The upcoming draft's prizes -- at least at this early juncture -- seem to be the crop of young pitchers. Jason Groome, the high school lefty, currently sits atop the MLB.com Prospect Pipeline ranking. Another high schooler, righty Riley Pint is turning heads -- both figuratively and literally -- with his plus-plus fastball. Finally, the Junior from Florida A.J. Puk has been climbing up draft boards, most recently going first overall in Jim Callis' latest mock draft.
There's little doubt that those three names won't stick around long on boards come draft day. However, the draft is fairly deep with pitching talent. Ian Anderson, Braxton Garrett, Dakota Hudson, Matt Manning, and Joey Wentz could all slip a bit further, just to name a few.
We decided to take a look at some teams in the most dire need of pitching prospects. These three teams could use it the most:
3. Miami Marlins
The Marlins system features not a single top 100 prospect according to MLB.com. While there is still hope for their top prospect, Tyler Kolek has substantially dropped in value since being drafted second overall in 2014. After all, his fastball can still hit 100mph.
In 2015, Kolek pitched 108.2 innings at Single-A Greensboro, allowing 70 runs -- 55 of which were earned -- on 108 hits and 61 walks. The Marlins system could certainly use a turnaround from him, and it's certainly not too late for the 20-year old.
In the event Kolek doesn't turn it around though, the remaining arms in the system are pretty underwhelming as well. Two international free agents -- signed as teenagers sit behind him: Jarlin Garcia and Kendrys Flores. At 23-years old, Garcia is sitting at Double-A and improving on last year despite falling strikeout rates. Flores has had a couple cups of coffee with the big club, but has yet to stick. The 24-year old has shown some success at the Triple-A level though.
The Marlins earliest pick is seventh overall.
2. Seattle Mariners
The best Mariners pitching prospect at the moment is Edwin Diaz, who was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft. So far this season, he has been near-exceptional in Double-A, especially after being converted into a reliever.
The 19-year old Luiz Gohara still certainly represents some promise but, at Single-A, he could take a while to arrive. Nick Neidert, Andrew Moore, and Dylan Thompson round out a crop of right-handers. Moore is the closest to arriving of the three and currently sits at Double-A with only three innings of work. Much to small of a sample to draw any conclusions, but it amounts to one rough outing.
The Mariners earliest pick is 11th overall.
1. Los Angeles Angels
Not drafting in the first round of the 2012 and 2013 drafts certainly doesn't help. But compounding matters is that they traded away their 2014 first-rounder, Sean Newcomb, in the Andrelton Simmons deal. Any time prospects can be turned into major league assets, that's definitely a good move. However, the Angels aren't especially competitive going forward, and their farm system is barren.
Nate Smith is their most imminent pitching prospect, and he is battling some adversity at the Triple-A level. The 24-year old seems to be doing well despite an issue with the longball, which occasionally happens at the Triple-A level.
Victor Alcantra represents some promise as well, but he's battled some rough walk rates. He's walked 19 batters in 43.2 innings so far this season in Double-A.
Joe Gatto and Jake Jewell round out their organizational top 10. Gatto is struggling at Single-A as a 20-year old while Sewell is 23-years old and is really struggling at High-A. The former could hopefully turn it around, but Jewell's conversion to a reliever doesn't seem very fruitful.
The Angels earliest pick is 16th overall.
Heading into the 2016 MLB Draft, addressing needs isn't necessarily the aim of teams. However, these teams rank among the bottom in available pitching prospects and could definitely look to improve their most dire need.