SDI Prospect Rankings – #12 Andrew Faulkner
The #12 prospect on our list has already seen some big league action. Entering 2015 as a starter in Double-A Frisco, Andrew Faulkner finished the season in the Texas Rangers bullpen.
The move to the pen is likely a permanent one for the lefty. With a cutting fastball which sits at 92-94 as his premiere offering and two off-speeds – curveball and changeup – both closer to average than plus, the shorter stints better suit Faulkner’s repertoire. The stats bear this out, as well. With Frisco, Faulkner posted a 4.70 ERA as a starter before the move. Afterwards, the ERAs were 2.04, 0.00, and 2.79 in Double-A, Triple-A and the majors, respectively.
All three of his pitches can be seen in the video below, thanks to Scott Lucas.
In his big league time in 2015, Faulkner tossed 9.2 frames across 11 ballgames, managing a 10:3 K:BB ratio. By any measure this constitutes a successful debut. At this point, the main worry for the South Carolina product is his tendency to allow hard contact. In the minors last season, 21.26% of balls put in play against him were line drives. In the majors – 23.1% (MLB league average is 21%). Given that batters hit .685 on liners in 2014, this number needs to come down for the 23-year-old. This rate explains why, despite his groundball tendency, Faulkner allowed two home runs in his short big league time (with a couple other close calls).
Look for the 2011 14th rounder to battle for a big league job in Spring Training. However, with a crowded pen consisting of Shawn Tolleson, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela, Sam Dyson, Tom Wilhelmsen, Sam Freeman, Tony Barnette, Luke Jackson and Tanner Scheppers among others, cracking the Opening Day seven may be a tall task. Regardless, by this time next year Andrew Faulkner should no longer be eligible for this list and should be developing into the type of reliever who can stick around at the highest level for 10 years.