My Annual MLB Player Development Ratings, A.L. Pitching

Posted: December 22, 2019 in Uncategorized

And now for pitching.  Both kinds.

A. L. East:  Not near as bad as everyday player development, yet no shining example either.

Toronto (#4).  Nate Pearson is far and away their best pitcher in development.  He traveled three levels last year (AAA/AA/A+).  Most of the Jays developmental strength is found in AA, thus perhaps one or two offers 2020 assistance in Toronto.  Jackson Rees (A) is one to watch.

Tampa (#8).  Brendan McKay (MLB/AAA/AA) likely begins in Tampa this coming season.  A bit of a rush job last year, but plenty of other car wrecks litter the MLB landscape not near as bad as Tampa pushing Mr. McKay.  Joe Ryan (A+) and Shane McClanahan (A+) are the next great hope in Tampa’s system.

NYY (#9).  One of the following lands with the Yankees in 2020:  Brian Keller (AA), Clark Schmidt (AA) or Domingo Acevedo (AA).  A lot of talent in A ball, but that mound is much different than the mound in the Bronx.

Baltimore (#11).  Less Tayler Scott (MLB/AAA), not much.  Maybe Hunter Harvey (MLB/AAA) and Dillon Tate (MLB/AAA/AA) offer assistance.

Boston (#14).  Awful.  Boston’s minor league system was incapable of placing a top-ten list.  The ninth and tenth spots are vacant.  Less Rio Gomez (A), so is their pitching development.

A.L. Central:  To the continued surprise of most, Detroit tops my A.L. pitching development.  Strange days.

Detroit (#1).  2020 will feature the arrival of Matt Manning (AA) and Joey Wentz (AA).  By far the best two in system.  John Schreiber (MLB/AAA) and Eduardo Jimenez (MLB/AAA) most likely join the Detroit bullpen.  Casey Mize (AA/A+), Kyle Funkhouse (AA), Drew Carlton (AA) and Ethan Decaster (AA) complete an impressive group of arms in waiting.

Minnesota (#2).  Sensing the same theme as everyday player development results?  Randy Dobnak (MLB/AAA/AA/A+) is all but a lock to appear in the Twin Cities April forward.  Cody Stashak (MLB/AAA/AA) returns as well.  Other 2020 quality candidates include Adam Bray (AAA/AA), Griffin Jax (AA) and Bailey Ober (AA/A+)  Finally, Devin Smetzler (MLB/AAA/AA) and Lewis Thorpe (MLB/AAA) have a chance to return post-spring training.

Cleveland (#6).  Solid, yet unspectacular arms especially in AA.  Zach Pleasac sticks with the club out of spring training.  Then I bet on Aaron Civale (MLB/AAA) and A.J. Cole (MLB/AAA) to have extended time in Cleveland.

White Sox (#10).  A toss up between Jimmy Cordero (MLB/AAA), Matt Tomshaw (AA) and Kyle Kubat (AA/A+) to land in Chicago in April.

K.C. (#12).  Tyler Zuber (AA) is a rush job candidate for 2020 since the Royals failed to have a single 2019 AAA pitcher make their top-ten.

A.L. West:  One big change that many will dismiss.

Seattle (#3).  A mixture of 2019 MLB/AAA exposure.  Five pitchers (Dan Altavilla, Andrew Moore, Zac Grotz, Justus Sheffield and Justin Dunn) suffered from organizational stupidity that landed them in AAA for no apparent reason other than to struggle before being rushed to Seattle.  A slower pace in 2020 means a better chance for success.  Watch for the arrival of Sam Delaplane (AA) in 2021.

Texas (#5).  A mirror of Seattle, though not quite as confusing.  Joe Palumbo (MLB/AAA), Brock Burke (MLB/AAA), Brady Feigi (AAA) and Emmanuel Clase (MLB/AA, skipped AAA) are the best in system ready to arrive and pitch in the blistering, wet heat of Texas in 2020.

Oakland (#7).  Sean Manaea (MLB/AAA) finally stays season long in Oakland.  Five quality pitchers rise from AA to AAA this coming year.  Of those five, perhaps James Kaprielian (AA/A+) gets a later shot in the Bigs.  Seth Martinez (A+) and Jesus Zambrano (A+) have a bright future.

Houston (#13 and, yes, the change you will probably dismiss).  Indeed.  The mighty of development begin to stumble.  At least with their pitching.  Nothing in 2019’s AAA and AA system is ready to offer help in Houston.  Await the two to three year arrival of Riley Cabral (A+), Humberto Castellanos (A) and Nivaldo Rodriguez (A).

LAA (#15):  Everyday development stumbled in at #13.  Pitching completes the organizational collapse.   Of their top ten, I could place only seven.  Starting pitching prospects are especially barren.




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