The minor league season regular ended on Monday, and with it we will be getting into prospect rankings starting in early October. As a lead up to that, I have been looking briefly at each position's rankings from last offseason, along with some prospects who have jumped into the conversation for this upcoming offseason's list. Up today is the second part of the starting pitcher prospect list, #11-25.
11. Daniel Norris - Tigers (MLB - Graduate)
Norris made the Blue Jays' opening day roster this year, but after struggling with his consistency through five starts, was sent back to AAA Buffalo. He returned to the majors shortly after being the main return in the David Price trade, and has been in the Tigers' rotation ever since. There's going to be some ups and downs with Norris, especially when it comes to his control. The raw stuff still gives a mid-rotation ceiling, but it will come with some risk to your WHIP.
12. Mark Appel - Astros (AAA)
Appel has split the season between AA and AAA, and he's flashed the potential that made him the top overall pick in some starts, including a 10 strikeout, three hit outing over seven innings on August 1st. However, the overall results don't look amazing, the performance from start to start has been up and down, and generally has been frustrating prospect followers. He reminds me a lot of Francisco Liriano from his first couple years in the majors: some starts show that he can be the ace you were hoping for, and then he puts up a 3 inning, 7 walk, 9 run outing without a strikeout somehow in the next one. The upside remains, but be ready for those starts.
13. Steven Matz - Mets (MLB)
Matz spent the first three months of the season at AAA before being called up to the Mets' rotation. Unfortunately, he only made two starts before hitting the disabled list. He returned on Sunday, and had his "worst" start as a major leaguer, going just 5 1/3 innings with 2 runs and 6 base runners allowed, along with 6 strikeouts. It's been a small sample so far, but he's established himself as a potential top 30 starting pitcher going forward.
14. Aaron Sanchez - Blue Jays (MLB - Graduate)
Sanchez made the Opening Day rotation for the Blue Jays, but was a bit inconsistent (42 K against 37 walks in 66 innings over 11 starts) before missing a month due to a lat injury. When he returned to the team, he was moved back to the bullpen, and it is looking more and more like it will be a permanent move for the righty. Unless he ends up as a closer, relief kills a lot of his value for fantasy owners.
15. Jameson Taillon - Pirates (Disabled List)
Taillon was expected to return from Tommy John surgery this year, but ended up needing hernia surgery and missed the rest of the season as well. It's been nearly two years since Taillon pitched outside of an extended spring training game, and really could be a wild card for fantasy owners moving forward.
16. Luis Severino - Yankees (MLB - Graduate)
Severino rocketed from AA to the Majors this year, and has been excellent in his six starts in the bigs so far, posting a 2.04 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched. There are still questions about whether he can handle a 200 inning workload or not, but the stuff remains electric and would provide fantasy value as a closer or a 180-inning starting pitcher.
17. Hunter Harvey - Orioles (Disabled List)
Harvey has not pitched at all this year due to injuries, but is anticipated to head to the Arizona Fall League to try and get some innings under his belt for the year. Until we see him out and throwing, it's tough to give him an honest ranking, but because he doesn't have the same roster limitations as Dylan Bundy, he may end up ahead of him on the Orioles' list this offseason.
18. Henry Owens - Red Sox (MLB - Likely to Graduate)
Owens has made six starts in the majors so far, two of which were complete blow ups on the score sheet. His highest strikeout total came in one of them, as he struck out 10 against the Mariners, but also allowed 7 earned runs and 10 hits. He's another pitcher who can be a mid-rotation type, but it may come with some risk of blow-ups from start to start.
19. Marco Gonzales - Cardinals (MLB)
After making five starts and five relief appearances in 2014, Gonzales looked like a potential rotation candidate should the Cardinals need starting pitching during the year. However, an injury in May led to two months on the disabled list, and Gonzales has only made one start in the bigs, a 2+ inning outing that led to his return to AAA last week. He seems more like a low 3/high 4 type starting pitcher, providing solid production but nothing spectacular.
20. Alex Meyer - Twins (AAA)
Talk about a lost year. Meyer began the year in the rotation, struggled mightily and was moved to the bullpen. He pitched reasonably well there in his first go around, and was called up to pitch in the Twins' bullpen. However, he made two mop-up appearances, and was after allowing five earned in 2+ innings, was sent back to AAA. The organization doesn't seem to really know what they should do with him at this point, as he is working primarily as a two-inning middle reliever. It's been a quick fall for Meyer's prospect value, and he seems like a candidate to be traded this offseason.
21. Jake Thompson - Phillies (AA)
The Phillies also acquired Thompson as a part of the Cole Hamels trade, making it two years in a row that Thompson has been traded at the deadline. He's pitched well since the trade, posting a 1.80 ERA with 34 strikeouts, 12 walks and just 33 hits allowed in 45 innings pitched. He could be a candidate for the Phillies' rotation in 2016, and can be a top 50 starting pitcher.
22. Tyler Kolek - Marlins (A)
Reports on Kolek from this year have not been particularly complimentary, and the results appear to match up with that. He struck out only 81 with 61 walks in 108 innings pitched, and it seems like he could take quite a while to develop into a top starting pitching prospect again.
23. Braden Shipley - Diamondbacks (AA)
Shipley is another starter who has seen a bit of a drop in his strikeout total, and coupled it with an increased walk rate. I can see the Diamondbacks moving him up to AAA for 2016, and if he pitches well, could see a call up by midseason.
24. Alex Reyes - Cardinals (AA)
Do you like velocity? Reyes has been consistently at the cusp of triple-digits on his fastball, and has had some excellent outings between High-A and AA. He's had nine or more strikeouts six times, and has done better on his walks since arriving in AA. It's another top prospect for the Cardinals, and we could see him in St. Louis by the end of 2016.
25. Jeff Hoffman - Rockies (AA)
Hoffman was the key prospect sent to the Rockies in the Troy Tulowitzki trade, and came back this year from Tommy John surgery right before the all-star break.There are some questions about whether Hoffman can reach his ceiling, but he should still settle in as a mid-rotation starter in the worst-case.
Some Potential Names for 2016's List
Grant Holmes - Dodgers
Sean Newcomb - Angels
Brady Aiken - Indians
Carson Fulmer - White Sox
Dillon Tate - Rangers
Sean Manaea - Athletics
Brett Honeywell - Rays
Blake Snell - Rays
Duane Underwood - Cubs
Tyler Beede - Giants
Kolby Allard - Braves