It is my opinion baseball is an endless universe of fun things to explore, comically impossible for one person to cover. One human barely scratches the surface of one tiny little corner of it all. Pitcher List exemplifies this notion, and I’m humbly honored Nick Pollack and company invited me to be a part of their hard-working community, diligently covering more than their fair share of it all. I learn far more by listening to others than I can on my own, and although this is true with most things in life, it comes easiest for me with baseball.
There are potentially 75-plus minor league games on a given day, or approximately 250-350ish hours of minor league baseball a day. When the stars align, and a “good day” happens, I can take in max 4% of it with the power of fast-forward, and that’s pushing it. Never mind the parts hidden from me. Don’t check my math, you get the point.
In the spirit of Nick and company, the PL+ Discord Community, the universe of all things baseball, and the impossible fantasy of digging through all the prospect mud, I turned toward a supportive reader, asking who they wanted to see featured in this piece for whatever reason. My hope was to get turned onto new prospects, and it happened. They also gave me an outlet to share some things I’ve already been watching and looking to share. They, who want to remain anonymous, joined me in the best kind of prospecting there is: sharing via discussion.
Here are the seven names “assigned” to me, and I’ll do my best to bring some life to them. This reader knows a lot about a lot of prospects. Smart people make other people dive into pitchers for them because they’re more laborious to dig into. Well done, esteemed reader, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I did my best to find what I could and share any thoughts.
Mitchell Kilkenny, RHP, High-A Spokane (COL)
24.3 years old
0% Fantrax Ownership
Fresno has been a nightly watch for me this season, and the 6’4″, 200+ pound Kilkenny started six games as a Grizzly before promoted to Spokane, so I was pleasantly familiar. The initial assignment to low-A was concerning, but the former second-round pick whose pro career started with Tommy John surgery in 2018 might be speeding through some assignment formalities, which he’ll have to do to gain dynasty appeal. There aren’t parks in his leagues providing the greatest looks at the stuff, if broadcast at all, but the secondary offerings get my attention most, particularly the breaking ball, which seems more curveball than slider:
(vs Blaze Alexander 6/22)
(vs Reece Hampton 6/22)
Kilkenny spots it well, isn’t afraid to use it in any count, and it’s been an effective out-pitch against both righties and lefties. Kilkenny has been more deadly against lefties than righties with 17 of his 28 strikeouts against them. The numbers have been impressive, but, they should be for a highly drafted 24-year-old in A-ball. Kilkenny was one of the best pitchers I saw in Low-A West and he needed to move on. A move to double-AA is probably needed before we can get too interested.
The changeup gets its fair share of swing and miss too:
(vs A.J. Vukovich 6/4)
(vs A.J. Vukovich 6/4)
Hard to remark on the fastball too much given our looks, but, like the others, he puts his pitches where he wants at a high clip (1.52 BB/9 in high-A). He’s more two-seam/sinker-type than blow it by you above the bat. Velocity-wise, he was once billed as a low-90s guy, but per broadcasts, it sounds like it’s ticked up.
As always with Rockie pitching prospects, we know what lies at the end of the road, so regardless of progress, it’s a tricky dynasty play. Kilkenny’s a great sneaky watchlist guy to be aware of and offers the kind of swing and miss juice dynasty owners look for. If things continue to go well, he ends up at a high level with success before the season’s end. High-A doesn’t seem to be much of a challenge now either, so I think our chance to really start digging and getting better looks happens soon.
Jose Butto, RHP, High-A Brooklyn (NYM)
23.3 years old
0% Fantrax Ownership
Brooklyn’s home games like to shoot from the press box a lot, so the looks weren’t copious, but thanks for adding the 6’1″, 200-pound Butto to the list. Butto was not a guy on my radar at all, but I can see the appeal now. His changeup flashes as one of the nastiest I’ve seen this year:
(vs Ezequiel Duran 6/13)
(vs Hunter Markwardt 6/1)
Don’t mind the radar gun graphic above, the changeup isn’t really around 80 mph. Their “gun” is way off. His fastball is 92-96 and was registering 86-90 there, so that changeup was probably closer to 85/86 mph. I’d love to know the vertical movement on that thing, cause it looks drastic.
My overall takeaway with Butto at this point is the lack of consistency in most faucets. The fastball velocity, the overall control, particularly in the zone, and the movement of pitches are sporadically all over the map. To boot, he hasn’t really done a great job of reigning it in when it goes and the hard contact comes in bunches. June 6th at Jersey Shore, he gave up four home runs, three in one inning. Here’s one via the changeup:
(vs Jhailyn Ortiz)
He has the propensity to leave all of his offerings over the heart, it isn’t just one problem pitch. The mentioned June 6th outing, all three of his pitches were taken out of the park. Butto also conceded three home runs, two in one inning, June 18th against Wilmington, but it was not broadcast.
The breaking ball flashes swing and miss, but it’s a work in progress, not spotted well consistently.
(vs Jonathan Guzman 6/1)
The following at-bat sums up the state of Butto’s breaking ball, and perhaps where he’s at in general. It ended well, and there was some good stuff, but there’s concerning work to be done:
(vs Brandon Howlett 5/12)
The young Venezuelan has some fire in him I like and he’s a bulldog, but I’m not sold he’s a prospect we need to be using roster spots on. Of course, it can come together, and his last outing was great, going six, striking out nine, walking one, giving up two runs, but at 23 years old in A-ball with these ups and downs? I feel there are plenty of similar dreams out there. The young man may be better served chasing the big leagues from the bullpen. That changeup can be downright disgusting though, in a good way.
Ofelky Peralta, RHP, Double-A Bowie (BAL)
24.2 years old
0% Fantrax Ownership
Peralta was another guy not on my radar, so thank you. Being in double-A, we get a lot of looks at his swing and miss stuff. The fastball looks hard, touching high 90s, and the curveball plays well off of it, garnering a good amount of strikeouts (10+ K/9) right now. On top of the strikeouts, Peralta has a little gamesmanship to him, quick pitching at times and maybe altering his timing to the plate some. The fastball has some legit pace:
(vs Jimmy Herron 6/3)
Here’s a decent look at a breaking ball:
(vs Matt McLaughlin 6/3)
I’m not totally sure what the following was. I suspect Peralta may dabble with a two-seam, but I don’t think there were a lot of instances of it. Maybe it’s a hard-thrown breaking ball or cutter? You tell me?
(vs Oneil Cruz 5/7)
The changeup is a work in progress, hard, sometimes diving life, sometimes going more horizontal, sometimes plain straight:
(vs Todd Czinege 6/3)
(vs Coco Montes 6/3)
Peralta seems to slow down his upper half when throwing the changeup and breaking ball. My amateur gifs far from illustrate it well, but watching him over the course of several starts, it becomes noticeable. There are mechanical things I don’t like about his shoulders overall. Along with seeming to slow down, he can really get the head, thus shoulders going toward first base. Peralta is walking batters at a 4.63 per-nine rate, which isn’t super out of control, but it isn’t great.
I didn’t break down the numbers, but Peralta’s second time through the lineup proves notably more difficult beyond the typically expected drop-off in results. During his best start on May 21st, he struck out seven the first time through, the second time, hitters were two for five with a walk, which feels on-brand for him. Maybe hitters pick up on the change in delivery from pitch to pitch? (Just a speculative question from my couch.) Maybe an innings count thing, or maybe the Orioles sense a better route this way having ran him out of the bullpen four times?
The 6’5″ frame, velocity, and breaking ball are enticing, but in the end, I think Peralta is a pass for me. Couple the mechanical stuff I questioned with a fastball possibly lacking movement and inconsistencies in a third pitch, and it’s not a profile I’m betting on.
Brandon Pfaadt, RHP, High-A Hillsboro (ARI)
22.7 years old
0% Fantrax Ownership
I already had some opinions of Pfaadt, as I do the Diamondbacks for Prospects1500 and have tuned in. Going back to last June’s draft, loaded with college pitching, I had wondered if the small school (Bellarmine) prospect was unjustly pushed down the board, as I’m often defensive of the small school guy. A relief pitcher tag probably turned a lot of dynasty owners off, but that narrative could be changing. At 6’4″, 230 pounds with good stuff he’s able to pound the zone with, it’s easy to see why every major league organization had an interest. Lauded for his curveball, there was question if there would be enough arsenal for a few trips through a lineup.
The back-foot curveball to lefties has been too much for hitters at his levels and my favorite pitch of his:
(vs Zac Veen 6/4)
(vs Tyler Flores 7/1)
Unlike some of the others on our list here, Pfaadt’s curveball appears quite consistent in shape and going where he wants it. It’s his best pitch, and the rest of the arsenal isn’t close. Pfaadt has introduced a slider, and although I question the quality of it, he may throw it more than the curveball. Perhaps it’s just a case of a young pitcher working hard on his craft, but it seems to actually setup the curveball well. Here are a couple of looks at the slider:
(vs Heath Quinn 7/1)
(slider vs Carter Aldrete 7/1)
The sinking fastball reportedly sits in the mid-90s and gets some swing and miss. The following is kind of a cheap “swing and miss,” but I thought it illustrated the movement well:
(vs Veen 6/4)
Given the arsenal, I’m wondering how Pfaadt is going to work up in the zone. Pfaadt is probably best suited for trying to induce a lot of weak contact groundballs, which could be deceiving if you’re box score scouting and notice back-to-back games with 12 strikeouts and those kinds of good-looking numbers.
Pfaadt’s surrendered eight home runs in nine starts, and I fear there will be too many like this one, off a fastball up, in the future:
(vs Armani Smith 7/1)
There is a changeup being worked on as well, but I haven’t seen a lot of them, and this one may sum up where it’s at right now:
(changeup vs Ismael Munguia 7/1)
Pfaadt seems a work in progress despite good-looking numbers and promotion. I suspect he meets his match in double-A where it’s going to be a matter of him putting enough together to remain starting, or slip into the bullpen where the sinker/curveball combo can play up. I’ll be watching, but there’s no reason to go using up roster space on Pfaadt right now.
Matt Brash, RHP, High-A Everett (SEA)
23.2 years old
1% Fantrax Ownership
I’m with you on this one, esteemed reader: I wanna know more. The problem is, Brash has only had one broadcast game, and that was the opener. We can’t take much away from 60 pitches in the first outing after a skipped season, but I’m on board to watch Brash ASAP. The Canadian import was traded after the Padres selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 draft, and although a bit older for his level, things are really just getting started for him. He’s cruising through his high-A assignment, putting up numbers, currently on a 10-inning scoreless streak. He started 2021 striking out a highly thought of prospect on three pitches:
( vs Corbin Carroll 5/4)
Along with a good looking fastball, the breaking ball looks nasty:
(vs Blaze Alexander 5/4)
And I saw a few changeups:
(vs Spencer Brickhouse 5/4)
Unfortunately, not much more to say except he has some good-looking stuff. You got me interested though.
Randy Vasquez, RHP, Low-A Tampa (NYY)
22.7 years old
0% Fantrax Ownership
Hate to disappoint again, but Vasquez hasn’t been broadcast yet. Low-A Southeast only has one stadium broadcasting and he hasn’t pitched there yet. Vasquez hasn’t given up an earned run in three starts, and that’s enough for me to want to get a look. Between August 31st and September 5th, Tampa visits Bradenton, so unless a promotion comes, that may be our first chance. Anyone on the ground able to help us out?
Yosy Galan, OF, ACL Rangers
20.2 years old
0% Fantrax Ownership
Being as I do the Rangers’ top 50 here at Pitcher List, the late international signee has my interest too. I did inquire about him via a few contacts I have with the Rangers, but all I got was “strong kid”. Galan has been slotted cleanup to six-hole from what I’ve seen. He’s 2-for-17 with a stolen base and an RBI. Listed 6’4″, 200 pounds. I’m gonna see if I can get my guy Chris Welsh on it for us. Wish I had more for you.
Even if the reviews seem lackluster, this is what prospecting should be like most of the time. Exploring new players, good, bad, ugly, whatever. Thanks to our esteemed reader for the assignments, you did well. And thanks to you other readers for taking part in the discussion that is baseball. If you enjoyed this article or want to partake in more prospect exploration, consider subscribing to PL+ and joining our community. I’d love to be turned onto the players you’ve been curious about as well. Feel free to hit me up on Twitter anytime.
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