Trade Deadline Edition: Top 10 Minor League Pitchers to Stash
In this week’s edition, a few talented but unruly hurlers finally start to put their life together and are on the verge of the destiny of which they always dreamed. Meanwhile, unexpected trade winds have swept a few young pitchers off their feet and now they must discover a new life in a strange and alien farm system. Will these young souls triumph and prove their worth to their major league overlords? Tune in next week to find out.
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 pitched a gem in his latest outing with 8 Ks and 3 walks. With the Twins slipping fast in the standings, they’d look foolish by not promoting Berrios to sub for one of their mediocre rotation options. But the Twins don’t seem to mind looking foolish.
Severino has, at least for the time being, mollified my concerns of him not being able to strike anyone out, as he K’d 10 in 6 innings in his most recent start. His line was most entertaining: 6 innings, 1 hit, 0 walks, 3 Runs (0 earned), How is that possible? Hitting a batter and 2 wild pitches, of course. If it weren’t for the ballpark, I’d understand putting him at #1, especially since he’s logged more time at the Triple-A level than Berrios. I bet he’d be an upgrade over Sabathia at this point. He’s getting the call this week on Wednesday, so stash while you can.
Gray seemed to have an imminent promotion to start before Butler took his place, and now they expect him to stick with Triple-A into August. Still, at least he should still be up before September. In his last start, he punched out 8 with only one walk in five innings. Despite the dominance, he hasn’t exceeded 5 innings in any of his last 4 starts.
Reports say Owens will be called up to Boston and inserted into the starting rotation next week. I feel a bit conflicted about this, as with his performance this year, he really hasn’t earned it. But he has talent and that may help him shine through if he can find the plate. In his last start, he allowed 5 hits and 1 run while striking out 3 and walking 1.
This is Stephenson’s first inclusion on this list, which for most of this season, seemed prudent as my concerns were validated about him having no darn idea where the ball is going. That said, he’s thrown two shutouts in a row, striking out 10 in his most recent one and walking 4 before that. It now seems as though he’ll reach the majors this year. I’d advocate taking him if you can afford to take risks or raise your WHIP, since he could have an Archie Bradley-esque debut, but the upside remains tremendous.
– Should the Rays finally tire of Matt Moore’s awful starts, they have an option of playing the hot hand in Snell, who has been shedding his walk bugaboo in Triple-A. In two starts he has struck out 13 and only walked 2 in 9 innings. While it’s a teensy sample size, Snell already has the stuff to be a #2 starter in the majors, and if he can maintain the improved control he could dominate along the rest of the way, if given the chance.
The 22-year old has finally earned a spot on my list, and even though that is in part due to attrition and graduations, I hope he celebrates nonetheless. In June he was plagued with a sudden lack of control but he has righted the ship in July, with 2 total walks over his last three starts. While his ratios aren’t quite as exciting as his Double-A campaign, he’s given up fewer homers and his 3.09 FIP is one of the best in Triple-A. He was traded to Milwaukee this week and he’s moving from a hitter-friendly park to a hitter-friendly-with-benefits park, but offset by better rotation opportunity and moving from AL East to NL Central. The move should help him, and I raised him a few spots as a result.
Okay, yes I know this is kind of cheating since technically speaking, John Lamb did get called up. But he was immediately demoted without throwing a single pitch, so I think it’s okay to have him here. He was recently traded to the Reds in the Johnny Cueto deal, and although he’ll arrive in the majors to a less favorable home ballpark, he’ll benefit from being in the NL. He’s also a way better bet to force his way into the weak Reds’ rotation.
The good news is that Johnson has thrown 3 shutouts in a row, and 6 shutouts in his last 7 starts. For most sane organizations that would be a sign that, y’know, maybe he’s better than John Danks. Granted, Johnson hasn’t punched out as many batters lately, with a total of 11 walks over his last 3 starts. But especially if their recent win streak has them thinking of being a contender, they really should give him another shot.
– Cotton struck out 6 in his latet quality start, and aside from one bad start he hasn’t allowed more than 2 ER in any game. The Dodgers upgrading their rotation reduces the likelihood that he’ll get much time, but he’s still more appealing than Zach Lee and De Leon hasn’t pitched in 2 weeks. Perhaps he can get some usage out of the bullpen and put up some dominant numbers. However, given the latest trades made by the Dodgers for pitching, Cotton’s chances of getting the call have gotten slimmer, knocking him down in the rankings.
While he lacks the velocity of most other prospects on this list, he’s a starter in Triple-A who has been posting strong numbers since getting promoted there, with a 9.31 K/9 and a 2.48 BB/9. I’d expect this to regress somewhat as he hasn’t displayed these kind of rates at any previous level. But it could get his foot in the door and perhaps he could keep this up and become a Nate Karns-esque starter, although that’s probably his perfect world scenario.
gets a value boost with the move to Philly. His performance for this year has been slipping and he gave up 3 home runs in his last start, so while his call-up is still a possibility, I wouldn’t say it’s likely or wise. on the other hand, has the numbers on his side to state his case for a promotion on his new team. He had a strong 8.23 K/9 and 2.92 BB/9 over 101.2 Innings, which would be exciting were it not for his 1.06 HR/9. The 25-year-old had homer issues at every stop in his minor league career, but hey, at least he’s not in Texas. While I usually never mention a player once they’ve had their debut, I’ll bend the rules as only had one start, and I highly doubt that his disastrous debut led anyone to hold him. He should get another shot with the Tigers and I’d stash him immediately… I still believe he can provide value this year, and the homer problem will be mitigated in Comerica. has been efficient with walks, and his 5.32 K/9 is made up for by his 1.39 BB/9. The 24-year-old’s meh 4.47 ERA hides his solid 3.47 FIP, and he’d be bad for Ks and good for WHIP. is YET ANOTHER good Rays pitcher, and today is his birthday! Happy birthday, Jake, if you are reading this! He’s been cooking with heat since getting bumped up to Double-A, where he has a 2.72 ERA, a 11.39 K/9 and a 3.72 BB/9 over 36 1/3 Innings. Based on his career numbers, the strikeout and walk rates should regress, but he’s still young, and should the 22-year old keep that K rate up and trim down the walks, he can become an excellent mid-rotation arm. Think of that when you blow out those candles, Jake.