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Eye On The Minors: Top Redraft MLB Pitching Prospects (# 31-40)

Welcome to the second installment of “Top 50 Pitching Prospects for Redraft Leagues.” Last week we looked at 2015 fantasy baseball pitching prospects ranked 50-41. The players on this week’s list, numbers 31-40, are a step up from the last group. We have some guys who are considered top prospects and others who could have a chance to make an impact this season.


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 2)

40: Hunter Strickland, RHP, SF

We all remember Strickland from the home runs he gave up in last year’s playoffs (six in eight games), but don’t let that tarnish your opinion of this up-and-coming flame-thrower. What you may not remember is how Strickland blew away hitters, with strikeouts galore, at two minor league levels and a seven inning stint with the eventual World Series Champs. Strickland throws legitimate high-90’s heat, but he will likely need to make better use of his slider to retire big leaguers. He is currently blocked by Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla for any closer consideration. If he gets the chance, he will be a useful source of saves and strikeouts. Friends don’t let friends draft speculative relievers, but Strickland is as good a bet as any to put up a Dellin Betances-type season in 2015.


39: Jesse Biddle, LHP, PHI

Somebody is going to have to log starts for the Phillies this season, why not Biddle? He is a former first-round pick who lost a lot of his prospect shine when he stumbled last summer in a repeat of Double-A. A struggling lefty in Citizen Bank Ballpark is a scary proposition, but so is the thought of David Buchanan and Jerome Williams holding down rotation spots. Much of Biddle's worst minor league stretches came after injuries or illness, so there is talent here that's been masked by poor performances. If you are in a lurch in a deep NL-only league, a hot start could find Biddle in the majors early in the season. It may not be a pick for the faint of heart, but it’s something.


38: Steven Matz, LHP, NYM

Opportunity might stand in the way for Matz, with plenty of names before him on the Mets’ rotation depth chart. Matz is certainly worth a flyer in dynasty leagues. He could see some action for the Mets this season, depending on whether they trade someone like Jon Niese, Dillon Gee, or Bartolo Colon. Matz has an impressive arsenal of pitches and has only been hampered by health in his minor league career. He will be a starter in a Major League rotation, and he could be a long reliever for the Mets this year too. The question is whether it will be with the Mets, as he’s been rumored as a potential piece in a rumored Troy Tulowitzki trade.


37: Chris Bassitt, RHP, OAK

At this point in the pre-season, you are going to see a common theme in these rankings. If Bassitt gets a chance to start for the A’s, he’d probably deserve a better ranking. If Oakland utilizes him out of the pen, he might not make this list at all. With pitchers and catchers reporting just this week, we don’t have all the info we need yet, so he sits at #37.

Bassitt made his MLB debut with the White Sox last year, started five games, tossed 29 innings, and recorded a 1.53 WHIP. He then got dealt to the friendlier (for pitchers) confines in Oakland in the Jeff Samardzija trade. The fantasy numbers weren’t great last year, but his fastball and two breaking pitches are good enough to get major leaguers out. All he needs is an opportunity. With the departures of Samardzija and Jon Lester and injury recoveries by Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin, he might get one.


36: Matt Barnes, RHP, BOS

Barnes was once a bright prospect who projected to bolt to the top of the Red Sox rotation. The big right-hander endured an up-and-down season in Double-A which may have devalued his future. He still boasts a monster fastball, a sharp curve, and a so-so changeup. The development of that third pitch – and polished mechanics – will be crucial to his success in a big league rotation. He still has potential and there could be an opportunity on a reworked Boston staff. He’s viewed as a mid-rotation option at this point, rather than an ace.


35: Matt Wisler, RHP, SD

The acquisition of James Shields by the Padres has seemingly blocked the path for Wisler to make the Padres’ rotation early in the season. As a 21-year old, Wisler did okay in a full season’s work in Triple-A. An ERA over five may look ugly, but anyone his age pitching in the Pacific Coast League is bound to learn the ropes along the way. Realistically, Wisler’s ceiling is a number three starter in the big leagues. He has three pitches – a fastball, slider and change – that grade out as above-average. Wisler will receive another shot in El Paso. But a big-league call up is likely to happen at some point when the need arises in San Diego.


34: Jameson Taillon, RHP, PIT

The pitcher who was picked second behind Bryce Harper needed Tommy John surgery last spring and lost an entire year of development. Though his timetable has been pushed back due to the injury, Taillon’s talent may force the Pirates’ hand if he can get off to a hot start in the minors. Taillon has all the qualities of a fantasy stud – a high-90’s fastball, a power curve, and a big six-foot-five frame that seems to fit his Texas hard-throwing pedigree. At his peak, Taillon projects as a workhorse, with the ability to reach 200 innings and 200 strikeouts. The question remains, though, whether this is the year he breaks out.


33: Ariel Peña, RHP, MIL

Peña features a fastball, slider, and splitter. His future role has yet to be determined. His minor league work has been almost exclusively as a starter. He logged 128 innings at Triple-A Nashville last season and racked up almost ten strikeouts per nine. His control was a little dicey at more than five walks per nine. Some evaluators feel that his future may be in the bullpen which, for his MLB debut at least, will determine if he’s worth taking a flyer on in fantasy. As a starter, he could add value in deep leagues as a high-K back-end rotation option. As a reliever, until he can establish value with saves, he’s not worth touching in redraft leagues.


32: Tyler Anderson, LHP, COL

Relying on any Colorado pitcher is wrought with risks. With Anderson, there are many reasons to worry. For one, he’s left-handed, and opponents have learned to load up with their lefty-killing bats in Coors Field. Another reason: Anderson left his last start last fall with elbow soreness, always a red flag. Third, he’s not a hard-thrower. Anderson can best be described as a “crafty lefty,” who uses a funky delivery and guile to get batters out. Will his act play in the majors? That’s the biggest question mark.

So why is he ranked ahead of others? Anderson, a former first-round pick, led the Texas League in both ERA (1.98) and WHIP (1.10) last season. He throws several pitches, with his changup, slider, and curve helping to cover up his less-than-stellar fastball. The Rockies’ rotation is a mess going into this season, and it may be time for an invasion of youngsters. Andersonmight be worth a look, especially in leagues where you can start him for his road games and keep him on your bench when he’s at Coors.


31: Tyler Glasnow, RHP, PIT

We covered Jameson Taillon at number 34 and Nick Kingham last week. Tyler Glasnow is the third of the Pirates’ young starters who could get a whiff of major league playing time this season, but he's also the most raw. Glasnow is tall and lanky (6’7”, 195 lbs) with a lot of moving parts, which has negatively impacted his control at times.

Despite walking 57 men in 124 innings, he tore throw High-A Bradenton last season with 157 K’s and a 1.74 ERA. After getting some work in the Arizona Fall League, he is clearly ready to begin this season at Double-A and could be on the doorstep of a big-league debut. His height, mid-90’s fastball, and knockout curve make him an imposing figure on the mound (like a right-handed Chris Sale). He’ll need to work on his mechanics before he settles into his future role as a mid-rotation starter.


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