We are reaching the halfway point of the season where many teams have already promoted their biggest and MLB-readiest arms. That being said, there are still many intriguing arms in Double and Triple-A, it’s just that they either need to prove themselves at Triple-A or bide their time until an injury gives them a rotation spot. Hopefully they won’t burn you like burned me.
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.
Severino has kept things rolling with a 6 strikeout shutout in 7 innings in his last start. His fastball command hasn’t been as precise as it could be, but it’s certainly good enough to help out now in the Yankees’ rotation. His call-up discussion should not be discussed in terms of months, but rather, weeks.
– De Leon had another great start in which he struck out 7, and he’d be the best prospect in many other systems, but with the Dodgers’ glut of talent, he can be easily overlooked. It’s starting to look like that barring injury or him throwing nonstop perfect games (I believe in his ability to do so) he likely won’t come up until August at the earliest, September quite likely, and by mid 2016 definitely. But when he’s up, he’ll be fantastic.
– Nola was named to Team USA’s roster for the Future’s game, and with his performance thus far in Triple-A, baseball scientist-guru Ruben Amaro will have pressure on him to call him up for the back end of the rotation… but he may yet hold the trigger until September. Which, ironically, would be shooting himself in the foot.
– Johnson has been on fire with a scoreless streak and 4 straight starts with 8 strikeouts. Danks is already playing his way out of the rotation and we just need to wait til the White Sox have finally had enough.
Berrios was finally promoted to Triple-A, which is good news for everyone execpt optimists who hoped he get promoted directly from Double-A. With Pelfrey finally falling apart as I predicted a while back, the Twins could up the ante after he has a few strong starts in Triple-A. His upside is as high as Severino, but despite being older, his timeline is further back and if he struggles he’ll have to wait for September.
– Farrell recently said Johnson’s “getting closer” to making his major league debut, when asked about Kelly’s replacement in the rotation. Since Masterson laid an egg too, I wouldn’t disagree. I worry that he may struggle to limit homers and runs pitching in the AL-East, but he’s likely a more imminent call-up.
Duffey kept his homerless streak intact, while pitching a 7 inning, 4 hit shutout in his last start. He did only strike out 4, and his K rate in Triple-A has been good but not as great as it was in Triple-A… but this isn’t so surprising as he doesn’t have the greatest stuff. In the majors, his K rate may be even lower, but his efficiency and home park keep me optimistic he’ll succeed, and his homer rate keeps me optimistic he won’t pull a Matt Boyd.
Snell has reined in the walks, with 2 per game in his last 2 starts after walking 4 in each of the previous 3 starts. On a basis of talent and performance alone, the 22-year-old would be in the top half of this list, but Tampa Bay is notoriously slow in promoting prospects, and he already was promoted once this year. Still, with TB atop the division, an injury could force their hand. Should he get called up, I’d imagine his results would be intriguing but inconsistent in the mold of Velasquez thus far.
FIP may not like him despite his great Strikeout and walk rates, but I still do. He’s lowered his ERA over a full point in less than a month and if he keeps the dominance going, he could force his way into the rotation, especially with the Royals trying to turn around a wicked losing streak.
Rea continues to be solid yet unspectacular, without the upside of many on this list. But he has put together a great season, is efficient, and perhaps most important, pitches in San Diego, where even mediocre pitchers can look good. His fantasy outlook is only slightly less exciting than Matt Wisler’s when he was pitching for San Diego.
Yes, he hasn’t been on a prospect list since 2013, and he’s 24 now. But he has put together a strong season by corralling in his walk rate, striking out 8.3 per 9 and walking only 2.60 per 9 in Double-A. He has also benefited from a little good luck with his BABIP and LOB%, but he does also have good stuff and a chance at cracking the back end of Cleveland’s rotation should someone go down.
Players of Note: Zach Davies (BAL) has started to punch out more batters, but his 3.58 BB/9 indicates he still needs more time. Parker Bridwell (BAL) has a strong K rate of 9.14 underlying his pedestrian 4.04 ERA. His walk rate is a bit high but better than in the past, and he could still see Triple-A soon with a hot streak. Austin Voth (WAS) is posting a second year of strong numbers, with a 3.44 ERA , 8.52 K/9 and 2.12 BB/9 in Double-A. He’s more of a 4th/5th starter type but could get promoted soon with a hot streak. Felix Pena (CHC) may be a 25-year old in Double-A, but he’s putting it all together in this campaign, with a 9.0 K/9 and a 3.0 BB/9 and a 3.63 ERA. He’s had a past of inconsistency but he may be ready to be challenged at a higher level. Jake Thompson (TEX) has put together a great campaign in his repeat of Double-A, with a 8.76 K/9 and a 2.92 BB/9 in 74 innings. He could be due for a Triple-A promotion soon, and though he could get promoted to the Majors, summer in Arlington would not be kind to his homer rate.