Mining For Pitchers: Suarez, Littell, & Kennedy

Last week I re-introduced my hitter prospect finder and today, the pitchers take center stage. The process uses K%-BB%, age, and level as inputs to find potential off-the-radar prospects.

While the hitter finder finds all the top hitters from scouting sources, the pitcher is not as robust. It just looks at results which sometimes can be off with known fastball velocities and pitch quality. Even though it doesn’t replicate the top prospects, I find it’s great at finding lesser-known targets.

Here are the top-50 pitching prospects according to the process and few interesting names emerge.

Note: Let me know if a group of pitchers seems off. I might be able to find a way to improve the inputs.

Top-50 Pitching Prospects
Rank Name Age 100 Scale Team
1 Kolby Allard 20 69 Braves (AA)
2 Mike Soroka 20 69 Braves (AAA)
3 Jack Flaherty 22 58 Cardinals (AAA)
4 Triston McKenzie 20 57 Indians (AA)
5 Luiz Gohara 21 55 Braves (AAA)
6 Brent Honeywell 22 53 Rays (AA)
7 Nick Neidert 21 52 Marlins (AA)
8 Michael Kopech 22 51 White Sox (AAA)
9 Enyel De Los Santos 22 51 Phillies (AAA)
10 Sixto Sanchez 19 51 Phillies (A)
11 Beau Burrows 21 51 Tigers (AA)
12 Jaime Barria 21 51 Angels (AAA)
13 Jose Suarez 20 51 Angels (AA)
14 Forrest Whitley 20 50 Astros (AA)
15 Peter Lambert 21 48 Rockies (AA)
16 Bryse Wilson 20 47 Braves (AA)
17 Freddy Peralta 22 47 Brewers (AAA)
18 Sean Reid-Foley 22 46 Blue Jays (AAA)
19 Zac Gallen 22 46 Cardinals (AAA)
20 Genesis Cabrera 21 46 Rays (AA)
21 Adrian Morejon 19 45 Padres (A-)
22 Jesus Luzardo 20 44 Athletics (AA)
23 Zack Littell 22 44 Yankees (AA)
24 Dustin May 20 44 Dodgers (A+)
25 Tyler Mahle 22 43 Reds (AAA)
26 Spencer Adams 22 43 White Sox (AA)
27 Chance Adams 23 43 Yankees (AAA)
28 Logan Allen 21 43 Padres (AA)
29 Caleb Ferguson 21 43 Dodgers (AA)
30 Franklin Perez 19 43 Astros (AA)
31 Grant Holmes 21 42 Athletics (AA)
32 Justus Sheffield 22 42 Yankees (AA)
33 JoJo Romero 21 41 Phillies (AA)
34 Ariel Jurado 22 41 Rangers (AA)
35 Wennington Romero 20 41 Reds (A)
36 Ryan Castellani 22 41 Rockies (AA)
37 Foster Griffin 22 41 Royals (AA)
38 Jose Mujica 22 41 Rays (AAA)
39 Brett Kennedy 23 40 Padres (AAA)
40 Jen-Ho Tseng 23 40 Cubs (AAA)
41 Touki Toussaint 22 40 Braves (AA)
42 Roniel Raudes 20 40 Red Sox (A+)
43 Jalen Beeks 24 40 Red Sox (AAA)
44 Joey Wentz 20 39 Braves (A)
45 Walker Buehler 23 39 Dodgers (AA)
46 Shane Bieber 23 39 Indians (AAA)
47 Pedro Avila 21 39 Padres (A)
48 Stephen Gonsalves 23 39 Twins (AAA)
49 Yonny Chirinos 24 39 Rays (AAA)
50 Dennis Santana 22 38 Dodgers (AAA)

#13 Jose Suarez

The small (5’10, 170 lbs) 20-year-old lefty has flown through the Angels farm system this season. After a couple starts in High-A, he dominated Double-A with a 15.5 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and a 3.03 ERA in seven starts. He got promoted again to Triple-A where he’s struggled some with only 5.6 K/9 and 3.57 ERA.

Coming into the season, his fastball sat 89-93 mph with a plus change and an acceptable curve. Those pitches are now performing better:

Some owners may be late to the party in deep dynasty leagues but don’t be surprised to see him promoted within the year for a major league call-up. His 4.11 Steamer projection is not going to go unnoticed for long.

#23 Zack Littell

Two dominant Double-A seasons with the Yankees and Twins has put the 23-year-old righty int0 the Twins prospect lists. His star has lost some luster with a horrible major league start (six runs, four walks, one strikeout in three innings) and OK results in Triple-A (3.58 ERA, 8.8 K/9).

Coming into the season, he was known for 91-93 mph sinking fastball which helped him post groundball rates of 53%, 54%, and 51% in three different minor league levels. In two levels this season, the groundball rates are 35% and 44%. It seems like he’s dropping the sinker.

In his one major league start, he threw 53 four-seamers and only nine sinkers. His fastball did generate some swings-and-misses but got too much of the plate at times.

Good

Bad

In all fairness, the parts exist for a decent pitcher. I could see owners repelled because of the bad start so demand will remain low.

#39 Brett Kennedy

The 23-year-old righty is producing decently in Triple-A with a 3.00 ERA, 9.6 K/, 2.8 BB/9, and a 50% GB%. Steamer projects him for a 4.18 ERA which would be the third lowest projected ERA among all Padre starters. And no details exist at all about him besides this blurb from our own Eric Longenhagen.

“Though short in stature, Kennedy throws pretty hard, sitting 91-93 with his fastball and occasionally touching 95. His secondaries are fringy, but when Kennedy is locating his mid-80s cutter/slider he’s effective. He might max out as a fifth starter.”

He’s on no Padre top prospect list. If owners are looking for someone completely off the radar, Kennedy may be it.

We hoped you liked reading Mining For Pitchers: Suarez, Littell, & Kennedy by Jeff Zimmerman!

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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 three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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ABaseballDude
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ABaseballDude

Love it! Only comment I’d have is how did your algorithm miss Chris Paddack? Dude is carving up A+ (43.5K%) (41.6K-BB%)

baltic wolf
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baltic wolf

I was wondering the same thing.

pmacho
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pmacho

Cause he’s 22 pitching in A+.

ABaseballDude
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ABaseballDude

true, but he’s utterly dominating a very hitter friendly league. I’d argue his results far outweigh the age/level concerns.

baltic wolf
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baltic wolf

Well, Cistulli really likes him. The TJ surgery set him back so that’s why he’s an older guy in high A.