There Is No Such Thing As A Pitching Prospect. An acronym encapsulating a lot of truths about this Dungeons and Dragons form of baseball we are addicted to. Pitchers get hurt, bust, fluctuations of effectiveness, (etc.) at a higher rate than hitters, thus find an alternative to farming. For the better part of two decades, I embraced this notion on some level, but I’m giving it up. In the end, you pay for what you get and I want more pitching sustainability. No pushback here regarding your truths, TINSTAAPPer, I’m just not going about them the same way anymore.
The fantasy world, in general, has shifted so far toward this negative pitcher bias, I want to start gobbling up the gains it’s leaving me, motivated to flip my prospect pitching ways upside down (or at least 180 degrees). Discoveries on how to tackle offense and some historical research regarding fantasy success rates play into this motivation as well, but that is a story for another day.
I am not pretending to have the answer to how we get better at pitching speculation, but I do have the motivation to put more work in. So like many coaches I had, after getting it handed to us, I wanted to get back to fundamentals and try to break it down as simply as possible, to stop trying to run before crawling. I put the spreadsheets down and wore out my MILB.TV subscription. Watch more, think less. Embrace your new addiction of sleuthing these arms and connect all the dots you can to paint a picture.
One can’t possibly thoroughly watch all of the thousands of pitching prospects out there, but I compiled a list of about 220 players I wanted to know, or had been watching during the season. Seeking the story of the progression of a player through the 2021 season, some fell off the list due to there being nothing available to watch. Some I turned on for a start or two and shut off. I tried to let what I was seeing naturally draw me in or out. Then I either watched all that was available of a player (anything from a few innings to full seasons), watched enough outings from the beginning, middle, or end of the season, or picked out particularly good and bad box scores to view until I had enough on a player to start forming an opinion.
In the end, from May through yesterday, the number of outings viewed has to have exceeded four digits. I point this out to illustrate just how laborious and hard it is to try and get a feel for what I was after. So much watching, you’d think you’d feel much smarter about all this, but I’m not so sure I do.
After you watch a player enough, two things almost always happen; you love the good things more and their warts get bigger. Every pitcher on this list has to figure out how to throw more strikes against better hitters. (I dare say significantly better hitters.) If anything hit me in the face, it’s that major league hitters, even the “bad” ones, are typically really good. The list I am sharing here is a culmination of this video review, lining up who I watched in the manner I’m valuing them right now.
During the upcoming in-season installments of PPL&R I will be sharing reviews of two to three outings a day, dropping my observations once a week. I will be looking to review arms from this main list, aka “Darlings,” arms I refer to as “Grinders” — mostly Triple-A arms vying for MLB innings in 2022, thus coming into play as streamer types in redrafts — and a tier I’m calling Shiny Green Balloons (SGB), which are “pop-up” arms, new guys getting full-season action, arms with fantasy helium, or arms I simply want to see more of. We will also provide a weekly sheet of all the minor league stat lines of starts (and extended relief outings) in every org for the week.
PPL&R is in the setting roots stage, and my hope is it becomes an interactive team effort between you and I to try and get better together. You will see names omitted who belong on top prospect lists, but our process starts with full-season ball and broadcasts available from it. I know there are arms yet-to-be-reviewed who are probably better options than some here. And despite how the fantasy world makes it sound sometimes, there is a ton of talent around the minor leagues. Don’t underestimate some of these guys with names you’ve never heard of. We’ll get there. Here are the rules I wrote for myself:
PPL&R’s 11 Rules of Evaluation
- You’re doing this to better your game and sharing with a reader who is looking for an opinion, not THE opinion; that’s up to him/her.
- You’re not trying to predict the future. You’re trying to figure out the present and how it might fit in the future. The nature of pitching development and mountains of talent out there can make these ruminations sensitive and fragile, capable of changing with the smallest of progressions or regressions.
- Successful MLB pitchers sit on a spectrum; one end is elite pitch execution/know-how, the other end has an exceptionally good pitch or two acting like a cheat code. The real freaks are both, and they fall from the heavens. When you want them too much, they never show up. Weigh pitch execution, plans of attack, knowing how to use skills equally, if not more, than pitch analysis. Innings pitched are dynasty gold and some are better than none. Quality of innings matters, but this is hard enough to try and be too smart too early.
- Don’t get cute. Value what you decide you want to value, even if it feels unnatural or no one else is doing it. You’re trying to break old bad habits that didn’t work for you, it should feel unnatural … that means you’re probably doing it right. If you’re doing it like everyone else, you aren’t gaining anything.
- Trust your eyes, try not to form an opinion until you let the video tell you to. Use numbers to check your eyes if you want, and leave the numbers stuff to people smarter than you. Take advantage of your opponent who isn’t using their eyes. Know there are numbers telling you what your eyes can’t see. Pay attention to minor league Strike% (MLB average is about 65%; good pitchers, typically 67%+). It isn’t telling you all you need to know, but these things don’t magically become major league acceptable. Plus, it’s a good eye check.
- Your scope is limited, accept you will miss and miss out. Don’t strive to bat 1.000 and know everyone. Know who you want to know well and don’t miss on your type. Listen to what others say, whether you agree or not.
- Don’t be afraid to cross a guy off your list. Time is limited. If you were wrong, you were wrong and try to figure out why. Work toward not feeling like you have to include a guy just because everyone else is.
- It matters what chef is preparing your T-bone steak. The player’s organizational situation matters. And we aren’t assuming anyone is ready to face a major league lineup, just better or less prepared. There is a correlation between money spent on a player and the likelihood of major league innings probably worth thinking about. Conversely, dynasty owners have significantly more options to acquire talent and don’t need to invest in a player the same manner MLB clubs do.
- Don’t seek out relief pitchers, but don’t ignore them either. Looking the part of a relief pitcher today can be a step in the developmental process toward starter in disguise. Getting to know who may be gaining relief pitcher value is a bonus. You aren’t putting time into relief pitcher evaluations and need all the help you can get. Depending on what you paid for a guy, turning into a relief pitcher is still a win.
- If you suck, stop sucking. The process is never perfect and the game changes … that’s why you started this project in the first place; you sucked and the game changed.
- Break the rules, just do it with good reason and if you’re doing it a lot, see rule #10.
|#107||RHP – Kai-Wei Teng – Giants – High A Eugene – 6’6″ – 23|
|Execution:||Hillsboro is the only broadcast Teng could be found on this season, and the angle is far from ideal. The takeaway was just a glimpse, but there were moments of nice pitch execution mixed in with an exorbitant amount of misses. The strike rate ticked up significantly down the stretch with some impressive box scores pointing to some possible gains in this department.|
|Development:||Not all walk numbers are created equally, but Teng’s current walk rate, strike inefficiency (barely 60%), and the brief look all point to a pitcher needing to find repeatability. Whether it is a mechanical thing or muscle memory thing, he is in an organization with some acclaim for its ability to work with pitchers. Teng had 25 strikeouts over his last two outings (13 innings) while only walking three, so perhaps a corner was starting to turn.|
|Stuff:||Teng has a fastball sitting 93-ish (?) from a low slot. Again, tough angle, but it looks to get a little arm-side run. The breaking ball and changeup get thrown a lot, capable of strikeouts and probably his better offerings. The question isn’t if Teng has tools capable of getting major league hitters out, it’s if he can use them efficiently enough.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Teng is an interesting watchlist arm, at least until we can get more eyes on him and see if there’s something to the better efficiency and strikeout uptick down the stretch. Worth noting said stretch was probably the weakest level of hitters he’d faced all year, as rookie ball guys were getting low-A tastes in September.|
|2017 International Signee – Taiwan – 500K|
(Interesting all-breaking balls K vs. Elian Miranda on 9/3.)
|#106||RHP – Blayne Enlow – Twins – High A Cedar Rapids – 6’3″ – 22|
|Execution:||Enlow only mustered three 2021 starts before Tommy John struck, but we were teased with a new version of the former prep pitcher the Twins paid up for back in 2017. A well-spotted up-and-down attack, fastball/breaking ball combo was racking up plenty of looking and swinging strikeouts before the shutdown (below).|
|Development:||The physically impressive Enlow reportedly made significant gains over the lost COVID season and was off to a great start in 2021. Now we wait for the return from Tommy John.|
|Stuff:||Enlow’s fastball can sit mid-90s, but it might lack big swing-and-miss ability. There are two breaking balls he looked capable of spotting well, and a new changeup looked promising.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Enlow is nothing more than a watch at this point, but the gains made over the lost season are intriguing. There always seems to be a pitcher with moderate pedigree forgot about after TJ, comes back, and grabs helium. Enlow’s sitting here so I don’t forget about him.|
|2017 Draft – LA Prep – 2.0M – 40 man|
(K vs. Griffin Conine on 5/18.)
|#105||LHP – Tommy Henry – D’Backs – Double A Amarillo – 6’3″ – 24|
|Execution:||Henry is lauded for his command and it is quite good, but the overall package leaves little margin for error. A 63% strike rate doesn’t quite scream dialed in.|
|Development:||This version of Henry doesn’t have enough in the tool bag to get right-handed hitters out at a high enough clip to start in the majors, but there is a foundation of arsenal to grow from. We’ll see what 2022 brings within an organization that may start having MLB auditions.|
|Stuff:||Henry’s fastball sits low-90s coming from a wide angle. The slider garners swing and miss from both righties and lefties at this level, but it playing well against more experienced hitters is questionable. The changeup is crucial for success against right-handed hitters, and in my viewing, it felt inconsistent. There is also a curveball mixed in from time to time. Henry has some visibly different arm action from pitch to pitch (below).|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Despite the strikeout numbers in Double-A, Henry feels like, at best, an arm more in the grinder mold than an asset dynasty owners need to heavily value now. There could be another level to his game and there might be major league innings coming in some capacity.|
|2019 Draft – Michigan – 750K|
(HR allowed to Jeremy Eierman on 6/20.)
|#104||RHP – Jhoan Duran – Twins – Triple A St. Paul – 6’5″ – 24|
|Execution:||A bum elbow cut Duran’s 2021 season to just 16 innings. An ugly 53% of his pitches were strikes. The attack relied heavily on pure stuff winning out, which it can definitely do.|
|Development:||Stew together injury, the big raw stuff, and lack of execution, it sure feels like his best chance to help a team is relieving. Perhaps 2022 provides a different feeling, but until longer stretches of efficient innings happen …|
|Stuff:||Duran’s fastball can hit triple digits. There is a nasty hard curveball and a splitter hitting the dirt a lot. Duran’s changeup gets passable velocity differential and arm-side fade, but there isn’t much feel for it.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||The big stuff is keeping me around. Going to pause here until we get a better sense if we were watching a Duran struggling with injury or there’s a cleaner version in there.|
|2014 International Signee – Dominican Republic – 65K – 40 man|
(K vs Jose Lobaton 5/27)
|#103||LHP – John Doxakis – Rays – High A Bowling Green – 6’4″ – 23|
|Execution:||Doxakis had his share of outings with poor execution, but he also had some exceptional ones, like his five-inning no-hit effort 7/8, whereupon he threw 78% strikes. Doxakis comes at hitters from a unique angle and throwing motion with a repertoire capable of pitching either side hitter in any part of the zone.|
|Development:||2021 was an award-winning season for Doxakis, but in a sense, it’s what you’d expect from a big college pitcher at his levels. Double-A may be a crossroads for the unique arm whose stuff has gotten livelier since college. The Rays have gotten good MLB production from far less raw ability, and Doxakis could get himself in line for a chance with a strong 2022.|
|Stuff:||Doxakis’ fastball can touch the mid-90s now, but sits 92/93. The slider is his best secondary, but the changeup showed some teeth too. On Doxakis’ best days the arsenal complimented each other well, like below.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||I enjoyed watching Doxakis in college, so I admit a bias here, but Doxakis’ mix of stuff and execution in this organization is worth a stay on your watchlist, if not a speculative share in a very deep league.|
|2019 Draft – Texas A&M – 1.13M|
(K vs. Cam Shephard on 6/2.)
(K vs. Nick Gonzales on 7/2.)
|#102||RHP – Connor Seabold – Red Sox – Triple A Worcester – 6’2″ – 26|
|Execution:||Seabold’s pitch execution was very good … for a minor leaguer. The strike-throwing was great too (68%) … for a minor leaguer. Seabold got a taste of how good major league hitters are. With what is mostly a three-pitch attack, Seabold has the mentality and know-how to sequence and keep hitters off balance. The stuff just isn’t more than major league average, and he may need to rethink some things as he pushes for innings in 2022. A back-to-back changeup in the bigs isn’t quite what it might be in Triple-A (below).|
|Development:||The second piece for Brandon Workman and Heath Humbree trade hasn’t exceeded 60-ish innings since 2018, as health has slowed him down. 2021 was no different, as he didn’t take the mound until mid-July. Seabold did make his MLB debut on 9/11, going three innings vs. the White Sox. He only surrendered two runs while striking out none, walked a few, and dodged more deserved damage from high EVs surrendered during all but one ball in play. Not to make too much from a three-inning debut, but given the arsenal, Seabold doesn’t have much margin for error.|
|Stuff:||The changeup is touted as a real difference-maker. The fastball, with a little life, sits low-90s. The slider may actually be the better of the secondaries and there is a slower more traditional hook thrown in.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Seabold was starting to enter the streamer/grinder tier in 2021, and we may very well find ourselves there again in 2022. I’m staying away until I see much less hard contact. MLB strikeout ability feels quite unlikely to me at this point, limiting appeal. Seabold’s hanging on here because some new set of rules says I should value certain things more and step out of my comfort zone.|
|2017 Draft – Cal State Fullerton – 525K – 40 man|
(As Boston’s broadcast team was gushing about the changeup, he went to it twice in a row starting off Leury Garcia on 9/11.)
|#101||RHP – Carmen Mlodzinski – Pirates – High A Greensboro – 6’2″ – 23|
|Execution:||With only 16 broadcast innings, it isn’t a huge sample, yet I feel we get a good sense of things. Pitch execution is inconsistent at best, with moments of good, bad, and ugly. Strikes came at a 63% clip.|
|Development:||Mlodzinski’s mound spirit animal is a Tasmanian devil; spinning, guttural murmurings, wrecking things in his path. (see below) The demeanor, the bouts of electrically good stuff and mediocre execution make it easy to think bullpen role, and that may be the plan (or the abbreviated pitch counts post-return were maintenance-related). It sure feels like a lot of cleaning up to do before multiple turns through a major league lineup are in the cards, but if it doesn’t happen, a back-end ace doesn’t feel out of reach.|
|Stuff:||Mlodzinski’s sinker hits mid-90s, he cuts a fastball, has two breaking balls and tries to throw a changeup liable to go anywhere. The repertoire can be major league-caliber, but it’s questionable how much swing-and-miss this version would get.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||I know we are talking about starting pitching prospects here, but see rule #9. I’m keeping watch here until I can see more, and I love his mound presence.|
|2020 Draft – South Carolina – 2.05M|
|#100||RHP – Michael Burrows – Pirates – High A Greensboro – 6’2″ – 22|
|Execution:||We only had an 18 inning broadcast sample to go off of, but you got an impressive feel for Burrows. The pitch counts ballooned some, but it wasn’t because of wildness. As a matter of fact, the command was impressive, painting edges regularly, which played into the counts as he got pinched often. Long at-bats also ensued as hitters fouled a lot of fringe strikes off, which may speak to the stuff lacking the extra punch.|
|Development:||The biggest hurdle for Burrow’s chances at being an MLB starter is the development of the third pitch and the ability to pitch up in the zone effectively.|
|Stuff:||Burrows short-arms a mid-90s sinker, a sharp knucklecurve, and a developing changeup.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||It’s too murky of a picture to invest in a future major league starter, yet an arm with fantasy upside if the required things come together. Perhaps it’s nothing, but the glimpse was enough for me to keep him around.|
|2018 Draft – CT Prep – 500K|
|#99||RHP – Andre Jackson – Dodgers – MLB – 6’3″ – 25|
|Execution:||Jackson isn’t a model of pitch efficiency, throwing strikes at a 62% clip, but he does have his moments while doing well staying off the meat of the plate. What can mostly be a fastball/changeup attack to both righties and lefties, the breaking balls were out more in the minors, and perhaps we see more of them in the majors in 2022.|
|Development:||Insane to think how little Jackson has pitched and how fast he’s advanced since being an outfielder in college. He’s more a fast-rising late starter than a late bloomer. With the trajectory he’s been on, you wonder if more polish comes in the way of pitch execution, but there haven’t been overt signs of it yet. Jackson has the stuff to give major league hitters fits, but what kind of role does he carve out in L.A. where pitching jobs don’t come easy? Jackson will really have to force their hand by making pitches at a higher clip. I don’t want to underestimate his trajectory.|
|Stuff:||Jackson’s four-seam fastball sits around 92 mph, but when trying to get a third strike it jumps to 95. The changeup is probably his best pitch with plenty of velocity differential (Manny Pina got a good taste of it below). There is also an OK slider and a lesser-used, at least during his big-league appearances, slow traditional curveball (Jose Miranda got one below).|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||It would be an impressive developmental story if Jackson were to carve out a role starting for the Dodgers, I’m just not betting on it happening. Put Jackson in a different organization, and he’s higher on this list. If things go well in 2022, I could see a spot starter/long relief job on the table. Not sure how fun that is for your dynasty purposes, but I want to see where this ascension levels off.|
|2017 Draft – Utah – 248K – 40 man|
(K vs. Jose Miranda on 5/22.)
(K vs. Manny Pina on 10/3.)
|#98||LHP – Jonathan Bermudez – Astros – Triple A Sugar Land – 6’2″ – 26|
|Execution:||Given his profile, Bermudez’s command is paramount. It is good for long stretches but may need to be great more often than it is to get major league hitters out at high clips. Bermudez understands mixing locations and speeds well, and is more than happy to let hitters yank foul balls. Bermudez’s stuff is limiting and can allow a lot of foul contact, making pitch efficiency a struggle in spots. (65% strikes.)|
|Development:||Bermudez is teetering on that “innings eater” grinder-type, who may be sniffing major league innings soon. Getting to the highest level of pitch execution is his key.|
|Stuff:||The “soft-tossing lefty’s” fastball sits 90/91 with a propensity to sneak by inside against right-handers lulled to sleep looking away. There is a slow high 70s/low 80s slider and a changeup to play off the fastball.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Bermudez isn’t an asset I’d roster unless in a large league and any sort of 2022 MLB innings are being sought after. I’m skeptical the minor league K rates translate to the majors, but I’m also refusing to write off any Astros’ pitching prospect sliding a foot in the big league door.|
|2018 Draft – Southeastern U. (FL) via Puerto Rico- 75K – 40 man|
(K vs. Jhonny Santos on 7/21.)
|#97||LHP – Mitchell Parker – Nationals – High A Wilmington – 6’4″ – 22|
|Execution:||The attack seemed fairly traditional in my viewings, establishing the fastball early and mixing in secondaries more later. Parker can stand to be more efficient, throwing strikes at a 64% clip. To his credit, there are a lot of close misses, which is encouraging. The offering is primarily fastball/curveball.|
|Development:||Parker dominated lefties, but righties had some success against him, so if a major league starter role is in the future, the splits will be something to watch. I’m wondering if the arsenal is a righty weapon short.|
|Stuff:||Parker’s fastball sits 90/91, but it sure seems like a tough low-90s fastball for hitters to catch up to. The fastball might be at its best as an ambush put-out pitch when the secondaries are coming heavy first, like the GIF below. Parker’s big, slow hook curveball might gives hitters the most fits.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||There are ingredients to develop into a starting major league pitcher, but in a dynasty sense, this version feels fairly vanilla and run of the mill. I’m getting older now though, and coming to a new appreciation for vanilla.|
|2020 Draft – San Jancinto (JC) – 100K|
(K vs. Grant Witherspoon on 9/14.)
|#96||RHP – Tobias Myers – Guardians – Triple A Durham – 6′ – 23|
|Execution:||For a pitcher lacking electric stuff, you’d think command would be better per results. A 67% strike rate more than plays, but when Myers loses feel, walks and hard contact come in bunches. When your game is deception with a couple of secondaries appearing more subtle than nasty, you have less margin for error. The fastball isn’t consistent and maybe more of a setup pitch, at least in some outings, and when it doesn’t have good life and/or is spotted well, the whole attack goes south quickly. Myers’ attack is a heavier north/south game than in-and-out, trying to get hitters off balance with a change of speed and eye level. The luxury of a pitch not being there any given outing and obtaining results isn’t there, but when it all plays, he can put up a stat line.|
|Development:||This offseason, the Rays traded away another arm pre-Rule 5 Draft, gaining value from an asset they had no room for. Myers was this year’s odd man out, marking the second time he’s been traded, first sent by the Orioles as part of the Tim Beckham trade. All of this could mean absolutely nothing for our purposes, or it might. Splitting 2021 between Double-A and Triple-A, Myers may have lost his 40-man tryout during a rocky Durham test when strikeouts were harder to come by and the fastball led to more long balls. This version walks a fine line and will be interesting to watch under the tutelage of the fastball wizards in Cleveland.|
|Stuff:||Myers offers up a low-90s four-seam fastball with the ability to miss bats high. It’s imperative he keeps the pitch up as triple-A hitters produced plenty of hard contact when it wasn’t. The arsenal feels like one the Guardians could very well help improve, as I assume there is juicy tunneling action already there. A mid-80s slider and low-80s changeup aren’t necessarily your highlight reel-looking pitches, but can fool hitters plenty. The changeup, with arm-side run, whether intentional or not, did show the ability to get swing and miss up in the zone against lefties, like the gif below.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||There’s some appeal here, particularly after the way he finished the season, but the current version feels much too iffy for me to even feel good about a streaming situation. A blow-up outing just feels too close. Even during some of Myers’ best outings, there were home runs and walks taking us to the edge. Perhaps things start to feel safer with Cleveland, but until then, here we are.|
|2016 Draft – FL Prep – 225K – 40 man|
(10th and last K of the day vs. Adley Rutschman on 9/7.)
|#95||RHP – Cole Wilcox – Rays – Low A Charleston – 6’5″ – 22|
|Execution:||Wilcox peppered the zone with his two-pitch attack, unafraid of Low-A hitters, and it played well. We were deprived of more than a getting-of-the-feet-wet pro debut, feeling like the movie stopped after opening credits.|
|Development:||Wilcox’s season ended in June and he underwent Tommy John surgery in September. Wilcox’s command offers the two-pitch attack more legitimacy as a starter than most. The development of a third pitch was also something to watch. This is all on pause now.|
|Stuff:||Wilcox can manipulate the life of a mid-to-high-90s fastball, pairing it with a hard slider. There is also a changeup trying to get major league passable.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Tommy John always presents a buying opportunity. Wilcox may or may not be owned in your league, depending on the format. Dump him in smaller leagues, but it’s not crazy talk to hang on in a league with 250 or so prospects or more.|
|2020 Draft – Georgia – 3.3M|
(K vs Brandon Parker 6/3)
|#94||LHP – Cole Ragans – Rangers – Double A Frisco – 6’4″ – 24|
|Execution:||Ragans lacked the requisite command for consistent success at the Double-A level, let alone the major league one (62% strikes). But the fastball/changeup combo shows signs of being too much for hitters.|
|Development:||Ragans finally got on the mound and logged some innings after a four-year hiatus. Four years! Just getting into the groove again supersedes any statistical events. In what was a great feel-good story, there are still major league dreams being chased.|
|Stuff:||Ragans’ fastball sits low-90s now, with the changeup being the real weapon. There is also a slider and curveball trying to sharpen up.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Ragans has a chance to turn into a nice grinder type for dynasty owners. With a pedigree and a potential big pitch, we’ll keep an eye on this renaissance … or beginning?|
|2016 Draft – FL Prep – 2.0M|
|#93||RHP – Ryan Pepiot – Dodgers – Triple A OK City – 6’3″ – 24|
|Execution:||There’s no doubt Pepiot has improved his strike-throwing (64%). Yet he’s still far from a pitch execution machine. In Double-A, putting the ball close enough did him well, but the raw stuff didn’t play as well as he moved up.|
|Development:||The August Triple-A promotion was a real jolt, as strikeouts got harder to come by and more hard contact led to more runs. The stuff alone couldn’t overpower these hitters, with the less-than-polished command finding too much plate, and long balls ensued. Perhaps Pepiot adjusts and regains more of his Double-A success, but even then, the better hitters in the league seemed to get the best of him (below).|
|Stuff:||Pepiot’s mid-90s four-seam fastball has some hard action. The highly-touted changeup lost effectiveness versus better hitters. The two breaking balls played into some damage as they aren’t commanded particularly well.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Pepiot has his stans. I’m not really one of them. As an arm touted for power stuff and strikeout ability, it didn’t play out that way in 2021. I’m not writing off major league success, just thinking the fantasy appeal once thought worth investing in isn’t quite showing up, but there are enough ingredients to sit here for me. I’m not completely out.|
|2019 Draft – Butler – 548K|
(Double allowed vs. Julio Rodriguez on 6/29.)
|#92||RHP – Aaron Davenport – Guardians – Low A Lynchburg – 6′ – 21|
|Execution:||There were only twelve innings to view from his pro debut, but they flashed swing-and-miss stuff, not always well harnessed, which is worth noting. Davenport used a four-pitch mix to get a healthy serving of whiffs. Overall, the pitch execution can be plenty better, but it looked more miss here and there than prolonged struggles for feel.|
|Development:||Heading into the draft with a big pitch, the fastball left the most questions. Cleveland quickly helped him add velocity, and it’s sent him into another level of upside. Davenport will be one of my priority B-side watches of 2022.|
|Stuff:||Davenport’s fastball can touch 96 in games now and has some action to it. The 12-6 hammer curveball is the exceptional offering, while the changeup dies fast at the end. (Below). Watch closely and you’ll find another offering, something like a slutter missing bats.|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Davenport is my #1 FYPD late-round cheap flier target. What kind of signing bonus could have been in store had this fastball been here all along? I’m a fan of the guy, so I need to be careful, but I’m not hesitating to value him more than this first reason I get.|
|2021 Draft – Hawaii – 450K|
|#91||RHP – Sam Bachman – Angels – High A Tri City – 6’1″ – 22|
|Execution:||We only got 24 pitches over the course of his debut outing to watch, the smallest sample of anyone here. He looked fine. I’m just using them to get him started on the list.|
|Development:||Many are convinced Bachman is a future reliever, yet there’s enough to work with to turn through the lineup. 2022 will start to give us a clearer sense.|
|Stuff:||Bachman offers a mid-90s fastball which looks to have life, a slider as his far and away best secondary, and a changeup. All of the pitches come from a delivery whereupon Bachman’s pitching hand is always facing the hitter. Does that matter?|
|Fantasy Thoughts:||Bachman is most likely a top-five pitching investment this FYPD season, but I’m passing on this profile, opting to take cheaper arms I like just as much, or more, later. I am not, however, “passing” on him in the royal sense.|
|2021 Draft – Miami (OH) – 3.85M|
(vs. Sean Roby on 8/8/21)
Featured image by Shawn Palmer (@PalmerGuyBoston on Twitter)