Bleacher Report's MLB 25 in '25: Predicting the Top 25 Pitchers in 2025

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2021

Bleacher Report's MLB 25 in '25: Predicting the Top 25 Pitchers in 2025

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Welcome to B/R's MLB 25 in '25 rankings!

    In the coming weeks, we'll take a crack at predicting who the 25 best players will be at each position in five years, during the 2025 season.

    Loyal readers will remember we did something similar in 2015 with our "20 for '20" series.

    That edition had a few hits (see: Cole, Gerrit) and a few swings and misses (see: Harvey, Matt), and there will be some whiffs this time around. That's just the nature of the beast.

    However, I like to think I've grown a good deal as a talent evaluator in those five years, so hopefully this one is more hit than miss.

    Players are ranked according to their upside, path to playing time, production and projectable tools. Ages refer to how old a player will be July 1, 2025.

    Along with analysis on the 25 pitchers selected, you'll find a list of the next 25 who fell just outside of the rankings. We also predicted the top 15 pitching prospects for 2025, complete with a college standout who is a 2021 draft prospect.

    This is going to be a lot of fun, and I look forward to discussing my picks in the app throughout the process.

    Let's get started.

                                                 

    Catch up on our MLB 25 in '25 series: Catchers, First Basemen, Second Basemen, Third Basemen, Shortstops, Outfielders

Top 15 Pitching Prospects in 2025

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    Kumar Rocker
    Kumar RockerWade Payne/Associated Press

    A big part of this process was projecting prospects into MLB roles. As such, whittling down the list enabled us to predict who will be the 15 best pitching prospects in 2025:

    • 1. Kumar Rocker, Vanderbilt (2021 draft prospect)
    • 2. Nick Bitsko, Tampa Bay Rays
    • 3. Jaden Hill, LSU (2021 draft prospect)
    • 4. Jack Leiter, Vanderbilt (2021 draft prospect)
    • 5. Matthew Allan, New York Mets
    • 6. Andrew Painter, Calvary Christian Academy, Fla. (2021 draft prospect)
    • 7. Blake Walston, Arizona Diamondbacks
    • 8. Ethan Hankins, Cleveland
    • 9. Mick Abel, Philadelphia Phillies
    • 10. Quinn Priester, Pittsburgh Pirates
    • 11. Jackson Jobe, Heritage Hall HS, Okla. (2021 draft prospect)
    • 12. Jared Kelley, Chicago White Sox
    • 13. Ty Madden, Texas (2021 draft prospect)
    • 14. Alex Santos, Houston Astros
    • 15. Jared Jones, Pittsburgh Pirates  

Next 25

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    Dustin May
    Dustin MayTony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Since there are five times as many starting catchers as there are catchers and infield positions, here is a look at the next 25 players if the list were to be expanded to 50. Players are listed alphabetically:

    • Sandy Alcantara, Miami Marlins
    • Jose Berrios, Minnesota Twins
    • Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers
    • Griffin Canning, Los Angeles Angels
    • Reid Detmers, Los Angeles Angels
    • Josiah Gray, Los Angeles Dodgers
    • DL Hall, Baltimore Orioles
    • Emerson Hancock, Seattle Mariners
    • Spencer Howard, Philadelphia Phillies
    • Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates
    • Jackson Kowar, Kansas City Royals
    • Matthew Liberatore, St. Louis Cardinals
    • Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati Reds
    • Daniel Lynch, Kansas City Royals
    • Brailyn Marquez, Chicago Cubs
    • German Marquez, Colorado Rockies
    • Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers
    • Shane McClanahan, Tampa Bay Rays
    • Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays
    • Chris Paddack, San Diego Padres
    • Clarke Schmidt, New York Yankees
    • Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals
    • Blake Snell, San Diego Padres
    • Framber Valdez, Houston Astros
    • Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves

Nos. 25-21

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    Zac Gallen
    Zac GallenDavid J. Phillip/Associated Press

    25. Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers (2025 Age: 27)

    A two-way prospect in high school who was committed to Loyola Marymount to play baseball and basketball, Manning has taken off since turning his full attention to the diamond. With a strong 6'6" frame, three plus pitches and advanced command, he ticks all of the boxes to be a really good No. 2 starter behind another Detroit Tigers prospect who we'll get to in a moment.

                            

    24. Logan Gilbert, Seattle Mariners (2025 Age: 28)

    The No. 14 pick in the 2018 draft after a stellar junior season at Stetson Universitythe same Florida program that produced Jacob deGrom and Corey Kluber—Gilbert rose all the way to Double-A in his first professional season in 2019. He finished 10-5 with a 2.13 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and 165 strikeouts in 135 innings, and he has the stuff and pitchability to be the future ace in Seattle.

                    

    23. Forrest Whitley, Houston Astros (2025 Age: 27)

    After a confounding 2019 season removed some of the shine from Whitley's prospect star, the hard-throwing right-hander seemed to right the ship in the Arizona Fall League with a 2.88 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 25 innings. With a 6'7", 238-pound frame and four pitches that receive a 60-grade or better, his raw tools are off the charts. It's just a matter of staying healthy and pitching up to his potential.

                            

    22. Shane Baz, Tampa Bay Rays (2025 Age: 26)

    Austin Meadows and Tyler Glasnow have already turned the Chris Archer trade into a disaster for Pittsburgh, and Baz is going to throw more salt in the wounds. A boom-or-bust prospect with electric stuff and limited pitchability out of high school, his fastball-slider pairing is as good a two-pitch combination as any prospect in baseball. Even with a passable changeup and average command, he can be a front-line starter.

                              

    21. Zac Gallen, Arizona Diamondbacks (2025 Age: 29)

    Gallen never appeared on a Baseball America Top 100 list before bursting onto the scene with a stellar debut in 2019. He settled in as the ace of the staff in Arizona in 2020, posting a 2.75 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 82 strikeouts in 72 innings in 2020. There's nothing in his advanced stats to suggest he can't sustain that level of play. It will be interesting to see five years from now who won the Zac Gallen-for-Jazz Chisholm swap.       

Nos. 20-16

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    Mike Soroka
    Mike SorokaJohn Bazemore/Associated Press

    20. Asa Lacy, Kansas City Royals (2025 Age: 26)

    The No. 4 overall pick in 2020, Lacy brought the best combination of present pitchability and future upside of any pitcher in the draft. He should rocket through the Kansas City minor league system. A big 6'4" lefty with power stuff, pitchers like him don't grow on trees, and he was next-level dominant during the shortened 2020 college season with a 46-8 strikeout-to-walk ratio and just nine hits allowed in 24 innings.

                    

    19. Grayson Rodriguez, Baltimore Orioles (2025 Age: 25)

    With a well-built 6'5" frame as a prep prospect, Rodriguez offered less projectability than some of the other high school arms in the 2018 draft. The Orioles liked his present mix of power stuff enough to take him No. 11 overall, and he has not disappointed. In his full-season debut in 2019, he went 10-4 with a 2.68 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 129 strikeouts in 94 innings.

                    

    18. Mike Soroka, Atlanta Braves (2025 Age: 27)

    In today's strikeout-driven game, Soroka turned in a brilliant 2019 rookie season with just 7.3 K/9, posting a 2.68 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 174.2 innings. He could follow in the footsteps of Kyle Hendricks as an extremely effective pitcher who is perennially underrated as a result of his less-than-overpowering stuff and middling strikeout numbers. As long as he bounces back from the Achilles injury, his future is bright.

                  

    17. Luis Patino, Tampa Bay Rays (2025 Age: 25)

    The prize of the Blake Snell trade, Patino was already one of the top pitching prospects in baseball and now he's in the hands of a developmental staff with a tremendous success rate. The 6'1" right-hander has put on 40 pounds since signing for $130,000 in 2016, and his stuff has taken off as a result. His fastball-slider pairing is the foundation of his success, and his secondary stuff is refined enough to limit his reliever risk.

                                 

    16. Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds (2025 Age: 25)

    Over his final 10 starts in 2018, Greene posted a 2.68 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and .193 opponents' batting average while piling up 57 strikeouts in 47 innings. Things were just starting to click when he was lost to Tommy John surgery, and with two years on the sidelines, he will have some inevitable rust to shake off in 2021. The 80-grade fastball, plus his secondary stuff and elite athleticism, still gives him a chance to be a generational talent.    

Nos. 15-11

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    Tyler Glasnow
    Tyler GlasnowChris O'Meara/Associated Press

    15. Nate Pearson, Toronto Blue Jays (2025 Age: 28)

    Pearson memorably hit 104 mph on the radar gun during the 2018 Arizona Fall League All-Star Game, and his fastball is widely regarded as the best among pitching prospects. He also has a wipeout slider, an above-average changeup, a strong 6'6", 250-pound frame and a solid track record of minor league success. He nibbled too much in his MLB debut, and it burned him. But he's a future ace.

                        

    14. Aaron Nola, Philadelphia Phillies (2025 Age: 32)

    Already one of the best pitchers in baseball, Nola posted a career-high 12.1 K/9 in 2020, raising his strikeouts rate from 26.9 to 33.2 percent. He has ranked in the top 10 in the National League in innings pitched in each of the past three seasons, so he's also proven durable, which bodes well for his ability to pitch at a high level into his 30s.

                  

    13. Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers (2025 Age: 28)

    The No. 1 overall pick in 2018, Mize had the highest floor of any pitching prospect in recent memory when he joined the Detroit organization. Armed with a dynamic three-pitch mix and advanced command, Mize pitched just 123 innings in the minors before making his MLB debut. Growing pains are inevitable with that sort of meteoric rise, and he struggled in 2020. But his future is no less bright.

                    

    12. Max Fried, Atlanta Braves (2025 Age: 31)

    Anyone paying attention saw Fried's breakout coming a mile away. He posted a 3.72 FIP with 173 strikeouts in 165.2 innings in his first full MLB season in 2019, showcasing swing-and-miss stuff in the process. That said, he took a bigger step forward than expected this past season while emerging as the ace of a banged up Atlanta staff. He's the real deal, and there's a good chance we haven't seen the best he has to offer yet.

                             

    11. Tyler Glasnow, Tampa Bay Rays (2025 Age: 31)

    With a fastball that averaged 97.5 mph and a curveball that limited opposing hitters to a .157 ISO and accounted for nearly 64 percent of his strikeouts, Glasnow has some of the best pure stuff in baseball. The big 6'8" right-hander has fixed the mechanical issues that plagued him as a prospect, and he can be as overpowering as anyone when everything is clicking. Can he stay healthy?      

10. Lucas Giolito, Chicago White Sox

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 30

    The progress that Lucas Giolito showed between 2018 when he posted an MLB-worst 6.13 ERA and 2019 when he was an All-Star and finished sixth in AL Cy Young balloting was nothing short of stunning.

    With a 6'6", 245-pound frame, a lively fastball, one of the best changeups in baseball and a playable slider, he has always had the potential to be a front-line starter since going No. 16 overall in the 2012 draft.

    After throwing a no-hitter and turning in another top-10 finish in AL Cy Young voting in 2020, he is now the unquestioned ace of the Chicago White Sox staff and one of the game's elite young hurlers.    

9. Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 34

    In general, power pitchers don't age particularly well, and Gerrit Cole is the definition of a power pitcher, with a fastball that averaged 97.1 mph and a slider-curveball that keeps hitters off balance.

    However, there are exceptions to that idea, including Cole's former teammate Justin Verlander and three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, who have both found success into their mid-30s despite being prototypical power pitchers.

    The New York Yankees will still owe Cole another $144 million over four years when the 2025 season begins, and he belongs in that same upper echelon of power pitchers with Verlander and Scherzer.   

8. Jack Flaherty, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 29

    Middling results during a shortened 2020 season have done nothing to cloud the future of St. Louis Cardinals ace Jack Flaherty, and his stats this past year were actually better than they look at first glance.

    His ERA was skewed by one brutal start against the Milwaukee Brewers (3 IP, 9 ER), and he still finished with a 4.11 FIP and 49 strikeouts in 40.1 frames before throwing six strong innings in his lone postseason start.

    He led the NL in WHIP (0.97) while posting a 2.75 ERA and 231 strikeouts in 196.1 innings in 2019, earning a fourth-place finish in NL Cy Young voting in the process, and that's the type of production he's capable of providing on a year-in and year-out basis going forward.      

7. Jacob deGrom, New York Mets

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 37

    If anyone is going to defy the odds and continue pitching at a high level in his age-37 season, it's Jacob deGrom.

    The fact that he was a late bloomer works in his favor, as he didn't make his MLB debut until just before his 26th birthday and therefore has less mileage on his arm than most pitchers his age with 1,169.2 career innings.

    He has also shown the ability to mold and adjust his game as his career has progressed, and that is the biggest key to a pitcher continuing to succeed once his stuff starts to fade. He may not be the best pitcher in baseball anymore five years from now, but it's hard to bet against him still being an ace.     

6. Sixto Sanchez, Miami Marlins

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 26

    Back before the start of the 2018 season, Bleacher Report published an article titled "Sixto Sanchez: 19-Year-Old Pedro Martinez Clone Already Has 102 MPH Heat," if that gives you an idea of how early the Sanchez hype train left the station.

    He dealt with some minor arm issues during his time in the Philadelphia Phillies system that delayed his debut, and then he was dealt to the Miami Marlins as the centerpiece of the J.T. Realmuto blockbuster in February 2019.

    With a clean bill of health and an MLB opportunity, he shone in 2020, posting a 3.46 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 39 innings, and he threw five shutout innings against the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series.

    The right-hander's mix of stuff, poise and athleticism should make him a fixture atop the Miami rotation and on NL Cy Young ballots for the next decade.     

5. Jesus Luzardo, Oakland Athletics

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    Jeff Chiu/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 27

    After injuries delayed his arrival in 2019 following a dominant spring training, Jesus Luzardo finally arrived in the majors as a September call-up, and he closed out his debut with three shutout innings in the AL Wild Card Game.

    The Oakland Athletics continued to keep him on a relatively short leash in 2020, allowing him to reach the 100-pitch mark just once when he allowed four hits and two earned runs in seven innings against the Houston Astros.

    It's only a matter of time before he's off the leash, and he could spend the better part of the next decade competing with the next guy on our list for the title of best left-handed pitcher in baseball.       

4. MacKenzie Gore, San Diego Padres

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    Gregory Bull/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 26

    The No. 3 overall pick in the 2017 draft, MacKenzie Gore has outclassed the competition every step of the way during his brief minor league career.

    In 2019, he went 9-2 with a 1.69 ERA, 0.83 WHIP and 135 strikeouts in 101 innings between High-A and Double-A, and if not for the shortened 2020 schedule, he likely would have debuted at some point this past season.

    With four 60-grade pitches—plus command of his entire repertoire—a durable frame and deceptive mechanics thanks to a big leg kick, he looks like the best bet of any current prospect to develop into a bona fide top-of-the-rotation starter.      

3. Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves

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    Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 27

    Ian Anderson announced himself to the MLB world in a big way in 2020.

    He posted a 1.95 ERA with an equally impressive 2.54 FIP in six starts during the regular season, tallying 41 strikeouts in 32.1 innings to help a beleaguered Atlanta starting rotation.

    Then he steamrolled his way through his first postseason, allowing just six hits in 15.2 scoreless innings over his first three starts and finishing the playoffs with a 0.96 ERA and .164 opponents' batting average.

    Teams will inevitably make adjustments the more they get to see him, but he has always been viewed as having the highest ceiling among Atlanta's many young pitching prospects. And his dazzling debut has only solidified his status as a future star.      

2. Shane Bieber, Cleveland

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 30

    Shane Bieber was the best pitcher in baseball in 2020.

    He went 8-1 with a 1.63 ERA, 0.87 WHIP and 122 strikeouts in 77.1 innings, racking up double-digit strikeouts in eight of his 12 starts and recording 10 quality starts.

    With a mid-90s fastball and an absolute lethal curveball among his five-pitch repertoire, he's an uncomfortable at-bat, and that will be the key to his success in the years to come.

    He's scheduled to reach free agency after the 2024 season, so it's fair to wonder where he'll be playing during the 2025 season given the Cleveland front office's aversion to paying its homegrown stars.    

1. Walker Buehler, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    2025 Age: 30

    After a dominant postseason that was capped off by six innings of three-hit, one-run, 10-strikeout ball in Game 3 of the World Series, Walker Buehler is ready for the proverbial passing of the torch from Clayton Kershaw.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers took a chance on him with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2015 draft, knowing he would need Tommy John surgery before starting his pro career, and it's a gamble that will go down as one of the best decisions in franchise history.

    He has tallied 4.5 strikeouts per walk to this point in his MLB career, which is a good indication of his mix of swing-and-miss stuff and plus command, and he checks all of the boxes, from pitchability to bulldog mentality to big-game experience.

    The current MLB landscape is loaded with exciting young pitchers, and Buehler is the best of the bunch.

                                                                   

    All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.