2012 Pre-Season Position Rankings: Righthanders
Ranking players is one of the bedrocks of what we do here at Baseball America.
With the Top 100 Prospects list now in the books, we're not putting the offseason rankings away just yet. Over the next couple of weeks, we're ranking prospects by position, starting with righthanded starters.
The 2011 draft was considered one of the deepest drafts for righthanders in many years, as four of the consensus top seven prospects were power righthanders. Those recent additions turn what would be a solid group of righthanded starting pitchers into one of the deepest positions in the minors.
And that was before Yu Darvish joined the Rangers. The addition of a Darvish adds yet another impact player to an already impressive list.
The four 2011 draftees have quickly climbed to the top of the prospect rankings, but they have to fall behind Davish and Julio Teheran's big league ready assortment of pitches. Teheran has had to relinquish his title of the minors' best pitching prospect to Matt Moore, but his plus fastball and plus changeup still rank among the best stuff in baseball.
Teheran was signed out of Colombia, but most of the other players in the top 10 share similar pedigrees. Eight of the top 10 pitchers were first round or supplemental first-round picks. The one who wasn't a first round pick, Brad Peacock, lasted until the 41st round as a draft-and-follow pick who signed in 2007.
As you would expect in a gathering of top prospects, soft-tossers need not apply. Not one of the top 10 righthanders has a below-average fastball, including multiple starters who frequently top 95 mph.
2012 Impact Rookie: Yu Darvish, Rangers.
There are plenty of other options in a deep righthanders class, but Darvish should be able to step into the front end of the Rangers rotation.
2012 Breakout Prospect: Tyrell Jenkins, Cardinals.
Right now, the biggest knock on Jenkins is that he hasn't gone through the grind of a full season. He should clear that up in 2012.
1. Yu Darvish, Rangers:
Yu Darvish (Photo by Bill Mitchell)
Comes pre-packaged as a big league-ready ace, with his adjustment to the U.S. his only concern.
2. Julio Teheran, Braves:
2012 to-do list: Improve curveball and sharpen command. Then enjoy big league success.
3. Shelby Miller, Cardinals:
Cardinals have done a great job of developing role players in recent years. Developing Miller gives them a potential impact player who isn't far away.
4. Trevor Bauer, Diamondbacks:
Bauer has gotten impressive results from his do-it-my-way approach. If he keeps it up in the big leagues, it may rework how teams let pitchers throw on the side.
5. Dylan Bundy, Orioles:
He's a high school arm, but scouts view him as a elite college-type talent who will move quickly.
6. Gerritt Cole, Pirates:
Last year's No. 1 pick hits 100 mph on a regular basis, but his command is better when he's throwing more in the 93-95 mph range.
7. Jameson Taillon, Pirates:
The top high school arm in the 2010 draft should get to throw more innings in 2012. He has the potential for three plus pitches.
8. Taijuan Walker, Mariners:
Fastball touches 98, and he pairs that with excellent athleticism and a developing curveball. It will be no surprise if he ranks even higher next year.
9. Jacob Turner, Tigers:
Unlike most young fireballers, Turner has no trouble finding the strike zone, but he needs to miss more bats.
10. Archie Bradley, Diamondbacks:
In almost any other year he would have been the top high school arm in the draft.
11. Jarrod Parker, Athletics:
Trade from Arizona to Oakland gives Parker a clearer, quicker path to the big leagues.
12. Carlos Martinez, Cardinals:
As good as teammate Shelby Miller's stuff is, Martinez's is nearly as good, just in smaller package.
13. Zack Wheeler, Mets:
Move from Giants to Mets makes him the man in a system that needs stars.
14. Brad Peacock, Athletics:
Doesn't have much competition to become best 41st-round pick ever.
15. Randall Delgado, Braves:
Not as athletic as fellow Brave Julio Teheran, but he has a better curveball.
16. Jarred Cosart, Astros:
High effort delivery concerns scouts, but it's hard not to like his 95 mph fastball
17. Matt Harvey, Mets:
Plus fastball and breaking ball, though he still needs to refine his changeup before he gets to the big leagues.
18. Wily Peralta, Brewers:
Once projected as a reliever, Peralta has proven he's a long-term starter.
19. A.J. Cole, Athletics:
Will be interesting to see if A's let him keep his spike curveball or change his grip.
20. Zach Lee, Dodgers:
Proving pretty polished for a two-sport player (football and baseball) in high school.
21. Dellin Betances, Yankees
22. Sonny Gray, Athletics
23. Jake Odorizzi, Royals
24. Trevor May, Phillies
25. Taylor Jungmann, Brewers
26. Casey Kelly, Padres
27. Garrett Richards, Angels
28. Chad Bettis, Rockies
29. Chris Archer, Rays
30. Taylor Guerreri, Rays
31. Tyrell Jenkins, Cardinals
32. Allen Webster, Dodgers
33. Nate Eovaldi, Dodgers
34. Neil Ramirez, Rangers
35. Alex Meyer, Nationals
36. Luis Heredia, Pirates
37. Joe Wieland, Padres
38. Jose Campos, Mariners
39. Matt Barnes, Red Sox
40. Anthony Ranaudo, Red Sox
41. Jose Fernandez, Marlins
42. Daniel Corcino, Reds
43. Drew Hutchison, Blue Jays
44. Paul Clemens, Astros
45. Dillon Howard, Indians
46. Johnny Hellweg, Angels
47. Noah Syndergaard, Blue Jays
48. Joe Ross, Padres
49. Trey McNutt, Cubs
50. Alex Colome, Rays
51. Deck McGuire, Blue Jays
52. Aaron Sanchez, Blue Jays
53. Robert Stephenson, Reds
54. Tyler Thornburg, Brewers
55. Jeurys Familia, Mets
56. Keyvius Sampson, Padres
57. Liam Hendriks, Twins
58. Dillon Maples, Cubs
59. Jon Pettibone, Phillies
60. Cody Buckel, Rangers
61. Asher Wojciechowski, Blue Jays
62. Parker Bridwell, Orioles
63. Garrett Gould, Dodgers
64. Alex Wilson, Red Sox
65. Yordano Ventura, Royals
66. Mike Foltynewicz, Astros
67. Kevin Comer, Blue Jays
68. Adonys Cardona, Blue Jays
69. Joe Musgrove, Blue Jays
70. Jorge Lopez, Brewers