There are a lot of intriguing outfield prospects, though how many of them can we truly label as “elite”? Many come with potential strikeout issues, and that’s going to help suppress the perceived upside. Does that mean they can’t figure it out? Absolutely not, but we need to know the risk involved and even the names at the top of these rankings carry at least a little bit of risk (though with significantly high ceilings, of course)
We’ve already taken a look at our Top 20 Outfield Prospects (click here to view), so let’s wrap up our Top 30 with #21-30:
|21||Jordyn Adams||B||Los Angeles Angels|
|22||Travis Swaggerty||B||Pittsburgh Pirates|
|23||Leody Taveras||B||Texas Rangers|
|24||Jarren Duran||B||Boston Red Sox|
|25||Taylor Trammell||B||San Diego Padres|
|26||Jesus Sanchez||B||Miami Marlins|
|27||Canaan Smith||B-||New York Yankees|
|28||Jake Fraley||B-||Seattle Mariners|
|29||Gilberto Celestino||B-||Minnesota Twins|
|30||Kyle Isbel||B-||Kansas City Royals|
21) Jordyn Adams – Los Angeles
Grade – B
Adams approach is still developing, as he split his time between baseball and football in high school (and he was supposed to play both sports in college, before being drafted and subsequently signing with the Angels). Considering that it’s impressive that he showed an 11.6% walk rate and 11.8% SwStr% in his first full season (482 PA), numbers that could continue to improve as the 20-year old gains experience.
He has elite speed and the ability to develop power, making him an intriguing prospect who could continue to mature quickly. The upside is a B+/A- prospect bringing power and speed, as long as he can continue to develop his approach. He may be slightly behind the curve, given his focus being split previously, so it will be interesting to see how quickly it comes together with his mind solely on the diamond.
Can he keep the strikeouts in check as he continues to advance through the system? That’s the only thing that appears like it could hold him back (and is the only thing that’s currently suppressing his grade). Playing the year at High-A Swaggerty (524 PA), after being selected in the first round of the 2018 draft, showed the potential to develop both power (20 doubles, 3 triples and 9 HR) and speed (23-for-31 in SB) while also showing enough knowledge of the strike zone to consistently get on base (10.9% walk rate). The speed may ultimately prove to be the best tool, but the power is enough and it’s possible he develops into a 15/30 type player with a high OBP.
The question is the strikeout rate, and whether or not he’ll make enough contact to tap into the upside. His 22.1% strikeout rate isn’t abysmal, and given his age and the level his 10.9% SwStr% is elevated but not a huge red flag. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain or approve upon it against more advanced pitching, but if he does he could quickly draw attention.
23) Leody Taveras – Texas Rangers
Grade – B
Taveras was once a highly touted prospect, though the hype hasn’t matched the production. Just look at the numbers over the past few years:
- 2017 (Single-A) – .249 with 8 HR and 20 SB over 522 AB
- 2018 (High-A) – .246 with 5 HR and 19 SB over 521 AB
- 2019 (High-A/Double-A) – .279 with 5 HR and 32 SB over 519 AB
Obviously his speed is his best asset at this point, though the now 21-year old is still refining his ability (he went 32-for-45 in SB attempts). The thought is the switch-hitter will also develop more power, though the strikeout rate rose last season (20.9%). The SwStr% stayed consistent after his promotion (10.6% at Double-A), and that helps to support his average. Even if he gets to just 10-15 HR, which many expect him to, when coupled with his speed he’ll be an asset in all formats.
24) Jarren Duran – Boston Red Sox
Grade – B
With speed harder to find around the game, when you see a player who went 46-for-59 on stolen bases it’s easy to see what his carrying skill is. Having split time between High-A and Double-A and adding 24 doubles, 8 triples and 5 HR, the fact that he’s not completely void of power only helps to build his value (think of him as a 7-10 HR threat). Of course there’s a little red flag as his average plummeted after his promotion:
- High-A – .387
- Double-A – .250
Part of the issue was an inflated BABIP at High-A, which went from an unsustainable .480 down to .335. The bigger issue is his strikeout rate, which jumped to 23.9% after the promotion though his SwStr% actually dropped to 11.7% (13.1% at High-A). That’s going to be the key, as is learning to work the strike zone better and work a walk.
We’ll have to watch him closely this year because if he’s getting on base he could be a difference making leadoff hitter. If he doesn’t learn to reign in his aggressiveness, he’ll be a speedy fourth outfielder type.
25) Taylor Trammell – San Diego Padres
Grade – B
It was a bit of a surprise when Trammell was traded to San Diego at the Trade Deadline, as part of the three-team blockbuster that sent Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati. Overall 2019 was a bit of a disappointment, even though he “improved” after the trade, as he particularly struggled to make contact (SwStr%) at Double-A:
- Reds – 13.2%
- Padres – 11.2%
There’s no questioning Trammell’s speed, and he does have the potential to be a 10-15 HR hitter at the highest level. He needs to fine tune his approach to get there, however, or he’s going to get fully exposed against more advanced pitching. As it is he hit .234 last season, making it difficult to showcase his greatest asset. The upside is there, and though he turned 22-years old in September it is important to continue showing patience.
26) Jesus Sanchez – Miami Marlins
Grade – B
Acquired in a deadline deal, Sanchez struggled a bit at Triple-A during his time both with the Rays and Marlins:
.227 (29-128), 5 HR, 14 RBI, 17 R, 0 SB
A 13.5% SwStr% obviously loomed large, and it was only marginally better at Double-A (11.4%). There’s also going to be questions about his power potential, as he posted a 49.4% groundball rate last season. Could he develop into a 20 HR type hitter in time? Perhaps, but it’s hard to expect much more than that.
27) Canaan Smith
– New York Yankees
Grade – B-
Smith hit .307 with 11 HR and 16 SB over 449 AB at Single-A last season, but with 32 doubles and 3 triples the upside is there for him to add more power to his game. Couple that with a solid 9.7% SwStr% and 14.0% walk rate and it’s easy to envision the upside that he has. Already 215 lbs. it’s possible that he starts to lose some of his stolen base potential, but with an impressive approach and 20/10 upside he’s a player who could quickly emerge as a viable starting outfielder in the Majors.
28) Jake Fraley – Seattle Mariners
Grade – B-
Fraley went from Double-A (259 PA) to Triple-A (168 PA) and ultimately the Majors (41 PA). While he struggled in his small MLB sample size (.150 with 0 HR), his production in the minors was highly impressive (.298 with 19 HR and 22 SB). The Double-A production was buoyed by a bit of luck (.370 BABIP), which skews the results, but he did show an ability to make consistent contact (9.8% SwStr% in the minors). There are questions about the power potential overall, but even as a 15/15 type player there would be upside appeal.
29) Gilberto Celestino – Minnesota Twins
Grade – B-
When you look at the Twins’ system Celestino doesn’t get the most attention, but he has the potential to be a dynamic top-of-the-order centerfielder in the not too distant future. Speed is his strongest skill, and while he needs to improve his efficiency (he went 14-for-22 last season) he was far better in the lower levels (22-for-24 in ’18) and with more experience it should come together.
There are going to be questions about his power, though he had 28 doubles, 3 triples and 10 HR last year (mostly at Single-A) and could develop into a 15/25 type player in time. He also has shown a strong command of the strike zone, with a 15.9% strikeout rate and 9.3% walk rate over 536 PA last season. Considering his 9.1% SwStr% there’s hope that he can maintain that against more advanced pitching, further strengthening the outlook.
30) Kyle Isbel – Kansas City Royals
Grade – B-
You have to wonder what could’ve been in 2019, after he started off hot before injuries sabotaged his season. Over his first 13 games he was hitting .348 with 2 HR and 5 SB at High-A, but when he returned in July he never rediscovered his timing, hitting .176 with 3 HR and 3 SB over 148 AB. Overall he did have a 10.1% SwStr%, and during his time at High-A it was just 9.2%. That is highly promising, especially given the blend of power (14 HR) and speed (35 SB) he’s shown since being drafted in 2018.
He’s never going to be an elite power hitter, standing 5’11”, but he could be a 15/25 type player at the highest level. As long as the approach stays solid, there’s reason to believe that 2020 could be his breakout campaign.
Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, MLB.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2020 prospect rankings: