Welcome to this week’s Big Movers in the weekly update of the RotoProspects Top 500.
The No. 1 riser is Orion Kerkering, a 22-year-old Phillies right-handed pitcher who tossed a perfect inning in Philadelphia’s series-clinching win over the Marlins in the Wild Card round on Wednesday after ascending through four levels all the way to the majors and the postseason roster. The 6-foot-2, 204-pound reliever was a fifth-round pick out of South Florida last year and started this season for Low-A Clearwater with 18 strikeouts in 9 scoreless innings with 4 saves. Kerkering kept posting eye-popping numbers all the way up, including a 1.77 ERA with 27 Ks in 20.1 IP with 3 saves for High-A Jersey Shore, then a 2.05 ERA with 33 Ks in 22 IP with 7 saves for Double-A Reading and a scoreless inning for Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He was called up to Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and struck out 6 in 3 innings with a 3.00 ERA. Altogether, Kerkering racked up 85 strikeouts in 56.2 IP with a 1.59 ERA over five levels on the season. He features a plus slider to go with a mid-90s fastball that play up due to deception in his delivery. Kerkering could be closing games for the Phillies in the near future and has us dreaming of an elite closer with high strikeout rates and low ratios on a winning team. Kerkering blasts up 46 spots to No. 304.
Next up is Jose Butto, a 25-year-old Mets right-hander pitcher who joined the New York rotation in September and posted a 3.29 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 27.1 IP over 5 starts down the stretch. The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder bounced between Triple-A Syracuse and New York all season, putting up a 3.64 ERA with a 1.33 WHIP and 38-23 K-BB in 42 IP for the Mets. Butto signed as a 19-year-old out of Venezuela in 2017 and picked up steam in 2021 when he reached Double-A and recorded a 3.12 ERA over 8 starts. He made his MLB debut in August 2022 but was clobbered for 7 runs in 4 innings at Philadelphia. Butto’s best pitch is supposed to be his changeup, but it was the least effective offering in the majors this season according to Fangraphs’ pitch values. His fastball averaged 94 mph and was his best pitch while his curve and slider were better than advertised. Butto profiles as a back-of-the-rotation starter whose stuff could play up in the bullpen. He skyrockets up at least 48 spots back into the rankings at No. 453, but comes in behind Kerkering as our top riser since his move was comparatively less impactful at the back of the 500.
Prelander Berroa, a 23-year-old Mariners right-hander who flourished once he moved to the bullpen this season, posting a 1.69 ERA as a reliever for Double-A Arkansas compared to a 5.16 ERA over 5 starts there and tossing 1.2 scoreless innings over 2 relief appearances for Seattle, leading to a 41-spot jump to No. 369.
Jakob Marsee, a 22-year-old Double-A outfielder of the Padres who racked up a combined 46 steals with 16 homers over 2 levels and now has 3 SBs and 2 dingers in 3 Arizona Fall League games, so he shoots up 35 spots to No. 245.
Reggie Crawford, a 22-year-old High-A two-way player of the Giants who is getting a chance to showcase his hitting in the Arizona Fall League after focusing more on his pitching in the minor-league season, and he jumps up 21 spots to No. 255.
Victor Lizarraga, a 19-year-old High-A left-handed pitcher of the Padres who finished the season with 12 scoreless innings in September, so he shoots up 21 spots to No. 404.
Drew Romo, a 22-year-old Triple-A catcher of the Rockies who is strutting his stuff in the Arizona Fall League after finishing the season by going 6-for-17 for Albuquerque, so he jumps up 20 spots to No. 315.
Randy Vasquez, a 24-year-old Yankees right-handed pitcher who posted a 2.87 ERA over 11 games as a swingman for New York, so he vaults up 18 spots to No. 297.
Lonnie White Jr., a 20-year-old Low-A outfielder of the Pirates who put up a combined .882 OPS with 9 homers and 18 steals in 61 games over 2 levels, leading to a 14-spot jump to No. 303.
Brant Hurter, a 25-year-old Double-A left-handed pitcher of the Tigers who finished the season on a roll by allowing just 2 earned runs over 27 innings with 26 strikeouts covering 6 starts, and he shoots up 12 spots to No. 397.
The biggest faller of the week is Agustin Ramirez, a 22-year-old Double-A catcher of the Yankees who batted .211 in 31 games for Somerset after putting up a 1.144 OPS in 27 games for High-A Hudson Valley, and he plummets 31 spots to No. 374.
The biggest riser inside the Top 100 is Austin Wells, a 24-year-old Yankees catcher who closed out the season by going 11-for-31 with 4 homers over his final 8 games for New York, so he rises up 6 spots to No. 93.
The biggest faller of the week inside the Top 100 is Everson Pereira, a 22-year-old Yankees outfielder who struggled in a late-season audition for New York with a .427 OPS over 27 games – he drops 5 spots to No. 37.