Updated Top 10 Prospects (2017): Tampa Bay Rays: Does Jose De Leon Take The Top Spot?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Dodgers finally landed their second baseman yesterday, when they traded top prospect Jose De Leon to the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for Logan Forsythe.  Does De Leon immediately sit atop the Rays system?  If not, where does he fall?  Let’s take a look:


1) Brent Honeywell – Right-Handed Pitcher
Grade – A-
ETA – 2017

Generally known for an ability to develop young pitching, Honeywell is a name that people need to become accustomed with in short order.  Selected in the second round of the 2014 draft he’s shown an impressive ability to both generate strikeouts and control the strike zone since being selected:

  • Strikeouts – 9.2 K/9
  • Walks – 1.9 BB/9

Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2017): Philadelphia Phillies: Intriguing Names Sit Atop A Lackluster System

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

For a rebuilding franchise you’d hope that they’d be stocked with high upside prospects, but that’s not currently the case in Philadelphia.  That’s not to say that there aren’t some intriguing names or players who could make an impact in the Major Leagues, but the overall upside is lacking.  With that in mind, let’s take a look at how the Top 10 currently looks (actually it’s a Top 11):


1) J.P. Crawford – Shortstop
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+

There’s no question that he’s the top prospect in the system, but when will the production start to match the potential?  Last season he split time between Double and Triple-A, underwhelming at both levels:

  • Double-A (126 AB) – .265 with 3 HR, 13 RBI, 23 R and 5 SB
  • Triple-A (336 AB) – .244 with 4 HR, 30 RBI, 40 R and 7 SB

Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2017): Miami Marlins: What’s Left After Trading Their Top Prospect

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Marlins surprisingly traded away Luis Castillo as part of a three-player package to acquire Dan Straily though it shouldn’t have been.  It was the second time he has been included in a trade in the past few months (Castillo was sent to the Padres as part of the Andrew Cashner trade, but returned to Miami after the injury to Colin Rea was discovered).  Where does that leave an already thin system?  Let’s take a look:


1) Braxton Garrett – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2020
Grade – B+

Selected seventh overall in 2016, he was widely regarded as having a high floor for a high school pitcher.  That’s thanks to an advanced curveball and the expectation that he develops and adds a bit more velocity to his fastball.  The latter is an assumption, but at 6’3” and 190 lbs. it’s easy to envision.  Like most young pitchers he will need to develop a third pitch to help keep opponents honest (something he’s already doing), but he has ample time for that.


2) Brian Anderson – Third Baseman
ETA – 2017
Grade – B

When you look at a third baseman who hit .265 with 11 HR and 3 SB over 483 AB between High-A and Double-A, you wonder why he’d be on our radars.  However his plate discipline in 301 AB at Double-A was impressive:

  • Strikeout Rate – 17.1%
  • Walk Rate – 10.4%

He hit .243 at the level, but a .274 BABIP was the reason why.  At 23-years old he shouldn’t be far from arriving, though he’s still young enough to expect some more power to develop (he’s likely a 15-20 HR type in the Majors).  He’s seen some time at 2B in the past, a spot that his bat would profile better, though he only manned 3B last season.


3) Tyler Kolek – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2019
Grade – B-

His 2016 was lost due to Tommy John surgery and prior to the injury there were questions about his control (5.05 BB/9 over 108.2 IP at Single-A in ’15).  With concerns about that prior to the surgery, will he be able to find it after?  Throw in a pitcher who was supposed to bring strikeout stuff, yet mustered a 6.71 K/9, and there’s reason for skepticism.  There’s obviously talent, as the second overall pick in the 2014 draft, but there are significant concerns.


4) Austin Dean – Outfielder
ETA – 2017
Grade – C+

There’s potential for Dean to develop, though there are also a lot of questions that need to be answered.  He spent ’16 at Double-A, hitting .238 with 11 HR over 480 AB.  He saw his strikeout rate rise (13.1% at High-A in ’15 to 20.5%), his speed disappear (18 SB in ’15 to 1 in ’16) and the 23-year old has yet to tap into his power (he had 32 doubles, 2 triples and 5 HR in ’15).  That doesn’t form an especially impressive outlook, though there is still hope.


5) Jarlin Garcia – Left-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – C+

In theory Garcia was on the Marlins roster for a short-time in 2016, though he never appeared in a game and ultimately a triceps injury limited him to 50.2 IP across three levels (Double-A being the highest).  He’s shown good control throughout his minor league career (2.2 BB/9 over 479.1 IP) and pitching in Miami will help him to keep the ball in the ballpark.  His strikeout stuff appears to be limited (7.6 K/9, including 7.3 at Double-A), and ultimately that’s going to limit his appeal (though there is upside).  There is potential as he develops, but for now he appears to profile more as a back of the rotation starter.


The Rest:

6) Thomas Jones – Outfielder (Grade – C+)
7) Stone Garrett – Outfielder (Grade – C)
8) Jordan Holloway – Right-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C)
9) Dillon Peters – Left-Handed Pitcher (Grade – C)

Note – He was highly impressive splitting time between High-A & Double-A, with a 2.38 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 7.3 K/9, 1.4 BB/9 and 1.92 GO/AO over 128.2 IP.  However we need to keep our outlook in check, as he is 24-years old and stands at 5’9”.
10) Isael Soto – Outfielder (Grade – C)

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, MLB.com

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Grading System:
Grade A – Elite Prospects (aka potential future perennial All-Stars)
Grade B – Above Average Prospects (aka above average Major Leaguers, could develop into a potential All-Star)
Grade C – Average Prospects (aka solid, though unspectacular)
Grade D – Nothing More Than Roster Filler
Grade F – Move On

Make sure to check out all of our 2017 Prospect Rankings:

AL EastAL CentralAL West
Baltimore OriolesChicago White SoxHouston Astros
Boston Red SoxCleveland IndiansLos Angeles Angels
New York YankeesDetroit TigersOakland A's
Tampa Bay RaysKansas City RoyalsSeattle Mariners
Toronto Blue JaysMinnesota TwinsTexas Rangers
NL EastNL CentralNL West
Atlanta BravesChicago CubsArizona Diamondbacks
Miami MarlinsCincinnati RedsColorado Rockies
New York MetsMilwaukee BrewersLos Angeles Dodgers
Philadelphia PhilliesPittsburgh PiratesSan Diego Padres
Washington NationalsSt. Louis CardinalsSan Francisco Giants

Top 10 Prospects (2017): New York Mets: More High Upside Arms Are On The Way…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The New York Mets system isn’t quite what it once was, thanks to trading off assets to help with their past two playoff pushes along with a few graduations.  At the same time, that certainly doesn’t mean that they are void of talent and potential.  As has become the norm there are some highly intriguing pitchers, who could bolster what is already one of the best starting five in baseball.  Who are they?  Are there any intriguing position players?  Let’s take a look:


1) Amed Rosario – Shortstop
Grade – A-
ETA – Late 2017/2018

It’s possible Rosario arrives late in 2017, at least for a cup of coffee, and he appears primed to take over as the team’s starting shortstop in 2018.  Splitting time between High-A and Double-A in 2016, he thrived at both levels: Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2017): Miami Marlins: Is There Any Value In A Beleaguered System?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Marlins’ system certainly isn’t one of the more impressive in the game, especially when it comes to high upside hitters.  There are a few intriguing pitchers, but there are questions hanging over many of them as well (like Tyler Kolek, who struggled before ultimately needing Tommy John surgery).  Are there any players with enough upside that they are worth watching?  Let’s take a look:


1) Luis Castillo – Right-Handed Pitcher
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+

The converted reliever brings strikeout potential, despite not yet showing it (7.0 K/9 over 131.2 IP between High-A and Double-A in ’16).  He throws hard and as he learns how to harness his stuff as a starter it’s easy to envision a strikeout per inning (or more).  The biggest question has always been his control, but that has been trending in the right direction: Read more

Breaking Down The Prospects Dealt In The Drew Smyly Deals: Is There Value Outside Of Gohara?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

In order to acquire Drew Smyly from the Tampa Bay Rays the Seattle Mariners pulled the trigger on a pair of trades, parting with four prospects in the process.  Let’s take a look at each of them and get to know a little bit about them and their upside:


Luiz Gohara – Left-Handed Pitcher
Traded to the Atlanta Braves

He is the best player that the team dealt directly (the argument could be made that Mallex Smith was the best player traded away), as he earned a B+ grade and was our second ranked prospect in the system (click here to view our Top 10).  That’s not to say that he’s a sure thing, as there are obvious questions about his workload and how quickly he will arrive (while he broke out in ’16, he threw just 69.2 innings).  He also has never really been pushed to work late into games.  Just look at this interesting tidbit, courtesy of Baseball America:

“Gohara has pitched more than six innings only once in 48 career starts.” Read more

Breakout Prospect Potential: Could The Rangers’ Eric Jenkins Erupt In 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

You can easily argue that we were a bit aggressive in our ranking of the Rangers’ Eric Jenkins, who slotted in #4 on our recently released Top 10 prospect list (click here to view).  There is an obvious flaw given his strikeout rate (27.4% at Single-A), which helped to deflate his average (.221).  The other skills are loud, though, and impossible to overlook.

Jenkins not only showed off speed (51 SB), but also more power than your typical speedster (30 extra base hits, including 8 HR).  There is no questioning the speed potential of the 2015 second round pick, who has racked up 79 SB in just 705 AB since being drafted.

As MLB.com recently said about him, it’s clear that he’s not simply stepping to the plate and looking to put the ball in play though:

“Unlike many speedsters, Jenkins does more than just slap and run when he’s at the plate. He has a quick left-handed stroke, feel for manipulating the barrel and some deceptive pull power. Once he adds some strength and refines his approach, he could hit for average and reach double figures in home runs.” Read more

Top 10 Prospects (2017): Atlanta Braves: High Upside Pitching Bolsters An Impressive System

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Braves have rebuilt their system, with the focus being put on high upside arms.  There’s clearly a wave coming, and the addition of multiple veterans will afford them ample time to develop and mature without the spotlight or unrealistic expectations.  That said, their upside is clearly there and they aren’t alone as there are several impressive hitters filling up the system as well.  The Braves could become a force in the AL East in short order, making this system an intriguing one to spotlight:


1) Dansby Swanson – Shortstop
Grade – A
ETA – Already Arrived

He’s moved quickly, after being traded from Arizona in the doomed Shelby Miller deal.  Swanson got 145 PA in the Majors last season, as a 22-year old, hitting .302 with 3 HR and 3 SB.  He showed a good command of the strike zone, including a 9.7% SwStr%, so with experience we’d expect him to improve upon his 23.4% strikeout rate. Read more

Prospect Sleeper: Could The Royals’ Khalil Lee Put Himself On The Map In ’17?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Looking at a players’ first taste of professional baseball and drawing definitive conclusions is often a mistake.  As it is it’s an extremely small sample size, and any player can catch fire in the short-term.  That said, the Royals’ Khalil Lee (2016 third round pick) did more than enough after being selected to draw an aggressive ranking from us.

When we did our Royals’ Top 10 prospects (click here to view) we slotted him at #8 in the system saying:

“This is an aggressive ranking, but seeing him post 6 HR, 8 SB and a 14.9% walk rate in his first taste of professional baseball (222 PA) is promising.  At 18-years old there’s a long ways to go, but the 2016 third round pick is certainly a name worth monitoring.”

The left-handed hitter is going to have a lot to prove as he progresses in the system, as he stands at 5’10” and isn’t known to have blazing speed.  Is he going to be able to hit for significant power?  Is he going to be able to steal enough bases? Read more

Now In KC, Don’t Assume Peter O’Brien Is The Next Chris Carter…

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve long heard the hype surrounding Peter O’Brien, though a lack of a true position and significant strikeout rates have caused his value to plummet.  In 79 PA in the Majors over the past two seasons he’s posted a gaudy 40.7% strikeout rate (though he has chipped in 6 HR).  Those numbers pale in comparison of what he’s done at Triple-A over the past two seasons:

  • 2015 – .284 with 26 HR and 107 RBI over 490 AB
  • 2016 – .254 with 24 HR and 75 RBI over 406 AB

Obviously the positional concern gets wiped away now that the Royals can utilize him as the DH.  The strikeouts, though, remain an issue as he was at 33.9% while at Triple-A in ’16.  Couple that with a minuscule 5.3% walk rate and it’s easy to imagine Major League pitchers continuing to take advantage of him. Read more