Fleming led the country in ERA (0.67) and WHIP (0.71) as a junior and became the first player ever drafted out of Division III Webster University (St. Louis, Mo.) when the Rays made him their fifth-round pick in 2017. He pitched well at two levels during his first full season and was even better in ‘19, climbing from Double-A Montgomery -- where he ranked among the Southern League leaders in wins (tied for first), ERA (fifth), WHIP (fourth) and innings (sixth) -- up to Triple-A Durham.
An athletic left-hander with a clean delivery, Fleming knows how to be effective with each of his three pitches, though nothing he throws is plus. His fastball has a ton of late sink and run, sitting at 90-92 mph and touching 94. He can spot his heater with precision on both sides of the plate or drive it down in the zone to get ground balls, which he did at a 54.4-percent clip in 2019. Fleming’s above-average slider and average changeup are enhanced by his excellent fastball command, though neither secondary offering is particularly effective against right-handed hitters, who batted .302/.334/.502 against him in ’19.
With his blend of stamina, pitchability and command, Fleming looks the part of a future back-end starter. Some evaluators believe he’s better suited for long-relief role due to his struggles against righties (and dominance against lefties), though even Fleming’s detractors think he’s ticketed to pitch in the big leagues.