Baseball America continued with their rankings of the top prospects by position on Friday, going with right-handed pitchers. This is a deep list of players and they consider it a five-star class. Mitch Keller was the only pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates on BA’s top 100 prospect list released two weeks ago. That list included a total of 34 right-handed pitcher, which makes it easily the best represented position in the top 100.
With three players on this list, the Pirates continued their run of multiple players ranked at each position. Each of the last four days, we have seen two players make BA’s list. With right-handed pitchers, you expect to have multiple players because it’s a huge list to accommodate the amount of right-handed pitchers in baseball, especially compared to other positions where BA only went 20-30 players deep.
Before I mention today’s rankings, here’s the rundown of the previous articles:
C/1B: Mason Martin
2B: Kevin Kramer
As for today, Mitch Keller ranks as the fourth best right-handed pitch now. He was previously ranked sixth at the position by MLB Pipeline. BA has him as the 12th best prospect overall, one spot behind Michael Kopech of the Chicago White Sox and two spots behind Forrest Whitley of the Houston Astros, who are both ahead of Keller on the right-handed pitcher list. So basically, Keller is very close to being second at the position to Shohei Ohtani.
Shane Baz ranks 39th overall, which sounds high, but it means he’s fifth among right-handed pitchers who didn’t make the top 100 list. BA didn’t put out a Just Missed article yet, but Baz could be in that group of 10-15 players who were strongly considered for the top 100.
Finally, Luis Escobar ranks 56th, which probably puts him in the 150-200 range for prospects. He has a chance to jump into the top 100 if he can improve his control some this season, because he has three swing-and-miss pitches when he’s on his game. Escobar could easily run into trouble this year too, as more advanced hitters won’t chase as much as low level hitters have been during the past two seasons. He’s going to be an interesting pitcher to watch at Bradenton this year.