Brandon Braboy: On shear velocity alone, Braboy certainly doesn't have the typical fastball found in most 18th-round picks. He can hit 95 MPH pretty routinely and sits mostly in the 91-94 MPH range. Throw in the fact his arm action is ultra-quick, his fastballs even have the appearance of coming in on batters quicker. Whether or not he has the secondary pitches to remain in the starting role long-term remains to be seen, and that keeps him out of the Top Ten category for now. He'll be one to keep an eye on, however.
Jeremy Bleich: Last year's supplemental first round pick won't light up the radar guns and that certainly hurts his case somewhat in comparison to the other names, but his plus-plus command of a big league fastball keeps him in the discussion. He can throw hard at times, however, topping out at 94 MPH, but he sits mostly in the 89-92 MPH range with a fastball he can place at will. The velocity might not be impressive, but the effectiveness surely is.
Noel Castillo: Castillo is a carbon copy of Braboy - quick arm action, an even quicker release, and able to sit anywhere from 91-95 MPH with his fastball. And like Braboy, Castillo's long-term role will be dictated by his ability to hone his breaking pitches. If he can conquer that aspect of his game he could shoot up these rankings, but his safer projection as a reliever keeps him on the outside looking in for now.
Eric Hacker: The right-hander's top velocity [95 MPH] would rank higher here, but with a changeup that can be inconsistent at times, his long-term role to the organization might be better suited for the bullpen and that keeps him in the 'Honorable Mention' category. His fastballs range anywhere from 88-95 MPH between his sinker and his four-seamer, and he has great command of both. Should he remain in the rotation, he easily cracks the Top Ten.
|Heredia gets overlooked but his impeccable command and power potential are special. (Photo: Nick Werner/PinstripesPlus.com)|
Alan Horne: When healthy, Horne sits in the 91-94 MPH range with his fastball and tops it out around 96 MPH at times. His command isn't quite up to the level of the likes of Hacker, Bleich, or Heredia, but the movement he gets with his heater makes up for it. With his offseason shoulder surgery, however, it remains to be seen if it will have a negative effect on his fastball and that keeps him outside the Top Ten for now. Watch his progress closely because if he comes back as strong as before, he's a Top Ten guy for sure.
Nik Turley: Turley doesn't have plus velocity [sitting mostly 89-92 MPH right now] nor does he have the impeccable command of Heredia or Bleich just yet. However, he does have one of the most intriguing combinations of both to someday be a major force in these rankings. Standing 6-foot-6 with plenty of room to add strength, he has the potential to throw a lot harder down the road and his command, which is already quite good, could also get better with some more professional coaching. His ceiling is sky-high.
Top Ten Fastballs For Starting Pitchers
10) Manny Banuelos - Even with just one short-season under his belt, the 17-year old already boasts one of the better fastballs from both a velocity and command standpoint. He consistently sits in the 90-92 MPH range and he generates very good movement with his fastball. There are reports this offseason that he has already added a couple of ticks to his heater. If the reports are true, he'll instantly get a big bump higher in these rankigns.
9) Brett Marshall - Velocity alone, the young right-hander is pretty special. The soon-to-be 19-year old already sits in the 92-95 MPH range and tops out around 96 MPH, but he does have some work to do from a command and movement standpoint. Drawing comparisons to a young Joba Chamberlain already, he has the type of fastball that could lead the pack in due time.
|De La Rosa projects best a a reliever right now, but still has a chance as a starter. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
7) Wilkins De La Rosa - The former outfielder is representative of the changing of the times in the Yankees farm system. Once having just right-handed pitchers top these rankings, this lefty headlines an impressive and growing list of southpaws. He can top out at 97 MPH with his heater, but works better in the 91-94 MPH range. His secondary pitches are still a work in progress and that clouds his long-term role a bit, and thus lowers his place in the rankings. The fastball is special though so watch his role closely.
6) Zach McAllister - McAllister is proof positive that one doesn't need to hit the upper-90's to have one of the more effective fastballs. He does have some power though, hitting 94-95 MPH with his four-seamer, but it's his 88-93 MPH special sinker that makes him one of the better innings-eaters around. Throw in his impeccable command of his fastball, his heater is extremely reliable.
|Vizcaino is more than just velocity, but he has that too. (Photo: Patrick Teale/PinstripesPlus.com)|
4) Arodys Vizcaino - There are pitchers in the organization who can top out higher, but Vizcaino, who sits 91-94 MPH with his fastball, has a true 'live arm'. He has a sneaky-quick delivery, loose arm action, he hides the ball well in his motion, and he generates some wicked movement with his fastball. All of that helps his fastball come in on batters quicker than it appears and at 18-years old he offers the potential to throw even harder down the road. The top velocity might be a tick or two slower than some, but the complete fastball package is very special.
3) Christian Garcia: Prior to his Tommy John and knee surgeries, Garcia had a fastball that sat mostly 92-95 MPH and topped out at 97 MPH. He didn't come close to those velocity levels in his first season back last year, but yet his fastball was just as effective, thanks in large part to the great movement he gets. Like Vizcaino, Garcia has an electric fastball with his loose arm action and smooth delivery, and that makes his fastball one of the best offerings even at the lower velocity level.
2) Dellin Betances: Few pitchers at the minor league level [or even the big league level for that matter] offer the power Betances possesses. One who has topped out at 98 MPH with his fastball at times, he consistently ranges anywhere from 92-96 MPH. Throw in the fact he stands 6-foot-9, his height and subsequent wingspan gives him a huge advantage as opposing batters get the feeling the ball is being released halfway to home plate. And at his velocity that's a scary proposition.
1) Andrew Brackman: Imagine creating a pitcher with the sinker of Chien-Ming Wang, the power of Joba Chamberlain, and the height of Randy Johnson. That's what Andrew Brackman brings to the table and that's why his fastball is so special. He has a nasty sinking two-seamer that ranges anywhere from 91-95 MPH, a power four-seamer that tops out at 100 MPH, and at 6-foot-11, he is as physically imposing as they get. His inconsistent fastball command right now will get him into trouble and it needs to get better to be a truly reliable weapon, but it's more than enough at the current time to get him out of a lot of trouble as well.