(Photo by Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire)
Today’s feature is my ranking of the Top 25 Pitching Prospects for the 2018 season. The list is comprised of starting and relief pitchers whom I believe will make an impact in fantasy this season. Since the ranking is only for 2018, injured players, i.e. Brent Honeywell, or players in the low levels aren’t under consideration. Pitchers that wouldn’t likely be on a fantasy team for more than a stream here or there were left off the list. I only wanted to include players that would have some sort of impact on teams, even if they are called up later in the year. Lets get to it.
1. Shohei Ohtani, SP, Angles, ETA: Opening Day
Japanese Babe Ruth? I’m game. Even without the additional bat help he brings to the table, Ohtani is the best pitcher on this list. He throws 100+ mph and has a very good slider and splitter. With the additional help in the hitting categories, Ohtani brings a new level to the game. He is in a league of his own on this list and could easily end the year in the top 20 overall.
2. Michael Kopech, SP, White Sox, ETA: June
Some scouts have compared Michael Kopech to Noah Syndergaard because he has one of the hardest to hit fastballs in the minors. He throws consistently between 96-99 mph and can hit 100+ when he needs to. His command is still developing but his potential is a top fantasy pitcher. He isn’t on the White Sox 40-man roster right now, so I don’t expect him to be up quickly, but they could easily make a move should he continue to dominate minor league hitters.
3. Luiz Gohara, SP, Braves, ETA: May
Luiz Gohara became the 5th Brazilian to make his major league debut. He is one of the hardest throwing left handed starters in the league and his k rate reflects that. He had 147 strike outs to 123.2 IP in the minors in 2017. He also had 31 strikeouts to 8 walks in 29.1 IP in the majors in 2017. He should start the year in AAA but is on the 40 man roster and should be the first option before Lucas Sims, or Max Fried.
4. Mitch Keller, SP, Pirates, ETA: June
Mitch Keller might be my favorite pitcher on this list besides Ohtani. He has amazing command and a very good mix of pitches. He should get a chance to pitch in Pittsburgh this year, but with only 34.2 IP in AA, his call up will likely be in the 2nd half. He can be the future Ace of the Pittsburgh rotation.
5. Jack Flaherty, SP, Cardinals, ETA: June
There is a lot of love being shown to Jack Flaherty lately because there is a lot to like. He has a nice mix of pitches, a plus fastball and plus plus control. However, he didn’t have a very good MLB Debut as he ended 2017 with an ERA of 6.33 through 21.1 IP. That is vastly different than his 2.18 ERA and 147 strikeouts to 35 walks in his 148.2 minor league innings. The Cardinals have a pretty good rotation, and he will start the year back in AAA.
6. AJ Puk, SP, Athletics, ETA: July
AJ Puk was in conversations to be the #1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB draft but after an inconsistent college year, he fell to #6 overall. He led the minor leagues in K/9 with a 13.2 strike out rate, that’s 184 strikeouts over 125 innings pitched. He does walk his share of batters, but that is expected in a power arm. He could make his way to Oakland this year, and with that stadium, and his K rate, I will watch him closely.
7. Walker Buehler, SP, Dodgers, ETA: June
There aren’t many negatives when it comes to Walker Buehler, but the innings pitched must be one. After being taken 24th overall in the 2015 MLB Draft, it was revealed Buehler would need Tommy John. He sat out most of 2016, only pitching five innings. In 2017, He had a total of 97 innings between the minors and the majors. He averaged less than 4 innings per start, and only went above 5 innings once. His potential is up there with the top of the list, but he needs innings and he needs to go deeper into games.
8. Alex Reyes, SP, Cardinals, ETA: June
Alex Reyes is recovering from a Tommy John surgery from last February but is already facing live batters. There is chatter that the red birds could move Reyes into the bullpen in 2018 or at least for the first half of 2018. He likely will start the year on the DL though and won’t be back until May or June. His stuff before his surgery was filthy, it will be interesting to see how he looks post tommy john.
9. Jimmie Sherfy, RP, Diamondbacks, ETA: April
The first relief pitcher on this list, Jimmie is a favorite of mine. He has a plus plus fastball, and a decent curve. He did make it to the majors last year, pitching 10.2 innings, striking out 9 and walking 2 while giving up no earned. I think he has a shot to end the year as the Diamondbacks closer.
10. Dillon Peters, SP, Marlins, ETA: April
It feels like half this list has had Tommy John at one point in their career and Dillon Peters is among them. The University of Texas alum made his major league debut in 2017 pitching 31.1 Innings, striking out 27 and walking 19. He should see plenty of action 2018 as he should make the rotation out of Spring Training.
11. Chance Adams, SP, Yankees, ETA: June
One of my favorites last year, The Yankees never called up Chance Adams despite his dominating minor league year: 2.45 ERA, 135 strike outs to 58 walks in 150.1 innings between AA and AAA. He’s battling Justus Sheffield for the top arm in the Yankees farm system. He needs to improve his command, but he looks to have a bright future in front of him.
12. Ryan Borucki, SP, Blue Jays, ETA: May
Ryan Borucki was a 15th rounder in the 2012 MLB Draft, who had a very impressive 2017 season pitching 150.1 innings across three levels with 157 strikeouts and 36 walks with an ERA of 2.93. He has very good control and generates plenty of ground balls. He is on the 40-man roster and could be the first call up should the Blue Jays need an arm.
13. Nick Kingham, SP, Pirates, ETA: May
He is the Pirates #13 prospect according to MLB pipeline, but he is likely next up should the Pirates need an arm. He is already on the 40-man roster. He doesn’t have the plus pitches that Mitch Keller possesses, but he has good command and should be a serviceable back of the rotation pitcher for the Pirates.
14. Brandon Woodruff, SP, Brewers, ETA: April
Brandon Woodruff is probably bottom 5 on this list in talent but if he gets the 5th rotation spot, he will likely be top 3 in innings pitched. He has average stuff across the board but can pitch himself out of jams with his plus command. The Brewers line up looks very strong in 2018, and if he gives up a couple runs, he could still get the win.
15. Jose De Leon, SP, Rays, ETA: May
With Brent Honeywell needing Tommy John, Jose De Leon could be able to grab the 5th spot in the Rays rotation. He had an injury plagued season in 2017 with forearm issues and a lat strain. His fastball lost some velocity which made his changeup not play up as well. If he can get his fastball back up to the 93-95 mph range, he will be an interesting player to watch.
16. Fernando Romero, SP, Twins, ETA: June
Fernando Romero sort of came out of no where the past two years after missing nearly all of 2014 and 2015 because of Tommy John surgery. The surgery seems successful as he sits in the mid-90s with his fastball that he mixes with two additional above average pitches. He had a 3.53 ERA in 125 Innings last year in AA, with 120 strike outs to 45 walks. He will likely be on an inning limit as he still need to build strength in his arm, but I like what I see from Fernando Romero.
17. Tyler Mahle, SP, Reds, ETA: May
Few pitchers on this list had a season like Tyler Mahle did in 2017. He had a 2.06 ERA with 138 strikeouts and 30 walks through 144.1 minor league innings. He got the late promotion and started 4 games, pitching 20 innings with 14 strikeouts and 11 walks with a 2.70 ERA. I like Tyler Mahle, but I don’t think he has the upside of many of the players on this list. I think he is a mid-rotation pitcher at best, but his control should make him a very good streamer option vs weaker competition.
18. Max Fried, SP, Braves, ETA: June
Max Fried had a brief call up in 2017, pitching 26 innings in the show with a 3.81 ERA and 22 strikeouts to 12 walks. He doesn’t have the best command on this list but is an effective pitcher and likely will get a longer look in 2018.
19. Erick Fedde, SP, Nationals, ETA: May
At 25, Erick Fedde is one of the older players on this list. He hasn’t exactly panned out the way the Nationals thought he would after they selected him 18th overall in the 2014 MLB Draft. He has an average fastball and changeup but a plus slider. He controls the ball well enough, but He isn’t a top of the rotation pitcher. He can be a serviceable streaming option vs the weak NL East clubs.
20. Kolby Allard, SP, Braves, ETA: August
Kolby Allard probably has the brightest future of the Braves prospects on this list, however Gohara and Fried are on the 40-man rotation and the Braves also have Lucas Sims, Aaron Blair, and Matt Wisler in AAA as well. At just 20 years old, I don’t know if I see Kolby Allard in the Majors this year. He has three plus pitches, but his control has room for development.
21. Stephen Gonsalves, SP, Twins, ETA: May
Despite being a tall, 6’5, pitcher, Gonsalves doesn’t have a lot of power behind his pitches. He does mix them well and his command allows him to make the most of his average offerings. He should be up in 2018 with the Twins, but don’t expect him to continue to strike out 9+ batters per nine.
22. Brian Johnson, SP, Red Sox, ETA: April
Brian Johnson first made his MLB Debut in 2015. He gave up four earned in 4.1 Innings. He next pitched in the majors in 2017, starting 5 games, pitching 27 innings with a 4.33 ERA and 21 strikeouts to 8 walks. He has been very successful in the minors with a 2.69 ERA in 518.1 career minor league innings, but he hasn’t latched on with the big-league club because his offerings are average. He has decent control, but he will never be a low ERA guy. He is on a winning ball club and should secure the 5th spot in the rotation, which is why I have him listed.
23. David Paulino, SP, Astros, ETA: June
Paulino struck out 34 batters in 29 innings pitched in the majors last season but he allowed 8 homeruns in those six starts and ended the years with a 6.52 ERA. He needs to command his pitches more to avoid giving up the long ball, but he has a bright future ahead of him. There isn’t a rotation spot for him, so he will likely be in AAA to start the year or the bullpen. He is on the 40-man roster though and could be called up quickly.
24. Sandy Alcantara, SP, Marlins, ETA: August
The prize prospect in the Ozuna deal between the Marlins and the Cardinals. Sandy Alcantara frequently hits triple digits and looks to be controlling his fastball more and more. He is still a raw talent though and will need more time to develop. I expect him to start the year the year in the minors but could be up in the second half of the year.
25. Domingo Acevedo, SP, Yankees, ETA: June
Domingo Acevedo could end up in New York this year, but I believe out of the pen. He has a very good fastball and mixes it well with an above average change up. Unlike some of the other flamethrowers on this list, Acevedo can command his fastball and could be a very effective relief pitcher.
Where would Lucas Giolito rank? Is he outside the Top 25 or no longer a prospect? thx
He’s no longer a prospect.
I personally have him ranked above all of these names for those in redraft leagues save for Ohtani.
That is the problem with pitchers in particular… for me at least, there are lots of guys who seem like rookies but are not.
I may as well have a full-blown conversation here… I think it would be productive to have a ranking of pitchers with less than 100 innings – or some other arbitrary cutoff. How do guys that just passed the threshold relate to the actual rookies – that is the real question isn’t it? I think that would underscore the lack of value in a pitcher that has yet to gain a rotation spot. To actually see where last years top arms, like Reynaldo Lopez, sit in relation to the new crop would be interesting.
Let me make something clear.
There are two purposes for this article:
1) For leagues that have a “prospect” draft, where there is a draft for those who are still considered prospects
2) To act as a heads up for which pitchers are best to stash as we enter the year.
In 12-team leagues, it’s obvious that Giolito should be owned. I’d definitely argue that Reynaldo Lopez should be as well. Kopech? Flaherty? Not nearly as clear and this article helps people make the decision of who to stash if they are willing to give up a roster spot for a pitcher during the year.
Wondering about the talent level of a pitcher already inside the majors vs. someone in the minors is a whole different discussion and separate from the purpose of this piece.
I am not a fan of Kopech relatively speaking. He has a lot of things working against him, primarily his command or lack thereof. At this point it manifests itself in walks, which could prevent him from gaining wins and it will certainly prevent him from pitching deep into games. Secondly, he has not been a healthy kid to this point in his career – 2017 was his first full healthy season. To that end, the club of teens that throw as hard as he does usually end up under the knife. I basically think of him as a lesser version of Alex Reyes, who I also have reservations about. If he was creeping around the back of this list, then I would be really excited about him, but I don’t like him near the top of the list. I know that I am in a minority on him. Perhaps I will be wrong, no problems with that. I don’t mind being wrong about something like that because I get to watch a star every five days in the worst case. I like Walker Buehler the most of the non Japanese Babe Ruth types – I know he has his set of warts as well! I would rather have a guy post TJ and healthy than pre and he has shown better command and K rate along with plus GB rates – a lot to like if he is healthy…not to mention probably the best supporting cast in MLB and a solid park, weak division, etc. I also give guys the benefit of the doubt with command coming back from TJ.
Do you see Corbin Burnes and Jon Duplantier making an impact?
Duplantier probably doesn’t quite make it to the majors this year. Only 63 innings in High-A he will not likely make it all the way up the ladder even if he had another dominant season.
Burnes probably does see some MLB time if he can make it past Colorado Springs. I could see a second half debut for him.
What do you think of Rogelio Armenteros ? I am torn between Borucki and him as my SP pick in dynasty draft.
I’m going Armenteros personally
My league has one NA roster spot. Your articles are my go-to source for deciding whom to put there. Keep up the great work, Nic!
Did Forest Whitley disappear from the fantasy Baseball world?
He”d be starting in AA and needs to serve a 50-game suspension first. The likelihood he makes any impact on fantasy rosters this year is extremely low.
Robert Stephenson in top 80 of Pitcher List but doesn’t show here. Seems like he should be here.
Stephenson pitched in 25 games last year with 84.2 IP. He’s not considered a prospect any longer.
Seems strange to leave Mike Soroka off of this list. I can understand Fried and Gohora being above him from a Braves perspective, but even before his strong spring, Soroka looked like the closest to the majors of the Braves next wave of prospects.
I’m very happy to uncover this site. I want to to thank you for ones time just for
this fantastic read!! I definitely enjoyed every bit of it and I have you bookmarked
to see new information on your web site.
There are a great number of football gambling agent sites spread on the Web.
But of the many choices you have to be careful to choose which sites you will
register to play soccer gambling online games. You must be careful and choose a trusted sports gambling agent site.
One of many trusted online gambling sites is Userbola.
Here are some ways or steps that you can play soccer gambling through Userbola agents.
Userbola is one of the trusted soccer gambling sites that acts as an agent of the planet’s
major soccer bookies such as SBOBET, Ibcbet and Mahabet Sport.
You will definitely get a enjoyable experience while betting
as a result of interesting features provided by this web site.
Userbola has a professional service when you make a deposit transaction until withdrawing money.
Here is a website been named the Indonesian sports gambling site which is the destination for online soccer bettors.
Transactions in entering deposits as well as withdrawing money are certainly fast.
In addition, attractive promos must be a primary reason why many people register to become users.
How to Register Userbola
Before you can get into the football gambling game on Userbola you must
register first and become a user. The method is very easy, all you
have to do is click on the list and enter the sign up form page.
About this web page you must enter personal and important information. After that you click on the
register now button. To activate your member, you must
verify the e-mail you entered. After all the steps are completed you can immediately log in to Userbola to try out the
desired gambling game, for example the betting ball available at Userbola.
How to Deposit Bets Online
After getting a user id, before you continue to play, you must deposit funds.
This particular fund deposit is entered into the bank account amount offered by USERBOLA.
com. Here are the steps:
– Submit a Deposit Form
– Request via our TEXT MESSAGE CENTER at + 62-821-6050-7777
– Request via our BBM at 58AFE340 (Special DP / WD and TR Fast)
– Request via Live Chat Userbola directly
Then you can choose the soccer betting game available atususerbola.
apresentando. The Bukauser. net site is an alternative link that you can open and play.
There are 3 types of soccer gambling games to choose from specifically, SBOBET, IBCBET and Mahabet.
The advantages that you will get are:
– Fastest Transaction Process (normal 3 min)
– 24-hour full Support
– Professional Customer Support
– Regular Rollover Bonuses 0. 75% lose or win
– User ID Sbobet Quality A, can play Sports Gambling and Casino at
the same time
– Serving Indonesia’s LARGEST Regional Bank BCA / MANDIRI / BNI / BRI
– Complete Guide
– Has mobile Userbola features for games via cell phones
Userbola Alternative Links
Besides the above, Userbola also provides other links that
you can access to play games straight from the Userbola server.
One of the hottest Userbola links that you can open is Bukauser.
com. A lighter display will make you quickly enter the site.
In addition to the links above there are also other alternative links namely judionline.
win which allows you to play to your heart’s content with a fast connection. Therefore, register
yourself immediately on Userbola. com to get an exciting online soccer betting experience!
What’s up to every one, as I am genuinely keen of reading this
web site’s post to be updated regularly. It consists of good stuff.
For anybody who like to perform gambling of course, if you usually are looking for partners within gambling activities,
Mabosbet is the right choice. Mabosbetransfer You can contact our own customer service and make dealings
with us. Mabosbet livechat is available 24 hrs nonstop
and is ready to serve you and help you online with gambling.
Mabosbet. com as a new responsible gambling agent, we all always provide an alternate link
to mabosbet to ensure that members feel comfortable. You no longer require to have trouble
finding an alternate Jababbet link with regard to access,
it is previously available for you.
We also always give top priority to the safety associated with
our members, very stringent protecting each of the privacy regarding members of Jababbet.
Trustworthy Mabosbet From 2010
Together with good praise, the support from the
Headquarters is no doubt. Friendly, fast response, under 3
Mabosbet is highly appreciated by gambling bettors coming from Indonesia because whatever triumph you get is going to be accepted by mabosvip.
We usually want to provide the great for members with highest service.
The site mabosmail. com is additionally very an easy task to access, since you
only want internet access and alternate links mabosvip, no require to use proxies, newsletters, or troublesome applications.
That will is why many folks join mabosbola and
create deposits, then, win typically the match. The best
and quality alternative mabosbola alternate
Come join mabosbet. com the trusted online gambling agent
in Philippines. Contact livechat mabosbet right now in the lower proper corner to get the user ID.
Welcome to be able to the club.
MABOSBET is usually a Trusted Online Betting Site that
has already been established for more compared to 9 years with typically the
most significant amount of online wagering players. This gambling site also provides the most
satisfactory online gambling game together with the most popular gambling providers in Indonesia.
Online Gambling Games that can be played at MABOSBET are Sportsbook Soccer Betting, Live Casino, Internet poker
Credit card Gambling, Online Slot Betting and Online Togel.
Mabosbet itself has provided a variety of excellent facilities for internet
gambling players in Indonesia ranging from 24-hour Live Chat Assistance, Bonuses with the least difficult conditions, additional wins with regard to True Gambling Players.
This specific MABOSBET Gambling Site likewise proves to
get very trustworthy, while this Gambling
Web site can also pay with regard to any winning player without deductions.
So you will certainly play gambling comfortably in addition to safely without fear of having to pay.
In addition to a definite win at MABOSBET, you will also supply additional bonuses to offer
a different experience actively playing online gambling.
JOBI BALL OFFICIAL SBOBET ONLINE WITHIN INDONESIA
Online Soccer Gambling has become a extremely popular internet gambling game within Indonesia
where every online game has a market regarding betting.
MABOSBET is becoming an official partner of BOLA TANGKAS Indonesia, where
more as compared to a decade has provided football gambling games for wagering players in Indonesia.
This SBOBET Soccer Gambling Marketplace allows a good where gamers will actually be provided with a
new live market from the recognized match directly.
So you will be very lucky to be able to play SBOBET
in this MABOSBET.
RELIABLE ONLINE SLOT MACHINE GAME SITE SITE WITH MANY PROFITS
Online slot gambling is currently popular in Philippines, where online slots are extremely successful with
huge jackpots and freespins that are usually simple to win. Because regarding
that this MABOSBET first provided Online Slot Online
games from 2012 for wagering players in Indonesia.
Where Jackpot is provided even more than USD $ one, 000,
000 for slot machine game players who register at MABOSBET.
The Slot Game machine at MABOSBET won’t just
use your Stability, the Slot Game offers been made with the FREESPIN Bonus that comes away more often, so you is going to be Fortunately.