Ranking MLB’s Best Minor League Farm Systems, Late-2019 (11-20)

These are my 2019 Late Season Rankings for MLB’s top farm systems. In this series you will see a breakdown of all 30 MLB teams’ farm systems and top 10 prospects. In this article, we will be looking at the systems ranked 11-20. 1-10 will be released in November.

20.) Philadelphia Phillies

  1. Alec Bohm, 3B (20)
  2. Spencer Howard, SP (86)
  3. Bryson Stott, SS
  4. Jhailyn Ortiz, OF
  5. Mickey Moniak, OF
  6. Adonis Medina, SP
  7. Simon Muzziotti, OF
  8. Luis Garcia, SS
  9. Erik Miller, SP
  10. Nick Maton, SS

PHI Overview: Though the Phillies just made the top 20, there is a lot of room for improvement here. Alec Bohm is really the only player whose season should be deemed a total success. He hit for both power and average, leading to a selection for the FSL All-Star roster. Spencer Howard pitched well, but he did miss almost half of the season. Two former consensus top 100 prospects, Adonis Medina and Mickey Moniak both struggled again in 2019, so if their struggles continue, they could soon become irrelevant in terms of prospect rankings. Luis Garcia is a guy who I like a lot, but needless to say, his 2019 season was surely a disappointment. There is a lot of potential here in this system, but the Phillies could easily wind up a bottom 10 system in my next set of rankings in early 2020.

19.) Toronto Blue Jays

  1. Nate Pearson, SP (7)
  2. Jordan Groshans, SS (97)
  3. Alek Manoah, SP
  4. Orelvis Martinez, SS
  5. Eric Pardinho, SP
  6. Anthony Kay, SP
  7. Kendall Williams, SP
  8. Adam Kloffenstein, SP
  9. Simeon Woods-Richardson, SP
  10. Miguel Hiraldo, 3B

TOR Overview: Though the Blue Jays winded up ranking as my #19 overall farm system, there is a big gap between them and the next best systems. This is where we start to see the team’s top 10 lists being full of quality talent one through ten. Nate Pearson is the head of a strong Toronto pitching system. Featuring a high 90’s fastball which can easily hit triple digits, Pearson is one of the most electric pitchers in all of MiLB. Manoah, the 11th overall pick in 2019 had a great debut this season, and was in consideration for a back end top 100 spot. Pardinho, Williams, Kloffenstein, and Simeon Woods-Richardson all offer solid upsides, and all four are still in their teens. Anthony Kay is the oldest pitcher of the bunch and he should be a big part of Toronto’s team in 2020. Orelvis Martinez is one of the most exciting position players in Torontos system. The 18 year-old was one of the premier talents in the 2018 international signing class, and should make his full-season debut in 2020, likely with Class-A Lansing. This is a deep system, especially considering Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Cavan Biggio all graduated off the list recently.

18.) New York Yankees

  1. Jasson Dominguez, OF (30)
  2. Deivi Garcia, SP (58)
  3. Estevan Florial, OF (68)
  4. Clarke Schmidt, SP
  5. Anthony Seigler, C
  6. Luis Gil, SP
  7. Albert Abreu, SP
  8. Canaan Smith, OF
  9. Josh Smith, SS
  10. Roansy Contreras, SP

NYY Overview: The Yankees’ farm system is one of the hardest to predict. Their top prospect, Jasson Dominguez, has yet to take an at bat in professional baseball, and at age 16, he is one of the most unpredictable in all of baseball. Dominguez’s ceiling is clearly that of an elite, generational talent. Though his ceiling is so high, his floor is not as low as many players his age, making him a rock solid top-50 prospect. With Dominguez not playing at all in 2019, and Estevan Florial and Anthony Seigler missing large chunks of the season due to injuries, pitching has been the real story for the Yankees in 2019. Deivi Garcia has become one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball with a strikeout-rate well above league average. Clarke Schmidt and Luis Gil both enjoyed breakout seasons in 2019, making for two potential middle-of-the-rotation guys. The only issue with the Yankees farm system is that many of their players are kept in the minors for extended periods just based on the fact that their MLB roster is so full. Potentially look for guys like Estevan Florial, Josh Breaux, or Canaan Smith to be included in trade talks.

17.) Cincinatti Reds

  1. Hunter Greene, SP (50)
  2. Jonathan India, 3B (61)
  3. Nick Lodolo, SP (62)
  4. Mike Siani, OF
  5. Tyler Callihan, 2B
  6. Jose Israel Garcia, SS
  7. Rece Hinds, 3B
  8. Anthony Santillan, SP
  9. Lyon Richardson, SP
  10. Tyler Stephenson, C

CIN Overview: Cinncinati’s system had one of the least interesting 2019 seasons of the 10 teams in this group. Their top prospect Hunter Greene missed the whole season recovering from TJ surgery, and is in danger of missing a large part of 2020 as well. Guys such as Jonathan India, Mike Siani, and Tyler Stephenson had solid seasons, but there is not much to say about them, good or bad. There should be some excitement for their 2019 draft class, with their top 3 picks all landing inside the Reds top 7. Nick Lodolo was by far the most sought after pitcher of his class, and he showed why in his first 8 professional games. Neither Tyler Callihan nor Rece Hinds left rookie level, so it is a bit hard to judge them too much yet. Overall, 2019 can be viewed as a very mediocre year for the Reds system, with no real breakout players, and no players really struggling either.

16.) Texas Rangers

  1. Josh Jung, 3B (37)
  2. Hans Crouse, SP (52)
  3. Leody Taveras, OF (75)
  4. Cole Winn, SP (94)
  5. Nick Solak, 2B
  6. Bubba Thompson, OF
  7. Sam Huff, C
  8. Anderson Tejeda, SS
  9. Brock Burke, SP
  10. Sherten Apostel, 3B

TEX Overview: One of the more well balanced systems in baseball, the Rangers system ranks right in the middle of the teams. The combination of Hans Crouse and Cole Winn was dominant for the Hickory Crawdads (Class-A) in 2019, although both pitchers could use some improvements for 2020. 8th overall pick Josh Jung played quite well in his debut at Class-A, and a increase in power should be expected. Along with 4 top 100 prospects, Texas did have a few breakout players as well. Nick Solak, who was acquired from Tampa Bay, broke out in 2019, even making a big impact for the MLB club. His power seems to have come out of nowhere, but he managed to launch 32 long-balls between the minors and majors. Sam Huff is another guy who put his name on the map in 2019. His heroics in the 2019 Futures Game surely didn’t hurt, but his sudden increase in HRs and AVG have put him in the top 100 conversation. Some other guys who did well include Jonathan Ornelas, Osleivis Basabe, Julio Pablo Martinez, and Sherton Apostel. With all these great years, Texas had some unfortunate injury luck as well. Bubba Thompson struggled to get things going after battle injuries early on. Anderson Tejeda, Chris Seise, Owen White, and Taylor Hearn all were on the shelf early in 2019. That being said, 2019 was a promising year for the Rangers organization, so they’ll look to build off that success next year.

15.) Pittsburgh Pirates

Travis Swaggerty OF, (PIT)
  1. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B (60)
  2. Oneil Cruz, SS (63)
  3. Travis Swaggerty, OF (89)
  4. Calvin Mitchell, OF (90)
  5. Ji-Hwan Bae, SS
  6. Quinn Priester, SP
  7. Mitch Keller, SP
  8. Sammy Siani, OF
  9. Lolo Sanchez, OF
  10. Will Craig, 1B

PIT Overview: Ranking Pittsburgh at 15 was very tough because I realize how good their system is, but their lack of a true “superstar” is the reasoning behind their middle-of-the-pack position. The Pirates 4 top 100 prospects consist of two outfielders and two infielders, but no pitchers. Mitch Keller not being included on the top 100 might seem like a surprise, but his MLB stats have been absolutely putrid. Though just in 48 innings, his 7.13 ERA is concerning, especially considering opponents hit .348 against him during that time. Quinn Priester is ranked as Pittsburg’s top pitching prospect, but it is a toss up between him and Keller, as to who will wind up being the better MLB pitcher. Flipping to the offensive side where Pittsburgh is more plentiful, the outfield duo of Travis Swaggerty and Calvin Mitchell will be exciting to watch. Both outfielders played together in 2019 with the Bradenton Marauders (A-Advanced), and both were selected as FSL All-Stars. Although the two have similar trajectories to the majors, their playing styles differ just a bit. Mitchell’s bat is seen as better than Swaggerty’s, while Swaggerty’s overall athleticism and defensive skills outdo Mitchell’s. Infielder Oniel Cruz is the real unicorn of this system. With a height of 6’7″ and just weighing 175 lbs., Cruz is not your prototypical shortstop. His combination of above-average speed and elite arm talent show signs of being able to stay at shortstop for a good chunk of his career, though third base could possibly be in his future. Speedsters Ji-Hwan Bae and Lolo Sanchez round out the upper tier of Pittsburgh’s farm system, both posted 30+ stolen bases in 2019.

14.) Baltimore Orioles

  1. Adley Rutschman, C (11)
  2. Grayson Rodriguez, SP (47)
  3. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B (53)
  4. DL Hall, SP (70)
  5. Austin Hays, OF
  6. Adam Hall, SS
  7. Zac Lowther, SP
  8. Michael Baumann, SP
  9. Gunnar Henderson, SS
  10. Yusniel Diaz, OF

BAL Overview: A big rebuild in Baltimore has not left the Orioles with the ideal amount of young talent, like teams such as the Marlins or White Sox, but they have just enough to make the top half of the rankings. By far the most exciting prospect in their system, Adley Rutschman is surely Baltimore’s next catcher, barring something unthinkable. The #1 overall pick offers plenty of potential as a switch hitting catcher, though his 2019 didn’t necessarily show that. Austin Hays and Ryan Mountcastle are Baltimore’s two best power-hitting prospects, and both could hit for average as well. Mountcastle played all of 2019 at Triple-A, while Hays was recalled to Baltimore again in 2019. Come 2020, both Hays and Mountcastle should be starting for the Orioles. Middle infielders Gunnar Henderson and Adam Hall are a bit futher away, but they are two more contact oriented hitters, with Hall having excellent speed as well. Baltimore’s 2017 and 2018 1st round pitchers, DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez, have both shown front-end starter stuff. Outside these two pitchers, there is not anymore “sure things” but they are loaded with quality depth. Pitchers such as Zac Lowther, Keegan Akin, Dillion Tate, and Hunter Harvey offer much lower ceilings, but could wind up being an important part of the organization. Yusniel Diaz is a bit of a wild-card in the Orioles system. After solid seasons in 2017 and 2018, Diaz hasn’t shown much improvement in 2019. Over those 3 seasons, his average has dropped each year, while hitting precisely 11 home runs in all 3 seasons. Obviously the lack of adding power as he matures is a bit of a concern, but Diaz will play all of 2020 at age 23, so it is a bit premature to call the former top 100 prospect a bust.

13.) Detroit tigers

  1. Casey Mize, SP (6)
  2. Matt Manning, SP (21)
  3. Riley Greene, OF (39)
  4. Isaac Paredes, INF
  5. Tarik Skubal, SP
  6. Alex Faedo, SP
  7. Joey Wentz, SP
  8. Franklin Perez, SP
  9. Willi Castro, SS
  10. Beau Burrows, SP

DET Overview: A pitching heavy system for the past few years, Detroit remains that way again in 2019. First overall pick, Casey Mize, got off to a red-hot start to 2019, but cooled down a bit at the end of the season after a promotion to Double-A. Another very high pick (9th overall in 2016), Matt Manning, had a great year and looks to be a potential middle of the rotation starter. Tarik Skubal came out of nowhere this season, logging 122 innings while striking out a whopping 179. His breakout furthers Detroit’s dynamic pitching system. Alex Faedo and Beau Burrows are two more of Detroit’s first round pitchers, and though both have had their fair share of struggles, they showed some promise in 2019. Franklin Perez is another elite arm the Tigers possess, but he has not been able to stay healthy these past couple years. Another year lost to injury would be very worrisome for Perez’s long term development. One of the few non-pitching prospects who stands out in Detroit’s farm system, 5th overall pick Riley Greene, had a great first season, and could easily wind up being at least a 20/20 guy for the majority of his career. Shortstop Adinso Reyes, who narrowly missed the Tigers top 10, had an outstanding year for the DSL Tigers, so he’s another name to keep an eye on.

12.) Minnesota Twins

  1. Royce Lewis, SS (13)
  2. Alex Kirilloff, OF (18)
  3. Brusdar Graterol, SP (67)
  4. Trevor Larnach, OF (72)
  5. Nick Gordon, SS
  6. Jordan Balazovic, SP
  7. Ryan Jeffers, C
  8. Wander Javier, SS
  9. Keoni Cavaco, SS
  10. Brent Rooker, OF

MIN Overview: An up and down year for many of the Twins prospects, Minnesota boasts 4 top 100 guys, 2 of which land inside the top 20. Royce Lewis and Alex Kirilloff both finished the 2019 season at Double-A, so a potential call-up in 2020 is not off the table (especially for Kirilloff). Pitcher Brusdar Graterol and Jordan Balazovic showed promising stuff this year, with Graterol playing a role late in the Twins season, including a postseason appearance. A big storyline here is the bounce-back season for shortstop Nick Gordon. The former top-100 prospect missed a few games early on, but came back to hit .297, up from .248 last season. If Gordon’s 2020 is as good as his 2019, and he proves 2018 to be a fluke, then Minnesota has a guy who offers great speed, as well as good fielding, and just below-average power. If the Twins are looking for a more powerful guy, then Brent Rooker is the man. Since being drafted back in 2017, Rooker has compiled 965 at-bats, while launching a whopping 54 home-runs. An older prospect, Rooker, who should get meaningful looks in 2020, could potentially be a 30-45 home-run guy, and hitting around .260 is a reasonable assumption for him.

11.) San Francisco Giants

Heliot Ramos, OF (SF)
  1. Marco Luciano, SS (16)
  2. Joey Bart, C (19)
  3. Heliot Ramos, OF (41)
  4. Alexander Canario, OF
  5. Seth Corry, SP
  6. Mauricio Dubon, SS
  7. Hunter Bishop, OF
  8. Logan Webb, SP
  9. Luis Toribio, 3B
  10. Sandro Fabian, OF

SF Overview: A bit of a top-heavy system, San Francisco’s farm system boasts some of the most underrated players in baseball. Marco Luciano is a truly elite talent, and has made a strong case to be a top 25 prospect. Former 2nd overall pick, Joey Bart, continues to hit for both power and average, a rarity at the catcher position. He will likely replace Buster Posey as soon as he is ready, given Posey’s rapid decline. Heliot Ramos is another exciting name. Ramos, along with 2019 1st rounder, Hunter Bishop, should wind up being solid starters in the Giants outfield. One less talked about name, Alexander Canario, had an outstanding 2019 season, and narrowly missed the top 100. Speaking of “sleeper” prospects, Seth Corry is a name never really mentioned in any top prospect rankings, but he is another guy who just missed my top 100, and is a likely candidate to be in the mix come 2020. Maruicio Dubon is just under 30 MLB at-bats away from graduating from prospect status, but still under the threshold, he’s another potential MLB starter in this borderline top-10 system.

2019 Top 100 MLB Prospect Rankings 3.0 (Late-Season)

Julio Rodriguez (SEA), the #8 overall prospect in the MLB

About two months have gone by since my Mid-Season Rankings, so the third installment of my MLB Prospect Rankings is here. This list consists of any player who qualifies as a “rookie” according to MLB’s rules (under 130 ABs/50 IP in MLB games). This is the final update for the 2019 season. Coming up in the next few weeks my 2019 Minor League Farm Systems Rankings will be updated, ten teams at a time, so stay tuned for those 3 articles. Looking ahead to 2020, expect to see three new Top 100 Prospect updates in April, July, and September.

The Top 100:

  1. Luis Robert, OF, CHW
  2. Wander Franco, SS, TB
  3. Jo Adell, OF, LAA
  4. Gavin Lux, SS/2B, LAD
  5. MacKenzie Gore, SP, SD
  6. Casey Mize, SP, DET
  7. Nate Pearson, SP, TOR
  8. Julio Rodriguez, OF, SEA
  9. Jesus Luzardo, SP, OAK
  10. Brendan McKay, SP/DH, TB
  11. Adley Rutschman, C, BAL
  12. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, KC
  13. Royce Lewis, SS, MIN
  14. Cristian Pache, OF, ATL
  15. Jared Kelenic, OF, SEA
  16. Marco Luciano, SS, SF
  17. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU
  18. Alex Kirilloff, OF, MIN
  19. Joey Bart, C, SF
  20. Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI
  21. Matt Manning, SP, DET
  22. Luis Patino, SP, SD
  23. Sixto Sanchez, SP, MIA
  24. Michael Kopech, SP, CHW
  25. Brendan Rodgers, INF, COL
  26. Carter Kieboom, SS, WSH
  27. Drew Waters, OF, ATL
  28. Nick Madrigal, 2B, CHW
  29. Taylor Trammell, OF, SD
  30. Jasson Dominguez, OF, NYY
  31. Kristian Robinson, OF, ARI
  32. Jesus Sanchez, OF, MIA
  33. Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CHW
  34. Matthew Liberatore, SP, TB
  35. Ian Anderson, SP, ATL
  36. Jazz Chisholm, SS, MIA
  37. Josh Jung, 3B, TEX
  38. Alek Thomas, OF, ARI
  39. Riley Greene, OF, DET
  40. Logan Gilbert, SP, SEA
  41. Heliot Ramos, OF, SF
  42. Forrest Whitley, SP, HOU
  43. CJ Abrams, SS, SD
  44. JJ Bleday, OF, MIA
  45. Dylan Carlson, OF, STL
  46. Nolan Jones, 3B, CLE
  47. Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL
  48. Nolan Gorman, 3B, STL
  49. Vidal Brujan, 2B, TB
  50. Hunter Greene, SP, CIN
  51. Shane Baz, SP, TB
  52. Hans Crouse, SP, TEX
  53. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, BAL
  54. Nico Hoerner, SS, CHI
  55. Brady Singer, SP, KC
  56. Jackson Kowar, SP, KC
  57. Dustin May, SP, LAD
  58. Deivi Garcia, SP, NYY
  59. Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD
  60. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT
  61. Jonathan India, 3B, CIN
  62. Nick Lodolo, SP, CIN
  63. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT
  64. Sean Murphy, C, OAK
  65. Colton Welker, 1B/3B, COL
  66. AJ Puk, SP, OAK
  67. Brusdar Graterol, SP, MIN
  68. Estevan Florial, OF, NYY
  69. Jeremiah Jackson, SS, LAA
  70. DL Hall, SP, BAL
  71. Evan White, 1B, SEA
  72. Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN
  73. Seth Beer, 1B/OF, ARI
  74. Tyler Freeman, CLE
  75. Leody Taveras, OF, TEX
  76. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, BOS
  77. Tristan Casas, 1B/3B, BOS
  78. Corbin Carroll, OF, ARI
  79. Edward Cabrera, SP, MIA
  80. Kris Bubic, SP, KC
  81. Shane McClanahan, SP, TB
  82. Monte Harrison, OF, MIA
  83. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, TB
  84. Ronny Mauricio, SS, NYM
  85. Daniel Lynch, SP, KC
  86. Spencer Howard, SP, PHI
  87. Noelvi Marte, SS, SEA
  88. Khalil Lee, OF, KC
  89. Travis Swaggerty, OF, PIT
  90. Calvin Mitchell, OF, PIT
  91. Jorge Guzman, SP, MIA
  92. Jonathan Stiever, SP, CHW
  93. Braxton Garrett, SP, MIA
  94. Cole Winn, SP, TEX
  95. Luis V. Garcia, SS, WSH
  96. Brent Honeywell, SP, TB
  97. Jordan Groshans, SS, TOR
  98. Kyle Wright, SP, ATL
  99. Freudis Nova, SS, HOU
  100. Jeter Downs, SS, LAD
Heliot Ramos (SF), the #41st overall prospect

Graduates

  • Yordan Alvarez, OF, HOU (4)
  • Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL (5)
  • Bo Bichette, SS, TOR (9)
  • Luis Urias, SS/2B, SD (22)
  • Dylan Cease, SP, CHW (26)
  • Zac Gallen, SP, MIA (78)
  • Jordan Yamamoto, SP, MIA (82)

Risers

  • Julio Rodriguez, OF, SEA (34 to 8) – One of the best teenage talents in all of MiLB, Rodriguez is one of my personal favorites. Having seen him play multiple times throughout 2019, I recognized that he was way too good for Class-A West Virginia. After a promotion to A-Advanced Modesto, Rodriguez really broke out hitting over .450 in 16 games there. His ceiling is higher than any other prospect, so Rodriguez could wind up as the #1 prospect by 2021.
  • Jorge Guzman, SP, MIA (Unranked to 91) – Though Guzman had been having a respectable 2019, what really caught my attention was his recent performances. During the month of August, Guzman notched a 1.20 ERA while only allowing 6 hits in 30 innings (.066 AVG). With such elite velocity, Guzman’s floor is a high-leverage reliever, but his ceiling of front-line starter is becoming more and more likely.
  • Marco Luciano, SS, SF (52 to 16) – For my Mid-Season ranking, slotting Luciano at 52 was more of a guess than anything, considering he hadn’t played a single MiLB game. So far it seems as if #52 was too conservative. Luciano exceeded my original expectations, hitting 10 HRs (179 ABs) while batting just a tad over .300. Another youngster, Luciano played all of 2019 at age 17.

Fallers

  • Forrest Whitley, SP, HOU (19 to 42) – After a breakout 2017 season, many experts considered Whitley to be the best pitching prospect in baseball. His 2018 season was cut short by a drug related suspension, but his numbers were still respectable. 2019 was supposed to be a bounce-back year for Whitley, but it has been anything but that. After a promotion to Triple-A, Whitley posted a terrible 12.21 ERA across 8 games. After a stint on the IL, Whitley was demoted to Double-A, but not before another 2 poor rehab outings in the low-level Gulf Coast League. Hovering around an 8.00 ERA on the season, it’s safe to say 2019 has been a year to forget for Whitley. If 2020 is anything close to 2019 for Whitley, it’s possible to see him slide out of the top 100.
  • Mitch Keller, SP, PIT (47 to Unranked) – I’ve never been as high on Keller as some others, but I can’t say I expected him to do so poorly in his short MLB stint. In 7 starts, Keller posted a 8.62 ERA while allowing opponents to hit .362 against him. Keller should see a decent amount of innings in September, so he has a chance to turn things around.
  • Kyle Wright, SP, ATL (69 to 98) – Former 5th overall pick, Wright, dropped in my rankings for the same reasons as Mitch Keller. Wright didn’t have a bad season in Triple-A, but after receiving the call to Atlanta, Wright struggled mightily, posting an ERA above 9.00. Like Keller, Wright should see some innings as a September call-up, but he needs a few quality outings to make 2020’s list.

Overview

This update includes 2019 draftees and international signees, so the class is a bit stronger than the Mid-Season list. We will get a chance to see many of the top 100 prospects in the majors, as many big names are to be September call-ups. Gavin Lux, AJ Puk, Sean Murphy, and Brusdar Graterol are highlights of early call-ups. It will be interesting to see if guys like Luis Robert or Jo Adell are called up, since their teams would be giving up an extra year of contract control by brining them up this season.

The two Florida teams, Miami and Tampa, have the most players on the list. Miami drastically improved their system before the trade deadline, and they will be making a huge jump in my Farm System Rankings update. The Brewers are the only team not represented on the list, as Keston Hiura is no longer a prospect and Bryce Turang has not impressed this season. There shouldn’t be too many players losing prospect-status before my 1st 2020 list, so expect to see a lot of the same names, but the Arizona Fall League can be a make-or-break for many of the players involved.

2019 Top 100 MLB Prospect Rankings 2.0 (Mid-Season)

Shane Baz, SP (TB). Baz is new addition to the top 100

About two months removed from my Early Season Rankings, the second installment of my MLB Prospect Rankings is here. This list consists of any player who qualifies as a “rookie” according to MLB’s rules (under 130 ABs/50 IP in MLB games). My list will be updated throughout the season to keep the rankings accurate.

The Top 100:

  1. Wander Franco, SS, TB
  2. Luis Robert, OF, CHW
  3. Jo Adell, OF, LAA
  4. Yordan Alvarez, OF, HOU
  5. Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL
  6. Casey Mize, SP, DET
  7. MacKenzie Gore, SP, SD
  8. Royce Lewis, SS, MIN
  9. Bo Bichette, SS, TOR
  10. Brendan Rodgers, SS, COR
  11. Brendan McKay, DH/SP, TB
  12. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU
  13. Cristian Pache, OF, ATL
  14. Alex Kirilloff, OF, MIN
  15. Joey Bart, C, SF
  16. Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA
  17. Jesus Luzardo, SP, OAK
  18. Michael Kopech, SP, CHW
  19. Forrest Whitley, SP, HOU
  20. Carter Kieboom, SS, WAS
  21. Gavin Lux, SS/2B, LAD
  22. Luis Urias, SS/2B, SD
  23. Matt Manning, SP, DET
  24. Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI
  25. Matthew Liberatore, SP, TB
  26. Dylan Cease, SP, CHW
  27. Sixto Sanchez, SP, MIA
  28. Taylor Trammell, OF, CIN
  29. Nick Madrigal, 2B, CHW
  30. Ian Anderson, SP, ATL
  31. Luis Patino, SP, SD
  32. Nolan Gorman, 3B, STL
  33. Jesus Sanchez, OF, TB
  34. Julio Rodriguez, OF, SEA
  35. Nate Pearson, SP, TOR
  36. Drew Waters, OF, ATL
  37. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, BAL
  38. Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD
  39. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT
  40. Triston McKenzie, SP, CLE
  41. Shane Baz, SP, TB
  42. Hunter Greene, SP, CIN
  43. A.J. Puk, SP, OAK
  44. Hans Crouse, SP, TEX
  45. Nolan Jones, 3B, CLE
  46. Jonathan India, 3B, CIN
  47. Mitch Keller, SP, PIT
  48. Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL
  49. Sean Murphy, C, OAK
  50. Vidal Brujan, 2B, TB
  51. Jazz Chisholm, SS, ARI
  52. Marco Luciano, SS, SF
  53. Shane McClanahan, SP, TB
  54. Heliot Ramos, OF, SF
  55. Colton Welker, 3B, COL
  56. Corbin Martin, SP, HOU
  57. Estevan Florial, OF, NYY
  58. Brady Singer, SP, KC
  59. Jackson Kowar, SP, KC
  60. Logan Gilbert, SP, SEA
  61. Monte Harrison, OF, MIA
  62. Leody Taveras, OF, TEX
  63. Khalil Lee, OF, KC
  64. Calvin Mitchell, OF, PIT
  65. Jon Duplantier, SP, ARI
  66. Travis Swaggerty, OF, PIT
  67. Brusdar Graterol, SP, MIN
  68. Dustin May, SP, LAD
  69. Kyle Wright, SP, ATL
  70. Adrian Morejon, SP, SD
  71. Freudis Nova, SS, HOU
  72. Seth Beer, OF/1B, HOU
  73. Jeremiah Jackson, SS, LAA
  74. Victor Victor Mesa, OF, MIA
  75. Jeter Downs, SS/2B, LAD
  76. Bryce Turang, SS, MIL
  77. Jordyn Adams, OF, LAA
  78. Zac Gallen, SP, MIA
  79. Diego Cartaya, C, LAD
  80. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT
  81. Brent Honeywell, SP, TB
  82. Jordan Yamamoto, SP, MIA
  83. DL Hall, SP, BAL
  84. Ronny Mauricio, SS, NYM
  85. Luis V. Garcia, SS, WAS
  86. Deivi Garcia, SP, NYY
  87. Edward Cabrera, SP, MIA
  88. Trevor Larnach, OF, MIN
  89. Evan White, 1B, SEA
  90. Ryan Weathers, SP, SD
  91. Mauricio Dubon, SS/2B, MIL
  92. Andres Gimenez, SS, NYM
  93. Adonis Medina, SP, PHI
  94. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, TB
  95. Xavier Edwards, SS, SD
  96. Nico Hoerner, SS, CHI
  97. Tyler Freeman, SS/2B, CLE
  98. Dane Dunning, SP, CHW
  99. Braxton Garrett, SP, MIA
  100. Anthony Seigler, C, NYY

Graduates

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr, 3B, TOR (1)
  • Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, SD (2)
  • Eloy Jimenez, OF, CHW (3)
  • Nick Senzel, 3B, CIN (8)
  • Chris Paddack, SP, SD (9)
  • Peter Alonso, 1B, NYM (14)
  • Mike Soroka, SP, ATL (26)
  • Austin Riley, 3B, ATL (35)
  • Francisco Mejia, C, SD (41)
  • Griffin Canning, SP, LAA (48)
  • Touki Toussaint, SP, ATL (52)
  • Michael Chavis, 3B, BOS (56)

Risers

Marco Luciano, SS (SF). Luciano is a top prospect in the makings
  • Luis Robert, OF, CHW (13 to 2) – It is hard to argue that Luis Robert is having one of the best seasons in all of MiLB. Batting over .350 with double-digit home runs and stolen bases, Robert has been nothing but excellent. Earning a promotion to Double-A in his age 21 season, the only thing holding Robert back in his past seasons were injuries. Now with full health, Robert has proven worthy of his 26 million dollar signing bonus and continues to push to be the #1 prospect.
  • Jo Adell, OF, LAA (18 to 3) – Similar to Robert, had Adell been fully healthy for the first round of rankings, he would have slotted a few slots higher. Now healthy, Adell is having another great season, showing off his true 5-tool potential. Adell should be joining Mike Trout in Anaheim by 2020, making for an exciting duo for the Angels.
  • Marco Luciano, SS, SF (Unranked to 52) – Although the 2018 international class was full of talent including Victor Victor Mesa, Diego Cartaya, and Noelvi Marte, Luciano appears to be the best of the group. Making his much anticipated pro-debut this year, Luciano has been dominant, and a promotion to a full-season team is not far away. Luciano could prove to be the best prospect in the Giants system before the end of this season.
  • Yordan Alvarez, OF, HOU (28 to 4) – Alvarez has been the breakout prospect this year. After leading all of Triple-A in home-runs, Alvarez earned a promotion to Houston and leapfrogged both Forrest Whitley and Kyle Tucker to become the Astros best prospect. Currently a key piece of the first-place Astros roster, Alvarez is already making the Dodgers regret trading him back in 2016.

Fallers

  • Justus Sheffield, SP, SEA (66 to Unranked) – Getting demoted from Triple-A is never a good sign. After posting an ERA near 7.00, Sheffield was sent to Double-A Arkansas. Needless to say, 2019 has not been a good season for Sheffield. The only bright side was that Sheffield made his MLB debut, but that did not go as planned (allowed 6 baserunners in 3 IP).
  • Brent Honeywell, SP, TB (27 to 81) – After missing all of 2018, Honeywell was on track to return mid-2019. Unfortunately, another injury forced him to be shut down for the entire 2019 season. When Honeywell returns in 2020 he will be in his age 25 season after missing two full seasons. Although these injuries likely won’t hurt his floor, Honeywell lost two very valuable years of development and will see his stock drop until he can prove he is the same as pre-injury Honeywell.
  • Julio Pablo Martinez, OF, TEX (61 to Unranked) – Although he is not having a terrible season, JPM is not hitting as well as many expected, largely the reason for his fall in the rankings. His power numbers have been somewhat impressive considering his smaller frame, but he will need to get on base much more often to return somewhere in the range of his previous ranking at 61.
  • Corey Ray, OF, MIL (81 to Unranked) – Ray’s 2019 season has to be a large disappointment to Brewers fans. Ray was just starting to turn things around in 2018, but major regression occurred in 2019 as he has struggled to bat over .200. Ray still has time to grow but is becoming less and less likely that Ray lives up to his original hype

Overview: With 10 of the top 50 prospects graduating, it is evident that the list is not as strong as it was at the beginning of the year. Things could change when 2019 draftees make their debuts. There are six 2019 draftees on “The Next 20”, and are likely candidates to be on my Late-Season update. The amount of young international talent is extreme in this group, with guys as young as 17 making the Top 100. Tampa Bay leads all teams with 9 Top 100 prospects, but every team has at least one prospect in the Top 100.

The Next 20:

  • Noelvi Marte, SS, SEA
  • Luis Gil, SP, NYY
  • Blaze Alexander, SS, ARI
  • Kristian Robinson, OF, ARI
  • Alek Thomas, OF, ARI
  • Steele Walker, OF, CHW
  • Ethan Hankins, SP, CLE
  • Mike Siani, OF, CIN
  • Justin Dunn, SP, SEA
  • Daniel Lynch, SP, KC
  • Jhaiyln Ortiz, OF, PHI
  • Victor Mesa Jr, OF, MIA
  • Triston Casas, 1B, BOS
  • Bobby Dalbec, 3B, BOS
  • Adley Rutschman, C, BAL
  • Bobby Witt Jr., SS, KC
  • CJ Abrams, SS, SD
  • JJ Bleday, OF, MIA
  • Riley Greene, OF, DET
  • Andrew Vaughn, 1B, CHW

8 Creative Deals That Should Happen Before the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline

Almost halfway through the 2019 MLB season, most teams know at this point if they will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Every year at the deadline there are multiple important deals made that affect both the current season and years to come. Here are some unique trade scenarios which are unlikely to happen, but are reasonable and would benefit both sides.

1.) Madison Bumgarner to the Yankees

The Deal:

NYY receives: Madison Bumgarner (SP)

SF receives: Chance Adams (SP), Frank German (SP) and Glenn Otto (SP)

Analysis: The odds of any team paying a large sum for an aging rental in Bumgarner is extremely unlikely, so a package of three middle-of-the-road starters would be adequate for the Giants. Chance Adams has shown flashes of greatness but has also struggled heavily at times. Both German and Otto are playing in A-Advanced, so they have time to develop into back-end starters.

The Yankees need for pitching has been brought around only due to injuries. A healthy Yankees rotation includes Luis Severino, Domingo German, Masahiro Tanaka, C.C. Sabathia, and James Paxton, with J.A. Happ, Jonathan Loaisiga, Jordan Montgomery, and Chance Adams as reserves. Currently, only four of these pitchers are fully healthy, so a trade may be necessary. With loads of depth on the major league roster, dealing a player such as Clint Frazier or Gio Urshella may not be out of the question.

2.) Trevor Bauer to the Rays

The Deal:

TB recieves: Trevor Bauer (SP)

CLE receives: Jesus Sanchez (OF), Nate Lowe (1B), Taylor Walls (SS), and Tommy Romero (SP)

Analysis: The Rays have been dominating using only three starters (two with Tyler Glasnow injured), so imagine what they could do with four lights-out pitchers. Landing Bauer and getting Glasnow back soon would vault the Rays into series competition with the Astros, Yankees and Dodgers as World Series favorites.

The package in this scenario leaves Tampa’s youthful MLB roster intact while giving the Indians much needed young talent. Jesus Sanchez fills a huge void in the Indians organization at outfield and should be ready to see MLB action as soon as 2020. With Brent Honeywell losing another season to injury, I can’t imagine he would be dealt anytime soon and as much as Cleveland would want pitchers in return, I’d expect Tampa to hold on to their young starters. Matthew Liberatore, Shane McClanahan, and Shane Baz have been outstanding at Class-A Bowling Green, and the Rays would be foolish to part with any of the trio. Brendan McKay is Tampa’s other elite arm, but his unique DH/SP combo is too valuable to give up.

3.) Bauer to the Padres

The Deal:

SD recieves: Trevor Bauer (SP)

CLE receives: Adrian Morejon (SP), Ryan Weathers (SP), Michel Baez (SP) and Cal Quantrill (SP)

Analysis: Trevor Bauer is likely the best available pitcher available at the deadline, and the Padres have what it takes to pry him away from Cleveland. In this scenario, the Indians would have to choose between the Rays package featuring three potential plus bats, and the Padres’ which offers four mid-rotation starters. Out of the four Padres prospects in the package, Weathers has the highest ceiling, and he is the only one I would project as a #2/#3 starter. Morejon, Baez and Quantrill I view as #3/#4 starters in an ideal situation. While this package may not blow Cleveland away, the Padres are in no rush to make a deal as the majority of their core is controlled for many years to come.

4.) Marcus Stroman to the Padres/Rays

The Deal:

SD/TB receive: Marcus Stroman (SP)

TOR receives: Ryan Weathers (SP), Logan Allen (SP), and Manuel Margot (OF) (from SD) or Jesus Sanchez (OF) and Nick Solak (2B) (from TB)

Analysis: If Trevor Bauer is dealt, it would likely be to either of these two teams, which would eliminate them as options for Stroman. Assuming one lands Bauer, the other should look at Stroman as a cheaper alternative who could wind up being acquired at a much better value.

Taking a look at the potential packages, the Rays would be keen to keep their young pitchers, so Sanchez is the top prospect on the move. Nick Solak has been a nice surprise as well, so Toronto would be getting two quality hitters in exchange for Stroman. The Padres offer is based around pitcher Ryan Weathers. He’s the name most teams would be after assuming Fernando Tatis Jr, Luis Urias, and MacKenzie Gore aren’t available. Luis Patino could be swapped out with Weathers, although San Diego may be more hesitant to let Patino go.

5.) Max Scherzer on the Move

The Deal:

WSH receives: Kyle Tucker (OF), Freudis Nova (SS), Abraham Toro (3B) and J.B Bukauskas (SP)

HOU receives: Max Scherzer (SP)

Analysis: With Houston’s lineup completely stacked, their pitching is the only part of their team that could use improvement. There is no better pitcher to acquire than Max Scherzer. With three years left on his contract, Scherzer would cost a boatload but would be worth it when he leads them to the World Series. They’d be adding Scherzer to a rotation that already features two stars in Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole, so the addition of Scherzer would likely give the Astros the best rotation in all of MLB.

After losing Bryce Harper to free agency in the offseason, the Nats have not been able to keep up there winning ways and are currently well under .500. Dealing Scherzer might be a big blow to Nationals fans, but it would signify a rebuild, that if done correctly, could have the Nats back in contention before 2022. Dealing Scherzer, as well as Anthony Rendon, would bring back five or six top of the line prospects who would replenish a weak farm system. In this deal, Washington gets four very talented players led by outfielder Kyle Tucker. Though Tucker struggled in his MLB debut, he has been excellent in Triple-A and would help as soon as this year. Nova, Toro and Buskauskas are at least two years away, but that’s not a problem if Washington does decide to rebuild.

6.) Phillies Land an Outfielder

The Deal:

PHI receives: Adam Jones (OF) and Greg Holland (CP)

ARI receives: Enyel de los Santos (SP), Simon Muzziotti (OF), Nick Maton (SS) and Edgar Garcia (SP)

Analysis: Having a 2nd baseman play center field is not ideal for a contending team, and that is what the Phillies are stuck with, as Scott Kingery has been forced into action in the outfield. With Andrew McCutchen lost for the season and Odubel Herrera in legal trouble, the Phillies would benefit from adding a 3rd outfielder. The Diamondbacks are a likely candidate to rebuild this offseason, and there’s no better time to start than at the trade deadline. Dealing rental veterans Jones and Holland will land lower-tier prospects than guys such as Zack Greinke or Ketel Marte, but it’s a start for a team in desperate need of talented prospects. The return for the Diamondbacks isn’t great, but it does offer a solid group of prospects who could become more relevant as their careers progress.

7.) Ketel Marte Blockbuster

The Deal:

LAA receives: Ketel Marte (OF)

ARI receives: Brandon Marsh (OF), Jordyn Adams (OF), Jeremiah Jackson (SS) and Kevin Maitan (3B)

Analysis: The Angels have a window of time to win, and that coincides with Mike Trout of course. Trout signed a massive contract last year and will be getting paid over 35 million dollars a year up until his age 38 season. As good as he is, it is improbable that Trout can perform at his usual standards into his late 30s. That gives the Angels 5-6 years to build a dynasty and contend for the World Series. Instead of waiting for their prospects to develop and wasting valuable time, the Angels could go for it all in 2019 and beyond.

Landing Marte would be huge for the Angels, adding a 3rd scary power bat (4th if you could Pujols) to their lineup. Add the surprise emergence of Tommy la Stella and you have 5 quality hitters at the top of the lineup. If they manage to hold on to Jo Adell, he could become another weapon in the outfield. With Trout and Marte both locked up 5+ years and Jo Adell, a young outfielder on the rise, the Angels should feel comfortable parting with both Jordyn Adams and Brandon Marsh.

From the Diamondbacks point of view, they are dealing their only “star” remaining, and although he is under contract through 2024, without dealing him Arizona would be lucky to field a solid team before 2022. Marsh is the only incoming player above Single-A, so the return package fits with the Diamondbacks’ timeline perfectly. Although this is the least likely deal to happen, it could benefit both teams in unforeseen ways.

8.) Angels go all In

The Deal:

LAA receives: Didi Gregorius (SS), Starling Marte (OF)

NYY receives: Chris Archer (SP), Jo Adell (OF)

PIT receives: Clint Frazier (OF), Estevan Florial (OF), Jamhai Jones (2B)

Analysis: The first thing to mention is that this whole trade is in a scenario in which the Angels acquire Ketel Marte (trade #7) and that the Yankees don’t add another pitcher (trade #1). This is the most complex of the 10 proposals, this deal has lots of moving parts, but it would benefit all the teams involved. In this rare three-team trade, the combination of prospects and MLB-caliber players would present a unique, one-of-a-kind deal.

For the Angels, acquiring Ketel Marte would be a great start to building a championship team, but they’d still be a couple of pieces away. Didi Gregorius is set to become a free agent after the 2019 season, but he could be a candidate for an extension with Los Angeles. Starling Marte has three years left on his contract, so he would be the Angels third outfielder with Mike Trout and Ketel Marte. Both Starling Marte and Ketel Marte are long term solutions with very reasonable salaries. The only real downside for the Angels is that their farm system would be completely depleted. If their organization is willing to pair these three All-Stars with Trout and Ohtani, that could put the Angels in the running for the top Wild Card this season, and potentially the division in 2020.

Clint Frazier has not worked out for the Yankees and it is becoming increasingly apparent that he will not be in New York much longer. Although Chris Archer has not been very good with the Pirates, he has proved to be excellent in the AL East in the past, so the Yankees could take a chance on him. Gregorius is a great ballplayer but could see limited playing-time with Giovani Urshella, Gleyber Torres, and DJ LeMahieu taking up three infield spots. An extension for Gregorius is even less likely as Miguel Andujar will be returning in 2020, making the Yankees infield extremely crowded. Jo Adell has shown much more potential than Estevan Florial, so the Yankees improve their farm system in this trade too. Adell could eventually make an impact in 2020 when Giancarlo Stanton replaces Edwin Encarnacion as the primary DH.

Acquiring Archer for the package of Tyler Glasnow, Austin Meadows, and Shane Baz might have seemed bad for Pittsburgh at the time, but now looks like an absolute catastrophe for the entire franchise. Archer has been extremely inefficient for the Pirates, posting an ERA well over 5.00 since being acquired. Meanwhile, Meadows and Glasnow have taken off for the Rays, both performing like All-Stars, helping the Rays be near the top of the stacked AL East. Shane Baz was a surprise addition to the trade as a PTBNL (player to be named later), and has been nothing but lights out in Single-A this year. Cutting ties with Archer might be tough given how much they gave up to land him, but sometimes it’s best to know when you messed up. Frazier, Florial, and Jones are three young players who could be the core of a Pirates rebuild.

Trade Review: Chris Sale, CHW & BOS

Yoan Moncada, the key piece of the Chris Sale trade

At the 2016 Winter Meetings, the topic of a potential Chris Sale trade was prominent throughout the week. Eventually the Red Sox pounced, prying super star pitcher, Chris Sale, from the rebuilding White Sox. This was the first domino to fall in Chicago’s rebuild which included the White Sox dealing Adam Eaton, Jose Quintana, Todd Frazier, and David Robertson. The Sale trade got the White Sox the biggest return, landing them four pieces in total.

The Deal: December 6th, 2016

Red Sox Receive: Chris Sale (SP)

White Sox Receive: Yoan Moncada (2B/3B), Michael Kopech (SP), Luis Alexander Basabe (OF), and Victor Diaz (SP)

General Overview: After multiple unpleasant incidents between Chris Sale and the White Sox organization, many expected Sale to be dealt over the offseason. On his way to the Red Sox, Sale joined a rotation already featuring the likes of David Price, Rick Porcello, and Drew Pomeranz. Joining a winning organization was something Sale greatly desired, so all three parties were happy with the deal. The Red Sox got the ace they desperatly needed, while the White Sox got two top tier prospects and two lower end guys who they felt could step up as well.

Red Sox Overview: No matter how well any of the players the Red Sox gave up do, it is hard to argue that they will be more valuable than Chris Sale was for them. Sale was not the only star player on the team in 2018, but he was one of the main reasons they made it to the World Series. Though doing poorly in his World Series start, without Sale, it is unlikely that the Red Sox would have even made it as far. Giving up two top tier prospects is tough, but it is hard to compare that to a World Series victory. Unfortunately for Boston, Sale’s 2019 season has been about as disastrous as possible, starting the season with an ERA over 6.00.

White Sox Overview: In the return for Sale, the White Sox got a massive haul of young talent. Just after reaching the majors, Yoan Moncada was MLB Pipeline’s #1 overall prospect in all of baseball. After his arrival, Moncada starred in Triple-A Charlotte for the first half of 2017 until his promotion to Chicago. Things did not go great for Moncada as his batting average and strikeout rate both worsened after the jump to the majors. In 2018, Moncada played the entire season at the MLB level, showing his 5-tool abilities, but again struggled with his contact. So far in 2019, Moncada has been excellent, looking like a true #1 overall prospect. His strikeouts have fallen drastically, while his HRs and AVG are both well above his previous season’s. It is a bit to early to tell for sure, but it appears as if Moncada was well worth being the centerpiece for Chris Sale. If he keeps performing at this rate, the Red Sox will soon (if not already) regret parting with him

Michael Kopech, another top prospect at the time, was dealt as a 2nd headliner to pair with Moncada. His combination of a high 90s (up to 100mph) fastball and a devastating slider really caught the eye of White Sox scouts. After doing well in Double-A (2017) and Triple-A (2017/2018), Kopech finally got a taste of the majors at the back end of the 2018 season. After a dominating first three starts, Kopech got absolutely shelled in his 4th. A day later, it was discovered Kopech needed Tommy John surgery, sidelining him for 2018 as well as 2019. He is expected to be fully healthy by 2020, and will be a crucial part of Chicago’s rotation then.

Though not as highly rated at the time, outfielder Luis Alexander Basabe, may turn out to be the 3rd very good player the White Sox got. A switch hitting outfielder, Basabe was traded away from his twin brother, Luis Alejando Basabe, who also played in the Red Sox organization. Though both were viewed as similar level players, Luis Alexander took off upon his arrival in the White Sox organization, and has proved himself to be an important member of their rebuild.

Victor Diaz, the 4th and final piece of the deal has not been much of a factor at all. After the trade, Diaz pitched 12 inning of relief between Class-A and Class A-Advanced, combining for a disgustingly bad 12 walks, and a 14.25 ERA. Diaz has been sidelined since 2017 due to injuries, so he is hoping to bounce back later this year. It’s always hard to tell for sure, but it appears that Diaz will be a pretty irrelevant part of this deal, essentially making it a 3:1 deal.

Chris Sale pitching vs Orioles (9/20/17)

Player Grades:

Chris Sale: A

Yoan Moncada: A-

Michael Kopech: A-

Luis Alexander Basabe: B-

Victor Diaz: D

Winner: Chicago White Sox

Prospect Profile: Wander Samuel Franco, TB

Wander Franco, TB

Wander Franco, the Tampa Bay Rays top prospect, is the next player in the Prospect Profile spotlight. Franco came in at #5 overall in my Early Season Prospect Rankings, and he is only getting better. Coming into the 2019 season at 18, Franco is one of the youngest players in all of Minor League Baseball.

Height:5’10″ Weight: 190 lbs. Age: 18

Position: SS Bats/Throws: S/R ETA: Early 2021

Overview: The future is looking very bright for the Tampa Bay Rays. With one of the best records in the MLB so far, and one of the best farm systems, they should also be expecting young pitchers Brent Honeywell, Anthony Banda and Jose De Leon to all return from Tommy John surgery this season. Wander Samuel Franco is at the top of Tampa’s prospect rankings, yet he is only 18 years old. Franco is at the top of a stacked system that contains players like Honeywell, Brendan McKay, Matthew Liberatore, Jesus Sanchez, and Shane McClanahan. Factor in current major league Rays like Austin Meadows, Willy Adames, Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow, the Rays have the best organizational depth in young, high-potential talent. I would expect the Rays to be in contention for the next 6-7 years at least, as they have the makings of a dynasty.

Signed in 2017 for just about four million dollars, Franco has not disappointed in his first profesional seasons, proving worthy of the large signing bonus. The switch hitting shortstop is one of the highest rated prospects by both MLB Pipeline and Baseball America. Coming in at such a young age (18) and already at Class A, Franco has the potential to be a complete superstar for the Rays. One of his most impressive stats is his strikeout rate, striking out only 9% of the time. Hitting well over .300 in both Rookie League (2018) and Class-A (2019), expect Franco to fly through Tampa’s system. Barring injuries, Franco will surely reach A-Advanced, and I don’t find it hard to believe that he’ll finish 2019 in Double-A Montgomery.

Ceiling: Troy Tulowitski – Currently, Tulowitski isn’t the star he used to be, so many people may have forgotten how dominant he used to be. He had a great bat, as well as a very good glove as well. During his career, Tulowitski had eight All-Star worthy seasons, and I could see Franco producing similarly to him. Franco has the tools to hit close to 30 HRs a season, while hovering around a .300 BA.

Projection: Gleyber Torres – One of the rising stars, Torres could be a very accurate comparison for Wander Franco. While its too early to tell for sure, Franco appears to be a pretty solid defender, who is an elite hitter both in terms of power and contact. Being a switch hitter is a plus as well, and he can produce from both sides of the plate, although he has more power from the left.

Floor: Willy Adames – One of the Rays former top prospects, shortstop Willy Adames was expected to be the Rays future shortstop as well as a franchise player. Adames has done pretty solid, but I’m sure they would have hoped for more. Francos expectations will be higher, so I view Adames as a worst case for Franco. If Adames is good enough to stay long term, he may have to relocate positions to make room for Franco.

Player Grades: Contact: A Power: B+ Speed: A- Fielding: B Arm: B- Potential: A+ Overall: A

Prospect Profile: Ke’Bryan Hayes, PIT

Ke’Bryan Hayes fielding ground balls at third base.

Pirates third baseman, Ke’Bryan Hayes, is the focus in the third article of the “Prospect Profile” series

Height:6’1″ Weight: 210 lbs. Age: 22

Position: 3B Bats/Throws: R/R ETA: Mid 2019

Overview: The best tool of Ke’Bryan Hayes is no doubt his glove. While his hit tool is very developed as well, the fielding abilities could easily win him a Gold Glove within his first few season in the MLB. Already participating in many “big stage” events such as the Futures Game and the Double-A All Star Game, Hayes has proven he is ready for the majors. After finishing 2018 at Double-A Altoona, Hayes has little left to prove at Triple-A, and should be up in Pittsburgh within a few months.

Part of a pretty depleted Pittsburgh farm system, Hayes is one of the few bright spots for Pirates fans. After seeing fellow top prospects Cole Tucker and Bryan Reynolds called up to Pittsburgh this past week, Hayes is not far behind. In what will be a rejuvenating boost for a lacking Pirates roster, Hayes will likely be better than both Reynolds and Tucker. Pirates top pitching prospect, Mitch Keller, should be up around the same time as Hayes, as bother are currently in Triple-A.

Ceiling: Miguel Andujar – Another young 3rd basemen, Andujar’s minor league numbers are not too far off Hayes’. Not showing too much power his first few seasons, Andujar really picked it up by year four. I think it is very realistic to see Hayes doing the same, as both have almost identical height/weight and similar body types. Comparable to Andujar, Hayes could hit around .280 while staying in the low 20s/high teens in terms of HRs. An advantage of Hayes is that he is much more fluid at 3rd base, a position which requires advanced defensive skills.

Projection: Martin Prado – One of the most underrated contact hitters, Prado is a guy who doesn’t have too much power, but contributes in many other ways. I see him as a very similar player, not only on the field, but in the clubhouse as well. Both Prado and Hayes have a reputation to be very great in the locker room, a plus to any athlete. Although Prado is in his mid 30s now, Hayes could very well be like Prado in his prime, with a high AVG, 10-15 HRs, 10 SBs, all while being an elite defender as well.

Floor: Yangervis Solarte – A decent ballplayer, Solarte has been around for a while putting up solid (not great) numbers. I’d say this would be Hayes at his worst, just because I’d would find it hard to believe that someone with his vision at the plate would be a below average hitter. No matter his struggles at the plate, Hayes will always be a great defender at any level.

Player Grades: Contact: A Power: B- Speed: B Fielding: A Arm: A Potential: B+ Overall: B

2019 Top 100 MLB Prospect Rankings 1.0 (Early Season)

#5 overall prospect, Wander Franco, SS (TB)

With both the MLB and MiLB seasons well underway, my first MLB Prospect Rankings is here. This list consists of any player who qualifies as a “rookie” according to MLB’s rules (under 130 ABs/50 IP in MLB games). My list will be updated throughout the season to keep the rankings accurate.

The Top 100:

  1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. , 3B, TOR
  2. Fernando Tatis Jr. SS, SD
  3. Eloy Jimenez, OF, CHW
  4. Royce Lewis, SS, MIN
  5. Wander Franco, SS, TB
  6. Bo Bichette, SS, TOR
  7. Brendan Rodgers, SS, COL
  8. Nick Senzel, 3B, CIN
  9. Chris Paddack, SP, SD
  10. Forrest Whitley, SP, HOU
  11. Alex Kirilloff, OF, MIN
  12. Joey Bart, C, SF
  13. Luis Robert, OF, CHW
  14. Peter Alonso, 1B, NYM
  15. Michael Kopech, SP, CHW
  16. Jesus Luzardo, SP, OAK
  17. Taylor Trammell, OF, CIN
  18. Jo Adell, OF, LAA
  19. Casey Mize, SP, DET
  20. Brendan McKay, SP/DH, TB
  21. Cristian Pache, OF, ATL
  22. Keston Hiura, 2B, MIL
  23. MacKenzie Gore, SP, SD
  24. Dylan Cease, SP, CHW
  25. Carter Kieboom, SS, WSH
  26. Mike Soroka, SP, ATL
  27. Brent Honeywell, SP, TB
  28. Yordan Alvarez, OF, HOU
  29. Sixto Sanchez, SP, MIA
  30. Jesus Sanchez, OF, TB
  31. Nick Madrigal, 2B, CHW
  32. Matthew Liberatore, SP, TB
  33. Brady Singer, SP, KC
  34. Matt Manning, SP, DET
  35. Austin Riley, 3B, ATL
  36. Mitch Keller, SP, PIT
  37. Kyle Tucker, OF, HOU
  38. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, PIT
  39. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, BAL
  40. Ian Anderson, SP, ATL
  41. Francisco Mejia, C, SD
  42. Luis Urias, SS/2B, SD
  43. Hunter Greene, SP, CIN
  44. Jarred Kelenic, OF, SEA
  45. Jazz Chisholm, SS, ARI
  46. Nolan Gorman, 3B, STL
  47. Gavin Lux, SS/2B, LAD
  48. Griffin Canning, SP, LAA
  49. Keibert Ruiz, C, LAD
  50. Kyle Wright, SP, ATL
  51. Triston McKenzie, SP, CLE
  52. Touki Toussaint, SP, ATL
  53. Andres Gimenez, SS, NYM
  54. Dustin May, SP, LAD
  55. Jon Duplantier, SP/RP, ARI
  56. Michael Chavis, 3B, BOS
  57. Corbin Martin, SP, HOU
  58. Adonis Medina, SP, PHI
  59. Grayson Rodriguez, SP, BAL
  60. Hans Crouse, SP, TEX
  61. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF, TEX
  62. Drew Waters, OF, ATL
  63. Ryan Weathers, SP, SD
  64. Colton Welker, 3B, COL
  65. AJ Puk, SP, OAK
  66. Justus Sheffield, SP, SEA
  67. Sean Murphy, C, OAK
  68. Jonathan India, 3B, CIN
  69. Estevan Florial, OF, NYY
  70. Alec Bohm, 3B, PHI
  71. Nate Pearson, SP, TOR
  72. Luis V. Garcia, INF, WSH
  73. Oneil Cruz, SS, PIT
  74. Victor Victor Mesa, OF, MIA
  75. Ronny Mauricio, SS, NYM
  76. Luis Patino, SP, SD
  77. Brusdar Graterol, SP, MIN
  78. Vidal Brujan, 2B, TB
  79. Nico Hoerner, SS, CHI
  80. Heliot Ramos, OF, SF
  81. Corey Ray, OF, MIL
  82. DL Hall, SP, BAL
  83. Julio Rodriguez, OF, SEA
  84. Dane Dunning, SP, CHW
  85. Monte Harrison, OF, MIA
  86. Darwinzon Hernandez, SP/RP, BOS
  87. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, TB
  88. Nolan Jones, 3B, CLE
  89. Cavan Biggio, 2B, TOR
  90. Jordan Groshans, SS/3B, TOR
  91. Travis Swaggerty, OF, PIT
  92. Justin Dunn, SP, SEA
  93. Leody Taveras, OF, TEX
  94. Anderson Tejeda, 2B, TEX
  95. Luis Garcia, SS, PHI
  96. Wander Javier, SS, MIN
  97. Adrian Morejon, SP, SD
  98. Jeremiah Jackson, SS, LAA
  99. Khalil Lee, OF, KC
  100. Jordyn Adams, OF, LAA
#75 overall, Ronny Mauricio (NYM), at bat in an exhibition game.

Overview: Overall, the top 100 prospects are as strong as any other class from the past few years. With extreme depth, almost any of the 100 have the potential to be perenial All-Stars. Currently, shortstop is extremely deep, with 5 of the top 7 prospects playing SS and 17 in total at the position. First base is very weak with only Pete Alonso (soon to graduate) representing the position. While every team has at least 1 on the list, The San Diego Padres have the most prospects on the list (8) and they one of the best systems overall.

The Next 20:

Shane McClanahan, TB pitching for USF
  • Dalton Varsho, C, ARI
  • Austin Hays, OF, BAL
  • Bobby Dalbec, 3B, BOS
  • Micker Adolfo, OF, CHW
  • Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, CHW
  • Ryan Rolison, SP, COL
  • Freudis Nova, SS, HOU
  • Seth Beer, OF, HOU
  • Jackson Kowar, SP, KC
  • Seuly Matias, OF, KC
  • Jeter Downs, SS, LAD
  • Diego Cartaya, C, LAD
  • Zac Gallen, SP, MIA
  • Jorge Mateo, SS, OAK
  • Calvin Mitchell, OF, PIT
  • Michel Baez, SP, SD
  • Luis Campusano, C, SD
  • Marco Luciano, SS, SF
  • Shane McClanahan, SP, TB
  • Bubba Thompson, OF, TEX

Trade Review – Christian Yelich, MIA & MIL

Christian Yelich with the Milwaukee Brewers

Having been over a year removed from the Christian Yelich blockbuster trade, now is as good a time as any to look back upon the deal and see how things have been working out for both sides.

The Deal: January 25th, 2018

Brewers Receive: Christian Yelich

Marlins Receive: Lewis Brinson (OF), Isan Diaz (2B), Monte Harrison (OF), and Jordan Yamamoto (SP)

General Overview: At the time of the deal, Miami was in the middle of one of the biggest, most impactful rebuilds of the decade. Moving Yelich was more of a “when” as opposed to an “if”. Every talented player wanted out of the crumbling franchise. Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Dee Gordon, AJ Ramos, and David Phelps are a few names dealt around the same time. The main focus of the organization was to bring in as many top prospects as possible to reboot their farm system with young talent. On the Brewers’ end of things, the playoffs were well within reach. The acquisitions of both Yelich and Lorenzo Cain greatly improved Milwaukee’s roster. Though Brinson, Diaz, and Harrison were ranked among the top 100 prospects by many experts, gaining Yelich seemed to be worth it for Milwaukee.

Brewers Overview: So far is seems as if the clear winner of the deal is Milwaukee. Yelich has performed at a legitimate MVP level since being dealt to the Brewers, while the prospects sent to Miami have not done anything that would make the Brewers regret the deal. Being on such a team friendly contract doesn’t hurt Yelich’s value either, making it seem like an even bigger steal for the Brewers. Hitting .326 with 36 HRs in his first season with the Brew Crew, Yelich is on his way to an even better season in 2019. While giving up 4 prospects has depleted their system of top tier talent, Milwaukee could not be happier with the way Yelich has performed.

Marlins Overview: The Marlins return in the Christian Yelich trade was extremely deep, and included 4 highly rated prospects. Outfield Lewis Brinson was the headliner of the deal, being ranked in the top 20 of almost all prospect rankings. Unfortunately for Miami, Brinson also appears to be the biggest bust of the deal. After a short time with Marlins minor league affiliates, Brinson made his Marlins debut in 2018 . Unable to even reach a .200 AVG within his first two seasons in Miami, he has struggled mightily at the plate, with an OBP of an alarming .241. While it is too early to declare the 24 year old a true bust, his performance can not be viewed as encouraging to Marlins fans.

Monte Harrison with Marlins Double-A affiliate, Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in 2018

The second piece to the deal was Monte Harrison. Another speedy Brewers outfielder coming to the Marlins, Harrison had a superb 20+/20+ season before being dealt. In his first season in the Marlins organization, Harrison showed off his 5-tool abilities in Double-A Jacksonville, but had issues with a very high strikeout rate. Currently in Triple-A, the hope is that he can reduce his strikeouts while retaining his speed/power combination versus tougher competition. Harrison is currently the highest ceiling player acquired by the Marlins from their rebuild, so everyone in the organization will be sure to give him the assistance and coaching he needs to be as successful as possible.

Second baseman Isan Diaz was the third position player to be dealt during this trade. So far Diaz has not performed well for Miami, but he has also showed some signs that he may become another 5-tool guy for the Marlins. the real trend with these three position players was their 5-tool potential, with low floors and high ceilings. The expectation was that at least one of the three could become an elite “face of the franchise” to replace all the departed veterans, but so far that has not happened.

Jordan Yamamoto, RHP

Lastly, the only pitcher the Marlins acquired in this trade was Jordan Yamamoto. So far the Hawaiian native, Yamamoto, has pitched like an ace for the Marlins Class A-Advanced and Double-A teams. Posting a 1.82 ERA since the trade, he appears to have been the best part of the package. With a great WHIP and respectable strikeout numbers, the Marlins are hoping Yamamoto can surpass his lower expectations and become the best part of the deal.

Player Grades:

Christian Yelich: A+

Lewis Brinson: C-

Monte Harrison: B

Isan Dian: C+

Jordan Yamamoto: A

Winner: Milwaukee Brewers

Prospect Profile: Seuly Matias, KC

In the second installment of the “Prospect Profile” series, we will be taking a look at Royals slugger, Seuly Matias

Height:6’3″ Weight: 198 lbs. Age: 20

Position: OF (RF) Bats/Throws: R/R ETA: Early 2021

Overview: Matias’s best tool is his cannon for an arm. After making the transition to right field, he really stood out for both his arm strength, and throw accuracy. After struggling at the plate his first two season (2016-2017), Matias really impressed during his 2018 season in A-Class Lexington. Even though his season was cut short due to a thumb injury, Matias hit 31 HRs in just 338 at-bats. Well on pace for over 50 HRs in 2018, Matias should be able to manage around 35-40 HRs in the more pitcher-friendly parks of the Carolina League. If his recent seasons are any indicator, Matias is going to produce at an elite level throughout his career.

Currently on a stacked Wilmington Blue Rocks team, Matias has outperformed fellow Royals prospects Nick Pratto and MJ Melendez, but at the same age as them, I would expect all three to follow similar timelines on their journey to Kansas City. Probably reaching Double-A in late 2019, and Triple-A late 2020, all three should be in Kansas City in the early stages of 2021. With a lack of any real talent on Kansas City’s roster and in the early stages of a major rebuild, getting these talented players along with other prospects like Brady Singer, Jackson Kowar and Khalil Lee, KC might be able to contend as early as 2021.

Ceiling: Giancarlo Stanton – If Matias can manage to put in a lot of work at the plate, a Stanton-like ceiling is not out of the picture. While I doubt that Matias will ever have a below-average strikeout rate, if he can continue to drive the ball with immense power that should not be an issue. With his good defensive skills and great arm, Matias should stick at right field for the majority of his career. A slash line of .265/.340/.500 with 40+ HRs is not out of the question.

Projection: Eloy Jimenez – Jimenez just made his MLB debute in 2019, but I really think that Matias will follow a similar path to Jimenez. Both had a rough fist few pro seasons, but then by their third season, both showed elite power abilities. While it is unlikely he hits for as high an average as Jimenez, Matias could easily hit as many home runs while being a superior defender. Matias should be able to hit around .250 while being in the upper tier of home run hitters.

Floor: Ian Happ – If his plate approach does not translate well to the MLB, Matias should still retain his plus power tool at the highest level. While Happ as the floor for Matias might seem really high, I really do believe Matias has all the necessary tools to become a perenial All-Star. Worst case I see Matias as a .235 hitter with 25 HRs, similar to Happ’s first 2 MLB seasons.

Player Grades: Contact: C+ Power: A Speed: C+ Fielding: B+ Arm: A+ Potential: A Overall: B+

Prospect Profile: Luis Robert, CHW

To start of the “Prospect Profile” series, we will be taking a look at White Sox superstar outfielder, Luis Robert.

Height:6’3″ Weight: 185 lbs. Age: 21

Position: OF (CF) Bats/Throws: R/R ETA: Early-mid 2020

Overview Luis Robert is an excellent athlete, and among the most promising talents in the White Sox organization. Having been signed in 2017, Robert’s first two pro seasons were very respectable, although both were shortened due to injury trouble. So far in 2019, Robert has been fully healthy, and his stats could not be any better. Through his first 12 games he is hitting .471, with an OBP of a whopping .518. Not only having an excellent stint at the plate, Robert has flashed his 5 tool talent with 5 HRs and 6 SBs during the same timespan. On pace for well over a 20/20 season, Robert is a guy who could hit 30 HRs or record 30 SBs in any given season. For the first time, fully healthy, it appears as if Robert has exceeded expectations and will make his massive 26 million dollar contract well worth it.

The hope in Chicago is that Robert will pair up with Yoan Moncada and Eloy Jiminez to bring a championship to the city. All three are very young international players under contract for at least 5 years. While Jimenez and Moncada were both ranked among the top 3 prospects in all of baseball while Robert is ranked in the mid 20’s, I could easily see Robert outperforming both. With 3 positions in the lineup locked for years to come, the White Sox are building a dynasty which Robert will play a huge role in.

Ceiling: Mike Trout – Mike Trout is the ultimate 5-tool player, and it is unlikely that Robert will ever reach Trout’s level, but if Robert reaches his true potential, he has as good a chance as any prospect to reach the same status. The start to his 2019 season as a prime example, Robert has the ability to absolutely dominate competition with his superior athleticism and combination of raw power and speed. At his prime Robert could hit around .300 with 25+ HRs and 30 SBs. If he can work on his approach at the plate and cut down on his strikeouts (something he has done early 2019), Robert could be a top 5 outfielder in all of baseball.

Projection: Yoan Moncada – There are some very obvious differences here. Moncada is an infielder while Robert is in the outfield. Moncada is a switch hitter whereas Robert is right handed. These differences aside, if looking upon the two purely based on projected stats, I can’t think of a better comparison. Both players are young, international players from Cuba. Both were highly rated prospects in the same organization. Both are high ceiling guys with strikeout concerns. Both will likely be at least 20/20 guys, although both may struggle to make contact consistently. A fair projection for Robert is a .270 AVG with 18 HRs and 25 SBs.

Floor: Billy Hamilton – If Robert’s hit tool and plate discipline don’t translate to the MLB level, his speed and defensive skills certainly will. Even if he turns out to be a below average hitter, he would still make a big impact with his other tools. At his worst I could see Robert slashing .240/.300/.410 with an elite 2.5 dWAR (defensive wins above replacement), and at least 15 SBs.

Player Grades: Contact: B Power: B- Speed: A+ Fielding: B+ Arm: A Potential: A+ Overall: A-