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Eye on the Minors: Redraft Pitching Prospects #11-20


As the final week of Spring Training winds down, the series on top redraft pitchers continues with numbers 11 through 20. Previously we covered 50-41, 41-30, and 30-21.

Jobs are being won, depth charts established, service time manipulated, and all that good preseason stuff. All the guys listed here (and in the next and final installment of this list) will have a legitimate chance to contribute this season. Even if they aren't guys you wi€™ll want to draft right away, they are all worth keeping an eye out for a free agent pickup when they get the call.

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 4)

20: Mark Appel, RHP, HOU

The two-time first-round pick figures to see his MLB debut this season with the Astros after a disappointing start to his professional career. He looked a bit lost in Single-A, posting a 9.74 ERA in Lancaster before getting a look at Double-A Corpus Christi. He appeared to turn the corner with a strong stint in the Arizona Fall League before tossing seven reasonably good innings this Spring. Appel is still the same hard-thrower he was when he came out of Stanford, mixing in a plus-slider and a changeup. He will begin this season in the minors, but when he'€™s ready the Astros won'€™t hesitate to bring him up.

 

19: Aaron Nola, RHP, PHL

Nola is one of two 2014 draftees that could make a big-league impact this season. Nola was plucked by the Phillies out of LSU and tossed 55 professional innings in his first season, advancing to Double-A Reading for five starts. Nola is a smaller guy at 6'€1"€, but he can deliver his pitches from multiple arm angles to fool hitters, while still hitting the mid-90€™s with his heater. The guys ahead of him on the Phillies'€™ depth chart do not provide a barrier to entry this season, so expect to see Nola in a Philly uniform by mid-season.

 

18: Robert Stephenson, RHP, CIN

Stephenson is the top prospect in an organization that is rebuilding its pitching staff, so that bodes well for his chances to see some time this season. Stephenson hit a speed bump in Double-A last year that perhaps slowed down his advancement to the bigs. He i€™s a hard thrower with a fastball/curve combo that could add up to big strikeout numbers for your fantasy squad. But he'€™s also more of a "€œthrower"€ than a "€œpitcher",€ so he looks to pitch out of trouble by relying on his heat instead of deception. That mode of attack didn't work out in Pensacola last year, where he ended up walking too many guys (4.9/9 IP) while whiffing one per inning. Stephenson will get a chance to improve that approach in the minors, but with Mat Latos gone, Homer Bailey'€™s health in question and Tony Cingrani exiled to the bullpen, Stephenson could contribute to the Reds sooner rather than later.

 

17: Marco Gonzales, LHP, STL

Bad timing for this, as Gonzales just got sent down by St. Louis, but at this point you can'€™t question the Cardinals' propensity for developing prospects. Guys in St. Louis go down with injuries and new, shiny pieces fill in without missing a beat. Gonzales will be one of those guys. The Gonzaga alum grabbed a 34-inning taste of the majors last year and rolled to a 1.04 ERA in five spring appearances. He's more of a crafty pitcher than a power arm, but his changeup is a big weapon that helps his fastball and other offerings play up. He may not record huge strikeout numbers in the majors, but I woul€™d expect him to be a factor in the Cards€™ rotation or bullpen in short order.

 

16: Alex Meyer, RHP, MIN

In the first iteration of this list, Meyer ranked a bit higher, but his seven walks in 5 2/3 innings got him a ticket to Rochester for another stint in Triple-A to start the season. Meyer is a big, hard-throwing righty, €“the type that you could see striking out 200 from a big-league rotation or shutting down lineups in a closer's role. He has experienced some shoulder problems over the course of the past year, so the Twins may take it easy on him in the early going until he can prove to be both healthy and able to find the strike zone.

 

15: Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, ATL

Folty is another pitching prospect who had a big-league job in his sights, but may have stalled in Spring Training. Coming over in the Evan Gattis deal, Foltynewicz was viewed as a candidate for the 5th-starter role in Atlanta, but has been downright awful in the Grapefruit League. In four Spring games, he's allowed 10 runs in 7 2/3 innings, walking seven. He also stumbled to a 1.6 WHIP with the Astros last year in 16 games, so it looks like there's work to do. His greatest strength is a plus-plus fastball which could, like Meyer, land him in the bullpen as a fallback option if things don'€™t work out in the rotation. As of now, he'€™ll likely try to get his act together in Triple-A and wait for another shot to prove himself in the MLB.

 

14: Brandon Finnegan, LHP, KC

Finnegan may be a popular pick because of the work he did in the Royals' bullpen in the playoffs last season. Most people will remember when the recent TCU grad came in for two innings of yeoman€™s work to help stave off the A'€™s in the Wild Card game, but choose not to see the beating he took at the hands of the Giants in the World Series. Nonetheless, Finnegan is young and left-handed and was sent to Omaha to (presumably) get stretched out to be a starting pitcher. That would be better news for his fantasy owners since his value in a big-league bullpen is likely limited to a LOOGY role.

 

13: Nick Tropeano, RHP, LAA

Tropeano was sent down on March 31 and will have to wait with baited breath to see if he gets the call when the Angels need a fifth starter. Both he and fellow prospect Andrew Heaney (spoiler alert: Heaney appears in the final installment of this list) are vying for the right to pitch for the Halos. Tropeano came over from the Astros where he tossed four rather pedestrian starts for Houston in his big-league debut season. Before that, the right-hander led the Pacific Coast League in both ERA and WHIP in 2014, putting a little shine on him as a prospect.

 

12: Raisel Iglesias, RHP, CIN

The Reds'€™ latest Cuban import, Iglesias sits in limbo both between the majors and minors and between the rotation and the bullpen. When the Reds announced that Tony Cingrani would not get a rotation spot, it was assumed that Iglesias would step into that role. Now they aren'€™t so sure. Iglesias was a reliever in Cuba and stands on a very small 5'11"€, 170-pound frame, so there are questions aplenty about his ability to hold up as a starter. The Reds€™ staff is in flux, however, so the talented Iglesias will likely get a chance somewhere in Cincy. He could even end up as the closer if fellow countryman Aroldis Chapman gets dealt during the season.

 

11: Anthony DeSclafani, RHP, CIN

Finally, a Reds pitcher that we can be a little more sure about. DeSclafani will enter the season as a member of the Reds€™ rotation, which alone is enough to rank him this high on the list. DeSclafani came over in the Mat Latos deal this offseason and was having a spectacular Spring until he got touched up by the Padres on Monday. Nonetheless, he is one of very few rookie pitchers who can boast a big league job to start the season. While the rest are awaiting their call, DeSclafani can be helping you acquire fantasy points. He has the fastball and curve that served him well in the minors, though it may be his changeup that determines whether he wi€™ll stick in a major league rotation. If he does, he should tally some strikeout numbers that would make him an interesting sleeper pick in deep redraft leagues.

 




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