Last year, a number of notable rookie pitchers influenced not just the 2022 MLB regular season & playoffs, but also the fantasy season. That may very well be the case this upcoming season, as a number of talented arm are knocking on the door of the Majors for 2023. With that said, let’s take a look at the ten pitchers we think can make a significant fantasy impact come in 2023.
Related: The 10 MLB Rookie Hitters that Can Make a Fantasy Impact in 2023
Drafted in the first round of the 2018 MLB Draft, Orioles fans have waited a while to see RHP Grayson Rodriguez in Baltimore. That time may very well come this season, provided that Rodriguez can stay healthy. Rodriguez missed a good chunk of last season thanks to a Grade 2 lat strain. When Rodriguez was healthy, the 23-year-old struck out 97 over 69.2 innings with Norfolk (AAA).
Armed with a hard fastball, plus changeup, and two quality breaking balls, Rodriguez could be a key piece of the O’s rotation in 2023. With an improved Orioles team, Rodriguez could garner significant fantasy value this season.
MLB.com ranked Giants LHP pitching Kyle Harrison the top left-handed pitching prospect for 2023, not a shock given his stats over the past two seasons. Across two levels (A+ and AA) last season, Harrison struck out an impressive 186 batters over 113 innings, and posted a tidy 2.71 ERA. That performance came one year after he K’d 157 over 98.2 innings with San Jose (A). Scouts laud the 6’2” pitcher’s mid-90’s fastball, alongside a plus slider and changeup.
Harrison will most likely start 2023 in the Minors, but could find his way in San Francisco in short order.
The Dodgers have a plethora of pitching prospects, and one name from LA’s organization that fantasy players should keep an eye out for is RHP Gavin Stone. The 24-year-old has raced through the Minors, as Stone spent time in three levels last season. Between Great Lakes (A+), Tulsa (AA), and Oklahoma City (AAA), Stone recorded a 1.48 ERA and struck out 168 batters. Per MLB.com, the Central Arkansas product boasts an elite changeup, to go along with a mid-90’s heater and a slider.
Los Angeles already has an impressive rotation in place, but the losses of Tyler Anderson and Andrew Heaney in the offseason do open up for the door for Stone, and the pitcher who’s next on our list.
Dodgers RHP Ryan Pepiot made his MLB debut last season, after the 24-year-old rolled through the collegiate and MiLB ranks. The Butler product owns arguably one of the the best changeups in the game, alongside a power fastball. Pepiot mowed down 42 hitters in 36.2 innings with the Dodgers last season, 25 of which came off the fastball. And, batters hit less than .200 against both Pepiot’s heater and change last season.
Given Pepiot’s experience in the Majors, it’s quite possible the 24-year-old could be in the Dodgers’ Opening Day rotation. Should that be the case, Pepiot could be a valuable late-round option given Los Angeles’ powerhouse status.
A fifth-round pick by the Diamondbacks in 2020, RHP Brandon Pfaadt turned into one of the game’s hottest prospects last season. The NCAA Division II product struck out an astounding 218 innings over 167 innings, 144 of which came in AA. After a promotion to Reno (AAA), the 24-year-old pitched to the tune of a 2.63 ERA over 61.2 innings.
Pfaadt knocked on the door of the D-Backs roster last year, and it’s wise to expect the righty — who flashed great control — to join Arizona’s rotation at some point come 2023.
The Rays have promoted a number of highly-touted arms in recent years to its roster, and young righty Taj Bradley could be next. Bradley diced up hitters at the AA level in 2022, as he struck out 88 batters over 74.1 innings and walked just 18 batters. After a midseason promotion, the 21-year-old’s numbers weren’t as outstanding in AAA. Still, Bradley recorded a 3.66 ERA over 59 innings in Durham.
A four-pitch hurler, Bradley will most likely start the year back in the Minors. However, it’s not hard to envision Bradley join fellow young pitchers Shane McClanahan and Drew Rasmussen in an impressive Rays pitching staff.
Acquired from the Yankees in the summer of 2022, Ken Waldichuk is one of three pitchers on this list with prior MLB experience. The left-hander saw time late in the 2022 season with the Athletics, after he moved down hitters in the Minors. Across seven starts, Waldichuk went 2-2 with a 4.93 ERA and struck out 33 over 34.2 innings. The 25-year-old flashed a mid-90’s fastball with good extension, alongside a slider, changeup, and curveball.
Waldichuk could be an interesting name in AL-only formats, as the 25-year-old does possess impressive stuff. However, a lowly A’s team will limit the amount of chances Waldichuk will get at accruing wins in 2023.
Atlanta has turned into a pitching factory in recent years, and that is set to continue going forward. Former first-round pick Jared Shuster could join the likes of of Max Fried and Spencer Strider in the Braves rotation next season, thanks to an impressive arsenal of pitches. The Wake Forest product boasted an impressive fastball that sat in the upper-90s in college, but reports from the Minors indicate that he sits a bit lower. Per MLB.com, the 6’3” lefty also possesses a strong changeup, and a solid slider.
The Braves rotation looks quite formidable heading into 2023, but Shuster could get a look should injuries arise. If that’s the case, Shuster could be a nice source of wins.
In recent years, the Mariners have welcomed right-handed pitchers George Kirby and Logan Gilbert to the team’s rotation. Former first-round pick and University of Georgia standout Emerson Hancock could be next. One of the M’s top prospects, Hancock struck out 92 batters over 98.1 innings with Arkansas (AA) last season.
The 23-year-old has flashed elite stuff throughout his career, but health will be key. Hancock has yet to hit the 100 inning plateau in a season in the Minors, but did manage to hit at least five innings in eight of his final 10 starts last season.
Arguably the pitcher on this list with the most helium, Astros RHP Hunter Brown made quite the impression in his first taste of the Majors last season. In seven appearances (two starts) with Houston last season, Brown went 2-0 with a .89 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 20.1 innings. During that stretch, the Astros’ top prospect showed off an electric fastball that sat in the high-90s, and a slider that ranked as the hardest one (93.2 MPH) of its kind in MLB last season, and a plus curveball.
Given his repertoire, it’s hard not to think of his former teammate Justin Verlander when talking about Brown. The 24-year-old could very well be the recipient of his vacated spot in the Astros rotation in 2023.