UPDATE — At long last, the Brandon Pfaadt era is upon us. The Diamondbacks announced on Tuesday that they were calling up their top pitching prospect to make his MLB debut against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night. He’s a must-add in just about every fantasy league, and you can read on to find out why.
April 20 — After four ugly starts to begin the year (and one similarly ugly confrontation with St. Louis Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras), the Madison Bumgarner era seems to be over in Arizona.
While a future Hall of Famer getting kicked to the curb is a big-enough headline on its own, the move is also noteworthy thanks to who it opens up room for on the Diamondbacks’ roster: Fantasy owners, say hello to pitching prospect Brandon Pfaadt.
Quickly rising prospect Brandon Pfaadt was carving today in his first Spring Training appearance! pic.twitter.com/ctpF0ggOqN— Just Baseball (@JustBB_Media) February 27, 2023
MLB Pipeline’s No. 56 overall prospect, Pfaadt narrowly missed out on a rotation spot despite a very strong spring, and has been biding his time in Triple-A waiting for his first shot in the Majors. The Diamondbacks have yet to announce any sort of corresponding move, but with Bumgarner out of the picture, Pfaadt is the natural choice to fill that slot — and he’s a must-add on the waiver wire in just about every fantasy baseball league.
A fifth-round pick by Arizona back in the 2020 MLB Draft, Pfaadt carved up three levels of the Minors in 2021, then more than held his own in an extreme hitter’s park in Triple-A Reno last season. With good feel for pitching and a legitimate swing-and-miss slider, the righty is that rare combination of great command and great strikeout ability — his 26.9% K-BB% was fifth best in all of the Minors in 2022.
His changeup is a bit of a work in progress, and when he doesn’t have the feel for it he can get into trouble on second and third times through a lineup. Still, in a good pitcher’s park in Arizona, Pfaadt brings the potential to put up a good ERA, a great WHIP and at least a strikeout per inning, putting him squarely in SP2/3 territory in his prime.