These 20 pitchers boosted their stock this year

September 21st, 2018

Last week, we took a look at 20 hitting prospects who boosted their stock in 2018. Now it's time to turn attention to the mound.

Most of the 20 pitchers listed below are on our Top 100 Prospects list, though some are on their respective organization's Top 30 only. All of them used very strong 2018 seasons to make large jumps up rankings and more firmly onto the prospect radar.

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Chris Paddack, RHP, Padres' No. 5/MLB No. 48

Paddack missed all of 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery, so it was tough to know what to expect. A 12.0 K/9 and ridiculous 0.8 BB/9 rate (120 K's, 8 walks) went far beyond any projections and allowed him to skyrocket to the middle of the Top 100 and from No. 23 to No. 5 on the Padres' Top 30.

Jesus Luzardo, LHP, A's No. 1/MLB No. 12

To say Tommy John surgery is in Luzardo's rearview mirror is an understatement. He's now the second-best lefty prospect in the game and jumped up from No. 60 on the preseason Top 100 thanks to a season that saw him pitch across three levels and start the Futures Game.

, RHP, White Sox No. 6/MLB No. 62

An elbow sprain that shut Dunning down in late June puts a damper on his season, but the good news is he didn't need surgery. Before the injury, he pitched his way to Double-A and continued to miss bats (10.4 K/9) and not walk guys (2.7 BB/9) to move up 30 spots in the Top 100.

, RHP, Yankees' No. 3/MLB No. 73

The right-hander moved from No. 14 on the Yankees' Top 30 up to No. 3 and jumped firmly onto the Top 100 in a year that saw him start in the Class A Advanced Florida State League and finish in New York, posting a 67/8 K/BB ratio along the way in the Minors.

Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves' No. 7/MLB No. 74

The questions about Toussaint's ability to start long-term have disappeared after a huge 2018 season that saw him finish tied for eighth in strikeouts in the Minors while considerably cutting his walk rate and making a strong contribution to the playoff-bound big league club.

Brusdar Graterol, RHP, Twins' No. 4/MLB No. 77

Graterol's Tommy John surgery in 2016 is well behind him, and he backed up his stirring 2017 U.S. debut with a year that saw him pitch across two levels of Class A ball before he turned 20. Along the way, he struck out 9.4/9 and walked just 2.5/9 to go from unranked up to No. 77 on the Top 100.

Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers' No. 4/MLB No. 78

May continued his ascent up the Dodgers' ladder, and prospect lists in his second full season of pro ball, going from No. 11 to 4 on the team's Top 30 and jumping to No. 78 from being unranked, while pitching across two levels and reaching Double-A at age 20.

, LHP, Yankees' No. 1/MLB No. 27

The Yankees' top prospect began the year No. 48 on the Top 100 and has shot up 21 spots thanks to pitching extremely well across two upper levels (2.48 ERA, .195 BAA, 9.5 K/9) and pitching in the Futures Game. Sheffield capped things off by receiving his first callup in September.

Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels' No. 3/MLB No. 81

Canning wasn't on the Top 100 to start the season and was at No. 8 on the Angels' list, but now he's at No. 81 and No. 3 in a vastly improved system after he pitched his way to Triple-A in his first full season of pro ball.

, RHP, White Sox No. 5/MLB No. 44

Cease moved up 17 spots from his preseason ranking on the Top 100, and it's quite possible he's still under-ranked, especially after he was as dominant as any pitcher in the Minors late in the season (0.51 ERA, .107 BAA, 14.8 K/9 in August).

Adonis Medina, RHP, Phillies' No. 3/MLB No. 69

The right-hander also made a 17-spot jump in the Top 100, shaking off a rough July with a very strong August (2.57 ERA) to help him finish with nifty 9.9 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 ratios for the season in the Florida State League.

Peter Lambert, RHP, Rockies' No. 2/MLB No. 84

After thriving in hitting environments over his first few seasons, Lambert dominated the Double-A Eastern League to earn a promotion to Triple-A at age 21 and jump firmly onto the Top 100. While he scuffled there, he finished with 11 scoreless innings over his final two starts.

, RHP, Braves' No. 1/MLB No. 15

Before a shoulder strain effectively ended his season in June, Soroka had taken his stuff and pitchabiltiy and was on his way to cementing himself as a 21-year-old big-league starter. His lack of walks and high ground-ball rate made him very efficient and earned him a jump into the top 20 overall.

Logan Allen, LHP, Padres' No. 8/MLB No. 85

Allen might be the third-best lefty prospect in the Padres' system, but he definitely put himself more on the national prospect radar (unranked to No. 85 overall) thanks to a year that saw him post incredible numbers (2.54 ERA, .205 BAA, 9.1 K/9) in Double- and Triple-A at age 21.

Josh James, RHP, Astros' No. 6

James wasn't ranked on Houston's Top 30 at the start of the season, but now he's in the top 10 and impacting the big league staff thanks to a breakout campaign that saw him pitch across Double- and Triple-A while finishing with a .191 BAA and ending tied for fourth in the Minors with 171 K's.

Luis Oviedo, RHP, Indians' No. 10

Oviedo started the year in the short-season New York-Penn League as an unranked prospect, but he pitched his way to full-season ball for the first time before being shut down as a precaution. Along the way, the 19-year old struck out 10.6/9 and posted a 2.05 ERA to go along with a .190 BAA.

Garrett Whitlock, RHP, Yankees' No. 11

As an 18th-rounder from the 2017 Draft, it's not surprising Whitlock was unranked at the start of the season, but when he finished third in the Minors with his 1.86 ERA and had a combined .214 BAA and 9.1 K/9 while touching Double-A, it's no wonder he's now No. 11 on New York's list.

Luis Patino, RHP, Padres' No. 12

Unranked to start the year, this 18-year-old went to full-season ball in May and dominated there (2.16 ERA, .220 BAA, 10.6 K/9) to put a big up arrow next to his name, showing even more dominance in the second half (1.74 ERA, .202 BAA, 11.1 K/9 in 11 starts).

Emilio Vargas, RHP, D-backs' No. 14

A move to the California League can be a kiss of death for pitching prospects, but for Vargas, it helped put him on the map as he finished second in the system in both ERA (2.88) and strikeouts (170) while pitching his way to Double-A and going from unranked to the top 15.

Dean Kremer, RHP, Orioles' No. 16

Unranked this preseason with the Dodgers, Kremer was having a breakout year in the California League and had earned a promotion to Double-A when he was sent to the O's in the Manny Machado deal, then dominated post-trade and finished the year leading the Minors in strikeouts (178).