Photo credit: Brian McLeod, Jerry Kime, MiLB.com
Welcome to the official unveiling of Six Man Rotation’s Top 150 Prospects for 2019, brought to you by Connor Kurcon and Rhys White. Now, before we get to the list, there is a few things we want to cover.
To the right of every player name, position, and team trio on the list, there will be a Variance Score, something new to this year’s list. This is pretty self-explanatory; every prospect has a [realistic] floor and ceiling, as we know. Some players (Jose Ramirez, Corey Kluber, etc.) will exceed those ceilings by a ton, but there’s no avoiding that. The Variance Score will attempt to capture the difference between these [realistic] floors and ceilings. You may see this on other lists as “risk”, but we don’t love the term “risk”. Risk of what? Risk of being an everyday regular? Risk of reaching their ceiling? How many prospects actually hit their absolute ceiling? We felt as though variance was a much better term to describe a players range of outcomes, especially for the more literal people reading, and in some cases, we hope the scores associated with players will be a quick and easy explanation to some of the differences in thoughts/rankings that we have for some players.
The scores are roughly as follows:
1 – The player’s ceiling/floor do not differ wildly, if at all. We expect the player to be exactly as projected for a long time, barring injury.
2 – Some variance. We’re very confident about the type of player he’ll become, but there’s a chance he’ll fall short or surpass that by a bit for a variety of reasons.
3 – Typical, medium variance. Equal opportunity to be a grade higher or a grade lower than where we have him projected.
4 – Larger variance than normal. All possibilities between an extremely good player and extremely bad player or regular-to-star are in the cards.
5 – The player has the capabilities/tools to be a superstar/ace. There is also the chance he never reaches the Majors.
We think every prospector would agree that at all times, the back end of top 100 lists are somewhat arbitrary; the guy at 101 that didn’t make the list probably has just as much right to be on there as the guy at 99. Now, this is also true for 150, and the “arbitrary cutoff” aspect of an exercise like this inescapable. The difference between 100 and 150, however, is that a top 150 doesn’t leave off any players that we feel/felt are true 50 FV players, and we think it’s important to include all the guys in that tier because the difference between them can get very small. So what a top 150 list gives you that a top 100 doesn’t is the whole rest of the 50 FV tier and a few high 45 FV players. The cutoff at 150 is still arbitrary, but we’re not leaving any 50 FV guys off, and we felt as though that was important enough to stretch the list out.
We chose to once again not include the Japanese player(s), just as we didn’t include Shohei Ohtani on last year’s list. Yes, Kikuchi is under the 50 IP threshold, but he has been playing professional baseball (pitched over 1000 innings) in a major baseball league for some time, so we think the list keeps all player types on the same level if these sorts of players are omitted. We ran zero iterations of our lists with Kikuchi on them, so we can’t tell you where exactly he’d fit, but if we were to venture a guess, Kikuchi might be somewhere in the 40-60 range with the strong 50 or, as a #3 starter who has had his share of injuries in the past.
Without further ado, your prospects for the upcoming 2019 season:
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, TOR | Variance: 1
CK (1): The easy pick for #1. Vlad should be an elite contributor at the plate for a long, long time and even spend a few of his early years at the hot corner. Miguel Cabrera is the popular comp.
RW (1): The man, the myth, the legend, the son of a Hall of Famer. Vlad Jr. I honestly don’t know what to put here because everything has been said about Vladito. He posses the best hit tool in the minors, has plus-plus power, oh and he can play an average to above average third base. He’s special.
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, SD | Variance: 2
CK (2): The clear #2 prospect in the game for me as well. Tatis has it all; power, speed, youth, ability to play shortstop, etc. The risk he isn’t absolutely, top of the scale elite with the bat exists, and pushes him down to the 2 spot. But if it all comes together, Tatis’ ceiling is higher than that of #1.
RW (2): The return of the infamous James Shields trade that will haunt the south side of Chicago for years to come. Fernando Tatis Jr. is the real deal at the plate, he doesn’t have Vlad’s hit tool but he has very similar power. He also will be an above average shortstop who could, depending, on how things go in San Diego slide over to third and play a plus third base, which he flashed in the most recent futures game.
3. Forrest Whitley, RHP, HOU | Variance: 2
CK (3): Not often will I have a pitching prospect this high, but then again, it’s not often “best pitcher of the next decade” is even a possible outcome. Three plus or better pitches, a cuter because why not, and good control/command of all.
RW (3): Easily the best pitching prospect in all the land. The Astros best prospect has four pitches that already grade out as plus and will mix in a cutter that I believe will get to plus at some point. He pairs his incredible repertoire with beautiful mechanics and plus command.
4. Eloy Jimenez, OF, CHW | Variance: 1
CK (5): Eloy should be a staple in the White Sox 3-4 spots for many, many years and could develop into a top 5 feared hitter in the game. The fact that he’s a poor corner outfielder limits the upside, but when the bat is this good, it doesn’t matter
RW (5): So he’ll never win a gold glove, but all Eloy does is mash the shit out of the ball. Eloy has 35+ homer seasons ahead of him, and he’ll be up around the same time as Vlad barring any set back (knock on wood).
5. Nick Senzel, 3B/OF, CIN | Variance: 1
CK (4): Not worried about the injuries and/or vertigo from this past year, as the injuries were flukey and we really don’t have any examples of vertigo robbing a career. Solid all-around player; will hit, hit for some power, can play all of the diamond well, and should start the year in CF for the Reds, according to reports.
RW (6): I saw a report claiming that the Red’s centerfield job is Senzel’s to lose and that made me think happy thoughts. Senzel has unfortunately dealt with some injuries and ailments in his professional career and we are all hoping those are behind him because Senzel has the chance to be special. He projects to be a plus-plus hitter with above average pop who now will play up the middle.
6. Royce Lewis, SS, MIN | Variance: 2
CK (7): Shows all the tools and at times they all look plus. I actually think there’s less risk here than a usual 19 year old, even one ranked in the top 10. His shortstop defense has gotten continuously better, but I think he may actually be able to be of more value defensively in CF, where the speed and arm would work wonders.
RW (7): I really wanted to rank Royce Lewis higher because we are talking about a no doubt shortstop, with plus-plus speed, a plus hit tool, and above average power. Everything he does is smooth, he flies around the field defensively and he has an above average arm.
7. Victor Robles, OF, WAS | Variance: 3
CK (11): 70 defender with a 70 arm. I am very worried about Robles’ ability to put the ball in play with 2 strikes (thread) and with his horrific exit velocities at the MLB level last year, and it’s made me second guess his ultimate role with the bat in the past couple months. Still, the defense gives him an easy regular role with superstar upside if he hits.
RW (4): I am very comfortable projecting Victor Robles as a 70 defender in centerfield who pairs that with 70 speed and an absolute cannon of a right arm. He pains that impressive defensive profile with a 60 hit tool and average game power. It is worth noting that my fellow prospect-analyst and co-author of this list dug up that Robles currently is one of the worst two-strike hitters in the minors.
8. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU | Variance: 1
CK (9): Still one of my favorite prospects. Don’t look at his 64-game cup of coffee; it means nothing. Kyle can still mash and do so with some speed and prowess in a corner OF spot, playing CF in a pinch.
RW (8): He still doesn’t wear batting gloves and that is still awesome. He has a unique set up at the plate and for someone as rail thin as him, he generates plus raw power at the plate. He plays an above average corner outfield and has a plus arm. He also is an above average runner that will swipe his fair share of bags during his prime years.
9. Alex Kirilloff, OF, MIN | Variance: 1
CK (8): If this was a list of best pure hitters, it would be hard to imagine Kirilloff outside the top 5. Beautiful stroke from the left side. He can get a bit aggressive at times, but when your hand-eye and bat-to-ball skills are this good, that’s easy to overcome. He’s a meh COF, but just like Vlad and Eloy, it doesn’t matter a ton.
RW (10): The Twins first-round pick of the 2016 draft is among the best pure hitters in the minors and combines his refined hit tool with plus power. The defense will never be his calling card but he should be able to stick in right field during his prime.
10. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, OAK | Variance: 2
CK (10): Top LHP in baseball, who will challenge you with 97 mph, a 70 changeup, and a pretty good idea of where it’s going on a good day. If there’s one thing that will hold Luzardo back, it’s the breaking ball, which can get slurvy and is inconsistent to the point that it looks like 2 different pitches.
RW (8): I was a very early lover of Jesus “The Lizard” Luzardo because of how quickly his stuff came back from TJ and more importantly how quickly his command of his arsenal came back. He has two plus-plus pitches in the fastball-changeup combo and has plus command, the breaker is not up to the fastball and changeup but that shouldn’t be a problem. Also, peep them goggles.
11. Wander Franco, SS, TB | Variance: 2
CK (6): It took me awhile to get to this point of fully buying in, but here I am. An unprecedented amount of hitting in the Appy, and oh man, those hands and wrist are just so damn strong. Proximity is the only real knock here, but he could be a shortstop version of Vlad Jr. in a year.
RW (13): So I am probably the low man out there on Wander Franco and that’s weird to say about a top 15 prospect. I do not think he stays at short because I think he’ll add more weight to the frame, unlock more power, and slows down. However, let’s get to the positives because man there is a lot to be excited about, starting with how much he hit in the Appy League. He also displayed impressive power. I kinda ranked him at thirteen and below other guys because of proximity despite having very similar FV grades as a few of the guys ahead of him.
12. Jo Adell, OF, LAA | Variance: 3
CK (12): Maybe a top 5 athlete in the Minors, Adell hit way more than was typically envisioned in his first year, and he’s rightfully a top ~15 prospect universally with star upside. We’ve seen these uber athletic, toolsy OFer fall a bit short offensively in recent years though (Brinson, Alford, Buxton, etc.)
RW (12): While I saw Kyle Tucker play in the majors, Jo Adell was the best performing prospect I saw all year. He might be one of the best pure athletes in all of baseball, and he came out and outperformed and changed the pre-draft perception of him making it to AA a year after being drafted out of high school. He combines plus-plus speed with plus raw power and an above average hit tool. Oh, and by the way, he plays a plus centerfield as well.
13. Bo Bichette, SS, TOR | Variance: 2
CK (14): Saw Bichette probably more than any of prospect this past year and it was a mixed bag for me. There were a lot more overaggressive swings than I anticipated and even got fooled on some breaking stuff. The good news is he’s worked his way to a shortstop long term (albeit a just-ok one) and when he made contact, he hit it damn hard. Upside here is undeniable.
RW (14): Unfortunately, I did not get to see Bichette like Connor did so I am more or less gonna differ to him. I do agree he can be a average defensive shortstop, and he hits the ball hard. The stolen base totals are kinda a mirage at this point because I don’t ever think he’ll ever be anything more than a 10 stolen base guy who can hit 22-25 homers.
14. Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL | Variance: 1
CK (18): One of the better pure hitters in the Minors, with a quick swing and short follow through from the right side, one that reminds you of a Mr. Michael Trout. Nothing special at 2B, but he won’t hurt you there most days.
RW (11): In the field Hiura is nothing to write home about but most of his value from the bat. He is 70 hit 60 power hitter with a smooth right-handed swing. He might be one of the best pure hitters to come out in a while, and he started to tap into his power during the AFL.
15. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, SD | Variance: 3
CK (13): I toggled with the idea of Gore as the top LHP for me, but proximity and somewhat of a lost year held him back. That said, I think there’s a case to be made that the arsenal is already better than Luzardo’s because there’s a much better breaker. I expect him to destroy whichever A-ball assignment he’s given.
RW (17): Fingers crossed Gore comes out to my neck of the woods because there is no way I would miss out on the former number 3 overall pick. He is among the most athletic pitchers in all the minors and has flashed three 60 or better pitches. He is one of the few pitchers in the minors with a top of the rotation upside.
16. Ian Anderson, RHP, ATL | Variance: 3
CK (20): I love everything about Anderson from the delivery to the extension to the three-pitch mix he employs. The command will ultimately dictate his ceiling because it’s not ideal yet, but he’s athletic as hell, so I’d gamble on it coming. Confident that the CH is a consistent plus or better pitch at maturity given his arm speed/slot and nonstop improvement.
RW (18): Back-to-back former number 3 overall picks in our rankings is always fun. The pitcher originally taken to save some money from New York has blossomed into a legit top 20 prospect for us. He posses a plus curveball, and a plus changeup to go along with a fastball that sits in the mid 90’s. Command still leaves something to be desired and if he can improve it he could become a quality number three pitcher with seasons of number two starter production.
17. Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD | Variance: 3
CK (16): Keibert hasn’t wowed anyone yet, but a player of his age showing such signs of pure hitting and decent catching is rare. Comfortable top catching prospect for me.
RW (24): Easily the best catching prospect for me, who will stick at the position. He is polished at the plate and made it to AA as a 20-year-old. He posses a beautiful swing from both sides of the plate.
18. Taylor Trammell, OF, CIN | Variance: 2
CK (24): Perhaps the best power/speed combo in the minors, or at least challenging Adell for the crown. Could be relegated to LF though because of his arm, or play an arm-limited, below average CF like Yelich if asked. There’s 20/30 sort of upside here, though, which would make him an above average regular anywhere.
RW (20): His arm is more than likely going to force him to left-field because it is below average. He has the chance to routinely put up 25/25 seasons but the move to leftfield will put a lot of pressure on the bat.
19. Cristian Pache, OF, ATL | Variance: 3
CK (23): Not totally sure if I’m buying into a solid OBP kind of player with Pache, one that would usually knock a guy down the list a bit, but the “best CF in the minors” designation belongs to him and it comes with a 70 arm and 70 speed and some pop at a position that typically lacks it. He’s a comfortable regular with a chance to be a special CF.
RW (21): Cristian Pache is one bad man in centerfield, perhaps, challenging for a Gold Glove in center right now. I don’t think he’ll ever hit 20 homers, but that is fine because I envision him as a 12-15 homer guy who steals 20-25 bags a season and plays elite defense in center.
20. Carter Kieboom, SS, WAS | Variance: 2
CK (33): Solid hit/power combo, but he’s not probably a shortstop long term. Great OBPs and HR totals that could creep into the 20s works fine at 2B or 3B though.
RW (15): Won’t stick at short however he should be a 25 homer bat who gets on base at a high clip.
21. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT | Variance: 2
CK (19): I remain enamored by plus or better gloves at the hot corner, a very underratedly important defensive position. Confident in the hit tool and hits the ball hard, which finally led to some power numbers last year.
RW (31): Potential gold glove caliber defense at third, with emerging power and an above average hit tool.
22. Casey Mize, RHP, DET | Variance: 2
CK (22): Safe choice to a be a mid-rotation guy with limited variance from there, barring injury. 93-96 t97, plus cutter, plus splitter. Delivery isn’t good, but I’ve been learning to not let that hinder my opinions on guys, and so far, so good.
RW (30): Mize features one of the best pitches in the minors with his splitter. He also combines that splitter with a plus cutter and a plus fastball. The delivery isn’t ideal, and he did miss time during his sophomore year at Auburn but outside of that we are talking about a relatively safe pitcher with plus command and a good four pitch mix.
23. Brendan Rodgers, SS, COL | Variance: 2
CK (34): Another player I saw a bit of last season and I think the ultimate hit/power tandem will fall a bit short of plus/plus, as I didn’t see him hit anything overly hard and he got fooled at times. It’s probably a 55/50 second baseman or meh SS, which is still a great prospect, just not one inside the top 25 for me.
RW (19): I got a chance to see Brendan Rodgers at High-A when he was making contact with every single pitch. Rodgers isn’t a shortstop and he probably is a 55 glove at third base or second base. He is a plus hitter with average power and a plus arm.
24. Andres Gimenez, SS, NYM | Variance: 2
CK (32): Power or no power, Gimenez is a lock for SS and probably a plus glove there. The speed frequently gets 60 grades, but I’d bet on it being higher. So, even if he doesn’t hit for power, he’s some sort of a faster, maybe less glove Brandon Crawford, who has been a 2-3 win regular for years. If there’s more power than that, it’s gravy, and he’s one of the better SS in baseball.
RW (22): There is power to come for the Mets young stud. He is a polished hitter who makes consistent hard contact. He is an absolute stud defender at shortstop, I wouldn’t be surprised if we are talking about him as one of the top five defenders at his position in the league during his peak years.
25. Brent Honeywell, RHP, TB | Variance: 2
CK (27): Honey would probably be 5-10 spots higher on this list if there wasn’t a 10-15% chance he lost some stuff post Tommy John surgery. Same guy as last year until reported otherwise, which is 92-94 with a bunch of above average to plus secondaries and good command.
RW (27): Why did he have to get injured?
26. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, MIA | Variance: 4
CK (15): The headliner of the J.T. Realmuto trade. I’d be lying if I said Sixto’s 2018 elbow issues weren’t burning in my head, but despite his size, he’s crazy athletic and built well, so even with the surfacing issues and 102 mph velocity, I’d bet on the elbow more of less holding. Still crazy good stuff and advanced for his age. Decent chance to be the top pitching prospect a year from now.
RW (39): Very real upside for him to be an ace however we are also talking about a pitcher who has dealt with injury issues this past season. The fastball is still next level and the slider is plus-plus. I did ding him for the injuries in my rankings but the upside is still there.
27. Michael Kopech, RHP, CHW | Variance: 2
CK (28): I’m a bit perplexed by Kopech’s on and off control/command issues, but there’s two devastating pitches here from an ideal, Greek God frame. I was a little harsh on Kopech at midseason in the midst of his stretch of missing control, but he seems to have found it once again. TJS bump down as well.
RW (29): Fastball-slider combo is up there as the best in the minors. He got struck down with TJ which really sucks.
28. Brendan McKay, LHP/DH, TB | Variance: 3
CK (25): We put DH in the position as a formality, but neither of us are very excited about McKay as a prospect at a hitter. He’s a good hitter, but not sure if he’s good to the point that he’s wildly better than another DH type and risk injuring your pitcher. As a pitcher, McKay was 93-95 t96 this year after losing a little bit of bad weight with a handful of promising secondaries and extremely good control. If McKay was a pitcher only, the Variance here would be 2, maybe even 1. But if there’s a shot he’s a mid-rotation SP who can also be a good DH/ 3-4 days of the week, well, that’s a pretty crazy good player.
RW (34): Purely as a pitcher McKay should be in AAA right now he’s that advanced. He has plus secondary offerings and a mid 90’s heater. He also has plus command and he’s among the most polished pitchers in all the minors. His hitting at this point is holding him back in the minors because he isn’t as polished as a hitter as he is as a pitcher. Now we will see how the Rays use him because they saw how Shohei Ohtani was used in 2018 but can use him in a /DH role. This is going to be my favorite thing the Rays do in the future, and for fantasy purposes, he will drive you crazy if he does both.
29. Alex Reyes, RHP, STL | Variance: 3
CK (36): Not really sure Reyes will ever be healthy long enough to see what he can give us for 28+ starts a year. That’s not to say I think he’s a bullpen guy, but elite SP prospects to simply can’t stay healthy lots of times do end up there. On his best days, it could be a 70 FB, 70 CB, 60 CH.
RW (25): One more out and then he no longer will have to appear on prospect lists. When healthy he can pump 100 with a killer breaking pitch and flashes a plus changeup. I’m worried he will never stay healthy enough to be a starter and gets moved to the pen. But if he can stay healthy he should be a stud. He’s also a candidate of everyone’s favorite offseason troup the best shape of his life crew.
30. Jazz Chisholm, SS, ARI | Variance: 3
CK (29): Yeah, the K% was very high, and no, his OBP in the Majors will probably never jump off the page, as there inherent aggression in the way he plays. But there’s really good power here derived from a quick bat and good plane from a surefire, potentially plus shortstop, which is enough to project regular even if the hit tool is a 45. Didi Gregorius comes to mind.
RW (32): Plus power and the ability to play a plus defensive shortstop will always get you ranked high on a list. The OBP will never be great and he might always have swing and miss issues but if he can get the hit tool to a just slightly below average, he’s a lock to play everyday.
31. Vidal Brujan, 2B, TB | Variance: 3
CK (26): Even though he’s a 2B at present, and not an overly good one, I have him graded out as a better defender than that, and I think the Rays should try him out in CF almost immediately, because I think the athleticism, speed, and arm would all play well there. Offensively, Brujan can hit, and there’s more power than you’d anticipate because of the barrel control. Tormentor on the bases.
RW (36): Brujan is a plus runner who has quick wrists and gets on base at a high clip. To go along with the high walk rates he also doesn’t strike out a lot. I question what his power output will be but he gets good reviews with his defense at second base and possesses the prototypical lead-off hitter profile.
32. Luis Urias, 2B, SD | Variance: 3
CK (47): Urias fell about 20 spots for me somewhat artificially, probably because over the course of the like 6-9 months, I’ve come down on the ultimate power projection. He’s still a fantastic hitter with a potential GG at 2B. If he blossoms into Placido Polanco, I wouldn’t be surprised and this would ultimately be too low for a player like that.
RW (16): I have not come down on the power projection for the Padres young middle infielder, I think he can hit 20 homers in his peak seasons. He will play gold glove quality defense at second, and should be able to handle short in a pinch.
33. Mike Soroka, RHP, ATL | Variance: 2
CK (40): I like Soroka a lot. Good stuff and great command of it all. Barring injury, a good bet to be a #3 or better pitcher. I am a bit worried about a guy with Soroka’s delivery having shoulder issues though, which are much worse than elbow injuries just based on rates of full recovery. Had there been no injury, he’s probably up another 15-20 spots for me, but I can’t pretend the injury didn’t happen.
RW (26): Soroka has a really good repertoire, but the injury is really concerning. He has plus command, which allows his 3 above average to plus pitches to play up. Soroka is a really safe bet to be a mid rotation starter with the chance to be a decent number 2 starter.
34. Alex Verdugo, OF, LAD | Variance: 1
CK (21): No prospect fatigue here. Think Dugo is a plus hitter, above average power, corner outfielder with a bonkers arm who could man CF in a pinch. Hitting too many balls on the ground could be his achilles heel, though.
RW (46): Verdugo is a 60 hitter with 55 power that will play an above corner outfield.
35. Austin Riley, 3B, ATL | Variance: 2
CK (17): Riley’s grown on me greatly in the past year or two. I don’t totally buy into the glove being much better than average, but an average 3B with a decent hit tool getting to most of his huge power is a damn good player.
RW (51): I don’t think Riley will ever play Gold-Glove defense at third like some on the Atlanta front office seems to, but he will be playable at the hot corner. He has plus-plus raw power and should be a decent hitter who gets on base at a decent rate.
36. Chris Paddack, RHP, SD | Variance: 2
CK (39): Not sure there’s a whole lot to take away from his starts at A+, because it was extremely clear after 3-4 starts that he was way too good for the level and they kept him there another half dozen starts. Still, Paddack is very, very good; that much you can be sure of. Safe #3 starter with good velo and command and one of the best changeups in the Minors. As of now though, the limiting factor could be the curveball. If you really like it, it’s an average pitch. If you don’t, it’s a below average pitch, and even at a few levels that were far too easy for him, it has already led to a pretty drastic reverse platoon split, as his OPS allowed against righties was .200 points higher than that against lefties.
RW (35): What ultimately will decide how good/great a pitcher Paddack becomes is the development of his breaking pitch. At the moment Paddack has the best changeup in all of the minor leagues and mixes that with a nice fastball.
37. Jonathan India, 3B, CIN | Variance: 2
CK (53): I like India as a prospect, but not every good college hitter who is a bunch of 50-55 tools turns into Alex Bregman. The most realistic outcomes for India are in the 2-3 win range, which is a great prospect, but not one to get overly enthralled with.
RW (23): India absolutely destroyed the SEC enroute to being a top five pick for the Reds. I believe he will be a plus defender at the third and can fill in at short at needed.
38. Danny Jansen, C, TOR | Variance: 2
CK (37): Not going to wow you defensively now or maybe ever, but the bat is legit, and the offensive bar for catchers is just so low that Jansen is going to a be regular because his bat will be well above average when compared to his peers.
RW (41): Danny Jansen will play a passable catcher but where he will shine is the batter’s box. He has emerging power and a polished eye at the plate.
39. Yusniel Diaz, OF, BAL | Variance: 1
CK (35): Could be a 70 hitter, and that sort of .280 average, high OBP profile wouldn’t surprise me at all. Good corner outfielder who can play CF in a pinch. Genuinely believe that the chances Diaz doesn’t have great on-base skills is extremely low. Every positive tool after that is gravy.
RW (48): Diaz is the headliner of the Manny Machado trade and he has a chance to develop into a solid everyday player for the O’s for years to come. He combines a plus hit tool with above average power, and will play a good defensive corner outfield spot.
40. A.J. Puk, LHP, OAK | Variance: 3
CK (31): The typical TJS bump down due to uncertainty, but Puk could blossom into an incredible pitcher. 5 pitches with a wipeout SL and a markedly improving CH before the injury.
RW (52): AJ Puk could impact the major league roster for the A’s this year thanks to his impressive repertoire headlined by an absolute monster of slider. He mixes in 5 pitches and has made improvements to his command before the TJ.
41. Gavin Lux, 2B, LAD | Variance: 2
CK (44): No longer a future shortstop, which is weird given his pre-draft profile, but one who pieced together a fantastic offensive year thanks to a change in his swing. This could be a bit high, as there no real standout tool, but we think he’s going to hit a lot from a position that doesn’t hit a lot.
RW (40): I do believe with the way teams move around players that you could get away with playing Lux at short in a pinch, but he’s not an everyday player at the position. He made an adjustment to his swing and added some weight to his frame, which gave him some more pop.
42. Touki Toussaint, RHP, ATL | Variance: 4
CK (42): A graduate of the “nasty stuff but probably a RP” designation, it took me a while to buy into Touki all the way, but the stuff is just too undeniably good. Even if the control/command aspect of the profile leaves something to be desired, he’ll be a good big leaguer.
RW (45): He will be a big leaguer in some capacity but whether that’s as a nasty reliever or as a mid-rotation starter is entirely up to his command. He has a hammer curveball to go along with a mid 90’s fastball and a plus changeup with fade. He’s one of those pitchers that when he takes the mound he will be a twitter favorite because of how nasty his stuff is.
43. Adrian Morejon, LHP, SD | Variance: 3
CK (30): My love for Morejon continues. We’d all love him to be an inch or two taller, but the FB is already 94-96, up to 98-99 at times. The curve got better and he continues to look like he could have a legitimate 3 plus pitches with good command at the absolute peak.
RW (57): Morejon doesn’t look like someone that would be able to pump gas, because of his small frame, but he does and he also shows you an improving curveball and a plus changeup. I am starting to get over my thing against short pitchers when they have the stuff that Morejon does.
44. Nick Madrigal, 2B, CHW | Variance: 3
CK (63): Plus or better hit tool, 70 speed, pretty good glove at 2B. Listed at 5’7”, power is going to be the ultimate determining tool, but given his knack for the barrel, he’s one of the few guys in the Minors whose game power could be better than his raw power.
RW (33): Very safe college hitter who is a 70 runner, has a plus hit tool, and will play a plus defensive second base. He does hit the ball on the ground a lot, but got away with it at the college level because of the college defenses not being great but also his plus-plus speed. He is more gap-to-gap power than over the fence, but I do think he maxes out at 12-15 homers in his peak season.
45. Luis Robert, OF, CHW | Variance: 3
CK (56): Bad reports from his first stateside looks including troubles with spin have me at the wait-and-see point. It’s possible looks were not reflective of the player he is but instead hindered by injury issues. Tools for days and could explode if healthy, but initial looks were gross
RW (42): Tools, tools, and more tools. His 2018 season was hampered by injuries and there were reports in the AFL that he struggled making jumps in centerfield.
46. DL Hall, LHP, BAL | Variance: 3
CK (38): Love me some DL. One of the best breakers in the 2017 draft and super athletic. Mid-90s with the FB, and the changeup improved greatly as well. Great delivery, shredded through Low-A at 19 and was healthy all year with no drop in velocity. What’s not to like?
RW (60): “RIP all the DL jokes with the change to IL” – Austin Perodeau. DL Hall possess one of the best breakers in the minors with a 70 curveball. He is a good athlete that repeats his delivery well and has greatly improved his changeup since being drafted.
47. Francisco Mejia, C, SD | Variance: 4
CK (71): God I don’t know what to think. I don’t he’s nearly as bad of a catcher as some say, and the arm is plus or better. Even if he’s a bad catcher, it doesn’t matter a ton as long as he hits. The chances I think he actually hits are declining slowly, however. The potential of a bat-first regular at catcher is clear, but he could very end up a below average player if he moves to a corner outfield spot and the bat isn’t stellar.
RW (28): Can this man just graduate already, he’s the super senior of the prospect community. He is one of the most divisive prospects in all the land. His catching is not as polished as one would like, but he has a plus-plus hit tool and has shown some positional versatility. He can play a corner outfield spot and when with Cleveland they did experiment with him at third and second base, but his bat isn’t ideal for any spot other than catcher.
48. Triston McKenzie, RHP, CLE | Variance: 3
CK (61): Slow progression for McKenzie, who just seems to be churning along. Dealt with some injuries, which is always what you fear when a guy is as wiry as he is, but the FB had some more zip on it by the end of the year and he still comes at you two good secondaries and good command. Would have been much higher with a fully healthy year.
RW (43): I am starting to think he will never put on the weight that we always wished he would. He mixes in a good breaker and a good changeup. The upside is still there for him to develop into a solid number 2 pitcher but the injuries he dealt with this season along with his slight frame make me question if he will hit his ceiling.
49. Luis Patino, RHP, SD | Variance: 4
CK (54): The stuff here is wholeheartedly undeniable, with a FB up to 98, 2 good breakers, and a changeup, which at present is a bit firm, but could be one of his better secondaries down the road given his arm speed. There is some RP risk, however, as Patino currently stands at just 6’ and his delivery has some effort to it.
RW (50): Patino weirdly doesn’t get dinged by people for being a smallish pitcher, and that is probably because of his plus fastball and slider combo. There is some reliever risk with Patino but his stuff could be nasty in the pen as he can get the FB up to 98 and the slider flashes two-plane break. The changeup for me lags behind his other offerings and I do think it should get to average.
50. Nolan Jones, 3B, CLE | Variance: 2
CK (49): Better at 3B this year, but still not a total lock to stay there. You’d prefer he did, but I don’t think it’ll matter a ton, and his arm would be great in RF. Either way, he’s got huge power, gets to it in games, and works counts to draw walks and keep his OBP high. I think the BB% will decline a little as he ventures into AA and above, but it shouldn’t drastically alter the entire package.
RW (59): Throughout his career he showcased huge power and the ability to get on base at a high clip. The questions come if he can stick at 3B, and if not he has more than enough arm to move to a corner outfield spot.
51. Yordan Alvarez, 1B, HOU | Variance: 2
CK (78): I actually think Alvarez could be a not-completely-terrible glove at 1B, but there are some mixed reports about his glove. I think he hits and hits for power (otherwise he wouldn’t have made my list at all), but slow, poor defensive 1B really have to mash to be anything more than a 2-2.5 win player. The upside for these types are super limited and the floor is that he doesn’t hit enough and no one really wants him.
RW (37): Alvarez is really going to have to hit and hit for power, but I do think he will do that and then some. At the moment he plays both left-field and first base and I think he will slow down enough that he won’t be a viable option in left. To go along with the power and contact he draws his fair share of walks which is gravy for this future middle-of-the-order bat.
52. Kristian Robinson, OF, ARI | Variance: 4
CK (77): Am I the low man now? I feel like what’s getting lost in KR’s tools is the fact that there’s still a decent amount of swing and miss here, somewhere in the 26-27% range this year, which is something to monitor. Of course, if that rate never gets any worse as he moves up the ladder and it doesn’t hinder his power, it’s not a big deal. Also think he’s more of a corner OF fit than CF, as 6’3” would also be abnormally big for CF and he’s only going to get bigger/stronger and perhaps slower.
RW (38): Even though he might have to move from centerfield to a corner outfield there is a lot to be excited about in the young D-Back’s prospect. He combines plus speed, and plus-plus raw power with an absolute freakishly athletic frame. He does have some swing-and-miss in his game but it hasn’t hampered him yet.
53. Nolan Gorman, 3B, STL | Variance: 3
CK (55): If you had asked me about Gorman in July, I would not have had him top 100 here, perhaps harsher than that. But Gorman tore up Appy and, more importantly, defensive reports and numbers were much more positive than pre-draft, something that changes his profile wildly for me. Don’t think it’ll ever be a high OBP profile, but the power from 3B could be huge.
RW (61): The Appy league was very exciting this year and one of the best players who played in the Appy was the Cardinals’ first round pick. Going into Gorman’s senior year of high school he put on weight to add more power, however that slowed him down and made many think he would have to move to first base. After being drafted he managed to keep the power that is his calling card but also looked more athletic and makes me think he can stick at third, and at least be average there.
54. Jesus Sanchez, OF, TB | Variance: 3
CK (70): Good hitter, I just don’t think great hitter without a swing change of sorts to get to more of his power. It’s a slightly improved but still impatient approach that will never lead to good walk rates, and a potential low OBP corner bat isn’t my cup of tea. Still performed very well for a 20 year old in High-A and there’s a chance his hit/power combo overshadows the aggressive approach and he’s a good glove in right.
RW (47): Sanchez is a really talented hitter who is a really damn good defender in RF. He has a smooth leftie swing who makes a ton of contact, but he doesn’t draw a walk as much some would like. His arm is also a real asset that can stop base runners.
55. Mitch Keller, RHP, PIT | Variance: 3
CK (64): This was a tough rank for me. I’ve never been a massive Keller fan, because the list of MLB pitchers that had a long career as a #3 pitcher or better with a total lack of a changeup is short, but there was no denying the FB/CV/command aspect f his profile were top notch. Keller’s BB% jumped to the highest it’s been since he was 19 last year, and I’m not sure how to read into it. Still believe there’s great command here, but the lack of a CH and the Pirates rough history of player development in recent years has me a bit skeptical.
RW (53): I had no idea how to rank Keller. On one hand he’s close to the majors with plus control and has two pitches that play as plus in the fastball and curve. On the other hand the changeup is fringe and walks more batters than you would want. I still think there’s a number three starter in there just he has some warts that needs to be ironed out.
56. Joey Bart, C, SF | Variance: 3
CK (67): Good defensive catcher with a good arm and huge power. If he hits, there’s star potential, but he doesn’t really need to to be a Major League catcher. Some swing-and-miss, I think this year will be very telling as to what kind of future offense we can expect.
RW (55): He has plus raw power, but also swings and misses far more than one would think for a polished college player. He has all the intangibles to be a star catcher, quick wrists, blocks well, and has a rocket launcher of an arm.
57. Brusdar Graterol, RHP, MIN | Variance: 4
CK (51): There’s a lot of RP stuff going on with Brusdar, including an injury history, durability concerns, non ideal body type, and command woes at times, but the stuff is delicious, and unless he has another injury, I choose to believe the 100+ IP he pitched in 2018 is a step towards starting. It’s an upper 90s FB, plus slider, and above average changeup. One of the higher ceilings on this list.
RW (71): I ranked Brusdar around a few guys who I also think could be reliever but they could also be starters. He has a plus slider and a fastball, with a changeup that flashes but is inconsistent. He has a high ceiling and has a back end of the bullpen floor.
58. Peter Alonso, 1B, NYM | Variance: 1
CK (74): You can pretty much copy/paste Yordan Alvarez’ blurb here, except for the part where I said Alvarez’ glove has a chance to be not-completely-terrible. Alonso’s glove is terrible. Again, I think he hits and hits for power, and I’m confident he’ll do so, but the downside / lack of upside outweighs the upside a bit.
RW (49): Proximity to the majors plays a part for me, but he still is a bad defensive first baseman, and that puts more pressure on the bat. Thankfully for him he’s got one hell of a bat. He has immense raw power, which is what you are looking for at first base. I still don’t think the Mets should have played the service time games with Alonso because power hitting first baseman don’t tend to age well.
59. Griffin Canning, RHP, LAA | Variance: 2
CK (45): Stats are a bit deceiving, as he got lit up in both Reno and LV, which are two of the harder MiLB parks to pitch at. After being overworked at UCLA, Canning spent post draft doing strength and conditioning training and it seemed to have paid off. He was 93-95 t97 all year long with 2 breakers and change all of with flash above average or better. Real feel to spin both breakers. Not a fan of the delivery at first, but I’m slowly coming around, and I think he could make some real impact this year.
RW (78): Overworked at UCLA is an understatement, as they routinely pushed him over 100 pitches in college, leading to strengthening his arm and shoulder after the draft. He possess two distinct breaking pitches in his slider and curve that both get good reviews, he also has a mid 90’s fastball that he can rear back for 97. The mechanics are interesting, and at the moment the command is closer to above average than plus.
60. Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN | Variance: 3
CK (80): This could end up being a tad too low, but Larnach’s defense is not very good so he’s a left fielder most likely or a right fielder if you like the arm. Just really want to see if he hits enough against A+/AA pitching before buying in fully.
RW (44): I absolutely love the bat, and that’s what’s gonna carry Larnach because he’s probably a league average defensive RF during his peak years. He has an all fields approach and has massive raw power that he finally tapped into during his junior year at Oregon State.
61. Sean Murphy, C, OAK | Variance: 3
CK (66): One of the best defensive catchers in the Minors with perhaps the best arm is already close enough to all you need to be a Major Leaguer. But Murphy has power and, surprisingly enough, some semblance of a hit tool. He’s a regular if he can hit .230 and a top 5-10 catcher in baseball if he can work his way to .250 or better.
RW (58): He has an insane arm, and is one of the best defenders in all of the minors. He also is no slouch with the bat, and I believe he could be a .260 hitter with power.
62. Spencer Howard, RHP, PHI | Variance: 3
CK (59): Not a ton to pull from his stats this year, as he clearly over-matched Low-A hitters in the second half, but he hit 100 down the stretch and in his no-hitter for Lakeland with two 50-55 secondaries. Great size, great extension, great delivery, fast arm. What’s not to like?
RW (65): Howard has a plus fastball that he pairs with a plus changeup and two 55 breaking options. He has nice mechanics and great arm speed.
63. Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA | Variance: 3
CK (58): There’s a small part of me that think Kelenic doesn’t progress a whole lot and ends up as a bunch of 50s and 55s in right field, but I’ve been shoving it down in favor of what’s possible, which is a good CF who hits .270 and 20 HR, which would be a 3-4 win player. Also a little old for his draft class, which I’m not thrilled about.
RW (66): The top highschool hitter from the most recent draft class, has already been traded in the deal that brought the Mets Robinson Cano. Currently Kelenic is a center fielder but I believe he will have to move to a corner, and be plus there. He is a 60 hitter who had some interesting exit velo’s come out pre-draft.
64. Kyle Wright, RHP, ATL | Variance: 2
CK (69): On a good day, there’s a nasty 3-pitch mix. Sometimes though, it’s a flat FB with sub-par command and a hardly usable changeup. It’s probably a starter’s profile, but a low K, #3/4 type who flashes better but never gets there consistently.
RW (56): What Kyle Wright was at Vanderbilt is the same guy he is now sitting right on the doorstep of the majors. He has a solid four pitch mix with average command. He doesn’t have a high upside but he should be a solid 3-4 starter for years to come.
65. Leody Taveras, OF, TEX | Variance: 4
CK (52): This will be the last time I give Leody the benefit of the doubt. I’ve seen the power in BP videos; it’s there. Man does it just not show up in games. We’ve all waited for the Leody breakout, and I still believe in it, but if there’s another year of poor numbers, maybe he’s just a really good CF with a terrible bat.
RW (75): He reminds me a little bit of a Leonys Martin type that plays a good centerfield and on a bad team hits atop the lineup, while on a good team he hits 6th. I am starting to worry that the breakout Connor alluded to isn’t going to happen.
66. Dustin May, RHP, LAD | Variance: 3
CK (68): Absolutely devastating 2 pitches, with a t97 mph fastball with late, sharp sink and run and a 60-70 grade slider. However, I don’t know of a single person that even saw a changeup last year, so it’s tough to say what it’s future role is within his arsenal. I think he fits the Josh Hader mold perfectly and if I’m rolling the dice, I think that’s what his future role is: one of the most dominant RP in baseball.
RW (62): Peep the gorgeous red locks from Gingergaard. He has a nasty two pitch mix that could get big league hitters out right now in the fastball-slider. OOOO I like that Josh Hader mold comment, sometimes Connor brings the heat.
67. Drew Waters, OF, ATL | Variance: 3
CK (41): Big fan of Waters, who doesn’t do any one thing poorly. I think there’s a very real shot he hits, hits for a little power, and plays a good little CF along the way. Similar to Kelenic, except Kelenic with a track record.
RW (89): He got offered a car by the Braves to sign below slot, and it turns out he never got that car. He does a bit of this and a bit of that, he makes consistent contact, showcases power, showcases plus speed, and plays center field.
68. Dylan Cease, RHP, CHW | Variance: 2
CK (57): Don’t dislike Cease in any way, but I think the chances he ever pitches a healthy 200 IP, maybe even a healthy 180IP, are extremely small. FB/curve combo should still carry him into a really good 5-6 IP SP sort of role when he’s healthy, but a pitcher that requires a lot of bullpen usage with every start will never be one I have ranked terribly high.
RW (74): Cease doesn’t go deep into games and that can be problematic if you envision him as a starter, and at the moment I still do, but there is also significant reliever risk for Cease. The fastball curveball combo is really enticing, but the changeup lags behind his other offerings.
69. Matt Manning, RHP, DET | Variance: 3
CK (62): Wasn’t a fan of Manning at this point last year but I’ve really come around. I love the delivery changes he continues to make and the extension he pitches with gets me hot and heavy. Still, think there is some RP risk due to the lack of a change, but the FB/CV combo with his extension gives him #2 SP upside with a really good RP fallback plan.
RW (73): NICE ranking. I ranked Manning and Cease very similarly because of the reliever risk they both share. Manning is one of the most athletic pitchers in the minors, and has made real strides tinkering his mechanics over the years. He has two easy 60 grade pitches in the fastball and curveball and the changeup is making strides but still has work to go. He has more upside then Cease, but also equal reliever risk, where both could be nasty high-leverage relievers.
70. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, TB | Variance: 3
CK (60): Big Liberatore fan. He’s 93-95 (most of the time) with a plus, maybe better curveball and a changeup that can be devastating at times as well. A rank this low is simply because prep pitchers can be a mixed bag. If Libby is mostly healthy, holds his velo all year, and shows any semblance of secondary consistency in 2019, he skyrockets up this list.
RW (82): I really like Liberatore, we are talking about an athletic leftie with a mid 90’s fastball that has life, a hammer curveball, a changeup that is best offering and he began to develop a slider. One thing I really love about Liberatore was he would quick pitch and mess with the hitters timing, some might view that as a gimmick but it really stood out to me that a high school senior was doing that this early in his development. As much as I love him I do ding him a bit for the up and down velocity and the fact he’s a high school pitcher that’s going o be far away.
71. Daniel Lynch, LHP, KC | Variance: 2
CK (46): Redo the draft today, and I’m not sure Lynch wouldn’t be the second pitcher off the board. Huge size at 6’6”, the FB popped to 95-97 post draft. 4 pitches, plus slider, attacks hitters. Outside chance to be a top 5-10 pitching prospect in baseball next year after he carves up A/A+/AA. A personal favorite of mine.
RW (108): Daniel Lynch is not afraid to get into with coaches like he did at UVA, and I love the passion he displays on the mound. He is a physical presence that throws 4 pitches at you and gets downhill with those pitches. The velo took a tick up in proball and could be the best pitcher from the 2018 draft when all is said and done.
72. Josh James, RHP, HOU | Variance: 3
CK (89): The stuff can and will be dirty on a really good day. Like, triple digits with a 60-70 change and a frisbee slider sort of dirty. But the slider is pretty inconsistent, and there’s sub par control and worse command mixed in. The delivery and arm swing don’t really point to the command being anything better than fringe average at peak, so I really don’t think starting is his long term role.
RW (68): He’s the living embodiment of what happens if you get a good night’s sleep. If you catch James on the right outing you see three 70 pitches but he is inconsistent with his slider. He also has command issues and he struggles to spot the slider. I am wait on, and see with his future role, because I do think he could start but I also think he could be filthy out of the pen.
73. Ronny Mauricio, SS, NYM | Variance: 4
CK (100): There’s a sort of 50 hit, 55-60 power, big bodied, Correa mold shortstop here in an ideal world. The profile could go in lots of different directions from here, but it looks promising.
RW (64): He’s a ball of clay right now, he could add weight and add to his already plus raw power and move off of short, or stay where he is at and be a decent shortstop that hits for decent power.
74. Mark Vientos, 3B, NYM | Variance: 3
CK (48): Oh baby, one of my personal favorites. I think Vientos has one the better approaches you’ll see at his age and his game power has already shown through big time, as his average estimated fly ball distance was top 7% in all the minors last year. Chance he moves off 3B, but the arm should keep him there long enough to get the actions some work.
RW (117): I like Vientos because of his ability to draw a walk and hit for impressive power. He needs to refine his footwork at third but the arm is easily plus.
75. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, BAL | Variance: 1
CK (86): There’s the same sort of lack of confidence in position and ability to play said position that I have in Alonso and Alvarez. But Mountcastle’s approach got a bit better last year and he figures to be some sort of bat first regular somewhere.
RW (80): I worry because of Mountcastle’s below average arm limits him to left-field but we are talking about a 60 hit 55 power hitter who showed that he can draw a walk at a passable rate.
76. Bubba Thompson, OF, TEX | Variance: 4
CK (114): I think the routes play the CF defense down a bit, but he’s still probably a comfortably good defender there. I’m not totally willing to shove a guy with a ton of different outcomes like this up a list unless I’m truly in love, and Thompson’s swing and miss issues do worry me a bit.
RW (54): Bubba Thompson is an athletic freak in the outfield, he’s an easy plus defender in center with the chance to be plus-plus. He has easy plus-plus speed and will be an asset on the basepaths. The former 4 star QB recruit also has more raw power to tap into, and could be one of the few 5 tool players in the minors. He’s one of the athletes I’m glad that baseball persuaded away from football.
77. Khalil Lee, OF, KC | Variance: 3
CK (107): I really like Khalil Lee. In fact, I probably like Khalil Lee more than I usually do a player outside the top 100. But I can’t shake this feeling that his walk rates will dry up in the next year or two and he’ll end of a bit of a high OBP, fringe-average power, corner outfielder.
RW (63): I love Khalil Lee, maybe as much as I love my dog (shoutout Princeton, the real star of 80 Grade). I believe he is a center fielder, with some untapped power, that gets on base at a high rate.
78. Bryse Wilson, RHP, ATL | Variance: 3
CK (88): I’ve never been a huge Bryse Wilson guy, so for the 3rd list in a row, he’s a bit lower than elsewhere. It’s 3 pitches, but only 2 are average and only one is plus or better. The fastball is a 60 pitch on velo alone, but it has devastating late life and is probably a 70 when you factor it in. Change is not very good. Making it to the Majors at 20 years old is undeniably impressive, but I think there’s a decent chance his overreliance of his fastball gets quickly exposed in the Majors.
RW (84): Bryse Wilson has a devastating fastball with plus-plus movement, the other offerings are closer to average. There is some concern that he is too fastball reliant but said fastball has gotten to the majors as a 20 year old. If either the slider or changeup improve, watch out for a solid number 3 starter.
79. Brandon Lowe, 2B, TB | Variance: 2
CK (91): I like but don’t love Brandon Lowe. He’s a poor defender at 2B at present, and while the athleticism always gives him a chance to prove, it’s going to limit the overall ceiling. I think he’s an average hitter with above average power, which works plenty well at the position, but if it never progresses past that, he’s a just regular without any sort of upside.
RW (85): Brandon Lowe makes it this high on my list because he’s going to be an everyday player, albeit an unremarkable one. He should be 50-55’s across the board minus the glove.
80. Jon Duplantier, RHP, ARI | Variance: 3
CK (95): I like Duplantier as a solid #4 SP in a rotation who flashes #3 in his better years, but I’m not betting on that #3 pitcher being a year in, year out role for him. With his delivery/arm action, I think the injuries he had at Rice will flare back up, there’s no real plus pitch in the arsenal, and the control/command can be below average at times. That’s a bad trio and any combo of those three blemishes will limit him.
RW (81): This time last year people were talking about Duplantier as a SP2, now I think people have come down to earth. Nothing about him is plus outside of the fastball, and the command comes and goes. He now sits as a SP4 that could put up an SP3 season or two. I really worry about the injuries because they are really stacking up.
81. Deivi Garcia, RHP, NYY | Variance: 3
CK (85): If we had made this rank 3 months ago, I wouldn’t have had Garcia this high, and I still kind of hate that I do. I did (and still do) think his size and lack of extension are going to play the fastball down and the lower arm slot already has and will continue to not play well against lefties. The sheer athleticism and 3000+ RPM curveball and track record stare me in the face everytime I go over his profile again though. Gun to head, I think the overall profile plays much better in the pen though.
RW (94): Teenager pitching prospects are always rough for me to rank. I do worry about his less than ideal size, which limits the extension he will get on his pitches. Garcia does have a plus-plus curveball and has showcased decent command of his three offerings. I do think there’s significant reliever risk.
82. Anderson Tejeda, SS, TEX | Variance: 5
CK (84): True SS with a 60 or 70 arm. Yes, it’s an aggressive approach and there’s plenty of swing and miss, but both the K% and BB% have improved for 2 straight years now and this sort of raw power from a true shortstop is rare. At worst, he’s a decent SS with some pop. He’s a superstar if the stars align. If.
RW (95): Tejeda is a lock to stay at shortstop, with above average pop and a plus arm.
83. Will Smith, C, LAD | Variance: 2
CK (98): Good defensive catcher with some pop and some IF versatility. I’m just not a fan of catchers outside the top handful.
RW (83): Versatile defender, who can play a good defensive catcher and play a good defensive third. He showcases some power with a decent hit tool.
84. Travis Swaggerty, OF, PIT | Variance: 4
CK (106): You could convince me Swags deserves to be higher with the tools he has. It’s a possible CF profile with a plus arm, 60-70 speed, and 60 raw power sort of package. But he struck out a decent amount against so-so college competition in the Sun Belt Conference and then Struck out a bunch more in a Short Season assignment that should have been too easy for him. A possible swing adjustment that would hopefully get to more of his power could be the culprit here, but I’m not 100% in just yet.
RW (77): Swaggy-T is one of the more interesting guys from this years draft. He’s always had swing and miss to his game but he plays a good defensive CF, with plus speed and plus raw power, oh and he gets on base at a high clip. His swing is a very horizontal and I think he could unlock more power.
85. Daulton Varsho, C, ARI | Variance: 3
CK (119): Don’t love catchers, especially ones with a decent chance to not stick at the position, but there’s a whole bunch more here that you don’t typically see with catchers, such as a confidently good hit tool and 60 speed. Not thrilled about the entire profile off the position, but if the blocking and footwork can continue to improve throughout 2019, he’ll shoot up the ranks.
RW (67): Varsho is easily the most athletic catcher in the game, and there are some who think he could move to second or left-field to fasttrack his bat. He is a plus runner who could be a 60 hit 60 power guy.
86. Isaac Paredes, 3B, DET | Variance: 3
CK (116): Paredes isn’t a SS, and there’s a ever so small chance he’s not even nimble enough to be a 3B. There’s a chance he’s something better than an above average hitter with above average power, but I don’t buy into it, especially not the ultimate power. Great performance for age/level, but I think it’s a mirage.
RW (70): Paredes sure can hit, just the biggest question with him is where he should play defense. I don’t think many envision him as a shortstop, because I sure don’t, but he could become an average defensive third baseman. He is already physically maxed out, so I don’t think there’s much more power projection but he could become a 60 hit 55 power third baseman.
87. Brandon Marsh, OF, LAA | Variance: 4
CK (50): Underratedly, could be one of the best CF prospects in the game, with insane range, great jumps, good speed, and a 60-70 arm. There are some current limitations in his offensive game stemming from lower half issues, but if it all comes together, it’s a 55 hit and 55 game power. That’s the profile of one of the best CF in the Majors. If not, it’s still a decent player with plus CF defense and some thump. It’s an upside ranking for me.
RW (136): I got to see a lot of Brandon Marsh this past year and I never walked away impressed. He was playing right field because of Jo Adell, and he looked fine there, just I never really saw him make any impact with the bat. I watched as Michel Baez tormented him with breaking stuff and Paddack carved him up with the changeup in the two games I saw. There is a chance for him to be a big league regular just not a spectacular one.
88. Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP, NYY | Variance: 3
CK (97): There’s 3 plus pitches here at times with all three having the ability to play inside the zone. The injury history might just be too much, and another shoulder injury is concerning. Think the bullpen (simply to maintain health) could be where this is headed, but man, he could be a really good starter.
RW (91): Loaisiga just throws 3 plus pitches with decent command, what’s not to love right? Well unfortunately he has dealt with some injuries in his career, unfortunately it has been shoulder issues. The injuries might push him to the pen.
89. Franklin Perez, RHP, DET | Variance: 3
CK (96): Wasn’t long ago that Perez was a 19 year old in AA holding his own with a mid-90s FB, two decent breakers, and plus control. Health has long been the issue, and if it causes him problems again, he falls quite a ways for me, but if he can pitch 80-100 IP in 2019, I expect good things.
RW (92): Please for me and for everyone else stay healthy. Franklin Perez will mix in both an above average slider and an above average curveball with a plus fastball and a plus changeup to go along with plus command.
90. Nico Hoerner, SS, CHC | Variance: 2
CK (90): I will admit I was a bit hesitant to rank Hoerner this high, but the more I looked, I couldn’t unsee a 45 SS with plus or better speed whose hit/power settle in at 55/50. It’s perhaps an underwhelming regular, but a regular nonetheless.
RW (98): I did not expect my pal to rank Hoerner higher than I would, but Connor is always good for a few surprises. Hoerner can play short but I doubt he can stick there. What he will do is hit, and I believe he will also hit for power. Hoerner has caught some helium and that’s good because he should be pretty good.
91. Luis Oviedo, RHP, CLE | Variance: 3
CK (82): Ideal frame, can run the FB into the mid 90s, 4 total pitches and an above average breaker. He’s gotta throw 100+ IP this season, but if the innings come, stuff slightly progresses like you expect, and the GB% stays high, the mid rotation kind of ceiling looks a bit clearer.
RW (106): We could be talking about 4 plus pitches with Luis Oviedo, I think there’s more to come from him as well because he can still add to the frame which may cause the pitches to tick up. I believe he has upside that few in the minors have, he just has to go out there and log the innings.
92. Austin Beck, OF, OAK | Variance: 4
CK (87): When I see Austin Beck, I see a surefire, potentially plus CF with a really strong arm, above average power shown in the cage and BP, and proof he can hit for average last year. He’s raw, and likely years away, but that’s a top 100 guy to me.
RW (102): Raw is the best word to describe Austin Beck, he has immense raw power but it didn’t manifest itself in 2018, however there were reports that he was focusing on developing his hit tool.
93. Nate Pearson, RHP, TOR | Variance: 4
CK (115): Triple digits fastball but straight, and secondaries that aren’t notably good or consistent. Also a pretty major injury this year. There’s a lot of upside, but he miles away from it.
RW (76): Upside is the name of the game when it comes to Pearson. He can pump gas, but the secondaries need refinement. Very real chance he’s a reliever as opposed to a front of the rotation starter.
94. Eric Pardinho, RHP, TOR | Variance: 4
CK (103): His domination in the Appy was overshadowed by Franco, but it was still one of the most impressive pitching performances to date. Will touch mid-90s with good secondaries and plus command for his age. Only real knock is his height at 5’10”, but I’ll usually give the benefit of the doubt when it comes to size.
RW (88): Eric Pardinho could become the face of Brazilian baseball, and that’s exciting for Brazilian baseball. He is short for a pitcher, but he has impressive command of his pitches and can touch the mid-90’s with his fastball.
95. Cole Winn, RHP, TEX | Variance: 3
CK (79): Polished prep righty with a 93-95 FB. 4 pitches, a plus curve, and a decent changeup that he worked with all post draft. Very interesting blend of stuff that you don’t usually see from a guy with his polish.
RW (112): So he gets “dinged” by me for being a high school righty, but Cole Winn is actually a really damn good prospect. He moved from Colorado to Orange, California to face better competition and in the process he became a first round pick. He has plus command, a rarity for high school pitchers, and with four pitches that project out to be average or better Winn is something to watchout for in 2019.
96. Garrett Hampson, 2B/SS, COL | Variance: 3
CK (110): MLB ready middle infielder with some feel to hit. Gut tells me the bat could come up short in the Majors, but he has a short but sweet track record of hitting at every level and could fill in at SS in a pinch.
RW (86): I think he’ll hit but I don’t think he’ll ever exceed 22-25 homers in his peak. He can play a good second and could fill in at short, or some think he might be a decent centerfielder. I like the short swing that is orientated for contacted.
97. Adonis Medina, RHP, PHI | Variance: 3
CK (43): The biggest discrepancy on the list, I think. I love Medina, and I think there’s a legitimate case to be made he’s a better prospect than Sixto. All his pitches flash plus on any given night and I’ll gamble on it coming together as he continues to develop.
RW (155): His pitches flash but they never are consistent, I do think he’s destined to be a bullpen guy because of that lack of consistency.
98. Luis Garcia, SS, PHI | Variance: 3
CK (75): Rhys just hates the Phillies, I guess. A+ glove for a teenager that could be a potential impact defender at the 6. Don’t think the bat is anything to write home about but shows a good knack for the barrel from both sides and that’s plenty enough for how good of a defender he can be.
RW (124): I don’t hate the Phillies, I just don’t think the bat will be anything special. But the glove very well could be special, he can really pick it at short.
99. Justin Dunn, RHP, SEA | Variance: 2
CK (81): I was still in on Dunn after his bad 2017 (kept him in my 150), but even after his impressive 2018, I think he ultimately falls short of the mythical #3 starter due to some combination of an overrated breaker and remaining issues with control.
RW (119): Another really athletic pitcher, but I worry about the command. I think he’s destined to be one of those backend starters or high leverage relievers.
100. Shane Baz, RHP, TB | Variance: 4
CK (104): Kind of just the same guy he was when he was drafted, which is a dude with nasty 4-pitch mix and decent control but command well behind. Hasn’t pitched a ton since drafted, however, and hasn’t made notable moves towards either of the spectrum. Still a chance to be a really damn good pitcher. Given the athleticism, I lean towards him reaching that ceiling than not.
RW (101): When he was with the Pirates they actually took away pitches from him. Now that he’s out of the archaic Pirates pitching system I believe he will flourish in the Rays more progressive ways. He has the beautiful long hair(that makes me jealous) and can pump gas with two breakers that could someday be plus, and an above average changeup. He’s also a good athlete on the mound and repeats his delivery well.
101. Hunter Greene, RHP, CIN | Variance: 4
CK (73): I didn’t come at Greene’s throat like my partner, but I’m assuming the thought process is a lot of the same, and kudos to him for sticking with the gut. It’s an athlete with a near ideal frame throwing triple digits and a good breaker, but that’s essentially it right about now and he’s postponing a seemingly inevitable TJS. The triple digits is also frequently straight as hell, making it not incredibly hard to hit, as evidenced by Luis Alexander Basabe, who pulled a 102 FB off Greene for a dinger in the Futures Game.
RW (132): He’s a thrower who has no refined secondary offerings, and the fastball is straight, like REAL straight. I get he’s an uber athletic pitcher, but he aso has a UCL strain on his resume.
102. George Valera, OF, CLE | Variance: 4
CK (108): Gimme. This is quite literally as high as I think I can possibly go with a guy who has barely played and is destined for a COF spot. But his swing is picturesque, and I strongly feel like he’s going to hit a lot. The ascension won’t be similar to Juan Soto, but the final product could be.
RW (99): Boy oh boy do I love myself some George Valera, this guy has immense raw power and has a good eye at the plate. Sure he won’t play center field but Valera has all the tools to be an absolute superstar, if he can stay healthy. FYI I really wanted to rank him higher he’s gonna be a stud.
103. JoJo Romero, LHP, PHI | Variance: 3
CK (99): Bit of an up and down year for JoJo, who had mixed reports on his stuff until late July when he hit the Dl with an oblique strain. One of the best changeups in the Minors. FB was down into the high 80s at times but could reach back for 95 when he wanted it, so I’m betting on more velo again this year.
RW (109): Fastball-changeup lefty with velocity concerns and he’s got a cutter(my favorite pitch).
104. Estevan Florial, OF, NYY | Variance: 5
CK (124): This is a tough rank year after year. All the tools are there: power, speed, glove, arm. It comes down the hit and more specifically pitch recognition. He could be a .260, 20/20 hitter in CF or the pitch recognition woes could never make him anything close to a regular.
RW (87): I could have put him anywhere and I wouldn’t have been upset with the rank. There is some legit hit tool questions but the defense and the tools are off the charts. If pitchers could stop throwing him breaking stuff down and away that would be greatly appreciated by yours truly.
105. Nate Lowe, 1B, TB | Variance: 2
CK (121): Blah, blah, low upside 1B you probably don’t want to hear about again, but here it is. All things considered, pretty remarkable he’s even on this list given he was essentially a non-prospect last year.
RW (93): Get Lowe! Went from non-prospect to potentially the Rays 1B of the future an maybe the present real quick. He combines good bat-to-ball skills with plus power. Also, damn you Connor, you knew I wanted him in our league. I trusted you.
106. Luis Garcia, SS, WAS | Variance: 4
CK (120): This will probably be the low ranking of Nationals’ Luis Garcia as well? He’s probably not a SS, which is fine, but the bat is going to have to be really good, and I’m not completely sold of that yet despite being young for 2 levels last year and still hitting very well. There’s great bat-to-ball skills, but the swing is a little handsy and there’s very little use of the lower half for torque.
RW (96): Great bat-to-ball skills but I do think he can unlock more power when he engages the lower half. He probably moves over to third or second but the bat plays there for sure.
107. Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI | Variance: 4
CK (146): Big gap here. Not a huge fan of the length or plane of Bohm’s swings and the reports in his first taste of pro ball were really bad on both sides of the ball. Could easily be fatigue, as Bohm had been playing ball since January at that point, but assuming such is a tough game. There’s a possibility he’s a 1B who struggles with better pitching in a year from now. We all know how Philly’s first-round picks have gone since 2014…
RW (72): Debbie Downer up there. This dude couldn’t figure out how to put a jersey on during a nationally televised program. Despite his lack of power in pro ball, I think this is a potential middle-of-the-order bat who can hit 30 taters and provide a solid average. I do worry about the bat speed and him catching up to velocity but he should be able to make it work. Also I do not view him as a third baseman, I watched him play while he was in college and he struggled at third while at Wichita State.
108. Hans Crouse, RHP, TEX | Variance: 4
CK (72): Here’s that “95 and a SL with a chance to start” range I was talking about, except with Crouse, it’s more like 100 with a 70 grade SL and a surprisingly not bad change. I despise his delivery, but he’s an athlete and actually repeats it decently well for the effort level. Gut tells me bullpen, but I lean ever so slightly in favor of starting the more I watch. Thought maybe I’d be the lower of the two of us…
RW (146): I kind think he’s destined for the bullpen, where he will be absolutely nasty with that killer fastball-slider combo. The changeup, like my compatriot mentioned, isn’t bad and if he does become a starter I think Crouse is more of a mid-rotation guy. The delivery isn’t ideal but he repeats it so what can I say.
109. Miguel Amaya, C, CHC | Variance: 3
CK (133): Only reason Amaya is down this low for me is because he’s a catcher and catchers are weird. I’m 100% with Rhys in the fan club though; great catcher frame, good arm, and lots of ingredients for a potentially extremely good defensive catcher. Showed a better approach last year which couples nicely with his hit and power tools. The kid puts on quite the impressive BP, lifting balls to all fields. If I had to gamble on one of these 100-150 range catchers to catapult into the top 3 at the position by next year, it would be Amaya. Write more words than that, Rhys.
RW (90): I am the president of the Miguel Amaya fan club, I think he’s a polished defensive catcher with a good arm and a beautiful swing. He is tapping into more power and that gives me the warm and fuzzies. He handles a pitching staff like a champ, and possess the intangibles that old school baseball fans love. I guess we can have Connor join the club….I guess. I even wrote words on my affinity for Miguel Amaya.
110. Corbin Martin, RHP, HOU | Variance: 3
CK (83): 93-95 t97, two potential above average pitches, and a CH that has come a long way over the last year. There’s some definite effort to the delivery, which may cap the ultimate command.
RW (141): I dinged him for the high effort delivery that does impact his command, which ultimately makes me think he will be a reliever.
111. MJ Melendez, C, KC | Variance: 5
CK (156): You know, I’m not a huge Melendez guy, which is weird, because he was my breakout pick last year. He’s a smaller guy, but extremely well built, athletic, threw out runners at an incredible clip, and could develop into a premier defensive backstop. I just can’t overlook the poor K% and less than ideal OBP and not think both of those things highlight his future. Plus he’s so far away and has so much development time for something to go wrong.
RW (69): Very similar to the Royals current backstop in the fact that he’s a plus defender with OBP issues. Melendez is everything you want defensively from your catcher and is working on the finer parts of the position like framing. Nice ranking by yours truly, if I do say so myself.
112. Justus Sheffield, LHP, SEA | Variance: 3
CK (65): Holy discrepancy, Batman. I was all the way in on Sheff last year, but some reports of stuff going backward knock him down a bit. Rhys has always been harsh on Sheffield, but I still think he’s a LHP with a plus FB, above average secondaries, and some command woes (an already decent pitcher) who can have 3 plus pitches on a good day (a very, very good pitcher). Plus he’s MLB ready.
RW (162): I for a long time have thought Sheffield was a reliever, I didn’t like the secondary offerings and thought he had just okay command. The plus fastball could play up out of the pen, and the cutter isn’t bad.
113. Logan Allen, LHP, SD | Variance: 2
CK (132): Not really a fan of the delivery or of any one pitch, and the lacking of a plus makes me think he’s capped at a #4 starter. Command and breaker could also be issues, but he’s an MLB-ready lefty who has thrown 275 healthy innings over the last 2 years.
RW (100): I do like the delivery and I think the changeup is plus, and the fastball and breaker are going to max out at average. He projects as a solid inning eater leftie that can put away hitters with his plus changeup.
114. Colton Welker, 3B, COL | Variance: 3
CK (113): I like Welker’s total package as an average to above average defensive 3B with some hit and power as well. I’m not going to commit him to the top 100 just yet though, at least not until I see him in Hartford in 2019 and make my own judgement. He’s hit fine in the last 2 years at Low-A Asheville and High-A Lancaster, but those are two of the better hitter’s parks in the minors and his OPS away from those parks was .773 and .750 in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
RW (126): Colton Welker is an average defensive 3B for me that has a plus hit tool and above average power.
115. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT | Variance: 5
CK (125): If we made the scale that big, the variance here would be a 6. Oneil Cruz could, in all honesty, be Aaron Judge. Low % outcome, but it’s possible The power is massive, the arm might be the best in the Minors, and there is surprising speed for someone his size, both of which would obviously work well in RF. But at 6’7”, the levers are very long, and could give him massive hitting troubles. I lean towards the latter, but the range of outcomes is as big as he is.
RW (116): Cruz’s development is going to be one of the most interesting things to follow in 2019. He probably can’t stay in the infield, but his arm would be asset in the outfield. We are talking about some of the most impressive raw power in the minors but pitchers can exploit his long swing.
116. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, TB | Variance: 3
CK (144): Oh another catcher. One of the higher upside catchers on the list with great raw power and an off chance to be a 60 hit down the line. The ingredients to stick behind the plate are there, but it’s not a lock at least to me. The plus plus arm should help.
RW (97): Catchers who hit the shit out of the ball and are locks to stay at the position are my jam.
117. William Contreras, C, ATL | Variance: 3
CK (129): MORE CATCHERS. If you noticed, Willy C. was my highest ranked catcher out of this little run of backstop. Was never a huge Contreras guy, but have come around big time in the past 6 months. A lot of average tools, but the offensive profile has developed at such a young age that I think it can keep developing. He puts some serious charge into the ball.
RW (113): Contreras has some impressive power, and is no slouch behind the plate. He might develop into a better defensive catcher than his brother.
118. Tyler Freeman, SS, CLE | Variance: 3
CK (93): Seems I’m the supporting rank here. I think Freeman is going to hit and hit like a madman. I would never peg him with anything higher than a plus hit tool right now, but if a 70 hit was in the convo next season, color me unsurprised. A little bit of speed, a little bit of doubles power. Of course, there’s always the risk he’s a non-SS with no carrying tool, but for now, I think the upside is a lot more than that.
RW (148):I do worry about the position with Tyler Freeman, but I do agree all Freeman does is hit. I dinged him for not knowing if he can stick at short I wonder if the potential power output plays anywhere else.
119. Micker Adolfo, OF, CHW | Variance: 2
CK (92): Relegated to a corner OF spot, and a relatively unspectacular one, but I think the bat is very real, with an outside shot he’s a sort of Alex-Kirilloff-Lite from the right side next year. The arm is crazy strong in RF.
RW (150): Micker has been hampered by injury issues in his minor league career but there is still a chance for him to be a 55 hit 60 power guy. The arm is cray cray!
120. Kevin Smith, SS, TOR | Variance: 2
CK (138): A big, free swinger with whiff issues at the time of the draft in 2017, Smith worked with Jays hitting coaches during the offseason to shorten his swing path, and it seemed to work wonders. Smith still struck out a decent amount, and it will always be a part of his game, but he got to a lot of his raw power and that’s all you can ask. He’ll never be great at short, but is surprisingly solid, so we have him penciled in there. AA will be a big test and I look forward to seeing him a lot in New Hampshire
RW (105): I believe Smith will always have swing-and-miss concerns in his game but he plays a decent shortstop. He has some power in his game. He’s pretty safe as a big league regular in some capacity, whether that’s in a super utility role or as a second division starter at short.
121. Jose Suarez, LHP, LAA | Variance: 2
CK (118): Up to AAA as a 20 year old, pitch counts for him and Griffin Canning led to short outings all year long, but command limitations were another huge reason why Suarez was out of the game most times by the 5th inning last year. Nonetheless, Suarez’ velocity (92-94 t95) and breakers took major steps forward last year which make for great compliments to his plus change. He’s a high probability #4 SP with a little wiggle room upwards if the command of his secondary pitches improves or if the FB adds more velocity, which it has done for 2 straight years now.
RW (125): I really like Jose Suarez, and I’m glad Connor and I are in agreement over Suarez as pitcher with a 4th starter profile, but with some room to grow in the upside department. If the fastball takes another tick forward we could be talking about one of the biggest risers in all the minors.
122. Lucius Fox, SS, TB | Variance: 3
CK (123): Slick, glove-first shortstop. Like really fucking good shortstop. Ranking outside the top 100 because I think the game power never exceeds 40, and could even end up below that, and I’m not sure if that bodes well for his future at the plate as guys attack him in the zone at the upper levels. The glove could develop so well that it doesn’t matter.
RW (121): Lucius Fox is a freak athlete, who is a smooth defender at short. The power leaves a lot to be desire but his glove and speed should be able to cover up the lackluster power. I also worry about him because he hits the ball on the ground around 50% of the time and that could be problematic for him if he doesn’t make the requisite changes to his swing.
123. Logan Gilbert, RHP, SEA | Variance: 3
CK (76): Big fan of Gilbert’s, the most recent grad of Cy Young University. One of my personal favorites. After being 92-95 t97 with his fastball on the Cape in 2017, Gibert’s velo dropped into the low 90s as a college junior. It popped back up post draft, and with consistent 92-95, it’s a plus or better FB with insane extension that explodes on hitters. Also has a plus flashing slider and a change with decent fade. The overall package could be a guy in the top 50 by midseason with more breaker consistency.
RW (168): The reason I ranked Gilbert so low is because I don’t really like the breaker, and I think the changeup is only just fine. I do like the delivery and the fastball is plus, and shows life. If the slider takes a step he’ll move from a back end starter for me to a mid-rotation guy. I guess I’m taking a wait and see approach with the Stetson alum.
124. Yu Chang, SS, CLE | Variance: 3
CK (167): I guess there’s chance Chang becomes one of those guys where the overall package exceeds any single one of his tools, but the hit tool isn’t very good and there’s no plus tool here, maybe not even a second above average one after the power. I don’t gravitate towards the “50 tools across the board” types, especially when the hit tool is the most lacking one.
RW (79): Love me some Yu Chang! Think he can play either shortstop, or third base, and could play the outfield as well. The hit tool isn’t great but I think he can get it to a 50, but it’s his plus power that will endear him to the masses, minus Connor.
125. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, BOS | Variance: 5
CK (143): The upside with Dalbec is apparent, as a 50-55 glove 3B with a 70 arm and juuust enough hit tool to get to most of his massive raw power. The other end of the spectrum is Dalbec’s swing and miss issues are too bad to overcome, leading to not enough power output. The list of MLB players that struck out as much as he has at the age/levels he’s done it at is extremely small.
RW (107): Connor was telling some of us that Dalbec was graded out as a plus defender at third and he then goes and bobbles a ball hit to him during the AFL All Star game. Dalbec has massive raw power and has a great arm. He’ll never win a gold glove at third but he should be average to slightly above.
126. Austin Hays, OF, BAL | Variance: 2
CK (122): I actually think there’s a good chance Hays’ injuries in 2018 masked his actual baseball abilities and, with health, could perform closer to 2017 levels next year and beyond. Clear chance to move back into the top 100 as a future everyday OF.
RW (129): I’ll never forget when I championed Austin Hays as the 2018 AL RoY, and 2018 went really poorly for the both of us. I think Hays can still be a big league regular in the corner outfield with above average power and speed.
127. Daz Cameron, OF, DET | Variance: 3
CK (148): I see a lot of 50s across the board, which is a fine prospect, but nothing spectacular, and really not even a lock to be anything better than a pretty good 4th OF. Very average, decent-at-everything CF regular is the most likely outcome, most likely.
RW (103): I see a lot of 55’s with a chance for a few 60’s in the speed and defense in centerfield.
128. Dane Dunning, RHP, CHW | Variance: 2
CK (101): I actually don’t love Dunning, certainly not like you should a top 101 player. It’s a low 90s FB with no plus pitch. That said, there’s good extension here, so the FB could play like a 55, and on a good day, it may be a profile with 3 above average pitches who very well through AA. #4 pitcher is probably the likely role, but wouldn’t be surprised with a half grade higher or lower.
RW (152): Very realistic chance Dane Dunning is a really good back end reliever with a plus slider and two other above average pitches.
129. Mason Denaburg, RHP, WAS | Variance: 3
CK (109): Big Denaburg fan, as I think the only reason he fell in the draft was injury (bicep tendonitis). Around 94 mph with the FB when he starts, t97 in short bursts, consistent plus curveball, and a change that is surprisingly decent for a prep arm, flashing above average here and there. When it comes to pitchers, bet on athletes first, and Denaburg might be the most athletic prep arm from the draft.
RW (145): Denaburg is a great athlete, there was some talk about him being a first round catcher because of his athleticism but he decided to be a pitcher and I think that’s the best move for him. His fastball sits in the mid 90’s but can reach higher than that on occasion. The curveball is a true out pitch that he can use to fatality batters.
130. Tony Santillan, RHP, CIN | Variance: 3
CK (105): Good little stuff uptick in the middle of the year, including some notable improvement with the control/command, but a few diminished reports from later in the season as well. At his best, he’ll show you two plus pitches and a 55 CH, though the change especially can lack consistency and the velocity separation isn’t huge. Safe fallback as a good RP, but the needle moved closer to SP with decent stuff this year.
RW (149): I still view him as a backend starter that at times will flash 3 above average pitches. If he has to move to the pen his pitches could play up in short spurts but I do think he’s a decent number 4 starter in the making.
131. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, HOU | Variance: 3
CK (112): I still see bullpen here 100% because it’s a smaller frame, short arm swing, low arm slot, a short stride, and a high effort delivery, but this 80-120 range is usually where I put the “95 and slider with a small glimpse to start” guys. The fallback is a very, very good late inning pen arm.
RW (143): High spin rate fastball with a killer slider. I think he’s destined to be a back-end bullpen piece but I can’t deny there is a small percent chance he remains a starter.
132. Michael Chavis, 3B, BOS | Variance: 2
CK (147): Have shifted from thinking he’s fine at 3B to no longer thinking he’s fine at 3B, so it just reads like a typical low upside, low downside 1B or shitty 3B sort of regular for me. Still a good prospect, just not a t100 type.
RW (115): Not a top 100 guy is right, but I do think if he moves to first he has enough power that he could be an everyday player at first who puts up decent power.
133. Heliot Ramos, OF, SF | Variance: 5
CK (135): Much rawer that previously thought post draft. Super aggressive and will likely never post good walk rates. Tooled up, so decent ceiling, but it’s gonna be a slow burn with a chance the hit tool doesn’t fully develop and he ends up in a COF spot.
RW (128): He isn’t going to be a center fielder and this year was kinda a step back for Ramos, but he still projects out as a high strikeout guy with plus raw power.
134. Evan White, 1B, SEA | Variance: 2
CK (145): The more I look at my personal ranking, the more I wish I had bumped him higher; he deserves to be higher. I think the increase in power in the later part of the year is very much for real, and if the power carries into AA with his plus or better glove at 1B or potentially average glove in CF, we could be looking at the top 1B prospect in baseball at this time next year.
RW (118): We are talking about a 70 glove at first who oh by the way can play center field in a pinch. The power is finally starting to come and we could be talking about a perennial gold glover at first base who mashes 20-25 homers a season.
135. Julio Rodriguez, OF, SEA | Variance: 5
CK (141): Big bodied, [future] corner OF bat with 70 raw power. Tore up the Domincan Summer League, but already much more physically advanced than you usually see there, so take with a grain of salt. Going to wait and see how the hit/power/speed plays in full season ball.
136. Jahmai Jones, 2B, LAA | Variance: 2
CK (160): I remain not thrilled about Jones’ future as a Major Leaguer. Rhys saw essentially what I expected on defense, which was a fine 2B who made the routine plays, but nothing notable. The power crept down below the .400s, something I worried about, and his OBPs remained nothing better than average. I think the package plays better than a good utility player than a regular.
RW (110): I saw Jahmai Jones this year and he made all the plays you want from your second baseman. I like the speed and I think he has what it takes to develop into an everyday player.
137. Cavan Biggio, 2B, TOR | Variance: 2
CK (152): He’s a poor defender at 2B, something I saw a lot of first-hand in 2018, although some plays in the outfield during AFL play left me a little intrigued about a potential home in RF. Average hit with legitimately huge power. If he’s average in a COF spot, this ranking is probably a little too low.
RW (120): I read reports that he wasn’t so bad in right field during the AFL, but what has me intrigued by Cavan Biggio is the mix of high OBP and massive raw power.
138. Braxton Garrett, LHP, MIA | Variance: 4
CK (139): Not really sure Garrett is deserving of this list, having barely pitched at all since drafted, but he’s still the same guy he was when he was drafted, which is a 6’3” lefty with a great, easy delivery and two potential above average to plus secondaries.
RW (134): Pre-draft you could have made the argument that Garrett was the best pitcher in the 2016 draft class. Fast forward a few years and he has only pitched 15.1 professional innings. The stuff when he was healthy was really good and he has an easy delivery. Don’t make us look dumb, Braxton.
139. Ryan McKenna, OF, BAL | Variance: 2
CK (94): The better approach this season led to a good little breakout for McKenna, who is an 80 runner and should be a decent CF. Power is going to be the limiting factor, but even if it maxes out at fringe average, I think he hits enough to be a low end, glove speed CF regular.
RW (181): Dreaded fourth outfielder tag for me, I might be the low guy on McKenna but I don’t think he’s a big league regular. He does have legit speed and that should help. At least he isn’t Myles Straw.
140. Nick Solak, 2B, TB | Variance: 2
CK (111): This is my guy this year that might be a little high, but I think the overall package is an underrated one. Solak is a very good hitter with plus speed and knows how to use it on the bases. There’s a chances his power at AAA and in the Majors is just fringe average, but even if it is, I still think he hits and runs enough to be a regular. The alternative is the .450+ SLG he posted the last 2 years carries over and he’s a top 10 second baseman.
RW (166): We are talking about a guy who gets on base at a high clip and showcases power and speed, and plays a decent second base.
141. Abraham Toro, 3B, HOU | Variance: 3
CK (142): Love the overall package; super underrated. He hits the ball and he hits the ball hard when he does. Don’t think the defensive profile at 3B is stellar, but the arm is plus-plus. Together, it could be a 55 hit, 55 power third baseman.
RW (137): Yeah, he’s underrated so much so that in rough copies of my list I forgot to include him. The defense is never going to be stellar at third but he should be able to stick and has a cannon of an arm. He’ll be an above average hitter with good pop.
142. Brady Singer, RHP, KC | Variance: 4
CK (168): I hate the delivery, and think it’s an open opportunity for drastic platoon splits, but the stuff is good, and given health and no regression in stuff in 2019, he will fall in comfortably in that 80-120 range of “good RP but maybe-possibly a SP” type arms in 2019.
RW (114): Delivery is gross, but I’m getting over it. The slider is the best pitch, and he showcases a two-seamer with good movement. I think he’s going to be a starter, and if the changeup develops we could be talking about one of the better pitching prospects in the minors. He also is very emotional and I love dude who show emotion on the mound; he once yelled at an ump to let him pitch because it started raining during a college game. He’s a badass.
143. Tony Gonsolin, RHP, LAD | Variance: 3
CK (126): Old, yes. Very old, but the stuff is undeniable. 94-96, big breaker, and a split-change that falls off the table. Development isn’t always linear. Gonsolin could be ready to log some Major League SP innings by midseason.
RW (157): The stuff is filthy, like future GIF level filthy, the curveball is devastating. The Dodgers unearthed a gem and converted him to a starter and now we are talking about someone that could impact the big league club this year, as a starter despite being an outfielder and a reliever at St. Mary’s.
144. Gabriel Arias, SS, SD | Variance: 5
CK (140): Glad we’re both still in on Arias, who has a roller coaster developmental path so far. His swing has changed about three hundred times so far, including a bad bat wrap developed in the Australian Winter League, but his most recent iteration has inspired confidence. Still a potential plus SS with pop who could explode in 2019.
RW (144): So Gabriel Arias isn’t Ronald Acuna and that’s fine. He still is a plus defensive shortstop with plus-plus raw power, and some swing and miss to his game.
145. Nick Neidert, RHP, MIA | Variance: 2
CK (162): Neidert is one of those guys who pitches with a below average FB and somehow… makes it work, thanks to a plus changeup and genuine plus command that allows his arsenal play up. I applaud the ranking in the ~125 range because there’s a very real chance he’s a solid MLB starter, but I didn’t go there.
RW (127): I did go there pal, because I do think there is a 4/5 starter in Nick Neidert . With a plus changeup to go with plus command. I do think Neidert will surprise people with how many people he will strikeouts in the majors.
146. Marco Luciano, SS, SF | Variance: 5
CK (102): Reports from instructs have been fantastic, including already plus raw power and a decent chance to stick at the position. We’ve been low on newly signed IFA in the past and I think this is where we get up to speed.
RW (188): I dinged him because we have not seen any game action for him, and I’ll probably look silly for doing that when he comes out and preforms.
147. Calvin Mitchell, OF, PIT | Variance: 3
CK (160): Probably relegated to LF due to a fringe arm and below average speed, but there’s some increasingly apparently upside with the bat.
RW (110): The pressure is on the bat because the arm and speed aren’t great, very fringy in fact, but he projects out as a 55 hit 55 power guy with a chance for a little bit more.
148. Michel Baez, RHP, SD | Variance: 3
CK (179): Diminished velocity down to 91-95 and both secondaries went backward as well. There’s a slight hope that the cause of the backward step is injury, but more than likely, it mechanical. Hard to see him as anything more than a middle reliever given what the current profile is, but not impossible he rebounds to 2017 form.
RW (123): Love me some Michel Baez. He has a long and physical frame and mixes in a really nice breaker. The velo took a tick back and maybe I saw his best start (which by the way Michel, if you read this, I might be a good luck charm of sorts so hook me up, man) but I still am a believer in him as being a mid-rotation starter or a high leverage reliever.
149. Cole Tucker, SS, PIT | Variance: 2
CK (161): Such a tough rank for me. There’s a good shortstop with a good hit tool and decent power here, but what he has shown in BP and what he has shown in games have varied drastically. There’s a chance pitchers at the highest level attack him without fear of damage and the profile as a whole tumbles into a utility role, even with the sound defensive SS.
RW (142): He will be a big leaguer, just what role will that be is the question. I think he has a chance to be an everyday big league shortstop, while not a spectacular one, that hits for enough power and isn’t an albatross at any aspect of the game.
150. Everson Pereira, OF, NYY | Variance: 4
CK (128): Like the overall skillset here, as a potential CF with a good arm and good routes. Didn’t play a lot last year due to injuries, but Pereria grew 1-2 inches and added lots of good strength in extended spring training and was getting to a lot of his newfound raw power in games. Could easily catapult into the t100 very easily with a good first half.
RW (176): We could be talking about one of the top 80 or so prospects this time next year in Everson Pereira. He posses a plus arm and good instincts in center field. If he can showcase some more power watch out for the young Yankee prospect.
The Next 10 (alphabetical): Bryan Rocchio, Dylan Carlson, Elehuris Montero, Jake Rogers, Jonathan Hernandez, Jordyn Adams, Julio Pablo Martinez, Nick Pratto, Peter Lambert