Anyone following Spring Training and pitching prospects closely knows yesterday (3/5/2019) was a big day for some top minor league talent. Jesus Luzardo (12 on Pipeline) and Dylan Cease (21) started for the first time this spring, while Kyle Wright (30), Ian Anderson (32), and Alex Reyes (33) all came out of the bullpen. Let’s check out how they faired.
Spring Training stats
Jesus Luzardo: 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 H, 2 BB, 6 K
Luzardo did everything and more in his first start. He threw around 50 pitches and was able to strike out six through 2.2 innings. After a dominate relief appearance in his outing before the start (2 IP, 3 K), his cards have seen a spike in price moving up to around $40 a base auto.
Dylan Cease: 1 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 0 K
Cease didn’t get the swing and misses, as I am sure he would have liked, but after giving up two hits, he could get through his one inning of work. Not only was that his first start, it was his first Spring Training action as well. I will be excited to see how he does with more innings through the rest of spring.
Kyle Wright: 3 IP, 0 ER, 2 H, 0 BB, 3 K
Wright came in and got to work right away. Over the three innings, he was able to strike-out Troy Tulowitzki, Luke Voit, and Aaron Judge. That is impressive stuff. He has pitched five innings so far, and has struck out six. Not bad at all for the 23-year-old righty. His base autos are touching $30 now.
Ian Anderson: 2 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 BB, 2 K
Anderson followed up Kyle Wright by doing some work himself, getting two Ks in as many innings. The 2016 draft product is still only 20-years-old and looks to have a dominant MiLB season.
Alex Reyes: 1 IP, 1 ER, 1 H, 2 BB, 1 K
After numerous injuries (TJ two years ago, lat surgery last year), investors could finally see their once top pitching prospect hurl again. He was the only pitcher of the five to give up an earned run, but I think many would agree it was great to see him on the mound again. I am sure he will have some rust to shake off, but he has one of the highest potentials of any pitching prospect.
Investment Outlook: PSA 10 Base Autos
If I’m going with any of these guys here, I’m sticking up the $70 for Jesus Luzardo (disclaimer: the days of $70 PSA 10s may be gone after yesterday). He was one of the best MiLB pitchers in 2018; that was his first year off of TJ surgery. Going into his second year completely healthy, he is already proving why he is the number one left-handed pitching prospect in the game. I expect him to start the year in AAA, dominate, and work his way into the rotation by the end of April/beginning of May. However, I would not be surprised if he makes the rotation out of camp (MLB, please fix the CBA rule. Thanks).
After Luzardo, I like Dylan Cease for the money. According to Fangraphs, he has a 70 grade fastball, and a future 60 grade curveball. He dominated AA last year, posting a 13.41 K/9 in 10 starts to go along with his sub-2 ERA.
After these two, it is between Ian Anderson and Alex Reyes for me. Reyes has been in the top 30 for years. He has so much potential, but injuries keep on stopping him from reaching it. IF he can ever get over the injury hump, people would wish they could still grab a PSA 10 for $62.
Since that’s a big if, I will go with Ian Anderson before Alex Reyes. Anderson played last year at 20-years-old and put together a great season, mostly in High-A ball. He had over 10 K/9, and ran a 2.52 ERA. When he got promoted to AA to end the year, he put together some quality outings with high strike-out numbers.
That leaves Kyle Wright in the back of the pack. I say this because his statistics were not that impressive last year, but Fangraphs does think he has a four-pitch arsenal, which always helps. It is not that I don’t like Wright; I just like the others better. Wright had a nice outing yesterday, so I will be interested to see how he performs the rest of the spring.
Who are you investing in out of these five pitchers?
Previously on SlabStox: The Curious Case of Population Reports
Next on SlabStox: Prospect Profile: Nate Pearson