This offseason the dynasty team over at Pitcher List has made it a point to bring you as much prospect coverage as possible. During January we put together 30 teams in 30 days outlining the Top 15 prospects in each system. If you missed that I encourage you to check those out. Earlier this month, our Top 100 consensus list came out beginning the process of breaking down prospects by each position. All hitting positions have already been completed and can be found at the links below. Up today will be the Top 10 pitching prospects.
There is so much volatility in pitchers that people often prioritize hitting prospects instead. However, this current crop of pitching prospects is the best in a long time. Led by Phillies’ prospect Andrew Painter, this group of players is coming and coming fast. Several of these Top 10 pitching prospects are going to make significant impacts on their teams this season. Keep reading to find out our dynasty staff’s consensus Top 10 pitching prospects.
Top 10 Pitching Prospects for Fantasy Baseball
1. Andrew Painter: RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
Age: 19/2022 Stats (A/A+/AA): 103.2 IP/1.56 ERA/0.89 WHIP/38.7 K%/6.2 BB%
The Phillies’ first-round pick from 2021 has taken the league by storm. After a nearly perfect professional debut that saw him fire six scoreless innings at the Complex League, Andrew Painter might have somehow gotten even better. Despite being just 19, Painter has flown through the Phillies’ minor league system making it all the way to Double-A in 2022. Here is where Andrew Painter ranked amongst pitchers 20 years old or younger with 90+ IP:
- K%: 2nd
- K-BB%: 1st
- BAA: 3rd
- ERA: 1st (by 0.75)
- SwStr%: 2nd
Simply put, Painter was dominant in every facet of the game. He already has three plus pitches in his four-seam, slider, and curveball with an average grade changeup which he is still working to develop. Instead of being complacent with his success, Painter has been working to develop a cutter and made Max Kepler look silly this spring with it. He touches the upper-90s with ease and has excellent late movement on all his pitches.
Painter is a rare prospect with ace potential, and we are likely to see him pitch in the major leagues early this season.
My Personal Ranking: SP1
2. Grayson Rodriguez: RHP, Baltimore Orioles
Age: 23/2022 Stats (A+/AA/AAA): 75.2 IP/2.62 ERA/0.99 WHIP/36.6 K%/9.4 BB%
Grayson Rodriguez has been in the conversation for the top pitching prospect in baseball for the last several seasons. The 2018 first-round draft pick has excelled at every level of competition he has faced. Through four minor league seasons, Rodriguez has never posted an ERA above 2.68. Rodriguez deploys an excellent five-pitch mix that possesses both above-average velocity and spin. The fastball profiles to be a plus offering, but Rodriguez really excels with his secondary offerings. His changeup has a chance to be one of the best in baseball while also mixing in a curveball and slider. The cutter is a little bit newer but can be used effectively when needed.
Rodriguez has looked unhittable throughout his time in the minor leagues. A Grade 2 lat strain resulted in significant missed time last season and upon his return, Rodriguez posted a pedestrian 4.12 ERA. This was likely rust, but it has caused some people to forget just how dominant he can be on the mound. He has a strong chance to break camp with the major league team and profiles to be a strong fantasy asset for years to come.
My Personal Ranking: SP2
3. Eury Perez: RHP, Miami Marlins
Age: 19/2022 Stats (A/AA): 77 IP/3.97 ERA/1.14 WHIP/34.6 K%/7.9 BB%
In terms of pure stuff, Eury Perez might have the best in baseball. Signed by the Marlins back in 2019, Perez has flown up prospect boards over the past year and a half. Across 75 innings at Double-A, Perez posted a 19.3% swinging strike rate with a 4.08 ERA.
Perez’s numbers are really special when you focus on the middle 11 starts of his 2022 season. A 1.98 ERA, a 36.9% strikeout rate, and a walk percentage under five. Fatigue down the stretch led to some struggles and the Marlins shut him down to a degree wanting to be over-cautious with their promising young arm.
Perez throws a fastball that sits in the upper-90s with three plus secondaries. He utilizes the changeup effectively to batters from both sides and the slider/curveball combination only makes his ceiling even higher. The Marlins have a pretty full rotation right now, but there is still a chance we see Perez in the major leagues as early as 2023. Perez has one of, if not, the highest ceiling of any pitching prospect.
My Personal Ranking: SP5
4. Ricky Tiedemann: LHP, Toronto Blue Jays
Age: 20/2022 Stats (A/A+/AA): 78.2 IP/2.17 ERA/0.86 WHIP/38.9 K%/9.6 BB%
Ricky Tiedemann came out of nowhere last year. The hard-throwing lefty was drafted in the third round of the 2021 draft and made a seamless transition to the major leagues. He dominated three separate levels with a 2.17 ERA. His unique delivery from a low-arm slot helps to provide deception helping Tiedemann avoid hard contact. Tiedemann only surrendered three home runs all year while limiting opposing batters to a .148 batting average.
Tiedemann added three miles per hour to his four-seam fastball upon transitioning to professional baseball and it does not appear he is stopping there. Many tuned into Tiedemann’s first Spring Training start and watched him consistently hit 99 with the heater. He pairs the velocity with excellent control and two plus secondary offerings. Tiedemann is still only 20 years old but could make his debut later this season.
My Personal Ranking: SP3
5. Daniel Espino: RHP, Cleveland Guardians
Age: 22/2022 Stats (AA): 18.1 IP/2.45 ERA/0.71 WHIP/51.5 K%/5.9 BB%
Just wanted to make a quick note that our Top 100 ranking list came out before the newest shoulder injury for Daniel Espino. With this injury news, he would likely rank lower on this list. However, his ranking on this list does speak to the quality of his pitches. Since entering the Guardians’ organization, all Espino has done is strike batters out.
With a borderline elite fastball, a plus-plus slider, and two other secondary offerings, his stuff is some of the best in baseball. In 2021, Espino had a strikeout rate north of 40%. His command has been inconsistent up to this point in his career which has led to uninspiring ERAs, but there is no denying he has front-of-the-rotation potential.
The biggest hindrance for Espino has been health. He missed most of the 2022 season with shoulder and leg injuries and is now experiencing more shoulder injuries heading into 2023. The relief risk in his profile keeps him lower on this list than the pure stuff would suggest. He is unlikely to debut until 2024.
My Personal Ranking: SP12
6. Kyle Harrison: LHP, San Francisco Giants
Age: 21/2022 Stats (A+/AA): 113 IP/2.71 ERA/1.13 WHIP/39.8 K%/10.5 BB%
The Giants selected high school pitcher Kyle Harrison in the third round of the abbreviated 2020 draft. The lefty stands at 6’2” and comes to the plate from a low arm slot that is especially difficult for left-handed batters to pick up. Through two seasons of professional baseball, Harrison has posted a sparkling 2.93 ERA making it all the way to Double-A at just 20 years old.
Harrison trailed only Brandon Pfaadt in total strikeouts last season despite throwing over 50 fewer innings. Harrison mixes an upper-90s fastball with two plus secondary offerings. The slider is his go-to strikeout pitch and is especially difficult for lefties to hit.
The one area of concern for Harrison has been his control. So far, he has posted a career walk rate above 11% and has yet to prove that he can consistently harness his stuff. Lefty starters with control issues always possess a certain level of long-term relief risk. The Giants have already come out and said they expect Harrison to make his major league debut at some point during the 2023 season. His ceiling is as high as any pitcher on this list, but his profile carries considerably more risk than some of the names above him.
My Personal Ranking: SP9
7. Taj Bradley: RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
Age: 22/2022 Stats (AA/AAA): 133.1 IP/2.57 ERA/1.04 WHIP/26.5 K%/6.2 BB%
Heading into the 2022 season, Taj Bradley was one of my favorite breakout picks. After researching his profile for a piece on Prospects Worldwide, the former fifth-round pick instantly caught my eye. Prior to the pandemic, Bradley was struggling to stay in shape. He took the pandemic as an opportunity to get in shape, refine his pitch mix, and add velocity to his fastball.
All three goals came to fruition as Bradley has posted a 2.24 ERA since the start of 2021. He has soared through the Rays’ system, making it to Triple-A last season. We can expect a major league debut during 2023.
Although the strikeout rate dipped down at Triple-A, Bradley has excellent stuff. The fastball sits in the upper-90s with an effective cutter to go with it. His curveball is still a work in progress after he changed the grip during the 2020 pause but has shown flashes of plus potential. Bradley also mixes in a changeup primarily to lefties. Bradley has all the showings of a front-end starter and should only continue to improve.
My Personal Ranking: SP4
8. Brandon Pfaadt: RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
Age: 24/2022 Stats (AA/AAA): 167 IP/3.83 ERA/1.16 WHIP/31.6 K%/4.8 BB%
Brandon Pfaadt’s dynasty value has sky-rocketed throughout the off-season. Chris Clegg already wrote a piece for the dynasty team deep diving Pfaadt which I encourage you to check out. When looking at Pfaadt the ERA does not jump off the page, but he has plus stuff with excellent control.
His ERA is more impressive once you factor in the fact he spent most of his time in the hitter-friendly PCL. We should focus on Pfaadt leading the MiLB in innings pitched and total strikeouts. He did this while maintaining a walk rate under five percent.
Pfaadt has already proven himself at the Triple-A level. The question is: When will Arizona call him up? He is battling for the fifth starter spot with Drey Jameson and Ryne Nelson. Jameson and Pfaadt have each looked excellent this spring, and the Diamondbacks could give both a shot over Zach Davies. Expect Pfaadt to make a significant impact for both real-life and fantasy this season.
My Personal Ranking: SP8
9. Hunter Brown: RHP, Houston Astros
Age: 24/2022 Stats (AAA): 115 IP/1.96 ERA/0.95 WHIP/33.1 K%/8.9 BB%
MLB Stats: 20.1 IP/0.89 ERA/1.08 WHIP/27.5 K%/8.8 BB%
Hunter Brown is the only pitcher on this list to have already made his major league debut. He made seven appearances and two starts for the Astros during 2022 posting a 0.89 ERA and adding another 3.2 scoreless innings in the playoffs. Brown, who models his game after former teammate Justin Verlander, throws a four-seamer averaging around 97 mph and two plus breaking pitches. The curveball generated over a 30% whiff rate during his time in the majors and his slider is primarily only used against righties.
Brown’s debut was impressive, but his profile has a couple of red flags. Limiting walks have been an issue for Brown throughout his minor league career and was evident by the three walks issued in 3.2 post-season innings. Another potential concern is the lack of a true out pitch to lefties. Both the curveball and slider generate better metrics against right-handers and could limit Brown’s ceiling. He will start the season in Houston’s rotation after the Lance McCullers injury and is an exciting name to watch in 2023.
My Personal Ranking: SP11
10. Gavin Williams: RHP, Cleveland Guardians
Age: 23/2022 Stats (A+/AA): 106 IP/2.55 ERA/1.08 WHIP/31.5 K%/10.6 BB%
Gavin Williams is another in a long list of exciting Guardians’ pitching prospects. Williams was their first-round pick from 2021 and had an excellent first professional season. He pitched 115 innings between High-A and Double-A to the tune of a 1.93 ERA.
Standing 6’6” with a fastball that can touch 97, Williams has an intimidating mound presence. He attacks hitters with plus stuff and good command. He is working on a changeup to help him better handle left-handed batters which could further increase his ceiling.
Williams is 23 and turns 24 in July and could make his major league debut late this season or by 2024 depending on how aggressive Cleveland is. With ample pitching depth, the Guardians will likely want to see Williams continue to dominate the minor leagues before calling on him. He has front-end starter upside.
My Personal Ranking: SP10
Feature image by Michael Packard (@CollectingPack on Twitter) / Photography by Cliff Welch / Icon Sportswire