2016 Left-Handed Pitching Prospects

The 2016 Left-Handed Pitching Prospects are loaded with talent and showcase some of the best young arms in baseball

2016 Left-Handed Pitching Prospects

1

Julio Urias

Position: LHP Age: 19 DOB: 08/12/1996 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 2" Weight: 205 lb. Signed: August 23, 2012 - LAD

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 55 | Overall: 65

Julio Urias

AP

Let's be completely candid -Urias has dominated every single level and may be the best left-handed pitching prospect since Clayton Kershaw.  As a 16-year old he demolished Low Class A to a tune of 2.48 ERA with 67K in 54.1IP. He took on the California League (which is widely known as a hitters league) and sported a 2.36 ERA with 109K in 87.2Ip allowing a paltry .194 batting average against. As the youngest player in Double A, he had continued success; over 13 starts, 2.77 ERA, 74K in 68.1IP with just 15BB.  The Dodgers have been patient with Urias' development and tried not to push him too aggressively. Even with that great deal of patience, he still might get to the Bigs as a teenager.   

Julio Urias have above-average stuff. His fastball sits between 92-94 and he can reach back and hit 96 when he needs. His command is extremely impressive at such a young age. His secondary pitches are a curve and change-up, both of which he has complete confidence in and is willing to throw in any count. His change-up shows a ton of fade which provides deception to left-handed batters. These in combination with his baseball iq, make him the top left-handed pitching prospect.

For the first time in his professional career he ran into challenges in 2015. When promoted to Triple-A, he was not as crips as he usually has been. One would attribute this to increased workload. He has never thrown more than 87.2 innings before and 2016 might be the year he breaks that mark. He was shut-down for two-months in 2015 as he had surgery on his left-eye to remove a benign tumor. It will be interesting to see how they handle his workload throughout the season or throw caution to the wind and call him in May.

2

Blake Snell

Position: LHP Age: 23 DOB: 12/04/1992 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 4" Weight: 180 lb. Drafted: 2011, 1st Sup (52) - TB

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 55 | Control: 45 | Overall: 60

Blake Snell

USA Today

It took a little longer than expected by Blake Snell has finally arrived. When the Rays drafted him 52nd overall in 2011 the scouting report said " raw and projectable talent". Each year he continued to improve his command, before the breakout campaign in 2015. His 46 consecutive scoreless innings to start the 2015 season was unbelievable and jumped three levels during the year.  He would finish with the Minor League best 1.41 ERA and the fourth-highest strikeout total (163).

Snell has a fastball that is between 92-94 and "jumps" on hitters with late life. With his fastball #1 best pitch, his offspeed pitches are also impressive. Many times last year his slider was his strikeout pitch. The only pitch that needs more seasoning is his changeup as sometimes it can get drift a too much out of the strikezone. Perhaps we are nit-picking on a very talented pitcher.

Blake Snell was able to lower his walk ratio significantly over last season but his control is something he will look to continue to improve in 2016. At 6'4", 180 pounds he may need to put on a little weight to be prepared for the length of the big league season. Credit the Rays for taking their time with Snell as he truly has developed into a wonderful talent. Over the last few years the Rays have developed solid starting pitching.

3

Steven Matz

Position: LHP Age: 24 DOB: 05/29/1991 Bats: R Throws: L Height: 6' 2" Weight: 200 lb. Drafted: 2009, 2nd (72) - NYM

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 60

Steven Matz

NY Times

Similarly to Snell, Matz took a while to finally develop. With various injuries during his pro career including a lat strian that slowed his development, he ascended through the Minors in short order. His first professional start was 2012 and three years later he's pitching in the MLB playoffs.

Matz has a live arm that hits 96-98 routinely and follows it up with two solid secondary pitches. His fastball offers a ton of sink which has resulted in high ground-ball outs. His changeup is his out pitch as it offers a ton of fade and deception. The curve has improved tremendously over the last two seasons. He has total command of it and throws in any count. His command is steadily improving.

Expect to see Matz start in the bigs in 2016, he has nothing left to prove in the minors. Joining Matt Harvey, Jacob DeGrom Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler, the future really bright in NY.

4

Sean Newcomb

Position: LHP Age: 22 DOB: 06/12/1993 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 5" Weight: 245 lb. Drafted: 2014, 1st (15) - LAA

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 70 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 60

Sean Newcomb

OC Register

Sean Newcomb was drafted by the Angels 15th overall during the 2014 Draft Class out of Hartford. And has quickly became a household name as one of the best left-handers in the 2014 Draft class and in all of baseball. The 2015 campaign saw him make 27 starts posting a 2.38ERA over three different levels and in the Futures Game.  He was traded after the season to the Braves as big piece for the Angels to acquire Andrelton Simmons.

At the time, the trade brought in something Atlanta sorely needed: an elite-level pitching prospect, one not that far from helping out in the big leagues. There were readings of Newcomb's fastball touching triple digits in 2015 and he'll sit in the 94-97 mph range. Big and physical, he maintains that velocity and does so without too much effort. Newcomb's curve has become a plus pitch, one that misses plenty of bats. His changeup gives him a third at least Major League average offering.

Newcomb does have to cut down on his walks to reach his ceiling, but as a Northeast guy who used to divide focus among two sports, he has more upside than your typical college arm. If the control improves, he could even outperform those Jon Lester comps.

5

Tyler Jay

Position: LHP Age: 21 DOB: 04/19/1994 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180 lb. Drafted: 2015, 1st (6) - MIN

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Curveball: 50 | Slider: 65 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

Tyler Jay

Robin Scholz/The News-Gazette

Tyler Jay's stock skyrocketed during his Junior campaign at Illinois. He primarily served as a reliever and garnered national attention with a 1.08ERA and 76K in 66.2IP during his junior season. Those numbers earned him Big Ten Pitcher of the Year. Looking back, it was truly his sophomore season that started to get scouts to watch. He converted 10 of 10 save opportunities and finished the year with a 1.94ERA with 47K in 41.2IP over a team-high 23 appearances. He followed that up by participating on TEAM USA Collegiate National Team posting a 0.00ERA with a save and 21K in 16.2IP. No wonder the Twins selected him sixth overall in the 2015 draft. Even though Jay made just two starts during his junior year, the Twins have made the decision to begin his pro career as a starter.

Many thought he may follow a similar path of Brandon Finnegan and be ushered to the big leagues but after evaluating his total workload from college it was a great decision to let him make relief appearances this year and expect to start in 2016. Jay's command is truly his calling-card. His 92-94 fastball  and above-average slider make him very tough to hit.  The changeup and curve have the makings of being quality offerings and the Twins expect him to refine his off-speed stuff this year.

The one knock on Tyler Jay is his size, 6'1" 180 pounds does give the impression that he needs to add more muscle but the scouts have been quite surprised just how strong he truly is. The one area that will be the most intriguing to watch with Jay is how he handles his aggressive style of attacking hitters when he will be expected to last more than two innings.

6

Kolby Allard

Position: LHP Age: 18 DOB: 08/13/1997 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 1" Weight: 180 lb. Drafted: 2015, 1st (14th) - ATL

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Curveball: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 55 | Overall: 55

Kolby Allard

LA Times

The one guy on this list that has the biggest opportunity to fly up the rankings is Kolby Allard. Allard was afirst round draft pick by the Braves in 2015 (14th overall). Allard's stock took a hit prior to the draft as he had a stress reaction in his back forcing him to miss a little over a month of baseball. Had that not happened, he potentially could have been a top-5 pick. So to say the Braves got a steal in Allard would be a understatement. He ended up having a minor procedure on his back following a brief stint in the GCL in 2015. He is expected to be in great shape and ready to go for 2016. 

Allard's GCL debut was impressive as he K'ed 12 in 6IP including a striking out five in two innings during his second outing. He flashed a 92-94 fastball with late life, a solid curve the has the makings of #2 pitch and outstanding command for a teenager.

Allard should be fine to begin the 2016 season and the sky is the limit for him.

7

Josh Hader

Position: LHP Age: 21 DOB: 04/07/1994 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 3" Weight: 160 lb. Drafted: 2012, 19th (582) - BAL

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 55

Josh Hader

Varsity Sports Network

There is something be said about a guy who has been a big piece of two trades for MLB arms. The most recent trade saw him head to the Brewers in the Carlos Gomez/Mike Fiers deal. Hader is a guy that has exceeded expectations since being drafted in the 19th round by the Orioles. During his first full-season in 2013, Hader dominated the South Atlantic League to the extent that every time he pitched fans would chant it's "Hader Time".  After the 2015 season in Double-A he became the focus at the Arizona Fall League earning the honor of "Pitcher of the Year" after leading the league in ERA.

Hader has always had solid stuff it just needed refining. His command was an area of improvement that he needed to work on and it seemed to all come together during the AFL in 2015. His fastball routinely hits 96-98 and his slider showed a ton of promise. His delivery has a slight unconventional cross-fire to it resulting in a power combo of the fastball/slider.

He is expected to continue to start as he develops his secondary pitches. He still struggles from time to time with command but his outstanding fastball will still allow him to attack the strike zone. We would not question the idea of him becoming a reliever in the big leagues.

8

Cody Reed

Position: LHP Age: 22 DOB: 04/15/1993 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 5" Weight: 225 lb. Drafted: 2013, 2nd (46) - KC

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 60 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 45 | Overall: 55

Cody Reed

Reds Minor Leagues.com

Cody Reed is a beast. Reed was a big piece of the haul the Reds received for Johnny Cueto as the Reds truly saw the potential in him. When he was drafted by the Royals in 2013 as expectations were for him to be an ace of the future. Flash-forward two years and he has started to live up to those lofty expectations.  In Double-A in 2015, Reed posted a 2.45ERA with 144K in 145.2IP over 26 appearances/23 starts.

Cody Reed is a bulldog on the mound that attacks hitters with a 91-93 mph fastballl, hard slider and average changeup. He has bouts with ineffectiveness from time to time but the potential is clearly there. Many scouts see him as a true #3 starter in the bigs. The Reds have invited Reed to MLB Spring Training to groom him for a potential call-up sometime during 2016. 

As his command continues to improve so will his prospect status. There are not many leftys in the minors that have the overall potential as Reed.

9

Amir Garrett

Position: LHP Age: 23 DOB: 05/03/1992 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 5" Weight: 210 lb. Drafted: 2011, 22nd (685) - CIN

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Amir Garrett

Cincinnati Reds

The Reds sure did pay Garrett a lot of money (seven figures) when they drafted him in 2011. At that time Amir was playing basketball at St. John's. The hope was that eventually he shift his complete focus on baseball. That became true in 2014 and he has slowly improved along the way. 

Garrett has always shown flashes of brilliance during his pro career but still struggles with inconsistency. His most outstanding outing came during the 2015 playoffs when he tossed 7 innings of one hit ball with 12Ks. He mainly works everything off of his 92-95 fastball and his slider tends to get a little slurvy at times and his changeup is steadily improving. His size comes in handy similarly to how the 6'10" Chris Young extends towards the mound making his fastball literally jump on hitters. With him being an outstanding athlete, his curve of improvement time will move much faster than most other prospects.

What could he be in the bigs? That's a good question, many scouts argue that he has #2 stuff others view him as the back-end of the rotation guy. 2016 will be a true test for Garrett.

10

Sean Manaea

Position: LHP Age: 23 DOB: 02/01/1992 Bats: L Throws: L Height: 6' 5" Weight: 235 lb. Drafted: 2013, CBA (34) - KC

Scouting Grades: Fastball: 65 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 50 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55

Sean Manaea

Chicago Tribune

If there has ever been a guy with a top prospect label and had a rash of injuries continue to slow his progress it's Manaea. He was safe pick by most experts to go No. 1 overall in the 2013 Draft before a hip injury during his junior season at Indiana State really sputtered his ability to blossom. The Royals plucked him at #34 in the draft and he signed for a eye-popping $3.55 million, the highest ever for a supplemental first rounder. Manaea was fully healthy during his full-season debut in 2014, posting 25 starts and a 3.11ERA. The 2015 season was a different story as he missed the first half of the year with abdominal and groin strains. Once healthy he manhandled the Texas League when the A's picked him up late in the year in the trade for Ben Zobrist. Making up for lost time, he headed to the Arizona Fall League and promptly led the league strikeouts.

His very deceptive delivery and sneaky fast fastball are a deadly combo. With a fastball sitting in the 92-94 range it jumps on hitters as he hides the ball well during his deliver. Coupled with a slider that shows great deception, it's a wonderful 1-2 punch.  His changeup is improving and has a lot of late fading action resulting in a ton of swing and misses. The PCL will be a good challenge for Manaea, the new ballpark in Nashville proved to be more a hitters park than a pitchers in 2015.

Manaea has the makings of a #3 starter assuming his health is in check. His ability to pile up strikeouts will most likely earn him a call-up in 2016.His secondary stuff will be the question that most scouts will point towards.

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