the beginning of August, the Diamondbacks promoted him to the MID, where he joins a loaded Kane County rotation (Matt Tabor, Levi Kelly, and Jackson Goddard). Frias possesses a mid-to-upper-90s fastball, a 12-to-6 curveball, and a newfound splitter that flashes above-to-plus.
Per followers request, Dbacks RHP Luis Frias:
Pitch 1: 95mph FB
Pitch 2: Power CB
Pitch 3-5: Splitfinger
— tyler j. spicer (@tylerjspicer) July 8, 2019
Joe Ryan, Tampa Bay Rays. A seventh round pick in the 2018 draft, Ryan has breezed through the lower minors this year, including a particularly strong 10-game stretch through July (1.00/0.70, 54 IP, 72/9 K/BB). Thus far, he has relied on advanced command of a low-90s fastball and an above-average curveball to find success. This type of profile may perform well in Low- and High-A, but often struggles in the upper minors. Without a legit third pitch, Ryan likely is a future reliever or a backend starter who can turn a lineup over once or twice. Regardless, promote the man to Double-A!
Edwar Colina, Minnesota Twins. Over his last six starts between FSL and SOU, Colina allowed just 2 earned runs and 18 hits over 37 1/3 innings. His performance matches his electric repertoire, headlined by an upper-90s fastball. With improving command and secondaries, Colina is an intriguing arm and a player to consider in deeper dynasty formats (300+). (Due to his size (5’11”) and high effort delivery, however, he likely is a reliever long-term.
Others of Note:
- Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays (FSL: 2.10/0.90, 25 2/3 IP, 30/5 K/BB)
- Jonathan Stiever, Chicago White Sox (CAR: 2.25/0.75, 32 IP, 38/3 K/BB)
- Trevor Rogers, Miami Marlins (FSL: 2.60/0.89, 34 2/3 IP, 42/4 K/BB)
- Kris Bubic, Kansas City Royals (CAR: 1.80/0.97, 30 IP, 38/7 K/BB)
- Joey Cantillo, San Diego Padres (MID: 2.79/1.10, 29 IP, 39/7 K/BB)
- Adam Kloffenstein, Toronto Blue Jays (NWL: 1.46/1.22, 24 2/3 IP, 19/12 K/BB)
- Matt Tabor, Arizona Diamondbacks (MID: 2.89/1.00, 28 IP, 26/5 K/BB)
- Brailyn Marquez, Chicago Cubs (MID: 1.65/0.91, 27 1/3 IP, 41/8 K/BB)
- Levi Kelly, Arizona Diamondbacks (MID: 1.08/1.20, 25 IP, 31/10 K/BB)
- Aaron Civale, Cleveland Indians (INT: 2.19/1.09, 24 2/3 IP, 24/5 K/BB)
- Cristian Javier, Houston Astros (TEX: 2.25/1.10, 20 IP, 38/14 K/BB)
- Tucker Davidson, Atlanta Braves (SOU: 2.57/1.07, 28 IP, 33/7 K/BB)
- Josh Green, Arizona Diamondbacks (CAL/SOU: 2.03/1.00, 31 IP, 30/3 K/BB)
- Dean Kremer, Baltimore Orioles (EAS: 2.10/1.19, 34 1/3 IP, 28/13 K/BB)
- Trey Supak, Milwaukee Brewers (SOU/PCL: 2.35/0.85, 30 2/3 IP, 30/6 K/BB)
- Michael Baumann, Baltimore Orioles (EAS: 1.38/0.67, 32 2/3 IP, 31/6 K/BB)
- Alex Wells, Baltimore Orioles (EAS: 2.39/1.01, 37 2/3 IP, 33/2 K/BB)
- Denyi Reyes, Boston Red Sox (EAS: 1.41/0.94, 32 IP, 21/4 K/BB)
- Seth Corry, San Francisco Giants (SAL: 0.54/0.57, 33 1/3 IP, 43/6 K/BB)
- Miguel Yajure, New York Yankees (FSL: 1.65/0.88, 32 IP, 30/7 K/BB)
- Tahnaj Thomas, Pittsburgh Pirates (APP: 2.38/0.84, 22 2/3 IP, 32/1 K/BB)
- JoJo Romero, Philadelphia Phillies (EAS/INT: 2.08/0.96, 26 IP, 26/7 K/BB)
- Edwin Uceta, Los Angeles Dodgers (TEX: 1.47/1.21, 30 2/3 IP, 32/15 K/BB)
- Luis Rijo, Minneosta Twins (MID: 2.36/0.90, 26 2/3 IP, 27/3 K/BB)
- Austin Cox, Kansas City Royals (CAR: 2.16/1.16, 25 IP, 26/9 K/BB)
- Brandon Bielak, Houston Astros (PCL: 2.42/0.96, 26 IP, 24/10 K/BB)
- Packy Naughton, Cincinnati Reds (SOU: 2.14/1.01, 33 2/3 IP, 24/8 K/BB)
The Bad Pitching Prospect
Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers. In June, Mize suffered shoulder inflammation and missed nearly a month of action. Since his return, he has experience his first struggles between FSL and EAS (8.59/1.77), alternating between quality and poor outings. It is reasonable to suspect his difficulties are related to his injury recovery. Proceed with caution.
Jose Urquidy, Houston Astros. The acquisitions of Zack Greinke and Aaron Sanchez booted Urquidy from the rotation. While in the majors, he showed some promise, with excellent control and four average offerings. However, his fastball was lit up (.429/.459/.743) and, in 3 of his last 5 starts, he has allowed 2+ home runs, including 7 home runs in his last two PCL starts.
Others of Note:
- Matthew Liberatore, Tampa Bay Rays (MID: 7.17/2.25, 21 1/3 IP, 18/12 K/BB)
- Taylor Widener, Arizona Diamondbacks (PCL: 9.43/2.00, 21 IP, 8 HRA)
- Luis Oviedo, Cleveland Indians (MID: 12.10/2.28, 9 2/3 IP, 12/8 K/BB, injured)
- Jordan Holloway, Miami Marlins (FSL: 8.57/2.38, 21 IP, 20/24 K/BB)
Additional Pitching Prospect Notes
- The Athletics shifted A.J. Puk to the bullpen, presumably in preparation for his debut down the stretch.
- The Reds shutdown Nick Lodolo due to an innings limit. In his debut, he was electric between the PIO and MID (2.45/0.98, 18 1/3 IP, 30/0 K/BB).
- Jordan Balazovic, Minnesota Twins is currently pitching for Canada in the Pan American Games.
- The Red Sox promoted Tanner Houck to the INT and moved him to the bullpen, likely to prepare him for his debut (like Puk, above).
- Notable July trades: Logan Allen (SD to CLE); Corbin Martin (HOU to ARI); Anthony Kay (NYM to TOR); J.B. Bukauskas (HOU to ARI); Joey Wentz (ATL to DET); Kolby Allard (ATL to TEX); Peter Fairbanks (TEX to TB); Tristan Beck (ATL to SF); Chris Vallimont (MIA to MIN); Alex Lange (CHC to DET)
- Notable July promotions: MacKenzie Gore, San Diego Padres (CAL to TEX); Deivi Garcia, New York Yankees (EAS to INT); Luis Gil, New York Yankees (MID to FSL); Zack Thompson, St. Louis Cardinals (GCL to FSL); Bryan Mata, Boston Red Sox (CAR to EAS); James Kaprielian, Oakland Athletics (CAL to TEX); Wil Crowe, Washington Nationals (EAS to PCL); Yoendrys Gomez, New York Yankees (APP to SAL); Eli Morgan, Cleveland Indians (EAS to INT); Alexander Vizcaino, New York Yankees (SAL to FSL)
- Notable July injury returns: Forrest Whitley, Houston Astros; Brusdar Graterol, Minnesota Twins; Jon Duplantier, Arizona Diamondbacks; Daniel Lynch, Kansas City Royals; Jonathan Loaisiga, New York Yankees; Tyler Ivey, Houston Astros
- Notable July injuries: Jesus Luzardo, Oakland Athletics (lat strain); Yerry Rodriguez, Texas Rangers (UCL sprain, out for the season); Albert Abreu, New York Yankees (right biceps tightness); Garrett Whitlock, New York Yankees (elbow surgery, out for the season)