From the most cavernous stadium to the coziest bandbox, no position can make or break a championship contender like the starting rotation.
Taking a look solely at the current value of starter prospects brought in over the last 3 seasons, I've dug up 26 guys who might make a serious impact for some contender in the near future.
1) Lee Tillman (Salt Lake City) dominated minor league hitters, and at 23, the #1 pick in the S22 draft will get his first full season of major league experience. Tillman's combination of control, finesse, and velocity held opponents to a .592 OPS in 71 starts in the minors, and makes him a strong contender for NL Rookie of the Year.
2) O.T. Martin (Honolulu) has already made an impact on the big league stage. Last year's AL Rookie of the Year was a critical ingredient in Honolulu's success. The Wyoming native was 13-9 with a 3.11 ERA and 1.20 WHIP for the Oahuans, using his change up and sinker to great effect.
3) Rico Toca (Norfolk) is the best representative of what's really been a lackluster 3 years for international starting pitching. Year after year, teams slash payroll to arm themselves for the dogfights of the foreign signee market, and they've gone home largely disappointed of late. This 21 year old Venezuelan lefty is a notable exception--he's a legitimate 4-pitch pitcher who's averaged better than a strikeout an inning and held opponents to a .284 OBP. He may surrender some longballs when faced with ML hitters, but he still looks well-equipped for success in the show.
4) Magglio Nunez (Chicago) isn't a sure thing to work out as a starting pitcher--he doesn't have the greatest stamina, his ability to stay healthy isn't a sure thing, and he'll need to get better at getting lefties out. Still, he keeps the ball over the plate and down in the zone. His ratings look pretty good in most areas, but I'm just not convinced he's got the finesse to avoid getting hit hard, no matter how good his control and velocity are.
5) Alex Gallardo (Charlotte) might be in the mold of a Jermaine Knepper. Throws hard, keeps it down, works the corners--the only concern is that his stuff ranges from ordinary to useless. Quit throwing that cutter!
6) Jesus Gabriel (Honolulu) got knocked around pretty good in his rookie season, but the Dominican and his mustache are still young (he was just 20 last year!) and could become a serious workhorse for the HHHs.
7) Ed Winchester (Indianapolis) handled Hi-A easily as a 19 year old, going 8-3 with a 1.35 ERA in 30 starts. Winchester relies on an impressive screwball to get hitters out, and has posted strong strikeout numbers so far.
8) William Dimaggio (Toronto) might not have the stamina to be a big league starter, but any team in the league would be eager to find a role for this guy on their staff. The 6'6" lefty has dominated the low minors with a 1.59 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, and a K/BB ratio over 4:1.
Very honorable, if not deserving of lengthy mention:
9) Francisco Matos (Philadelphia)
Terry Ferrell (Trenton)
Alan Carey (Pawtucket)
12) Peter French (Philadelphia)
13) Rudy Carey (San Francisco)
14) Thomas Stroud (Jackson)
15) Elrod Darr (Little Rock)
16) Mark Bravo (Monterrey)
17) Hong-Chih Matsumoto (Salt Lake City)
18) Frank Robinson (Chicago)
19) Wilfredo Pinzon (Dover)
20) Buddy Powell (Philadelphia)
21) Mark Post (Burlington)
22) Patrick Bonham (Kansas City)
23) Theodore Fox (Jackson)
24) Chuck Bryant (Hartford)
25) Vince Thomas (Columbus)
26) Santiago James (Texas)