Last week, I ranked the top 100 prospects and all 30 farm systems heading into the 2021 season. Now it’s time to go deeper with my team-by-team rankings, wrapping up with the National League following Thursday’s American League lists.
A quick refresher on a key term you’ll see throughout the team lists: Future Value, shortened to FV hereafter, as a term that sums up the value of a player into one number. It’s graded on the 20-80 scouting scale. A low-end every-day player is a 50, which correlates to 2.0 WAR; a well above average position player, No. 3 starter or high-end closer is a 60, or somewhere around 3.0 WAR. I refrain from tossing out an 80 on minor leaguers because that would imply one is expected to be one of the top players in baseball.
While the top 100 is exactly that long, I rank every prospect who gets a 45+ or better FV grade that is 167 in total, so that rank is included here in the team lists. For every team, there are reports on the top 10 prospects and then varying numbers of others depending on the strength of the system. Broadly, it’ll be everyone better than a 40 FV, then hand-picked interesting prospects who are 40 FVs.
And now on to my rankings.
Jump to a franchise:
1. Corbin Carroll, CF, 55 FV (27)
2. Geraldo Perdomo, SS, 55 FV (39)
3. Kristian Robinson, RF, 50 FV (52)
4. Alek Thomas, CF, 50 FV (64)
5. Slade Cecconi, RHP, 50 FV (106)
6. Corbin Martin, RHP, 45+ FV (128)
7. Blake Walston, LHP, 45+ FV (129)
8. J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, 45 FV
9. Wilderd Patino, CF, 45 FV
10. Bryce Jarvis, RHP, 45 FV
Top 10 reports
Cecconi was one of the big stuff-gaining winners of 2020, especially notable because he was just drafted in June out of Miami as the No. 33 overall pick. He had been 94-97 mph in short stints on the summer showcase circuit in high school, but had been more low-90s since then both due to minor injuries and dialing things down as a starter. In the fall before the 2020 draft and in a couple of outings in the spring, he sat mid-90s for a couple of innings once again, and in instructional league, he sat 96-98 mph. Both breaking balls are above average to plus and his changeup is above average when everything is right. He’s athletic enough to expect average command, but we haven’t seen all these pieces together very long or all at the same time.
Martin was acquired in the Zack Greinke deal while recovering from Tommy John surgery. He has above-average stuff that flashes plus and the command to fit as a third/fourth starter. Walston is a picture-perfect athletic, projectable lefty with starter traits and flashes of plus stuff. He sits 93-96 in shorter stints, has a plus curve, an above-average changeup and projects to have command. Bukauskas also came over in the Greinke deal and is a smaller guy with effort in his delivery and command issues, but raw stuff that will fit anywhere, including three 70-grade pitches at times. Jarvis was picked ahead of Cecconi, but with a lower upside as a 22-year-old, late-rising, maxed-out prospect whose stuff spiked to be above average in a shortened 2020 spring. Patino has a big upside as a gifted athlete with plus speed, a plus arm and projection for plus raw power, but is still raw as a baseball player.
Others of note
We’ll take the others of note in positional pairs. RHP Levi Kelly (11, 45 FV) and LHP Tommy Henry (16, 40 FV) are both starters of different types. Kelly has electric stuff that may eventually work better in shorter stints, but his mid-90s heater, 70-flashing slider, and intense approach could be closer-quality. Henry is a big lefty with a high slot and TrackMan-friendly orientation of his four-pitch mix, with a good shot to be a back-end starter. RHP Ryne Nelson (15, 40+ FV) and RHP Conor Grammes (22) are two of the more interesting fireballing relief types in the system. Nelson isn’t that different from Bukauskas, with some chance to start and arguably three 70-grade pitches, but he likely fits in relief. Grammes was an athletic, later-converting college arm who is now sitting 98-101 for multiple innings. But while the rest of his package is still improving, it’s a work in progress.
RF Pavin Smith (13, 40+ FV) and 1B Seth Beer (14, 40+ FV) are both lefty bats who should be able to help in the big leagues soon enough. Beer is veering toward DH-only just in time for that to be a viable skill set in the NL, with plus raw power and good pitch selection. Smith has always had plus raw power going back to high school, but it was coached out of his swing at Virginia. He has improved athletically to be a corner outfield option and he has plus control of the zone, so he could be turning the corner into a big league role. RF A.J. Vukovich (19, 40 FV) was a later-round overpay for a 6-foot-5 multi-sport athlete with huge raw power but limited defensive value. SS Manuel Pena (20) was the best of this year’s international signing crop for Arizona with the tools to project as an every-day player.
1. Ian Anderson, RHP, 60 FV (12)
2. Cristian Pache, CF, 60 FV (16)
3. Drew Waters, CF, 55 FV (34)
4. Shea Langeliers, C, 50 FV (95)
5. Bryse Wilson, RHP, 50 FV (117)
6. Braden Shewmake, SS, 45+ FV (147)
7. Michael Harris, RF, 45 FV
8. Tucker Davidson, LHP, 45 FV
9. William Contreras, C, 45 FV
10. Jared Shuster, LHP, 40+ FV
Top 10 reports
Wilson found his stride late in 2020 and into the playoffs, showing his upside as a third/fourth starter, but also the intensity and fastball quality to play in shorter stints late in games. His fastball plays plus due to movement, varied grips and command. His command and changeup are solidly above average most of the time, and his breaking ball hovers around average. Davidson has embraced the Driveline training methods and has hit 100 mph in bullpens and 98 mph in games, with two above average breakers and a solid changeup, but a little too much effort to comfortably project as a starter rather than a multi-inning option. Shuster was the Braves’ first-rounder last summer, taking a step forward in the spring with more arm speed, but keeping the plus changeup and command that had him on follow lists before a breakout. His breaking ball is fringy now, and it’s the pitch to watch as he develops.
Shewmake had a great pro debut after going in the first round in 2019 out of Texas A&M and has a strong contact-and-glovework tool set. He’s deceptively quick and has more range than some thought as an amateur, so he’s now seen as a solid shortstop. He’s 6-4, but the weak point in his profile is in-game power. DJ LeMahieu was something like this once upon a time, if you want to dream, but we’ll need more than 65 pro games to foresee an outcome like that. Contreras is the younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson and has a wide base of tools that grade around average (excepting speed). For now, he looks a little more like a solid backup than a low-end starter.
Harris is my breakout pick for the system. He’s a toolsy prep hitter whom I could see having a loud enough full-season debut to jump into a top-100 ranking. Signs from the alternate site had to stand in for that in 2020, and they were all positive, but there just aren’t any useful stats. He has above-average raw power, speed and defense in a corner (or as fringe-to-average center fielder for now), with a plus arm. His pro performance thus far has been solid, but he was considered a pitcher by some clubs in the 2019 draft, and he wasn’t a summer-showcase stalwart, so there just isn’t as much data as I need to run him up the list yet. A strong first half of 2021 in low A could be enough. His tools are pretty similar to some top-50 overall pick candidates who are already in the top 100. Harris has also bowled a 300 game and is trying out switch-hitting, per his Instagram, indicating a level of athleticism that bodes well.
Others of note
LHP Kyle Muller (12, 40 FV) has morphed from a prep pitcher with 55s across the board to a velocity monster into the high 90s. He still has the same 55 curveball and command that fits best in one-to-two inning stints. RHP Huascar Ynoa (13) fits in multi-inning relief due to his three-pitch mix — up to 100 mph with sink, above average to plus slider, changeup that has flashed solid average — but fringy control and command. RHP Jasseel De La Cruz (14) is along the same lines with a fastball/slider combo that flashes plus, but command and a changeup that fit better in shorter stints. SS Vaughn Grissom (16) is one position player to monitor in the lower minors, with a shot to stay at short and solid-average tools across the board.
There are a number of recent draftees getting into the high 90s who are likely bullpen fits: RHP Victor Vodnik (17), RHP Spencer Strider (25), RHP Ricky DeVito (27), and RHP Tyler Owens (28). Vodnik is on the small side (listed at 6 feet), has hit 100 mph with his fastball and flashed a plus breaking ball, but he is still working on consistency. Strider was a fourth-rounder out of Clemson last summer and is a 6-footer with a Tommy John surgery in his rearview, but he hit 99 mph last summer. DeVito is 6-2 and is a plus athlete who has shown a plus curveball at times and has peaked at 97 mph. Owens is 5-8 but also has been up to 98 mph and flashed a plus breaking ball.
1. Brennen Davis, CF, 50 FV (63)
2. Miguel Amaya, C, 50 FV (83)
3. Brailyn Marquez, LHP, 50 FV (111)
4. Adbert Alzolay, RHP, 45+ FV (164)
5. Ed Howard, SS, 45 FV
6. Cole Roederer, RF, 45 FV
7. Yeison Santana, SS, 45 FV
8. Reggie Preciado, SS, 45 FV
9. Cristian Hernandez, SS, 45 FV
10. Kevin Made, SS, 45 FV
Top 10 reports
Preciado is my breakout pick for the system. There are a number of intriguing young bats in this system, with a group of potential risers coming back from San Diego in the Yu Darvish deal, and another group added in the past two international signing classes. Since I’m looking at who will jump up the list in the next year — not over the next three — I’ll lean to one of the older prospects of that bunch who still has plenty of untapped potential in Preciado. He is a 6-4, switch-hitting shortstop who was one of the top players in the 2019 international class and has already shown progress in two instructional leagues for San Diego, before heading to the Cubs in the Darvish trade. He’ll turn 18 just as the minor league season gets started and has a chance for four above-average tools (excepting speed) at third base, where he likely will end up. Santana is much less projectable and already had his post-signing tools jump, but he has above average potential across the board.
Howard was the Cubs’ first-round pick last summer, out of a Chicago-area high school. His in-game hitting was just OK over the summer, but the raw tools project for above average across the board and give hope for the game performance coming around. Roederer has shown above average potential hit and power tools, with a tweener outfield profile. Hernandez is in the top tier of international prospects who signed last month, with some up-and-down game performances before his deal was done (one of the first in his class). But the upside — plus run, arm, raw power, chance to stick at short — gives you plenty to dream on. Made was the top prospect from the 2019 class for the Cubs, with solid initial returns despite no official pro games. Alzolay has a power four-pitch mix with the changeup and command lagging behind the fastball and breakers, so there’s some multi-inning relief risk.
Others of note
RHP Ryan Jensen (12, 40+ FV) was a 2019 first-rounder out of Fresno State due largely to a mid-90s fastball that’s been up to 99 mph. He has starter traits, with solid average secondary pitches and command, that fit in the fourth starter area. 2B Chase Strumpf (11, 40+ FV) was the next pick in 2019 out of UCLA and is a hit-first second baseman with enough raw power to project 15-20 homers.
CF Ismael Mena (15, 40+ FV) and RF Owen Caissie (22, 40 FV) came over as the third and fourth pieces from San Diego in the Darvish deal. Mena got $2.2 million in the 2019 international class and had two instructional leagues with the Padres but no official games. He’s a plus runner with a plus arm and plus contact skills, but it’s hard to be sure of much else at this point. Caissie has plus raw power and a plus arm along with markers for improvement (young for the class and Canadian) but has a ways to go. C Ronnier Quintero (17, 40 FV) was another premium signing in the 2019 class with Made and has solid-average tools with his defense ahead of his offense right now. LF Jordan Nwogu (23, 40 FV) is moving up, with some 2020 swing adjustments to help tap into his considerable raw tools (plus raw power, above average runner).
1. Tyler Stephenson, C, 55 FV (35)
2. Hunter Greene, RHP, 50 FV (67)
3. Jose Garcia, SS, 50 FV (85)
4. Nick Lodolo, LHP, 50 FV (113)
5. Lyon Richardson, RHP, 45+ FV (134)
6. Jonathan India, 3B, 45+ FV (135)
7. Austin Hendrick, RF, 45+ FV (139)
8. Rece Hinds, 3B, 45 FV
9. Mike Siani, CF, 45 FV
10. Tyler Callihan, 3B, 45 FV
Top 10 reports
Lodolo isn’t an exciting prospect — he’s been some version of very good, with above average stuff and starter traits since age 17 and he’s now 23. He’s probably a No. 4 starter because right now his low-90s fastball plays a bit below its velocity due to its two-seam movement, but not extreme sink. Richardson works out with Eric Cressey in the offseason and his velocity consistently crept up when he was an intriguing, athletic two-way prospect in high school. He now works 92-96 with life, a changeup that’s ahead of his two breaking balls, and a shot for above average command.
India is close to the big leagues and has above average tools and a good approach, but hasn’t put the pieces fully together yet at the plate, with his in-game power not matching his raw power. There’s a chance he can be a solid-average defender with above average offense, maybe as soon as 2022. Hendrick was the Reds first-rounder last summer and has 70 bat speed, at least plus raw power, and an above average arm but, similar to Clint Frazier, has so much bat speed that his timing can become an issue.
Hinds also has 70 raw power but the rest of his profile was a big question when he was drafted in 2019 due to issues with identifying off-speed pitches and questions about his lateral quickness to play third base. There’s still a decent shot he ends up in right field, and he still has some pitch ID issues, but he has improved and was hitting a number of homers at the alternate site. Siani has a long track record of hitting, and is a plus runner with at least plus defense in center field. How much in-game power he develops will dictate if he’s a low-end regular/platoon type or above average regular. Callihan can hit and has plus raw power, but like Hinds, has some lateral issues at third that could eventually lead to first base. Some in the game think he could be hidden and shifted around as a second baseman.
Others of note
C Jackson Miller (11, 40+ FV), who was picked in the Competitive Balance round in 2020, just missed the top 10. He’s a bat-first prospect that came on late in the showcase season, with solid average raw power, enough arm to catch, and improving ability behind the plate with the tools to stick there.
RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (12, 40+ FV) and RHP Tony Santillan (13, 40 FV) are both in the upper levels and have power stuff that can fit in a few roles. Gutierrez is up to 97, has a plus curveball and an improved changeup and has a chance to be a starter. He missed the 2020 season for an 80-game PED suspension but has. Santillan has also been into the upper-90s and has an above average to plus slider, but command has held him back from getting a big league look. Tejay Antone was in a similar spot with the Reds and excelled in the big league pen, so that may also be the answer for Santillan
RHP Bryce Bonnin (16), RHP Jared Solomon (17), and LHP Jacob Heatherly (19) also have power stuff that may fit best in shorter stints. Bonnin is my breakout pick for the system. He has multi-inning potential but probably isn’t a starter long-term. He has two plus pitches in his fastball and slider and they could both grade above a 60 in one or two inning stints. Solomon sits in the upper-90s and has a plus slider, but had a recent Tommy John surgery and is likely a reliever. Heatherly was a summer showcase standout then slid to the 3rd round in 2017 after a poor spring. He’s back with better raw stuff than he’s ever had, up to 98 mph and with a curveball that’s at least plus, though with a risk it’s only for an inning or two at a time.
1. Zac Veen, RF, 50 FV (46)
2. Ryan Vilade, 3B, 45+ FV (118)
3. Ryan Rolison, LHP, 45+ FV (156)
4. Michael Toglia, 1B, 45 FV
5. Colton Welker, 3B, 45 FV
6. Drew Romo, C, 45 FV
7. Brenton Doyle, CF, 40+ FV
8. Chris McMahon, RHP, 40+ FV
9. Aaron Schunk, 3B, 40+ FV
10. Adael Amador, SS, 40 FV
Top 10 reports
Vilade is a bat-first prospect that also has plus raw power, so there’s real offensive upside, especially in Denver, with a shot to move onto the top 100 with a couple more strong months. He has shifted from shortstop to third base and gotten some work in corner outfield spots, so there isn’t a ton of defensive value, although a big league spot just opened up at third base.
Toglia is a switch hitter and former first rounder out of UCLA who has plus raw power and is a plus fielder at first, with enough athleticism to play a corner outfield spot if needed. He’s got roughly average contact skills, though his righty swing needs some work. He’s another Top 100 candidate if he hits up to his tools and pedigree over a full season.
Welker has a chance for above-average contact and power, but may only fit at third and first base. Romo was the No. 35 overall pick last summer and as a prep catcher, likely moves slow but has a chance for above-average raw power and plus defense. Schunk (decent contact, little lift/pull but above raw power, above defense at third, plus arm) is a swing-change candidate but was a college pick, so the clock is ticking.
Doyle is my breakout pick for the system. He could have already done so in a normal 2020 season, but his breakout was contingent on proving his tools played in games over a bigger sample, and that was impossible to accomplish. He’s a plus runner with plus raw power and an above-average arm that profiles in center field. The main concern as an amateur was being a late riser at a D2 school, so there was no way to demonstrate he could hit at the level he’d need to to go in the top couple of rounds. Doyle has an OPS over 1.000 through 51 pro games, so another season of anything close to that would put him right there in the conversation for a top-100 spot.
Amador signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2019, so he hasn’t played an official pro game yet but has made an impression in instructional league. He has a raw offensive upside, but right now his plus speed, potential plus defense and a plus arm stand out more.
Rolison was a big name in high school and turned down seven figures to go to Ole Miss, where he essentially held serve and stayed healthy for three years and went in the first round. He’ll flash a plus pitch at times but is more of a 55s-across-the-board type lefty, with his curveball as his most consistent pitch and a No. 4 starter projection. McMahon was the 46th overall pick last summer out of Miami and, like most Rockies pitching prospects, throws a sinker. He sits 93-95 and hits 97 mph, with a slider that’s above average, flashing plus and starter traits.
Others of note
The three-best prospects acquired for Nolan Arenado are 3B Elehuris Montero (11), SS Mateo Gil (16), and RHP Tony Locey (18). Montero is a power-over-hit third baseman who needs to stay on top of his fitness and lateral mobility to stick at third base. He’s also more a free swinger than you’d like to see if you’re expecting him to get to all of his raw power in games, but his above-average bat control makes up for some of it. Gil is the son of former big league shortstop Benji and could still end up anywhere on the infield, with enough hit and power potential to also profile if he hits his upside. Locey has a workhorse frame, can hold mid-90s velo for over 100 pitches, and has an above-average breaking ball. His mentality fits in relief, and right now his changeup and command also point in that direction.
One of the biggest arrow-up guys in instructional league was RHP Lucas Gilbreath (12). He was added to the 40-man despite not getting out of A-Ball, turning 25 in a few weeks, and not having much success in pro ball. His velo spiked into the upper-90s and his breaking ball also improved to the point that Colorado was worried he would be plucked in the Rule 5 draft.
1B Grant Lavigne (15) had a great pro debut in 2018 after going No. 42 overall out of a New Hampshire high school. In 2019, his excellent strikeout-to-walk ratio regressed to just good, and his in-game power was almost cut in half, with exit velos not matching the plus raw power amateur reports. He is a prospect you can judge largely from his stat line and 2021 will be a key year to see if he can hit enough to be more than a platoon option. RHP Riley Pint (19) was the fourth overall pick in 2016 out of a Kansas high school and has never really been my cup of tea (I shy away from prep righties, but especially those hitting 100 mph as teenagers, and with head whacks) but nobody thought he’d have this kind of trouble in pro ball throwing strikes. He’s 23 now and was just passed over in the Rule 5 Draft, but is still a big, athletic kid with some of the best raw stuff in the minors, so it could click at any time.
1. Josiah Gray, RHP, 55 FV (36)
2. Keibert Ruiz, C, 50 FV (74)
3. Michael Busch, 1B, 50 FV (88)
4. Bobby Miller, RHP, 45+ FV (123)
5. Andy Pages, RF, 45+ FV (140)
6. Kody Hoese, 3B, 45 FV
7. Willman Diaz, SS, 45 FV
8. Diego Cartaya, C, 45 FV
9. Jacob Amaya, SS, 45 FV
10. Ryan Pepiot, RHP, 45 FV
Top 10 reports
Miller was a rising prospect for Louisville, hitting 100 mph and throwing strikes, but lasted to the 29th overall pick due to questions about how consistent his off-speed pitches and command were, in part due to his longer arm action. I’m clearly leaning toward “he’s gonna figure it out and be good, in whatever role.” Pepiot was another late-charging college pitcher, but with little track record from a smaller school. He flashed three above average pitches and starter traits at times but was inconsistent in his draft year. The Dodgers got him at No. 102 in 2019 and has made solid progress in pro ball.
Pages is still just 20 and has only rookie-ball experience, but has the raw tools and performance to suggest a late-count slugger with some defensive value: plus raw power, plus arm, average speed, 29 homers in 115 pro games. Hoese is yet another late-rising pop-up college prospect with some raw tools who could be on the verge of a breakout with solid-average hit, power, and defensive tools. Cartaya got $2.5 million in the 2018 international class and has had solid reviews in pro ball thus far, with a well-rounded, solid average tool set (plus raw power and arm strength are headliners) and strong performance. Amaya has an elite hit tool and will likely stick at shortstop, which makes his margin for error in development enormous.
Diaz is my breakout pick for the system, even though he signed his first pro contract at age 16 last month. I normally don’t pick recent international signees because they are mostly 16-year-olds who will play at such low levels that their stats don’t mean much. Diaz was my top prospect in this recent international class (bat first, well-rounded, polished infielder) but he hasn’t been seen widely for almost two years and teams now scout the DSL, so he will get seen. He could find his way to top-100 status with a strong debut; his TrackMan data, instructional league performance and being widely seen by all 30 clubs might be enough for a prospect with his kind of elite talent.
Others of note
RHP Clayton Beeter (11, 45 FV) missed the 2019 season at Texas Tech with Tommy John surgery, emerged in the 2020 preseason and short spring with a fastball into the upper 90s with bat-missing characteristics, and had a plus curveball that drew grades as high as 80 before the shutdown. The raw elements are there to project him as a starter, but he has had command and/or health issues his whole career and was just turning the corner when the season was suspended, eventually going No. 66 overall (for a slightly above slot $1.2 million bonus) to one of the best pitcher-developing organizations in baseball. RHP Landon Knack (23, 40 FV) was another 2020 gainer, popping up in the spring as a nearly 23-year-old senior at East Tennessee State running his fastball up to 98 mph with starter traits but more ordinary secondary stuff.
3B Sheldon Neuse (15, 40+ FV) was acquired earlier this month from Oakland and is a strong candidate for the Dodgers’ magical hitting pixie dust. He has plus arm strength, has at least average defense at third base and is passable at most other positions (fits the Dodgers’ preference for versatile role players) with plus raw power and some solid Triple-A performance, but his offensive approach needs some dialing in. During work for the A’s list last month, an Oakland official spoke of Neuse’s upside even as a 26-year-old, comparing him to Max Muncy.
Two sleeper additions to the system in the last amateur classes are CF Jake Vogel (24, 40 FV) and C Jesus Galiz (26, 40 FV). Vogel is an 80 runner and excellent athlete but still has some work to do at the plate. Galiz had one of the earliest deals in the international class with the Yankees, but it fell apart late. The Dodgers then stepped in because they were one of the few other teams in the running for his initial deal. He’s the best catcher in the international class and offers a wide base of potential above average tools with advanced defensive ability for his age.
1. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, 60 FV (11)
2. Jazz Chisholm, SS, 55 FV (31)
3. Max Meyer, RHP, 50 FV (48)
4. Edward Cabrera, RHP, 50 FV (54)
5. J.J. Bleday, RF, 50 FV (55)
6. Trevor Rogers, LHP, 50 FV (78)
7. Monte Harrison, CF, 45+ FV (131)
8. Braxton Garrett, LHP, 45+ FV (137)
9. Connor Scott, CF, 45 FV
10. Peyton Burdick, RF, 45 FV
Top 10 reports
Harrison brings a clear set of strengths and weaknesses. He has plus raw power, plus speed, at least plus center-field defense, and a plus-plus arm. His floor is very high, but the confidence in his ability to make contact is low so this could range from Drew Stubbs to Mike Cameron. Garrett has above average stuff, headlined by a plus curveball, and solid-average command, but probably needs another year in the upper minors before breaking back into the big leagues rotation. Scott has a loose swing, plus power potential, 70 speed and a plus arm with the components to hit and play above average defense in center field, so the breakout could come at any time.
Burdick is a late-riser from a smaller college with a Tommy John surgery in his background but has all the tools and performance to charge through the minors in 2021, which is why he’s my breakout pick. His chance to prove it was for real in 2020 never materialized, but arrows are still pointing up. Burdick turns 24 soon, and he mashed in low-A in 2019, so he could well find his way to Double-A for much of 2021. He has huge, plus raw power, a plus arm for right field and above-average athleticism.
Others of note
SS Nasim Nunez (11, 45 FV) was a late-rising prep prospect in the 2019 class who showed above average to plus tools across the board, excepting power, and has continued to progress. He is a strong 2021 season from top-100 consideration. 1B Lewin Diaz (12, 45 FV), RF Jesus Sanchez (13, 45 FV), and RF Jerar Encarnacion (14, 45 FV) are all corner bats on the 40-man roster and all offer slightly different tool sets. Diaz is a plus defensive first baseman with plus raw power but just an okay approach, Sanchez has a plus arm and even more raw power than Diaz but an even worse approach, while Encarnacion also has plus power, is just okay in right field, and also has a fringy approach. I’ll guess one of them takes a big offensive step forward in 2020 and I’ll lean to one of the outfielders.
RF Kam Misner (15, 45 FV) and LHP Dax Fulton (16, 45 FV) were both buy-lows in the last two draft classes. Misner has top-10 pick momentum early due to his tools (plus-plus raw power, plus speed), but the lack of track record and an uneven spring helped him slip out of the first round, though he’s made consistent progress in pro ball. Fulton had mid-first round helium after a strong showcase summer, then had Tommy John surgery in the fall and was a 2nd round pick to finish his rehab, which has gone to plan so far.
The international program under the new regime now has a couple years of production, with notable arrow-up types in SS Jose Salas (21, 40+ FV), RHP Eury Perez (23, 40 FV), 2B Ian Lewis (26), and SS Yiddi Cappe (32). Salas (potentially above average offensive output, could fit anywhere in the infield) and Lewis (plus-plus runner with contact skills) got bigger bonuses in the 2019 class, Perez (6-9 and into the mid-90s with strikes) was a lower-profile signing, and Cappe (lanky, projectable shortstop with a chance for above average tools across the board) signed for $3.5 million last month.
1. Brice Turang, SS, 50 FV (112)
2. Garrett Mitchell, CF, 45 FV
3. Ethan Small, LHP, 45 FV
4. Aaron Ashby, LHP, 45 FV
5. Mario Feliciano, C, 45 FV
6. Tristen Lutz, RF, 45 FV
7. Drew Rasmussen, RHP, 45 FV
8. Hedbert Perez, CF, 40+ FV
9. Antoine Kelly, LHP, 40+ FV
10. Eduardo Garcia, SS, 40+ FV
Top 10 reports
Turang stood out first as a prep sophomore and held his status near the top of his class. He’s a patient hitter, and an above average runner and fielder with a plus arm, but his solid-average raw power hasn’t come into play in games. HIs upside is something like Stephen Drew, but that’s more promise than reality right now.
Mitchell was identified by scouts early in his SoCal prep career like Turang and his stock has had ups and downs with scouts due to that exposure. He still has excellent tools (55 raw power, 70 speed at 6-3) but hasn’t progressed much over those five years of being on the national stage. He’s a little too aggressive at the plate and doesn’t lift that ball that often, and some scouts question his feel for the game and ability to improve. It’s probably going too far to take the anti-Mitchell stance on all of those fronts, but the odds he improves at those things at age 17 is much higher than at age 22, so he’s a real boom/bust test for Milwaukee’s player development crew.
Feliciano is a bit of a free-swinger but he has above average contact skills and raw power, so there’s some real offensive upside, particularly for a catcher. He’s got enough arm and enough defensive ability to stay back there, but will be helped by automatic strike-calling. Lutz is a big athlete with plus raw power, a plus arm for right field, deceptively average speed for his 6-3, 210-pound frame and decent contact skills. His pro production has been solid, but not the kind of hit/power production you need to see to assume he’s an everyday player.
Small has the trendy (or sneaky effective) approach of throwing from a high slot with vertically-oriented stuff — a rising four-seam fastball, downer curveball, and diving changeup, all out of the same slot. He had a Tommy John surgery in 2016 and is now 24 with only 21 pro innings under his belt. He was good at the alternate site, back up to 94 with an improving slider for a different look. His results will likely outpace his raw stuff due to deception, pitch design, and command.
Ashby was arrow-up in instructs, sitting in the mid-90’s with an above average four-pitch mix. He probably can’t sustain and command that kind of stuff from a starting role, but he’s always had a knockout curveball, so with any command improvement and health, he’ll have a big league role. Rasmussen has had two Tommy John surgeries and is a no-doubt reliever, but he’s up to 100 mph and his slider is plus, and had a solid 2020 MLB debut. Kelly is an athletic lefty with a loose arm and heater up to 98 with good spin characteristics and a solid average slider. The changeup and command are questions, but he’s probably at least a second lefty reliever in a bullpen with modest improvement.
Perez and Garcia are my breakout picks for the system. There’s a lot of talent from the past couple of international classes in the system for Milwaukee, with Venezuelans Perez and Garcia leading the group right now. Both are relatively polished for teenagers and are hit-first players with enough tools to play up the middle. Perez has a little more raw speed and power right now, while Garcia offers more defensive value and projection.
Others of note
SS Freddy Zamora (11, 40 FV) had late first-round momentum leading into the abbreviated 2020 spring, then tore his ACL the week before the season started. Lots of national scouts never got the looks they would need to rubber stamp Zamora as a high pick, so he slid to the No. 53 overall pick. His upside is above-average tools across the board, but more potential at the plate and more current ability with the glove. 2B David Hamilton (14) is another college position player who fits up the middle, a 2019 eighth-rounder from Texas who battled back from injuries to have a solid offensive alternate site showing. His carrying tool is 70 speed and he’ll likely play some center field going forward.
The international program has had solid early returns beyond Perez and Garcia including C Jeferson Quero (13), RHP Abner Uribe (18), RF Luis Medina (19), 3B Jesus Parra (20), and CF Jackson Chourio (24). Quero is a 2019 signee with no pro experience but is arrow-up from his instructional league performance, with a shot for average offense and already showing advanced defensive ability. Uribe was up to 100 mph and his slider flashes plus, but the rest is still a work in progress. Medina was a big 2018 signing and is a power-over-hit type that likely slides over the right field, while Parra has a similar profile, but with more of a second or third base defensive fit, while Chourio was the top 2020 signee, with tools headlined but potential plus power and currently plus speed.
1. Ronny Mauricio, SS, 50 FV (61)
2. Francisco Alvarez, C, 50 FV (82)
3. Matt Allan, RHP, 50 FV (109)
4. Mark Vientos, 3B, 45+ FV (157)
5. Brett Baty, 3B, 45+ FV (158)
6. Pete Crow-Armstrong, CF, 45 FV
7. J.T. Ginn, RHP, 45 FV
8. Khalil Lee, RF, 45 FV
9. Shervyen Newton, SS, 40 FV
10. Jaylen Palmer, 3B, 40 FV
Top 10 reports
Allan needs about 10 starts to show that his stuff is playing in games against full-season hitters with a walk rate under 4.5 per 9 and then he’ll probably be inside the Top 100. He has a fastball/curveball combo that’s anywhere from a 60 to a 70, has shown a solid-average changeup, and starter traits at lower velocities, so it’s just a matter of balance. Ginn has also flashed two plus pitches in his fastball/slider, but they were trending down for almost a year at Mississippi State before he underwent Tommy John surgery, so the expectation is he’ll be back to his old self when he’s back on the mound. That version had a high-spin rate breaker and the control to start, but you can’t rule out a closer-like outcome as well.
Vientos has big raw power, maybe plus-plus, and it shows up in exit velocities, but his low-A performance exposed a poor approach. While his arm is plus, his third-base defense is just OK, so there’s some risk of a platoon first baseman, but also the chance for an above average third baseman depending on his trajectory coming off of the 2021 season. Baty is another third baseman with huge raw power, a 65 at least, and is bigger than Vientos. He is a good enough athlete to stick at third for at least another five years. He has always been older than his competition as an amateur, so we need some pro data to evaluate where he is. He’s now 21 and ideally will crush low-A and get a taste of high-A in 2021.
Newton is a big shortstop with, wait for it, plus raw power and deceptive defensive ability at short. He has a decent approach, but limited bat control when he’s lifting the ball, so there’s some real bust/backup potential. Lee was just acquired in the three-way Andrew Benintendi deal from Kansas City. He’s a potential everyday right fielder with a late-count, slugger’s approach and some defensive value, but may hit .240. Palmer was picked late out of a high school near Shea Stadium and has shown in-game power and big exit velos to already beat expectations, but there’s some contact and defensive concerns going forward.
Crow-Armstrong is my breakout pick for the system. He fits the recent pattern of pedigreed, tooled-up prep position players who don’t make the top 100 after being drafted due to lack of pro data, then make it the next year after an above-league-average performance in a full-season debut. He’s a plus hitter and runner who fits in center field with excellent feel for the game and should grow into more power at the plate.
Others of note
CF Adrian Hernandez (11) got $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2017 and has battled through some injuries in pro ball. He still has a shot to stick in center field and develop above average raw power, but his health and contact skills create some risk. RF Freddy Valdez (18) got $1.4 million in 2018, has at least plus raw power, and a bit of a funky swing. It’s working so far, so the statline will tell us a lot about his progress. CF Alexander Ramirez (19) got $2.1 million in 2019 (sensing a theme?) and thus hasn’t played an official pro game yet but has a chance for five above-average tools.
RHP Robert Dominguez (12) is my second breakout pick behind Crow-Armstrong, but has a much higher variability. He signed for $95,000 after a couple of showcase outings with more velo and flashes top-two-rounds raw stuff (into the upper-90s, at least above-average breaking ball, some idea of where it’s going) but has done it in a competitive environment just a handful of times. RHP Jordany Ventura (16) and RHP Joander Suarez (17) are comparable in overall value, both in their early-20’s with a bag of 50 and 55 qualities and a chance to be back-end starters.
1. Spencer Howard, RHP, 50 FV (44)
2. Mick Abel, RHP, 50 FV (108)
3. Rafael Marchan, C, 45+ FV (121)
4. Bryson Stott, SS, 45+ FV (146)
5. Luis Garcia, SS, 45 FV
6. Francisco Morales, RHP, 45 FV
7. Mickey Moniak, CF, 45 FV
8. Simon Muzziotti, CF, 45 FV
9. Adonis Medina, RHP, 45 FV
10. Johan Rojas, CF, 40+ FV
Top 10 reports
Abel popped up as a sophomore at an Oregon high school, throwing in the mid-90s with starter traits. He held that position at the top of his class wire-to-wire in becoming the 15th overall pick last summer. At his best, he sits in the mid-90s with a slider that’s at least a 60 and changeup and command that are 50 or 55, so there’s real ace potential if it all comes together. Morales has a comparable fastball/slider combo to Abel, but is two years older and his changeup and command are both fringy at best, so shorter stints seem likely. Medina flashed a big jump in stuff and efficiency in 2018, but his strikeout rate cratered in Double-A in 2019, with slightly lesser velocity in his true sinker, and his breaking ball playing closer to average, but there’s enough here for a back-end starter.
Marchan fits in the new-school mold of the athletic catcher with enough contact skills to justify playing him in the field as well. His 55 arm will play anywhere, he’s an above average defender at most aspects defensively, and he has elite bat-to-ball skills, but little in-game power. Stott has solid average tools across the board and can play shortstop, which could lead to him moving quickly; he’s now 23 and hasn’t played in full-season ball yet. Garcia had a poor full-season debut in 2019, but he was an 18-year-old shortstop in Low-A with BABIP-derived bad luck. He’s a contact-speed-and-defense type shortstop that has enough power to punish a mistake, so the tool set is here for an everyday player.
Moniak probably won’t live up to the hype of being a No. 1 overall pick, but he has solid average tools, has made his big league debut, and will be a big leaguer of some consequence. Muzziotti has a higher floor with a little more contact, speed, and defense, with some signs he improved his in-game power potential in 2020, but still has some work to do in that area.
Rojas is my breakout pick for the system. Rojas is another toolsy player who took a step forward in 2019 and looked primed to take another one in 2020 — but didn’t get a full minor league season to prove it. He’s a little too free of a swinger but has plus raw power, speed and arm strength in a center-field profile so there’s plenty of margin for error. Indications are that he has improved his approach a bit and also lifted the plane on his swing to tap into more of that power in games.
Others of note
LHP JoJo Romero (11, 40+ FV) saw a velo bump in his big league debut pitching out of the bullpen, sitting 94-96 mph, at least three ticks better than he was as a starter in the minors. His changeup and command are obviously worse in this more aggressive, pure reliever approach, but his slider has improved, the curveball was set aside and the Phillies bullpen was terrible, so this is all probably a positive thing.
There are three toolsy shortstops with varying skill sets in SS Kendall Simmons (12, 40 FV), SS Jamari Baylor (13), and SS Casey Martin (14). Simmons was a non-performer in high school but always had strong tools (at least plus raw power) and has already beat some scouts’ expectations with 15 homers in 83 short-season games. He’s continuing to dial in his offensive approach, but is still a high variance prospect. Baylor is more a consistent, solid-average across the board prospect who may also fit best at second base. Martin is a rare major conference college pick with loud tools — 80-grade speed, with 55-grade raw power, and the tools for shortstop — but what many would consider an awful approach at the plate.
1. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, 60 FV (6)
2. Oneil Cruz, 3B, 55 FV (28)
3. Nick Gonzales, 2B, 50 FV (66)
4. Travis Swaggerty, CF, 50 FV (79)
5. Quinn Priester, RHP, 50 FV (87)
6. Liover Peguero, SS, 50 FV (91)
7. Miguel Yajure, RHP, 45+ FV (133)
8. Hudson Head, CF, 45+ FV (152)
9. Brennan Malone, RHP, 45 FV
10. Jared Oliva, CF, 45 FV
Top 10 reports
Yajure, Head, and Malone were all headlining prospects as returns in Pittsburgh’s trades of Jameson Taillon, Joe Musgrove, and Starling Marte. Yajure made his big league debut in 2020 and has above average stuff and command after a 2019 velo spike on the heels of a late 2016 Tommy John surgery. He projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter. Head was a late-rising dual-sport Texas prep product in 2019 that had plus speed and above average power. He had a solid pro debut and could jump on a top 100 with a strong full-season debut, but is still a bit raw. Malone was a polished prep arm in the 2019 draft, hitting 99 mph at his best, with above-average control of four above-average pitches.
Oliva is a holdover from the previous regime who was a tools bet as a later-blooming college player at Arizona with an above-average power/speed combination but little performance track record. He has hit at every stop of the minors and had a cup of coffee in 2020, but the question is if he’s a No. 4 outfielder due to below average offensive output or a low-end regular.
Others of note
RHP Tahnaj Thomas (11, 45 FV) has been up to 100 mph and is a projectable 6-4 with all the markers you’d like to see. He’s still early in his process of learning his craft, but his curveball shows above-average promise and the finesse skills of a changeup and command also seem learnable so he could take off at any moment. RHP Carmen Mlodzinski (15, 40+ FV) was the No. 31 overall pick out of South Carolina last summer despite missing the 2019 season with a broken foot, with clubs relying on the Cape, preseason outings, and a handful of 2020 appearances. He sits in the mid-90s with plus-plus sinking life and two breaking balls that are both above average. RHP Jared Jones (23, 40 FV) is a higher variance, high school 2020 pick at No. 44 overall. His velocity has been up to 100 mph and isn’t huge at 6-1, but did better to get bat-missing spin on his heater in 2020 and his breaking ball has flashed plus at times.
SS Ji-Hwan Bae (13, 45 FV) is an easy plus runner with plus contact skills and a real shot to stick at shortstop, with his in-game power the biggest question mark going forward. C Endy Rodriguez (24) was acquired from the Mets in the Joe Musgrove three-way trade and has above-average contact. He has the defensive skills to stay behind the plate, but is athletic enough to play in the field as well.
SS Maikol Escotto (22, 40+ FV) is my breakout pick for the system. Escotto broke out as a 17-year-old in the DSL in 2019, then in instructional league after that. One scout compared him to Martin Prado in that he probably isn’t a shortstop but can play anywhere else on the field and has a hit-over-power profile but enough pop that it should play average in games down the road. Escotto was the second-best piece going to Pittsburgh in the Jameson Taillon trade and could jump into the top-100 conversation with a strong U.S. debut in 2021.
1. CJ Abrams, CF, 60 FV (5)
2. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, 60 FV (13)
3. Luis Campusano, C, 55 FV (29)
4. Robert Hassell, CF, 50 FV (45)
5. Ha-Seong Kim, SS, 50 FV (86)
6. Ryan Weathers, LH, 50 FV (99)
7. Justin Lange, RHP, 45 FV
8. Tucupita Marcano, SS, 40+ FV
9. Mason Thompson, RHP, 40+ FV
10. Reggie Lawson, RHP, 40+ FV
Top 10 reports
Lange was the No. 34 overall pick out of a Texas high school last summer after a dramatic run up the board. He went from unknown to a solid follow in the fall, then started hitting triple digits early in the spring, joining Nick Bitsko on the ridiculous velo videos on social media hype train. He remade his body and is a cut 6-4 with strong athleticism, but there are concerns on the quality of his breaking ball from a lower slot and command given the short track record.
Thompson recovered from a Tommy John in his senior year of high school in 2015 to throw hard in 2019 (working 92-95, hitting 97 mph) and then throw harder (sitting mid-to-upper 90’s) in 2020, leading to a 40-man add this winter. He’s probably still a reliever, but now has the raw stuff to see a late inning role. Lawson has a 2020 Tommy John surgery, but was trending up before that, with above average stuff and a No. 4 starter type profile. Marcano has extreme contact skills, along with plus speed and the ability to stick at shortstop everyday, so he’s a solid big league contributor even if he doesn’t add much in-game power.
Others of note
RF Josh Mears (12, 40 FV) is my breakout pick for the system. He was a late-rising, cold-weather position player so some teams didn’t see this upside: a 6-3, 230-pound teenager with plus-plus raw power (exit velos as high as 115 mph), an above-average arm and deceptively plus straight-line speed, though it plays down a bit in game situations right now. He’s a power-over-hit type who struck out a little too much in his pro debut but also belted seven homers in 43 pro games. Anything better than a 30% strikeout rate could shoot him up the Padres’ list if he keeps posting big in-game power numbers.
LF Jorge Ona (13) got a big league look in 2020 and probably fits best as a role/platoon player going forward. He can passably play all three outfield spots and has plus right-handed raw power, but is limited by his bat control/plate coverage. 2B Eguy Rosario (15) was passed over in the Rule 5 draft but could become a big league contributor with his solid contact skills, enough raw power to run into 15 homers, and solid defense.
SS Nerwilliam Cedeno (18) and RHP Brayan Medina (19) are two young international signings to keep an eye on. Cedeno signed in the 2018 class for $300,000 and had a solid instructs, showing contact ability from both sides of the plate and defensive skills to stick at short. Medina is from the 2019 class, so he has no formal pro experience, but has been in two instructional leagues and continues to show starter traits, with a fastball that’s now getting into the mid-90s.
1. Marco Luciano, 3B, 60 FV (7)
2. Joey Bart, C, 55 FV (32)
3. Heliot Ramos, RF, 50 FV (62)
4. Patrick Bailey, C, 50 FV (100)
5. Hunter Bishop, CF, 45+ FV (136)
6. Luis Matos, CF, 45+ FV (136)
7. Luis Toribio, 3B, 45+ FV (153)
8. Gregory Santos, RHP, 45 FV
9. Will Wilson, 2B, 45 FV
10. Alex Canario, CF, 45 FV
Top 10 reports
Bishop has rare raw tools (65-grade raw power, 60 speed) for a college position player and had a huge draft spring in 2019 hitting in the same lineup as Spencer Torkelson. His bat control and pitch selection are a little below average, and his outfield reads and arm are iffy enough that he might end up in left field. But a strong 2021 hitting line probably puts him into the top 100 next year. Matos also has projected plus raw power and speed, with a real shot to stick in center and some question about his contact ability. But he’s still just 19 and was signed in 2018 for under $1 million, so the burden of proof is much lower. Canario is just 20 and already on the 40-man with no full-season experience. He has big bat speed, wait for it, plus raw power and contact concerns, but in a right-field fit.
Toribio also has plus raw power but has fewer contact concerns than the above group, though he might ultimately be a first baseman, which puts him into the same fingers-crossed group in terms of prospect value. Wilson is a high-floor former first-rounder who was acquired for Zack Cozart’s contract dump. He has average tools across the board and the kind of makeup and tool set where he could take up catching for extra versatility.
Santos is my breakout pick for the system and is one of the most notable pitching prospects to display a spike in stuff since the pandemic began. He was added to the 40-man roster this winter after hitting 100 mph and flashing three plus pitches during the summer and fall. His velocity was already into the upper 90s at times in 2019 to go with a potentially plus slider, but he had a history of shoulder soreness and inconsistent other traits. The changeup and health have improved, and, even if he projects as a multi-inning relief option, Santos could be in the top-100 conversation with a strong, healthy season for an organization that excels in pitcher development.
Others of note
LHP Seth Corry (11, 40+ FV), RHP Sean Hjelle (12, 40+ FV), and LHP Nick Swiney (13, 40+ FV) are all potential back-end starters. Corry has above-average stuff but fringy command from the left side, but it’ll likely play up in shorter stints. Hjelle is massive at 6-9 and got to Double-A in his first full minor league season. He should continue moving quickly with a fastball-dominant profile due to the downward plane and extension he gets on the pitch, topping at 96 mph. He also has solid average command, unusual for a giant pitcher, due to his solid athleticism, and enough off-speed stuff to project as a No. 4 starter. Swiney went at No. 67 this summer out of NC State and sits in the low 90s with an average breaking ball and relies on a plus changeup.
3B Casey Schmitt (16, 50 FV) and LHP Kyle Harrison (18) also came from the 2020 draft class. Schmitt was a standout two-way prospect who threw in the mid-90s as a closer but stood out more to scouts as a potential every-day third baseman. He has a plus arm, above-average defensive ability at third and plus raw power. He also has some questions about his contact in games that could hold back his power, but focusing full time on hitting will help. Harrison is a crafty lefty prep product who slings from a lower slot and works in the low 90s. He also has a solid-average curveball and above average changeup to go with above average command. For $2.5 million as an overslot bonus, it isn’t the sexiest profile, but he could move quickly and find himself in a big league rotation well ahead of his draft peers.
1. Dylan Carlson, LF, 60 FV (18)
2. Nolan Gorman, 3B, 50 FV (51)
3. Ivan Herrera, C, 50 FV (77)
4. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, 50 FV (80)
5. Zack Thompson, LHP, 45+ FV (148)
6. Johan Oviedo, RHP, 45 FV
7. Jordan Walker, 3B, 40+ FV
8. Masyn Winn, SS/RHP, 40+ FV
9. Trejyn Fletcher, CF, 40+ FV
10. Lane Thomas, CF, 40 FV
Top 10 reports
Thompson has a clear carrying tool in his 65-grade, high-spin curveball that will, health pending, keep him in the big leagues for a long time. He’s been up to 97 mph at his best and has shown the traits to be a long-term starter, with some velocity fluctuations and soreness in college that would fade into the rearview with a healthy pro season. Oviedo is a massive 6-6 righty with two plus pitches and velocity up to 99 mph and a four-pitch mix. He might fit best in shorter stints due to his command.
Walker will need to watch his lateral quickness to stick at third base, but he has plenty of arm and might grow into 70-grade power at the plate. There was some swing-and-miss to his profile as a prep prospect, but there are enough traits to see at least a 40-grade bat that allows him to get to his power in games. Fletcher has goofy raw tools, possibly four plus ones and a 50ish bat if you catch him on the right day. But he hasn’t had much high-level experience after reclassifying to the 2019 draft months before the draft while at a Maine high school. Thomas is a speed-and-defense-oriented fourth outfielder type who might hit enough to be a low-end regular for a few years.
Winn is my breakout pick for the system. He is one of the few players in the minors who will be developed as both a position player and a pitcher. First and foremost, he’ll be a shortstop, but the Cardinals are staying open-minded about letting him get on the mound a couple of innings at a time if the situation allows. Most players in similar situations would have one role completely shut down by the club. It’s easy to see why Winn bucks that trend: He is a plus runner with a plus-plus arm who projects to stick at shortstop and develop above-average raw power and has shown contact skills along with premium athleticism. On the mound, Wynn sits in the mid-90s with the type of carry/rise that analysts love and a high-spin breaker. Both pitches rate as at least plus right now and have a shot to be plus-plus, but his command and changeup lag behind.
Others of note
RHP Markevian “Tink” Hence (11) and RHP Ian Bedell (19) were two pretty different 2020 picks. Hence is an athletic righty with fluid arm action and a velo spike just before the draft, going from a steady 90-94 mph to 93-96. Scouts expected that at some point, but it improved his draft stock to see it so quickly, landing him at No. 63. His curveball is ahead of his changeup and flashes above average to plus at its best, while the elements for at least average command are present. Bedell takes some projection because his Cape velocity (91-95) wasn’t his 2020 spring velocity (87-91), but it’s reasonable to assume that would’ve crept up with a normal-length spring to ramp up. When his arm speed is producing low-90s velo, Bedell has above average stuff that could fit as a third/fourth starter in an optimistic scenario.
RF Jhon Torres (12) was acquired from Cleveland and is still more promise than reality right now, with plus raw power, a solid approach and a plus arm. 1B Luken Baker (18) was sitting in the mid-90s with a good breaking ball in high school, but ended up opting for a hitter’s path at TCU and in pro ball, where his profile depends on getting to his 70-grade raw power in games. His pitch selection is good enough to do that, but his bat control lags a bit, so he might be a .240 hitter with walks and power. RF Alec Burleson (21) was a two-way player through college, as a pitchability lefty who sat 87-91 mph, but will be a full-time position player in pro ball. He has 55 raw power, some bat-to-ball skills and solid athleticism, but he needs to tighten his approach at the plate.
1. Jackson Rutledge, RHP, 50 FV (98)
2. Cade Cavalli, RHP, 45+ FV (166)
3. Andry Lara, RHP, 45 FV
4. Matt Cronin, LHP, 45 FV
5. Cole Henry, RHP, 40+ FV
6. Yasel Antuna, 3B, 40 FV
7. Seth Romero, LHP, 40 FV
8. Mason Denaburg, RHP, 40 FV
9. Armando Cruz, SS, 40 FV
10. Tim Cate, LHP, 40 FV
Top 10 reports
Cavalli, Henry, and Denaburg are the three likely starters from this group. Cavalli drew Sean Newcomb comps pre-draft because it looked perfect in terms of frame, delivery, athleticism, and stuff, but it didn’t play as well in games and the command wasn’t quite where the package suggested. The raw stuff is two 60-to-70 grade pitches, so the upside is considerable and there’s plenty of room for error. Henry went from an arm strength effort type in high school to a starter in his freshman year at LSU, with a plus hammer, then some minor injuries and sapped velocity dropped him from the mid-first to second rounds. Denaburg was taken out of high school in the middle of the first round with two 65-grade pitches and premium traits, but has been hurt a lot in pro ball, but without any surgery.
Cronin, Romero, and Cate all project as relievers. Cronin is a big, strong lefty who throws from the whiff-friendly high arm slot with lots of vertical movement. In college he threw almost entirely fastballs, but now has an above-average curveball and usable changeup. He could be a setup man quickly in the Sean Doolittle mold. Romero has had Tommy John and some makeup concerns over the years, but has always flashed three 55-or-60-grade pitches and solid control, so he also could move quickly in a bullpen role. Cate is a somewhat slight lefty with a plus hook and low-90’s stuff that gets into the mid-90’s in short stints, with Tim Collins as a comp.
Lara is my breakout pick for the system. He has a Livan Hernandez starter kit: a durable workhorse frame, a fastball that already sits 92-95 mph, a breaker that flashes plus and the traits to stick as a starter. He is unusual in that he just turned 18 and isn’t that physically projectable, but more strength and maturity will come to go with stuff and command that are already advanced for his age. He hasn’t pitched in an official pro game yet but was already arrow up last fall in instructional league right after signing out of Venezuela.
Antuna got a $3.9 million bonus in the 2016 international class but has since been passed by Luis Garcia from the same group. But Antuna is now coming on in his own right, impressing at the alternate site with a chance for four above average tools (excepting speed). He’s only played 87 games in full-season ball and is now on the 40-man roster, so his options will be burning. Cruz got $3.9 million in January as one of the top talents in the 2020 class. He has elite, possibly 80 grade hands and a projectable, athletic frame, but mostly just potential offensively right now.
Others of note
1B Drew Mendoza (11) has easy plus raw power and enough arm to fit anywhere on the field, but his lateral quickness limits him to first base now. He has strong pitch selection to help get to his power in games, but his plate coverage is just OK. RF Jeremy De La Rosa (12) projects for plus raw power, some contact skills, and has enough arm and quickness to fit in right field, but is still just 19 years old, with 26 pro games under his belt.
3B Sammy Infante (13) was a showcase standout a year ago, with plus bat speed, raw power, and game performance, but he was a year old for the class, so his lower minors performance will be a better indicator going forward. C Israel Pineda (16) has the components for average contact, he has average raw power and projects around average behind the plate, which could be enough to be one of the best 30 catchers in baseball at some point. His full season performance at the plate was just okay, and he’ll have to watch his conditioning.