MLB Prospects Update: Hottest, Coldest Pitchers at Every Minor League Level
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
After undergoing Tommy John surgery in late 2011 and logging only 28.1 innings last season in the minor leagues last year, Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson is on pace to make his major league debut before the All-Star break.
The 22nd overall draft pick in 2009, Gibson has pitched extremely well recently for Triple-A Rochester in the International League and has now thrown a complete game shutout in two of his last three starts.
There was some speculation that the 25-year-old right-hander might be recalled to start Friday’s game against the Tigers, as manager Ron Gardenhire stated that Gibson was one of three options being considered—P.J. Walters and Sam Deduno the others.
Although the organization ultimately decided to go with Deduno, via Dustin Morse, Twins director of baseball communications, there’s no question that Gibson’s recent success at Triple-A has him on the verge of a big league promotion.
Here’s a look at the rest of the hottest and coldest pitchers at every minor league level.
RHP Miguel Almonte (Royals); May 7, 2013, against Lakewood BlueClaws
Miguel Almonte, RHP, Kansas City Royals
43.1 IP, 2.91 ERA, .221 BAA, 39/17 K/BB (8 GS)
The 20-year-old right-hander has been exceptional over his last four starts: 25.1 IP, 11 H, 3 ER, 26/12 K/BB; video from Almonte’s May 7 start can be seen above.
Rafael De Paula, RHP, New York Yankees
39.1 IP, 2.75 ERA, .174 BAA, 69/17 K/BB (8 GS)
De Paula currently leads all minor league pitchers with 69 strikeouts this season and owns the highest K/9 (15.79) of all pitchers who’ve thrown at least 30 innings. The 22-year-old right-hander has registered at least 10 strikeouts in four of his eight starts this season.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
34 IP, 2.12 ERA, .123 BAA, 50/21 K/BB (8 GS)
The 6’7” right-hander has been absolutely dominate to begin his full-season debut and is yet to allow more than two earned runs in a start. Last three starts: 14 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 27/8 K/BB.
Josh Hader, LHP, Baltimore Orioles
36.2 IP, 1.96 ERA, .165 BAA, 39/18 K/BB (7 GS)
Selected in the 19th round of the 2012 draft, Hader, a 6’3” left-hander, has been highly impressive so far in his full-season debut and has now fanned nine batters in back-to-back starts.
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
47 IP, 4.02 ERA, .237 BAA, 60/13 K/BB (9 GS)
After a shaky start to the season, Stephenson has really put things together over his last three starts: 19 IP, 9 H, 3 ER, 25/1 K/BB.
Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies
54.1 IP, 1.66 ERA, .137 WHIP, 51/25 K/BB (9 GS)
The 2012 supplemental first-rounder continues to impress for Low-A Asheville. Honestly, he’s entirely too good to stay at the level for more than a few more starts.
Rainy Lara, RHP, New York Mets
46 IP, 1.17 ERA, .192 BAA, 47/5 K/BB (7 GS)
A 6’4”, 180-pound right-hander, Lara, 22, enjoyed his best start of the season on May 16: 8 IP, 2 H, 9/1 K/BB.
Walker Weickel, RHP, San Diego Padres
29.2 IP, 5.46 ERA, .313 BAA, 20/14 K/BB (7 GS)
Weickel had strung together a few strong starts before his clunker on Sunday: 3.1 IP, 9 H, 7 ER, 4/2 K/BB.
Ismael Guillon, LHP, Cincinnati Reds
33.1 IP, 8.91 ERA, .269 BAA, 50/42 K/BB
Coming off a breakout campaign in 2012, Guillon has continued to miss plenty of bats with 50 strikeouts in 33.1 innings, but has also seen his control deteriorate in a hurry.
Austin Brice, RHP, Miami Marlins
34.2 IP, 5.45 ERA, .265 BAA, 30/25 K/BB (8 GS)
An ongoing model of inconsistency, Brice has allowed three or more earned runs in five of his eight starts this season.
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Andrew Heaney, LHP, Miami Marlins
4.1 IP, 4 H, 9/2 K/BB (1 GS)
Heaney was sharp in his 2013 debut on Monday after being sidelined with a lat injury for the first quarter of the season.
Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets
44.2 IP, 2.62 ERA, .255 BAA, 48/13 K/BB (8 GS)
It’s safe to say that the 6’6” right-hander has righted the ship after he was shelled for seven runs over three innings on April 18. Since then: 32.2 IP, 29 H, 4 ER, 33/6 K/BB.
Garrett Gould, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
37.1 IP, 6.27 ERA, .298 BAA, 33/11 K/BB (8 GS)
After an ugly start to the season while repeating the High-A level, Gould appears to have found a groove over his last three outings: 17.2 IP, 12 H, 3 ER, 21/3 K/BB.
Robbie Ray, LHP, Washington Nationals
48.1 IP, 2.42 ERA, .173 BAA, 64/23 K/BB (9 GS)
After posting an ugly 6.56 ERA in 105.2 innings last year for High-A Potomac, the left-hander has seemingly been a different pitcher while repeating the level this season.
Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
47.1 IP, 3.42 ERA, .219 BAA, 58/9 K/BB (9 GS)
After lasting only two-thirds of an inning on May 14, the 6’5” right-hander bounced back in style in his start on Saturday: 7 IP, 5 H, ER, 9/0 K/BB.
Justin Nicolino, LHP, Miami Marlins
46.2 IP, 2.89 ERA, .272 BAA, 25/8 K/BB (9 GS)
The 21-year-old southpaw has been inconsistent at times this season, but has been really, really sharp over this last three starts: 17 IP, 10 H, ER, 13/3 K/BB.
D.J. Baxendale, RHP, Minnesota Twins
50.1 IP, 1.07 ERA, .172 BAA, 44/9 K/BB (8 GS)
Selected in the 10th round of the 2012 draft out of Arkansas, the 6’2” right-hander has surpassed all expectations as a starter to open the season. Last three starts: 21 IP, 9 H, 19/3 K/BB.
Tyler Gagnon, RHP, Colorado Rockies
43.2 IP, 5.98 ERA, .278 BAA, 25/14 K/BB (8 GS)
Since graduating from the complex levels late last season, Gagnon's K/9 has been on a steep decline.
John Lamb, LHP, Kansas City Royals
34 IP, 6.35 ERA, .279 BAA, 27/9 K/BB (7 GS)
Lamb got off to a great start in his return from Tommy John surgery that cost him most of the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but has struggled over his last three outings: 15 IP, 21 H, 17 ER, 12/4 K/BB.
Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals
37 IP, 4.86 ERA, .229 BAA, 48/17 K/BB (8 GS)
After posting 29 strikeouts through his first 18.2 frames, Zimmer hasn’t missed nearly as many bats over his last two outings: 8 IP, 11 H, 7 ER, 8/5 K/BB.
A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals
42 IP, 4.50 ERA, .271 BAA, 44/11 K/BB (8 GS)
Cole dominated over his first two May starts, but turned in his worst performance of the season on May 15: 5 IP, 6 H (2 HR), 6 ER, 3/2 K/BB.
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Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
48.2 IP, 1.11 ERA, .198 BAA, 68/18 K/BB (9 GS)
Bradley has without a doubt been the top pitcher in the minors so far this season and has skipped a beat following an early promotion to Double-A. Over his four Double-A starts: 20 IP, 0.90 ERA, .169 BAA, 25/8 K/BB.
Ross Stripling, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
45.2 IP, 2.76 ERA, .220 BAA, 49/12 K/BB (8 GS)
Selected in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Texas A&M, Stripling’s success has carried over to Double-A following an early-season promotion. Two Double-A starts: 12 IP, 13 H, 3 ER, 15/1 K/BB.
Yordano Ventura , RHP, Kansas City Royals
40.1 IP, 1.79 ERA, .169 BAA, 56/14 K/BB (8 GS)
The wiry-thin, hard-throwing right-hander is making a strong case to receive a crack at the team’s starting rotation by the All-Star break. Last four starts: 22 IP, 8 H, 2 ER, 33/8 K/BB.
Kevin Gausman, RHP, Baltimore Orioles
46.1 IP, 3.11 ERA, .246 BAA, 49/5 K/BB (8 GS)
Gausman doesn’t have much left to prove in the minor leagues, as he’s posted a ridiculous 49/5 K/BB through eight starts this season. Last two starts: 10.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 17/4 K/BB.
Jose Ramirez, RHP, New York Yankees
24 IP, 1.50 ERA, .133 BAA, 33/5 K/BB (5 G/4 GS)
The 23-year-old right-hander has really impressed this season with his above-average command and knack for missing bats.
Taylor Jordan, RHP, Washington Nationals
46.1 IP, 0.97 ERA, .212 BAA, 41/8 K/BB (8 GS)
Selected in the ninth round of the 2009 draft, Jordan has been slow to develop but is currently putting things together in a big way this season. Since his promotion to Double-A: 10 IP, 5 H, 12/2 K/BB.
Marcus Stroman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays
5 IP, 4 H, 6/1 K/BB (1 GS)
Stroman showcased his electric arsenal in his start on Sunday, which was also his first appearance since serving a 50-game suspension after testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance late last season.
Taijuan Walker, RHP, Seattle Mariners
52 IP, 2.77 ERA, .197 BAA, 57/25 K/BB (9 GS)
He’s still a can’t-miss pitching prospect and one of the best in the game, but he’s coming off his worst start of the season on Sunday: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 5/2 K/BB.
Anthony Meo, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks
35.1 IP, 6.37 ERA, .252 BAA, 17/25 K/BB (8 GS)
After struggling through his full-season debut in the California League last season, Meo is off to an inauspicious start at Double-A and has allowed at least four earned runs in five of his eight outings. After his last start (2.2 IP, 4 ER, 0/5 K/BB), the right-hander was placed on the seven-day disabled list.
Stolmy Pimentel, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
52.2 IP, 3.35 ERA, .239 BAA, 42/23 K/BB (9 GS)
After allowing only one earned run over his first five starts (30.1 IP), the 23-year-old right-hander has fallen on hard times his last three times out: 17.1 IP, 24 H, 17 ER, 10/7 K/BB.
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Michael Wacha, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
52.2 IP, 2.05 ERA, .187 BAA, 34/15 K/BB (9 GS)
After dominating during spring training in major league camp, Wacha’s success has translated at Triple-A (to say the least), as the 6’6” right-hander is yet to allow more than two earned runs in a start this season.
Kyle Gibson, RHP, Minnesota Twins
52.2 IP, 3.25 ERA, .237 BAA, 46/14 K/BB (9 GS)
It shouldn’t be long until Gibson gets a crack at the big league rotation, as the 25-year-old right-hander has fired a complete game shutout in two of his last three starts.
Vic Black, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
24 IP, 11 SV, 2.63 ERA, .167 BAA, 33/11 K/BB (19 G)
Regarded as the Pirates’ future closer, Black, a supplemental first-rounder in 2009, is making a strong case for a first-half call-up with 11 saves and a 12.55 K/9 so far this season.
Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
48 IP, 3.75 ERA, .214 BAA, 35/23 K/BB (9 GS)
Now that Jarred Cosart has seemingly figured things out, Cole gets the honor of the most frustrating pitcher in the minor leagues. His last start was his worst of the season, and maybe of his career: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 8 ER, 4/3 K/BB.
Adam Morgan, LHP, Philadelphia Phillies
41.2 IP, 4.97 ERA, .283 BAA, 29/12 K/BB (8 GS)
After registering a 3.35 ERA with 169/39 K/BB in 158.2 innings across two levels last season, the 23-year-old left-hander has struggled to adjust to Triple-A so far. Last five starts: 22.2 IP, 36 H, 20 ER, 16/7 K/BB.
Daniel Corcino, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
39.2 IP, 7.03 ERA, .325 BAA, 29/24 K/BB (9 G/8 GS)
Granted he’s only 22 years old, but Corcino’s first exposure at Triple-A has been disastrous, as he’s now allowed 14 earned runs on 26 hits and 13 walks over his last four starts.