Top 20 Right-Handed Pitching Prospects: #11-20 (Preseason 2017 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor

Earlier this week we kicked off our rankings of the Top 20 Right-Handed Pitching Prospects (click here to view).  Who fills out the rankings?  Let’s take a look:

 

11) Triston McKenzie – Cleveland Indians
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

We can nitpick and say that we’d like to see more groundballs, having posted a 0.66 GO/AO between two levels of Single-A.  We also have to hope that he adds a little bit more bulk to his frame (listed as 6’5” and 165 lbs.), as there will otherwise be questions asked about his ability to handle a full workload.  That said, in his 83.1 IP he racked up 104 K vs. just 22 BB as he already has a trio of pitches that he can rely on.  He has the potential to develop into a top of the rotation starter, so make sure to keep a close eye on his development.

 

12) Domingo Acevedo – New York Yankees
Current Grade – B+
ETA – 2018

He missed some time in ’16 due to injury, but when he was on the field he showed the same type of potential he previously has.  Over 93.0 IP (split across two levels of Single-A) he posted a 2.61 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and an impressive 102 K vs. 22 BB.  Over his minor league career he owns a 9.9 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9, something that’s extremely impressive for a pitcher who stands at 6’7” and throws as hard as he does.

Is it possible that he ultimately transitions into a lights out reliever and closer of the future?  Absolutely, and that could expedite his arrival (he is 22-years old).  At this point, though, the Yankees have little reason to make that transition.  Look for them to continue utilizing him as a starting pitcher, a spot he has thrived in.

 


 

13) Fernando Romero – Minnesota Twins
Current Grade – B+
ETA – 2018/2019

After missing part of 2014 and all of 2015 it was easy to forget about Romero entering the 2016 season.  What he did once taking the mound, though, has got to catch your attention:

  • Single-A – 28.0 IP, 1.93 ERA, 0.82 WHIP, 8.04 K/9, 1.61 BB/9
  • High-A – 62.1 IP, 1.88 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 9.39 K/9, 1.44 BB/9

Seeing that type of control, after missing so much time, says a lot, as does his 1.54 GO/AO.  A hard thrower, the biggest question may be his size (6’0”) and if he is going to be able to hold up to a full workload.  He likely will be brought along slowly, which could ultimately delay his arrival, but he’s a pitcher who you need to keep a close eye on.

 

14) Sean Reid-Foley – Toronto Blue Jays
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018

While the Blue Jays’ system may lack star quality, laying in wait is someone who could quickly become a big pitching prospect.  Just look at his numbers (split between Single-A and High-A) in the three skills that we generally target from any pitcher:

  • Strikeouts – 10.1 K/9
  • Walks – 3.0 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 1.40 GO/AO

The control was the big turnaround, after posting a 6.3 BB/9 in ’15.  The second round pick is clearly still developing, and at 21-years old he has time to continue honing his secondary offerings.  That said, scouting reports have him potentially bringing three average or better pitches to the table (depending on the development of his changeup) so the upside is there for a front of the rotation arm.

 

15) Yadier Alvarez – Los Angeles Dodgers
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019

The 20-year old split his time between Rookie Ball and Single-A, impressing at each stop:

  • Rookie (20.0 IP) – 1.80 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 11.70 K/9, 4.50 BB/9, 2.60 GO/AO
  • Single-A (39.1 IP) – 2.29 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 12.58 K/9, 2.52 BB/9, 1.14 GO/AO

There are some who feel that the flame thrower (reports are he hits 100 mph) will move to the bullpen, though the Dodgers will obviously give him time to mature physically (6’3”, 175 lbs.) and develop his secondary pitches.  If he can fully find his control and consistency the upside is that of an elite starting pitcher.

 


 

16) Matt Manning – Detroit Tigers
Grade – B+
ETA – 2020

The ninth overall selection in the 2016 draft is going to need time to develop, but he certainly made a tremendous first impression.  All he did in his 29.1 innings was rack up 46 K against 7 BB, which alone would turn heads.  At 6’6” and 190 lbs, there’s reason to believe that he’s just going to add strength and velocity, making him even more imposing.

Now throw in his athleticism, which he clearly has thanks to his past as a basketball player.  It should allow him to continue to develop his delivery and his secondary pitches, just adding to the appeal.  He has top of the rotation upside, and if he were further along in his development he would likely earn an A/A- grade.  The upside is there, just give him time.

 

17) Dylan Cease – Chicago Cubs
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018

Cease has been limited over the past two seasons as he recovered from Tommy John surgery, though that hasn’t stopped him from showing off his impressive upside:

  • 2015 (24.0 IP) – 9.38 K/9, 6.00 BB/9, 3.18 GO/AO
  • 2016 (44.2 IP) – 13.30 K/9, 5.04 BB/9, 1.70 GO/AO

The flame-thrower clearly needs to refine his control, but that’s something that should come with experience.  Listed at 6’2” and with the control questions there’s the risk that he ultimately is shifted to the bullpen (though if that were to happen he could quickly emerge as a lights out closer).  Either way there’s a lot to like.

 

18) Luis Castillo – Cincinnati Reds
Grade – B+
ETA – 2017

Acquired as part of a three-player package in exchange for Dan Straily, the converted reliever brings strikeout potential despite not yet showing it (7.0 K/9 over 131.2 IP between High-A and Double-A in ’16).  He throws hard and as he learns how to harness his stuff as a starter it’s easy to envision a strikeout per inning (or more).  The biggest question has always been his control, but that has been trending in the right direction:

  • 2014 (Single-A) – 3.8
  • 2015 (Single-A/High-A) – 2.8
  • 2016 (High-A/Double-A) – 1.7

He was even better prior to his 3 starts at Double-A (1.4 BB/9 over 117.2 IP at High-A), and when you couple that with a 1.20 GO/AO for his career it’s easy to envision strong numbers.  He’s not the biggest name in the system, but he’s close to arriving and should make an impact.

 


 

19) Cal Quantrill – San Diego Padres
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018

Selected with the eighth pick in the 2016 draft, Quantrill impressed immediately over his first 37.0 professional innings as he posted 46 K, 8 BB and a 1.83 GO/AO.  At 22-years old he can move quickly, though he’s still likely working his way back from Tommy John surgery in 2015 so it will be interesting to see how cautious San Diego is with him.  Reports are that his breaking ball needs work, but once he establishes that pitch (something that’s expected) he could emerge as a top of the rotation starter (think #2 for an MLB team).

 

20) Mike Soroka – Atlanta Braves
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018

Selected in the first round of the 2015 draft, Soroka spent the entire season at Single-A and flashed all three skills we generally look for:

  • Strikeouts – 7.87 K/9
  • Control – 2.01 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 1.49 GO/AO

The big question is going to be if his fastball ticks up another notch or two, something that’s possible as he fills out and gains experience (he’s listed at 6’4” and 195 lbs.).  At 19-years old (he won’t turn 20 until August), that would be a very reasonable expectation.  If it does, the argument could be made that his upside could be even greater than Allard’s.

Sources – MLB.com, MILB.com, Frangraphs, Baseball Reference

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

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