Top Left Handed Pitching Prospects

Lefthanders are coveted because there are so few of them, especially those who throw in the mid-90s.  Somebody needs to get those lefthanded sluggers out.  Below is a list of myworld’s top lefthanded pitching prospects.

These players have graduated from the prospect list because of their appearances in the major leagues will no longer qualify them as rookies in 2014.

Hyun-Jin Ryu (Dodgers) - He had a lot of success in Korea for a team that finished in last place the last two years.  He was as soft and pudgy as the Pillsbury doughboy and he didn’t have a fastball to crack 90 on the speed gun.  What has made him a success in the major leagues is that change up, which makes his pedestrian fastball look like it is cracking the plate in the mid-90s.  The Dodgers would have trouble winning the NL West without his 14-7, 2.97 contribution.

Alex Wood (Braves) - He was a second round draft pick in 2012 but he has been a contributor to the Braves first place run in the NL East.  After putting up a 1.26 ERA in 10 starts in AA the Braves promoted him to AAA where he only got one start before being promoted to the major leagues because of injuries to the Braves starting rotation.  He also has an excellent change, but his fastball hits the low 90s.

Tony Cingrani (Reds) - The Reds starting rotation was set, but injuries allowed Cingrani to work his way into the rotation.  He has allowed a .196 opposition average in the major leagues with a 2.97 ERA with 120 K’s in just over 100 innings of work.  His fastball is in the low 90s, but it is his intensity on the mound that makes him stand out. 

Top Lefthanded Prospects

1. Henry Owens (Red Sox) - Henry had a monster year, limiting the opposition to a .177 batting average.  He struck out 169 hitters in 135 innings pitched.  At 6′6″ he hits the mid-90s with his fastball.  He does have some trouble finding his command, walking just short of one hitter every two innings.

2. Enny Romero (Rays) - The Rays never seem short of pitching.  Enny could replace David Price as the lefthanded starter in their rotation in 2015.  His upper 90s fastball limited AA hitters to a .215 average.  He doesn’t strike out enough batters for the velocity on his fastball (112 K’s in 142 innings), but his outings were enough to allow him to make his major league debut, giving up one hit on no runs in four plus innings.

3. Andrew Heaney (Marlins) - The Marlins being the Marlins low balled him when negotiating his first round bonus signing.  They paid him the same as the pick behind him and less than the second pick behind him.  He throws a fastball that can hit 93 giving him a 0.83 ERA in 12 starts in the Florida State League.  His promotion to AA was not quite as successful (2.94 ERA) with a 9/23 walk to K ratio in 33 innings.

4. Justin Nicolino (Marlins) - Back to back Marlins and the third straight lefthander on this list.  He was drafted by the Blue Jays in the second round of the 2010 draft and included in the offseason trade that brought the Blue Jays Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes.  Justin had some success in the Florida State League (2.23) in 18 starts but when promoted to AA struggled (4.96) in nine starts.  AA opponents hit him at a .341 clip.  Justin throws a good fastball in the low 90s.

5. Jessie Biddle (Phillies) - There is a lot of waiting when Jessie pitches.  His 82/154 walk to whiff ratio in 138 innings indicates an inability to get the ball over the plate, but wicked swing and miss stuff when he does.  The opposition hit him at a .210 clip.  He has a low 90s fastball but a curveball that gets a lot of swings and misses.

6. Max Fried (Padres) - Numbers wise the seventh overall pick in 2012 did not impress.  His ERA was high (3.49), he lost one more than he won (6-7) and his opposition average was .249.  Lucas Giolito was supposed to be the best pitcher out of his high school, but an injury put Fried nine picks ahead of him.  His fastball is low 90s with an excellent curve but his 6′4″ frame point to a fastball that will eventually hit the mid-90s eventually.

7. Trey Ball (Red Sox) - Trey was the Red Sox first round pick in 2013.  Many scouts considered him as a hitter, but with his 6′6″ frame and mid-90s fastball the Red Sox thought it was a no brainer to make him a pitcher.  He struggled in the Gulf Coast League with a 6.43 ERA in five starts lasting seven innings, walking one more (6) than he struck out (5).

8. Onelki Garcia (Dodgers) - Yasiel Puig is not the only Cuban signing to make an impact, though Onelki has made his in the minor leagues.  Onelki was unable to buy a house in Haiti to establish foreign residency so was forced to be eligible for the draft, selected by the Dodgers in the third round.  His agent wanted first round money, but settled for $382,000.  Onelki pitched like a first rounder working his way to the major leagues.  His command is still suspect (32 walks in 52 AA innings) which hurt him in the majors when he walked four in just one plus innings, but the opposition only hit him at a .209 clip.  He hits the mid-90s with his fastball, but usually sits in the low 90s.

9. David Holmberg (Diamondbacks) - Like Ryu his fastball sits in the high 80s, but his changeup makes the pitch look that much faster.  He carved up AA hitters for a 2.75 ERA in 26 starts, allowing him to make his major league debut.  Acquired from the White Sox along with Daniel Hudson for Edwin Jackson.

10. Eduardo Rodriguez (Orioles) - It is rare for the Orioles to develop a player from Venezuela.  He pitched well in the Carolina League (2.85) but then struggled when promoted to AA.  He recovered in his last four starts, giving up just one run in 25 innings.  His fastball is low 90s but hit the mid-90s.  He has a fastball/slider combination.

Other lefthanders to watch

Julio Urias (Dodgers) - The Dodgers signed him from the Diablos of Mexico City.  He turned 17 years old this year but managed 18 starts this year in an A League.  Most Americans his age are still trying to impress their high school coach.  At 5′11″ he is not tall, but his fastball already hits the low 90s.

Danny Hultzen (Mariners) - Arm injuries limited him to just seven minor league starts.  He had a 2.02 ERA with a .168 opposition average but only worked 35 innings.  When healthy his fastball can hit the mid-90s.

James Paxton (Mariners) - A future rotation mate of Hultzen, he was hit pretty hard in AAA (4.45), the Pacific Coast League hitting him at a 2.77 clip.  He did have success in the major leagues in four starts (1.50) limiting major leaguers to a .172 average.  He throws a fastball in the high 90s, but it usually sits in the mid-90s.  He has a good curveball but lacks an effective third pitch, which should be the change.

Luiz Gohara (Mariners) - He pitched well for Brazil in the WBC.  He also turned 17 this year but got six starts in the rookie league (4.15).  he struck out 27 in 21 plus innings of pitching.  At 6′3″ and 220 he already throws his fastball in the mid-90s, but it mostly sits between high 80s and low 90s.  His secondary stuff still needs a lot of work.

Tyler Skaggs (Diamondbacks) - He hasn’t had a lot of success in the major leagues, putting up an ERA above 5.00 for the second year in a row.  He also pitched in two hitters leagues (California and Pacific) and putting up 4.60 ERAs.  He seems to make contact with the bat too much resulting in an opposition average of .274.  His curveball is his best pitch while his fastball sits in the low 90s. 

Mike Montgomery (Rays) - He bombed with the Royals and was traded to the Rays in the Scott Shields trade.  His first year with the Rays he didn’t put up good numbers (4.83) but the Rays have a way of developing pitchers.

Kyle Lobstein (Tigers) - He was a Rule V pick the Dodgers liked so much they traded a decent catcher Curt Casila to the Rays to send him down to the minors.  Kyle combined for a 3.27 ERA in 28 starts between AA and AAA.  He doesn’t throw hard, but he uses his secondary pitches to hold hitters off balance.

Edwin Escobar (Giants) - He has excellent command of his pitches, combining for a 2.80 ERA between High A and AA.  He throws in the low 90s limiting the opposition to a .228 opposition average.  He had his break out season last year (2.96) in low A and continued that success at the higher levels.

Sam Selman (Royals) - A second round 2012 pick he got 27 starts in the Carolina League putting together a 11-9, 3.38 numbers.  he had more than one whiff per innings pitched (128 whiffs in 125 innings pitched).  Sam has a fastball/slider combination, with the fastball having the ability to hit the high 90s, but more comfortable in the low 90s.     

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