The first article I wrote was my Top 50 rookies to help you win your redraft league:
Since then there have been some injuries, player acquisitions, and well, just old fashioned news. As a result, this new list is not consistent with the order of the pitchers in the first article. This is the latest and greatest!
First thing you will notice is that, considering only 2019, relief pitchers have much more value. In a dynasty league, I would almost always completely punt relief pitchers in the first year due to their longevity and lack of stability. For example, I just partook in a startup dynasty draft. I saw current closers (or potential closers) like Pedro Strop and Cody Allen selected in the same rounds I was taking high end prospects such as A.J. Puk, Jarred Kelenic and Jesus Sanchez. I’ll work the wire for saves or struggle for one year rather than passing on the upside of a Top 50 prospect or even a young talent like Tyler O’Neill.
Before I get too much off topic, you’ll note that there are about 15-20 pitching prospects that are relevant or bordering on relevancy in most leagues. The rest of the list is for deeper formats. However, given that certain rotations are hurting and some teams have no surefire closer, there is a lot of opportunity for some relative unknowns to emerge.
There are a few situations where I can envision a rookie becoming a closer:
I would admit that all of these are against the odds, however, you will see that a rookie (or rookies) may have the opportunity to step up in these situations as a result of injuries or trades. I would also say, with the exception of the Diamondbacks, Angels, and Cubs, the rest of the teams have rookies that could earn saves simply as a result of outperforming the incumbents.
As for the rotation spots, I’d like to focus first on the Braves. Currently, Mike Foltynewicz, Mike Soroka, and Kevin Gausman are battling injuries with unknown severity. Teheran and Newcomb have shown performance issues or, at least, inconsistency. I see a path to starts for Gohara and Toussaint. The pitcher I like the most for upside is Kyle Wright—he is my sleeper pick to take off in 2019. It is crowded but I would not rule out starts from Bryse Wilson or even Allard. Well maybe not Allard, because you still have Max Fried, who no longer qualifies as a prospect, but who can’t be ignored in real life.
The next rotation I would like to focus on is the Padres. Currently, they have Joey Lucchesi and, I would like to hope, Matt Strahm in the rotation. The rest of them, well, they can keep the seat warm for the freight train of top prospects about to burst through. Logan Allen and Cal Quantrill should both get a chance to start this year—if they don’t, it will be an upset.
The third rotation I want to draw your attention to is currently full. Yusei Kikuchi is the new ace and is followed by Marco Gonzalez, Mike Leake, Wade LeBlanc and King Felix. Three of these pitchers clearly have a lower upside than Justin Dunn, Justus Sheffield, and Erik Swanson. Service time will play a part, but it will be a question of how long you can keep talent off the field?
Next, you have a rotation that is loaded at the top with Verlander and Cole. They also have Wade Miley who pitched well in 16 games last year, but had an ERA over 5.00 in both of the previous years. They also have McHugh and Peacock, who have experience in the pen and as starters. Three other young pitchers may have more talent—Framber Valdez, J.B. Bukauskas, and Cionel Perez. All three of the youngsters could swing from the pen to the rotation and I expect the Astros to let true performance win the battle. Lastly, you have Forrest Whitley. He surely does not have the permission of the Astros to pitch a full season’s worth of innings, but he will most definitely become a fixture in the rotation at some point this year. Regardless of role, I believe all the pitchers mentioned here will have a MLB impact this season.
As for the Pirates, Twins, and White Sox, there is a spot at the end of the rotation for Keller (or possibly others), Lewis Thorpe, and Dylan Cease. I believe it should be a matter of time and service time manipulation here. Conversely, there is no open spot for Triston McKenzie in the Indians rotation so he will likely need a trade or injury to see starts.
Speaking of injuries, the Angels and Cardinals have two of the most injury-plagued rotations, so I can see a number of the names on the list get a shot at starting throughout the year.
As an aside, Corbin Burnes would make the top 10 on this list if he had maintained rookie status.
Without further delay, here are the Top 75 pitchers to help you in 2019:
Top 75 rookie pitchers
|Rank||Player||Team||Opening Day Age||Highest Level||2019 Impact|
|Rank||Player||Team||Opening Day Age||Highest Level||2019 Impact|
|1||Alex Reyes||STL||24||MLB||High impact SP with innings cap or dominant RP|
|2||Forrest Whitley||HOU||21||Double-A||High impact SP with innings cap of approx 120 IP|
|3||Jesus Luzardo||OAK||21||Triple-A||High impact SP contributing late April with about a 150 IP cap|
|4||Brent Honeywell||TBR||23||Triple-A||High impact SP with about 130 IP cap in MLB|
|5||Yusei Kichuchi||SEA||27||N/A||Mid-impact SP that will likely hover around 160 IP|
|6||A.J. Puk||OAK||23||Double-A||High impact SP with about 100 IP cap on back end in MLB|
|7||Michael Soroka||ATL||21||MLB||High impact SP with injury concerns and competition|
|8||Josh James||HOU||25||MLB||High impact SP or long reliever - innings not a concern|
|9||Kyle Wright||ATL||22||MLB||High impact SP if given opportunity in a crowded yet injured rotation|
|10||Colin Poche||TBR||25||Triple-A||High leverage RP with elite K%|
|11||Logan Allen||SDP||21||Triple-A||Mid-impact SP with an uncertain promotion date - innings not a concern|
|12||Dylan Cease||CHW||23||Double-A||High impact SP with a call up after mid-season - innings not a concern|
|13||Touki Toussaint||ATL||22||MLB||High impact SP or long reliever|
|14||Chris Paddack||SDP||23||Double-A||High impact SP with innings limit of approx 100 IP in MLB and uncertain promotion date|
|15||Luiz Gohara||ATL||22||MLB||High variance play at SP with much competition - at least a RP immediately|
|16||Ray Black||SFG||28||MLB||High leverage RP with elite K% and a chance at saves if SFG make some trades|
|17||Ty Buttrey||LAA||25||MLB||Handcuff to Cody Allen|
|18||Taylor Widener||ARI||24||Triple-A||Med-high impact rotation option as early as the first half with no innings cap|
|19||Sandy Alcantara||MIA||23||MLB||SP useful in deeper leagues|
|20||David Paulino||TOR||25||MLB||Potential rotation option with minimal inning concerns|
|21||Sean Reid-Foley||TOR||23||MLB||Potential rotation option or high-leverage bullpen arm|
|22||Jon Duplantier||ARI||24||Double-A||Potential high impact SP with an uncertain promotion date and 100 IP limit|
|23||Mitch Keller||PIT||22||Triple-A||Med-High impact SP likely in the second half|
|24||Cal Quantil||SDP||24||Triple-A||Mid-impact SP with an uncertain promotion date - innings not a concern|
|25||Justin Dunn||SEA||23||Double-A||Potential spot starter or rotation option by mid-season|
|26||Jose De Leon||TBR||26||MLB||High variance/high upside SP or RP (or opener)|
|27||Kevin Ginkel||ARI||24||Triple-A||High leverage RP that has the potential to see saves if D-backs make trades|
|28||Framber Valdez||HOU||25||MLB||SP if a rotation spot opens or long RP|
|29||Enyel De Los Santos||PHI||23||MLB||Rotation fill-in or middle reliever that will be called on as soon as needed|
|30||Dennis Santana||LAD||22||MLB||Rotation fill-in or middle reliever that will be called on as soon as needed|
|31||Lewis Thorpe||MIN||23||Triple-A||Under the radar mid-high impact SP|
|32||Nick Neidert||MIA||22||Double-A||Medium impact SP for deeper leagues with no innings concern|
|33||Darwinzon Hernandez||BOS||22||Double-A||SP in the minors and could see some starts but could be a sneaky saves option|
|34||Triston McKenzie||CLE||21||Double-A||High impact rotation option in the event of a trade or injury|
|35||Bryse Wilson||ATL||21||MLB||Potential med-high impact SP or RP depending on injury to rotation options|
|36||Justus Sheffield||SEA||23||MLB||Potential spot starter or rotation option by mid-season but also could be a RP|
|37||Dillon Tate||BAL||24||Double-A||Opportunity in the starting rotation or save chances could emerge|
|38||Griffin Canning||LAA||22||Triple-A||Mid-impact SP waiting for a spot in an injury prone rotation - 100 IP max|
|39||J.B. Bukauskas||HOU||22||Double-A||Potential spot starter or RP depending on unknown needs|
|40||Cionel Perez||HOU||22||MLB||Likely mid-high leverage RP|
|41||Genesis Cabrera||STL||22||Triple-A||Likely high leverage RP or spot starter|
|42||Jonathan Loaisiga||NYY||24||MLB||Long reliever or fill-in SP for injury|
|43||Michael King||NYY||23||Triple-A||Long reliever or fill-in SP for injury|
|44||Dakaota Mekkes||CHC||24||Triple-A||Could be a sneaky high leverage RP and a non-zero chance at saves|
|45||Daniel Ponce De Leon||STL||27||MLB||Mid-high leverage RP with the chance to crack the rotation at some point|
|46||Jose Castillo||SDP||23||MLB||High leverage RP but currently injured (top 20 if not injured)|
|47||Ryan Helsley||STL||24||Triple-A||Likely mid-high leverage RP but chance to also be a mid-impact SP if rotation vacancy|
|48||Ian Hamilton||CHW||23||Triple-A||RP with upside to be used in high leverage situations but save opps unlikely|
|49||Gerson Bautista||SEA||23||MLB||Potentially high leverage RP without an outside chance at saves|
|50||Erik Swanson||SEA||25||Triple-A||Potential spot starter or rotation option by mid-season|
|51||Joe Palumbo||TEX||24||Double-A||High upside long shot to get starts in 2019, but the rotation is far from stellar|
|52||Taylor Hearn||PIT||24||Double-A||High upside long shot to start but could fill in at the back end of bullpen if recalled|
|53||Stephan Gonsalves||MIN||24||MLB||Deep league SP but needs to improve to stay relevant|
|54||Jose Suarez||LAA||21||Triple-A||High upside back up rotation arm or RP with high K%|
|55||Adbert Alzolay||CHC||24||Triple-A||Mid-impact SP will need an injury but innings cap not an issue|
|56||Zack Brown||MIL||24||Double-A||Mid-impact SP if rotation underperforms or low leverage RP|
|57||Dakota Hudson||STL||24||MLB||Mid-high leverage RP with unlikely path to the 8th or 9th inning|
|58||Williams Jerez||LAA||26||MLB||Mid-high leverage RP with unlikely path to the 8th or 9th inning|
|59||Trent Thornton||TOR||25||Triple-A||Mid-high leverage RP with unlikely path to the 8th or 9th inning; chance for some starts|
|60||Hector Perez||TOR||22||Double-A||Mid leverage RP if called up|
|61||Matthew Festa||SEA||25||MLB||Mid leverage RP|
|62||Nick Rumbelow||SEA||27||MLB||Mid leverage RP|
|63||Trevor Stephan||NYY||23||Double-A||Mid leverage RP if called up|
|64||James Bourque||WAS||25||Double-A||Mid leverage RP if called up|
|65||Art Warren||SEA||25||Double-A||Mid leverage RP if called up|
|66||Zack Littell||MIN||23||MLB||Likely path as a low leverage RP|
|67||Jorge Guzman||MIA||23||High-A||100mph fastball, only member of the list never to see Double-A, best chance in MLB as RP|
|68||Kolby Allard||ATL||21||MLB||Would need several injuries to see starts - likely long relief|
|69||Chance Adams||NYY||24||MLB||Likely low impact RP|
|70||Clay Holmes||PIT||25||Triple-A||Low impact SP or long reliever|
|71||J.T. Brubaker||PIT||25||Triple-A||Low impact SP or long reliever|
|72||Shaun Anderson||SFG||24||Triple-A||Low impact SP or long reliever|
|73||Jacob Nix||SDP||23||MLB||Low impact SP until others are promoted or long reliever|
|74||Peter Lambert||COL||21||Triple-A||Mid-low impact SP with no innings cap|
|75||Dean Deetz||HOU||25||MLB||RP likely used in low leverage|
Lastly, I’d like to focus a little bit on Colin Poche. I was admiring his stats from afar. They are unbelievable. He’s consistently struck out batters at an unfathomable clip. I’d just be saying the same thing as this great article so I’ll share the link here:
Needless to say, if you are consistently striking out batters 40% of the time, you are my best bet to be this year’s Josh Hader. He will be valuable in this year’s landscape. The Rays will have several dominant arms in the bullpen and it should be fun to see how they are used. As for the rotation, with the emergence of Morton and Honeywell, it may be back to a more traditional rotation this year. I would not bet the farm on it, don’t get me wrong. However, this could be good news for Beeks, Faria, or even De Leon.
Watch out for Ray Black in San Francisco and Jose Castillo (when healthy) in San Diego as they can both rack up strikeouts. I see Castillo as the future dominant closer and if you doubt it, there are some convincing arguments here:
Stay tuned for later this week for the Top 200 Pitchers for Dynasty Leagues.