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Legends On Deck

Five Potential Breakout Prospects: Pitchers

Hopefully you enjoyed our list of potential breakout hitters. Today we’ll look at which pitchers you should keep an eye on for 2015 and beyond.

Grant Holmes, RHP (LAD)

D.O.B: 3/22/96holmes

Height: 6’2″

Weight: 215

2014 Stats: 48.1 IP; 3.72 ERA; 58 K; 13 BB (Rookie Ball- Arizona League and Pioneer League)

Holmes was drafted by the Dodgers towards the end of the first round in the 2014 draft and was considered one of the better prep arms of the crop. Standing 6’2″ and a solid 215, his body is already major league ready and his stuff isn’t too far behind. Holmes’ fastball sits 92-94 and has been clocked at 97 with arm-side run and downward biting action. His curveball is his out pitch, a low-80’s offering with good tilt– a potential plus-plus offering. His third pitch is his changeup, a solid offering that flashes plus when he has a feel for it.

Outlook: With three potential plus offerings in his arsenal, including the curveball which can be a monster, Holmes could rise to the top 50 by midseason due to his physical maturity compared to his peers.

Reynaldo Lopez, RHP (WAS)

D.O.B: 1/4/94reynaldo lopez

Height: 6’0″

Weight: 185

2014 Stats: 83.1 IP; 1.08 ERA; 70 K; 26 BB (Short Season New York Penn League and Low-A Sally League)

When you post an ERA of 1.08 I guess it’s safe to say you’ve already broken out. However, Lopez hasn’t broken out in the sense that he’s not a name that even the most avid baseball fans are likely to know despite the eye popping numbers in 2014. He’s also on this list because despite already experiencing success, he’s still projectable. His bread and butter is his mid-90’s fastball that features heavy sink, making it tough to square up. His secondary offerings are a work in progress. His curveball comes in 76-78 and shows some promise but Lopez struggles to keep his release point with the pitch. He also throws a changeup that is currently a below average offering but shows future promise with good fade to his arm side when he lets off a good one.

Outlook: Lopez’s statistical breakout of 2014 has gotten him noticed and he should turn up in the final quarter of some top 100 lists. However he’s an athletic kid with easy velocity and room for growth as a pitcher. Another step forward could see him enter the top 50 or higher.

Mark Appel, RHP (HOU)

D.O.B: 7/15/91appel

Height: 6’5″

Weight: 225

2014 Stats: 83.1 IP; 6.91 ERA; 78 K; 24 BB (High-A California League and Double-A Texas League)

You wouldn’t expect to find a 23-year old former first overall pick on a list like this, but with Appel I feel it’s warranted. So much was expected of him coming out of college– and with good reason. The stuff was there. He has the ideal pitchers body. However things didn’t go according to plan and Appel struggled mightily in his first full year in pro ball. Injuries played a big part in that. The Stanford product suffered from a bevy of afflictions from nerve issues to wrist soreness and even an appendectomy. All those things led to Appel never seeming sharp. He could still pump the fastball up there in the mid-90’s, but his slider lost it’s usual bite and consistency. However, with his health concerns in the rear view, Appel looked sharper down the stretch and even better in the Arizona Fall League.

Outlook: With his injuries now in the past I think we’ll start to see the pitcher the Astros took with the first pick. Appel should fly up prospect lists into the top 10-15. That’s assuming he’s in the minors long enough.

Casey Meisner, RHP (NYM)

D.O.B: 5/22/95meisner

Height: 6’7″

Weight: 190

2014 Stats: 62.1 IP; 3.75 ERA; 67 K; 18 BB (Short Season New York Penn League)

Meisner is a tall, lanky kid who could fill out and be a very good pitcher at the major league level. The former third round pick has a fastball that currently sits 91-94, but could tick up as he adds muscle to his big frame, making it a potential plus offering. However, his best pitch may be his changeup, which has come a long way since being drafted and shows good fade and plus potential. He also throws a curveball that registers at 76-78 mph and flashes some potential but tends to get loopy. If he can tighten it up it can be a solid major league pitch. His delivery is good, as he stays balanced for someone his size but his motion could use some refinement.

Outlook: Although he’s probably the biggest long shot on this list, I’m most familiar with the Mets system and feel comfortable saying that while Meisner may not be a top 100 prospect right now, he could certainly push his way onto some lists come midseason.

Michael Feliz, RHP (HOU)

D.O.B: 6/28/93feliz

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 210

2014 Stats: 102.2 IP; 4.03 ERA; 111 K; 37 BB (High-A Midwest League)

Astros score another name on this list with 21-year old fireballer Michael Feliz. The 2010 International signee out of the Dominican Republic has a solid pitchers frame that supports his monster fastball, which can touch 98 mph. Feliz also throws a potential plus slider, and a changeup that is solid-average. He has solid control for his age, but may need to clean up his delivery to develop true command due to some excess motion.

Outlook: Feliz should get tested in Double-A to start 2014, but if he can make some adjustments he could go from a guy who show up in the back end of top 100’s to an easy top 5o selection.

(Photos courtesy of MiLB.com, MLB.com, and Elsa/Getty Images)

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Kirk Cahill

Contributing Writer at Legends On Deck®
Kirk is very knowledgeable of MLB's minor league system and brings a passion for writing about the stars of tomorrow. Kirk is also a contributing writer for MetsMerizedOnline and MetsMinors.net. He is a native New Yorker and lifelong Mets fan. Follow him on Twitter @KirkC_.