Top 25 Prospects: A Midseason Update

It’s a good time to be a talented (and cost-effective) young professional baseball prospect.

We’ve seen quite a few members of the pre-season Top 100 Prospects list graduate to the Majors. Clubs appear to be accelerating the development of top prospects and leaning heavily on them right out of the chute; freshman and sophomore players can be found playing key roles on the top teams in each division.

Some of the players still eligible for the list will become ineligible for the offseason Top 100 list when, in the second half, the front office comes calling. Prospects that could get the call include: Francisco Lindor (Indians), Taijuan Walker (Mariners), Archie Bradley (Diamondbacks), Aaron Sanchez (Blue Jays), Noah Syndergaard (Mets), Joc Pederson (Dodgers), and even Dylan Bundy (Baltimore).

So who sits atop the heap at the midpoint of the 2014 season? Let’s have a look….

Any prospect-eligible player currently in the Majors was not considered for this list, including Oscar Taveras (Cardinals), Marcus Stroman (Blue Jays) and Mookie Betts (Red Sox). Any amateur turning pro in 2014 was also not included.

 

#1 Kris Bryant | Cubs (3B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 396 116 26 31 55 107 11 .346 .444 .701 .495

Bryant headlines perhaps the top minor league system in baseball and could be playing in the big leagues right now for some organizations. There isn’t much that this former second-overall draft pick hasn’t done; he’s hit for average and power while producing impressive on-base rates. The big league combination at third base of Luis Valbuena and Mike Olt won’t be around much longer. Bryant should be one of the premier power hitters in the Majors for years to come while hitting in the middle of the Cubs’ lineup. [Pre-season Ranking: 6th]

 

#2 Byron Buxton | Twins (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 29 3 1 1 1 10 1 .107 .138 .250 .179

Buxton’s slide from the No. 1 slot on the pre-season list has less to do with the Twins prospect and more to do with what Kris Bryant has done in 2014. Sidelined for much of the year with a wrist injury, Buxton returned from the disabled list on July 6. After looking like a potential 2014 call-up, the injury has probably pushed his MLB debut to mid-to-late 2015.  [Pre-season Ranking: 1st]

 

#3 Francisco Lindor | Indians (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 364 91 11 6 39 58 24 .284 .361 .400 .348

Lindor has always been considered one of the top defensive shortstop prospects in the game. Nothing has changed in that regard and he’s continued to hold his own at the plate in Double-A this season will showing a little more pop in his bat (at the expense of a few more strikeouts). Toss in his ability to steal 20+ bases and you have yourself a valuable middle infielder. And most likely Cleveland’s starting shortstop for 2015. [Pre-season Ranking: 12th]

 

#4 Addison Russell | Cubs (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 94 23 3 1 10 19 5 .277 .362 .373 .343

It’s not often that you get a chance to acquire a Top 5 prospect talent but Chicago did just that after agreeing to part with two established big league starters. Russell missed a significant chunk of the season thanks to a hamstring injury but has been performing well lately. The re-emergence of Starlin Castro, as well as impressive infield depth in the minor, makes things interesting but expect to see Russell take over the Cubs’ starting shortstop gig at some point in 2015. [Pre-season Ranking: 8th]

 

#5 Carlos Correa | Astros (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
19 293 81 16 6 36 45 20 .325 .416 .510 .409

Correa won’t turn 20 until the end of September but he produced an eye-brow raising .325/.416/.510 in 62 High-A ball games. Unfortunately, he suffered a serious leg injury, which likely ended his season and prevented him from reaching Double-A as a teenager. Look for him to possibly make up for lost development time in the Arizona Fall League. [Pre-season Ranking: 9th]

 

#6 Corey Seager | Dodgers (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 365 115 34 18 30 76 5 .352 .411 .633 .445

You have to have a pretty impressive three months to jump from being ranked 28th overall to sixth and that’s exactly what Seager experienced. The shortstop prospect — who will permanently move to third base any day now — has produced a 1.011 OPS in 75 games at the High-A ball level despite turning just 20 in April. He has some polish to add to his overall game but he should be a beast. [Pre-season Ranking: 28th]

 

#7 Taijuan Walker | Mariners (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
21 10.0 8.10 6.30 50.0 % 3.60 6.32 4.36 0.2 -0.1

It’s been a rough year for Walker, who was supposed to be a key arm in the Mariners rotation right from the get-go in April. Unfortunately, the right-hander suffered a shoulder injury that kept him from throwing his first big league pitch of the year until the end of June. Since returning, he’s flashes his dominating stuff but both his command and control have understandably been off.  [Pre-season Ranking: 7th]

 

#8 Javier Baez | Cubs (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
21 348 75 19 14 28 110 15 .240 .305 .449 .324

It’s been a terribly disappointing season for Baez, who has taken a step backward in his development. However, there are few prospects in the minors that can produce the kind of power that this Puerto Rico native can. The Cubs’ impressive infield depth will allow the organization to be extremely patient with this 21-year-old shortstop (possibly soon-to-be right-fielder). [Pre-season Ranking: 4th]

 

#9 Archie Bradley | Diamondbacks (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 9 9 41.0 42 0 7.24 4.83 3.95 3.92

Bradley is another top-ranked prospect who has seen injuries throw a wet blanket on his season. He opened the year in Triple-A as a 21 year old but suffered an elbow injury five starts in. He’s back in game action now (in Double-A) but both his command and control have been off — and understandably so. If he can get his feet under him in the latter half of the year he has the talent to reach the Majors in 2014.  [Pre-season Ranking: 5th]

 

#10 Lucas Giolito | Nationals (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
19 14 14 65.2 47 6 9.87 3.29 2.47 3.82

The Washington Nationals’ system isn’t exactly overflowing with premium talent so it may help Giolito, 20, fly under the radar a bit. He hasn’t received much hype in 2014 despite posting a 2.14 ERA and a strikeout rate of 9.63 K/9 through 13 starts. Batters are hitting just .174 against him, which is all the more impressive when you consider he spent much of 2013 rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.  [Pre-season Ranking: 13th]

 

#11 Joey Gallo | Rangers (3B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 362 89 16 31 65 113 5 .307 .434 .703 .487

What’s the quickest way to ascend the Top 100 prospects list? Well, there are a number of ways to do it but slugging 70 home runs in less than 200 games will certainly get it done. Gallo just missed making the pre-season Top 100 list due to concerns over his swing-and-miss tendencies but we now have to give credit where credit is due. He’s not going to hit for a high average once his BABIP normalizes but there’s a pretty strong market for sluggers with 80-grade power and a high on-base percentage.  [Pre-season Ranking: Not Rank]

 

#12 Miguel Sano | Twins (3B)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
20 519 123 30 35 65 142 11 .280 .382 .610 .435

Speaking of 80-grade power, Sano is a player who can give Gallo a run for his money… well, when he’s healthy. The Dominican native slugged 35 home runs between High-A and Double-A in 2013 but he may miss all of 2014 after having Tommy John surgery. The injury is not expected to have any long-term effects but the missed development time could set him back a bit as the 21 year old looks to improve his contact rate. [Pre-season Ranking: 10th]

 

#13 Aaron Sanchez | Blue Jays (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 20 20 98.1 84 6 7.51 5.22 3.94 4.53

Trades over the past couple of seasons have left the cupboard bare in the upper levels of the Jays system in terms of depth. As such, the organization has been aggressive with some of its young arms, including Sanchez. He’s an extremely talented pitcher with the potential to produce above-average strikeout rates and ground-out rates but he also struggles with both his command and control. A previous shoulder injury appears to be behind him now. [Pre-season Ranking: 22nd]

 

#14 Noah Syndergaard | Mets (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 16 16 79.2 97 9 9.26 2.60 5.31 3.98

It’s been a rougher-than-expected year for Syndergaard, who has dealt with health woes, as well as the unfavorable park factors in the Pacific Coast League. The good news is that he’s shown signs of turning things around and he’s still just 21 years old. Despite giving up 97 hits in 79.2 innings due to inconsistent command, he’s shown above-average control and struck out 82 batters. [Pre-season Ranking: 18th]

 

#15 Dylan Bundy | Orioles (P)


Age IP K/9 BB/9 GB% ERA FIP xFIP RA9-WAR WAR
19 1.2 0.00 5.40 20.0 % 0.00 4.89 8.42 0.1 0.0

Bundy reached the Major Leagues as a teenager back in 2012 but then missed all of 2013 while recovering from Tommy John surgery. His rehab has been going well and he’s currently throwing in High-A ball. He has a shot at returning to The Show in September. [Pre-season Ranking: 19th]

 

#16 Tyler Glasnow | Pirates (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
20 14 14 70.2 43 1 10.44 4.84 1.91 2.91

Glasnow’s breakout began in 2013 and has continued on into the current season. The right-hander is a tough guy to hit and has allowed just 36 base knocks in 65.0 innings. Unfortunately, his control remains a work in progress and he’s issued 37 free passes. If/when he conquers that demon, the Pirates prospect could become a top-of-the-rotation mainstay. [Pre-season Ranking: 43rd]

 

#17 Robert Stephenson | Reds (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 18 17 93.0 74 10 9.00 4.65 3.97 4.19

Stephenson ranked higher on FanGraphs’ pre-season Top 100 list than any other publication. His stuff has remained impressive in 2014 but the results have not been there due to inconsistent command. Even with his struggles, he’s kept his composure and has held his own at the Double-A level. He’ll be down right scary once he polishes his command and control.  [Pre-season Ranking: 11th]

 

#18 Joc Pederson | Dodgers (OF)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 350 92 12 17 62 101 20 .322 .443 .570 .440

I’ll admit that it’s taken some time for me to warm up to Pederson as a legitimate Top 100 prospect but he’s done his part and I’ve finally climbed aboard the bandwagon. The toolsy outfielder could be starting at the MLB level for a lot of organizations right now but the veteran presence (and large contracts) has kept the young outfielder glued to Triple-A. [Pre-season Ranking: 58th]

 

#19 Kohl Stewart | Twins (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
19 16 16 76.2 65 3 6.46 2.70 2.58 3.81

The athletic 19-year-old has enjoyed his time in A-ball. He’s produced a strong ground-ball rate while allowing just 59 hits and 23 free passes in 70.2 innings of work. He doesn’t flash the same raw stuff that fellow Twins prospect Alex Meyer does, but he has a chance to be a much more complete pitcher.  [Pre-season Ranking: 32nd]

 

#20 J.P. Crawford | Phillies (SS)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
19 360 87 17 7 45 57 14 .279 .373 .401 .364

Within the next year, Crawford could easily find his name mentioned among the top three or four shortstop prospects in the game. The young, athletic infielder flashes impressive tools in the field but needs to add strength and show more polish at the plate to truly realize his full potential. He’s probably about two years away from reaching the Majors. [Pre-season Ranking: 50th]

 

#21 Alex Meyer | Twins (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
24 18 18 89.1 75 7 10.38 4.33 3.43 3.76

Meyer has overpowered Triple-A hitters with 103 strikeouts in 89.1 innings. The biggest thing holding back the 6-9 hurler is his inconsistent command and control; he’s walked 43 batters. Meyer, 24, should join the Twins’ rotation late in the year or early in 2015.  [Pre-season ranking: 23rd] 

 

#22 Daniel Norris | Blue Jays (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 17 17 83.1 63 3 10.91 2.81 1.84 2.39

A highly-regarded amateur, Norris suffered through a nightmare first pro season in 2012 but made adjustments and rebounded nicely in the second half of 2013. He’s spent the 2014 season pitching in both High-A and Double-A ball and has struck out 101 batters in 83.1 innings. The lefty has great makeup, a strong work ethic and the pure stuff to be a No. 2 or 3 hurler once he becomes more consistent with his command. [Pre-season Ranking: N/A]

 

#23 Jon Gray | Rockies (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
22 17 17 88.1 79 9 8.25 2.65 3.77 3.48

Gray flashes an upper-90s fastball and is showing improved secondary offerings. At 6-4, he’s going to have to learn to create more downward plane on his offerings if he’s going to have success pitching at home in Colorado.  [Pre-season Ranking: 16th]

 

#24 Jose Berrios | Twins (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
20 17 17 101.1 81 6 10.04 2.31 2.31 2.78

The third Twins pitcher on this list, Berrios recently received a promotion to Double-A at the age of 20. The biggest knock on the hard-throwing Puerto Rico native is his lack of size. He stands just 6-0 and struggles to stay on top of the ball at times, creating high fly-ball rates. The Twins could easily go from having one of the worst big league rotations to one of the best in only a few seasons.  [Pre-season Ranking: 93rd]

 

#25 Blake Swihart | Red Sox (C)


Age PA H 2B HR BB SO SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA
22 308 82 17 9 24 49 4 .292 .347 .470 .364

Swihart continues to show a strong bat and, as a result, the switch-hitter has become the best backstop prospect in the game, narrowly edging out defensive specialist Austin Hedges of the Padres. With a strong finish to the year, and perhaps a trip to the Arizona Fall League, he 22-year-old Texas native has a shot at opening 2015 as the Red Sox’s starting catcher.  [Pre-season Ranking: 66th]

 

Just Missed Julio Urias | Dodgers (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
17 17 13 52.1 43 3 9.97 4.30 3.44 3.96
 

Just Missed Henry Owens | Red Sox (P)


Age G GS IP H HR K/9 BB/9 ERA FIP
21 17 17 105.2 69 5 9.45 3.41 2.21 3.12



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Marc Hulet has been writing at FanGraphs since 2008. His work focuses on prospect analysis. Follow him on Twitter @marchulet.

98 Responses to “Top 25 Prospects: A Midseason Update”

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  1. PWR says:

    as a nonscout, i don’t get the aaron sanchez love.

    +12 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Alex says:

      I think it’s the feeling that it’s easier to fix a lack of control than velocity or stuff.

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      • Daniel Cabrera says:

        That’s the theory at least :(

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        • G says:

          Yep look at someone like Kershaw – the big knock on him in the minors and early career (4.8 BB/9 through 170IP in ’09 with the Dodgers) was the command.
          Generally with big power pitchers with decent mechanics the command will come eventually.

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      • tz says:

        His stuff-vs-numbers so far reminds me a lot of Matt Harvey’s minor league stint, FWIW.

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        • vivalajeter says:

          But Harvey struck out over a batter per inning every stint in the minors, and never walked 4 batters per 9 innings. Sanchez hasn’t struck out a batter per inning since A-ball, and he hasn’t walked under 4 per 9 since a 42 inning stint in rookie ball. Harvey’s numbers didn’t make it seem like he was destined to be an ace, but he didn’t have nearly the same red flags that Sanchez has.

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        • evo34 says:

          Agreed. Would love to see the list of top MLB pitchers who had terrible control with well under 9 K/9 in the minors. Overrated prospect — not just here, but in most lists.

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    • vivalajeter says:

      Yeah, I was surprised to see him a spot ahead of Syndergaard, although I assume that a big chunk of that is Syndergaard’s recent shoulder scare.

      Looking at Sanchez’s horrific K/BB ratio, it seems a stretch that he’s ahead of some guys who show much better command. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sanchez is one of those guys who sticks around for a few years because various teams hope they can turn him around, even though his production doesn’t warrant it.

      Then again, I’ve never seen him pitch so I’m just going based on what I see in his player page.

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    • Jeremy says:

      Last few starts the Blue Jays have been getting him to use a higher arm angle and it has really paid off, decreased walks and increased groundballs. Small sample size, but its possible he has finally figured it out.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Velo+GB%=Awesome

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      • David says:

        You know what doesn’t = awesome? Failing to generate as many swinging strikes as other top 100 pitching prospects. Also, walking nearly 5 guys per 9 innings. On the plus side it looks like Sanchez should have a lower BABIP and allow fewer long balls than most major league pitchers. But like other commenters, I suspect this is a case of scouts overvaluing things like velocity, frame, makeup, etc. That, or Sanchez has compromising photos of most prospect evaluators.

        I swear, Sanchez could give up baseball and Keith Law would still rank him in his top 40 prospects.

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        • LukeNalooshe says:

          Talent evaluators understand that velocity is the single safest indicator of success in baseball, Sanchez has that in spades. Combine that with plus sink, and Sanchez has a promising propensity for weak contact via his fastball. Couple his fastball with a plus breaking ball, top it off with his frame and a change up that will play, and almost every person in the industry could fall in love with that profile.

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  2. RandomDigits says:

    Needs more Hunter Harvey.

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    • Josh says:

      I saw Hunter Harvey pitch about a week and a half ago, those low A hitters couldnt touch him but Im not putting him top 25 in all of baseball yet.

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      • Nate says:

        This is dead-on. Hunter Harvey, let’s not have any question on this one. That’s a waste of time arguing against him. Chalk this down as a glaring omission and move on.

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  3. Mookie betts says:

    Where would I rank if I wasn’t in the majors

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  4. Pesach Wolicki says:

    Why no indication of the minor league level at which the stat-line was compiled? Maybe an edit of this piece could be done to include this critical info!

    +14 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Wobatus says:

      Many over different levels. Click on the player name.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Yup, if you want this expanded, click on their name for the full breakdown. The list maker tool is designed in house but is not an easy thing to upgrade on the fly…

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  5. Rian says:

    Nice list. My only quibble as a Cubs fan would be with the notion that Javy Baez has taken a step back developmentally. His numbers are certainly down, but that seems to be more the product of taking some time to develop a more advanced approach, which he’s never needed before, than regressing at all. I think a fairer statement would be to say that development, for the first time, became necessary and is slower than we might have expected given his otherwise fast rise through the Cubs system. But still – K% and BB% trending down and up, respectively, since the beginning of the year, and (though it won’t show up in statistics since we don’t have them) anecdotally chasing fewer pitches out of the zone and barreling up more of those he does swing at as the season progresses. Give him another three months at AAA, and watch out.

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    • BassmanUW says:

      I think more the issue is calling it a “terribly disappointing season” for Baez. It was a terribly disappointing first month and a half where, through May 15 (28 games, 118 PAs) Baez hit just .142/.229/.255 with a 38.1% strikeout rate rate. Since then (56 games, 230 PAs) he’s hitting .291/.343/.549 with a 28.3% K rate.

      The bigger issue for Baez is more that he hasn’t taken a step forward than that he took a step back. He still swings as hard as he can at everything, which means he is often flailing at good breaking stuff, with an awful two strike approach in particular.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Agreed. I had considered taking out the terribly disappointing… but the fact that he hasn’t moved forward in his development is certainly not encouraging… A player of his pedigree should be constantly moving forward.

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  6. Featherstone says:

    Would Arismendy Alcantara have made the list if he weren’t called up?

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Yes, I deleted him off the list after the call up but was then able to put Taijuan Walker back on since he went down. Arismendy was near the end of the Top 25 but he was there.

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  7. Ross Fuller says:

    Man, looks like there are a lot of good SS coming up through the systems. Should be fun to watch how they pan out.

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  8. Gabes says:

    Seriously? No love for the White Sox Organiza…nope, couldn’t do it with a straight face

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

  9. Frank says:

    Very unimpressive list. Not on your part Marc, but this group has tons of down seasons and question marks, even for a prospect list.

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    • Jay29 says:

      Prospect lists (that exclude players who’ve debuted in MLB) tend to look weaker mid-season than they do in the off-season.

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  10. Michael says:

    As a Twins fan this is something to look forward too…The fallers aren’t suddenly bad, they are injured. The climbers are doing amazing. I’m pumped.

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  11. Mark Appel says:

    Keith Law still thinks I rule!

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  12. Max G says:

    We all know Theo Epstein famously declared that Kris Bryant would never be called up this season, but that statement was made toward the end of Bryan’ts AA tenure. Given that Bryant continues to tear the cover off the ball in AAA, is the only reason he hasn’t been called up is to safeguard his Super-2 status? Will Epstein remain true to his earlier statement?

    If so, I feel sad for Cubs fans, because Bryant needs to get his feet wet in the big leagues to further accelerate his development, and if he already begins the difficult transition to the majors this season, the Cubs would be better for it next season. Who cares how the timing of his arbitration eligibility will be affected! This is the rare kind of player that as an organization, you want a chance to spend money on this guy.

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    • Todd says:

      Eh, next season on the North Side isn’t likely to be all that great anyway. They probably won’t sell off, and there will be some hope what with Bryant/Baez/Alcantara all likely seeing some playing time. But barring absurd performances from everyone, it’s going to be a hopeful year more than a good one. Taking a year of control down the line (when they will be, presumably, quite good) for better performance next year doesn’t seem like it’s worth it.

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      • Ivan Grushenko says:

        Unless their development stalls by not facing good enough competition. I also wouldn’t write off 2015 for the Cubs. There aren’t any super teams in the division, although no one is really bad either. The Rays won in 2008 and the Nats in 2012 when they were supposedly a year away. You could even go back to the 1991 Braves. There’s no reason ever to punt a season where you could conceivably win if enough goes well.

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    • Kyle says:

      I’m less concerned with that than with the implication that the outfield is in his future. He may not stick at SS, especially in this system, but there’s a few more stops on the defensive spectrum between SS and RF that will be explored.

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  13. Steve-O says:

    Yesterday’s Futures game was the first time that I’ve seen Giolito pitch. He has great stuff to be sure, but it looked like he had a different arm slot and release point for each pitch. To those of you who watch him, was that a fluke?

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  14. John Stamos says:

    Hi Marc, I wanted to get your take on Michael Lorenzen – a lot of scouts have been coming around on Lorenzen and his potential as a starter now that he has seemingly found his command. Have you developed any opinion on him yet?

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      I’m definitely seeing his development head in the right direction. He’ll feature prominently on the Reds Top 10 list during the offseason if he keeps this up.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  15. Vslyke says:

    How close was Jose Peraza to making the list?

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      I like him more than most and gave him serious consideration. He would probably be in the 25-35 range for me.

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  16. Bomok says:

    Why do people keep calling it a down year for Syndergaard. Aside frome the injuries he’s been incredible! He strikes out over a batter per inning, and has a BB/9 rate of 2.60!!! Think ZAck Wheeler with command!!! He has a high opp. BABIP and has a HR/9 rate over 1. That HR rate will never hold up! and homers can easily be explained. Thor’s pitched at least two games in Vegas where 20 mph winds were blowing out and he gave up 3 in those two games. He also gave up 2 more when he was injured and he’s given up 9 in total.

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  17. SickRick says:

    I don’t follow the ranking of Swihart above Plawecki. Care to elaborate on that?

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    • John Stamos says:

      Seems to be pretty universal in the scouting world so it’s not much of a surprise. Swihart was a former top catching prospect who is realizing some of his potential finally, so I’d say this is more about upside – an area where Plawecki lacks.

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      • SickRick says:

        well, that’s not really an answer.

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        • Jonathan says:

          In the interest of contrast, John Sickels released his midseason top 75 today as well. He has Plawecki at 60 with Swihart 23.

          Swihart was 23 with BP to Plawecki’s 40. Swihart’s highest finish was 14 with BA who ranked Plawecki 40.

          So it being the consensus would honestly be a pretty fair answer. There doesn’t seem to be a single reputable source who ranks Plawecki above Swihart.

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        • SickRick says:

          no, “other people are doing it” isn’t really an answer to why did you jump off the Brooklyn Bridge… I asked for elaboration, not what the consensus is. I know that Plawecki isn’t getting the attention right now.

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      • Marc Hulet says:

        For me, Swihart has a better hit tool and has the added value of being a switch-hitter. He’s also really made strides on defense.

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      • redsoxu571 says:

        I have to quibble with your claim that Swihart is a “former top catching prospect who…etc”. When did “former” become part of the equation? He was a late 1st round pick who would have gone higher if not for signability concerns at a volatile position (and there were questions of whether he would stick at the position). He scuffled a bit in his first professional season, but given his age and little track record that didn’t mean much of anything.

        Swihart then rebounded exactly as one would hope in pro year #2, showing a strong eye, power potential, and making defensive strides. In spite of his being a 22 year old catcher, he has handled his move up to AA this year even better, turning the power potential into a power skill. In other words, so far so good, so what had before been “wait and see” is now on track for, ideally, a Jorge Posada level career. No “finally” here…just a single unsurprising initial hiccup and nothing but high marks ever since.

        As for Swihart vs Plawecki, there are two major factors. As some have already said, a lot of it is potential; Swihart is very athletic and projects to have very solid power or better. The other, easily overlooked factor, is simple: age. Both have primarily been AA players this year, but Swihart is a year younger, and that counts for a LOT in prospect rankings (add in that Swihart was a draftee out of HS and Plawecki college, and you can see that, although they aren’t far apart in current ability, Swihart is ascending much more rapidly).

        P.S. I went to quickly look something up about Swihart, and stumbled onto the fact that he only took up switch-hitting starting in junior year of HS. In other words, this is only the fifth year of his LIFE in which he’s batted lefty, the heavy side of the platoon. That’s promising.

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    • Jonathan says:

      The most obvious likelihood being that Swihart scouts better and is at a similar level of development (70+ games in the high minors) and over a year younger. Aside from the similar offensive numbers this year, Swihart also profiles as a potentially elite defender compared while Plawecki’s defensive skills are questioned. If Plawecki can’t stick at catcher, his numbers go from impressive to standard at 1B.

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      • SickRick says:

        there really is no question about Plaw sticking at C however.

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        • Some Dude says:

          Isn’t that beside the point? A year younger and elite defense vs. average, there are your reasons. Any other words I write are purely adjunctive, even if you disagree. Purple monkey dishwasher.

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        • PXB says:

          There is if Travis d’Arnaud continues his recent pace in the show.

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        • Jonathan says:

          As some dude points out pretty succinctly, whether or not he sticks:

          They’re roughly equivalent offensively.
          Swihart is reportedly significantly better defensively.
          Swihart is a full year younger.

          Taking out general projectability (Which Swihart works out better on anyway), there’s no reason to rank Plawecki ahead of Swihart.

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        • Jonathan says:

          “There is if Travis d’Arnaud continues his recent pace in the show.”

          In fairness, this is never really a consideration when ranking prospects.

          Mookie Betts is considered an elite prospect now because of his ability to play quality up the middle defense as a 2B even though he’ll never log meaningful innings as a 2B because it’s the most blocked position in the franchise he plays for.

          Being blocked doesn’t mean you can’t stick at a given position talentwise.

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  18. everdiso says:

    Not that it means anything, but its always a bit annoying when a kid like Stroman can’t get ranked top 25 before a season despite having the talent and numbers for it, and then outpitches every other prospect on the list for half a season…but loses his prospect eligibility as a result.

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    • TomG says:

      Yes, it is always annoying when a prospect outperforms expectations, especially at the Major League level.

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  19. capnsparrow says:

    Seager isnt moving to 3rd base until he proves he cant play there. Hes at short in AA this week after he hangs out with his brother at the ASG

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  20. Steve Z says:

    Re: Bryant, Gallo and Baez

    I could swear high strikeout rates are a glaring, flashing, can’t help but notice warning sign. It seems the glare produced by home runs surpasses the glare produced by the many strikeouts these players accumulate.

    Perhaps Bryant, Gallo and Baez will overcome the limitations of their hit tools.

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    • Jhonny Manzana seed says:

      I think there is a big difference between guys who strikeout because they consistently get deep into counts (bryant, gallo) and those who strike out because they swing at bad pitches (baez).

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      • Steve Z says:

        I’d say striking out at a high rate always indicates an inadequate hit tool, approach or both. Even players who consistently get deep into counts need to shorten their strokes, stay inside pitches, go the other way, etc. when they have two strikes. If they refuse to or can’t use these techniques, then they have a problem.

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        • NorDub says:

          Stanton has a 25.4% K rate and Trout has a 23.3% K rate. To make a sweeping generalization “always indicates an inadequate hit tool, approach or both” about players seems overly simplistic.

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        • Steve Z says:

          Perhaps they have they have the hit tool but sell out to hit homeruns.

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        • gabriel syme says:

          Trout never struck out more than 20% of the time coming up through the minors; Stanton did strike out a great deal, and he’s probably the best positive comp for Gallo & Bryant in terms of succeeding despite high K totals in the minors.

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        • EL says:

          Basing assessments entirely on rate stats for minor leaguers is a tricky business.

          Bryant’s strikeout rate is particularly deceptive given the speed at which he’s been promoted (he signed less than one calendar year ago and already has around 100 PAs in AAA). At each level, his K rate has started out in the mid-30%s, but with an absurd OPS + wRC+, such that the K rate is the only possible thing keeping him down.

          When he has put up a consistent period of low K rates (which takes his overall rate to the mid-20%s), he’s been getting promoted to the next level. As a result, he hasn’t had the chance to pad his K rate stats with months of mastery of a level, because it has been the only holdup at each stop.

          This is also the reason why the Cubs’ front office has a reasonable argument for waiting until Bryant’s AAA K rate stabilizes or improves to an acceptable level for some number of at bats. The K rate has consistently been the last fly in the ointment to be removed before a promotion.

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      • Sinnycal says:

        Gallo is sporting a 52% contact rate in AA. I don’t think you can just chalk his K troubles up to working deep counts. Bryant was at 69% in AA, and even Baez carried a 65.5% at that level.

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    • Punned it says:

      Bloated minor league K rates aren’t nearly the red flag they would’ve been, say twenty years ago. There’s been a sport-wide culture shift, I think, and historical statistical trends needs to be re-thought at least a little. I look more at the BB/K ratio than the raw K numbers, myself.

      Red flag, absolutely. Smaller flag than before, though.

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  21. Marcus Aurelius Greene says:

    I like the list, Marc, especially the aggressiveness with Gallo and Bundy. But Kohl Stewart top 20? I can’t see putting him ahead of Rob Kaminsky, who’s the same age in the same league and much more dominant (.172 average against, and zero homers allowed, leading to vastly better FIP & ERA numbers). Comparable groundball rates, and similar fastballs relative to handedness, perhaps even an edge to Kaminsky — and from what I’ve seen of the pair, Kaminsky has the clearly superior curve. I’d say Kaminsky top 30-35, Stewart top 40-50.

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    • Marc Hulet says:

      Kohl is the superior athlete and is super projectable — he has a better pitcher’s frame. Rob’s frame is less than ideal (he’s under 6-feet) but earns a bonus for being a lefty… Both have strong GB rates but Kohl is more likely to continue producing a strong rate due to the height/plane advantage.

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      • Marcus Aurelius Greene says:

        ‘Preciate the response, Marc. We can always agree to disagree (especially about whether pitcher height/release point has any bearing on GB rates).

        We need you for a prospect chat sometime!

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  22. DT says:

    FYI, Dylan Bundy is 21, not 19 years old. 22 y/o in November. Had to look that up because I couldn’t image a 17 y/o pitcher in the majors and me missing it.

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  23. Bobby Baguette says:

    Just wondering how close Austin Hedges was to making this list. Marc, does the lack of a projectable hit tool for Hedges outweigh his defensive reputation to the point where he may not be a factor in the ML?

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  24. Zimm says:

    i know he’s had a stinker of a 1st half in AAA this year, but was Maikel Franco anywhere near making your list?

    maybe this is just an adjustment period after a fairly quick rise through the Phillies system the past 2 years.

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  25. LG says:

    Seems like a lot of glossing over serious injuries and bad performance

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  26. EDogg1438 says:

    Urias should be ahead of a lot of these pitchers. Way younger and doing it in a much tougher pitching environment than most of them. He was 92-95 with a wipeout breaking ball during the Futures Game. Certainly isn’t lacking the stuff to be ranked higher.

    Sanchez definitely stands out as easily the most overrated. I get the projectability stuff, but at some point you have to perform.

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  27. Adam from Bay Ridge says:

    I thought one of Gary Sanchez, Robert Refsnyder, Luis Severino, or Aaron Judge would’ve made it out of the Yankees farm system. Sure, each has certain question marks, as all prospects do, but they are definitely putting up the requisite numbers (much better than a number of the prospects on this list) that should garner more notice. It seems as though Yankees prospects/players in general need to have out-of-this-world type production in order to receive recognition.

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  28. Julio Urias says:

    I overtook Trout to be the youngest ever in the future’s game, so why am I not on the list?

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  29. Grant says:

    Marc, I haven’t seen any comments here about David Dahl. What is you take on him. He seems to be finding his groove in Ashville.

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  30. Sinnycal says:

    I know I’m being a bit greedy with Bryant, Russell, and Baez on the list (and Alcantara being a late scratch due to his call-up), but I’ve been puzzled by the lack of attention Jorge Soler has gotten. He’s been injured, yes, but so have other players still highly ranked, and unlike some of them he’s been phenomenal when he’s been on the field. He’s been making AA pitching look like batting practice. He’s sitting at .414/.494/.843 on the season across two levels. It’s an admittedly small sample of 81 PAs, but still, it’s hard to understand a guy’s stock *falling* while he’s doing that.

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  31. Ralph says:

    I cant understand your comment that Baez has had a disappointing season and taken a step back?? He’s hit more Hr’s and has more rbi’s than anyone in the top 10 but Bryant and Seager. He’s started slow but come on he’s hit over .300 since May 1st. To me he’s the number 2 prospect in baseball. If he has a .240 avg, 14 hr’s and 50 plus rbi’s in the MLB at this time as a rookie that’s fringe rookie of the year territory. Your way off on Baez. He could easily be better than everyone in this top 25 on his talent alone. Your off on Gallo too. He should easily be in the top 10.

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  32. NJHalfen says:

    Swapping Gallo with Seager would make more sense at this stage

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  33. Jack says:

    sad to know nobody will know who half of these people are in 5 years due to prospect bust rates, lol

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  34. Matt says:

    Why isn’t Jose Peraza (AA for Atlanta) getting any love on any prospect list? He’s 20, mashed High-A, and is doing even better in AA? He has a great K/BB rate and tons of speed. He’s certainly got a much higher ceiling than Tommy “I can’t do much but get on base” La Stella

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