Part of what made the 2013 season such an exciting one to watch was due to the influx of young pitching that made its way to the forefront of the Major League landscape. Matt Harvey dominated and may have been able to unseat Clayton Kershaw as the Cy Young winner had he not gone down with an injury. Jose Fernandez had an absolutely brilliant first season for the Miami Marlins. Other names like Danny Salazar, Gerrit Cole, and Michael Wacha, flashed plenty of big time potential as well.
With several young arms like that able to make such a large impact, and almost all of them for contending teams, it certainly begs the question as to which young guys could make that type of noise when the 2014 season rolls around. There are some youngsters that are going to get their opportunities, some of them coming right off the bat in April.
Any discussion of young pitching heading into the 2014 season almost has to include Arizona Diamondbacks pitching prospect Archie Bradley. Bradley’s name has been dispelled from trade rumors due to the fact that he’s going to get a legitimate shot with the D-Backs at some point. That chance could come sooner if they can’t land a marquee arm from the remaining available pitching. He has a nasty fastball-curveball combination that could lead him to immediate success at the big league level. It’s just a matter of when his opportunity will come.
While the New York Mets will be without Matt Harvey as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, they could be looking at yet another exciting pitching prospect this year. Noah Snydergaard is projected to make his big league debut very early on, and could very well find himself at the top of this rotation to start the year. Acquired in the R.A. Dickey deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, Snydergaard towers over hitters on the mound, standing 6’6″, and brings a mid-90s fastball and an impressive curve. He projects as a top of the rotation arm in the future, and will have that opportunity early on in 2014.
As much as his name has been floated out there in trade rumors surrounding David Price, it’ll be interesting to see what kind of impact Taijuan Walker is actually able to make if he reaches the big league level with the Seattle Mariners. If the M’s didn’t love Walker so much, they may have very well pulled the trigger on a deal for someone like Price already. His fastball lives in the high-90s, touching 98, and his breaking stuff has developed quite nicely. Signs at this point indicate he’ll be in Seattle, which is an extremely favorable spot for a young pitcher to kick off his career.
There are others, of course. Dylan Bundy will be ready to make an impact for the Baltimore Orioles within the first couple of months of 2014, as he finishes up his rehab from TJS, although he doesn’t lack big league experience entirely like some of the other names on this list. Mark Appel is likely on the fast track for the Houston Astros after a successful first stint in pro ball at the tail end of last year. You might be able to throw someone like Jameson Taillon into the mix. Point is, just as there was last year around the league, there promises to be a great number of young pitchers making an impact for clubs that plan to contend or be much improved off of last year. It’s just a matter of when and where they get that first taste of big league action.