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Eye On The Minors: Top Redraft MLB Pitching Prospects (# 21-30)

Welcome to the third installment of “Top 50 Pitching Prospects for Redraft Leagues.” Last week we looked at 2015 fantasy baseball pitching prospects ranked 41-50 and ranked 31-40. The players on this week’s list, numbers 21-30, are rated for potential and opportunity. If we are talking about redraft leagues, the only value you’ll find is for guys who will pitch this season. These ten gentlemen could get the call this year, but are still only considered viable in the deepest of redraft leagues.

Editor's Note: You can read more about MLB prospects and rookies, and their potential fantasy impacts, throughout the entire preseason and MLB season. And check out all of RotoBaller's in-depth 2015 fantasy baseball rankings articles to prepare for your drafts. Let's win some leagues!


Top 50 Starting Pitching MLB Prospects (Part 3)

30: Zach Lee, RHP, LAD

A 5.38 ERA at Triple-A does not always portend a successful Major League future, but reports from the minors indicate that Lee’s stuff was better in Albuquerque than the stats imply. Lee has a starter’s arsenal of four pitches: 1) a mid-90’s fastball, 2) a deceptive, darting changeup, 3) a looping curve, and 4) a reliable slider, which projects as his best offspeed offering.

Lee turned down the chance to be a two-sport athlete at LSU and signed with the Dodgers after he was drafted in the first round in 2010. Though he’ll start the season back in Triple-A (in Oklahoma City this season), he should debut at some point in 2015. The Dodgers muddled together an injury-prone back end of the rotation with the acquisitions of Brandon McCarthy, Brett Anderson, and Brandon Beachy. If those guys end up on the shelf, they have plenty of organizational depth to call upon. Lee may be the first of the youngsters to get a chance.


29: Robbie Ray, LHP, ARZ

While Ray’s stuff and left-handedness may eventually land him in the bullpen, he is expected to compete for a spot in the D-backs’ rotation after coming over in a trade from Detroit this offseason. Ray got roughed up in six big league starts for the Tigers in 2014. He'll need to improve his command to keep the ball low in the zone and on the corners – especially in Arizona where mistakes end up as homers. Ray isn’t likely to be a top strikeout performer - he is expected to top out as a mid-rotation innings-eater at best. His ranking here is based more on opportunity than impact, as he’s one pitching prospect that should see plenty of Major League innings in 2015.


28: Chi Chi Gonzalez, RHP, TEX

Gonzalez, the Oral Roberts alum and 2013 draftee, has risen through the ranks of the Rangers’ system and sits on the doorstep of a Major League debut. His stuff is not of the flame-thrower variety, but he has been a fast-riser due to an MLB-quality cut fastball, slider, and changeup. Gonzalez will likely make the jump to Triple-A early this spring with a shot at reaching the majors. He should be one of the more refined rookies to appear on the mound this year and has the upside to be a front-of-the-rotation starter.


27: Taylor Jungmann, RHP, MIL

Jungmann is a former University of Texas ace who used a four-pitch arsenal to carve through two levels of the minors last season. When an opportunity comes up for the Brew Crew to call upon their farm system for help, Jungmann should be the first on the horn. Jungmann is an innings-eater who still struggles with his command, but he had 147 strikeouts in 153 minor league innings last year. He may have some value in deeper redraft leagues once he reaches the majors.


26: Trevor May, RHP, MIN

May barely makes this list as a “prospect” since he notched 45 big league innings last year. The results for the Twins were not good: a 1.77 WHIP, a 7.88 ERA, and lots of walks. The right-hander is not the first young pitcher to struggle with his first taste in the big leagues. May did impress at Triple-A Rochester with a 1.15 WHIP and nearly a strikeout per inning, which makes him worth watching this spring. The Twins’ rotation pieces are tenuous at best, talent and health-wise, so he’s likely to get another chance to prove himself in the “show” in 2015.


25: Brian Flynn, LHP, KC

Flynn made one disastrous start for the Marlins last year and was shipping to the Royals this offseason in a deal for Aaron Crow. Though Flynn is not the sexiest name on the Royals’ farm, he could get a look at a big league job this spring. Flynn is a hulking lefty (6’7”, 250 pounds) who throws four pitches, which suggests he has a future as a starting pitcher. There may be limited opportunity with the rotation additions that KC has made. He could be a back-end starter with the ability to rack up innings and provide value, assuming he keeps his walks under control.


24: Sean Nolin, LHP, OAK

A hernia injury has slowed Nolin’s progress this offseason which may have cost him a chance at competing for a spot in the A’s rotation. He is, however, in the mix to see big league innings given Oakland’s other injury issues and questions about the rotation’s back end. The O.Co Coliseum is well-suited to his arsenal. He’s a fly-ball pitcher who should benefit from the spacious outfield. Billy Beane knew what he was getting when he acquired Nolin in the Josh Donaldson deal. Chances are that Nolin will get a chance to prove him right.


23: Henry Owens, LHP, BOS

The Red Sox reworked their pitching staff this season with the acquisitions of Rick Porcello, Wade Miley and Justin Masterson, but Owens is their top prospect who starred in Double-A and held his own at Triple-A last season. He figures to get a shot in Boston, with the timing dependent upon the health of the Red Sox staff and Owens’ ability to command his fastball better at higher velocities. He has a changeup that he depends on and a mediocre curve. Development of those pitches on the farm could speed up his advancement.


22: Jose Berrios, RHP, MIN

Another Twin makes the list. Berrios rose quickly as a 20-year-old last season, beginning in Single-A and making a Triple-A debut by the end of the year. He was invited to the Twins’ big league camp this Spring, seemingly to try to time his arrival in the Twin Cities sometime this season. He’s a smaller guy, at just six feet tall, but he projects to help in all four starter categories if he can put up the innings. The Twins may take it easy on him this year, but he figures to be part of a future staff with May and Alex Meyer as Minnesota tries to build another winning dynasty.


21: Eddie Butler, RHP, COL

Butler was hot on the prospect trail heading into last season and made his debut with the Rockies for 16 innings before shoulder problems shut him down. He returned to the mound in the Arizona Fall League and experienced more shoulder trouble which creates a big red flag. But, let’s be honest, the Rockies don’t have the options at the Major League level to block a top prospect from seizing a spot on the roster. Pitching in Colorado will always come with the usual caveats, but Butler has the stuff. If his health holds up this spring, he’ll have the opportunity. Keep in mind, he’ll pitch half his games outside of Coors Field.


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