With the All Star Break upon us, the baseball world got a look into the future with the annual MLB All-Star Futures Game. While it was exciting to get our first good look at uber-prospects Julio Rodríguez, Adley Rutschman, and Jasson Dominguez on the big stage, there were also plenty of big-name pitchers on the bump as well. With help from our Dynasty manager Andy Patton, here are the 8 nastiest pitches from yesterday’s game.
Cade Cavalli’s Changeup
Cavalli, Washington’s first-round pick in 2020, is known more for his fastball than his breaking stuff (more on that later) but this change piece was absolutely filthy, falling clean off the table and out of the zone. If this is how this pitch is going to look, then we could have a future top-end starter on our hands. He’s still a few years away, but a name worth keeping a close eye on with his ridiculous stuff.
Cade Cavalli’s Fastball
Fastballs up and secondaries down is the name of the game in pitching right now, and Cavalli doesn’t look like he has an issue with that approach. Frankly, with heat that touches triple digits and his imposing frame on the mound, it almost doesn’t even matter where he puts the ball. Almost.
Cavalli’s command has been suspect in his brief MiLB career, but there is little doubt his stuff will play at the next level. Here’s an overlay GIF of the two pitches for your enjoyment:
Quinn Priester’s Slider
Pittsburgh’s farm system doesn’t get the love it should, and Quinn Priester is one of the team’s biggest hidden gems. A big right-hander with plus makeup and one of the best curveballs in the minor leagues, Priester showed off his new slider with impeccable command here – a promising sign he can reach his potential as a mid-rotation starter, possibly as soon as 2023.
Shane Baz’s Fastball
Shane McClanahan and Luis Patiño have gotten most of the attention, but Baz has probably been the best pitcher in Tampa Bay’s system this season. Armed with a quick release and a fastball that touches triple-digits, Baz has quietly improved his secondaries and significantly improved his command this year, putting him right on the door of making his big league debut. He would probably be up within the month were he not on the Olympic roster, but either way he will be a hot add when he reaches the big leagues, especially when people get a look at pitches like this one.
Nick Lodolo’s Slider
Lodolo, much like Toronto starter Alek Manoah, is a 2019 first-rounder who was expected to rise quickly to the show, although the lack of minor leagues in 2020 hampered that plan a bit.
Still, Lodolo’s impeccable command and solid stuff make him a potential mid-rotation starter as soon as next year, even if the sinker/slider pairing is a bit out of date. A slider with this kind of movement and shape will play, no matter what era you’re pitching in.
Matthew Liberatore’s Curveball
Liberatore was left off the Olympic roster because St. Louis wanted to have the flexibility to add him to their own roster in the next few weeks, so he’s a prospect worth keeping an eye on in both dynasty and redraft formats. It’s not hard to see why, as the big left-hander has a devastating hammer curveball to go along with his high-90’s heater and plus changeup. Not bad for a 21-year-old.
Cole Ragans’ Changeup
Ragans has been one of the best stories in minor league baseball this year. After not pitching since 2017, and falling way off the prospect radar, Ragans has been electric in 10 starts this year in Texas’ system. He’s still likely a fifth starter or bulk reliever type, but his changeup has always been his bread-and-butter, and even after four years off the mound it’s still clear he has that to rely on.
Manuel Rodríguez’s Slider
Rodriguez has a fastball that touches triple-digits and some decent secondary pitches, like this front door slider with perfect placement, but his command overall is spotty and he’s likely destined for middle relief at the big league level.
Featured Image by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)