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Fantasy Baseball Dynasty Prospects: Top 12 Potential Relievers


This week we’re doing something a little different. We’ve been traveling through the minor leagues reviewing the best dynasty prospects at each position. Now, we find ourselves looking at the relievers.

This position is a bit of an anomaly. Teams often don’t directly develop impact relievers - they’re often initially starters that fail to fully develop in that role due to a lack of consistent command and control, a failure to develop a second and/or third above-average pitch, or they just couldn’t stay healthy. So, we’re going to look at 12 starting pitchers that could develop into impact relievers and leave their current roles far behind.

As mentioned above, we previously reviewed the catchersfirst basemensecond basemenshortstops, third basemenoutfielders, and starting pitchers. Let's have some fun.

 

Top 1-12 Potential Relief Prospects

1. Triston McKenzie, Indians, MLB ETA: 2021

McKenzie should be a starter. He has a great frame, a solid fastball, and good secondaries. But he can’t stay healthy. He’s only pitched 80.2 innings over the past two seasons combined. But when he’s been on the mound, McKenzie has been very, very good. If the back issue is a chronic concern then the relief role and the constant work may be of benefit. And he may be almost unhittable in one- or two-inning stretches.

2. Hunter Greene, Reds, MLB ETA: 2022

We should probably give Greene a fair shot to prove that he can stick in the starting rotation once he comes back from Tommy John surgery but I’m not overly optimistic. His command was questionable prior to the injury and he lacked reliable secondary offerings. And those aren’t the sort of things that get better with a long layoff.

3. Franklin Perez, Tigers, MLB ETA: 2021

Perez looked like he was on a collision course with the Majors in 2018 after a strong 2017 season that saw him reach Double-A at the age of 19. But then he was traded to the Tigers organization from Houston and got hurt. Over the past two years, he’s thrown just 27 innings due to shoulder issues. He already throws in the mid-90s but a move to the 'pen and further maturation could get him into the upper-90s with a plus breaking ball.

4. Brent Honeywell, Rays, MLB ETA: 2021

Honeywell is another pitcher dealing with injuries that may benefit from a move to the bullpen. A top pitching prospect prior to getting hurt, he suffered a torn ligament and broke a bone in his throwing elbow during separate incidents. As a result, he hasn’t pitched in two years. A screwball was his signature pitch before getting hurt but it’s unlikely he’ll be allowed to throw it upon his return as it’s a pitch notorious for causing injuries. Honeywell could dominate as a reliever with his solid control, as well as three offerings that showed above-average before his injuries.

5. Jorge Guzman, Marlins, MLB ETA: 2021

Guzman is the guy the Marlins got when Derek Jeter helped gift Giancarlo Stanton to the Yankees. And while he can hit triple digits with his heater, he’s far from a finished product due to his so-so secondaries and ugly control issues (71 walks in 138.2 innings is actually an improvement over 2018). He’s also seen his strikeout rate drop each of the past two seasons as he faces better hitters. A move to pen with a 100-mph fastball and average slider could help him realize his potential.

6. T.J. Zeuch, Blue Jays, MLB ETA: 2020

Zeuch is a huge, strong workhorse type who stands 6-foot-7 that reached the Majors in 2019 and held his own. But he’s also very much a one-pitch pitcher with a very, very heavy fastball. A move to the pen could allow him to throw that offering 80-90% of the time and even possibly see a little more velocity on his four-seam fastball. The breaking ball is good enough to sprinkle in from time to time for a change of pace.

7. Jhoan Duran, Twins, MLB ETA: 2020

The Twins have had some luck developing pitchers in recent years and a few of those high-ceiling pitchers are nearing the Majors. Duran has a lot of potential but he’s also very reliant on just one pitch (his heater). It’s an extremely heavy offering that induces a plethora of ground balls and, as a reliever, he may be able to dominate with it. Throw in his average-ish curveball and average control, and he could rack up some impressive save totals for the Twins.

8. Hector Perez, Blue Jays, MLB ETA: 2020

The Blue Jays are starting to build up some starting pitching depth so moving some arms to the bullpen makes sense. Perez has not shown the consistency or command that you like to see from a starter so the move to the pen could help him focus and be more reliable. He’s shown promise with his upper-90s heat and three secondary offerings but none of them have been consistent. Focusing on just one off-speed pitch could allow him to turn it into an above-average offering.

9. J.B. Bukauskas, Diamondbacks, MLB ETA: 2020

Bukauskas has an excellent fastball in terms of power and movement but his inability to locate it causes issues. Add in the risk of injury due to his delivery and size, and you have a player who is better suited to a relief role where he can air it out for an inning or two. The fastball-slider combo could allow him to be a dominant force as a reliever, even if his command and control only scrape average.

10. Luis Medina, Yankees, MLB ETA: 2022

Medina has monster stuff. He’s just 20 but his fastball hits 100 mph and he has a plus curveball. But he also can’t hit the broadside of a barn. He walked 70 batters in 103.2 innings in 2019 and also threw 27 wild pitches. With modest size at around 6-feet, there are also injury concerns here for Medina. A move to the pen could allow him to zero in on two pitches and perhaps gain better focus with shorter stints, which in turn could help lessen the control issues.

11. Tanner Houck, Red Sox, MLB ETA: 2020

A 2017 first-round pick out of the college ranks, Houck has been solid-but-unspectacular in pro ball. The issue is related to his low arm slot, which makes pitching to left-handed batters more difficult because he lacks a reliable changeup to keep them off the heater. His fastball is not good enough to act on its own while working his way through a line up two or three times. A move to the 'pen could lessen this concern.

12. Kyle Funkhouser, Tigers, MLB ETA: 2021

Funkhouser is a former first-rounder that hasn’t been the same since getting hurt in his junior year of college. He still flashes mid-90s velocity but his secondary offerings haven’t developed as expected and his control has regressed. With the Tigers having so many good, young starting prospects ahead of him on the depth chart, it makes sense to try him in the bullpen to see if he enjoys more success.

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