Prospect Scouting & Stats — Pitcher CB – Present

We continue our look at prospect pitch grades, this time moving along to the curveball. Now, I present to you the top 7 pitchers in Curveball – Present (CP) grade, as sorted first by grade, and then by FV. I only included pitchers with a 60 grade CP and at least a 45+ FV grade.

Top 7 Prospect Curveballs
Name Org Age Top 100 Org Rk FV CB – Present
Deivi Garcia NYY 20.9 42 1 55 70
Bryan Abreu HOU 23.0 5 45 70
Jackson Rees TOR 25.7 29 40 70
Forrest Whitley HOU 22.6 15 1 60 60
Matt Manning DET 22.2 12 1 60 60
Matthew Liberatore STL 20.5 94 3 50 60
Zack Thompson STL 22.5 5 45+ 60

Yankees prospect Deivi Garcia tops our CP list, earning just one of three 70 grades, and also earning a respectable 55 FV. Had the season started on time, there was a real chance Garcia would have opened the season in the rotation given the injuries the incumbents had succumbed to. Assuming there’s eventually a season, there’s still a chance we see Garcia make a bunch of starts, depending on how the season is set up, as teams might go with larger rotations. Garcia has posted some scintillating strikeout rates in the minors, with marks above 30% at literally ever single stop in his career, except for his latest one at Triple-A. There, his strikeout rate fell to just 25.3%, which is fine, but a significant drop from where he had been. Since reaching Double-A in 2018, his walk rates have sat above 11%. Combine the control problems with the dip in strikeout rate at the minors’ highest level, I’m not expecting much short-term success in the Majors.

Bryan Abreu made his MLB debut with the Astros last season, throwing 8.2 relief innings. Over that tiny sample, he mightily impressed, posting an elite 40.6% strikeout rate, fueled by a crazy 19.2% SwStk% mark. According to the Pitch Info rates, he threw his 70 grade curveball an insane 65% of the time! He paired it with a four-seamer averaging about 95 MPH. The curve generated an absurd 27.4% SwStk%, so at least over this tiny sample, it was a legit elite pitch. He has battled double digit walk rates throughout his career though, but given a well-graded slider, as well, it seems he could have the repertoire to succeed as a starter, but his control will be the key.

Blue Jays prospect Jackson Rees is old to be a top prospect at 25, which is especially old given that he has only just completed High-A ball. He is apparently a long-term reliever, but has shown excellent strikeout ability and an extreme ground ball tilt in the minors, so he’s rather intriguing. Keep an eye on him if he finds himself in the Majors down the road.

There’s Forrest Whitley, who has been a top prospect for a while. He doesn’t own any standout pitches, but earned a 60 grade on three different pitches, so he comes at you with an assortment of good pitches, without an elite one. Control has been a major issue recently and during his first taste of Triple-A action, his strikeout rate tumbled to just 24.4%. He’s still a ways away from expecting him to succeed at the MLB level.

Matt Manning is the Tigers’ top prospect, with a solid fastball/curveball combination. He has yet to be tested at Triple-A, though, and his strikeout rate has dipped below 30% after moving up to Double-A. His control has been fine, though, unlike some of the higher graded names on this list, so there’s probably a better chance at MLB success in the near-term.

Matthew Liberatore is our first 60 grade CP whose FV drops down to 50. Liberatore’s strikeout rate dropped to just 22.9% after moving up from Rookie league to Single-A, which might be explained by his mediocre non-curveball grades. At the moment, there’s not much to see here, as he’ll have to post better strikeout rates to care about in keeper/dynasty leagues. However, his fantasy value does get a boost now in the National League, but that boost will only come in mixed leagues, of course.

Zack Thompson is our second straight Cardinals prospect, but one we have very few minor league innings to evaluate. Thompson was a 2019 draftee and has thrown just 15.1 innings, but his changeup is expected to be pretty good in the future, giving him two solid non-fastballs.

Mike Podhorzer is the 2015 Fantasy Sports Writers Association Baseball Writer of the Year. He produces player projections using his own forecasting system and is the author of the eBook Projecting X 2.0: How to Forecast Baseball Player Performance, which teaches you how to project players yourself. His projections helped him win the inaugural 2013 Tout Wars mixed draft league. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikePodhorzer and contact him via email.

Comments are closed.