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Eye On The Minors: Top Redraft MLB Pitching Prospects (# 41-50)

By slgckgc on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Tasked with ranking the top 50 MLB starting pitching prospects for redraft leagues, I found out real fast that preseason prospect lists for fantasy baseball probably shouldn’t be this long. The fact of the matter is, there aren’t that many MLB rookie pitchers who make an impact in any given season, let alone an impact that would warrant a draft pick in fantasy baseball leagues.

But I love me some baseball, and some prospects. I’ll be releasing my top 50 MLB starting pitcher prospect rankings in groups of ten, but don’t expect to find much more than very speculative plays for very deep leagues in the first few installments of these lists. That said, and with the fear of missing this year’s Jacob DeGrom...


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 1)

50: Jimmie Sherfy, RHP, ARZ

The former Oregon Ducks closer is a Hail Mary saves flier late in deep-league drafts. The right-hander throws hard and will log strikeouts (11+ K/9 over two levels last season), but will require some minor league conditioning to improve his mechanics and balance. The D-backs saw enough in him, however, to give him a chance in the Arizona Fall League, where he impressed with mid-90s heat while earning the “future closer” tag. With Addison Reed’s hold on ninth-inning duties tenuous at best, Sherfy may get a chance to log some saves later in the 2015 season.


49: Rafael Montero, RHP, NYM

The other young studs in Queens (Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard and Matz) are getting more press than Montero, but the 24-year old righty got a crack at the Mets’ rotation last season and may get another chance at the back of the logjam this season. The six-foot Dominican product struggled with control in eight 2014 starts-- he’s really more of a corners-painter than a blow-you-away sort of pitcher. That sort of profile doesn’t usually scream “fantasy value,” but any pitcher seeing time at Citi Field is likely to keep runs off the board. With Syndergaard and Matz likely beginning the year in the minors, Montero could get a chance at the back-end of the rotation early in the season.


48: Nick Burdi, RHP, MIN

Burdi is another shot-in-the-dark source for saves with the Twins. Glen Perkins seems to have the job in hand, but relief roles are always changing and Burdi has the background to close out games. Out of the University of Louisville, Burdi is a big, hard-throwing righty who lit up the radar runs in his first stint in the pros in 2014. He includes a wipeout slider and changeup in his arsenal, which should get him to the back-end of an MLB bullpen in short order. Again, this is a pure prospective play for only the deepest leagues, but Burdi has all the makings of a future saves man.


47: Nick Kingham, RHP, PIT

The Pirates have a stable of pitching prospects that are nearly ready for big-league action. While top prospect Tyler Glasnow and former number two overall pick Jameson Taillon have more upside, Kingham has a decent chance to be the first of the three to see the majors. Kingham is more of a back-of-the-rotation innings eater than a front-end stud. For fantasy purposes, lack of strikeout stuff will always limit his value. Pittsburgh's projected opening day rotation, however, is wrought with injury risks (Liriano, Burnett, Worley), so the Buccos will likely be leaning on their youngsters sooner rather than later.


46: Nate Karns, RHP, TB

Karns has made five MLB starts over the past two years, with mixed results. He features a fastball/changeup mix that might scream “reliever,” but with the bottom of the Rays rotation in a dicey situation, Karns may be in line to earn another chance at starting. He doesn't hold too much fantasy value outside of the deepest of deep leagues, but if he does move to the back end of the bullpen, he has a chance to help out in leagues with holds. And with the Tampa bullpen in flux, Karns might even get a look as a closer.


45: Michael Ynoa, RHP, CHW

Sometimes a change of scenery is all a prospect needs to put a charge into his development and advancement. Ynoa was (seemingly forever ago) a million-dollar bonus baby for the Oakland A’s out of the Dominican Republic. Injuries and (according to some sources) immaturity have stunted his progress. He is now viewed as perhaps a late-inning option rather than a stud starting pitcher. He came over to the South Side from Oakland with Jeff Samardzija this offseason, and he could prove to be a valuable bullpen arm for the Pale Hose. It will take some work on his part to get him up to the big leagues, but once there, his mid-90s fastball and above-average curve could earn him a consistent late-inning role.


44: Cam Bedrosian, RHP, LAA

All the aforementioned pitchers on this list are not likely to be very valuable in redraft leagues. How many rookie pitchers can we reasonably expect to make a fantasy impact each season? Not 50. In any case, Bedrosian has the pedigree of a closer, literally. His father, Steve, is a former Cy Young Award winner and one of the best closers of his generation. Cam’s problem is that he's at best third in line for saves in Anaheim. Nevertheless, Huston Street has had health problems in the past and Cam figures to make the opening day bullpen, at least. Without performing in the saves department, he’s pretty useless in redraft leagues, but with an opportunity, he’s a better option than all but 40 or so of the other rookie pitchers on this list.


43: A.J. Cole, RHP, WAS

With the addition of Max Scherzer via free agency, there’s a major roadblock to the majors for any Nationals starting pitcher this season. Cole passed the initial tests at Double-A and Triple-A last season, and now just awaits an opportunity. Further along the development path than top prospect Lucas Giolito, Cole could see big-league action if a cascade of pitching injuries befalls the Nats. At best, Cole’s role will be a mid-to-back-end rotation starter who pounds the strike zone with a fastball, but needs some consistent breaking ball work to score in the strikeout category. He should get his first taste in the bigs this year. The only question is whether it will be early because Washington’s current rotation becomes a M.A.S.H. unit, or late in the season as a September callup or bullpen arm down the stretch.


42: Buck Farmer, RHP, DET

With Scherzer's exit, Verlander's struggles and Shane Greene's inexperience, Farmer might get another chance in the Tigers rotation at some point this spring. Farmer was ineffective in his brief MLB stint last season, allowing 12 runs in 9.1 innings, but he could be next in line for starts if a spot opens up. The Georgia Tech alum relies on a sinking fastball to get his outs, and he's more of a ball-in-play type of pitcher. His secondary pitches will need more work before he can be considered a factor in the strikeout category. Like most of the guys on this list to this point, Farmer is really only a consideration for owners in fairly deep or keeper formats.


41: Julio Urias, LHP, LAD

The next installment of Fernandomania? Or a young pitcher who has peaked too early? Urias is one of the most interesting prospects in baseball. Even as a teenager, he has a fully refined arsenal that doesn't require much more development in the minors. In short, his stuff, maturity and approach are all big-league ready. But in this era of protecting young arms, the Dodgers may take it easy with their next projected ace starter. That said, with Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy not necessarily the healthiest guys in the world, the opportunity may arise for Urias to jump to the big leagues as a teen. Once there, it will be tough to send him back down. Urias works his fastball three different ways. He has a plus curve, a slider and a changeup. His ability and makeup scream “frontline starter.” The only things keeping him this low in the rankings are the tender age and lack of immediate opportunity.


Stay tuned for my next prospect articles ranking the remaining top MLB starting pitcher prospects.


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