Welcome to this week’s Big Movers in the weekly update of the RotoProspects Top 500.
There may not be much going on right now on the field, but we’re still digesting all that happened this past season so there’s still some movement in the rankings as we go through them with a fine-toothed comb.
The No. 1 riser is JR Ritchie, a 20-year-old Low-A right-handed pitcher of the Braves who made just 4 starts last season before needing Tommy John surgery in May. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder was selected 35th overall out of Bainbridge Island High School in Washington and signed for $2.4 million. In 13.1 innings for Augusta, Ritchie racked up 25 strikeouts against just 3 walks with a 5.40 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Ritchie should return to game action sometime next summer, hoping to maintain his solid four-pitch arsenal that features a 60-grade slider. Ritchie has us dreaming of a middle-of-the-rotation starter who can post big strikeout totals. Ritchie flies up 56 spots to No. 404.
Next up is Payton Martin, a 19-year-old Low-A right-handed pitcher of the Dodgers who had an impressive pro debut with a 2.04 ERA and a 48-15 K-BB in 39.2 innings for Rancho Cucamonga. The 6-foot, 170-pounder was selected in just the 17th round out of a North Carolina high school. Martin added velocity to his fastball up to the mid-90s, touching 98, to go with a 60-grade slider. Martin shoots up 42 spots to No. 293.
Josh Knoth, an 18-year-old right-handed pitcher of the Brewers who has yet to make his pro debut after going 33rd overall in July’s draft but has drawn comparisons to a young Lance McCullers Jr., and he jumps up 38 spots to No. 345.
Javier Vaz, a 23-year-old Double-A outfielder/middle infielder of the Royals who finished last season strong with an .820 OPS in 33 games for Northwest Arkansas, so he leaps up 37 spots to No. 457.
Yeremi Cabrera, an 18-year-old Dominican Summer League outfielder of the Rangers who put up a 1.004 OPS with 7 homers and 9 steals last season, so he cruises up 35 spots to No. 431.
Alfredo Duno, a 17-year-old Dominican Summer League catcher of the Reds who posted a .944 OPS with 6 homers and 6 steals in 45 games last season, so he moves up 30 spots to No. 278.
The biggest faller of the week is Blaze Alexander, a 24-year-old Triple-A shortstop of the Diamondbacks who has been ordinary when playing away from his hitter-friendly home ballparks over the past two seasons, so he drops 28 spots to No. 357.
The biggest riser of the week inside the Top 100 is Shane Baz, a 24-year-old Rays right-handed pitcher who missed last season recovering from Tommy John surgery but is being penciled in to Tampa Bay’s rotation next year – he rises 4 spots to No. 56.
The biggest faller of the week inside the Top 100 is Everson Pereira, a 22-year-old Yankees outfielder who struggled in his first taste of New York with a .427 OPS in 27 games – he drops 4 spots to No. 44.