The hottest pitching prospects right now -- 1 for each team
At the end of April, we took a look at the hottest hitters in each organization. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the mound.
Entering Wednesday’s games, these are the hottest pitching prospects over the last 30 days in the Minor Leagues from each system. It’s a list that includes three current members of our Top 100 list.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Chad Dallas, RHP (not ranked among Top 30)
The 2021 fourth-rounder had a bumpy first full season at High-A Vancouver but has come flying out of the gate of late. Dallas allowed just one earned run while striking out 21 and walking only five in his final three starts (17 innings) for the Canadians and kept the good times rolling with nine punchouts over seven scoreless innings in his Double-A debut last Friday. Standing at just 5-foot-11, Dallas has a pair of breaking balls that show promise, especially his biting slider.
Orioles: Cade Povich, LHP (No. 11)
This is Povich’s first full year in the O’s system after coming over at last year’s Trade Deadline from the Twins in the Jorge López deal. He’s made some good adjustments in Double-A this year and has missed bats all season (13.9 K/9). Over the last month, he’s made five starts and posted a 38/8 K/BB ratio over 23 2/3 innings of work, giving up just 16 hits during that time span.
Rays: Jacob Lopez, LHP (not ranked among Top 30)
Lopez put himself on the map with a dominant 2021 (96 strikeouts in 59 2/3 innings) but missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’s back with Double-A Montgomery this spring and hasn’t looked rusty whatsoever; over the last 30 days, he had a 1.45 ERA with 32 strikeouts and four walks in five starts (18 2/3 innings). Lopez has a deceptive fastball and promising slider, and he’ll next take those to Triple-A following a promotion on Tuesday.
Red Sox: Dalton Rogers, LHP (No. 24)
A surprise third-round pick out of Southern Mississippi last July, Rogers stands out with the low release height and flat plane on a 91-96 mph fastball that hitters can't seem to barrel. He has given up just three runs while striking out 28 in his last 17 innings, and he has an overall 2.49 ERA, .139 opponent average and 38 strikeouts in 21 2/3 frames in Single-A.
Yankees: Will Warren, RHP (No. 7)
Despite surrendering three homers in 1 2/3 innings Tuesday night, Warren still has been the most effective pitcher on our Yankees Top 30 over the last month, logging a 2.59 ERA with 25 strikeouts in 24 1/3 frames between Double-A and Triple-A. Drafted in 2021's eighth round from Southeastern Louisiana, he racks up outs with a high-spin mid-80s slider with nasty sweep and a low-90s sinker. He has an overall 3.41 ERA with 46 strikeouts in 37 innings.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Guardians: Gavin Williams, RHP (No. 1/MLB No. 17)
Williams led the Minors in opponent average (.173) and ranked third in ERA (1.96) during his 2022 pro debut, and he has lowered those numbers to 1.58 and .154 between Double-A and Triple-A this year. The 2021 first-rounder from East Carolina has a 2.10 ERA and 36 strikeouts in his last 25 2/3 Triple-A innings, continuing to dominate with a mid-90s fastball and three solid secondary pitches.
Royals: Frank Mozzicato, LHP (No. 7)
The 2021 seventh overall pick continues to re-establish the excitement around his profile in his second season at Single-A Columbia. Mozzicato has struck out at least seven batters in four straight starts, and his 29 strikeouts lead the Carolina League since the streak began on April 29. Walks have been a bit of an issue (13 in 20 1/3 innings), but the amount of whiffs is more noteworthy for the 19-year-old lefty with a killer curveball.
Tigers: Brant Hurter, LHP (No. 21)
A seventh-round pick in 2021, Hurter placed himself on the radar with a strong first full season that saw him climb three levels. Now back at Double-A Erie, he’s allowed only one or zero earned runs in seven of his eight starts with the SeaWolves (the only outlier being a rough six-run start on May 7). Over the last 30 days, he’s fanned 28 batters while only walking two in 23 2/3 innings. Hurter has yet to throw more than 80 pitches in a start this season, but his control (and above-average slider) should get him opportunities to work deeper soon.
Twins: Cory Lewis, RHP (No. 30)
The Twins’ ninth-round pick last year out of Santa Barbara, Lewis was recently added to the organization’s Top 30, and for good reason. He’s used his feel for pitching, not to mention a commitment to throwing his knuckleball consistently, to be unhittable in the Florida State League of late. Over his last four outings covering 19 1/3 IP, the right-hander has a 1.86 ERA and 0.93 WHIP, allowing just 13 hits and five walks while striking out 29.
White Sox: Jonathan Cannon, RHP (No. 10)
The White Sox paid Cannon an above-slot $925,000 bonus in the third round last July because they loved his ability to throw strikes with four pitches, the best of which is an upper-80s cutter. The Georgia product has posted a 2.45 ERA with a 21/7 K/BB ratio in his last 29 1/3 innings in High-A, lowering his overall ERA to 2.90 with a South Atlantic League-best 1.9 groundout/airout ratio.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Jorge Marcheco, RHP (No. 27)
Signed for just $35,000 in September of 2021, Marcheco is just 20 years old and pitching very well in full-season ball. He’s pitched into the sixth in each of his last four starts, allowing just 18 hits and five walks over 23 2/3 IP (0.97 WHIP). He has 22 K’s and a 3.04 ERA over the past month and is currently third in the California League with his 2.48 ERA and second with his 0.92 WHIP for the season.
Astros: Spencer Arrighetti, RHP (No. 9)
Arrighetti got tagged for 15 runs in his first three starts but has permitted just four during his last four while fanning 21 in 21 1/3 Double-A innings. A 2021 sixth-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette, he throws a 92-97 mph fastball with a flat approach angle and late hop and complements it with a plus low-80s slider with sweep.
A’s: Ryan Cusick, RHP (No. 19)
There’s still a lot of work to do command-wise (14 BB in 20 IP over the last 30 days), but Cusick has been very effective otherwise, not to mention healthy. Despite the walks, he’s given up just two earned runs for an ERA of 0.90, yielding only eight hits to keep the WHIP at 1.10. Maybe he’s just a reliever when all is said and done, but the stuff could play up in shorter stints.
Mariners: Bryan Woo, RHP (No. 6)
Woo returned from Tommy John surgery last year and his stuff was electric, both late last year and in the Arizona Fall League. He’s showing that it was no fluke in Double-A this season. Over the last month, he’s amassed 27 IP over five starts, posting a 2.00 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP and 34 K’s. He’s currently in the top five of all Texas League pitchers in ERA (2.08), WHIP (0.90), BAA (.181) and strikeouts (53).
Rangers: Brock Porter, RHP (No. 5)
Gatorade's 2022 national high school player of the year, Porter shattered the fourth-round bonus record when he signed for $3.7 million last July. He hasn't allowed an earned run in his last four starts and 14 1/3 innings in Single-A, striking out 19 during that span. Armed with a mid-90s fastball, plus changeup and improving slider, he sports an overall 1.21 ERA, .141 opponent average and 31 strikeouts in 22 1/3 frames.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: AJ Smith-Shawver, RHP (No. 4)
A two-sport star in high school, Smith-Shawver got an over-slot deal in the seventh round of the 2021 Draft to sign with the Braves and showed off good stuff, albeit without polish, during his first full season. He’s taken a huge step forward in year two, pitching his way from High-A to Triple-A in a hurry. Over his last four starts, touching three levels, he has a 1.06 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over 17 IP, allowing just 10 hits and six walks while striking out 20 in that time span. For the year, he didn’t allow an earned run until his sixth start, up in Triple-A, at age 20.
Marlins: Patrick Monteverde, LHP (No. 30)
A finesse left-hander whose solid changeup is his best pitch, Monteverde was an eighth-round pick from Texas Tech in 2021. He has compiled a 1.96 ERA with 28 strikeouts in his last 23 Double-A innings -- and he was even hotter at the start of the season. He leads the Double-A Southern League in opponent average (.130) and K-BB percentage (30 percent) while ranking second in ERA (1.29) and strikeouts (57 in 42 innings).
Mets: Mike Vasil, RHP (No. 9)
Few, if any, Minor League pitchers have the momentum of Vasil through the season’s first two months. The 23-year-old right-hander is currently on a run of three straight quality starts for Double-A Binghamton in which he owns a 0.43 ERA with 19 strikeouts and four walks over 21 innings. His season ERA has dropped from 4.50 to 2.19 since the start of May, and his 0.70 WHIP on the season leads all Minor League qualifiers.
Nationals: Jake Bennett, LHP (No. 9)
The 2022 second-rounder out of Oklahoma may not have received an aggressive assignment when he opened his first full season at Single-A Fredericksburg, but he’s still handling business impressively. Bennett has a 1.29 ERA with 24 strikeouts and only three walks in his last four starts (21 innings) for the FredNats and most recently tossed six scoreless frames at Salem on Tuesday. Armed with a plus changeup, Bennett has held righties to a .204/.253/.312 line this season.
Phillies: Orion Kerkering, RHP (No. 21)
Kerkering was our choice for future Phillies closer recently and the Phillies might have to consider promoting the 2022 fifth-rounder soon. He’s been good all year, with five saves in the early going, and the last month has been more of the same: 1.69 ERA, 0.49 WHIP, 14/2 K/BB ratio over 10 2/3 IP. For the season, he has a .078 BAA and .045 WHIP.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Justin Jarvis, RHP (No. 30)
The 23-year-old right-hander joined Milwaukee’s Top 30 prospect list recently on the strength of his 93-95 mph fastball with good ride and an above-average splitter, and the numbers back up the stuff. Over his last four starts at Double-A Biloxi, Jarvis has a 2.86 ERA with 24 strikeouts in 22 innings. The Southern League pretacked ball might be helping Jarvis get a little more carry on his fastball, but in general, he has a four-pitch mix that works and should get a chance to prove himself with the Triple-A ball before long.
Cardinals: Ian Bedell, RHP (No. 24)
Drafted in the fourth round of the 2020 Draft out of Missouri, Bedell underwent Tommy John surgery in 2021 and entered his age-23 season with only 8 1/3 professional innings under his belt. Thankfully for himself and the Cardinals, he’s been both healthy and good in the early stages of 2023. Bedell hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in any of his 10 outings with High-A Peoria, and since moving into the Chiefs rotation on May 7, he has a 1.59 ERA with nine strikeouts in three starts (11 1/3 innings). He eclipsed the 60-pitch mark for the first time on May 14 and should continue to get stretched out deeper into the summer.
Cubs: Jordan Wicks, LHP (No. 4)
Wicks has used one of the best changeups in the Minors and the ability to throw four pitches for strikes to allow just five earned runs and 20 baserunners while whiffing 27 in his last 24 Double-A innings. The 2021 first-rounder from Kansas State has an overall 2.55 ERA, .202 opponent average and 44 strikeouts in 35 1/3 frames.
Pirates: Quinn Priester, RHP (No. 4/MLB No. 65)
The 22-year-old former first rounder shook off a rough start to his Triple-A season to really find his footing over the last month. In five starts, the right-hander has a 2.20 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, allowing 22 hits and eight walks while whiffing 24 in 28 2/3 IP. His four May starts (1.13 ERA, .214 BAA, 0.93 WHIP, 2.13 GO/AO) really stand out.
Reds: Andrew Abbott, LHP (No. 6/MLB No. 97)
He made quick work of Double-A to start the year and is now in Triple-A, and in our Top 100. In his five starts with Louisville, the lefty has struck out 13.3 per nine while allowing just 6.8 hits per nine for a .204 BAA. He tossed five shutout innings with eight strikeouts in his last start (albeit with four walks) and you have to wonder when the Reds will see how his stuff plays against big league hitters.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Justin Martinez, RHP (No. 19)
There’s being effectively wild, and there’s the streak Martinez is on. The 21-year-old right-hander hasn’t allowed a run in his last 10 relief appearances for Triple-A Reno. He’s struck out 17 in 10 2/3 innings over that span … and also walked seven. But while batters are reaching on free passes, they aren’t picking up knocks either with just a .088 average and no extra-base hits in the streak that began April 16. He’s still touching triple digits, but it’s his slider and splitter that seem to be befuddling hitters the most.
Dodgers: Emmet Sheehan, RHP (No. 13)
Following four hitless and scoreless innings Tuesday night, Sheehan has given up just three runs and 10 hits in his last 26 1/3 Double-A frames. He leads the Minors in opponent average (.115) and paces the Texas League in strikeouts (67), strikeout rate (15.9 per nine innings) and WHIP (0.82). A 2021 sixth-rounder from Boston College, he has a mid-90s fastball that plays up thanks to his low release point and extension, and his low-80s changeup is a plus offering.
Giants: Carson Whisenhunt, LHP (No. 8)
The best healthy college left-hander in the 2022 Draft, Whisenhunt went in the second round out of East Carolina. He's overmatching lower-level hitters with his plus-plus changeup, yielding just one run and 11 baserunners while striking out 31 in his last 21 1/3 innings between Single-A and High-A. His overall numbers: 1.74 ERA, .140 opponent average and a 44/9 K/BB ratio in 31 frames.
Padres: Robby Snelling, LHP (No. 5)
Someone tell the 2022 39th overall pick that the California League is supposed to be hitter-friendly. The 6-foot-3 left-hander has yet to allow more than two earned runs in any of his six starts for Single-A Lake Elsinore and sports a 1.35 ERA with 27 strikeouts over 26 2/3 innings on the season. On the strength of an above-average fastball and plus curveball, Snelling has continued his momentum of late with nine strikeouts in five one-hit innings on May 5 and the longest outing of his young career lasting 5 2/3 frames on May 12.
Rockies: Jordy Vargas, RHP (No. 11)
Just 19 for all of the 2023 season, Vargas seems to really be settling in during his first full year of full-season ball. After a rough outing at the end of April to start this 30-day period, he’s been lights out in his three starts this month, with a 1.06 ERA, .172 BAA and 0.88 WHIP, allowing just 10 hits and five walks while striking out 20 across 17 innings.