Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
This past Saturday, two young right- handers made their first starts of 2014 and immediately entered the fantasy conversation.
One, Marcus Stroman of the Toronto Blue Jays, is a current Baseball America top-100 prospect and the other, Rubby De La Rosa of the Boston Red Sox, was on that list in 2011.
Toronto threw the 23-year-old Stroman against the Kansas City Royals and he had six strikeouts and zero walks over six innings of five-hit, one-run ball.
Stroman is just 5-foot-9 and 185 pounds, but he sits around 95 mph with his four-seam fastball and can get it up to 97.
His slurve looks like it's going to be a deadly strikeout pitch. The offering gets extremely deep before darting sharply down and away from right-handed batters and down and in to lefties.
On Saturday, the 2012 22nd-overall pick threw the pitch 18 times and generated five misses on 14 swings, according to Brooks Baseball.
One of the most entertaining aspects of Stroman's start was seeing Kansas City batters' faces after his slurve sent them back to the dugout.
Alcides Escobar did a double take at the mound as if trying to determine if Stroman was human, Eric Hosmer's eyes went wide and all he could say was "wow" and Billy Butler looked like a kid who had just dropped his ice cream cone on the ground.
De La Rosa was even more impressive than Stroman in his start against the Tampa Bay Rays.
De La Rosa also didn't walk a batter and held the Rays scoreless in his seven innings of work. The right-hander struck out eight batters while throwing his fastball at an average of 96.6 mph and hitting 100 once.
His change-up was devastating, getting 13 swings and misses on 46 pitches (32 swings).
De La Rosa made his debut four years ago with the Los Angeles Dodgers and recorded a 3.71 ERA with 60 strikeouts over 60 2/3 innings, but he also walked 31 batters and suffered a torn UCL in his elbow on July 31.
Los Angeles included him as one of the players to be named later in the trade that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett from Beantown to Hollywood in August 2012.
De La Rosa had thrown just 12 innings in the majors since then before stepping onto the Fenway Park mound Saturday.
In 53 1/3 innings with Triple-A Pawtucket this season, De La Rosa had a 3.04 ERA and a 52/23 K/BB while allowing zero home runs.
Stroman had a 3.03 ERA and a 45/9 K/BB in 35 2/3 innings with Triple-A Buffalo after posting a 3.30 ERA and a 129/27 K/BB over 111 2/3 innings in Double-A a year ago.
Due to De La Rosa's potential command issues, Stroman has more upside and should be added first if you can only pick one of them. But both pitchers could have a big impact in fantasy leagues ... and the AL East race.