Top 100 Prospect Pitcher Rankings 2022: #43-#21

The fourth installment brings more serious fantasy value.

Click here for the introduction/rules to PPL&R and pitchers #108 – #91.

Click here for pitchers #90 – #67.

Click here for pitchers #66 – #44.

 

Now we get into juicier dynasty value we can start clinging more tightly to. #43 – #21 is generally my second tier, if you will, in regards to the bigger names floating around, mixed with a few names I’m trying to get ahead of the curve. Of course, that also comes with some names I’m not quite as sold on as some.

 

#43 RHP – Mick Abel – Phillies – Low A Clearwater – 6’5″ – 20
Execution: Only 77 pitches were available to critique, but many didn’t seem to go where intended, particulalry the secondaries. Fastball command was better, but still erratic. 60% strikes on the season.
Development: With just one broadcast start (7/9) and backdoor Savant data to peruse, it’s hard to come to too much, but it was clear plenty of refinement is needed. This isn’t a surprise and no reason to worry. The 7/9 outing was 53% fastballs, with secondaries landing wherever they may. Of course, the raw stuff holds the strikeout upside but learning how to contain and use them is imperative. Development was paused in July when he was shut down with shoulder problems.
Stuff: The mid-90s fastball can tick up and is the main attraction around 2400 rpm. The slider and curveball garner plenty of swing and miss at this level but neither was spotted well. Abel also tossed in five changeups showing some possibility.
Fantasy Thoughts: There are reasons 45% of these investments don’t turn into major league pitchers; it’s a project and a shot at upper-echelon return. Abel still has a long gauntlet to run and if we don’t get more looks in 2022, keeping an eye on that 60% strike rate may help us. The Phillies invested well here, but I’ve been pumping the brakes from day one—trying to stay out of the fantasy pitfall of drooling over young stuff. Sitting in this spot feels a smidge aggressive to my newfound ideals.
2020 Draft – OR Prep – 4.08M

 


(BB vs. Endy Rodriguez on 7/9)

 

#42 RHP – Taj Bradley – Rays – High A Bowling Green – 6’2″ – 21
Execution: Bradley put up impressive numbers suggesting impeccable command, but the more looks, the more the numbers felt a little misleading. Albeit far from bad, Bradley didn’t execute pitches at a rate congruent with reputation and a 66% strike rate. A high number of double plays and plus defense played a role in getting out of jams. It might prove to be a tougher task getting better hitters to roll over pitches at the clip he did.
Development: Even though the execution wasn’t always there, particularly with secondaries, Bradley did excel with some advanced pitch sequencing within at-bats and hitter’s second looks. The know-how felt pretty advanced for a pitcher this age.
Stuff: Bradley’s typically well-spotted fastball can get up to 97. The curveball can get downright wild, but has the shape of a traditional curve with plenty of strikeout upside played off the fastball. It’s said Bradley throws a changeup, but they’re hard to find. There’s a two-fingered grip pitch sitting 86-89 with glove-side run, not quite a slider, but with the velocity differential seemingly more than a cutter.
Fantasy Thoughts: Bradley being at his dynasty value pinnacle this offseason is not outside the realm of possibility. Taking advantage of the 2021 helium and dangling Bradley might be fun. That being said, there’s lots to like. I’m just pumping the brakes a smidge, confident Bradley can strive in the Rays’ system, yet skeptical it’s as far along as the fantasy world has it.
2018 Draft – GA Prep – 747.5K

 

(K vs. a tough to strikeout Yohendrick Pinango on 7/23)

 

#41 RHP – Matt Brash – Mariners – Double A Arkansas – 6’1″ – 23
Execution: Brash isn’t wild, but he is more my-stuff-is-too-good-for-you than sophisticated pitcher. The attack is a heavy fastball/slider game. The slider can overwhelm at this level.
Development: In early September some Brash observations were shared (link). The lack of willingness to incorporate more third offerings speaks to what the final arsenal may look like. Brash’s outlook walks a fine line between a two-pitch starter with ok command and a guy destined for a go at back end ace.
Stuff: There’s not much question Brash’s hard four-seam fastball and nasty slider are capable of missing bats. There is a changeup with some arm side run as well, but it seems to only come out occasionally, typically to lefties as a first pitch.
Fantasy Thoughts: Brash’s production garnered deserved attention from dynasty owners and lists, but unless the execution sharpens or the changeup becomes more of a thing, Brash is the kind of hot name trade chip I picked up for free I’m all about cashing in via trade. But I’m not giving him away. Major league innings seem like a sure thing now, but is this cheat code profile gonna give us the sustainable starting pitcher innings we’re hunting?
2019 Draft – Niagra – 512K       40 man

 

#40 RHP – Dax Fulton – Marlins – High A Beloit – 6’7″ – 20
Execution: Fulton doesn’t look like your traditional 6’7″ pitcher with his fluid feel on the mound. The command might be better than numbers indicate, as his lack of control seemed to come in spurts with an ability to reel it back in rather quickly. Still, like most all young pitchers, pitch execution is a work in progress with encouraging signs. Fulton can get hitters out in a myriad of ways and you see the intent working to keep hitters guessing.
Development: Fulton wasn’t pushed past 80 pitches an outing, yet still managed a healthy load his first pro season. There were plenty of ups and downs, even within outings, but in all, Fulton feels further along than a lot of pitchers his age. There are a plethora of tools in the belt with the feel of all of them coming along at relatively the same pace. With an ability to induce weak contact and potential swing and miss upside, talent to become a fantasy asset isn’t a question. Fulton gives the sense there could be more velocity if he wanted it, but learning how to pitch is the priority.
Stuff: Fulton tops out around 93 but hitters react like it’s harder. Fulton also shows two or three breaking balls (one breaking ball announcers claim he varies) playing off each other, differentiating themselves late. A more downward, traditional, high 70s curveball; a harder more horizontal breaker; and a harder curveball. There’s also an unremarkable changeup and a pitch I haven’t figured out—something mid to late 80s that doesn’t seem to do too much, thrown in occasionally.
Fantasy Thoughts: Fulton might have as much overall upside as any 20-year-old pitching prospect. It might be hard to define what it might look like but there are possibilities abound. Fulton has his believers out there, but he may be less heralded than some of his counterparts. I’m into trying to buy now. One Tommy John surgery recovery already included.
2020 Draft – OK Prep – 2.4M

 

(Striking out Endy Rodriguez/Mike Siani/Dariel Lopez in order on 6/24)

 

(Both ABs (Ks) vs. Joey Wiemer on 9/1)

 

#39 RHP – Jared Jones– Pirates – Low A Bradenton – 6’1″ – 20
Execution: Six home runs over 66 innings isn’t anything obscene, but Jones left fastballs over the heart of the plate too often. Everything needs to tighten up. Command of the secondaries wasn’t overtly poor, but far from honed in. 62% strike rate on the season.
Development: As the year progressed, Jones exuded diverse plans of attacks, at least the intent seemed there, diversifying sequencing and attacking hitters differently the second time through; three quarters of his pitches were fastball/slider. It’s not hard to see what landed him draft day money as there are all sorts of exciting ingredients. If execution improves and he gets more comfortable with pitches… there’s a high ceiling starter to be had. The trajectory was there by season’s end.
Stuff: Jones has a fastball capable of high 90s, averaging around 2600 rpm, a slider, a knucklecurve, and a changeup. The slider is the most used and advanced of the secondaries, capable of late bite. The changeup can be effective against lefties, used as a first-pitch offering during some of his best starts. There doesn’t seem to be a great feel for the curve, but the shape intrigues as a potentially nasty play off his fastball.
Fantasy Thoughts: There is a lot I’m excited to watch here. And a lot to develop. The range of outcomes remains vast so I don’t want to pay too heavy, but I don’t want to be late if it all starts coming together more. Jones is another buy now candidate of mine.
2020 Draft – CA Prep – 2.2M

 

#38 RHP – Ryne Nelson – D’Backs – Double A Amarillo – 6’3″ – 24
Execution: Nelson’s power stuff induces swing and miss, but he can also slow hitters down and get them on movement. The attack still feels like it’s lacking a dimension, but the strike-throwing has been on a positive trajectory. Exceeding expectations, Nelson threw strikes at a 67% clip.
Development: Yes. Development is definitely happening. Nelson has been steadily moving away from the college closer profile, throwing more strikes and executing some semblance of varying plans during at-bats and turns through the order.
Stuff: Nelson has a big fastball sitting mid-90s. From my vantage point it’s hard to tell if the velocity or movement gives hitters more fits, but during starts like 8/18, Nelson can have bouts of bad luck singles when hitters are late on his fastball. Nelson’s more traditional curveball from a high arm slot might be his most exciting offering. The slider doesn’t instill the most confidence, while the changeup has produced ugly swings. Nelson’s third and fourth offerings are showing improvement as the pro career gets longer.
Fantasy Thoughts: Nelson, rightfully so, is moving up lists, but he’s not quite in the must-have category for me. The upside of a nice MLB starter is there, but it lacks my spidey sense indication. Non-zero chance that’s my problem and not Nelson’s.
2019 Draft – Oregon – 1.1M

 


(Fastball for the K vs. Tyler Keenan on 5/5)

 


(Fastball for the K vs. Brendon Davis on 6/9)

#37 LHP – Jake Eder – Marlins – Double A Pensacola – 6’4″ – 23
Execution: Below is a cherry-picked example of Eder’s biggest question. Inconsistencies of stuff and command kept him out of a prestigious program’s rotation and bigger draft day money. Eder more than flashed his good version in 2021, overwhelming hitters with an attack more nasty than precision carving. Below may have been the most egregious lack of feel this season. Overall the command and execution was decent to good, but these moments would pop up and remind you of his history. To his credit, he was able to reel it back in more times than not and got to a 65% strike rate.
Development: Currently recovering from Tommy John surgery with 2022 a question mark, it will be the same story when he returns… can he find the requisite consistencies? The first 71 pro innings more than teased us some fantasy appeal, and then it was gone as quick as it came.
Stuff: Anyone familiar with Eder wasn’t surprised he was able to dominate the way he did, they may have just wondered how long it would last. Eder’s fastball can sit mid-90s, with some wiggle, but the curveball may be his best pitch when the feel’s there. The changeup also proved to be a nasty offering for hitters to handle in glimpses. The stuff is there to be a fantasy asset, but that’s never really been in question.
Fantasy Thoughts: Eder was one of the hottest pitching prospect names of 2022 before injury, garnering top 100 accolades by some. Obviously great news for his owners, but any value is on pause now. Hold tight and hope Eder answers questions that followed him into the draft and still linger. Eder most likely cost you nothing, and I wouldn’t be shy about cashing in if interests perk upon a successful rehab for a nice return.
2020 Draft – Vanderbilt – 700K

(Five balls to start game vs Brian Rey and TJ Hopkins, and a couple of wild pitches vs. Wilson Garcia, 1st inning on 7/16)
#36 RHP – Owen White – Rangers – Low A Down East – 6’3″ – 22
Execution: White threw strikes at a 67% clip with the trouble over the course of the 15ish viewable innings mostly coming from fastballs finding too much plate. White has ample offerings at his disposal, seemingly establishing the fastball (play within it: four-seam/two-seam/cutter) first, then playing secondaries off it more as he moves deeper in outings—standard stuff. White flashed runs of high execution, overmatching single-A hitters racking up three or four strikeouts in a row like below.
Development: The 2018 draftee finally made his pro debut opening day, only to return for two rookie ball innings in July. A month later he finally got rolling. White caught buzz after an impressive AFL showing. With so few innings to watch, still trying to get a feel for the profile, there seems to be quite a few avenues for this to go. Hopefully, all the injuries and things are behind us and this pro career really gets rolling in 2022.
Stuff: White’s gotten attention from metrics put out during the AFL. The mid-90s fastball has life and he throws multiple versions. The two breaking balls seem to be the first secondary options, but it was hard to get a good feel for either during the brief viewing. The changeup comes in at a noticeably different pace and some arm-side fade.
Fantasy Thoughts: The foundation of arsenal and, at least, decent command, is appealing. White’s still quite young, but in a dynasty evaluation sense, we are better suited treating him more like a 2020 draftee we are just starting to get to know. The 2022 outlook has a wide range, but the way things ended for White this year has me leaning toward more value coming. I’m rolling out some risk bucks in what feels like a very safe way, betting on the foundation of this complete package ascending to more fantasy value before others do.
2018 Draft – NC Prep – 1.5M

 

(After back-to-back singles, getting down 2-0, 10 strikes in a row for three Ks vs. Tyler Black/Alex Binelas/Micah Bello on 9/12)

 

#35 LHP – Blake Walston – D’Backs – High A Hillsboro – 6’5″ – 20
Execution: If you saw a pitch get away or miss badly from Walston, it was likely a changeup or curveball, as the slider and fastball command is pretty dialed in. Walston is constantly around the plate, perhaps getting too much of it at times. Twelve home runs allowed during eleven high A starts, and all four of his offerings were culprits.
Development: Walston has made significant gains since the “arm” we got a glimpse of in 2019. Everything feels cleaner. Walston’s heavy two-pitch diet has turned into a well mixed four-pitch attack. First-pitch fastball hunters aren’t going to get a lot of chances from this version. Walston may be budding into a more sophisticated pitcher, but for now the approach feels like mixing to mix, rather than sequencing with purpose. You don’t often see Walston offer the same pitch twice in a row for example.  Behind in the count, Walston leans on the quality of stuff to get by, vaguely spotting strikes. If the third and/or fourth offerings make significant gains, it could be huge in terms of getting right-handed major leaguers out, which may be a stride needed. Walston might be an easier pick-up for advanced hitters. Below illustrates a difference in delivery/pace(?) between pitches.
Stuff: The fastball can sit mid-90s, but it felt like he lost zip down the stretch. Some Trackman stuff on Walston would be fun to look at. The slider has got to be his CSW% leader, but hard to read the shape from our angles.  The changeup and curveball are significantly behind in way of command, but both seem to take on good shape. The back-foot-breaking ball didn’t feel like a big emphasis, but the few that did land were devastating.
Fantasy Thoughts: It’s not hard to see what has some folks excited, but there is still pretty significant boxes to check in my book before a large, committed investment here. That being said, the trajectory he’s on is sharp, and Walston feels like a good shot at being part of the next wave of darlings.
2019 Draft – NC Prep – 2.45M

 


(8/24)

 

#34 LHP – Ethan Small – Brewers – Triple A Nashville – 6’4″ – 25
Execution: Small varies his arm slot, but it might be fair to question if it hinders his ability to disguise his four-pitch mix, as the slot seems dependent on pitch selection. Small can execute his attack at a high level, even while throwing in timing games with the hitter. Improvement can be had in way of command, but there were stretches of the season he was noticeably better. Small has enough to work with to get right and left-hand hitters out in multiple ways.
Development: With time lost to tendinitis in his throwing hand and a promotion, Small’s season, like his delivery, felt a little herky-jerky. Tommy John (college), COVID season, and 2021’s bumpy road might have Small a little “behind” in some eyes, but a 2022 debut seems in the cards. The peaks of his season showed the ability to get major league hitters out at a high clip. Finding the requisite consistency on the mound, and getting on the mound are the challenges.
Stuff: There weren’t a lot of great angles to read Small’s stuff, but the fastball, changeup, and two breaking balls showed swing and miss capability. Small mixes well and is liable to offer up anything in any count.
Fantasy Thoughts: I probably value Small more than most, thus a potential trade target if nabbing an asset more solid than jaw-dropping suits you. It’s fair to wonder what major league strikeout ability can look like, but when it comes to pitching acumen and enough offerings to battle through rougher days, I have confidence in good MLB innings being logged. I’m also not ruling out the Brewers helping Small find a little extra nasty on a few of his pitches. Small feels a half developmental step away from being a top-shelf pitching prospect.
2019 Draft – Mississippi State – 1.8M

 


(K vs. Xavier Fernandez on 5/7)

 

#33 RHP – Alex Santos II – Astros – Low A Fayatteville – 6’4″ – 20
Execution: Santos didn’t hit his spots particularly well, had the propensity to spike breaking balls, and had some fastballs get away. That being said, he doesn’t feel obnoxiously wild and big strides were had over the course of the season. There was a markedly different mound feel between June Santos and end of August Santos: confident, quicker, cleaner, and wiser.
Development: Santos’ 2021 is a great example of pitching to development vs pitching to results. The breaking ball was the project pitch and he threw a lot of them, and in every count. Given our looks, it’s hard to remark on the specific developments of the pitch too much; it missed more bats and the frequency of good ones drastically increased. Santos and the Astros could be on an exciting path here.
Stuff: Below is the best look we got aesthetically, which was during his first two pro outings, aka, not his best version. The fastball sits mid-90s. The developing breaking ball is more slider than curveball, but the changeup felt like the bigger monster, capable of inducing some silly swings, with the better ones seemingly stopping a few feet in front of the plate and taking a right-hand turn.
Fantasy Thoughts: I have faith the Astros are going to help Santos get the most out of himself, and I loved the start to the pro career. This is still very much a project, so I don’t condone going crazy, but the fastball/changeup combo alone may have been enough to produce gaudy numbers, and then he went and got the breaking ball just as good. If the 2022 trajectory is a fraction of what 2021 was, Santos is going to skyrocket prospect lists, and I’m confident enough to start laying bets down now.
2020 Draft – NY Prep – 2.25M

(K vs. DJ Gladney on 6/22)
#32 RHP – Hunter Brown – Astros – Triple A Sugar Land – 6’2″ – 23
Execution: A 61% strike rate over the course of a full triple-A season, which could go plus/minus 10% any given outing is a fitting place to start with Brown. What can mostly be a two-pitch attack, the loss of feel for the plus curveball tends to be the thorn. Brown can find plenty of success at this level going fastball/curveball, but to his credit, there are other ideas being tested, and he exudes the fortitude to give hitters different looks, albeit in small stretches.
Development: Command and the chance of a third offering legitimizing itself are the two biggest questions. Over the course of the season, we saw a two-pitch offering flash, perhaps, one of the best combos in the minors. The range of outcomes feels larger than most reviewed today, and it’s hard to not feel excited on some level.
Stuff: Brown’s fastball more than teases exceptional ability to get swing and miss, capable of getting by good fastball hitters waiting for it. It can also fluctuate some velocity-wise: from 93ish to high 90s, and a look under the hood probably gleans something impressive. The traditional curveball off of it can take away hitters’ hopes. There is a slider-cutter-slower-spinny-thing getting tossed in, and a changeup, but neither leave you longing for more. The two lesser offerings may have been responsible for ruining some good-looking box scores for whatever that’s worth. Credit to Brown for continuing to work on these offerings with marbles on the line.
Fantasy Thoughts: So much to question whilst drooling over a two-pitch combo with strikeout dreams. With a positive bias toward Astros pitching development pitted against my two-pitch starter negative bias, I settled here, which feels a smidge aggressive to me and I like it.
2019 Draft – Wayne St. – 325K

 

(K vs. Pedro Florimon on 9/25)

 

#31 RHP – Hunter Greene – Reds – Triple A Louisville – 6’5″ – 22
Execution: Greene spots his fastball decently well while putting up a 65% strike rate. The attack is to try and overpower hitters with a high-velocity fastball, keeping hitters off of it with a slider and changeup, but the whole thing falls a little flat, not getting the swing and miss you’d think from such velocity.
Development: As crazy as it sounds saying about a guy with a triple-digit fastball and sharp slider, this current version lacks juice, susceptible to hard contact. Early in the season, there were murmurs the pitching coy Reds may have gotten Greene to a more lively fastball, but this may have been overzealous. If the breaking ball was able to get more purposeful, it blows open the upside and it’s too early to write that possibility off.
Stuff: Greene throws the boringest 100+ mph fastball you’ll ever see. It breaks radar guns, but not hitter’s hearts. The slider probably holds the most swing and miss potential, but the feel for it waivers. Greene does show decent feel for a high 80s/low-90s changeup, but the pitch itself leaves something to be desired.
Fantasy Thoughts: The Reds paid handsomely at a crack at other-worldly velocity, but I’m not sold it’s heading in the direction of major league starter with prolonged success. Fantasy value as a high-end reliever isn’t out of the question; the combination of both dreams plays into the placement here.
2017 Draft – CA Prep – 7.23M

 

(Fastball/slider/fastball/slider K vs. Erik Gonzalez on 8/25)

 

#30 RHP – Clarke Schmidt – Yankees – Triple A Scranton/W-B – 6’2″ – 26
Execution: Without wanting to put too much weight into another abbreviated by injury season, in way of performance, Schmidt’s season felt like an overall battle to grasp command while trying to get settled in. Part of the struggle may stem from Schmidt’s more sophisticated approach. There are a lot of parts to his game. Schmidt has forever been lauded for the exceptional curveball, but he’s also a cerebral pitcher constantly making adjustments to the arsenal. 2021 just never got grooving.
Development: Schmidt’s had more than his fair share of injury delays to his career. 2021 was much the same, only logging 41.1 innings across five levels. Spring training is going to be big for Schmidt as the Yankees have options with the rotation. Schmidt has the skill to be a successful MLB starter, it’s just always been a sputtering track. With all the parts going on, it’s hard to not wonder if simplifying the whole thing would help.
Stuff: Schmidt throws mid-90s sinkers and four-seamers, slower cutters, slurvy sliders, a devastating knuckle-curve the feel wasn’t the greatest for this year, and a lesser-used changeup. Schmidt has spoke to Nick Pollack about the importance of adjustments in today’s game and we’ve seen him make plenty in regards to arsenal. The know-how might be tops on this list, it’s just time to do it.
Fantasy Thoughts: If you believe in the talent, as I have, it’s hard to give up on the fantasy dream of a major league starter with several avenues of success in front of him. Yet, we’re getting down the road and there’s a competitive roster. Stay bullish, or jump ship, neither feels like the wrong answer. 2021 might be the fork in the road, but I’m still holding on there is a big fantasy year or two in here. Whether it/they are big enough to pay and wait for is a tougher question.
2017 Draft – S. Carolina – 2.18M       40 man

#29 LHP – Brailyn Marquez – Cubs – MLB 2020 – 6’4″ – 23
Execution: Hard to take too much away from 2/3 innings of work over the last two years, but Marquez has thrown strikes at a high rate as a pro. Although, he’s also never pitched in the high levels, other than the one MLB appearance. There’s still much to learn about this power arm.
Development: Marquez missed all of 2021 with a reoccurring shoulder issue. Getting on the mound and logging some innings would go a long way in 2022, and the only thing holding him back from more fanfare.
Stuff: Marquez has a fastball capable of triple digits, playing a slider and changeup off it.
Fantasy Thoughts: With plenty of questions to still answer, the big stuff with strike-throwing history intrigues. I may be putting too much value on such an inexperienced arm I haven’t seen much of dealing with shoulder issues, but the handful of viewings, stuff like below pulls me in too much.
2015 International Signee – Dominican Republic – 600K       40 man

 

(Only career K in majors vs. Jose Abreu, SLD/CHG/CHG/FB on 9/27)

 

#28 RHP – Bobby Miller – Dodgers – Double A Tulsa – 6’5″ – 23
Execution: Intent is a best guess by viewer thing, and Miller’s is tougher than most as his catcher often sets vaguely in the middle of the plate without overt location requests via sign. With several big-league offerings he can throw for strikes, Miller doesn’t need to be super crisp to get hitters out in double-A, and at times he isn’t, specifically a breaking ball he can lose all feel for in spurts. Strikes came at a 64% clip.
Development: With more than enough tools at his disposal, Miller needs to continue tightening the screws of his attack, working on more precision, and the sky might be the limit. In this organization, he’s going to need to be exceptionally good to carve out a starting role. Miller’s fastball could tick up out of a major league pen as well.
Stuff: Trouser comp: Robbie Ray, but more snug. Miller’s riding fastball can hit upper-90s. His slider and changeup are more than capable of missing bats at a good rate—plenty of movement. The curveball is further behind, but a nice make-them-think pitch. All this being said, the “wow” moments don’t hit as much as you’d think they would.
Fantasy Thoughts: With still a wide range of outcomes in terms of a fantasy asset, I feel good about a major league pitcher here, but becoming a Dodger starter will be tough. I won’t be shy about fading Miller if 2022 doesn’t bring a little more clarity or jiving with this viewer.
2020 Draft – Louisville – 2.2M

 

#27 RHP – Will Bednar – Giants – Low A San Jose – 6’2″ – 21
Execution: With only seven 2021 innings, the sample was minuscule, feeling more like “good stuff” getting hitters out than elite execution of pitches. To be frank, execution seemed poor at times, but he still mustered a 70% strike rate.
Development: Bednar barely got his pro feet wet after a long college run. 2022 will offer us a better grasp of what the pro version looks like.
Stuff: Bednar offers a fairly typical profile for his day: a big fastball capable of getting over bats, and a sharp, late-breaking slider. Bednar also has the ability to throw a more classic 12-6 curveball and a changeup—two offerings capable of ascending him to another level if they grow.
Fantasy Thoughts: Bednar, a heavy investment by an organization doing more right than wrong these days, coupled with a dominant college run, is a top-tier pitching asset this First Year Player draft season. I’ll start Bednar here with some high hopes.
2021 Draft – Mississippi St. – 3.65M

 

#26 RHP – George Kirby – Mariners – Double A Arkansas – 6’4″ – 24
Execution: Kirby is lauded for having great command, and he does throw a lot of strikes (67%), but there is still a propensity to miss badly and run into four or five-pitch walks. Kirby only walked 15 batters this year, but after his return, five of his eight walks were noncompetitive at-bats and he hit two batters when ahead two strikes. There was physical stuff going on, but keeping the walks down without damage against major league hitters…might be a different story. With our angles and catchers not giving us clues often (a lot of vague setups), it’s even harder to discern intent, but he felt more strike-thrower than master of command. Kirby separates himself as a guy able to throw four offerings for strikes whenever he wants, coming at hitters multiple ways, often giving most double-A hitters no real chance.
Development: Kirby’s biggest hurdle may be a workload one, so simply getting on the mound for a full minor league season is something to watch. Kirby was shut down for fatigue in July, but more so, as pitch counts rose during starts, he lost crispness. Fastball velocity was mostly maintained, but it felt like he wasn’t finishing secondaries and overall less sturdy execution moving along. Kirby’s highest inning count was about 120 innings in 2019 between college and pro. Getting the body ready to start a full season…it doesn’t seem there yet.
Stuff: Kirby’s fastball is the headliner, sitting mid to high 90s and said to have great late life. Hard to tell from our looks. There are stretches seemingly hittable fastballs garner plenty of swing and miss over bats. There are times hard contact doesn’t seem difficult as well. The breaking balls don’t scream nasty, but, maybe it’s the view. The changeup plays well—more horizontal than vertical movement. Hitters got a fair share of pitches to hit, they just didn’t capitalize enough. Was that a credit to the stuff or questionable quality of hitters?
Fantasy Thoughts: There is plenty of skill and fantasy appeal to put a stingy value on him, but there’s still enough to prove before I’m valuing him like the premium pitching prospect some are. Kirby should be getting an MLB chance soon if the fatigue isn’t a problem.
2019 Draft – Elon – 3.24M

 


(Curveball to start, slider next 9/18/21)

 

#25 RHP – Emerson Hancock – Mariners – Double A Arkansas – 6’4″ – 22
Execution: With only a dozen or so worthwhile innings to view, it’s hard to take away a whole lot, but you saw a three-pitch arsenal mixed well, coming at hitters differently the second time through the lineup. Without being overtly wild you saw too many balls in the dirt and secondaries, particularly the changeup, left middle/middle causing damage. You’d see hard-hit balls lined right to fielders, broken-bat and bloop singles, and some bad defense all playing into about right-feeling box scores. Strikes came at a 63% clip.
Development: Hancock produced well and made the jump to double-A, but our looks were underwhelming as a whole. The track record and potential are there, but for our purposes, we just need more looks in 2022 to get a better sense. It’s not rocket science…if Hancock executes pitches at a high clip he has the goods to be an effective MLB starter.
Stuff: The arm-side run on the sinker shows well as a weapon against righties inside and out, while the mid to high 90s four-seamer thrown up in the zone could really demolish hitters with two-strikes. Hancock seemed to know how to set hitters up for that ambush. The changeup didn’t show well, while the slider was effective getting chase.
Fantasy Thoughts: FYPD season Hancock was in the top tier of pitchers for me, and I don’t have enough either way to change that now. 2022 will be a big calibration for me in terms of dynasty value but here we are for now.
2020 Draft – Georgia – 5.7M

 


(First pitch sinker hitting Arkansas’ ridiculous broadcast’s crosshairs :) on 8/25)

 

#24 RHP – Cade Cavalli – Nationals – Triple A Rochester – 6’4″ – 23
Execution: The strike-throwing left something to be desired; 63% over five triple-A outings is better than the eyeballs thought. The breaking ball gives him the most fits, while the fastball can miss egregiously in spots. The attack went heavy to the low part of the zone as he moved up levels.
Development: Cavalli jumped three levels, rightfully so as he was punching below his weight. To his credit, his attack got more sophisticated as he jumped as well, it’s just a work in progress executing it. Cavalli is going about his business in a way conducive to more major league success, but power pitchers trying to find more finesse is a transition some never quite get right.
Stuff: One of the few pitchers caught in-person on this list, you can feel the fastball in your chest when it hits the mitt. Cavalli isn’t all fastball though. Hitters are liable to get three straight secondary offerings and some bench. All four offerings can miss bats: the heavy mid-to-high 90s fastball, a 12-6 power curve, a hard sharp slider, and a high 80s changeup.
Fantasy Thoughts: Cavalli isn’t refined enough for me to have a death grip on shares. Plenty of wicked tools and I love how he’s working on his craft. If he polishes the parts I think he’s trying to, the final product is ridiculous. I need some kind of points laid to make that bet though.
2020 Draft – Oklahoma – 3.03M

 


(K, 90 mph changeup for third strike vs. Tate Matheny on 9/4)

 

#23 RHP – Bryce Jarvis – D’Backs – Double A Amarillo – 6’2″ – 24
Execution: Jarvis struggled to hit marks early in the season, and it never got great, but injury struck when Jarvis may have been putting some things together. Incorporating a new pitch could have played into some sloppy pitch making as well. The plans of attack were fantastic though, showing an ability to use his repertoire well up and down, in and away. I’m not sure we know what kind of pitcher Jarvis will end up being, in terms of attack, but there are ample possibilities. Jarvis flashes some of the prettiest stretches of pitching on today’s list.
Development: Some may be disappointed Jarvis isn’t already in the bigs, but it’s turning into a slower burn. Jarvis is a “tooled up” pitching prospect with a bag of tricks capable of attacking lineups in a diverse manner. This too may play a role in a slower ascension than hoped. 2021 kept teasing a jump in production, but in a worrisome sense, that’s kind of been Jarvis’ reputation.
Stuff: Jarvis has a live 93-95 mph fastball, a sharp slider, a changeup, and a more traditional 12-6 curveball he busted out this season. All four pitches flash major league nasty.
Fantasy Thoughts: Jarvis may be a great buy candidate, as he hasn’t fully put together the pro production, but might only be a few turns of a screwdriver away from some big-time prospect helium. I’m planting a flag here based on the trajectory I glimpsed at different points of the season. The value here is dependent on him throwing more strikes and I’m buying into the version poking its head out right before the injury. It’s the same bet the D’Backs ultimately made, and riskier than some of his list neighbors here.
2020 Draft – Duke – 2.65M

 


(K vs. Jax Biggers on 9/17)

 


(K vs. Andrew Bechtold 7/3)

 

#22 LHP – Brandon Williamson -Mariners- Double A Arkansas – 6’6″ – 23
Execution: As the season wore on, Williamson’s execution got better and better, to the point he became equally effective against righties and lefties. Early in Arkansas, you’d catch breaking balls getting away, but not so much in September. He flashes exceptional strike-throwing, coming in at 64%, but had plenty of outings better than that. There’s also an extra gear capable of bearing down and getting big strikeouts when against it (below).
Development: An intriguing blend of stuff and crafty is shaping up here, especially if the trajectory holds in 2022. Williamson is able to come at hitters in different ways with good stuff that might be turning great. The path feels like one of a pitcher who hasn’t been able to cheat code is way through learning some coding, if you will.
Stuff: Williamson’s repertoire is a bit of a tricky read. It appears he sets his grip extremely late in his delivery. He may be throwing both a four-seam and sinker which both sit low-90s. The changeup is easy to spot and he uses it well. There are also, two breaking balls in play(?), a slower, loopier curveball, and a sharper slider. Both breaking balls lack some “wow” from our vantage point, but as he began spotting them better, they crushed hitter’s plans.
Fantasy Asset Evaluation: In regards to fantasy, Williamson sits in a sweet spot for me. Lots to like. Perhaps a lack of fanfare. Leaps in progression on both sides of our pitching spectrum. He kind of fits the bill for the type of guy our new rules are set out to find. So here we are.
2019 Draft – TCU – 925K

 


(Battles through a couple of hits, defensive letdown, and a long bout with Spencer Steer, followed by K vs. Leobaldo Cabrera on 9/17)

 

#21 RHP – Bryce Elder – Braves – Triple A Gwinnett – 6’2″ – 22
Execution: You watch Elder once or twice, and you’re not getting a good picture, perhaps even thinking he got a little lucky. Watch enough and the odd pitch selections, like a sinker up in the zone while ahead in the count, yield consistent results. Lauded for his pitching acumen, the view from the couch can look peculiar, maybe even a little lackluster, but there’s no arguing the results. Chart pitches for a few games and it starts feeling a little Rubik’s Cube-esque. Elder doesn’t offer hitters many mistakes, yet isn’t the most efficient strike-thrower (62%). Some outings felt a little too nibbly, but it doesn’t feel like a chronic issue. Two aspects of his attack seemed to rang true…when he senses you can’t handle something, he’s going to bully you with that pitch, then he’s going to beat you in an entirely different way next at-bat, leaving hitters longing for a pitch to hit.
Development: Pitching more minor league innings than anyone in 2021, Elder is knocking on the big league door. Improving the 62% strike rate would be a giant step for Elder and his attack. Willing to bet there are some impressive under-the-hood metrics, there’s been more swing and miss than advertised, only needing to prove it against one last level of hitter.
Stuff: There’s a couple of low to mid- 90s fastball shapes: a sinker and straight. The slider isn’t an obnoxious, nasty, wipeout pitch, but it’s played quite well and does find whiffs. The changeup might be a little inconsistent, but it might be his highlight reel pitch, while the curveball shows late bight. I suspect there’s purposeful manipulation varying break happening.
Fantasy Thoughts: It’s warranted to wonder about strikeout ability at the major league level, yet he’s also proven we don’t have him figured out real well—neither do hitters. Elder has plenty of skill and sophistication to find MLB success. He’s a name to keep an eye on in redraft leagues as well.
2020 Draft – Texas – 848K

 


(K vs. Vidal Brujan on 9/23)

 

Next installment, we finish our offseason PPL&R with #20 – #1. And my wonderful wife will be very happy.

(Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire) Adapted by Shawn Palmer (@Palmerguyboston on twitter)

Nate Handy

Nate is an advocate of drafting more pitchers. Originally from the planet Eternia, he aspires to become the Master of the Prospect Universe....or just watch baseball, share observations, and have an enjoyable dialogue about this great game, particularly the young players trying to make the major leagues.

7 responses to “Top 100 Prospect Pitcher Rankings 2022: #43-#21”

  1. Jeff says:

    Nate – this is some of the best pitching prospect content that I have read in my 20 years following prospects. I can’t believe the amount of time you spent watching these pitchers. It definitely shows in your work and it’s comprehensiveness. Thank you so much for all of the hard work. I can’t wait for the final installment!

  2. Ross Redcay says:

    This is fantastic reading. Thank you so much for doing all of this!

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