Keeper leagues are fun. But one of the hardest things to predict is rookie pitching performances because there are so damn many moving parts on a big league staff. Below are three arms that have very high ceilings but no clear path to a big league job this April. Still, their talents suggest they could be impact players for their respective clubs in 2016.
Jose Berrios, RHP, Twins: Minnesota is loaded with young bats but the club has yet to see the fruits of its (development) labor on the mound. That could change if Berrios impresses the coaching staff enough to break camp with the big league club. Just 21, the Puerto Rico native made 12 starts in Triple-A during the second half of the year. In total, he threw 166.1 innings — a fairly large number for a young arm so he could shoulder a respectable workload in his freshman year. Although he has a modest frame and solid control, Berrios should not be confused with a soft-tosser or command artist. He has a firm fastball and could be an impact player for the Twins in short order. ETA: May
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates: It hasn’t been a great spring so far for Jon Niese, Ryan Vogelsong or Jeff Locke. That’s important to know because rookie hurler Glasnow — one of the best arms in the upper levels of the minor leagues anywhere — is almost ready for The Show. He’s not going to make the team out of spring training, but the young right-hander split most of the 2015 between Double-A and Triple-A (throwing 41 innings at the latter level). From a skill perspective, Glasnow has all the necessary weapons to create a dynamic 1-2 punch with Gerrit Cole. He’s always missed a lot of bats with his power stuff but he also struggles with his control at times. Look for him to reach Pittsburgh at some point this summer. ETA: late-June
Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers: Urias receives a lot of attention because, well, he’s damn talented… and he plays in a strong baseball market. Just 19, he won’t turn 20 until August and may very well be a teenager when he makes his debut in The Show. The Dodgers added some arms in the offseason — most notably Scott Kazmir and Kenta Maeda — but injuries have already reared their ugly heads in camp. Urias has an advanced three-pitch mix but his lack of innings in ’15 (80.1) will hurt him in ’16. Because the Dodgers have been cautious with him (and he’s had injuries and other issues keep him off the field), he has yet to surpass 100 innings in a season — but that should come this year if he can stay healthy. ETA: late-July.
Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospects and fantasy. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.