3. Tyler DeLoach, 23, AA. 4.4 RA-9 WAR, 2.8 FIP WAR. 2.99 ERA, 147.1 IP. 26% k-rate / 11% BB-rate
Nate Smith's successful AFL stint, not to mention the Heaney and Tropeano additions, have overshadowed DeLoach's 2014 success, which is probably why the massive southpaw has failed to show up in any of the national rankings. Nevertheless, there's plenty to like here. Like Smith, his heat, if you'd call it that, is primarily of the mid-to-high 80's variety. Unlike Smith, his primary offspeed weapon is a swing-and-miss slider, and not the change-up. That leads to somewhat better results against lefties, both in k's and groundball rate, which creates a more obvious LOOGY role for DeLoach at the MLB level.
He might wind up more than that. Maybe. He gets high marks for pitchability and deception, and while his command is sometimes knocked, he walked guys at the same rate as Nate Smith (who is not knocked for his command) in Double A. He showed some skill in coming up and in with righties, getting in on their hands, by fanning 25% and getting another 14% to pop out. Texas League announcers, who watched him significantly more than I did, gave credit to that growing fearlessness in busting righties inside for DeLoach's exceptional finish to the season, when he went 4 and 0 with a 0.962 WHIP through his final six Double A starts.
While it's foolhardy to get too optimistic about guys who succeed in Arkansas on the back of a miniscule BABIP while posting high walk rates, DeLoach fanned enough guys believe he'd succeed anywhere.
He's a sleeper.