Deep League Starting Pitchers (Miller, Lorenzen, Brash, Gibson, & Harrison)

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

I am examining starters going later than pick 300 in the latest NFBC ADP.

Here are the previous editions:

Bobby Miller (449 ADP)

I’m not the prospect guy, so I’m going to rely on others to value Miller.

Here at FanGraphs, we rank him as the second-best prospect in the Dodgers system with Baseball America giving him the same rank. He attacks hitters with a 98-99 mph fastball and two plus non-fastballs, a change and a slider. He has a serviceable curve but it is a step below the other two pitches. Besides the curve, the only other knock against him would be his control goes at times (3.1 BB/9 in 91 AA IP).

I think he would be drafted sooner if there was so much competition for LA’s major league jobs. Besides the five in the rotation (Urias, Kershaw, Gonsolin, Syndergaard, May), a couple of starting pitcher prospects are waiting and already have MLB experience.

Name: MLB IP, Proj ERA
Michael Grove: 29, 4.57
Ryan Pepiot: 36, 4.43

Additionally, Gavin Stone (ranked #6 in the system) is in AAA.

Miller will be a must-roster once promoted.

Michael Lorenzen (455 ADP)

The 31-year-old righty didn’t have a great season when looking at the surface (4.24 ERA, 4.20 xFIP, 1.28 WHIP, and 7.8 K/9) but he has a chance for a breakout. In this same series last year I wrote:

Also, there are just no changes to build off of to point to a breakout. His velocity tanked during the season. He got worse as the season went on (4.49 xFIP in August and 5.72 xFIP in September). Additionally, he’s violated the Yu Darvish Rule … as a reliever by throwing six pitches with his slider and change having at least an 18% SwStr% over his career. He’s added a cutter this past season, but his strikeouts dropped.

Some of the problems still existed this season when he went on the IL in early July (3.8 BB/9, pitches with at least 10% usage). In a recent Mining the News, here are the reported changes:

Lorenzen missed more than two months of the season last summer with a right shoulder strain. When he returned, the long-haired righty was a different pitcher. Lorenzen had a 2.36 ERA in his final five starts of the season with the Angels. He struck out 30 batters and walked only 14 in that span of 26 2/3 innings.

He ditched an experiment with a three-quarters delivery and returned his arm slot to its natural position. He altered his pitch mix, attacking right-handers with a four-seam and slider, then going after lefties with his four-seam and changeup.

And my conclusion:

He started the season throwing all five of his pitches over 10% of the time, but during that last month, he was basically just four-seam (6% SwStr%), change (20% SwStr%, 53% GB%), and slider (14% SwStr%). If he can maintain a 15% K%-BB%, he would be comparable to Framber Valdez, Tyler Anderson, and Logan Webb in 2022. All three are being drafted at least 300 picks ahead of Lorenzen.

My take hasn’t changed. The one issue keeping him from being elite is the walks. They went up from 3.8 BB/9 before the injury to 4.7 BB/9 after. Maybe Detroit has an answer.

Matt Brash (458 ADP)

The 24-year-old righty struggled with his command as a starter (7.7 BB/9, 4.80 xFIP) and was moved to the bullpen where he was better (4.7 BB/9, 2.98 xFIP). At this point, his value is in leagues that count holds.

Kyle Gibson (465 ADP)

The 35-year-old had had some good and bad seasons and maybe the Orioles can accentuate the positives.

First, he has been healthy by making at least 25 starts in every full season since 2014. He volumed himself into double-digit Wins in all but one of those years.

Second, he added velocity during last season.

Finally, his slider is elite (19% SwStr%) and his change is decent (14% SwStr%). He only threw the pair a combined 32% of the time and some form of his fastball 62% of the time. I’d not be surprised if the Orioles don’t try to adjust his pitch mix. I don’t he’s worth taking a chance on in the draft, but can be monitored and added in the season if there are major changes.

Kyle Harrison (467 ADP)

The 21-year-old prospect is ranked second in the Giants farm system and management says he should get a shot at the rotation this season.

If the Giants had been in the race, you might have seen Harrison promoted in September. Zaidi has said Harrison is likely to debut early next season and possibly even be an option to crack the opening-day rotation.

Last season in AA, he posted a 1.55 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 18.3 K/9 in 29 IP. In AAA, it was a 3.11 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, and 13.6 K/9 in 84 IP.

According to Baseball America, he throws a high spin 97 mph fastball. Additionally, he throws a plus “sweeping” slider and a “developing” change.

I don’t have a problem with someone taking a chance on Harrison at this point in the draft.

Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won four FSWA Awards including on for his Mining the News series. He's won Tout Wars three times, LABR once, and got his first NFBC Main Event win in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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6 days ago

I think Harrison needs to get the BB/9 under control. A 4.1 percent will effect his WHIP definitely (current est. is about 1.4), but beyond that, could lead to big innings in the Bigs. I want to see what his command is like this spring.