Top MLB Pitching Prospects For 2023

Brown and Miller: Top MLB Pitching Prospects For 2023

Written by on January 30, 2023

Pitchers and catchers will be reporting to Major League Baseball spring training camps in about three weeks. No pitcher has won Rookie of Year in the National League since Milwaukee’s Devin Williams in 2020 or in the American League since the Angels’ Shohei Ohtani in 2018 and of course he’s also a full-time hitter. The last full-time pitcher in the AL to be named top rookie was Detroit’s Michael Fulmer in 2016. Here’s a look at one pitcher in each league who is a top ROY candidate along with their MLB odds.

Major League Baseball Spring Training Camps for Brown and Miller

Hunter Brown, Astros (+700)

Brown was a fifth-round pick in the 2019 draft by Houston out of Wayne State. Brown’s only college scholarship offer as a suburban Detroit high schooler came from nearby Wayne State and he didn’t become a full-time starter at the NCAA Division II school until his junior season. He dominated and went in the fifth round of the 2019 draft, matching Anthony Bass as the Warriors’ highest pick ever.

Brown pitched well at every level of the minors for Houston after his selection. In 2021 between the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks and the Triple-A Sugar Land Skeeters, he struck out 131 in 100 1⁄3 innings, holding down a 1.415 WHIP and going 6-5 with a 4.04 ERA. Last season with Sugar Land, Brown went 9-4 with a 2.55 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 106 innings — 11.4 per nine innings. He lowered his WHIP to 1.085, holding the opposition to a .186/.275/.265 slashline.

The 24-year-old right-hander made his big-league debut last September, joining Blue Jays reliever Bass as the only players from Wayne State to appear in the majors since 1990.

Brown made a good first impression while working primarily out of the bullpen, striking out 22 batters in 20 innings, going 2-0 with a 0.89 ERA.  He then backed that up with 3.2 innings during the postseason in which he didn’t allow a run. The only postseason series he did not pitch in was the World Series against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Brown’s mid-to-upper-90s fastball led the way, though he also chucked his swing-and-miss curveball more than 30 percent of the time and deployed his slider often enough to keep batters honest. His best pitch is that power curveball that sits in the low 80s and seems to drop off the table coming out of his high three-quarters arm slot. The big question with Brown is whether or not he has the command to start.

Bobby Miller, Dodgers (+3500)

Questions about his delivery and reliever risk made Miller available to the Dodgers with the 29th overall pick in the 2020 Draft, and he has looked like a steal since signing for $2,197,500. The 6-foot-5 right-hander sits at 97-98 mph for innings at a time and can reach 100 mph with his riding four-seam fastball and he also can mix in a heavy 93-96 mph two-seamer. His two-plane slider and fading, sinking changeup operate in the mid-80s and grade as well above-average pitches.

Miller’s fastball might be his fourth-best pitch, sitting in the upper-90s with decent ride, and he’ll occasionally show you a power sinker wrinkle as well. The command and strike-throwing with the pitch still aren’t quite sharp enough though and that can lead to a few too many walks or just general inefficiency.

Miller is coming off a season in which he logged 145 strikeouts in 112.1 innings between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. He’s so sought after that the Pittsburgh Pirates were rumored to want Miller as the headline piece in a trade for outfielder Bryan Reynolds. . A career .281 hitter, Reynolds backed up a strong 2021 campaign by finishing ranked amongst the top 10 National League outfielders in hits, home runs, average, slugging and on-base plus slugging across 145 games in 2022.

Miller is expected to make his big-league debut at some point this season, and we’ll get to see him with the major-league team in spring training starting next month. Los Angeles’ rotation will be led by Clayton Kershaw and Julio Urias this season. Tony Gonsolin, Dustin May, and Noah Syndergaard are expected to fill out the remaining 3 spots in the starting rotation. But Kershaw and Syndergaard both have injury histories so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Miller get his chance this year. He is ranked as the Dodgers’ No. 2 overall prospect in 2022, trailing only catcher Diego Cartaya.


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