Late Season Dynasty Prospect Rankings: Starting Pitchers

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The final dynasty article of the season is here. In this article, I am going to be ranking the top starting pitching prospects in baseball, combining the two articles where I split the pitchers up by league. These will not be full length scouting reports, but rather will just be quick little paragraphs to recap what I said about the pitcher and to tell you why these guys should be viewed as highly as they are viewed.

A quick note on how these articles are formatted. They are going to be sorted by who I think is the best option for dynasty owners based on a combination of estimated time of arrival and potential upside. I will include their stats from their current level, their age, their ETA and lastly a talent grade. The talent grade will be an all-encompassing grade designed to inform dynasty owners of how big of a fantasy impact a player will realistically have. It will take into account how long it takes to reach the big leagues and will be on a scale of 1-10.

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Starting Pitcher Prospect Dynasty Rankings

1. Lucas Giolito (WAS, AAA)
Stats: 37.1 IP, 2.17 ERA, 2.95 FIP, 9.64 K/9, 2.41 BB/9, 0.72 HR/9
Age: 22
ETA: September

There is no pitcher in the minors with higher upside than Giolito and if you believe so, I am sorry to tell you that you are wrong. Giolito has the best fastball/curveball combo in the minors and is very likely to break camp next season in the Nationals’ rotation. Though he may not be as highly touted as Stephen Strasburg was, Giolito is on track to be one of the better pitchers in our game and dynasty owners should stash him assuming that he starts putting everything together in the big leagues next season.

Talent grade: 10

2. Tyler Glasnow (PIT, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 110.2 IP, 1.87 ERA, 2.91 FIP, 10.82 K/9, 5.04 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9
Age: 23
ETA: NA

Glasnow almost has the stuff to be just as good as Giolito, but ultimately lacks the necessary command to take the top spot on this list. Despite the issues with walks, he is still a future front-of-the-rotation starter with the potential to provide 200+ strikeouts per season to any dynasty owner willing to stash him. He will undoubtedly begin next season in the starting five for Pittsburgh behind Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon and should be stashed in all dynasty leagues.

Talent grade: 9.5

3. Alex Reyes (STL, MLB)
Stats: 20.0 IP, 1.35 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 10.80 K/9, 4.50 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9
Age: 22
ETA: NA

Though some are concerned Reyes may be best utilized as a bullpen arm, dynasty owners should be relieved to know that for the foreseeable future he will be a starter. Between an upper-90s fastball and a near-elite curveball, Reyes has all the makings to be a one or two pitcher in nearly any rotation, though he still has some adjustments to be made with his command. But the Cardinals have proven with the growth of Carlos Martinez that they can successfully develop electric young starters and Reyes should be the next young star of St. Louis' rotation. Expect him to pitch every fifth day next season for the Cardinals with the chance to provide ridiculous strikeout totals.

Talent grade: 9.5

4. Jose De Leon (LAD, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 86.1 IP, 2.61 ERA, 3.25 FIP, 11.57 K/9, 2.08 BB/9, 0.94 HR/9
Age: 24
ETA: NA

Arguably the most polished pitching prospect in the National League, De Leon does not have the ace-upside of Giolito, Glasnow or Reyes, but he combines a stellar repertoire with excellent command. He should open up as the four starter behind Clayton Kershaw, Julio Urias and Kenta Maeda at the start of the 2017 season and could be viewed as an early NL Rookie of the Year candidate. De Leon is a reliable pitcher with a high floor and high ceiling and should be owned in all dynasty leagues.

Talent grade: 9

5. Brent Honeywell (TB, AA)
Stats: 59.1 IP, 2.28 ERA, 3.17 FIP, 8.04 K/9, 2.12 BB/9, 0.61 HR/9
Age: 21
ETA: 2017

One of my personal favorite pitchers in the minors, Honeywell was an easy choice for the top spot in the American League. Like De Leon, he is a polished starter who lacks the upside of an ace starting pitcher, but also has a high enough floor where he looks to be a lock to pan out as a two or three starter in the Rays’ rotation. He is only at Double-A so he may spend a month of two in the minors next season, but he should be counted on to debut in 2017. And besides, would you really pass up an opportunity to own a guy who throws a screwball?! I think not.

Talent grade: 9

6. Josh Hader (MIL, AAA)
Stats: 69.0 IP, 5.22 ERA, 3.81 FIP, 11.48 K/9, 4.70 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9
Age: 22
ETA: September

Since being taken 582nd in the 2012 draft, Hader has displayed an ability to strikeout oodles of batters and has begun to really make a name for himself. Though he is currently more of a two pitch pitcher, Hader at least offers two well above-average pitches and some deception from his delivery. Struggles with control have plagued him in the past, but he has made some major strides and looks poised to debut in September with a chance to actually join the rotation full time in April of 2017. Few can match his strikeout potential which is why dynasty owners will just have to live with higher walk totals.

Talent grade: 9

7. Tyler Jay (MIN, AA)
Stats: (from A+) 69.2 IP, 2.84 ERA, 3.31 FIP, 8.78 K/9, 2.71 BB/9, 0.65 HR/9
Age: 22
ETA: 2018

Jay has been a highly touted prospect since being taken sixth overall in last season’s draft and now finds himself knocking on the door of the big leagues. Despite the lower strikeout total than most, he possesses an outstanding repertoire with four average to above-average pitches. Jay has also displayed sharp command in his time in the minors which helps to provide him with a high floor. He was a reliever in college, but few doubt he has what it takes to become a starter. Expect him to debut around the end of next season and really begin his career as the number two Twins starter behind Jose Berrios in 2018.

Talent grade: 9

8. Francis Martes (HOU, AA)
Stats: 125.1 IP, 3.30 ERA, 2.73 FIP, 9.41 K/9, 3.38 BB/9, 0.29 HR/9
Age: 20
ETA: 2017

Since being acquired in the Jarred Cosart deal back in 2014, Martes has sky-rocketed up prospect lists to the point where he is now viewed as a future front-of-the-rotation starter for Houston. He does not have a great changeup, but makes it up for it with one of the better fastball/curveball combinations of most right-handed starting pitching prospects and impressive control for a 20-year-old prospect. The ceiling is high with Martes and he could start to put that upside on display as early as next season when he might jump in to start for Houston.

Talent grade: 8.5

9. Anderson Espinoza (SD, A)
Stats: 32.1 IP, 4.73 ERA, 3.18 FIP, 7.79 K/9, 2.23 BB/9, 0.28 HR/9
Age: 18
ETA: 2019

Of all the prospects on this list, none are further away than Espinoza from reaching the big leagues, but that should not scare everyone off. Scouts are extremely excited about his upside with many comparing him to another short starting pitcher, Pedro Martinez. He possesses three above-average offerings and many scouts believe they could all develop to become borderline elite pitches. Throw in his advanced control for someone of his age and you’ve got a guy who could be at the top of this list in a year or two of development.

Talent grade: 8.5

10. Amir Garrett (CIN, AAA)
Stats: 67.2 IP, 3.46 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 7.18 K/9, 4.12 BB/9, 0.80 HR/9
Age: 24
ETA: 2017

Garrett has taken a long time to get where he is today, but now that he’s here, dynasty owners should be excited. His control has made remarkable strides over the past few seasons and his repertoire has really come along as well. In a vacuum, Garrett’s repertoire is not viewed as one of the best in the minors, but he has serious athleticism which helps increase his upside in the eyes of many scouts. Dynasty owners should expect him to begin 2017 in the Reds’ rotation and finish the year as one of their top three starters.

Talent grade: 8.5

11. Jake Thompson (PHI, MLB)
Stats: 26.1 IP, 7.86 ERA, 6.60 FIP, 5.47 K/9, 4.78 BB/9, 2.05 HR/9
Age: 22
ETA: NA

Viewed as a future middle-of-the-rotation, innings-eating bulldog, Thompson is not the most exciting pitching prospect, but there is something to be said for reliability. No, he is not going to be a 200 strikeout, sub-2.50 ERA starter for the Phillies, but dynasty owners can count on 200+ innings of a sub-3.50 ERA with modest strikeout totals and little to no walks. He has struggled to this point in his big league career, but don’t count on that to continue moving forward.

Talent grade: 8.5

12. Michael Kopech (BOS, A+)
Stats: 52.0 IP, 2.25 ERA, 2.61 FIP, 14.19 K/9, 5.02 BB/9, 0.17 HR/9
Age: 20
ETA: 2018

Kopech has exploded onto the scene this season, thanks in large part to an awe-inspiring fastball that has been clocked reaching triple-digits. Kopech lacks quality secondary stuff at the moment, but scouts believe his slider has the makings of a future above-average pitch and his changeup also shows potential. It is still early, but he has all the makings of a front-of-the-rotation starter if he can iron out his control and improve his secondary stuff.

Talent grade: 8.5

13. Mike Clevinger (CLE, MLB)
Stats: 35.2 IP, 5.30 ERA, 4.49 FIP, 8.07 K/9, 5.05 BB/9, 1.01 HR/9
Age: 25
ETA: NA

The Indians’ rotation is absolutely loaded and is locked up for the long haul which means Clevinger might find himself on the trade block this offseason, but that should come as welcome news to dynasty owners. Clevinger has a simple delivery which allows his stuff to play really well, leading many to believe in his future as a three or four starter with the upside to possibly be a number two guy. He is Major League ready and just needs an opportunity to see regular starts to have fantasy value.

Talent grade: 8

14. Luis Ortiz (MIL, AA)
Stats: 23.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, 4.35 FIP, 6.17 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9
Age: 20
ETA: 2017

Scouts love Ortiz’s repertoire and overall makeup, but for whatever reason it has never translated into the high level of domination most would expect. He possesses a great fastball and slider while showing the potential to develop an above-average changeup, yet has never been a great strikeout artist. Ortiz demonstrates pin-point control which leads many to believe he is a lock for a spot in a future rotation. Ortiz may not be the most exciting guy in the minors, but he gets the job done and fantasy owners will take that any day of the week.

Talent grade: 8

15. Yohander Mendez (TEX, MLB)
Stats: (from AAA) 31.1 IP, 0.57 ERA, 3.94 FIP, 6.32 K/9, 4.60 BB/9, 0.00 HR/9
Age: 21
ETA: NA

Smoke and mirrors is really the best way to explain how Mendez has done this well. Though the 6’5” southpaw has imposing size, his fastball and curveball only grade out as average to slightly above-average while his changeup stands out as his only well above-average pitch. But Mendez has deception and control, and when you have both of those you can have a successful Major League career. Don’t expect Mendez to carry your rotation, but rather count on him to fill out his role as a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter.

Talent grade: 8

16. David Paulino (HOU, AA)
Stats: 14.0 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.08 FIP, 12.86 K/9, 3.86 BB/9, 0.64 HR/9
Age: 22
ETA: 2018

I like Paulino a lot more than most because I believe in his potential. At 6’7”, he towers over most opposing hitters and that has allowed him to make a living in the bottom of the strike zone. His massive frame also helps him to get the most out of his pitches, enhancing an exciting fastball/curveball combination. He is coming off of Tommy John surgery and could spend most of next season at Triple-A again, but he has exciting potential if he can stay healthy and could eventually profile as a solid number two starter in the big leagues.

Talent grade: 8

17. Sean Newcomb (ATL, AA)
Stats: 140.0 IP, 3.86 ERA, 3.19 FIP, 9.77 K/9, 4.56 BB/9, 0.26 HR/9
Age: 23
ETA: 2017

Newcomb has struggled with control throughout most of his MiLB career, but there are few pitchers who can come close to his level of upside. He has one of the best repertoires of any left-handed starter and has drawn some lofty comparisons to guys like Jon Lester for both his size and nasty stuff. And though he has struggled a bit at Double-A this season, he does have a 2.04 ERA and 2.03 FIP in his last seven starts which includes a very nice 3.18 BB/9 rate.

Talent grade: 8

18. Luke Weaver (STL, MLB)
Stats: 21.0 IP, 3.86 ERA, 4.14 FIP, 11.14 K/9, 3.00 BB/9, 1.71 HR/9
Age: 23
ETA: NA

It’s not the upside that gets dynasty owners excited about Weaver, but rather it is his steadiness and reliability. He is a lock to remain in the starting rotation moving forward and has shown that he knows how to get batters out. Weaver does not possess the elite repertoire of many top notch starting pitching prospects out there, but he knows how to use it and should fill the role of a number three starter moving forward.

Talent grade: 7.5

19. Reynaldo Lopez (WAS, AAA)
Stats: 33.0 IP, 3.27 ERA, 4.95 FIP, 7.09 K/9, 2.73 BB/9, 1.64 HR/9
Age: 22
ETA: September

There are a number of factors that point to Lopez eventually being used as a reliever, but he is doing everything he can to hold that off. He has done extremely well this season being used entirely as a starter and has made some major strides in improving his control. And of course, strikeouts have not been any kind of issue for him as he continues to baffle hitters with his elite fastball. His limited repertoire, smaller stature and loaded future Nationals’ rotation has many believing Lopez will be either used as trade bait or a bullpen arm for the club, but dynasty owners should still be willing to take the risk when betting on a guy with this kind of upside.

Talent grade: 7

20. Phil Bickford (MIL, A+)
Stats: 27.0 IP, 3.67 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 10.00 K/9, 5.00 BB/9, 0.33 HR/9
Age: 21
ETA: 2018

Bickford still has some development time left in the minors, but his quick rise through the minors has him potentially knocking on the door for a call up as early as late next season. Bickford has shown no issues racking up plenty of strikeouts while also impressing scouts with his continuously improving control. He could improve on his changeup a bit, but Bickford is starting to convince more and more people that he is destined for the rotation and not the bullpen. Dynasty owners should be very excited about his upside.

Talent grade: 7

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2017 Fantasy Baseball Rankings