Archive for Top 10 Lists

MLB’s Top 50 Prospects (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve broken down the top prospects for each team (click here for the index) and we’ve broken them down by position (click here for the index), so all that’s left to do is throwdown our Top 50 Prospects!  There’s little question regarding who the top prospects around the game are, but how do they rank?

It shouldn’t be surprising that the list is dominated by Pitchers, Shortstops and Outfielders, as that is clearly where the talent is focused.  With that said, how do things shake out?  Where do the top prospects at the other positions fit in?  Let’s take a look: Read more

Top 25 Starting Pitcher Prospects: #11-25 (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last week we kicked off our Top 25 Starting Pitcher Prospect Rankings (click here to view), but who just missed cracking the Top 10?  Which prospects could be flying under-the-radar for some?  Let’s take a look at who fills out our Top 25:

11) Robert Stephenson – Cincinnati Reds
#1 prospect for Reds
Grade – B+

No one is going to question the pure stuff, as Stephenson’s arm is electric and he already has three potentially above average pitches. Splitting time between Double & Triple-A last season he posted a 9.4 K/9 (9.8 over his minor league career), but his control has gone off the rails over the past two seasons:

  • 2014 – 4.9 BB/9
  • 2015 – 4.7 BB/9

Read more

Top 25 Starting Pitcher Prospects: #1-10 (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve seen some tremendous pitching prospects emerge in recent years and there could be many more arms joining them in the not-so-distant future.  Who are the best pitchers coming through the pipeline?  Who could explode onto the scene and quickly emerge as one of the elite in the game?  Let’s kick off our starting pitcher prospect rankings with #1-10:

1) Lucas Giolito – Washington Nationals
#1 prospect for Nationals
Grade – A

Giolito is one of the premier prospects in the game, not just one of the premier pitching prospects. He split time between High-A and Double-A last season (117.0 IP) compiling a 3.15 ERA and 1.28 WHIP. Of course it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the metrics regress, at least a little bit, as he moved to Double-A:

  • High-A – 11.1 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.36 GO/AO
  • Double-A – 8.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.28 GO/AO

Read more

Top 20 Outfield Prospects: #11-20 (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Last week we started our listing of the Top 20 Outfield Prospects in Major League Baseball (click here to view).  Who are the next 10 prospects?  Let’s take a look:

11) Clint Frazier – Cleveland Indians
#2 ranked Indians prospect
Grade – B+

Frazier spent the entire season at High-A, hitting .285 with 16 HR and 15 SB. He added 36 doubles and 3 triples, showing the potential for the power to further develop as he gets older (he just turned 21-years old) and gains experience. The problem has been the strikeouts, though he did take a step forward last season:

  • 2014 (Single-A) – 29.7%
  • 2015 (High-A) – 21.3%

When coupled with his good eye at the plate (11.6% walk rate), if he can maintain the improved strikeout rate the potential is there to develop into a strong hitter with massive power potential. How he adjusts to the next level, especially against more advanced pitching, is going to be the key to his long-term success.

12) David Dahl – Colorado Rockies
#2 ranked Rockies prospect
Grade – B+

He hit .278 with 6 HR and 22 SB over 288 AB at Double-A last season, missing time after suffering a ruptured spleen in an on-field collision. The power should continue to grow, after posting 41 doubles, 8 triples and 14 HR between two levels of Single-A in ’14 (he had 16 doubles and 3 triples at Double-A last season). The big concern has been his approach at the plate, as the strikeouts have risen with each promotion, while the walks have dropped:

  • Single-A (422 PA) – 15.4% // 5.5%
  • High-A (125 PA) – 21.6% // 4.0%
  • Double-A (302 PA) – 23.8% // 3.6%

With power and speed there’s a lot of potential, but he needs to fine-tune his approach to take advantage of it.

13) Kyle Tucker – Houston Astros
#3 ranked Astros prospect
Grade – B+

Selected fifth overall in 2015, Tucker is the younger brother of current Houston outfielder Preston Tucker.  Like fellow first round pick Alex Bregman, Kyle showed a good approach at the plate (29 K over 232 AB), something we all know that the Astros need to improve at the big league level.  At 18-years old (he’ll turn 19 in January) and standing at 6’4”, there’s reason to believe that he will grow into his power as he ages and matures.  Couple the approach, power potential and ability to steal bases (18 in his professional debut) and he’s certainly going to be a player to watch closely.

14) Raimel Tapia – Colorado Rockies
#3 ranked Rockies prospect
Grade – B+

He has a ton of athleticism and upside, with 20/20 potential written all over him. While he’s aggressive at the plate, as his 4.0% walk rate at High-A shows, it will be interesting to see if he can continue to make consistent contact (17.7% strikeout rate). If he can, there’s .280+ upside. While he hit “just” 12 HR in 544 AB last season, he added 34 doubles and 9 triples showing that there is some power in his bat. Throw in 26 stolen bases (33 at Single-A in ’14) and the total package is there. While there is a bit of risk, there is also a lot of reward possible.

15) Max Kepler – Minnesota Twins
#3 ranked Twins prospect
Grade – B+

Not many prospects made the kind of jump that Kepler did, hitting .322 with 9 HR, 71 RBI, 76 R and 18 SB over 407 AB at Double-A last season. The power number doesn’t look impressive, but keep in mind that he added 32 doubles and 13 triples, so it’s easy to imagine him improving into the 15-20 range (if not a little more). Couple that with 20+ SB upside as well as a solid approach at the plate (13.1% strikeout rate, 13.9% walk rate) and what’s not to like? He’s put himself on the map as a potential .290/20/20 player, something few others can legitimately say.

16) Victor Robles – Washington Nationals
#5 ranked Nationals prospect
Grade – B+ (could quickly emerge as an A-)

The Nationals signed Robles as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic back in 2013 and are just now starting to see a return on that investment.  Splitting time between Rookie Ball and Low-A he hit .352 with 4 HR and 24 SB over 213 AB.  The power is expected to develop in time (he did add 11 doubles and 5 triples), and he’s already shown a promising approach at the plate (strikeout rates of 12.8% & 12.6%).  We always hear about five-tool prospects, and Robles has that type of upside potential.  At this time next season we may be talking about Robles as the top prospect in the Nationals’ system.

17) Anthony Alford – Toronto Blue Jays
#1 ranked Blue Jays prospect
Grade – B+

Now that he’s finally given up football, the former two-sport star is going to be able to develop his tremendous upside on the diamond. Splitting time between Single-A and High-A he definitely flashed his upside in 2015 by hitting .298 with 4 HR, 35 RBI, 91 R and 27 SB over 413 AB. He also showed an impressive eye at the plate and an improved strikeout rate upon being promoted (strikeout rate // walk rate):

  • Single-A – 25.9% // 16.8%
  • High-A – 19.2% // 11.0%

Throw in the potential for his power to develop (25 doubles, 7 triples helping to lead to a .421 SLG) and the upside is certainly there. Now that his sole focus is on baseball, look for him to potentially move quickly.

18) Eddy Julio Martinez – Outfielder
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+

Signed out of Cuba, Martinez has drawn comparisons to Andruw Jones. That alone needs to get people excited (remember in Jones’ prime saw him hit .303 with 36 HR and 21 SB), though it remains to be seen if his power will be able to develop or not. As of now his speed is his best asset, as well as expectations that he can hit for a strong average. Time will tell how he develops and adjusts to life in the U.S., but the upside is there to be one of the better prospects in the game.

19) Alex Jackson – Seattle Mariners
#1 ranked Mariners prospect
Grade – B+

The grade probably should be higher but a miserable 2015 campaign, including a bloated strikeout rate (28.9% at Single-A, 31.0% at Low-A), has got to make us at least a little bit skeptical.  He played all of 2015 at 19-years old and battled through injuries, the latter of which easily could have impacted his production.  At one point he was in the conversation for the first overall pick in 2014 (he ultimately was selected sixth overall), so there is obvious upside potential and could help ease the concerns this past season created.

The question is going to be how long it takes him to refine his game, especially his contact rate.  Those types of numbers at the lower levels are eye popping, especially since expectations are for them to rise against more advanced pitching.  There is power in his bat (11 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs over 163 AB at Low-A), something that should continue to grow and develop.  Still, as we’ve seen with the Rangers’ Joey Gallo if you can’t make contact the power isn’t going to matter much.

20) Cornelius Randolph – Philadelphia Phillies
#3 ranked Phillies prospect
Grade – B+

Drafted 10th overall in 2015, Randolph made a significant splash in his first taste of professional baseball by hitting .302 with 19 extra base hits (15 doubles, 3 triples, 1 home run) over 172 AB. If that wasn’t impressive enough, despite turning just 18 in June he walked (32) just as many times as he struck out (32). For a player this young, showing that type of approach has got to get observers extremely excited. We need to give the left-handed swinger time to develop, and it’s going to take time, but he clearly belongs on all radars thanks to his potential.

Grading System (still in development):
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 Top 10 Prospect Lists:

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 20 Outfield Prospects: #1-10 (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Outfield may not be the deepest position when it comes to prospects (shortstop definitely takes home that honor), but there is an awful lot of talent on the horizon.  Who are the best on their way?  Let’s kick off the rankings with our Top 10:

1) Byron Buxton – Minnesota Twins
#1 ranked Twins prospect
Grade – A

Had it not been for injuries Buxton would’ve graduated and been ineligible for this list, as he played in 46 games (129 AB) for the Twins this past season.  Arguably the elite prospect in the game, a healthy Buxton quickly put his disappointing 2014 campaign behind him: Read more

Top 10 Third Basemen Prospects (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The depth of third base prospects may not be as impressive as it once was, but that’s because the majority of the top prospects at the position have graduated in recent years (like Kris Bryant and Maikel Franco in ’15).  That’s not to say that it is completely void of talent, as there are still some intriguing names on the horizon.  Who are the top third base prospects in the league?  Let’s take a look:

1) Rafael Devers – Boston Red Sox
#3 ranked Red Sox prospect
Grade – B+

The 18-year old (he’ll turn 19 in late October) spent the full season at Single-A hitting .288 with 11 HR, 70 RBI and 71 R over 469 AB.  Adding 38 doubles and 1 triple shows that there is even more room to grow in the power department and his 16.5% strikeout rate, at his age/level, is highly impressive.  In most organizations he would likely be in the Top 2 prospects, which speaks volumes to the upside of the three guys ahead of him. Read more

Top 10 Shortstop Prospects (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Is there a position with as much talent coming up through the minors as shortstop?  Teams are trying to keep their talent at the premium position, which makes sense.  Long-term many of them may ultimately move off the position (whether it’s to second base, third base or the outfield), but only if necessary.  Who are the best prospects on the horizon?  Let’s take a look:

1) Corey Seager – Los Angeles Dodgers
#1 ranked prospect for Dodgers
Grade – A

We all waited for the Dodgers to grow frustrated enough with Jimmy Rollins to turn things over to Seager. Finally, late in the year, the team made the change and reaped the benefits (.337, 4 HR, 17 RBI, 17 R, 2 SB over 98 AB). Is Seager going to be able to maintain that type of pace? Read more

Top 10 Second Base Prospects (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

While second base doesn’t necessarily have the “gaudy” prospects as other spots, there is one truly elite name sitting atop the rankings and a few other intriguing ones behind him.  Who has the highest upside?  Who could emerge as stars?  Let’s take a look at how our rankings currently look:

1) Yoan Moncada – Boston Red Sox
#1 ranked prospect for Red Sox
Grade – A

One of the most hyped imports ever, it took Moncada a bit of time to adjust to the minor leagues. Once he did, though, he took it by storm. The 20-year old spent the season at Single-A (306 AB) hitting .278 with 8 HR, 38 RBI, 61 R and 49 SB. The switch hitter had 45 SB in his final 56 games and should also add power as he gets older and matures (as it is he had 19 doubles and 3 triples). A few other impressive tidbits: Read more

Updated Top 10 Prospects (2016): Chicago Cubs: Where Does Eddy Martinez Slot In?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Obviously the Cubs’ system isn’t quite what it was a year ago, but that’s what happens when you graduate players like Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Addison Russell.  The system isn’t barren, stocked with a slew of outfielders as well as an under-the-radar catcher who is primed to make a name for himself in ’16.  How do they all rank?  Let’s take a look:

1) Gleyber Torres – Shortstop
ETA – 2018
Grade – B+

You can argue that Torres has the highest upside of anyone in the system, but there are significant questions on how he will develop:

  1. Can he stay at shortstop?
  2. Where will his carrying tool be (3 HR, 22 SB in ’15 at Single-A, though he’s not known for his speed)?
  3. Will his plate discipline develop (21.0% strikeout rate, 8.4% walk rate)?

Read more

Top 10 First Base Prospects (Preseason 2016 Edition)

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

First base definitely isn’t where we go to for the elite prospects in the game.  In fact, often times the position lacks true impact prospects and many who show upside are discredited by the masses because they are “only” a first baseman.  Is that fair?  Not especially, as they deserve credit for their abilities.  Who are the best of the bunch?  Who has the highest upside?  Let’s take a look:

1) A.J. Reed – Houston Astros
#2 ranked prospect for Astros
Grade – B+

We all know that power is at a premium and Reed brings it to the table, having slugged 34 HR over 523 AB last season.  He reached Double-A last season and while Astros’ first baseman have had problems with strikeouts Reed shows a significantly better approach at the plate:

  • High-A (318 AB) – 19.0%
  • Double-A (205 AB) – 20.7%

Read more