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MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Pitchers at Every Minor League Level

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterJune 18, 2016

MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Pitchers at Every Minor League Level

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    Despite leaving his start on May 8 following an awkward slide into second base, Archie Bradley was back on the mound Monday night.

    In the third Double-A start of his promising career, the 6’4”, 225-pound right-hander dominated a talented Jacksonville lineup—one that includes the likes of Christian Yelich, Jake Marisnick and J.T. Realmuto. Throwing six scoreless innings, Bradley allowed only two hits and three walks while fanning nine batters.

    The 20-year-old is off to an outstanding start this season with a 1.05 ERA and .193 BAA over 42.2 innings between High-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile. Additionally, his 63 strikeouts currently ranks as the highest total in the minor leagues.

    Here’s an updated look at the rest of the hottest and coldest pitchers at every minor-league level.

Low-A

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    Hottest

    Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies

    48.1 IP, 1.49 ERA, .118 BAA, 45/22 K/BB (8 GS)

    Although his command leaves something to be desired, there’s no question that Butler is too good for Low-A. Last two starts: 13.1 IP, 2 H, 12/5 K/BB.

     

    Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

    40 IP, 4.05 ERA, .252 BAA, 51/12 K/BB (8 GS)

    Stephenson scuffled during the first month of the season, but has been nearly unhittable in each of his last two starts: 12 IP, 5 H, 16 K/0 BB.

     

    Rafael De Paula, RHP, New York Yankees

    33.1 IP, 2.70 ERA, .178 BAA, 58/16 K/BB (7 GS)

    Currently second among all minor-league pitchers with 58 strikeouts. Recorded double-digit punch-outs for the third time this season in his latest start: 6 IP, 3 H, ER, 12/1 K/BB.

     

    Cam Bedrosian, RHP, Los Angeles Angels

    19.1 IP, 6.98 ERA, .257 BAA, 22/8 K/BB (9 G/2 GS)

    Bedrosian gave up 14 earned runs in his first two starts of the season, but has been far more effective since moving to the bullpen. As a reliever: 14.1 IP, 0.63 ERA, .163 BAA, 19/2 K/BB.

     

    Michael Ynoa, RHP, Oakland Athletics

    22 IP, 1.23 ERA, .175 BAA, 23/7 K/BB (7 GS)

    An expensive international signing in 2008, Ynoa was plagued by injuries and limited to only 39.2 innings over the last four seasons. The 6’7” right-hander hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in a start this season.

     

    Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

    27 IP, 2.00 ERA, .216 BAA, 25/6 K/BB (6 GS)

    Guerrieri’s prospect stock continues to soar thanks to an excellent start to his full-season debut. Absolutely dominant in his last start: 5 IP, H, 10/2 K/BB.

     

    Max Fried, LHP, San Diego Padres

    30.2 IP, 2.35 ERA, .200 BAA, 2.85 GO/AO, 34/15 K/BB (6 GS)

    2012 first-rounder already showcases lots of polish and a legitimate feel for his deep arsenal. Last two starts: 11.2 IP, 4 H, 12/5 K/BB.

     
     

    Coldest

    Ismael Guillon, LHP, Cincinnati Reds

    23.2 IP, 9.89 ERA, .267 BAA, 39/32 K/BB (7 G/6 GS)

    The 21-year-old left-hander has the stuff to miss lots of bats—at least in the low minors—but his control and command has been terrible this season. He’s already walked more batters this season than he did in 75.2 innings in 2012.

     

    Zach Bird, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

    19.2 IP, 8.24 ERA, .254 BAA, 16/22 K/BB (8 G/3 GS)

    Shifted to the bullpen after three rough starts, the 6’4”, 205-pound right-hander is extremely raw and will need lots of seasoning in the minors.

     

    Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays

    26.1 IP, 8.54 ERA, .313 BAA, 21/16 K/BB (8 G/7 GS)

    The 2011 bonus baby’s really disappointed so far in his full-season debut, but turned in the best start of his career on Monday: 4 IP, H, 5/3 K/BB.

     

    Pat Light, RHP, Boston Red Sox

    21 IP, 7.71 ERA, .326 BAA, 22/9 K/BB (6 G/5 GS)

    The 37th overall pick in the 2012 draft, Light was absolutely shelled in his last start: 3.1 IP, 9 H (2 HR), 8 ER, 3/2 K/BB.

High-A

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    Hottest

    Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

    38 IP, 2.61 ERA, .254 BAA, 38/13 K/BB (7 GS)

    Aside from one rough outing on April 18 in which he allowed seven earned runs over three innings, Syndergaard, 20, has overpowered Florida State League hitters. Last four starts: 26 IP, 20 H, 2 ER, 23/6 K/BB.

     

    Jake Barrett, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

    13 IP, 8 SV, 1.38 ERA, .130 BAA, 20/2 K/BB (13 G)

    With a legitimate plus fastball-slider combination, it’s conceivable that Barrett will be fast tracked to the major leagues this season. The 6’3” right-hander has been utterly dominant as the High-A Visalia closer.

     

    D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Minnesota Twins

    43.1 IP, 1.25 ERA, .179 BAA, 41/7 K/BB (7 GS)

    Converted from a reliever to starter before the 2013 season, Baxendale has surpassed all expectations with his red-hot start at High-A Fort Myers. Last two starts: 14 IP, 6 H, 16/1 K/BB.

     

    Kyle Smith, RHP, Kansas City Royals

    37.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, .209 BAA, 38/14 K/BB (7 GS)

    Coming off ridiculously good professional debut last season in which he registered a 2.86 ERA and 98/21 K/BB in 72.1 innings across two levels, Smith has quickly emerged as one of the better pitching prospects at the level.

     

    A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals

    37 IP, 3.65 ERA, .267 BAA, 41/9 K/BB (7 GS)

    Admittedly one of my favorite pitching prospects in the low minors, Cole has noticeably improved in his second taste of High-A this season. Last two starts: 11 IP, 9 H, ER, 16/3 K/BB.

     

    Coldest

    Jose Urena, RHP, Miami Marlins

    37.2 IP, 5.02 ERA, .247 BAA, 29/9 K/BB (8 G/7 GS)

    Urena, 21, still requires some projection, but there’s a lot to like about the right-hander. Turned in his worst outing of the year on Monday: 4 IP, 11 H, 6 ER, 3/1 K/BB.

     

    John Lamb, LHP, Kansas City Royals

    28 IP, 5.79 ERA, .278 BAA, 19/9 K/BB (6 GS)

    Limited to only 48 innings over the last two seasons while recovering from Tommy John surgery, the once promising left-hander has tailed off as of late following a solid opening month. Last two starts: 9 IP, 14 H, 11 ER, 4/4 K/BB.

     

    Sam Selman, LHP, Kansas City Royals

    30.1 IP, 5.93 ERA, .229 BAA, 25/28 K/BB (7 GS)

    The 2012 Pioneer League pitcher of the year, Selman was bumped directly to High-A and has struggled to make adjustments in the early going. Last three starts: 13 IP, 11 H, 11 ER, 10/13 K/BB.

Double-A

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    This week's installment features only the hottest Double-A pitchers because, well, there's a lot of them... Enjoy.

     

    Neil Ramirez, RHP, Texas Rangers

    43 IP, 2.93 ERA, .152 BAA, 55/18 K/BB (8 GS)

    Coming off a down year in which he registered a 6.28 ERA across two levels, Ramirez has been a strikeout machine back at Double-A. Last two starts: 13.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 20/1 K/BB.

     

    Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

    42.2 IP, 1.05 ERA, .193 BAA, 63/16 K/BB (8 GS)

    After dominating in the hitter-friendly California League to open the season, the 6’4”, 225-pound right-hander has been even more impressive over three Double-A starts: 14 IP, 7 H, ER, 20/6 K/BB.

     

    Matt Barnes, RHP, Boston Red Sox

    31 IP, 4.65 ERA, .282 BAA, 38/12 K/BB (7 GS)

    Barnes has been inconsistent in his first exposure at Double-A, but has now strung together three straight solid starts: 17 IP, 11 H, 2 ER, 21/6 K/BB.


    Sean Nolin, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays

    9.1 IP, 1.93 ERA, .278 BAA, 11/3 K/BB (2 GS)

    After a shaky first start of the season, the 6’5” left-hander was much sharper his last time out: 6 IP, 4 H, 8/2 K/BB.

     

    Jose Ramirez, RHP, New York Yankees

    19 IP, 1.42 ERA, .123 BAA, 26/4 K/BB (4 G/3 GS)

    Coming off a breakout 2012 campaign at High-A Tampa, Ramirez has been extremely impressive in all four outings this season.

     

    Alex Wood, LHP, Atlanta Braves

    44 IP, 0.82 ERA, .190 BAA, 45/11 K/BB (8 GS)

    Wood has been excellent this season despite making the jump from Low-A to Double-A. The two earned runs he allowed on Tuesday marks only the second time he’s been scored on in a start this season.

     

    Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

    44.2 IP, 2.82 ERA, .229 BAA, 47/16 K/BB (8 GS)

    Having struggled over his four previous starts (20.2 IP, 26 H, 12 ER), Taillon returned to form in his outing on Sunday: 6 IP, 2 H, 8/3 K/BB.

     

    Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners

    47.1 IP, 2.09 ERA, .174 BAA, 52/23 K/BB (8 GS)

    He’s been hit around more in recent outings, but has also sharpened his command with only five walks over his last 18.1 innings.

     

    Anthony Ranaudo, RHP, Boston Red Sox

    39 IP, 1.38 ERA, .172 BAA, 41/10 K/BB (7 GS)

    Coming off his first shaky outing of the season, Ranaudo bounced back with six scoreless innings on Sunday. It marked the third time this season that the 6’7” right-hander has gone five or more innings without allowing an earned run.

     

    Wilmer Font, RHP, Texas Rangers

    18 IP, 6 SV, 0.50 ERA, .103 BAA, 26/12 K/BB (13 G)

    Font has been lights-out as the Double-A closer in his first full season as a reliever.

Triple-A

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    Hottest

    Alex Colome, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

    44.1 IP, 2.84 ERA, .209 BAA, 51/20 K/BB (8 GS)

    Another talented arm housed by the Rays at Triple-A Durham. Last two starts: 12.2 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 21/5 K/BB.

     

    James Paxton, LHP, Seattle Mariners

    36.2 IP, 3.93 ERA, .268 BAA, 44/17 K/BB (8 GS)

    A notorious slow starter, Paxton has seemingly righted the ship over his last four starts: 20.1 IP, 17 H, 4 ER, 27/7 K/BB.

     

    Brian Flynn, LHP, Miami Marlins

    47 IP, 2.11 ERA, .216 BAA, 50/13 K/BB (8 GS)

    After walking six batters in his last start on May 7, the 6’7” left-hander was outstanding in his follow-up outing on Sunday: 6 IP, 5 H, ER, 9/0 K/BB.

     

    Sonny Gray, RHP, Oakland Athletics

    37 IP, 2.19 ERA, .230 BAA, 33/17 K/BB (6 GS)

    Gray has resuscitated his prospect stock with a great start to the 2013 season at Triple-A Sacramento. Expect to see him in the majors at some point this season. Last three starts: 21 IP, CG, 15 H, 2 ER, 19/9 K/BB.

     

    Jarred Cosart, RHP, Houston Astros

    39 IP, 2.08 ERA, .191 BAA, 43/17 K/BB (8 G/7 GS)

    Call it a gut feeling, but I think we’ll see Cosart in the major leagues by the end of June. Last three starts: 17 IP, 12 H, 2 ER, 20/8 K/BB.

     

    Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

    40.2 IP, 1.99 ERA, .189 BAA, 24/13 K/BB (7 GS)

    Wacha isn’t piling up strikeouts as he did last season during his professional debut, but the 6’6” right-hander has been highly effective thanks to plus command of three pitches.

     

    Danny Salazar, RHP, Cleveland Indians

    38.2 IP, 2.33 ERA, .207 BAA, 56/13 K/BB (8 GS)

    After dominating at the Double-A level to open the season, Salazar was promoted to Triple-A Columbus and impressed in his first start: 5 IP, 2 H, 5/3 K/BB. He’s already on the 40-man roster, so expect the hard-throwing right-hander to contribute at the major-league level in some capacity this season.

     

    Coldest

    Andre Rienzo, RHP, Chicago White Sox

    37 IP, 8.27 ERA, .308 BAA, 33/17 K/BB (8 GS)

    After a breakout 2012 campaign, the Brazilian right-hander has really struggled so far at Triple-A Charlotte. Rienzo has allowed three or more earned runs in six of his eight starts.

     

    Johnny Hellweg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

    32.2 IP, 4.41 ERA, .197 BAA, 1.63 GO/AO, 31/25 K/BB (7 GS)

    As his .197 BAA suggests, the 6’9” right-hander is naturally tough to barrel. That said, his struggles this season are the result of poor fastball command. Last two starts: 8.2 IP, 6 H, 7 ER, 5/8 K/BB.

     

    Tyler Skaggs, LHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

    37.2 IP, 6.21 ERA, .275 BAA, 39/15 K/BB (7 GS)

    Although Skaggs’ stuff and command has varied between starts, he’s also been victimized by the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League ballparks and environment. 

     

    Chris Heston, RHP, San Francisco Giants

    43.2 IP, 6.18 ERA, .344 BAA, 42/15 K/BB (8 GS)

    Like Skaggs, Heston has been hit around in the PCL with 62 hits allowed in 43.2 innings. The good news is that he’s maintained favorable strikeout (8.66 K/9) and walk (3.09 BB/9) rates.

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