This article is part of our Farm Futures series.
Last week I ranked the top 15 hitters under 23, and now it's time to release the pitching version of blended rankings of the top young MLB players and top prospects. I bumped up the age requirement to 25 and under for the pitching version because I think this exercise is most useful when it is roughly 60-70 percent big leaguers with the elite prospects sprinkled in, and pitchers take longer to develop into high-end big leaguers than hitters do.
Here are my top 15 pitchers under the age of 26 for standard 5x5 roto dynasty leagues (age in brackets):
EDITOR'S NOTE: The original version of this article incorrectly omitted Shohei Ohtani, so it has been expanded to a top 16.
1. Walker Buehler (25.1)
2020 projection: 3.12 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 190 IP, 233 K
There are statistical arguments for a couple of the guys ranked below Buehler, but if we're projecting forward, I think he can be even better than he's been this year when it comes to ratios, and we know the strikeouts will be there. This feels like a baseline season for him, whereas some guys below seem more likely to be peaking in 2019. Team context also plays a role with Buehler being in the top spot.
2. Shohei Ohtani (25.1)
2020 projection: 3.54 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 130 IP, 166 K
Thanks to subscriber ddsjohnny for quickly pointing out that I forgot about Ohtani in the original version of this article. Ohtani vs. Buehler