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

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