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MLB Pitcher Prospects – Hidden Gems to Watch for Fantasy Baseball

fantasy baseball prospects MLB prospects rookies call-ups

As we get closer to the beginning of the 2023 campaign, I am examining those prospects who are not currently household names. In this installment of hidden prospect gems, I take a look at four under-the-radar pitchers who should take a step forward and break into the top of prospect lists by the end of the 2023 campaign.

These are pitchers who took leaps forward in 2022 but remain outside of top-prospect consideration. They are reminiscent of pitchers like Gavin Stone, Taj Bradley, and Ricky Tiedemann who were on the cusp of breaking into the upper tier of prospect lists ahead of the 2022 campaign.

Dynasty managers should have these young arms on their radar as the 2023 campaign begins in a couple of weeks.

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Griff McGarry, Philadelphia Phillies

Even as a die-hard Mets fan, a personal favorite of mine is Philadelphia Phillies pitching prospect, Griff McGarry.  The 23-year-old McGarry showcased incredible strikeout ability and took a huge leap forward in 2022.  Though he remains outside most top-100 prospect lists, the 6’2” righty is ranked third in the Phillies’ system by MLB Pipeline.

McGarry pitched across three levels in 2022.  I was fortunate enough to see McGarry early in 2022 when he was pitching for the Jersey Shore Blue Claws where he dominated High-A hitters. Over those 46 2/3 High-A innings pitched, he struck out an incredible 82 batters, posting a 3.86 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. He did, however, walk 24 batters.

Once promoted to Double-A Reading, McGarry posted a 2.20 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and struck out 39 over 32 2/3 IPs. Walks, however, continued to be an issue where he issued 20 free passes. A short stint with Triple-A Lehigh Valley late in 2022 saw McGarry strike out nine over eight innings….to go with nine walks. Are we seeing a trend yet?

McGarry possesses an elite plus-plus fastball that can approach 100 mph, to go with a plus cutter and slider. The wrinkle is self-evident. A career minor league 5.40/9 BB-rate over 111 2/3 IP limits his ceiling which includes a 13.94/9 career minor league K-rate.

McGarry projects as a middle rotation arm or elite closer. If he can fix control issues, the sky is the limit. Depending on how well he performs at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, we could see McGarry pitching at Citizens Bank Park sometime this summer either out of the bullpen or as a spot starter.


Mike Vasil, New York Mets

Another personal favorite of mine is 23-year-old New York Mets right-handed pitching prospect Mike Vasil, a former University of Virginia teammate of Griff McGarry.

Vasil, an eighth-round 2021 draft pick (three rounds after McGarry was selected), also took a step forward in 2022, despite being limited to just 71 1/3 IP due to bone spurs and forearm tightness.  Over three minor league levels in 2022, the 6’5” Vasil posted a 3.53 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, to go with 85 strikeouts. Notably, Vasil struggled in High-A with the Brooklyn Cyclones posting a 5.13 ERA over 33 1/3 IP with 15 walks.

Vasil, the 11th-ranked Mets prospect as per MLB Pipeline, should remain with Brooklyn to begin the 2023 campaign. He possesses a four-pitch arsenal including a plus four-seam fastball that averages between 93 and 95 mph, a slider, curve, and changeup. Now healthy, as evidenced by his participation in the Arizona Fall League over the winter, Vasil could take another step forward in 2023. He’s a big guy who can undoubtedly outperform projections as a back-end starter as he continues to develop his four-seamer.


Nick Frasso, Los Angeles Dodgers

24-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers right-handed pitching prospect Nick Frasso had an excellent 2022 campaign despite only pitching 54 IP and struggling in a very short-stint at Double-A Tusla (11 2/3 IP). In 2022, Frasso was used in a limited capacity since he was coming off a 2021 elbow surgery.

Frasso was traded to the Dodgers organization at the 2022 trade deadline from Toronto in the deal that sent pitcher Mitch White to the Blue Jays.  Over three minor league levels in 2022, Frasso posted a 1.83 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, and struck out 73. He held hitters to a .171 batting average and posted a 76:17 K:BB ratio.

Frasso, also like Griff McGarry, is a flamethrower who projects as an SP2 or high-leverage bullpen arm.  He is a 6’5” righty who possesses an elite/plus-plus fastball that sits in the mid-90s and can already reach 100 mph.  He also has a plus slider, to go with a solid changeup.

Currently ranked 11th in the Dodgers organization per MLB Pipeline, Frasso should move up the prospect charts in 2023. The Dodgers pitching development is known for its excellence.  That factor, together with his rapid ascension to Double-A in 2022, means that Frasso could potentially be in the mix to see time in the Dodgers bullpen in late-2023. With a career minor league 12.81/9 K-rate to go with a 2.90/9 BB-rate over 59 IP, there is a lot to like here if he remains healthy.


Dylan Dodd, Atlanta Braves

I guess it's hard to call 24-year-old Atlanta Braves left-handed pitching prospect Dylan Dodd a "hidden gem" at this point. Maybe if this article came out prior to spring training, I'd have a case. Dodd is currently in competition with Jared Shuster for the fifth 2023 Braves rotation spot thanks to an impressive spring training with the big league club. Over 8 1/3 spring innings, Dodd has stuck out 11, walked nobody, allowed five hits, and has a 0.60 WHIP and 0.00 ERA.

Dodd is currently the 11th-ranked prospect in the Braves organization per MLB Pipeline. He possesses a solid plus three-pitch repertoire consisting of a fastball, slider, and changeup.  He has excellent command, shown by a career minor league 1.96 BB/9 over 156 IP. In addition, Dodd boasts a career minor league 9.98 K/9.

Similar to the other pitchers discussed in this article, Dodd rapidly ascended through three minor league levels in 2022, and he did it with consistent results. Beginning at High-A Rome and finishing in Triple-A Gwinnett, Dodd posted a 3.36 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and an impressive 153/31 K:BB ratio over 142 IP.  Dodd's transition from High-A to Double-A Mississippi was seamless where he boasted a 3.11 ERA with 55 strikeouts over 46 1/3 IP in Double-A. He got a taste of Triple-A at the end of 2022 where he had one start.

Given his limited experience at Triple-A, it is likely Shuster has the inside track on Atlanta’s final rotation spot and Dodd will begin 2023 in Triple-A.  Managers in both redraft and dynasty formats should still take notice of Dodd. Considering Atlanta’s penchant for developing pitching talent and its willingness to call up prospects, Dodd is on the cusp of fantasy relevance in all formats in 2023.

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