Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Inbox: Clubs with best prospect rotations

April 12, 2018

If you like prospects -- which is probably a given considering that you're checking out MLB Pipeline content -- then you should love our upgraded prospects stats hub. Daren Willman has imported a lot of the cool content he had at his site.For any team, you can check out

If you like prospects -- which is probably a given considering that you're checking out MLB Pipeline content -- then you should love our upgraded prospects stats hub. Daren Willman has imported a lot of the cool content he had at his site.
For any team, you can check out how all of their Top 30 Prospects have performed today, yesterday, the past 10 days, the past 30 days or for the entire season. You can do the same for MLB Pipeline's overall Top 100 Prospects list or for yearly Draft classes (for all of baseball or individual clubs). You can see all of the box scores from the big leagues throughout the Minors for any organization on any given day, check out probable starting pitchers for every level of professional baseball and customize your own prospect tracker.
Pretty cool stuff.
:: Submit a question to the Pipeline Inbox ::

I rank the top four prospect rotations in the video at the top of this column.

A Royals outfielder signed for $2.25 million out of the Dominican Republic as one of the toolsiest players on the 2015-16 international market, Matias is off to a fantastic start in his full-season debut. After his first week at Class A Lexington, he was tied for the Minor League lead with four home runs.
Matias has intrigued me since I stumbled upon him taking batting practice on the back fields at the Royals' training complex in the spring of 2016. The sound the ball made coming off his bat drew me to his BP, and he crushed ball after ball over the left-field fence. Matias was just 17 at the time and the raw power was impressive.
Matias has the highest ceiling of any prospect in Kansas City's system. He's not as polished as outfielder Khalil Lee or first baseman Nick Pratto, but he has the best power potential and the strongest arm (a cannon) among Royals farmhands. Matias runs well for his size too, though he'll have to make more consistent contact to realize his immense potential.

Despite a slew of graduations and trades that paid off with a World Series championship, the Astros still have plenty of talent in their farm system. While right-hander Forrest Whitley and outfielder Kyle Tucker do cast a huge shadow over the rest of the Minor Leaguers, they do have a number of more anonymous prospects worth watching. I'll give you my picks to click from each tier of MLB Pipeline's Astros Top 30 list:
Shortstop Freudis Nova (No. 5 on the Top 30) will make his U.S. debut this summer and has all-around tools that prompt comparisons to Hanley Ramirez and Edgar Renteria. Right-hander Jairo Solis (No. 13) made his U.S. debut last year at age 17 and showed a 93-96 mph fastball with late life, flashes of a plus slider and feel for a changeup. Outfielder J.J. Matijevic (No. 25) had a rough pro debut last summer, but the supplemental second-rounder was one of the best college bats available in the 2017 Draft.

The Braves invested heavily in the two high school left-handers in the 2016 Draft, paying Joey Wentz $3.05 million as a supplemental first-rounder and Kyle Muller $2.5 million as a second-rounder. Both were accomplished two-way players as amateurs, with Wentz smashing a 543-foot homer (with a souped-up bat) at the Junior Home Run Derby at the 2016 All-Star Game while Muller finished second among the nation's prepsters with 15 homers as a senior.
Nevertheless, I agree with Atlanta's decision to make Wentz and Muller full-time pitchers as pros. They were regarded as clearly better prospects on the mound than at the plate as amateurs, and it's extremely difficult to succeed as just a pitcher or just a hitter alone and much more challenging to try to do both. They're potentially big league starting pitchers -- Wentz has more upside than Muller -- and splitting their time trying to make them into hitters as well would detract from their chances of reaching their ceiling.
Shohei Ohtani is getting that opportunity with the Angels because he wouldn't have come over from Japan otherwise. While the fan in me wants to see him try to become the first regular pitcher and hitter since Babe Ruth in 1919, and I'm equally curious as to how Brendan McKay fares as the Rays try to develop him both ways, I think in the long run Ohtani and McKay would provide the most value if they focused on one endeavor.

Jim Callis is a reporter for Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.