Ranking the Top 15 MLB Pitching Prospects Heading into 2014
Ranking the Top 15 MLB Pitching Prospects Heading into 2014
The upcoming Hall-of-Fame vote could potentially put two of the greatest starting pitchers in the last 50 years into the hallowed hall. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine are both up for the first time. There are other greats as well but these I mention because they were proof of how important great starting pitching is to a franchise’s success. Whether or not they did it before, now all MLB organizations make young pitching a priority.
Everyone cannot have the best of the best though. In a strong pitching prospect, the entire future of a franchise could swing. Just think of how dramatically different the Los Angeles Dodgers are with the addition of Clayton Kershaw. He is good for probably at least 20 to 25 wins for the club every single season whether or not they go in his W column. Great pitching wins in baseball, period.
Instead of looking at each and every team, this slideshow will focus on the overall top 15 pitching prospects in the game. At least half of these guys will probably finish in the top 5 in Cy-Young Award voting within the next decade. Click through them and see if your team’s best hurler is included in our top 15. Feel free to leave a comment below with any comments or suggestions.
15 – Henry Owens
Owens is the #4 prospect of the Boston Red Sox and he southpaw enjoyed a 2.67 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in his 2013 double-A season.
14 – Andrew Heaney
Don’t expect left-hander Heaney to be one of the young players moved by the Miami Marlins. They intend to allow their #2 overall prospect to advance in his career as a future Marlins starter. His 2013 ERA of 1.60 and 1.07 WHIP speak for themselves.
13 – Jesse Biddle
You would be hard pressed to find a Philadelphia Phillies fan that doesn’t know all about lefty Jesse Biddle. He is the #1 Phillies prospect and has a future as bright as anyone which is extra special because he is a local kid to the Philadelphia area. His 1.34 WHIP and 154 K’s in 2013 speak highly of why the Phillies think so well of him.
12 – Max Fried
The San Diego Padres are all excited about left-hander Max Fried. He has a very good fastball and a great curveball. With a little more growth, some scouts believe his fastball will get even more dominant.
11 – Kyle Zimmer
Zimmer is the first righty in the top 15 but certainly not the last. The #1 Kansas City Royals prospect, Zimmer had a slightly elevated ERA in the total 2013 stats but part of the season he pulled in a 1.93 ERA which matches his overall WHIP of 1.17 and 140 strikeouts much better.
10 – Taylor Guerrieri
The Tampa Bay Rays are known for bringing along great young pitchers and their #1 prospect, Guerrieri looks to do nothing to stop that trend. The right-hander’s 2.01 ERA and 0.99 WHIP from 2013 pretty well speak to why the Rays are considered so good at picking young pitchers.
9 – Mark Appel
Being the #4 prospect in the loaded Houston Astros organization is nothing to be sad about. Clearly he still is high up on the overall pitching prospects lists for a reason. The righty splashed a 1.18 WHIP in double-A in 2013 on his way towards the majors in another year or so.
8 – Donny Hultzen
The Seattle Mariners are the only team with two young starters on this top prospects list and Hultzen is the lower of the two. The southpaw is the Mariners’ #2 overall prospect. I could tell you how good he will be one day but instead I’ll just tell you his double-A ERA of 2.01 and WHIP of 0.85. That should tell you all you need to know.
7 – Aaron Sanchez
The Toronto Blue Jays have sold away tons of starting pitching talent in trades over the last few years but they have left right-handed Sanchez who now has become their #1 overall prospect. His 2013 WHIP of 1.19 is just one thing about him that speaks to why he remains. The Jays would do well to stick to their plan and hold on to this kid.
6 – Robert Stephenson
Stevenson is the #2 Cincinnati Reds prospect and the righty enjoys a huge fastball with a very good curve as well. Those are two reasons the right-handed starter racked up 136 Ks while posting a 2.99 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 2013.
5 – Dylan Bundy
Bundy is still the #1 prospect for the Baltimore Orioles pending how well he bounces back from Tommy John surgery. The righty still has loads of promise and still would have plenty of fastball left even if his post-op velocity dropped a few mph.
4 – Noah Syndergaard
Right-handed Syndergaard is the New York Mets pride and joy after coming in on the R.A. Dickey trade and becoming their #1 prospect. It was a huge deal for the Mets who will be enjoying Syndergaard for plenty long enough to warrant the trade of Dickey. The 3.06 ERA and 1.25 WHIP along with high strikeout totals let you know what kind of pitcher is can be.
3 – Jameson Taillon
Taillon was riding alongside Gerrit Cole for a long while before falling just behind Cole who already has been a postseason star at this point. Taillon hasn’t been yet but that isn’t for lack of talent or desire. As a matter of fact, don’t be surprised if he shows up soon in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform and displays exactly why he is their #1 overall prospect.
2 – Archie Bradley
I don’t know what the Arizona Diamondbacks are planning with the rest of their 2014 rotation and thereafter but they might want to plan on making room soon for their #1 prospect. Bradley is a righty that has dominated all along in the minors with a 1.84 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 162 Ks in his most recent season. He will be ready very soon to take his game to MLB proudly.
1 – Taijuan Walker
Walker is the second of the Seattle Mariners’ two prospects on this list. The righty was great in the minors last season with a 2.93 ERA and a 1.20 WHIP. It was good enough to warrant a September call-up in 2013 where Walker nabbed his first MLB win and showed that he is definitely ready.
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