Dynasty Starting Pitchers: Top MLB Prospects for Fantasy Baseball

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Welcome back, RotoBallers. I've already looked at the top 10 prospects for each MLB teamthe top prospects at each positionthe top 30 impact prospects for 2017, and now I'm breaking down dynasty prospects by position. Today I'm bringing you my top 20 starting pitchers - dynasty prospect rankings for 2017 dynasty baseball leagues.

To cap off my pre-season dynasty prospect coverage, we are going to be taking a look at the top 20 starting pitching prospects out there. This is unsurprisingly a deep crop of players and many talented pitchers failed to make the cut. If you are looking for my thoughts on one of them in particular, go back through my team prospect lists and I’m sure you will see your guy.

A couple of notes before we get started. There is only one pitcher on this list who has never made it to at least Class-A and that is Jason Groome. Sorry Marlins fans who wanted to see Braxton Garrett, but proximity to the majors is quite important here and dynasty owners are not really encouraged to wait too long on pitching prospects as pitchers are often so volatile. One last note, Twins’ southpaw Tyler Jay would have made this list, but it was announced that he will now be a full-time relief pitcher. While he could resurrect his value by becoming a closer, this is obviously a killer blow to his value and owners are advised to start selling before the news spreads any more than it already has.

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Top 20 Starting Pitcher Prospects for 2017 Dynasty Baseball Leagues

1. Lucas Giolito (CWS, MLB)
Stats: 21.1 IP, 6,75 ERA, 8.21 FIP, 10.9% K rate, 11.9% BB%, .295 AVG
ETA: Mid-2017
Giolito’s fantasy stock may have fallen a tad after a rough 2016 MLB debut, but that should not stop owners from snagging him in dynasty leagues. He is now on a team that has a spot for him in the rotation and he will work under pitching guru Don Cooper in Chicago. His combination of high-octane stuff, wipeout offspeed pitches and above-average command should help him reach his lofty ceiling. And now that Chris Sale is no longer a member of the White Sox, Giolito could be the next man up to step in as the ace of that rotation.

2. Tyler Glasnow (PIT, MLB)
Stats: 23.1 IP, 4.24 ERA, 4.26 FIP, 22.9% K rate, 12.4% BB rate, .247 AVG
ETA: Mid-2017
The command issues of Glasnow have been well documented, but it should still be noted that he is an absolute strikeout machine. His stuff can be untouchable at times and he could be the next ace of the Pirates if he gets his command figured out. Like Chicago, Pittsburgh has one of the best pitching coaches in the game in Ray Searage who should be able to correct Glasnow’s issues enough to help him find consistency. With his stuff, he could be a perennial strikeout leader in the National League.

3. Francis Martes (HOU, AA)
Stats: 125.1 IP, 3.30 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 25.0% K rate, 9.0% BB rate, .220 AVG
ETA: Late 2017
Martes went from an unheralded prospect in Miami to one of the most widely-recognized pitching prospects in baseball. Martes has done this by making major strides in improving his command while also producing one of the most unhittable right-handed fastball/curveball combinations in baseball. The Astros plan to take their time with him, but he should debut this season in Houston and could be the next ace of their staff.

4. Michael Kopech (CWS, A+)
Stats: 52.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 2.60 FIP, 40.0% K rate, 14.2% BB rate, .146 AVG
ETA: Late 2018
Kopech has the typical profile of a power pitcher, possessing that triple-digits fastball and a low-90s slider that can be unhittable at times. He still needs to work on his changeup and really needs to shore up his command, but the sky is really the limit with his potential. Some say he could be the next Noah Syndergaard, so be sure to keep that in mind when you think about whether or not to pick him up.

5. Anderson Espinoza (SD, A+)
Stats: 76.0 ERA, 4.38 ERA, 2.99 FIP, 22.4% K rate, 8.4% BB rate, .263 AVG
ETA: Late 2018
There is very little that Espinoza does not do extremely well. He throws an upper-90s fastball and compliments it well with one of the best power curveballs in the minors. His changeup too represents of the of the best third pitches among any pitcher on this list as it has proven in the past to be a reliable weapon for him. On top of all this, Espinoza has reliable command, advanced for his age, which has helped him stand out as a medium-risk prospect despite his age and lack of experience. If the hype scouts have built up for him turns out to all be true, you are looking at a perennial Cy Young contender.

6. Jose De Leon (TB, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 86.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 3.24 FIP, 32.5% K rate, 5.9% BB rate, .190 AVG
ETA: Mid-2017
There is little to view as a flaw in De Leon’s game. He has a well-rounded repertoire with a mid-upper-90s fastball and heavy, sinking changeup. There is also his command, which has proven to be consistent in the minors. The big question at this point is whether or not he can hold up over the long season. If he can, owners should be ready for a big payday as he could be a solid No. 2 starter for dynasty owners.

7. Alex Reyes (STL, MLB)
Stats: 46.0 IP, 1.57 ERA, 2.67 FIP, 27.5% K rate, 12.2% BB rate, .199 AVG
ETA: Late 2018/Early 2019
It is always a shame to see a player go down with Tommy John surgery, and that’s exactly what happened to Reyes. A guy who would have easily been No. 1 on this list pre-surgery, Reyes had nasty high-octane stuff and unhittable secondary pitches, which would have been put on display in St. Louis at the start of this season. The surgery will push his ETA back quite a while, and owners will have to wait and see whether or not he will make a full recovery.

8. Brent Honeywell (TB, AA)
Stats: 59.1 IP, 2.28 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 22.5% K rate, 5.9% BB rate, .231 AVG
ETA: Late 2017
Of the prospects listed so far, it is tough to find one that comes with as little risk as Honeywell. There is nothing truly dominating about his game as he has never been a real strikeout artist, but he knows how to pitch with precision and elite control and does it with an outstanding array of pitches that includes a screwball. He looks like a future innings-eater who should also provide a low-3.00 or possible sub-3.00 ERA with a decent number of strikeouts and very few walks. Dynasty owners looking for a safety net pitching prospect have found their guy.

9. Yadier Alvarez (LAD, A)
Stats: 39.1 IP, 2.29 ERA, 1.85 FIP, 34.6% K rate, 6.9% BB rate, .210 AVG
ETA: Early 2019
Another prospect with a ridiculously high ceiling, Alvarez has the stuff to be a frontline starting pitcher for the Dodgers in a few seasons. He has that upper-90s fastball, a mid-80s slider and a curveball and changeup that are steadily becoming reliable pitches for him. His command tends to waver at times, but his stuff is what will make him a future No. 2 starter. Owners will need to wait a few seasons for him to reach the majors, but the payout could be huge when he finally does debut.

10. Reynaldo Lopez (CWS, MLB)
Stats: 44.0 IP, 4.91 ERA, 3.92 FIP, 20.9% K rate, 11.0% BB rate, .263 AVG
ETA: Mid-2017
The move to Chicago helps out Lopez’s dynasty value probably more than a lot of people thought. Washington was loaded with starting pitching talents and Lopez was starting to look more and more like a future reliever. Now in Chicago where there are not nearly as many starters, Lopez has a chance to remain in the rotation. His top-notch stuff would lead to consistently high strikeout totals, making him an attractive fantasy pitcher to own. He is still not 100 percent safe from a move to the bullpen, but this at least pushes the possibility out of the picture for now.

11. Josh Hader (MIL, AAA)
Stats: 69.0 IP, 5.22 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 29.3% K rate, 12.0% BB rate, .241 AVG
ETA: Mid-2017
In a way, Hader is the left-handed equivalent of Lopez. He has the stuff that would lead to copious amounts of strikeouts every season, but he is no guarantee himself to escape the bullpen due to his control issues and high velocity that could play well in shorter outings. With that said, the Brewers are doing everything they can to keep him in the rotation and if he should stay there, owners will be happy to receive a solid No. 2 starter with high strikeout upside.

12. Kolby Allard (ATL, A)
Stats: 60.1 IP, 3.73 EA, 3.52 FIP, 25.2% K rate, 8.1% BB rate, .241 AVG
ETA: Late 2018
There is little to dislike in Allard’s game. Not only has he dominated the minors at every step of the way, but he does it with borderline elite stuff and really outstanding command. He has three well above-average pitches and reliable command that should keep any notion of a possible bullpen move off for a very long time. The only knock right now on Allard is that he still has some time remaining in his development, but dynasty owners could very well get an ace when it is all said and done.

13. Mitch Keller (PIT, A+)
Stats: (from A) 124.1 IP, 2.46 ERA, 2.41 FIP, 26.8% K rate, 3.7% BB rate, .209 AVG
ETA: Late 2018
The safest bet of the two Pirates’ pitching prospects to totally avoid the bullpen, Keller has steadily reassured the Pirates that he is going to be a solid pitcher for years to come. He commands his stuff well and though right now he is more of just a fastball/meh curveball kind of pitcher, there is still room for his stuff to improve. Glasnow has the higher upside of the two pitchers, but Keller is the safer pick and should be in the big-league rotation before long.

14. Cody Reed (CIN, MLB)
Stats: 47.2 IP, 7.36 ERA, 6.06 FIP, 18.7% K rate, 8.3% BB rate, .324 AVG
ETA: Opening Day
Putting aside Reed’s disastrous big-league debut in 2016, there is still a lot to be excited for. His fastball/slider combination is one of the best (if not the best) from the left-side of the mound and his solid command should keep him from becoming a bust at any point. The risk is that he may be moved to the bullpen eventually, but with the current state of the Reds’ rotation, expect him to stay there for the foreseeable future. For owners looking for a potential sleeper, this could be a solid guy to buy-low on as his value may go up if he succeeds in 2017 at the MLB level.

15. Amir Garrett (CIN, AAA)
Stats: 67.2 IP, 3.46 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 19.7% K rate, 11.3% BB rate, .198 AVG
ETA: Opening Day
The second of two dominating southpaws in the Reds’ organization, Garrett has taken a little bit more time to reach the majors than Reed and has done it in a more unconventional way (having spent the first several seasons of his MiLB career playing basketball at St. Mary’s), but he is an exciting prospect in his own right. He has a hard fastball and much-improved slider and has recently started to command the pair as well as he ever has. He has the stuff to make it as a No. 2 pitcher in the big-leagues and warrants a look in most leagues as he prepares to debut in Cincinnati this April.

16. Sean Newcomb (ATL, AAA)
Stats: 140.0 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 25.6% K rate, 11.9% BB rate, .219 AVG
ETA: Late 2017
If you are looking for a guy with ridiculous strikeout upside, Newcomb may be your guy. He has always posted crazy strikeout numbers every season of his career thanks to an upper-90s left-handed fastball and lethal curveball. His big issue has always been command where he often struggles to keep the ball in the strike zone. Despite the control issues, Newcomb’s size and ability to eat innings should keep him in the majors as a starting pitcher, a promising sign for dynasty owners. The walks could limit his upside, but owners will love the high strikeout totals.

17. David Paulino (HOU, MLB)
Stats: (from AA) 64.0 IP, 1.83 ERA, 2.20 FIP, 29.3% K rate, 4.5% BB rate, .203 AVG
ETA: Early 2018
Paulino’s got everything dynasty owners look for: excellent command, high velocity stuff, unhittable secondary pitches and imposing size (6-foot-7, 215 pounds). What he doesn’t have is a track record of lasting long into seasons. He has never thrown 100 innings in a single season and still needs to prove he can handle the starter’s workload. But he has all the makings of a frontline starting pitcher if he can start proving more durable.

18. Yohander Mendez (TEX, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 31.1 IP, 0.57 ERA, 3.95 FIP, 18.5% K rate, 13.5% BB rate, .118 AVG
ETA: Mid-2017
Mendez is basically the left-handed equivalent of Paulino. He’s got the strikeout stuff and excellent command to make it as a starting pitcher, he just needs to prove that he is durable. Last season’s 114.0 innings represented a career-high and he will need to be able to handle a much larger workload than that if he is going to remain in the rotation.

19. Jason Groome (BOS, A-)
Stats: 2.2 IP, 3.38 ERA, 6.28 FIP, 15.4% K rate, 30.8% BB rate, .000 AVG
ETA: 2020
Groome may have the highest upside of anyone on this list, but it goes along with the fact that he is the highest away from the majors. He was drafted 12th overall out of high school and received props for his advanced control for his age to go along with an elite fastball/curveball combination. Of all the high school pitchers out there, he is probably the second least risky from that draft class and his upside is something dynasty owners should absolutely try and buy into before his stock before it gets any higher.

20. Mike Soroka (ATL, A)
Stats: 143.0 IP, 3.02 ERA, 2.79 FIP, 21.4% K rate, 5.5% BB rate
ETA: Early 2019
Soroka is a pitcher who just seems to do everything well. He has a solid, but not dominant arsenal of pitches and his command has proven to be well above-average for someone who was only 18 years old for most of the 2016 season. He will have several years remaining before he is ready for the majors, but he has a high ceiling and should be able to be a solid No. 2 or 3 starter in the future.

 

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