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Last week, we profiled hitting prospects who have improved their value in dynasty leagues over the first couple months of the season. We do the same this week for pitching prospects, the trickiest of propositions in dynasty leagues, where many are able to rise from the lower levels of the minor leagues at an accelerated pace and establish value in dynasty leagues in short order, similar to Reynaldo Lopez during the 2014 season.

These eight pitching prospects have significantly improved their value in 2015:

Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Number 48)

A 2009 second-round pick, Matz has been dominant at every minor league level since returning from Tommy John surgery in 2012, and hasn’t been challenged to this point in the Pacific Coast League, posting a league-leading 1.94 ERA in 11 starts. The 24-year-old’s 3.40 FIP is good for fifth among starters in the bandboxes of the PCL. Matz has improved his strikeout rate each time he’s moved up the ladder (25.3 percent in 2015) and certainly appears ready for a big-league trial, which should come after the Super-Two cutoff. Matz was viewed as a top-20 dynasty pitching prospect before the year (he ranked as the 17th-best starter on the Dynasty 101) and a through a combination of graduations, injuries, and his effectiveness, he’s likely one of the five best pitching prospects still in the minors.

Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Not Ranked)

After posting a 2.65 ERA (2.95 FIP) in the Pioneer League over eight starts, De Leon was moved to the Midwest League to close out the 2014 season, where he totaled a 1.19 ERA (to go with a miniscule 0.62 FIP) in four starts. De Leon’s 13.9 K/9 rate across the two levels caught the attention of many deep league owners over the winter, and the former 24th-round pick was assigned to the California League to start the 2015 season. De Leon struck out nearly forty percent (and walked just over eight percent) of the batters he faced in Rancho Cucamonga, putting up an absurd 1.67 ERA and earning a promotion to Double-A Tulsa, where he’s made three starts. De Leon turns 23 in August and it’s not out of the question that he could see Los Angeles at some point in 2015, a preposterous statement at this time last year.

Blake Snell, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Not Ranked)

Snell came in at no. 10 on the Rays Preseason Prospect list, and while Bret Sayre noted that he was regarded as having the best strikeout potential in the organization, certainly nobody saw the 46-inning scoreless streak that he put together to start the season coming. The former 52nd-overall pick in the 2011 draft class pitched his first 21 innings of the streak in High-A ball before getting moved up to Double-A Montgomery, where he’s continued his excellent work, striking out over 30 percent of the batters he’s faced in his seven starts in the Southern League. Snell needs to sharpen his command in order to pitch deeper into games, and lower his walk rate, too, but he’s adjusted to Double-A nicely, posting a 1.48 ERA over 42 2/3 innings, and put himself squarely in the discussion to be a top 50-75 dynasty prospect.

Michael Kopech, RHP, Boston Red Sox (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Not Ranked)

The Red Sox plucked Kopech 33rd overall in last year’s draft and appear to have gotten a steal. Ryan Parker recently saw Kopech sitting 96-99 MPH and it’s easy to see why the 6-foot-3 Texan has struck out 44 batters in his first 37 2/3 innings of full-season ball in the Sally League. Kopech was ranked as the 39th-best player available in offseason amateur dynasty drafts over the winter, and with his 2015 performance has already emerged as arguably one of the 10-15 best dynasty assets to come out of the 2014 draft class. He’s only made 10 starts, so there’s a lot of development ahead for Kopech, but there’s a lot to like long-term.

Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Number 60)

There are still those that question Berrios’ ability to withstand a workload of 200-plus innings on a yearly basis, but he has looked dominant for a majority of the 2015 season at Double-A Chattanooga. Berrios turned 21 last month, and has struck out 82 over 75 2/3 innings over his first twelve starts of the year, and could see himself emerge as an option in Target Field later in the season if the Twins continue to stay in contention. Berrios has totaled a 3.33 ERA and 8.5 K/9 rate over his 116 1/3 innings at the Double-A level.

Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Number 87)

When the great Jeff Moore files an eyewitness report that puts a minor league pitcher with a 70 OFP, it should grab your attention. The stuff has never been questioned with Reyes, it’s been a matter of commanding it and converting it into production for extended periods of time. We’re still talking about a pitcher in High-A ball who has just over 200 innings of professional experience, but Reyes clearly has ace potential, as evidenced by his nearly 34 percent strikeout rate this season, a strikeout rate that has ticked up each of Reyes’ three professional seasons. Reyes hasn’t allowed a home run all season in (49 2/3 IP) in the Florida State League. Reyes is likely viewed as a borderline top-10 pitching prospect in dynasty leagues right now, and there aren’t many pitching prospects that can match Reyes’ upside regardless of level.

Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Not Ranked)

Honeywell’s 2.10 FIP in 52 IP across 10 starts leads the Midwest League in 2015, and his 10.38 K/9 rate ranks only behind the recently promoted Stephen Gonsalves. If statistics were kept on hair, he would likely lead the Midwest League as well. It will be interesting to see how effective Honeywell’s famous screwball is as he moves up to the higher levels of the minors and hitters get more looks at it, but we’re talking about value here and there’s no question that Honeywell’s stock has steadily risen since he was drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft from Walters State (TN) Community College.

Luis Ortiz, RHP, Texas Rangers (Preseason Dynasty 101 Ranking – Not Ranked)

Ortiz likely would have been a borderline top-10 pick in last year’s draft had he been given a clean bill of health beforehand. The Rangers took him 30th overall and are reaping the rewards of his 2015 performance in Low-A Hickory, where he sports a 1.71 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 42 1/3 innings. Ortiz was billed as a potentially quick mover for a high school product after being drafted and he’s a pitcher to monitor closely in deeper leagues as the 19-year-old advances through his first full minor-league season.

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I know he's in the bigs now, but I have to assume that Lance McCullers wasn't even in the Dynasty 101 last off-season.

Where is he at now?
The majors
Strange choice to mention Gonsalves and then not include him in the list. He has elevated his stock as much as anyone.
Gonsalves has improved his stock, no question, but something to keep in mind with him is that he doesn't have the raw stuff or ceiling that everybody else on this list does. I'm interested to see how his third pitch develops as he moves up.