Top 15 MLB Pitching Prospects Heading into Spring Training
Top 15 MLB Pitching Prospects Heading into Spring Training
When it comes to the future of a Major League Baseball club, it is most important to keep an eye on their minor league prospects. The farm system of each team figures importantly into the next several years of success whether it means they bring them to the majors and turn them loose or trade them for another major league player. In the way of important prospects, pitchers are probably the most valuable.
Like anything else the most valuable pitching prospects are the ones that are the most successful. That’s pretty obvious but even a pitcher who has been marginally successful can be worth a great deal just for having the potential to perform at a high level. No one really knows where the next ace will come from.
As far as predicting which pitching prospects have the best chance to become an ace, the best of the best is about as close as we can get. Gerrit Cole was among the top pitching prospects in the game and you can see what happened to his first season at the major league level. At the same time no one had really had much of a chance to study how good Jose Fernandez could be and he was the rookie of the year.
So no system is perfect but the players you will see here are the 15 best pitchers in the MLB minor league system. Click through them and use the comments section below to let us know what you think. Some of these guys were in the top 15 one year ago but others are making their first appearance on the top 15.
15 – Kevin Gausman – Baltimore Orioles
This spring is a big drop for Gausman who was the fifth ranked pitching prospect one season ago. That drop is due partially to his minor league numbers but also could have something to do with his not-so-great MLB debut.
14 – Henry Owens – Boston Red Sox
Owens is one of only two left-handers that made the top 15 this year. There were two last season as well but both of those have dropped and been replaced by Owens and the 13th ranked pitcher. Obviously his being on this list after not being on it one year ago stands to suggest Owens is doing well.
13 – Andrew Heaney – Miami Marlins
Heaney is the other lefty in the top 15 and the Marlins couldn’t be happier. Heaney has done little but impress since his signed and continues to climb the rankings as a bright future in the majors looks more and more like a possibility.
12 – Alex Meyer – Minnesota Twins
As if the Twins don’t have enough pitchers in the top 100 prospects anyway, they have added Meyer as their top pitching prospect to the mix. He is a righty with a load of promise. It seems that the Twins should be smoking hot in the next few years with all of these great prospects on the way.
11 – Tyler Glasnow – Pittsburgh Pirates
I guess since the Pirates had Gerrit Cole come of age, they decided to have another pitching prospect jump towards the top of the rankings to replace him. Glasnow looks to have a chance to be just as good as Cole and his former minor league counterpart who you will see a little later in the slideshow.
10 – Kyle Zimmer – Kansas City Royals
Zimmer is one of the guys on this list who could impact the major league club in 2014. That remains to be seen of course but it is at least possible. Whenever he does get there, Zimmer should be one to watch.
9 – Aaron Sanchez – Toronto Blue Jays
Sanchez is one of the most sought after prospects in the baseball world. Some of that is because the Jays have a history of trading top prospects like the Mets top hurler who you will see later on. It most certainly also has to do with his promise to become a top starter in the majors however. Kudos should go to the Blue Jays for keeping this guy.
8 – Dylan Bundy – Baltimore Orioles
Bundy dropped from six to eight in this ranking but that is actually startlingly good considering he had a bad injury last season. He should be ready to regain form this season and possibly help the O’s out in MLB before the end of the season.
7 – Robert Stephenson – Cincinnati Reds
One reason the Reds might be willing to let some of their older pitchers go is this guy right here. Stephenson might be a tad bit away but by the time he reaches the majors he should be able to be a key component for the team.
6 – Mark Appel – Houston Astros
The ultra-rich Astros organization is richer for the right-hander Appel. He hasn’t been around that long but has been impressive enough to climb a few spots since last season.
5 – Jameson Taillon – Pittsburgh Pirates
If you were looking for the other big Pirates name in this list, look no further. Taillon had a little issue or two last season but still only dropped a couple of spots. He is going to possibly be able to assist at the MLB level this season.
4 – Jon Gray – Colorado Rockies
Gray has only climbed from 15 to 4 on this list. In case you like math about as much as I do, that is really good. He hasn’t been around too long but still could impact the Rockies sooner rather than later.
3 – Noah Syndergaard – New York Mets
Remember the part where the Blue Jays sent that really great prospect to the Mets? Well this is that guy. See now they would probably really like having two guys on this list but instead the Mets have a young guy who will probably be able to help Matt Harvey dominate the NL soon.
2 – Taijuan Walker – Seattle Mariners
Last year the M’s had a couple of guys in the top 15 and while that is not true this year, Walker is definitely enough to brag about all by himself. It is widely expected that he will contribute to the Mariners in 2014.
1 – Archie Bradley – Arizona Diamondbacks
Bradley is the reason that Walker is not the top ranked pitching prospect in the game anymore and is also likely the reason that the DBacks felt okay with allowing Tyler Skaggs to go elsewhere in a big trade. Bradley won’t be too long in assisting the DBacks, depending on how many pitchers they add in the offseason.