Baseball America Minor League All Star Rotation


Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; USA pitcher Archie Bradley throws a pitch in the 3rd inning of the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After we reviewed and analyzed Baseball America’s 2013 Minor League All Star Lineup, today we take a look at the Pitching Staff:

SP Archie Bradley,

SP Eddie Butler

SP C.J. Edwards

SP Erik Johnson

SP Rafael Montero

RP C.J. Riefenhauser

Bradley is the ace of this staff both in performance and potential. The 20 year old former 7th overall pick had the best year of his professional career, going 14-5 with a 1.84 ERA and a 9.6 SO/9 between A+ and AA ball. With a mid-90’s fastball, an above average curve, and a developing change, Bradley has the workings of a front of the line starter. He was ranked by us as the #12 overall prospect heading into the year, but will likely move into the top 10 this offseason, and be in the majors by next June.

Eddie Butler went unlisted in most every prospect list, but that was just because he was only drafted last year. Picked out of college with the 46th overall pick in last year’s draft, Butler primarily features a powerful sinker that produces troves of strikeouts and groundball outs. He was brilliant this year, across three minor league levels, going a combined 9-5 with a 1.80 ERA. He was particularly dominant down the stretch in AA, putting up a 0.65 ERA over six starts. He may only have one full professional season under his belt, but the sinkerballer could be in Coors Field by next summer.

Unlike the first couple pitchers on this list, C.J. Edwards doesn’t quite have a first round pedigree. Edwards was selected out of high school in the 48th round of the 2011 draft, a round that generally yields bench players at best, minor leaguers at worst. Nevertheless, the 20 year old righthander has had incredible success over the last two seasons, putting up a 1.48 ERA last year before going 8-2 with a 1.86 ERA this season. His mid-90’s fastball and plus curve were deemed valuable enough to be traded to the Cubs for Matt Garza this summer, and, like Bradley and Butler, he could be a major league rotation by the summer of 2014.

Erik Johnson, a second round pick in  2011, has been a rare bright spot in an otherwise disappointing White Sox farm system. After posting a stellar 2.23 ERA in 14 AA starts, Johnson earned a promotion to AAA where he was even better, going 4-1 with a 1.57 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 57 1/3 innings. Large framed (6’3 235 pounds), with a lively low-90’s fastball and a plus slider, Johnson has a very good shot at being a middle of the rotation starter. He’s looked okay thus far, pitching to a 4.66 ERA through two September big league starts.

Jul 14, 2013; Flushing , NY, USA; World pitcher Rafael Montero throws a pitch during the first inning of the 2013 All Star Futures Game at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Rafael Montero has the least upside of any pitcher on this list. That being said, the 22 year old righthander is on this list dominating the top two levels of the minor leagues. After earning a promotion for his 2.43 ERA and a Cliff Lee-esque 7.20 K:BB ratio, Montero pitched to a a 3.05 ERA in AAA Las Vegas, arguably the toughest pitching environment in all of minor league baseball. While not having the put away stuff befitting of most major league starters, Montero produces outs by just pounding the strike zone with a low 90’s fastball, solid curve, and average change up. He has the capacity to be a number 3 starter in the majors, but could serve as a back end innings eater even he never fully pans out.

Topping out at about 94 MPH, C.J. Riefenhauser, probably lacks the velocity necessary to be a top of the line closer in the majors, but could still have a future as a set up man or premier lefty specialist. After struggling between the bullpen and rotation for a couple seasons, C.J. worked exclusively as a reliever this year. He first had great results in AA, pitching to an 0.51 ERA with an 8.2 K/9 before a promotion to AAA. Once there, Riefenhauser took a slight step back, but still pitched to a 3.05 ERA with over a strikeout per inning.