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Deep League Pitching Prospects To Watch In High-A

April is now in the books and as May starts we take a look at some of the High-A pitching prospects who might have gone under the radar so far. In this article, I am focusing on deep-league pitching targets so these are arms beyond the top 200 prospects. Each season these types of pitching prospects started to climb prospect rankings so getting in at the ground floor is key. Let’s dive into some deep league pitching prospects to watch in High-A right now.

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Pitching Prospects To Watch

Andrew Morris, RHP MIN

(5 GP, 25.2 IP, 33 K, 11.57 K/9, 2.81 ERA)

Twins right-handed pitcher Andrew Morris is off to a hot start in the first month of the season. The Twins drafted Andrew Morris in the fourth round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Texas Tech. Morris features a mid-90s four-seamed fastball that tops out at 97 mph. The slider is sharp coming in at 88 mph, while the curveball sits at at 79 mph with excellent drop. Morris’s fourth offering is an 89-90 mph change-up that lags behind his other offerings. Solid in 2023, Morris ascended two levels, starting the season in Low-A and finishing the year in High-A.

This season back in High-A Morris has been fun to watch. In five starts, Morris has 33 strikeouts over 25.2 innings, good for a much improved 11.57 K/9 while sporting a 2.81 ERA. In each of Morris’s stops in the Twins organization he has been effective in limiting the walks. This season he has a 1.75 BB/9. With this performance early on the 22-year-old Morris could be heading to Double-A Wichita in short order. Andrew Morris is currently 1% rostered in Fantrax Leagues.

Jaden Hamm, RHP DET

(5 GS, 20.1 IP, 30 K, 13.28 K/9, 1.33 ERA)

Detroit might have struck gold drafting Jakden Hamm in the fifth round of the 2023 MLB Draft out of Middle Tennessee State. The 21-year-old Hamm has been almost untouchable in High-A West Michigan. Standing at 6’1”, he gets the most out of his pitch mix with a fastball that sits 91-93 and peaks at 95 mph with excellent carry-up in the zone. The curveball might be his best offering coming in at 81 mph with depth and sweep into lefties. The 86 mph change-up has a solid tumble out of zone. Hamm’s delivery is a bit funky which is a good thing as its helped his dominance thus far.

In five starts with the White Caps Jaden Hamm has 30 strikeouts over 20.1 innings pitched, good for a 13.28 K/9. Along with the high strikeouts has come control as he currently has a 0.44 BB/9 and is sporting a 1.33 ERA. This is an excellent deep league add with an organization that has taken big steps forward in pitching development. Jaden Hamm is currently 6% rostered in Fantrax Leagues.

Hunter Barco, LHP PIT

(5 GS, 19.1 IP, 27 K, 12.57 K/9, 2.33 ERA)

In an organization headlined by the likes of Paul Skenes, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Barco has been solid since being drafted in the second round of the 2022 MLB draft out of the University of Florida. Standing at 6’4” and 210 pounds, the 23-year-old Barco has a starter’s build and a solid three-pitch mix to remain a starter long-term. The left-hander features a four-seam fastball that sits 93 mph and tops at 94 in his most recent starts. The slider has solid movement to it coming in at 83 mph. With the change-up, he has excellent tumble, coming in at 83 mph and tunnels well off the slider moving away.

In the first five starts at High-A Greensboro Barco has been excellent striking out 27 batters over 19.1 innings pitched, good for a 12.57 K/9. Despite the high strikeout rates Barco is a groundball pitcher as he has a 52.4% groundball rate this season with a 0% HR/FB rate. Working with the change up and slider outside the zone has led to higher walk numbers for Barco currently at 3.26. On the season so far Barco has a 2.33 ERA with a FIP of 2.02. To me, Barco has SP4-SP5 potential which has its value in deeper dynasty formats. Hunter Barco is currently rostered in 4% of Fantrax Leagues.

Winston Santos, RHP TEX

(4 GS, 20.2 IP, 31 K, 13.50 K/9, 0.44 ERA)

Getting off to a dominant start in the Southern League has been Hickory’s Winston Santos. The 22-year-old Santos has been mowing down High-A batters with a fastball, slider, and change-up combination. In four starts with the Crawdads Santos has 31 strikeouts over 20.2 innings pitched, good for a 13.50 K/9 while sporting a stellar 0.44 ERA. The only blemish on his line so far this season has been the elevated 3.05 walks per nine innings but a solid .139 average against has been great to see. With a high 94.1% left on base percentage expects some of these numbers to come back down to earth but with a 1.59 FIP it shouldn’t be too bad.

This is an interesting prospect to stash in deeper dynasty leagues as he moves up the Rangers organization. Winston Santos is currently rostered in 7% of Fantrax leagues.

Jared Karros, RHP LAD

(4 GS, 20 IP, 25 K, 11.25 K/9, 2.70 ERA)

Los Angeles Dodgers continue to draft college starters they can improve and move through the system quickly. The Dodgers selected Jared Karros out of UCLA in the 16th round of the 2022 MLB Draft. Standing 6’7”, Karros casts an intimidating figure on the mound and features a 92-94 mph four-seam fastball helped by the size appearing faster to the batter. The slider comes in at 82 with firm movement, whereas the curveball will come in at 79 mph with a sharp downward break. His change-up sits around 90 mph with solid tumble.

On the season Karros has been fantastic at High-A. In four starts with the Great Lakes Loons, he has 25 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched, good for an 11.25 K/9, and is sporting a solid 2.70 ERA. Karros has done an excellent job limiting the walks currently with a 0.90 BB/9 and has a .203 average against. At 23 years old and dominating early on Karros should be moved to Double-A Tulsa in short order making this a prime time to stash him now. Jared Karros is currently rostered in 0% of Fantrax Leagues.

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