Top 30 Pitching Prospects: #21-30 (Preseason 2018 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

It’s time to finish off our Top 30 pitching prospect rankings, so before diving into these make sure you check out:

#1-10
#11-20

 

21) Justus Sheffield – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018
New York Yankees #2 Prospect

Standing 5’11” and 200 lbs., there are going to be questions regarding whether he can stick in the rotation or if he’s destined for a bullpen role. Spending the bulk of his year at Double-A (17 starts, 93.1 IP) he did check off most of the boxes we look for:

  • Strikeouts – 7.91 K/9 (11.5% SwStr%)
  • Control – 3.18 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 46.2%

That doesn’t mean that there aren’t questions, as he’s consistently battled injury (he missed time in ’17 due to an oblique injury) and he needs to find consistency in his control. He has the upside, especially as a southpaw, but there is risk involved.

 

22) Mitchell White – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2019
Grade – B+
Los Angeles Dodgers #3 Prospect

It was only 73.2 innings of work, with 28.0 coming at Double-A, but it’s impossible to ignore the skills that he showed:

  • Strikeouts – 10.75 K/9 (16.2% SwStr%)
  • Control – 3.79 BB/9
  • Groundballs – 55.4%

Obviously the control isn’t going to blow you away, but he was working his way back from Tommy John surgery so we can give him a pass (though it’s something to watch).  Considering the SwStr% and groundball rate, even at that level success could be there but if he can improve he has the upside of a Top 10 pitching prospect.  Listed at 6’4” and 207 lbs. there’s no question where his future lies, and while the Dodgers could be cautious with him in ’18 don’t be surprised if he fully breaks out by year’s end.

 

** ORDER OUR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

 

23) Adrian Morejon – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – B+
San Diego Padres #4 Prospect

Signed out of Cuba, Morejon split time between two levels of Single-A as an 18-year old and showed promising potential with an 8.29 K/9 and 2.29 BB/9 over 63.0 IP.  That type of control, at his age, is impressive though there are a pair of questions that loom:

  1. Lack of groundballs (36.6%, which could lead to home run troubles)
  2. Size (he’s currently listed at 6’0” and 165 lbs.)

Given his age it wouldn’t be surprising to see growth/maturation, which would eliminate the second issue.  Time will tell, but at his age and with his stuff it’s impossible to ignore him.

 

24) Mike Soroka – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018
Atlanta Braves #3 Prospect

The 2015 first round pick (28th overall) spent the year at Double-A, putting up an impressive 2.75 ERA and 1.09 WHIP.  Considering his size (6’5”), his 1.99 BB/9 is a highly impressive mark.  He also has more upside in the strikeout department, when you consider a 7.32 K/9 and 10.6% SwStr%.  He may not be elite in that regard, but with his ability to stay in the strike zone and generate groundballs (46.2%) there’s an awful lot to like.  You could argue that he’s the top pitching prospect in the system, though the strikeout rate and fact that he’s right-handed (compared to the southpaw Allard) put him at #2.  Considering the state of the system, that’s nothing to sneeze at.

 

25) Luiz Gohara – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – Already Arrived
Atlanta Braves #4 Prospect

As he was developing in Seattle’s system Gohara was sometimes compared to the Dodgers’ Julio Urias, in regards to a teenage left-hander potentially emerging.  Gohara did take a step back at one point, but he returned to prominence in ’17 as he split time across three levels of the minors and accumulated a 2.62 ERA, courtesy of a 10.70 K/9, 3.20 BB/9 and 47.1% groundball rate.  The groundballs did regress as he advanced up the ladder (0.93 GO/AO at Triple-A), and he did struggle in the Majors (0.63 GO/AO, helping to a 4.91 ERA).  He needs to prove that he can translate his minor league success to the highest level, but the upside is there.

 

** ORDER OUR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

 

26) Kyle Wright – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019
Atlanta Braves #5 Prospect

The team’s first round pick in 2017 (5th overall), he showed impressive talent upon making his professional debut.  Obviously it was a small sample size (17.0 IP), but underlying numbers like this are always going to grab our attention:

  • SwStr% – 16.3%
  • Groundball Rate – 65.0%

He has the size team’s look for (6’4″) and the stuff to thrive at the highest level.  He could move quickly, and if he wasn’t part of such a pitching rich system could conceivably arrive in 2018.  You could argue that he should be ranked as high as #2 in the system, which says a lot to his talent.

 

27) J.B. Bukauskas – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – B+
Houston Astros #3 Prospect

Bukauskas was selected 15th overall and while he only got 10.0 innings after being selected it was enough time to flash how good he can be (21.3% SwStr%, 58.3% groundball rate).  Listed at 6’0” there are going to be questions as to whether or not he can hold up to starting every five days, or if his two-pitch mix will be better suited for the bullpen (where he’d instantly be dubbed a potential closer of the future).

The Astros will obviously give him an opportunity to thrive as a starter, and if he can develop his changeup he will have the upside of a top of the rotation starter.  If he does shift to the bullpen he’ll arrive in 2019, and that could be how he initially gets his feet wet.

 

** ORDER OUR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

 

28) T.J. Zeuch – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018
Toronto Blue Jays #3 Prospect

He’s 6’7” and 225 lbs., so the first thought would be that control would be an issue for the 2016 first round pick.  However he posted impressive command, with a 2.60 BB/9, and he was a groundball machine with a 61.0% mark over 65.2 IP as he topped out at High-A.  He hasn’t shown a big strikeout rate, with a 6.99 K/9 last season, and a pair of DL stints (for undisclosed reasons) does put a little bit of damper on the excitement.  That said, he had 15 K vs. 4 BB over 18.1 IP in the Arizona Fall League and while a 9.8% SwStr% isn’t going to blow you away it shows a bit more promise.  Think Marcus Stroman upside, and what exactly is wrong with that?

 

29) David Peterson – Left-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2019
New York Mets #1 Prospect

The Mets’ 2017 first round pick (20th overall) has the size that teams look for, listed at 6’6” and 240 lbs.  He may not be your 100 mph flame thrower, but reports are that he saw an uptick in velocity and brings a four pitch mix to the table.

Obviously we don’t have much professional data to go on, with 3.2 innings, but his junior year at Oregon provided hope.  There’s always concerns about a taller pitchers control, but his 140 K vs. 15 BB over 100.1 IP shows significant upside.  We’ll have to see if that type of performance can translate to the professional ranks, but if he starts strong he can move quickly (he’s already 22-years old).

 

30) Dylan Cease – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – B+
ETA – 2018
Chicago White Sox #5 Prospect

Cease is somewhat cut from a similar mold as Kopech, not that he throws as hard (though he does hit 100 mph), but that he needs to learn how to control his stuff to have continued success.  Splitting time between two Single-A teams he posted a 4.24 BB/9 last season, though he did show a little bit more groundball stuff (43.6%) and there’s no questioning his strikeout ability (13.5% SwStr%).  The other difference, though on the negative side, is that he’s listed at 6’2” and some may question his ability to hold up to a full workload.  That could mean a transition to the bullpen is on the horizon, though time will tell.

 

Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Top 10 Prospect Lists:

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

** ORDER OUR 2018 FANTASY BASEBALL DRAFT GUIDE TODAY **
Order Rotoprofessor’s 2018 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for just $7.50!!  Click here for the details, but don’t miss out on the best bargain in fantasy baseball preparation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *