This article is part of our Farm Futures series.
Last week I profiled the top 12 hitting prospects in this year's draft, and this week I will be doing the same thing on the pitching side.
Pitching prospects, as everyone should know by now, are risky and then some. Rangers righty Dillon Tate, who went fourth in last year's draft and would probably go first in this year's draft, has just 38.1 professional innings under his belt and has not yet made it to High-A. Carson Fulmer, who went eighth last year to the White Sox, has almost as many walks as strikeouts and an ERA north of 5.00 at Double-A this year. James Kaprielian, who the Yankees took with the 16th pick last year, was dominating through three starts at High-A this year before ending up on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. Some of the pitchers from last year's draft are off to great starts to their pro careers (Tyler Jay, Phil Bickford, Mike Soroka, Beau Burrows, Jon Harris), but trying to predict which ones were going to succeed initially would have been a fool's errand.
Tate, who is still the top pitching prospect from last year's class for fantasy purposes, and Jay are clear building blocks in dynasty leagues at this point, but they are also about three years away from the majors. That's what owners are getting into here. There are no "safe" picks, even if some pitchers appear to be safer propositions than others. It might