The first item on my End-of-Season Checklist every fall is to go back and review the Top 50/50 lists from the Baseball Prospect Book, see what went right, what went wrong, and why. So let's do that right now.
Remember, this is the pre-season list. We wrote up the hitters yesterday as we start the process of generating new lists for 2016.
Overall this list came out well. Most of the disappointments were related to injury. REMEMBER THIS IS THE PRE-SEASON LIST. I review this every fall in order to improve my methods and remain accountable.
Top 50 Pitching Prospects for 2015
1) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals, Grade A: Impressive season, 3.15 ERA with 131/37 K/BB in 117 innings between High-A and Double-A. On course for MLB debut sometime in 2016.
2) Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade A: Took some time off to have surgery for his eye issue but did well overall, 3.81 ERA with 88/22 K/BB in 80 innings at four levels, though last starts in Triple-A were difficult. Still elite.
3) Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade A: Traded to Tigers in David Price deal, held his own in majors with 3.92 ERA, 49/24 K/BB in 67 innings. Now facing thyroid cancer but recovery chances for that are very good. Should continue to improve assuming no complications.
4) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade A: Continues progression with his command, 2.39 ERA with 136/43 K/BB in 109 innings at three levels, should be ready for a trial in 2016. Still elite.
5) Carlos Rodon, LHP, Chicago White Sox, Grade A: Pitched 139 innings for White sox, 3.75 ERA with 139/71 K/BB in 139 innings. Fine season just one year removed from college.
6) Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets, Grade A-: 24 starts for the Mets, 3.24 ERA with 166/31 K/BB in 150 innings. Couldn’t have gone better.
7) Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade A-: 3.22 ERA in 92 innings, used as starter and reliever, 61/44 K/BB, just 74 hits, 2.19 GO/AO. More strikeouts would be nice but it is hard to knock what he’s accomplished overall.
8) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles, Grade A-: Limited to 22 innings in Double-A by more injury issues, 3.68 ERA with 25/5 K/BB. Pitchability seems intact but it remains to be seen what kind of workload he can manage and how his stuff will hold up. Out of options so he has to be on the roster in 2016.
9) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, Grade A-: Combined 3.83 ERA with 140/70 K/BB in 134 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 104 hits. Still love the stuff and dominance potential but command remains the flaw here. I think it comes around eventually, maybe a Homer Bailey path.
10) Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade A-: Traded to Reds, now past rookie limits so won’t be on 2016 list, 3.56 ERA in 48 big league innings, 45/21 K/BB. I think he can start.
11) Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies, Grade A-: 4.33 ERA with 110/41 K/BB in 114 innings in Triple-A, which is actually very good for Albuquerque. In the majors, 5.53 ERA with 40/14 K/BB in 41 innings, 52 hits. The good K/BB is more reflective of his potential than the ERA. On his own terms I like him, but Coors Field looms.
12) Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox, Grade B+: Did OK after promotion to majors, 4.57 ERA with 50/24 K/BB in 63 innings, 62 hits. I think he progresses and becomes a reliable number three starter.
13) Andrew Heaney, LHP, Los Angeles Angels, Grade B+: Made 18 starts for the Angels, 3.49 ERA with 78/28 K/BB in 106 innings, 99 hits. Nothing fluky about it in my view, should be a steady rotation presence with some excellent seasons.
14) Luis Severino, RHP, New York Yankees, Grade B+: Terrific in the minors and remained so in the majors, made 11 starts for Yankees with 2.89 ERA, 56/22 K/BB in 62 innings, 53 hits. Just needs to get through the typical injury gauntlet but his performance is not out of bounds at all for his talent level.
15) Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros, Grade B+: 4.37 ERA with 110/51 K/BB in 132 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, 135 hits. Appel is the kind of guy who will throw a no-hitter in his major league debut, then give up eight runs in two innings in his second start. He’ll probably make an All-Star team at some point but also have years where his ERA is almost 6.00.
16) Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals, Grade B+: Traded to Athletics, pitched at four stops with combined 2.66 ERA, 90/26 K/BB in 74 innings. Elite prospect, just needs to build up his workload.
17) Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets, Grade B+: Strong in Triple-A (94/31 in 90), pitched great in six MLB starts (2.27, 34/10 in 36). Health/durability remain the obvious concerns here but his talent is just as obvious.
18) Marco Gonzales, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B+: Not a great year in Triple-A, 5.45 ERA with 51/24 K/BB in 69 innings, 91 hits. Suffered shoulder, pectoral, and back injuries through the season. Mulligan on health grounds.
19) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, Grade B+: Good in Triple-A (2.95, 20/5 in 21, excellent for Reno) but hit hard due to command issues in majors, 5.80 ERA, 23/22 K/BB in 36 innings. Missed much of season with shoulder trouble.
20) Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins, Grade B+: Made 27 starts between Double-A and Triple-A, 2.87 ERA with 175/38 K/BB in 166 innings, 136 hits. No complaints here; ready for a trial.
21) Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies, Grade B+: Promoted to majors at mid-season and performed well one year out of college, 3.59 ERA with 68/19 K/BB in 78 innings. Seems sustainable as long as health holds.
22) Tyler Kolek, RHP, Miami Marlins, Grade B+: Posted 4.56 ERA with 81/61 K/BB in 109 innings in Low-A, 108 hits. Stuff went backwards and command not good enough to compensate at this point.
23) Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins, Grade B+: Rough opening as a starter in Triple-A, converted to relief in June and was more effective, overall 4.79 ERA with 100/48 K/BB in 92 innings. All comes down to command of course.
24) Aaron Blair, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, Grade B+: Very good season in high minors, 2.92 ERA with 120/50 K/BB in 160 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, handled PCL very well. Ready for a trial.
25) C.J. Edwards, RHP, Chicago Cubs, Grade B+: Now known as Carl Edwards Jr., posted 2.77 ERA with 75/41 K/BB in 55 innings in high minors. Relief seems like the best role for him, still needs to tighten command.
26) Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres, Grade B+: Made 19 starts for the Braves, 4.71 ERA with 72/40 K/BB in 109 innings, 119 hits. Not great by any means but has a shot at being a workhorse and finished strong.
27) Alez "Chi Chi" Gonzalez, RHP, Texas Rangers, Grade B+: 3.57 ERA with 56/31 K/BB in 88 innings in the minor, 3.90 ERA with 30/32 K/BB in 67 innings in the majors. Poor K/BB ratio is a big red flag, FIP was much worse at 4.97. Not sanguine unless that improves.
28) Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, Grade B+: 157 innings in Double-A, 3.50 ERA with 118/56 K/BB, 147 hits. Not bad, still projects as workhorse type.
29) Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Boston Red Sox, Grade B+: I love this guy, 3.85 ERA with 98/37 K/BB in 122 innings in the majors. Should continue to improve.
30) Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants, Grade B+: Command went backwards here, 66 walks in 63 innings in Double-A. Fanned 73 and kept up a good 3.29 ERA but that won’t last at more than a walk per inning. I have been an optimist on Crick but that is fading.
31) A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals, Grade B+: 3.15 ERA with 76/34 K/BB in 106 innings in Triple-A, fanned nine in nine major league innings but gave up 11 runs. Decline in strikeouts since reaching Triple-A is a worry.
32) Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B+: Posted 2.49 ERA at three levels, finishing strongly in Double-A, 2.49 ERA with 151/49 K/BB in 101 innings total, just 70 hits. Stock way up, into Grade A area.
33) Michael Feliz, RHP, Houston Astros, Grade B+: 2.83 ERA between High-A and Double-A, 103/32 K/BB in 111 innings, 82 hits. Gave up seven runs in eight major league innings but fanned seven. Stock up though not as high as Reyes.
34) Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles, Grade B+: Missed season with balky elbow.
35) Kyle Freeland, LHP, Colorado Rockies, Grade B+: Limited to 47 innings by injury, High-A and rookie rehab, posted 4.05 ERA with 28/10 K/BB, 50 hits. Low strikeout rate is of significant concern.
36) Rob Kaminsky, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B+: Traded to Indians, 2.24 ERA with 83/33 K/BB in 104 innings in High-A, 2.16 GO/AO. I like him a lot, this was a great pickup.
37) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade B: Missed season again, this time with a hernia. Tough profile with two years gone to injury.
38) Jake Thompson, RHP, Texas Rangers, Grade B: Traded to Phillies in Cole Hamels deal, 3.73 ERA with 112/42 K/BB in 133 innings in Double-A, 127 hits, pitched better after the trade. Yet another workhorse starter type.
39) Rafael Montero, RHP, New York Mets, Grade B: Didn’t pitch much due to rotator cuff trouble.
40) Josh Hader, LHP, Houston Astros, Grade B: Traded to Brewers, posted 3.03 ERA with 119/35 K/BB in 104 innings in Double-A, 87 hits. Solid campaign, maintained strong K-rate and was very effective after the trade.
41) Grant Holmes, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade B: Threw 103 innings in Low-A, 3.14 ERA with 117/54 K/BB, 86 hits. Reports on stuff are quite good from the Midwest League, polishing command is the key going forward.
42) Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade B: Good in Triple-A, erratic in majors (5.71 ERA, 77/29 K/BB in 87 innings but 112 hits), season ended early due to blood clots and surgery on a rib. Still love the upside here.
43) Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies, Grade B: Well this didn’t go so well, 5.90 ERA in 16 big league starts with 44/42 K/BB in 79 innings, 102 hits. Yeah, Colorado, but those ratios won’t play anywhere. Still too young to give up on of course.
44) Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade B: Combined 4.37 ERA with 100/54 K/BB in 93 innings, 75 hits between High-A and Double-A, finished strong with brilliant work in last three starts. Stock holding.
45) Tyler Beede, RHP, San Francisco Giants, Grade B: Strong in High-A, not so good in Double-A, posted 3.97 combined with 86/44 K/BB in 125 innings, 113 hits. Gets lots of grounders, still ironing out secondaries and general consistency.
46) Raisel Iglesias, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, Grade B: 4.15 ERA in 16 big league starts, 104/28 K/BB in 95 innings, 81 hits. ERA is misleading; FIP was 3.55. Assuming no health issues I think he could be one of the best pitchers in baseball next year.
47) Vincent Velasquez, RHP, Houston Astros, Grade B: 56 innings in the majors, 4.37 ERA with 58/21 K/BB, 50 hits. Can start or relieve and could thrive either way if command, health hold up.
48) Sean Newcomb, LHP, Los Angeles Angels, Grade B: Strong season, 2.38 ERA with 168/76 K/BB in 136 innings, 97 hits between High-A and Double-A. Command can wobble but dominates at his best, potential anchor if he throws more consistent strikes.
49) Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B: Another arm who performed well, 2.84 ERA with 97/31 K/BB in 95 innings in Low-A. Just needs to build up workload.
50) Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B: Pre-season sleeper becoming a mainstream prospect after 3.18 ERA, 129/27 K/BB in 130 innings in A-ball. Few match his pitchability.