A quick update on the key term you will see on all team lists : Future Value, abbreviated here and below as FV, is a term that summarizes a player’s value in numbers. It is rated on a scale of 20 to 80. A low ranked player is at 50, equivalent to 2.0 WAR; a much higher ranked player, a rookie #3 or a closer ranked player is at 60, equivalent to about 3.0 WAR. I don’t throw 80 in the minor leagues because that means I’m one of the best baseball players.
Although the top 100 no longer exists, I rank all candidates who receive an FV score of 45+ or higher, for a total of 167, so the rankings here are included in the team lists. There are reports on the top 10 candidates for each team, then the number of others changes depending on the strength of the system. In general, these will all be over 40 FV, then the interesting prospects that make up the 40 FV are handpicked.
Let’s move on to my hearings.
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1st Edley Rutschman, C, 60 FV (#2 in top 100)
2nd. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, 55 FV (30th)
3. Ryan Mountcastle, LF, 50 FV (93rd)
4. D.L. Hall, LNR, 50 FV (97th)
5. Heston Kjerstad, RF, 50 FV (104th)
6. Gunnar Henderson, 3B, 45 FV7
. Keegan Akin, NRL, 45 FV8
. Terrin Vavra, 2B, 45 FV9
. Ryan McKenna, CF, 45 FV10
. Michael Baumann, RHP, 45 FV8.
Top 10 reports
Kjerstad has had a stable career in the SEC, where he has shown traditional right field tools in the form of above average raw power and arm strength at Arkansas. The question now (and why he signed as an overall second choice) is whether his contact and course selection problems are correct (i.e., good course recognition but poor swing decisions that can be corrected), which Baltimore apparently thinks of him. Henderson (my choice for the system) made a strong start to 2019 after being selected number 42 in the overall Alabama High School rankings. He has the tools with average stats and will likely move to third base. His three-stage, 6-foot frame has some projection, and swinging to the left side gives him an added advantage, so he could be in the top 100 conversations next year with a solid start to the season. Akin projects himself as a baseline starter who relies on his command of the fastball and more on the changeup to get away with it.
Vavra was acquired along with 1B Tyler Nevin and CF Misael Deshaun as part of a one-and-a-half-year deal with Michal Givens, who still appears to be well on his way to Baltimore. Vavra is a left fielder with excellent playing discipline. He is better suited for second base and could be a Tommy Lastell type, but he will be 24 years old at the start of the season and has not yet played above Low-A. Phil’s son Nevin (21, 40 FV) is a first base player with some raw power, while Deshaun (30, 40 FV), my replacement, is a 6-foot-4 center fielder with speed, athletic ability and swing that shows the games are moving forward. McKenna is a 70+ midfielder with good contact skills, close to big league maturity, but has power well below average. Baumann has a faster ball up to 97 mph with missed innings and tee shots, a marked improvement over the relief he seemed in college.
SS Jordan Westburg (45 FV, 11th) is an athletic and powerful 6-foot-5 player with more power and speed, but is a bit heavy in his offensive game. He is athletic enough to play shortstop, but his size could force him to move to third base or center field, where he easily has a power profile and where a 2021 start would put him in the top 100 (Westburg was another breakout candidate). RF Kyle Stowers (45 FV, 12th) was Stanford’s 71st overall pick in 2019 and at times showed five average or better tools, but his brief debut as a professional raised questions about his contact skills. RHP Dean Kremer (45 FV, 13th), like Akin, has made a couple of big league appearances, but is not quite up to speed yet. He has a solid average three-hitter with a lagging shift change, so he may be suitable for shorter periods or even total relief. RF Yusniel Diaz (45 FV, 14th) has stagnated a bit after being a big part of Manny Machado’s exchange and seems like an everyday low-end player at best. LHP Zac Lowther (40+ FV, 15th) is firmly entrenched in center field, which, along with his sense of misdirection and pitching, should be enough to make him a useful starter at the end of the course.
2B Jahmai Jones (40+ FV, 16th) was sent back by the Angels for Alex Cobb, and he’s still an extra rider with everyday tools of moderate quality, but his power and swing at the highest level made him slightly less likely. SS Adam Hall (40+ FV, 17th) appeared in 2019 and has a chance to develop it this year, with higher speed, medium raw power and shortstop as top tools. The CF Hudson Haskin (40 FV, 18th) was second at Tulane last summer with a higher speed profile in the middle and medium raw power to punish mistakes, but a funky swing that needs improvement or can be proven effective at higher levels.
3B Coby Mayo (40+ FV, 19) was overpaid for the fourth time by a Florida high school last summer, with superior raw power potential, but his contact problems are due to his size and swing. RHP Carter Baumler (40 FV, 24th) was Baltimore’s fifth overpaid from an Iowa high school with two above-average placements. RHP Kyle Bradish (40 FV, 26th) was acquired from the Angels for Dylan Bundy. He is a solid sleeper to keep an eye on, as he has the starting quality of a solid four-ball average and throws solid shots, but his pitching seems to be a relief to some; his performance could land him in the rotation.
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1st Jeter Downs, 2B, 50 FV (41)
2nd. Triston Casas, 1B, 50 FV (49)
3. Jarren Durand, CF, 45+ FV (159)
4. Gilberto Jimenez, CF, 45+ FV (160)
5. Brian Mata, RHP, 45+ FV(165
)6. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, 45 FV7
. Tanner Hawk, RHP, 45 FV8
. Noah Song, RHP, 45 FV9
. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, 45 FV10
. Connor Siebold, RHP, 45 FV8.
Top 10 reports
Duran is another runner who has improved his defense under center and made great strides since becoming Long Beach State’s seventh runner in 2018. He’s moved his hands down in his configuration to get more power, so it’s more average for now, but we haven’t seen how he’s going to play in games. Jimenez is an 80-degree plus runner, defender in center, with great makeup and playability and better control of the bat than Duran, but he hasn’t played a full season yet and has very little playing strength. To me, Mata looks like Carlos Zambrano, with an electric lead from the slot at less than 99mph and more control (over the plate) than command (hitting from his particular position). Mata’s changeup is above average and better than the break, so his command will likely dictate whether he is an infielder or a multi-set starter. Dalbec has above-average starting power and 70 arms, as well as above-average fielding and third base defense. He is a last-minute reliever who will run and fight for his power in games. He is blocked by Rafael Devers, so he is more of an outfielder for Boston right now.
Huck is back to his college throwing style, with a low slice and a heavy descent at 97 mph and a slider that shows the most. His niche and change of position (and perhaps his command) could push him to shorter positions, but he seems to be a useful big leaguer and fast. Song, a dynamic Navy rookie, was selected in the fourth round in 2019 and received a bonus under the $100,000 threshold because it was assumed he would have to stay away for two full years before he could fully devote himself to professional soccer. At best, he has a plus in the 90s and a plus on the team. He turns 24 in May, but he will be able to move quickly if he is fully reinstated into the system, perhaps later in 2021. Seabold has a deal with Brandon Workman and fits a type often underestimated by potential media: a right-handed starter with average arm speed but above-average rotational speed and command. Hernandez was acquired earlier this week by Tampa Bay’s former employer, Chaim Bloom. He is 40 years old, has more raw power and has improved behind home plate, but is still a bit questionable due to his lack of swing elevator and polish behind the plate.
SS Nick York (11, 40+ FV) was a surprising pick in the first round at Northern California High School last summer. He has no shiny tools and fits Bloom’s type with the Rays – a hard-hitting center fielder who is not seen as a shortstop. Other than that, he’s more of a hitter with tools for center field, and he’s a player who could be used at one of the center field positions any day if those pitched tools end up in the big leagues. The savings on Yorke were spent on the most important player of the 2020 prep class, 1B Blaze Jordan (19, 40 FV). He was somewhat overrated by casual draft spectators when a viral video proclaimed him the next Bryce Harper, when in fact he was just a very solid start of development per prospect, not a generation. He’s probably the first to make the transition, but he has more raw power and contact history to make his mark.
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RHP Brayan Bello (12, 40+ FV) has a doubleheader at 97 mph and more warm-up, more athletic ability and makeup to expect enough improvement in his team and a breakthrough ball to catch the spin. RHP Thad Ward (age 13, 40+ FV) is a former student turned pro. His mix of four strikes plays above average, so he may be best suited for a multi-inning relief role. The SS Brainer Bonaci (14, 40 FV) is a dynamic young shortstop with above-average skills, highlighted by his hitting tool, speed and arm plus. RHP Garrett Whitlock (17, 40 FV) was a Yankees Rule 5 pick and is my breakthrough choice for the system. He was a Yankees 18-rounder at the University of Alabama-Birmingham as a “system inventory” pick in 2017, with fancy delivery and arm action. He exceeded expectations with a top performance, but he battled in 15 starts in the Double-A before undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2019. He returned to the mound during the 2020 season and was not protected by New York. He was not seen in the game for over a year when the Red Sox picked him up in the Rule 5 draft. He posted videos of his postseason paddock on Instagram showing 93-95, the postseason slide and clean arm action. He will likely open the season as a long-term replacement, but has a chance to take a spot in the rotation if things go well in the short term.
CF Jeisson Rosario (15, 40 FV), 3B Hudson Potts (16, 40 FV) and C Connor Wong (18, 40 FV) are all 40-man prospects acquired from Bloom who have limited day-to-day growth potential but will likely become strong players. Rosario is an extra hitter, runner, defender and pitcher but with a lower scale of play, Potts has more raw power but below average contact ability, and Wong is a versatile catcher converted to pro ball with average tools. There are a few low international prospects to keep an eye on, but the most exciting is RF Miguel Bleis (23, 40 FV). He’s more of a “raw with big raw tools” type, with currently more power that could turn into plus-plus, and more current velocity that will likely take a step back and move him to right field. Blais has above-average hitting speed and has shown he can play well, but he needs to improve his approach.
1st Andrew Vaughn, 1B, 60 FV (8)
2nd. Michael Kopech, RHP, 60 FV (23)
3. Nick Madrigal, 2B, 50 FV (42)
4. Garrett Crochet, LHP, 50 FV (69).
5. Jared Kelly, RHP, 40+ FV6
. Benjamin Bailey, RF, 40+ FV7
. Jonathan Stover, RHP, 40+ FV8
. Meeker Adolfo, RF, 40+ FV9
. Matthew Thompson, RHP, 40+ FV10
. Andrew Dalquist, RHP, 40 FV9.
Top 10 reports
Kelly would have gone higher (he got silver in the middle of the first round with the 47th overall pick last summer) had he been in the 2010 draft and not the 2020 draft. The unanimity of the scouts made a small difference in the tremendous speed of preparation of right-handed players, especially when the speed of the game is reduced by poor pitching skills missed by hitters (i.e. fastballs should either go up for whiffs or down for grounders, not in between). Kelly is a solid 6-foot tall and under 100, with good control and player changeups, but his fastball shape and break-ball quality are of concern, as is the potential direction of his physique. The fastball shape can be corrected, and the rest is not uncommon for a 19-year-old. Therefore, I am optimistic and expect to see progress on these important issues in the coming years.
Bailey is 5-foot-9 and only 19 years old, so he will likely continue to grow. In 2019, he showed a lot in the DSL with excellent plate discipline, showed contact skills, and raw power should be a plus or plus in the long run. He doesn’t have many high-level reps and probably won’t have much speed or defensive value along the way, so you can largely judge his progress by the stats, but I’d expect a speed bump or two. With that in mind, Adolfo has more raw power and few other things he can be sure of, with a track record of discipline, contact, health, speed and defensive issues.
Stover, who is in his fifth season at Indiana in 2018, has had strong performances throughout professional baseball. In 2019, he will move from deep arm to prospect. He is more of a solid center fielder with a sense of adaptation to the back end of the rotation than a dynamic arm. So expect something more than his minor league career when he plays at the higher levels this year, and ignore his difficult start in the MLB. Thompson and Dalquist were combined in two bids in the 2019 bid for a total of $4.1 million in bonuses. Thompson is a bit more dynamic in the mid-90s, with explosions of above-average fastball and pitcher combinations and an athletic ability that allows him to project to get better and stay in the rotation. Dalquist is in the lower 90’s with an average four phase mix, but his curve ball game and above average team projection are characteristics worth noting, as we have few professional performances for either.
Based on the prospects of the 40 FV, we can see that the White Sox system is very shallow, so this secondary list is not cluttered with exciting prospects. SS Jose Rodriguez (11) is the free winger of the short season, with bat-head awareness, above-average speed and enough pop to punish a mistake. RHP Zack Burdi (12) is one of the best free wing aspirants in recent memory, ahead of Tommy John, with hits above 100 mph, pitches above three and solid control. He hit 100 again in his MLB debut in 2020, but his secondary acceleration and control were a notch below his 2017 peak and inconsistent. RF Luis Gonzalez (14) and Blake Rutherford (15) were placed together because they resemble the fourth outfielders who have played center in the past and can now fill their roles to the best of their abilities. Rutherford has a little more power and patience at the plate, while Gonzalez has more speed and sensitivity to the head of the bat.
CF Yoelqui Cespedes (16), 23, is the younger brother of Yoenis and signed in January for just over $2 million. He has superior outfield speed and a huge arm just like his brother, as well as above-average raw power, but his in-game offensive ability counts will continue to change until he faces full-season competition. RHP Norge Vera (23), 20, is another Cuban who signed for $1.5 million in January. At times, he has shown above-average talent and projection, but his leadership has been variable in his amateur performance. CF James Beard (21) is just fun to watch, but we call him running at 80. He’s a great athlete, and that speed could be enough, at least for a Terrance Gore-like MLB career.
1st Nolan Jones, 3B, 55 FV(33)
2. George Valera, RF, 50 FV(56)
3. Triston McKenzie, RHP, 50 FV(59)
4. Tyler Freeman, SS, 50 FV(114
)5. Daniel Espino, RHP, 45+ FV(130
)6. Bo Naylor, SS, 45+ FV(162)
7. Brian Rocchio, SS, 45+ FS(163)
8. Gabriel Arias, SS, 45+ FS9
. Aaron Bracho, 2B, 45+ FS10
. Lenny Torres, RHP, 45 FV.
Top 10 reports
Freeman was on the verge of entering the top 100, and was not much different from the Rays’ SS Taylor Walls who had snuck in. Freeman has elite bat control, as evidenced by his elite contact numbers, but the rest of his toolbox is pretty mediocre, aside from his ability to play shortstop. Rocchio also has good bat control, but he is more athletic, has above-average speed, and is potentially above-average, but he has not yet played a full season. Rocchio just has excellent raw tools for an elite prospect as a second base player without obvious plus tools, but he still gets a seven-figure bonus because his hitting tools and pitching selection are advanced. In game situations, he is often considered an amateur.
Bracho is still a teenager and has only played 38 professional games. So he could be on the list if he proves at a higher level that the hitting tool is what I suspect it is – and even higher if he has power as well. Acquired in San Diego as part of the Mike Clevinger business, Arias is quite different from other shortstops in that he is a below-average contact with above-average raw power, speed, defense and arm strength.
Espino is one of the best commodities among beginners in the miner category. In the 90s, he regularly hits with a lead and three above-average secondaries that give him a different look. My main concern is both the player’s overall health and whether his secondary technique and teams will improve as he progresses. Torres has two potential plus throws, throwing power and athletic ability, but he is also coming off a Tommy John surgery in 2019 and was pretty raw before that. Naylor is the younger brother of Josh, who was picked up in the Clevinger case. Bo is still fairly new to the world of catching, but he is progressing at the plate with above-average raw power and solid playing stats that give him an every day advantage as a catcher.
SS Angel Martinez (11, 45 FV) was one of my system outliers. He’s a plus-plus-arm runner who has what it takes to stay at shortstop, who still has the advanced hitting tools Cleveland wants, and who is a teenager who has only played 56 games in the pros. SS Carson Tucker (19, 45 FV) was a young, pre-2020 class first runner with a well-balanced and solid tool set in the middle of the infield, the younger brother of SS Cole of the Pirates. CF Petey Halpin (23, 40+ FV) was selected later in the 2020 draft, over Slot, who stands out for his speed, center field landing and contact qualities. He has made strides in using raw energy, but at the moment not much of his offense is on the line.
FC Isaiah Greene (26, 40 FV) was another 2020 class hitter acquired from the Mets as part of the Lindor trade. He is another runner with a center field profile and short experience, but all five tools have flashed at least average so far. SS Junior Sanquintin (24, 40+ FV) and SS Gabriel Rodriguez (25, 40+ FV) both have seven-figure bonuses in the 2018 international class and often come up short. Sanquintin has a well-balanced and solid average, while power is a big part of Rodriguez’s game and he may be better able to play third base in the long run.
RHP Ethan Hankins (12, 45 FV) looked like a potential top 10 pick after a dominant summer showcase, but he was rather average in his spring draft, making him the 35th overall pick in 2018. His work settled in as an above-average four-pitch mix and he’s probably at the back of the rotation, but he could also be a preparer. RHP Carlos Vargas (15, 45 FV) has more dynamic raw material, up to 99 mph and a cursor more, but he has even more experience in command and change, making him eligible for the rotation at this stage. RHP Josh Wolfe (20, 40+ FV) is also acquired in the Lindor trade and offers a balance of Hankins and Vargas profiles, with two lengths ahead and slightly more control than Vargas, but only eight rounds of experience and a finer build.
In the big league, we have the RHP Emmanuel Clase (18, 45 FV) and the LHP Sam Hentges (13, 45 FV). Clase has returned to the Kluber cause and missed the 2020 year due to a PED suspension, but he makes a very notable debut in the MLB in 2019 with a rare combination of hits and steps with a sharp fastball that averaged 99.3 mph, hit 102.7 mph and used a solid slider on average 20% of the time that averaged 90.5 mph. His velocity dropped a bit, as you’d expect from a season without a team complex, but it’s not hard to imagine him coming out with stats close to those of 2019. Henges is a 6-foot-5 left-hander with a mid-90s landing and a solid mid-range breakaway ball, but health and skill issues have come up over the years with the team.
1. Spencer Torkelson, 1B, 60 FV (4)
2. Casey Mize, RHP, 60 FV (20)
3. Matt Manning, RHP, 60 FV (24)
4. Riley Green, RF, 55 FV (25)
5. Tariq Skubal, LHP, 50 FV (53)
6. Isaac Paredes, 3B, 50 FV (103)
7. Vincent Perez, SS, 45 FV8
. Christian Santana, SS, 45 FV9
. Dillon Dingler, C, 45 FV10
. Parker Meadows, C.F., 45 FV.
Top 10 reports
Paredes is an offensive player with excellent bat control and enough power to hit 15-20 home runs at a time, but his lateral speed limits his defensive potential. Perez has the best contact skills, speed and defensive abilities because he probably has a short range, but he has below-average power which limits his defensive potential. Meadows is the younger brother of Rays Austin, with even more physical potential than his brother. Parker is a power runner with more strength, more arms, and potentially an above-average midfielder. His long arms and focus on power might cause him problems with contact at home plate, but that is getting better in professional baseball.
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Santana was one of the first five prospective signers of this international period. He does not fit into the broad categories of 16-year-olds who are often either “big tools, contact problems” or “limited tools, big bats.” Santana is stronger in his style, but he has enough feel to hit and compose notes where his contact ability is not a problem. Now he has power in a solid frame and he’s perfect as a shortstop, so the scouts I talked to saw something like a 5-shot (.260ish), 6-power (20-25 homers) third baseman.
Dingler was my pick for the system. He emerged as a first-round midfield talent in the fall before the 2020 draft, after missing the summer due to injury and switching from midfielder to receiver. This change of position highlights his raw athletic ability, as he has at least average speed and above-average projection behind home plate and enters the defense with more arm strength and raw power. I placed him 17th in my preliminary rankings, but he dropped to 38th due to limited hitting and some concerns about previous injuries. The stage is set for a breakthrough, as Dingler has more deviations in his profile than one usually sees in a top 50 varsity player.
LHP Joey Wentz (11, 45 FV) comes from Atlanta as part of a deal with Shane Green, and while he didn’t get the boost he hoped for in his amateur career, he remains a solid backstop. He has an above-average plus changeup and a fastball/curve combo that are average, but sometimes play a little higher. RHP Alex Fayedo (12, 45 FV) made significant progress in the 2019 season, but will miss the 2021 season and possibly the start of the 2022 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2020. He is a potentially strong rookie who leans on his plus cursor. RHP Franklin Perez (13, 40+ FV) has made just 27 official test runs since taking over from Justin Verlander in 2017 due to a latent strain and shoulder pain. He’s been in good health all of 2020 and still has an option, so he should progress at the top minors this year. He has top potential with a three plus pitch when healthy.
The final shot after the first round was solid. The 2019 class includes 3B Nick Quintana (14, 40+ FV) and LF Bryant Packard (19). Quintana is a pure third base player with above average power, pull and fighting ability. Packard seems like a good find for the fifth round, as he is a potential everyday low-level left-hander with above-average raw power and contact ability. The 2020 class includes LF Daniel Cabrera (15, 40 FV), 3B Gage Workman (23) and 3B Colt Keith (26). Cabrera has plenty of experience as a high school and LSU hitter, but his gross power is only average and he is limited to left field. Workman is a good instrumental switch-hitter who may be able to play a decent shortstop, but has not yet appeared in games for his tools. Keith was a very strong two-way player who is better as a hitter and has four tools that may be above average except speed.
RF Jose De La Cruz (18), 3B Adinso Reyes (27) and RF Roberto Campos (28) are all seven of the international recruits who have done well so far, but don’t have a lot of professional qualities to show for it. De La Cruz is a classic right-winger, Reyes is a versatile and solid midfielder, and Campos is the most enigmatic, with raw power and very little experience scouting in any other right-winger form.
1. Jeremy Pena, SS, 50 FV (110)
2. Forrest Whitley, RHP, 50 FV (116)
3. Hunter Brown, RHP, 45+ FV (120)
4. Jairo Solis, RHP, 45 FV5
. Freidis Nova, SS, 45 FV.
6. Luis Garcia, RHP, 45 FV7
. Brian Abreu, RHP, 45 FV8
. Corey Lee, C, 40+ FV9
. Colin Barber, CF, 40+ FV10
. Alex Santos, RHP, 40 FV9.
Top 10 reports
Peña is a popular breakthrough hopper who just missed the top 100 because, like the solid hopefuls, we just needed a slightly cooler performance to have the confidence to put him lower on the list, so keep an eye on his performance at the beginning of the season. He first went to college in Maine, but worked on his swing and strength. He has average raw power, near-average contact skill, and at least an above-average glove as a shortstop. The Nova is still pretty raw, but it’s a big advantage, with average raw power and a stop-stop cut. Barber is another runner who is adjusting to the middle of the field and working to improve his offensive game. With success in the league’s offensive production, he would be an above-average player at any time. Lee was a late college receiver in Cal’s 2019 draft and has the potential to be an everyday player with his extra arm, raw power and near average defensive and contact skills.
Whitley continues to frustrate the evaluators with his ups and downs, but he still has three strokes and a couple of tee shots to go. A course like Andrew Miller’s (a promoted prospect who stumbled as a starter and found refuge in saves) now makes sense. Brown, like Peña, is on the rise and with a good first half could make the Top 100 by 2021. He was a small middle infielder in 2019 and he took a step forward by reaching 99 mph on an alternate pitch with an above-average slide to plus, although questions remain about the fastball team and quality changeup. Solis checks the scoring boxes, shows three plus shots and has decent control like Whitley, but without as much experience, partly due to Tommy John surgery in 2018. He has made only 11 appearances so far in the offseason, but could explode with a healthy year in 2021.
Garcia is one of many recruits looking to make the Big League team in 2020. He is a solid infielder in the midfield who can play for the No. 4 spot in the starting lineup as well as coach. Abreu has a similar dynamic to Josh James and has some chance to start, but he will likely get another chance in the MLB in 2021 and will pitch late in the evening. Santos has a high rotation speed, a TrackMan-compatible profile, and is a cold-weather arm who may need some time, but has the qualities to become a starter in the middle rotation.
SS Gray Kessinger’s 11-year-old grandfather played 16 seasons in the big leagues, his uncle had coffee in the big leagues and his father also played professionally. He has a good feel for the game and solid midfielders that give him a good chance of staying on the field for a long time. CF Jordan Brewer (14) is now 23 years old and has only 16 professional games under his belt, but he still has the noisy tools (70 speed, plus arm, above-average raw power) that earned him a 2019 Michigan third-round selection.
Bradford Doolittle stacks the starting lineups and pitching rotations as they are now, while the hot stove is still burning. Composition of the spinning line.
LF Chas McCormick (15) is a right/left outfielder with strong midfield skills and plenty of discipline in the strike zone. RF Pedro Leon (19) received $4 million from the Astros in their last international and hasn’t played in many organized games lately, but he has the raw power and arm strength to excel in right field every day when batters are playing pro ball. CF Zach Daniels
HRP Tyler Ivey (age 12) has performed well throughout his professional career. He relies on funk and slide – which may or may not work in the big leagues – and has a solid average, led by an above-average curveball. RHP Shawn Dubin (16) also has funk, but a clearer match in the short sleeves thanks to a fastball/slide plus combo, with 2021 his chance to prove it in the Upper Minors. Tyler Brown (23), the 2020 third pick, was closer to Vanderbilt, but has the potential and feel to start, or be an average reliever with above-average stuff.
1st Bobby Witt Jr, SS, 60 FV(17)
2nd. Asa Lacy, LHP, 50 FV(50)
3. Daniel Lynch, LHP, 50 FV(65)
4. Eric Pena, CF 45+ FV (119)
5. Jackson Kovar, RHP, 45+ FV(149
)6. Nick Loftin, SS, 45 FV.
7. Kyle Isbel, RF, 45 FV8
. Austin Cox, LHP, 40+ FV9
. M.J. Melendez, C, 40+ FV10
. Carlos Hernandez, RHP, 40+ FV.
Top 10 reports
Pena is a dynamic talent of the top international class of 2019, but this class fell at the wrong time because Pena will likely not have official work experience until about two years after signing. He is a comfortable, 6-foot-2 player with above-average skills and exciting offensive potential that could catapult him to the top of the list with a professional career start that matches his skills. Loftin was my favorite choice for the Royals system. Loftin fits perfectly into the current industry trend in batting estimation, which relies on contact speed as an indicator of bat control and pitching selection, and implies that walk rate can be taught.
We’ve already seen that some advanced athletes who excel as hitters can learn to add power, and Loftin appears to be another example after going from bottom of the order to a decent pop in his short draft spring at Baylor. The Royals pulled Loftin to 32nd overall, but gave him a $3 million bonus to match the 22nd pick. Loftin appealed to a broad base of teams, with scout clubs like Kansas City valuing his attitude and ability to improve, while progressive clubs were attracted by his ability to coach for his specific skills.
Isbel was deceptively bad at the high level in 2019 due to a poor BABIP, but he still looks like a low-level player who is decent in center field and above average in the corners. Melendez possesses dynamic tools with above-average to positive raw power, defensive ability and arm strength behind the plate, but his contact skills and hitting technique have been poor so far in the pro ranks. Kovar has hit 98 mph, has a velocity changeup that is at least a plus, and is expected to make his major league debut in 2020, but his broken ball, command and fastball strikes leave much to be desired. Cox is developing well out of college, with a combination of fastball and above-average curveball that will work well in tournaments with multiple sets, perhaps as a starter at the end of the game. Hernandez also has some very good assets (he’s in the mid-90s, a solid center curve and a role reversal) that could adapt to multiple roles, with a delivery and health history that suggests a few innings at a time would be best.
SS Brady McConnell (11, 40 FV) belongs to a somewhat risky category of players in college. Concerns about discipline in his hitting zone affect his contact rate and the frequency with which he can use his above-average raw power. He turns 23 in May and has not yet played a full season. So he will need to produce the ball, but his speed and short stoppage pattern give him some slack.
SS Wilmin Candelario (14) bears some resemblance to McConnell, with some questions about his batting discipline, but Candelario is only 19 years old and predicts above-average raw power, speed, stationary firing and arm strength. SS Lucius Fox (15) is currently a good shortstop, with more speed and Triple-A experience, but still two options and limited offensive impact at higher levels. RF Tyler Gentry (17) was a rising prospect at Alabama in the spring of 2020, before the spring season was cut short. The Royals caught him in the third round, and he has a solid lower bound as a 4th outfielder, but if he continues his offensive production, he could become a regular, low-cost option overnight.
HRP Jonathan Bowlan (12) is a durable workhorse, with solid average equipment and above-average leadership, who looks like a starter. RHP Alec Marsh (13) is another Royals pitcher, who also has a back profile with good average, good touch and frame. RHP Ben Hernandez (16) is the second 2020 pitcher from Illinois High School who has a similar type. He has strong center field skills, bolstered by a plus-flash team changeup.
1. Brandon Marsh, CF, 60 FV (19)
2. Jordyn Adams, CF, 50 FV (75)
3. Reid Detmers LHP, 45+ FV (122)
4. Jeremiah Jackson, 2B, 45 FV5
. Kieren Paris, SS, 45 FV6
. Arol Vera, SS, 45 FV7
. Chris Rodriguez, RHP, 45 FV8
. Hector Yan, LHP, 40+ FV9
. Van Shawn Knowles, CF, 40+ FV10
. Jose Alberto Rivera, RHP, 40+ FV9.
Top 10 reports
Detmeters was the best pitcher in the 2020 draft. He has all the assets, durability, pitching ability and control you like, although his raw material is rated as mediocre solid. Scouts and analysts who dig deeper see him as a 3rd or 4th starter who should get into the big league soon. Rodriguez has some durability issues, plus delivery and a late shift, that point to a role in saves. His heater from the mid-90s and his two above-average breakaway balls could give him a role as a preparer for a few years. Ian is a deceptively lefty with a deeper landing that is probably best suited for relievers, with his cursor for the shift change. The three-stroke mix gives him some potential for set-up. Rivera was a Rule 5 pick in Houston and he has tremendous potential, up to 100 mph at times with an above-average curve ball, a history of strip outs and strong athletic ability. But everything else is a question mark (as well as only one season on short season ball), leading to a crisis of relief, but with a ton of potential if he can stay.
Jackson is my first choice for the system. He had contact issues with the showcase project prior to the 2018 project, but he showed solid tools. In the spring competition at South Alabama, he performed incredibly well against poor competition, but most clubs didn’t see enough to change their minds. Clubs that dug deeper found out that Jackson was getting points after his inconsistent summer. Some clubs thought his spring was a sign that he was up to the task, while others remained skeptical because he faced much less competition. The Angels ranked Jackson 57th overall and since then he has scored 30 runs in 108 games at the rookie level. Jackson’s sight correction and results have significantly improved his projection since then, but the question now is whether he can match that strength at higher levels with a failure rate of less than 30 percent.
Paris was exemplary in the 2019 draft, as he was still very young for his class in the 2nd round. It offers above-average tools in all areas, but it has few reps and this is the type of prospect they need most. Vera signed a $2 million contract in the 2019 international class, so he has not yet played in an official pro game. The initial results are positive, as he is a shortstop with a physical projection, has some advanced pitching ability and is adapting to the infield. But it’s still very early. Knowles is a runner more, with one more arm and one more chance on defense in the middle infield, as well as solid raw power for his size. But he’s a braggart who needs to be polished.
RHP William Holmes (11, 40+ FV) has the skyscraper down thanks to his projection and athletic ability. He has the potential of a first division player, but he is a two-way talent who comes from a cold climate region (Detroit) and is just skimming the surface. RHP Jack Kochanowicz (15, 40 FV) is a tall right-hander recruited out of high school who shows above-average potential in his combination of fastball and curveball for a back-to-back start. RHP Garrett Stallings (19) has an average three-pointer, but some funk and above-average command that could lead to a back-to-back start.
CF Trent Deveaux (12, 40+ FV), like Knowles, is another rider signed by The Bahamas in the 2017 international signing class. He has a margin of error due to his raw tools, including speed, defense and position, but he is raw from the start. RF Alexander Ramirez (13, 40 FV) of the 2018 International Signature Class. He has classic skills in right field, with more hands and at least more raw power, but currently has questions about the rest of his tools. CF David Calabrese (14) and SS Werner Blakely (18) are young projection hitters of the 2020 class. Calabrese is young for a prep class with 70 speed and a sure feel for the game, while Blakely is a lean and silky shortstop you can only dream of.
1. Royce Lewis, 3B, 60 FV (15)
2. Alex Kirillov, RF, 60 FV (22)
3. Trevor Larnach, RF, 55 FV (37)
4. Ryan Jeffers, C, 50 FV (57).
5. Jordan Balazovic, WGP, 50 FS (92).
6. Matt Canterino, RHP, 50 FV (101)
7. Joan Duran, RHP, 50 FV (107)
8. Aaron Sabato, 1B, 45 FV9
. Matt Wallner, RF, 45 FV10
. Misaul Urbina, RF, 45 FV.
Top 10 reports
Canterino is one of the key players to winning during the pandemic. He brings the raw material from his sophomore year at Rice and is learning a new substitute at home that should prove to be an advantage in the games. Canterino has a four-course speed of 92-96 mph alternating, and the two courses were above average, mostly differentiated, and brought balls for a while. He has a little trouble delivering on his promises, but he is on time and throws strikes. Duran is a unique pitcher, throwing a “splicer” that is a mixture of a lead/splitter/two at 92-95 mph, and a normal four-pitch that is a few ticks higher. It is interesting to note that he uses a splunker instead of a changeup and mixes it with a solid medium speed curveball as his third pitch. Duran is almost ready for the big leagues and could be a starter or a changeup depending on how his repertoire evolves. Sabato (27th in 2020) and Wallner (39th in 2019) are similar current teams. Wallner is more athletic, with more defensive value and more raw power, while Sabato is a better hitter with a better approach. In this system, Wallner is my point of fall. Urbina received a $2.8 million bonus in the 2018 International Signature Class and is currently a center fielder, but can shift to right field, in which case his raw power is likely to be above average. He currently has above-average contact skills and speed, allowing him to target a wide skill base.
CF Gilberto Celestino (11, 45 FV) is an excellent defensive midfielder at age 40, with contact skills but limited strength in the game. 3B Keoni Cavaco (12, 45 FV) is a late and young bet for class projection in the 2019 draft class. I’m still cautious given the few results I’ve gotten, but there is above-average batting average, raw power, speed and arm strength. The 1B Brent Rooker (13, 40+ FV) is very limited defensively, but has a pretty good shot selection and plenty of raw power to fill the right corner field. LF Alerick Soularie (17, 40 FV) is a multi-sport athlete who plays well on offense but has trouble throwing, making him a likely left tackle even though he has his hands on the field. 3B Jose Miranda (19) is an excellent instructor who has a variety of tools to throw at first base, with a solid batting average that is better at second or third base.
RHP Cole Sands (14, 40+ FV) has three above-average lengths and a good starter’s score, but he should be a staple in the multi-inner league. RHP Josh Winder (15, 40+ FV) took a step forward in 2020, going from an average four-ball mix to multiple tics and reaching 97 mph in the Multi-Inner League.
1. Yasson Dominguez, CF, 55 FV (40)
2. Deivi Garcia, RHP, 50 FV (71)
3. Oswald Peraza, SS, 50 FV (102)
4. Clark Schmidt, RHP, 50 FV (115)
5. Kevin Alcantara, BS, 45+ FS (132)
6. Alexandre Vargas, SS, 45+ FS (145)
7. Luis Medina, PRP, 45+ FS(161
)8. Estevan Florial, EF, 45+ FS9
. Ezequiel Duran, 2B, 45+ FS10
. Antonio Gomez, C, 45 FV.
Top 10 reports
Peraza was clearly very close to a place in the top 100 and is one of the few players whose early performances could have easily propelled them to the next version of the list. Peraza improved in 2020, getting stronger and showing above average exit speed and solid average power to add to the more speed and short defensive form he already has. Vargas is a version of Peraza, but is far behind him physically, always focused on adding strength to fill out the profile with similar traits over several years. Vargas is a runner, pitcher, outfielder and hitter and he is likely to gain strength in the coming years with the challenge of showing something in games. Duran is the opposite type of center fielder, with plenty of raw power (at least one more, including 115 speed out), maximum frame, and very sharp contact and defensive skills.
From Hall of Fame locks to dream recruits, this is what might bring today’s stars to Cooperstown.
Alcantara, Gomez and Florial are the pursuers of a group of talented young Spanish players in position. Alcantara is a 6-foot-2, long-haired teenager with strong contact skills in the game. At the very least, Alcantara projects more raw power when he lines up and is currently another runner with a strong feel in the middle of the field. With a good game, he will likely be in the top 100. Gomez has a legitimate 80 arm behind the plate and a quick exit to make the most of it. The rest of his tools are average and superior except for speed. Gomez has a quick changeup that is important for catchers (in his hands, for short stretches), as opposed to the more vulgar types of drills. Florial has the workout ability to spare, plus the raw power and at least the speed needed to go along with a pretty good choice of terrain. But he has inconsistent health and strength in play.
Schmidt underwent Tommy John back surgery, but he’s still a third/fourth starter with a mid-90s plumber and hitter at least. His team changeup and mobility have changed a bit, and his major league debut in 2020 hasn’t been great, but he still has the same prospects. Medina has what experts call “crazy” raw materials. He reaches 101 mph, has a curved ball that flashes at 70 degrees and a rotation that is more at best. His control has almost always been terrible, but has improved in late 2019 and in Puerto Rico this winter. He still doesn’t have full confidence in his off-speed range against advanced hitters, but his control is now good enough to move to the higher levels and work on his consistency.
C Austin Wells (11, 45) was the first Yankee in 2020 and was a late hitter who was fortunate to score above average and give Kyle Schwarber momentum and tools if he succeeds. He’s not a great catcher, but he could work well in an automatic shooting environment, so that’s where he’ll stay for now. SS Anthony Volpe (13, 45 FV) was a contender for the Yankees when he graduated from New Jersey High School last spring. C Josh Breaux (17, 40+ FV) was a second-round draft pick in the 2018 Texas Junior College class and is my breakthrough pick for the system. Breaux jumped through college, hit the raised mound at 99 mph, showed 70 hands behind home plate as a catcher, and showed 70 gross power in BP. He was still pretty raw in all phases, with more pro as a catcher, but with real questions as a catcher and pitcher given his short track record. His professional career is testament to this, but he made progress with a solid start to the 2019 full season and improved reports on his work behind the plate. A good 2021 season could get him thinking about his future as a receiver for the Yankees.
CF Everson Pereira (16, 40+ FV) signed for Venezuela in 2017 for a $1.5 million bonus and was named the center’s top scorer of all time with much emotion. He has now switched to more strength in professional basketball, showing speed by coming out of games at over 110 mph. He is looking for a middle ground, which will likely be a 55 punch with 50 game strength and an above average midfield defense. Since the signing period opened last month, the two big signings for the Yankees (unattached) have been SS Hans Montero (25, 40 FV) and CF Fidel Montero (28, 40 FV). Hans Montero is similar to Volpe (but has more advantages) as a contact and defensive shortstop who you hope becomes powerful enough to be an everyday guy. Fidel Montero appeared late, while other clubs were spending their bonuses, and became the best talent in the class for those who saw him often. At least he has more hitting speed, power projection, walk rate and arm strength, but it is understandable that he has little experience hitting in high-level games.
RHP Yoendrys Gomez (12, 45 FV) is in the mid-90s with a missed fastball and strong secondary strikes and command, for a mediocre potential upside rotation. The RHP Alexander Vizcaino (14, 45 FV) has a mid-90s warm-up and a plus-minus change, but his break ball and command make a relief position likely. The RHP Luis Gil (15, 40+ FV) also has a 90s four-master and starter, but his off-board character and command are not settled at this time.
Oakland A (system number 26)
1. A.J. Puk, LHP, 50 FV (72)
2. Tyler Soderstrom, C, 50 FV (76)
3. Logan Davidson, SS, 45+ FV (143)
4. Robert Gif, SS, 45+ FV (154)
5. Dolton Jeffery, RHP, 45 FV6
. Nick Allen, SS, 45 FV7
. Brian Buelvas, CF, 45 FV8
. Austin Beck, CF, 40+ FV9
. Grant Holmes, RHP, 40 FV10
. Tyler Baum, RHP, 40 FV10.
Top 10 reports
Davidson has five or more average tools, although his weakest tool will likely strike if he tries to use it with above-average raw power. With a year of developmental delay, he is now 23 years old and has yet to have a full season of experience, but reports from the grassroots and training leagues are positive and he could soon reach the A-ball level. Poison is one of the most highly touted international prospects in recent memory. The biggest problem with younger players is that they sign their contracts years in advance, so 29 clubs usually don’t see them at age 15 or 16. This lack of competitive allure means that some offensive days linger longer in scouts’ memories. For example, Puason, with his majestic tools and physicality (6-foot-4, pitching plus speed, hitting speed, arm strength and good shortstop attitude), will not be in the top 100 until he has a big share of solid power at junior.
Allen is a short stop winged wizard who can have over 80 arms. He has one more arm and more control of the bat, but he has an aggressive approach and very little power (he is listed at 6’4″). He could end up like José Iglesias. Beck finished 6th at North Carolina High School in 2018. He had great tools, but he missed the summer season with a torn ACL, so very little success. He hasn’t reached that offensive balance yet in pro ball, but he still has 70 hitting speed, 60 raw power, 60 speed and 60 hands, so a more conservative approach can still produce a strong player on a daily basis.
Buelvas is my preferred system. He presents himself to me as a true midfielder with above-average batting control, speed, arm strength and defensive value. He is only 18 years old and has only played 67 professional matches in the international ranks since leaving Colombia in 2018. A strong comeback for a prospect whose every tool has worked positively after signing, with exemplary amateur production in games, an energy and makeup that scouts and coaches love, recognition on the field and now a force that should translate well at the higher levels. Buellwas has a realistic chance to be in the Top 100 next year if he can perform an entire season that matches these skills.
Jeffery was dynamic for the U.S. team at Cal the summer before the spring draft, but injuries have slowed him down over the years. He is now in the low 90’s, relying on most passes and a team that benefits from his more athletic ability. If he can stay healthy, he will be a solid No. 3 or 4. Holmes was a first-round prep arm in 2014 and still has the plus cursor from that time, but his fastball plays close to average and he’s probably best suited in a multi-inning relief role. As the 2019 draft approached, Baum went to play at North Carolina, playing mostly professional baseball. He could become a No. 4 starter if he continues this way.
CF Pedro Pineda (13 years old) was one of the best talents of the last international class, in addition to showing bat speed, raw power potential and speed. As with Puason, there is no scouting consensus or too few scouting opinions about him in the games to know which batting tool he will end up with. CF Luis Barrera (age 14) has strong contact skills and is a Class 70 runner with an above-average arm who profiles himself as at least a No. 4 outfielder. 3B Jordan Diaz (age 15) has met Rule 5, but is not yet high enough at minors to be selected. He could force the A’s to add him to the 40-man roster this year, with a chance at at least some center fielding and power tools, although defensively he still needs some work at third base.
SS Jeremy Eyerman (17) has raw power and an extra arm. He is suited for both shortstop and third base at longstop, but his contact skill will determine whether he is an everyday low-level player or a “cup of coffee” type. 1B Kyle McCann (19) will catch in college, but he is likely to be a first baseman in professional baseball. A classic three-pointer with a power count at the end of the day plus raw power. HPP Jeff Criswell (20) has proven strong in the training leagues with a frame, a fastball to 98 mph and a four pitch mix that could make him number 3 or 4 if the team continues to improve.
1st Jarred Kelenick, RF, 60 FV(3)
2. Julio Rodriguez, RF, 60 FV(9)
3. Logan Gilbert, RF, 50 FV(43)
4. Emerson Hancock, PRP, 50 FV(68)
5. Taylor Trammell, CF, 50 FV(84)
6. Noelvi Marte, SS, 50 FV (105)
7. George Kirby, RHP, 45+ FV (125)
8. Cal Reilly, C, 45 FV9
. Brandon Williamson, LHP 40+ FV10
. Wyatt Mills, RHP, 40+ FV.
Top 10 reports
Marte is another young instrumentalist on the edge of the top 100 who could get in with one or two months of good professional results. He is an offensive player, with raw power that could one day be more-more, plus hitting speed, a solid batting average, and a 55 arm that can play anywhere. At the top of the ladder is a dynamic bat of the Hanley Ramirez type who will return to the outfield for a while, but he has only played 65 official professional games and is only 19 years old.
Raleigh was a good third-round find in 2018, with above-average raw power to carry his offensive profile and enough defensive ability to be average behind the plate. He could make his debut as early as the end of this season. Kirby’s arm speed has increased in pro ball, sitting at 96-99 and batting at 100 mph on alternating pitches. The shape of the field will likely depend on his speed, but his out-of-speed strikes and command are always above average, so there could be a Nate Eovaldi type result. Williamson has a few power issues to answer in a long season, but he has above-average left-handedness and starting skills for a 3/4 starter. Mills has also improved in alternate pitching, running 93-95 mph with a lead and mixing in a 55- or 60-degree slide, but he is relieved (late) because of his lateral thrust.
In the 2020 project, Russian Zach DeLoach (12, 40 FV) and 2B Kaden Polkovich (13) were selected in the second and third rounds, respectively. DeLoach was good at Texas A&M, but The Cape was excellent. He is an above-average runner with raw power and contact skills who can also play in the middle of the field. Polkovic was a less talented club player who had a short spring season after a solid cap and a transfer from Florida Junior College. He is a baseball player and an extra runner who is suited as an offensive player at second base. RF Alberto Rodriguez (23) is a strong baseball player acquired in Toronto for Taijuan Walker.
Check out our Top 100 list for the 2020 season Kylie McDaniel (ESPN+).
RHP Levi Stoudt (14) is one of two system outlets. He was one of Lehigh’s favorites in the 2019 selection as a potential No. 4 and replacement starter. He had to undergo Tommy John surgery shortly after the selection, which affected his selection/bonus situation, and he still hasn’t played a single pro game. He was one of the stars of Seattle’s backup spot and picked up where he left off, with plus distribution, above-average command and average breaking point, but showed a little more speed, sitting at 93-96 and hitting at 97 mph. LHP Adam Macko (17) is my other breakout pick. He is a seventh round pick from Canadian High School (he was born in Slovakia) in the same 2019 draft and has also played a lot in the instructional league. He is 96 years old and has an above average curveball with TrackMan-friendly fielding skills and tips to get the game started. He is already showing a lot of interest via trade.
RHP Juan Then (11, 40+ FV) was signed by the Mariners, traded to the Yankees and then brought back as part of the Edwin Encarnacion deal. He is now 40 and he is sitting at 95-97 mph on a dynamo with a plus slider, so the question is whether he is the best choice as a starter or a more versatile arm. RHP Connor Phillips (16) was the 94th pick in 2020 out of Texas Junior College, where he was in the mid-90s with high breaking ability, as it was then, and able to adapt to different roles as he developed.
1. Vander Franco, SS, 70 FV (1)
2. Randy Arozarena, CF, 60 FV (10)
3. Luis Patino, RHP, 60 FV (21)
4. Vidal Brujan, 2B, 55 FV (26)
5. Xavier Edwards, 2B, 50 FV (58)
6. Josh Lowe, CF, 50 FV (70)
7. Brendan McKay, LHP, 50 FV (73)
8. Taylor Walls, CC, 50 FV (89)
9. Shane McClanahan, LHP, 50 FV (94)
10. Greg Jones, SS, 45+ FV (127)
11. Shane Baz, RHP, 45+ FV (142)
12. Seth Johnson, RHP, 45+ FV(144
)13. Blake Hunt, C, 45+ FV(167).
Top 10 reports
Jones is one of the top athletes in the minors, with a batting average of above or below and above-average power potential on both sides of the plate. His offensive game is most important, and he could be better used at second base or in center field as a counterpart to Ketel Marte in the long run.
Baz has made progress on alternative pitching, but he tends to be multi-inning rather than a true starter, with a heater that can pass bats up to 100 mph and a curve ball more. Johnson is another pitcher who was promoted to the Rays in 2020 (there’s a theme here). He was Campbell’s pick for the 2019 draft and is now in his mid-90s with a better performance than before. A strong 2021 will put him in the top 100, as we have not seen improvement in competitive games so far.
Hunt was Snell’s second trade after Patino because of his offensive improvement last fall in the Padres Training League. He now sees himself as at least a lowly rookie with 45 or 50 strikeouts and 50 or 55 power plays to go along with solid average defense and a plus arm.
RHP Cole Wilcox (15, 45 FV) picked up first-round silver from the Padres in the third round and was then traded to Tampa Bay as part of a deal with Blake Snell. He uses more than three pitches and starts occasionally, but his fastball is too smooth for his speed (he’s in the mid-90s, hitting 100 mph) and usually doesn’t have all four elements at once. RHP J.J. Goss (19, 45 FV) gave a strong command, with an arm speed slightly higher than he had in his preparation. He is another candidate on the short list (maybe average now?) for a jump into the top 100 if he plays hard in 2021. RHP Drew Strotman (20, 45 FV) was added to the 40-man list after returning from Tommy John surgery and returned to his best form in the fall – working at 93-95 and reaching 97 mph to add a power outage to his already above-average curveball.
SS Carlos Colemenarez (16, 45 FV) is one of my breakthrough players in the top three of the last international class. It’s still early, but he will probably move to second or third base. LF Heriberto Hernandez (18, 45 FV) is my other mainstay in the system. He came over from the Rangers this winter in the wake of the Nate Law trade and looks a bit like Kyle Schwarber, with the prospect of a catcher spot and a chance at a 60 move/power combination. Speed, defense and arm work don’t do much when the catching fails – likely in left field or at first base – but Hernandez’s brief performances at home plate are telling. Most of the candidates for the Top 100 are double-teamers, but Hernandez could make it to 2021 with a good performance in Low-A and a brief glimpse in High-A.
C Ford Proctor (17, 45 FV) went catching in 2020 and initial results were excellent, so he is now profiled as a plus hitter with a left-handed stroke who can catch; a solid platoon option, at least. SS Alejandro Pirog (23, 40+ FV) is a long-distance player with an extra arm who thinks he has above-average raw power, but is still a raw teenager without much experience. RHP Nick Bitsko (24, 40+ FV) was the best with one arm in the 2020 draft, but he suffered a setback due to shoulder surgery. RHP Taj Bradley (25, 40+ FV) played in the final rounds in 2018 as a prep pitcher who had a 93-97 velocity spike in college.
Josh Young, 3B, 50 FV (60)
2nd. Dane Dunning, RHP, 50 FV (81)
3. Leodi Taveras, CF, 45+ FV (141)
4. Sam Huff, C, 45+ FV (150)
5. Anderson Tejeda, CC, 45+ FV (151)
6. Justin Foscue, 2B, 45+ FV7
. Cole Wynn, RHP, 45 FV8
. Jerry Rodriguez, RHP, 45 FV9
. Steele Walker, RF, 45 FV10
. Jonah Heim, C, 45 FV8.
Top 10 reports
The foscue is one of my exits from the system. The Rangers took a college bat and a joker, surprisingly a prep bat (Evan Carter, see below) with their first two picks in the 2020 project, with positive reports from the first pro about both. Foscue can hit, hit for power, and play well at second or third base. If he makes it to the top of the A’s and performs as expected, he will be in the top 100 next year.
Taveras made his major league debut in 2020 and performed well at age 21. He will rely on his speed, defense, contact and feel for the game, all of which are at least above average. Tejeda has a loose approach, but with raw power, above-average speed, an extra arm, and he will likely stay put. His major league debut showed that he probably needs an extra year in the upper juniors. Walker was acquired for Nomar Mazara and is most likely a major league cornerback, most likely with a league average.
Heim was recently acquired as part of the Elvis Andrus/Chris Davis deal. He is slowly improving and now appears ready for the Major League, with a real chance of becoming a low range receiver on a daily basis. Heim is an above-average defender with at least average contact skills and raw power. Huff is a different type of receiver, with a gross power of 70, below-average contact skills, and improved but still sharp defensive skills, but with an extra arm.
Wynn met many criteria in the 2018 draft as a close preparer – several more shots, currently the best in his class – but he still fell flat after signing with Tommy John surgery. He had some difficulties in his 2019 debut, but he performed very well in three league workouts (9 IP, 3 BB, 16 K) and reached 93-96 mph, regaining his hopeful status with a good season. Rodriguez reached 98 mph and has a plus cursor, but the quality of his speed change has fluctuated. He had a sore elbow at the end of 2019, so a little more strength will help his stock.
RF Evan Carter (20) is my second choice and was Texas’ second pick for the 2020 draft. Carter is a projected center fielder with a combination of power and speed, but with a shorter hitting history in games. He has done well in training camp against older and more experienced pitchers, with 17 walks and 17 at-bats in 75 AB and currently more double/triples than jumps over the fence. He will likely play in the minor leagues and could be in the top 100 with a high-profile start to the season.
After years of struggling with depression and self-doubt, Drew Robinson attempted suicide in April 2020. He now tells Jeff Passan that he wants to use his experience to help others overcome – and maybe play baseball again.
- Read the story”.
- Watch the documentary”.
- Listen to the podcast”.
RHP Hans Crouse (11, 45 FV) is stubborn with an unusual delivery and some dirty tricks. He can go up to 100 mph and has had one more curveball since he was in his sophomore year of high school. He threw on a collision track in 2019 and is still throwing in the mid-90s. His changeup game and leadership are probably still good enough to start with, but his speed and mentality seem to adapt even better to shorter stretches. RHP Ronny Henriquez (16, 40+ FV) is a 6-foot-1 right-hander, but he’s in the mid-90s and leading the field well, so well in fact that training leagues have advised him to throw his slider and change more often. RHP Owen White (19, 40 FV) is an excellent athlete who comes out of the draft well after a Tommy John, sits at 92-97 mph, hits solid and masters a mix of four pitches. He could easily make the top 10 or even top 5 of that list next year.
3B Sherten Apostol (12, 45 FV) made his MLB debut at age 21 and has batted in seven games, but still appears to be a big solid leaguer. Apostol has raw power plus, arm plus and plate discipline plus, so he looks to be at least the right end of the pack at third or first base, with a chance for more. SS Maximo Acosta (13, 40+ FV) and LF Byron Lora (14, 40+ FV) have both signed with the 2019 International Class and have performed well in the class, but have yet to play an official game. Acosta is a full hitter who plans to stay at shortstop, while Lora has become a major threat at 14, with a raw power of 70 (and great exit velocity in games) and decent contact skills. The 3B Davis Wendzel (15, 40+ FV) is playing in the upper levels this year and will be used as a shortstop, but his calling card is his favorite tool. He has added a more active Justin Turner-style kick to his swing to try to gain more power. SS Chris Seise (23) has raw power and an extra arm with a real chance of staying at shortstop, but his 2019 ended with shoulder surgery. He is in core health and performed well in class.
1st Nate Pearson, RHP, 60 FV (14)
2. Austin Martin, 2B, 55 FV (38)
3. Jordan Groshans, 3B, 50 FV (47)
4. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, 50 FV (90)
5. Alejandro Kirk, C, 50 FV (96)
6. Gabriel Moreno, C, 45+ FV (124)
7. Alex Mannoa, PRP, 45+ FV (126)
8. Orelvis Martinez, CC, 45+ FV (155)
9. Miguel Giraldo, 3B, 45+ FV10
. Julian Merriweather, RHP, 40+ FV.
Top 10 reports
Moreno is a potential multi-position utility who is solid behind home plate (but is only a good hitter and would benefit from an automatic strikeout), but is not bulky and can also play in the field like Austin Barnes. He has a chance to show average offensive returns with a 2020 win in alternative pitching and instructional leagues. Martinez has excellent raw tools (plus bat speed, plus raw power, plus arm) worth a $3.5 million bonus in the 2018 international class. He has only played 40 official professional games and has shown mostly flashes, but when you add it all up, every day is above average.
Manoa was West Virginia’s 11th pick in 2019 and serves as the third starter or closer. He has intense behavior on the mound, moves in the mid-90s and has a cursor 65 with a good sense of how and when to use it. You need to work on consistency of changeups and control of the fastball, and he needs to pay attention to his frame, but here is a great leaguer who hits hard. This nice guy came into Josh Donaldson’s job and has a bright future as a starter and infielder. His fastball combination is a plus, but his control and ball break point to the potential problem of turning the lineup around.
Giraldo is my choice for the system. He won $750,000 in the 2017 world class with his bat speed, raw power and potential face-off ability. He’s still pretty much the same type of prospect, with a good chance to play third base and above-average batting speed, bat control, raw power and arm strength. His tendency to hunker down a bit and continue to perform well in games are question marks, as is one game experience in the middle of a soccer season. If he continues on this path in 2021, he will be at the top of the Toronto system.
RHP C.J. Van Eyk (age 11, 40+ FV) has run three and a half at times in high school and at Florida, but his leadership and consistency have been a problem, so he was promoted to 42nd overall last summer. SS Leonardo Jimenez (15, 40 FV) took a step forward in the training leagues by improving his playing strength and adding to his contact defense type profile. RHP Sem Robberse (18) was drafted in the Netherlands (!) in 2019 and has already increased his speed from mid-80s to the low 90s. He gets a lot of praise for his initial sensations and his ability to improve, with average flashes of things, projection for more, and enough mastery to project him as a rookie.
SS Otto Lopez (19) is attracting shopper interest because he is a shortstop with good contact skills and some power – basic elements every team is looking for. HRO Joey Murray (21) is a data man who has a knack for shaping and manipulating his stuff to suit the situation. His game is slightly above average, allowing him to be a reserve for several rounds. RHP Trent Palmer (22) was a third player for Jacksonville last summer, following an upward trend before coming to a halt, with excellent instincts and a solid midfield. C Riley Adams (23) has more raw power and arm strength, in addition to decent defensive skills and top performance; a consolation prize if the team wants Danny Jansen, Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno but can’t get them.