Note: This prospect rankings was done by SMR's Prospect Analysts Rhys White (@rhysbwhite) and me, Connor Kurcon (@ckurcon). The list excludes Japanese phenom and new Angels’ pitcher Shohei Otani. Rhys and I were both in agreement that if we were to rank Otani, he would rank as number one and everyone else would move down a spot. However, with pro experience under his belt and some in disagreement that he should be considered, we elected to omit him. Plus, it’s just more fun to rank 150 players we have varying opinions on as opposed to just 149. So without further ado, we present to you Six Man Rotation’s top 150 prospects for 2018.
1) Ronald Acuna, OF, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 1 / Connor’s rank: 2
Rhys’ take: I do not blame my fellow prospect analyst for putting Vlad Jr as the number one prospect because his bat is special. However Ronald Acuna has the chance to become a legitimate five tool guy (a term that gets thrown around way too much these days) and reminds me a bit of George Springer. Defensively, Acuna has all the tools to be a plus defender in center field, with plus speed and a plus arm and he should be able to be a double plus defender in a corner outfield while he waits for Ender Inciarte to move off center. Offensively is where he’s most fun to watch, as he showcases the ability to drive the ball all over the field, hit for power and use his plus speed on the basepaths, whether that's stealing or legging out extra base hits. This doesn't play into my rankings at all, but Acuna looks like he is having so much fun playing the game, and it’s hard not to imagine him becoming the face of the Braves very soon.
2) Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, TOR
Rhys’ rank: 2 / Connor’s rank: 1
Connor’s take: This was honestly a 1A and 1B ranking for me. Having Vlad ahead of Acuna is obviously not something that has been common this offseason, but I am what you could call the “low” man on Acuna. He’s got a swing that I’m just not the biggest fan of; you can watch his swing in slow motion at 2:33 of this video. It’s an insanely quick bat, but his front elbow straightens out as he loads and he has a slight bat drag that I think is going to hinder his ability to ever have anything better than an average hit tool. Obviously there’s a ton more tools to make the profile work extremely well (plus run, plus power, plus arm), but between the two, I would take Vlad Jr. and his prolific bat and potential 80 grade hit tool. I don’t care where he plays defensively, as guys like Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera have shown that an elite bat can make you one of the best player in the league anywhere defensively. Barring major injury, I like Vlad to make more of an impact over the course of 15 years, even if he only impacts 1 side of the ball.
3) Victor Robles, OF, WAS
Rhys’ rank: 4 / Connor’s rank: 3
4) Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, SDP
Rhys’ rank: 3 / Connor’s rank: 5
5) Eloy Jimenez, OF, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 5 / Connor’s rank: 4
Rhys’ take: Literal light tower power with the ability to reach raw power in games. Hard to not see him being a perennial 35 homer guy with some 40 homer seasons tossed in for good measure.
6) Nick Senzel, 3B, CIN
Rhys’ rank: 7 / Connor’s rank: 7
Rhys’ take: There are reports that Senzel could play some second base, which will add to his versatility. I feel comfortable projecting he will be a .300 hitter that hits 25 homers and steals 15 bags and is a plus defender at third, and a potential gold glover at second during his peak years. Nick Senzel reminds me of Alex Bregman with his offensive profile, if anyone was looking for a comp.
7) Michael Kopech, RHP, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 6 / Connor’s rank: 9
8) Gleyber Torres, SS, NYY
Rhys’ rank: 10 / Connor’s rank: 6
9) Forrest Whitley, RHP, HOU
Rhys’ rank: 11 / Connor’s rank: 8
10) Bo Bichette, SS, TOR
Rhys’ rank: 8 / Connor’s rank: 11
Rhys’ take: Bichette is so much more advanced than your typical high school bat, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to think he could be in the majors as a September call up. He has amazing bat speed and will make any adjustment necessary to reach his ceiling of being an all star.
11) Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU
Rhys’ rank: 9 / Connor’s rank: 13
12) Francisco Mejia, C, CLE
Rhys’ rank: 16 / Connor’s rank: 10
Connor’s take: The reports of him moving to 3B are overstated; it’s solely for versatility purposes. He’s a catcher, and a pretty good one with a damn good bat.
13) Walker Buehler, RHP, LAD
Rhys’ rank: 17 / Connor’s rank: 12
14) Brent Honeywell, RHP, TB
Rhys’ rank: 15 / Connor’s rank: 14
15) Brendan Rodgers, SS, COL
Rhys’ rank: 12 / Connor’s rank: 17
16) Alex Reyes, RHP, STL
Rhys’ rank: 13 / Connor’s rank: 18
Rhys’ take: Will this be the final time we have to rank this talented arm? I really hope so.
17) Lewis Brinson, OF, MIA
Rhys’ rank: 18 / Connor’s rank: 15
Connor’s take: Typing “MIA” this high in a top prospects list was weird.
18) Mitch Keller, RHP, PIT
Rhys’ rank: 19 / Connor’s rank: 16
Connor’s take: I’m still very cautious with ranking Keller, because the changeup is fringe average and he doesn’t even really throw it all that much. It may not matter with a plus FB, plus CB, and plus control/command.
19) Sixto Sanchez, RHP, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 24 / Connor’s rank: 21
Connor’s take: This kid is flat out electric. Despite his small size, it seems the only obstacle to becoming one of the best in baseball is staying healthy.
20) J.P. Crawford, SS, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 27 / Connor’s rank: 19
21) Luis Robert, OF, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 20 / Connor’s rank: 29
Rhys’ take: Explosive tools don’t even begin to describe Luis Robert. He has a chance to become a 30 homer, 30 stolen base center fielder. The only flaw is we haven’t seen him stateside, but I bet he will be a top 10 prospect at the end of the year.
22) Royce Lewis, SS, MIN
Rhys’ rank: 26 / Connor’s rank: 24
23) Tristen McKenzie, RHP, CLE
Rhys’ rank: 28 / Connor’s rank: 23
24) Juan Soto, OF, WAS
Rhys’ rank: 32 / Connor’s rank: 21
Connor’s take: Soto could have been even a little higher on this list had multiple injuries not robbed him of what could have been a phenomenal offensive year from an 18 year old in full season ball.
25) Scott Kingery, 2B, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 31 / Connor’s rank: 22
26) Willy Adames, SS, TB
Rhys’ rank: 23 / Connor’s rank: 30
27) Luis Urias, 2B, SD
Rhys’ rank: 22 / Connor’s rank: 31
Connor’s take: I like Urias a ton. The hit tool is up there as one of the best in the minors and so is the glove at 2B. The lack of power is what kept my rank a bit lower than Rhys’ rank. With any semblance of a power outbreak in 2018, which some feel he’s capable of with his swing, he’s a potential top 10 prospect by this time next year.
28) Luiz Gohara, LHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 21 / Connor’s rank: 32
Connor’s take: *giggles at how poorly run the Mariners are*
29) MacKenzie Gore, LHP, SD
Rhys’ rank: 29 / Connor’s rank: 25
30) Austin Hays, OF, BAL
Rhys’ rank: 14 / Connor’s rank: 41
Rhys’ take: The 2016 3rd round pick did not showcase the power during his career at Jacksonville (just 19 college HR) before hitting 33 homers in 2017, including 1 in the majors. Hays should be in the majors most of 2018 and has shown that he can play a plus defensive right field. The biggest wart in his game is a flaw in Baltimore’s system; the dude does not walk, like at all. I ranked him so aggressively because I see him being a middle of the order bat who perennial hits 30 home runs, and is an asset defensively in right field.
Connor’s take: Hays looks like the type that will hit and will hit with power while playing a good RF with one of the better arms there. So that’s good. But damn, dude, I know it’s against the Orioles’ philosophy, but take a walk every once in a while. Just 36 walks in over 700 pro PA means he’s going to have to hit a ton to have a respectable OBP. I’m reluctant to buy in completely.
31) A.J. Puk, LHP, OAK
Rhys’ rank: 36 / Connor’s rank: 28
Connor’s take: Like Gohara, Puk’s sheer stuff is just so nasty that it makes him one of very few pitchers in the minors who could get by in the majors with a not very good changeup or not very good command. If either/ both of those things can become average, he’s a monster.
32) Michel Baez, RHP, SD
Rhys’ rank: 33 / Connor’s rank: 37
Rhys’ take: The 6’8 giant has the most upside of any pitcher in a deep Padres farm system. Electric fastball and plus offspeed offerings.
Connor’s take: Pronounces his name like a girl.
33) Kyle Wright, RHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 46 / Connor’s rank: 26
Connor’s take: After sporting a 2.78 ERA with 290 K in just over 250 IP at Vanderbilt, Wright was selected 5th overall in 2017. Though he lacks a truly dominant offspeed pitch, there’s a decent amount of projection left for a college arm, he comes at you with 4 average or better pitches, and command that is plenty good enough. What’s not to like? I think we’re looking at a top 5 pitching prospect come 2019… if he doesn’t pitch 50 innings this season.
34) Justus Sheffield, LHP, NYY
Rhys’ rank: 41 / Connor’s rank: 33
Connor’s take: Sheffield’s fastball bumped up from 91-94 earlier in the season to 94-96 later in the season and in the AzFL with a pretty slider to boot. I still have concerns with size and durability, but the stuff looks seriously nasty.
35) Estevan Florial, OF, NYY
Rhys’ rank: 25 / Connor’s rank: 50
Rhys’ take: Outside of Ronald Acuna and Luis Robert (<3), Florial might have the most explosive tools in the minors. He has shown he has plus speed, flashed plus raw power, and at the moment, looks to be the center fielder of the future for the New York No Beards. The young Haitian does strikeout more than anyone would like, near 30% in 2017, meaning he needs to improve his pitch recognition and strike zone discipline. While he does strike out a lot, he has showcased the ability to draw a walk, walking 10.4% of his plate appearances, which should help him as he climbs through the minors.
Connor’s take: The tools are loud, but the pitch recognition is still extremely poor. His strikeout rate was over 31% in 2 levels this year, 35% in the AzFL, and his batting average this year was largely supported by a very high BABIP (something not infrequent for the lower levels, where fielding can be bad). I’m not comfortable projecting an average hit tool, but he may not need it with his power, speed, and ability to take a walk.
36) Leody Taveras, OF, TEX
Rhys’ rank: 43 / Connor’s rank: 35
37) Franklin Perez, RHP, DET
Rhys’ rank: 40 / Connor’s rank: 38
Connor’s take: Happy but not surprised that my Tigers fan co-writer is as high on Perez as I am. There’s a uncommonly high floor here for a newly 20 year old, and there could even be more in the tank.
38) Anthony Alford, OF, TOR
Rhys’ rank: 52 / Connor’s rank: 27
Connor’s take: Tools, tools, tools with some refinement and a really good first ~300 PA at AA. Needed surgery to repair a broken hamate bone in his left wrist in May and sprained his ankle in the Mexican Winter League in December, so hopefully the injury issues don’t continue into 2018. The ceiling is massive for the former football player.
39) Hunter Greene, RHP, CIN
Rhys’ rank: 37 / Connor’s rank: 43
Rhys’ take: The owner of a 100 mph fastball that is as straight as an arrow. The upside is as high as any pitcher in the minors, it’s just going to take a while to reach that. With no average secondary offerings as of now, he’s all projection at this point.
40) Willie Calhoun, OF?, TEX
Rhys’ rank: 30 / Connor’s rank: 51
Connor’s take: Lack of a defensive home or any semblance of defensive aptitude pushed Calhoun back quite a ways for me, but MLB-ready, plus hit, plus power bat should work just fine.
41) Mike Soroka, RHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 35 / Connor’s rank: 47
Rhys’ take: Very Michael Fulmery (without the majestic beard and plumbing skills). We can call him the Canadian Michael Fulmer. He can teach Freddie Freeman about Canada, as well as become a number 2 starter that will limit the longball and produce plenty of ground ball outs. We could see him push AAA as he more than handled himself at AA as a 19 and 20 year old.
42) Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL
Rhys’ rank: 44 / Connor’s rank: 40
Connor’s take: With the news that Hiura is fully healthy and won’t need the Tommy John surgery he was expected to have pre-draft, Rhys’ and I could ultimately both be a little low on Hiura here. It’s a conservative ranking.
43) Alex Verdugo, OF, LAD
Rhys’ rank: 39 / Connor’s rank: 46
44) Ryan McMahon, 1B/2B/3B, COL
Rhys’ rank: 34 / Connor’s rank: 58
Rhys’ take: McMahon has the power of Coors to fall back on to help play up his plus power. As well as showing raw power, McMahon has displayed the ability to hit for a high average and display modest walk rates which could play up when he does sniff Denver. The Rockies farm hand has shown to be versatile player defensively as he could play first, second or third in a pinch. I see him fighting for the first base job in 2018 when he does get the call up.
Connor’s take: Ultimately, McMahon is a 1B for me, and a solid but not spectacular one. That dropped him a bit in my rankings, but the bat will play there just fine.
45) Ian Anderson, RHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 52 / Connor’s rank: 42
46) Jack Flaherty, RHP, STL
Rhys’ rank: 56 / Connor’s rank: 39
Connor’s Take: Hell yeah
47) Yordan Alvarez, 1B/OF, HOU
Rhys’ rank: 42 / Connor’s rank: 53
48) Alec Hansen, RHP, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 47 / Connor’s rank: 49
Rhys’ take: Led the minors in strikeouts in 2017, striking out 191 in 141.1 innings over 3 different levels.
49) Taylor Trammell, OF, CIN
Rhys’ rank: 50 / Connor’s rank: 48
50) Austin Meadows, OF, PIT
Rhys’ rank: 38 / Connor’s rank: 61
Connor's take: I'm beginning to grow skeptical that Meadows is ever healthy for a prolonged period of time, but there is just so much promise if he can.
51) Jesus Sanchez, OF, TB
Rhys’ rank: 45 / Connor’s rank: 55
52) Corbin Burnes, RHP, MIL
Rhys’ rank: 67 / Connor’s rank: 34
Connor’s take: See Kyle Wright’s write-up but with better command. After changing his delivery throughout the season, Burnes now throws 4 average to above average pitches with command and movement on all of them. He’s smart. He’s effective. He’s going to be good.
53) Jay Groome, LHP, BOS
Rhys’ rank: 68 / Connor’s rank: 36
Connor’s take: 2017 was definitely an off year for Groome, but the elite upside still remains, as his curveball is still one of the best breakers in the minors. Some changeup improvement would have been nice, and reports of dropping velo through starts isn’t what you want, but I’m willing to give Groome a slight pass, as his father was arrested for drugs and weapons charges in July, a stressor that is something that very few prospects ever have to endure. Groome will hopefully enjoy an injury-free, father-free 2018 season. I’m still all-in on the upside.
54) Jorge Mateo, SS, OAK
Rhys’ rank: 61 / Connor’s rank: 45
Rhys’ take: “Attitude Issues” came up while he was a Yankee, but that doesn’t matter when you have game breaking speed like Mateo does. He may have to move to the outfield but in center he can use his 70 grade speed to track down near impossible outs.
55) Kiebert Ruiz, C, LAD
Rhys’ rank: 48 / Connor’s rank: 60
Connor’s take: Not a fan of bat-first catchers, but Ruiz’ defense is rapidly improving. His movement behind home has gotten much better, he gets down to block quick, and his framing is great. Comfortably the second best catching prospect in baseball for me.
56) Jo Adell, OF, LAA
Rhys’ rank: 55 / Connor’s rank: 56
Rhys’ take: Adell was far more advanced than anyone would have expected; coming into the draft he wasn’t seen as a guy who would ever hit .300, but he hit .325 over two levels of rookie ball. The Angels top prospect showcased the tools that made him a first round pick as he hit 5 homers and stole 8 bags. Count me in.
57) Cal Quantrill, RHP, SD
Rhys’ rank: 60 / Connor’s rank: 52
58) Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, TB
Rhys’ rank: 70 / Connor’s rank: 44
Connor’s take: McKay was a really, really tough rank for me and Rhys, due to the lack of certainty of position. As a pitcher, he probably slots into the top 30-40 or so for me. As a 1B, he’d probably near the tail end of the top 100. TB says they’re going to try and play him both ways, but that doesn’t excite me, nor do I think it’s entirely plausible.
Rhys’ take: As a pitcher he’s a top 50 guy for me, as a hitter he would be a top 115 guy. Good luck to him on trying both hitting and pitching but I would so much rather him just be a pitcher.
59) Adrian Morejon, LHP, SD
Rhys’ rank: 57 / Connor’s rank: 57
Connor’s take: Both writers pencil in Morejon at 57 and he gets the 59 spot. It’s a cruel world.
60) Adonis Medina, RHP, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 62/ Connor’s rank: 59
61) Heliot Ramos, OF, SF
Rhys’ rank: 58 / Connor’s rank: 63
Connor’s take: HYPE TRAIN BABY CHOO CHOO
62) Franklin Barreto, SS/OF, OAK
Rhys’ rank: 51 / Connor’s rank: 77
Rhys’ take: Safe is the word I would use to describe Barreto. He can hit for a decent average, show above average speed, above average power and be underrated because of his safety. The headliner of the Josh Donaldson trade will carry a lot of value because is he will stay up the middle defensively, whether thats as a shortstop, center fielder, or second base and be a good two-hole hitter during his peak years.
Connor’s take: The drop in walk rate and 10% spike in strikeout rate at AAA this year has me a bit worried.
63) Miguel Andujar, 3B, NYY
Rhys’ rank: 69 / Connor’s rank: 68
64) Jahmai Jones, OF, LAA
Rhys’ rank: 71 / Connor’s rank: 67
65) Nick Gordon, SS, MIN
Rhys’ rank: 74 / Connor’s rank: 66
66) Albert Abreu, RHP, NYY
Rhys’ rank: 72 / Connor’s rank: 72
Rhys’ take: The return for the Brian McCann trade, the Yankees got a good one in my opinion. He has a distinct slider and curveball to go along with a fastball that can hit triple digits, he has the potential to be a frontline starter with nasty bullpen piece being his floor.
67) Michael Chavis, 3B, BOS
Rhys’ rank: 73 / Connor’s rank: 74
68) Brandon Woodruff, RHP, MIL
Rhys’ rank: 94 / Connor’s rank: 54
Connor’s take: Woodruff being one of the few truly MLB-ready arms on this list gave him a little bump for me. The term “bulldog” gets used a bit liberally, but Woodruff embodies it. Nothing dominant about his arsenal, but his sinker comes in hard with decent drop and his slider is enough to keep hitters off balance. The changeup needs to improve, but I like the sinker/slider combo enough for Woodruff to eat innings for a long time even if the changeup never develops past average.
69) Jon Duplantier, RHP, ARI
Rhys’ rank: 86 / Connor’s rank: 62
Rhys’ take: NICE! Insane era, but did it against lower level competition. It was good to see him healthy and I think he has number 3 starter upside.
Connor’s take: Just happy to see a full year of health from Jonny Plants. Also, niceee.
70) Monte Harrison, OF, MIA
Rhys’ rank: 85 / Connor’s rank: 70
Connor’s take: This is more Marlins prospects inside the top 100 than I’m comfortable with.
71) Carson Kelly, C, STL
Rhys’ rank: 83 / Connor’s rank: 73
72) Kolby Allard, LHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 66 / Connor’s rank: 90
Connor’s take: Allard checks a lot of boxes, I’m just not a huge fan of the low speed FB. The rest of the package is going to have to come together very well to be anything more than a back end starter when you have a 88-92 mph FB.
73) Mitchell White, RHP, LAD
Rhys’ rank: 82 / Connor’s rank: 75
Connor’s take: Make or break year for White in my opinion. If he can show a full season of health and conditioning and maintain the stuff he showed in 2017, he’ll shoot up these rankings. If he continues to be bothered by injuries or once again lose velocity as 2018 drags on, he’ll fall off completely.
74) Shane Baz, RHP, PIT
Rhys’ rank: 78 / Connor’s rank: 79
75) Matt Manning, RHP, DET
Rhys’ rank: 59 / Connor’s rank: 99
Rhys’ take: I try to remove myself from any bias but I couldn't help but be aggressive on the young Tigers pitcher. Manning has showcased a fastball that can get to the mid-to-upper 90’s and a nasty curveball. The Tigers had him work on his delivery during extended Spring Training and he showcased the ability to repeat his new delivery during his stint with the Connecticut Tigers He may be inconsistent at times, but he flashes the stuff that can make him a top of the rotation starter one day.
Connor’s take: I was lucky enough to catch Manning at a short season start in Lowell, where he hit 93, but mostly sat lower. The curveball has huge potential, but in my look and many other outings, he really has trouble spotting it. There enough question marks between his low/dropping fastball velo, lack of a changeup, and inconsistent command for me to drop him a little bit, but he’s highly projectable and it’s easy to envision a very good starting pitcher.
76) Austin Riley, 3B, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 54 / Connor’s rank: 104
Rhys’ take: I am very much in on Austin Riley for 2018 and I think he has a chance to become a middle of the order bat who does middle of the order type things. He has shown the ability hit for power and average, hitting 8 homers and earning himself a .315 average at AA. Defensively he isn't anything to write home about but he has the bat that you can stomach it if he’s an average defender at the hot corner.
Connor’s take: I’m still a bit bearish on Riley’s ability to be an average defensive 3B at the major league level, which will put a bit of pressure on his bat. It’s a good offensive profile, but frequent reports of being behind on faster velocity throws another wrench into things. The success with the bat at AA as a 20 year old is very nice though. Still taking a wait-and-see approach.
77) Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, MIN
Rhys’ rank: 95 / Connor’s rank: 64
78) Jesus Luzardo, LHP, OAK
Rhys’ rank: 79 / Connor’s rank: 82
Rhys’ Take: Usually the last thing to come when a pitcher gets TJ surgery is the command, so it goes to show how ahead of schedule Luzardo is. Peep those goggles.
79) Christian Pache, OF, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 76 / Connor’s rank: 86
Rhys’ take: Pache might forever be a non-factor with the bat. However with his double plus defensive tools, he could become a perennial gold glove candidate in center field.
Connor’s take: High variance offensive profile; 2018 will be huge for Pache in that regard. But he is a MLB ready glove in center already, possibly a future 80 out there if he maintains his speed.
80) Alex Faedo, RHP, DET
Rhys’ rank: 75 / Connor’s rank: 89
81) Dane Dunning, RHP, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 65 / Connor’s rank: 101
82) Carter Kieboom, SS, WAS
Rhys’ rank: 96 / Connor’s rank: 71
Connor’s take: I’ve seen him make a couple of very nice, smooth plays to his right at SS, so I remain bullish on his ability to stick even with a not-so-great arm. Bat should make for a good middle of the order threat even if he has to move to 2B or 3B.
83) Jake Bauers, 1B, TB
Rhys’ rank: 63 / Connor’s rank: 105
Rhys’ take: The profile is a bit funky for a first baseman lacking plus power, but he makes up for it having an above average glove and showing some speed. His profile works best in the outfield but with how many bad defenders there are at 1B, it is a breath of fresh air to see someone who is an asset there.
Connor’s take: I can’t get over the lack of power in the profile for a 1B. The speed is nice, the solid glove at 1B is nice, and his ability to get on base is VERY nice. I’m probably lower on the profile than I should be, but I really can’t fully buy in until he can get to more power in-game.
84) Nate Pearson, RHP, TOR
Rhys’ rank: 84 / Connor’s rank: 84
85) Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA
Rhys’ rank: 93 / Connor’s rank: 76
Connor’s take: Ranking might be high, because injuring the same knee over and over and over is extremely worrisome for Lewis' long term outlook, but I’m holding out hope that he can have a somewhat healthy 2018.
86) Tyler Mahle, RHP, CIN
Rhys’ rank: 101 / Connor’s rank: 69
87) Chance Sisco, C, BAL
Rhys’ rank: 64 / Connor’s rank: 113
Rhys’ take: Looks primed to be the O’s starting catcher for 2018, so that makes up most of his value for me. However, unlike many other O’s prospects he can draw a walk!
Connor’s take: Everyone has the guys that they love and guys that they hate. I hate bat-first catchers, especially ones that have sub-par offensive years like the one Sisco had in 2017.
88) Jhailyn Ortiz, OF, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 87 / Connor’s rank: 91
Connor’s take: I’m reluctantly buying into reports that’s the big boy has looked a lot better in the OF (which is really only saying a little bit). If that’s true, and he can man a corner spot, he’s aptly ranked. If he has to move to 1B, which still a good possibility to me, he probably moves down 20-30 spots or so.
89) Ryan Mountcastle, 3B?, BAL
Rhys’ rank: 102 / Connor’s rank: 78
Rhys’ take: I do not know what position he plays in the big leagues and like every single player that gets their paycheck signed by Baltimore, he doesn’t walk as much as I would like.
Connor’s take: I like him more than most to stick at 3B despite a fringe average arm there, hence the higher ranking.
90) Sandy Alcantara, RHP, MIA
Rhys’ rank: 77 / Connor’s rank: 114
Connor’s take: Jesus another Marlin. Alcantara is a bullpen arm for me and it isn’t very close. Big fastball that can reach triple digits, but the command of it (or any of his other pitches for, that matter) is currently bad and the rest of the profile across the board lacks the consistency for me to think he ends up starting. Only reason he is as high as 114 is because there is that glimmer of hope that he does indeed start.
91) Andres Gimenez, SS, NYM
Rhys’ rank: 110 / Connor’s rank: 83
92) Brent Rooker, 1B/OF, MIN
Rhys’ rank: 89 / Connor’s rank: 106
Connor’s take: As a graduating senior who couldn’t get to much power with wooden bats in the Cape Cod Summer League in 2016, what Rooker did in professional ball post-draft was more important to me than pretty much any other 2017 draftee. He mashed at A+ (admittedly still a level too low), so some of my worries are alleviated.
93) J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, HOU
Rhys’ rank: 104 / Connor’s rank: 97
94) Evan White, 1B/OF, SEA
Rhys’ rank: 103 / Connor’s rank: 100
Rhys’ take: Super interesting profile; could be a gold glove first baseman, could be an above average corner outfielder, and could play center field. The question the Mariners will need to ask themselves can they look past the power for a gold glove candidate at first base. I love him though because I love these interesting profiles.
95) Wander Javier, SS, MIN
Rhys’ rank: 99 / Connor’s rank: 107
96) Beau Burrows, RHP, DET
Rhys’ rank: 91 / Connor’s rank: 118
97) Luis Ortiz, RHP, MIL
Rhys’ rank: 118 / Connor’s rank: 92
98) Fernando Romero, RHP, MIN
Rhys’ rank: 81 / Connor’s rank: 130
Rhys’ take: Fernando Romero screams number 3 starter upside, and number 4 starter floor. Romero will never be a big strikeout guy, but he showcases above average command and 3 above average pitches with his fastball being a double plus offering. His fastball gets up to the upper 90’s and has late life to it and his changeup plays off the heater making hitters swing early. He could get by just based on his fastball-changeup combo however he shows the ability to throw an above average slider that has plenty of “slow” movement despite being able to get up to the low 90’s. He projects to be a valuable pitcher that pitches 170 quality innings each and every year.
Connor’s take: Definite disagreement on Romero’s floor here, which is probably the cause of the discrepancy, because I like the stuff, but with a lower arm slot and iffy mechanics, the floor is a bullpen role for me.
99) Adam Haseley, OF, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 112 / Connor’s rank: 102
100) Chance Adams, RHP, NYY
Rhys’ rank: 98 / Connor’s rank: 115
101) Wander Samuel Franco, SS, TB
Rhys’ rank: 90 / Connor’s rank: 126
Rhys’ take: Thought of as one of the best contact hitters in this J2 class. Also has siblings named Wander Franco, Wander Javier Franco with the Royals and Wander Alexander Franco with the Astros.
102) Zack Collins, C, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 97 / Connor’s rank: 120
103) Jorge Guzman, RHP, MIA
Rhys’ rank: 107 / Connor’s rank: 112
104) Tyler O’Neill, OF, STL
Rhys’ rank: 105 / Connor’s rank: 119
Connor’s take: Honestly didn’t think we’d see O’Neill this high when we began making this list, but the dude continues to make adjustments to his swing and approach as he advances levels and he just keeps hitting. Strikeouts will always be an “issue”, but he gets on base and hits for power plenty to profile as a good corner OF.
105) Franklyn Kilome, RHP, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 49 / Connor’s rank: UR
Rhys’ take: I do agree with my fellow lister (I would say friends, but I don’t want to overestimate what Connor and I may or may not have) that Kilome didn’t improve upon his 2016 campaign. The command took a step back when he got to AA but someone that has Kilome’s stuff should be able to rebound in 2018 and attack AA hitters and make his way to AAA in 2018. He has a fastball that is explosive and developing secondary offerings, including a potential plus curveball. Worst case scenario he isn’t a starter and gets thrown into a pen where he can just blow people away with the FB/CB combo. I can see it now; Franklyn Kilome with some future promos with Ben Franklin, maybe a Franklin & Franklin Law Firm commercial. Get at me Phillies marketing team.
Connor’s take: Holy discrepancy. Kilome is a decent prospect, but no one thing about his profile improved much in my opinion in 2017, leading to a 9% decrease in K rate against tougher hitters at A+/AA while still walking over 10% of hitters. Hope is definitely not lost, but I would have liked to have seen some more notable improvements.
106) Adbert Alzolay, RHP, CHC
Rhys’ rank: 132 / Connor’s rank: 96
107) Anderson Espinoza, RHP, SD
Rhys’ rank: 115 / Connor’s rank: 116
Rhys’ take: Get well soon, I miss you. I’ll take anyone's shares of Anderson Espinoza.
108) Austin Beck, OF, OAK
Rhys’ rank: 131 / Connor’s rank: 103
Connor’s take: Show me a small glimpse of a hit tool in 2018 and Beck skyrockets up this list.
109) Jose Albertos, RHP, CHC
Rhys’ rank: 88 / Connor’s rank: 147
Rhys’ take: Man can this guy just stay healthy, please injury gods. When healthy, he has great stuff and the only skill he lacks is health, which is pretty important. I love guys who have plus changeups and Albertos has one, and he locates it well and mixes with a plus fastball that comfortably sits in the mid 90’s. Oh, and the curveball isn’t too shabby. He needs to stay healthy to realize his potential, he has the stuff to become a good number 2 starter.
Connor’s take: Albertos near the very tail end of my list was solely health related; I’m not sure if he stays healthy enough to ever be impactful. Great stuff if he can though.
110) Nolan Jones, 3B, CLE
Rhys’ rank: 142 / Connor’s rank: 94
Connor’s take: The dude is a pure hitter from the left side and all he did this season at short season was mash, hitting .317/.430/.482 in 265 PA, even though the talent at short season ball can be poor at times. Already 6’4” at 19 with room to fill out, there’s concern he may have to move off 3B, but I’m confident he sticks at the position. There’s enough of an offensive profile to play at 1B even if he doesn’t.
111) Joey Wentz, LHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 119 / Connor’s rank: 117
112) Pavin Smith, 1B, ARI
Rhys’ rank: 129 / Connor’s rank: 108
Connor’s take: 0 HR in his first 200+ pro PA. That’s a bad look for a 1B.
113) Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 65
Connor’s take: Hayes glove at 3B has me absolutely infatuated, similar to my infatuation with Matt Chapman at this point a year ago. I have a serious weakness for plus-plus defensive 3B. Hayes has a hit-over-power offensive profile, which doesn’t give him as high of a floor as Chapman’s power-over-hit profile, but I think here’s more in the bat than he showed this season at High-A Bradenton where he hit .278/.345/.363. Hayes also contributes with his legs, stealing 27 bases on only 32 attempts. He’s a bit underrated in my opinion, but if he can repeat his 2017 season in 2018 as a 21 year old in AA, people will start paying attention. Rhys not ranking him broke my heart.
114) Daz Cameron, OF, DET
Rhys’ rank: 100 / Connor’s rank: 141
Rhys’ take: I promise I am not a big homer when it comes to rankings. After a post-trade adjustment to Cameron’s swing, he began to look like what we all thought he could be pre-draft. His tools aren’t as loud as players listed above him, but with a solid power-speed combo and the ability to play center field, Daz profiles to be an above average big league regular with the potential for more.
115) Jesse Winker, OF, CIN
Rhys’ rank: 121 / Connor’s rank: 123
116) Bryse Wilson, RHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 138 / Connor’s rank: 111
117) Sam Carlson, RHP, SEA
Rhys’ rank: 124 / Connor’s rank: 127
Connor’s take: Hot take alert: There’s a non-zero chance that Carlson has one of the better careers from the 2017 draft class. The FB already gets to 96 with sink, his CH is extremely advanced for 18 years old gets consistent future plus or better grades, and his breaker flashed much better post-draft than expected. He’s got a bit of a head whack in the delivery, and Seattle is one of the worst places he could have been drafted for an ideal development, but there’s so, so much to like here.
118) Aramis Ademan, SS, CHC
Rhys’ rank: 106 / Connor’s rank: 145
119) David Peterson, LHP, NYM
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 80
Connor’s take: The big lefty had 140 K in 100 IP in his junior year at Oregon. Despite his size, Peterson’s stuff isn’t overpowering, he’ll throw all of his FB/SL/CH for strikes with good movement on the fastball and slider. Change needs work, and I’m not the biggest fan of the delivery, but it’s fairly simple and he makes it work.
120) Nick Pratto, 1B, KC
Rhys’ rank: 116 / Connor’s rank: 139
121) Dylan Cease, RHP, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 80 / Connor’s rank: UR
Rhys’ take: Cease is not in the same realm as Eloy Jimenez, but the second piece the White Sox got in the Jose Quintana trade is a quality prospect in his own right. He has a fastball that gets up over 100, but sits 94 to 98 comfortably, a hammer curve, and a developing changeup. Some have him pegged as a bullpen guy, and if he goes there, he could be very good, but I think he has a chance to stay in the rotation for the Southside if that changeup develops. He has the strikeout stuff to make him sexy; it's just going to come down to whether he can improve the command in 2018.
122) Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 81
Rhys’ take: The only problem Marsh has faced in his minor league career is staying healthy. He has loud tools, and if he could stay healthy I would have ranked him.
123) Hunter Harvey, RHP, BAL
Rhys’ rank: 126 / Connor’s rank: 131
Connor’s take: Harvey’s stuff is already all the way back to where it was pre-TJS, including a t96 fastball and a plus curve, which places him on this list pretty comfortably.
124) Gabriel Arias, SS, SD
Rhys’ rank: 127 / Connor’s rank: 133
125) Logan Allen, LHP, SD
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 85
126) Cole Ragans, LHP, TEX
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 87
Connor’s take: Only reason Ragans isn’t higher is because the curveball is a bit lacking right now, despite plenty of reason to think it can get to average or better. His control also didn’t progress much this year, but he’s athletic enough that I think it works in time. The CH is plus, and despite the low velocity on the fastball, you could consider it plus as well if you include deception, plane and the spin on it. I love his delivery.
127) Sheldon Neuse, 3B, OAK
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 88
Connor’s take: I feel extremely, extremely comfortable projecting Neuse as a future regular at 3B, if not more. Neuse is a big boy at 6’0”, 200 lbs, but he’s surprisingly nimble with the weight, making his range at 3B not as much of a concern as it usually would for me. The plus arm should help him stick as well. Offensively, Neuse has plenty in the bat, hitting .313/.390/.525 at his 3 years at Oklahoma and .321/.382/.502 between 3 levels in 2017. There’s good hit, above average (maybe more) power, and enough defensive profile to stick at 3B. Matt Chapman seemingly has the 3B position in Oakland locked down for many years, but that doesn’t affect my ranking at all. Will be interesting to see if he takes some reps at 1B this season.
128) Colin Moran, 3B, PIT
Rhys’ rank: 130 / Connor’s rank: 134
Connor’s take: Went on a small Colin Moran rant on the Astros’ episode of 80 Grade before the trade. Moran’s swing change is legit, and he’s ready to be the 3B for Pittsburgh.
129) Isan Diaz, 2B, MIA
Rhys’ rank: 120 / Connor’s rank: 144
130) Colton Welker, 3B, COL
Rhys’ rank: 135 / Connor’s rank: 129
Rhys’ take: Sexy uppercut swing.
Connor’s take: Very sexy uppercut swing. We both really like Welker. He’s only this low due to defensive uncertainty.
131) Christian Arroyo, 2B/SS/3B, TB
Rhys’ rank: 92 / Connor’s rank: UR
Rhys’ take: Christian Arroyo will play on the left side of the infield, will hit for a decent average, and will be a boring but productive big leaguer. He ain't what you'd call toolsy, but he is just a baseball player, a real grinder, a real first one in last one out guy, a blue collar player (felt like I didn’t include enough of these “great” sayings earlier). He’s safe and boring, but you need players who get the job done to win games in the bigs.
Connor’s take: If you were fairly certain you were looking at another Joe Panik as a prospect, would he rank in your top prospects? For some, I’m sure that answer is yes. For me, it’s a no. Joe Panik and Christian Arroyo are fine players, and probably both have more plenty fine playing days ahead of them, but Arroyo’s lack of any sort of upside keep him off for me.
132) Chris Rodriguez, RHP, LAA
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 93
Connor’s take: Don’t let his 6.16 ERA in 14 starts this season fool you; CRod can be electric. Full arsenal of pitches, 2 fastballs (the four seamer touches 97), 2 breakers, and a much better delivery than a year ago.
133) JoJo Romero, LHP, PHI
Rhys’ rank: 134 / Connor’s rank: 135
134) Shane Bieber, RHP, CLE
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 95
Connor’s take: I’m a Belieber (I had to). The 4th round pick was a control/command artist coming out of UC Santa Barbara, where he had a 7.11 K/9 but just a 1.14 BB/9 in almost 300 college innings. In his first full season with Cleveland (I spared you of the Beliebland joke here), Bieber’s sheer stuff saw an improvement, sitting low to mid-90s with his FB after sitting 88-92 in college. And boy did it make a difference, as Bieber had a 2.86 ERA across 3 levels (including a 2.32 ERA in 9 AA starts). He has walked just TWELVE hitters in almost 200 professional innings while bumping his strikeout rate since college. Expect Bieber to see some MLB innings this year; I think his ceiling is being seriously underestimated.
135) Alex Kiriloff, OF, MIN
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 98
136) Bobby Bradley, 1B, CLE
Rhys’ rank: 148 / Connor’s rank: 132
Connor’s take: We both kinda like Bobby Bradley but we both kinda hate Bobby Bradley.
137) Kevin Maitan, 3B, LAA
Rhys’ rank: 108 / Connor’s rank: UR
Rhys’ take: My how the mighty have fallen. Before signing, international reports were saying Maitan could be the next Chipper or the next Miggy and now he might be underrated. I believe the hit tool is still in there somewhere and that the power will come, but damn did Maitan get BEEFY. He will never play shortstop and might never play third base, but I think he could profile best as a bat first first baseman. The upside is still there it’s just on him to shed some lbs, and if he reads this I also want to shed some lbs so maybe we could work together Kevin?
138) Yadier Alvarez, RHP, LAD
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 109
Connor's take: To be honest, I may not even like Alvarez as high as #109, so I can't blame Rhys for not ranking him. The FB is flat as hell and even at 100+ mph it still gets squared up. Throw that in with meh present secondary stuff (but possible plus slider down the road, to be fair) and control/command that may max out at fringe-average, and I've talked myself out of thinking he should be this high. There's mucho upside, but he's gonna have to make huge strides this year.
139) Jorge Ona, OF, SD
Rhys’ rank: 109 / Connor’s rank: UR
Rhys’ take: Dude is completely jacked and has shown the ability to use his physical ability to smash balls out of the ballpark and consistently make hard contact. Defensively he profiles as a corner outfielder because of his fringe speed and strong arm.
140) Braxton Garrett, LHP, MIA
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 110
Connor’s take: That’s 7 prospects from Miami in the top 150 and it’s weird. I still like Braxton Garrett a lot despite missing 2017 recovering from TJS.
141) Jose Siri, OF, CIN
Rhys’ rank: 136 / Connor’s rank: 149
Rhys’ take: Jose Siri was involved in 3 bench clearing brawls this season and had a 39 game hit streak. Siri has tools that are undeniable; if he repeats his 2017 season in 2018 at a more advanced level expect him to be much higher on this list next year.
Connor’s take: Loud tools, maybe as loud as Trammell’s. We both like him, but we’re taking a wait-and-see approach until he can hit against more age appropriate competition.
142) Isaac Paredes, 2B/SS, DET
Rhys’ rank: 111 / Connor’s rank: UR
Rhys’ take: Tell me if this reminds you of a certain top 10 prospect: signed by the Cubs, made it to the Midwest League at 18, and was traded to an AL team for a reliever. If you guessed Gleyber Torres you would be right and win nothing (sorry, not in the budget folks). Now, I’m not saying Paredes will be Gleyber Torres because Gleyber will stick at shortstop and Paredes may have to move. But Paredes has shown that he is advanced for an 18 year old and it’s hard not to see him developing into a .275 hitter who hits 22-25 homers in his peak season. I like Paredes to become an above average big leaguer at second base.
143) Max Fried, LHP, ATL
Rhys’ rank: 113 / Connor’s rank: UR
144) Jake Burger, 3B, CHW
Rhys’ rank: 114 / Connor’s rank: UR
145) Riley Pint, RHP, COL
Rhys’ rank: 149 / Connor’s rank: 142
Connor’s take: There were reports that the Rox had Pint focus primarily focus on his fastball, changeup and delivery this season, limiting him to only a few breakers per game. The upside remains, so we’re willing to chalk up 2017 as a year of development instead of a year of disappointment.
146) Shed Long, 2B, CIN
Rhys’ rank: 117 / Connor’s rank: UR
147) Lucas Erceg, 3B, MIL
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 121
Connor’s take: Still in on Erceg despite a so-so year at the plate, but like I said previously, I have a bit of a thing for good defensive 3B. Erceg’s plus-plus arm does it for me. The plus raw power is in there and I think his swing will allow him to get to it.
148) Tyler Beede, RHP, SF
Rhys’ rank: UR / Connor’s rank: 122
Connor’s take: I feel like the industry has unsurprisingly grown bored with Beede after a 4.79 ERA year in the PCL, but Beede’s profile remains ultimately unchanged from last season. He has a fastball which he willingly moves within the 93-96 range, a bevy of offspeed pitches led by a very good curveball, and a really good idea of how to use all of them. I think there is still a high-floor starter here with the potential for more.
149) Luis Garcia, SS, WAS
Rhys’ rank: 122 / Connor’s rank: UR
150) Yusniel Diaz, OF, LAD
Rhys’ rank: 123 / Connor’s rank: UR
Next 10: Dustin May, Hans Crouse, Chris Seise, Jake Rogers, Eric Pardinho, Bubba Thompson, Jeren Kendall, Luis Medina, Thomas Szapucki, DL Hall