7/26 Edition: Top 10 Minor League Pitchers to Stash

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I can’t wait for these guys to reach the majors. But the reality is that I’ll be lucky if half of these pitchers make an impact. Still at this point in the year, especially in deeper leagues, some teams will be happy to have a live arm that doesn’t eat itself (zombie cannibal arm?) and even a month of good pitching could make a big difference down the homestretch. Aaron Nola should go on to do great things and I’m glad I put him on my initial fantasy list when others dismissed him. Don’t point out the guys I missed on, I haven’t had my coffee yet.

These players are ranked in order of most likely to make an impact for your fantasy team in 2015. It does not include pitchers who have already hit in the majors this year.

Berrios’s most recent start was a strange one indeed, in that he pitched 7 shutout innings but with only 1 strikeout, after 2 starts in which he gave up 7 total runs with 17 strikeouts in 12 innings. The real Berrios lies somewhere in between. He has been inconsistent in Triple-A, but good enough to be in consideration for a call-up, especially if injury strikes.

Gray continues to bounce between dominance and being dominated, and that may be the kind of pitcher he is. If he goes to the majors, I expect an ERA in the mid 4s with some dominant starts mixed in, but there’s always the potential for him to put it all together to be a strong #2 guy.

– De Leon pitched another 10-K hem, allowing 4 hits, 2 walks, and 2 ER over 5 innings. Although he’s been dominant in small samples, hi sinning count has been a bit low… He has not exceeded 6 innings pitched in any of his last 7 starts. Perhaps they want him to conserve his innings for a call-up, but it could be due to a lack of efficiency leading to high pitch counts.

– Cotton had an amazing most recent start, striking out 10 over 7 shutout innings, with only 3 hits and not allowing a single walk. While he lacks the raw stuff of his teammate De Leon, he seems like the more major-league ready product, and could leapfrog him for a pitching gig if and when one arises. He’d probably get fewer Ks against major-league competition but could still be a strong mid-rotation arm.

It looks like Pittsburgh is making a run for it this year and Glasnow is doing everything he can to keep his name in the conversation. He struck out a season high 10 in his most recent start, although it came with 4 walks. Due to injury, he’s logged fewer innings than most other pitchers so they wouldn’t have the typical pitch count concerns, but despite his ace upside it’s not clear if they want him to get more development time since he’s not yet a finished product.

– Scouting reports say that his stuff simply hasn’t been able to fool experienced Triple-A batters with his tricks, and he still needs to refine his offspeed stuff. Despite his beautiful 1.79 ERA, the fact that he hasn’t gotten the call already seems to indicate the team is aware that he needs more refinement at this level, though there are reports that he may come up as soon as this week. Monitor the situation closely in the next few days.

Although it seemed like 2015 was doomed to be a lost season for the lanky lefty, Owens has made strides trimming down his walk rate, allowing no more than 2 walks in each of his last 7 starts, and punched out 9 batters in his past two starts. With Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson already getting the call, there’s not a clear spot for Owens, but with a couple more strong starts they might decide he’s ready for some major league starts, as his upside is higher than either of those guys.

Johnson threw another shutout in his latest outing, although not so dominant as his others… 5 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 6 K. I will continue to toot his horn, but like, in a non-sexual way.

– Duffey had a decent last start, with 5 Ks and 0 walks over 6 1/3 despite 4 R (2 earned). Like Severino, he hasn’t been as dominant since his promotion, but the drop is nowhere near as substantial, and while he lacks the same fastball velocity and raw stuff, his ability to limit walks and homers makes him a solid back-end of rotation guy with some strong numbers.

Voth has pitched a string of pearls, with 6 Ks and one walk in his last start, and giving up a run or less in his past 4 starts. Seeing as he’s 23 and has nothing left to prove at this level, he at the very least deserves a promotion to Triple-A, but he may be able to hang with the big boys.

After showing a newfound ability to rein in his erratic control (2 walks or fewer in his past 4 starts), the strikeout artist finally earned a promotion, though not to the majors, just to Triple-A. It’s probably a wise move as he’ll have more of a challenge punching out more polished bats… Not to mention, he did only start the year in High-A (though it’s been done before). He’s already pitched a lot of innings this year and pitched 115 2/3 Innings in 2014, so the pitcher-conservative Rays are unlikely to make him throw many innings. Still, he may be able to post some dominant numbers in relief come September.

Zach Davies (BAL) has been chugging along, with a 3.02 ERA, striking out 5 in his last start but giving up 5 runs and two longballs over 6 innings. Jake Thompson (TEX) was looking like a call-up possiblity, but has suddenly been throwing way fewer innings and not getting the Ks, with 2 TOTAL strikeouts over his last 3 outings (9 2/3 Innings total). He may be going through a dead-arm phase. Daniel Mengden (OAK) was recently traded to the A’s from the Astros, and despite an unsightly 5.26 High-A ERA, he has strong peripherals. He still won’t see the majors this year, though. Kyle Zimmer (KC) is apparently over his shoulder issues, but the pitcher once seen as ace-of-the future is pitching out of the pen as the closer for the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate. It at least should keep him healthy and makes it easier for him to reach the majors, but he’s unlikely to see saves or holds this year. Adrian Sampson (PIT) looked primed for a call-up by this point a month ago, but he fell apart at the worst time and his ERA has risen two full points as he’s been walking more and striking out less. July was Sampson’s Delilah.

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Nick Pollack

Founder
Founder of both PitcherList.com and PitcherGIFs.com. Washington Post contributor and has worked with CBS Sports, Grantland, and SB Nation. Former pitching coach and Brandeis alum.