Pitching Prospects on The Rise
Chris Clegg breaks down 10 pitching prospects that are making major jumps this year.
Connor Phillips, RHP, CIN, 22, AA
Connor Phillips is likely a more known name than most of the prospects on this list as he has been one of the best arms in the Minor Leagues this year. Through 14 starts, Phillips has a 3.34 ERA backed by a 3.39 FIP and a 2.90 xFIP. Strikeouts have carried Phillips as he has an impressive 39.1 percent strike out rate and has cut his walk rate by six percentage points from last year.
Looking for the next Spencer Strider? Phillips may just be him. He has a fastball that sits between 95 and 97 mph regularly but can touch 99 mph regularly and comes with an elite 20 inches of IVB. The fastball is easily a 70-grade pitch.
The breaking stuff is equally as good as Phillips’ slider, which sits in the mid-80s but can get up to 88 mph, gets a ton of sweep, and generates a ton of whiffs and chases out of the zone. He also mixes a curveball in the upper 70s and sometimes throws a changeup.
Phillips is legit, and we will likely see him in Triple-A or even in Cincinnati soon. Buy in while you still can.
Noah Schultz, LHP, CHW, 19, A
Noah Schultz is a unit that looks like the “Big Unit,” Randy Johnson, already listed at 6’9”/220 lb at age 19. He is a dominating presence on the mound that overwhelms batters with a mid-90s fastball that gets on you quickly thanks to elite extension from his massive frame. A flexor strain kept him from debuting until June 2 this year, but he has been dominant since he debuted. In seven innings pitched, Schultz has struck out 12 batters, allowed one run and hit a piece, and not let a runner score.
Schultz dominates hitters with his two-seam fastball that touches 98 but sits 95-96 mph with run and sink that he can throw it down or up in the zone. His slider sits 82-84 with a ton of sweeper, and he is comfortable throwing it to left and right-handed hitters. Schultz also features a changeup to keep right-handed hitters honest that sits around 86-87 mph.
The reports and feedback on Schultz have been insanely good. Some have said this could be the best left-handed pitching prospect in the game. That is high praise for seven innings of work, but when you got it, you got it. He is a borderline top-100 prospect.
Luis Perales, RHP, BOS, 20, A
Luis Perales has pushed all concerns behind him after a shaky start to the season. Since May 13, over seven starts, he has a 2.87 ERA with 44 strikeouts to ten walks. The command has improved, and he is throwing a ton of strikes. In fact, Perales has just two walks over his last three starts, totaling 16.2 innings.
The fastball has excellent life at the top of the zone, averaging over 15 inches of IVB on it while sitting around 95 mph. It has some of the best life I have seen on a fastball in Single-A or High-A. It is even up there with AJ Smith-Shawver’s fastball, which I saw earlier this year.
Perales’s curveball is very advanced and is a high-spinning pitch. It sits in the lower-80s, and his arm slot lets him snap the pitch off. He drops it in at the top of the strike zone but also gets right-handed hitters to chase low and away. While he did not feature it often in my live look, it looks like a plus pitch.
Perales also throws his changeup against lefties to keep them honest. If you want a full scouting report, check it out here:
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