by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
With three of the Top 10 players in the system sent to San Diego in the deal that netted Boston Craig Kimbrel, obviously our original Top 10 rankings need to be updated. Who joins the mix? Were there any other adjustments? Let’s take a look at the updated rankings, complete with grades:
1) Yoan Moncada – 2B
ETA – 2017
Grade – A (you could probably argue 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:
- He was caught stealing just 3 times
- He posted an 11.6% walk rate
We’d like to see him cut down the strikeout rate (22.9%), but once he arrives he could produce scary numbers.
2) Anderson Espinoza – RHP
ETA – 2019
Grade – B+
This is an aggressive ranking, but there is a ton to like about this 17- year old (he will turn 18 in March) who has drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez. He produced 65 K vs. 14 BB over 58.1 IP this past season and should continue to gain in his “stuff”, as he grows (only 160 lbs. right now). As it is he already reaches the upper 90s with his fastball, so further growth is pretty scary. Don’t be surprised to start hearing his name in comparison to the Dodgers’ Julio Urias.
3) Rafael Devers – 3B
ETA – 2018/2019
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.
4) Andrew Benintendi – OF
ETA – 2017
Grade – B+
The seventh overall pick in 2015 quickly proved that he belonged, hitting 11 HR with 10 SB to go along with a .313 average over his first 198 professional AB. The performance looks even better when you factor in that he actually walked (35) more than he struck out (24). You have to wonder if that type of performance made the team more comfortable with dealing Manuel Margot. Drafted out of college the left-handed hitter could quickly move through the system.
5) Michael Kopech – RHP
ETA – 2018
Grade – B (would be a B+ if not for suspension)
He may have graded higher, had it not been for a 50-game drug suspension, as the 2014 first round pick was dominating early in the season (2.63 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 9.69 K/9, 3.74 BB/9, 1.24 GO/AO) over 65.0 IP. It’ll be interesting to see if he can pick up where he left off upon returning, because if he does he will quickly climb prospect rankings as he brings a big fastball and what MLB.com describes as “an unusual delivery that features lot of twists and turns and deep tilt in the back.”
The Next Five:
6) Brian Johnson – LHP
Note: He struggled in his one Major League start, but thrived at Triple-A (2.53 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 8.44 K/9, 3.00 BB/9 over 96.0 IP). An elbow issue ended his season, so that’s going to be something we have to watch closely.
7) Deven Marrero – SS
8) Michael Chavis – 3B
9) Sam Travis – 1B
10) Ty Buttrey – RHP
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs
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: