Ok, here is my newest concoction. Think of this list as a draft board, but in make-believe a draft in which all of the picks were made by me, and depth or salary, or signability are of no concern.
I didn't rank many of these players who made it to the bigs as of this writing, even if they DIDN'T cross the IP or AB threshold. It just depends if I feel like Id be basing their ranking based on early, big league performance (or even if it would appear so), like Sonny Gray or Christian Yelich.
In their cases I just graduated 'em, and went with last year's rating as my final call on them. The idea is that I'm supposed to know how good these players will be before they make it in the show, not after. that's the goal, anyway. enjoy
2) Byron Buxton, Twins : BB is done pasting his skills all over the Midwest League, now doing same to the Florida State League. Though Bux is having a much better season than Adam Jones did in the MWL (though Jones was about 6 months younger), I think Jones gives you a template for what you may be getting with Byron Buxton, with some differences of course. Jones is one of the very best players in the American League, and I think Buxton may end up a better ballplayer. Pre-season list: 11th
3) Carlos Correa, Astros: That's right, he's at 3 for me. Kid Correa is 9 months younger than Bux, and his may be just as impressive. A fluid and strong defender at SS he also has an advanced eye, hit tool, and the power is coming. He's in the mold of an Alexei Ramirez in the field but, a much better hitter. "So what do we have here? We have a guy who is an excellent hitter, who will show more power as he matures, who is a skilled defender at a difficult position, who has great makeup, and who doesn't turn 19 for another month. Oh, yeah, his statistics are excellent, too." - John Sickels Pre-season: 15th
4)Javier Baez, Cubs: I always tabbed him a diamond, that just needed polishing but, damn, I don't think anyone saw this explosion coming, at least not this fast. The "Bayamon Bee" got a lot more consistent at SS as the year went on as well. It was a true, all-around breakout. Anyhow, I love "Kid-Dynomite"'s, greased-lightning bat speed. Comp: Gary Sheffield, who was a HOF type player. Pre-season : 12th
5) Taijaun Walker, Mariners: I always knew he had size, stuff, athleticism but, now I know he has focus, smarts, and overall makeup on his side as well. That is a devastating combination of attributes for a pitching prospect to have. These kind of kids are the ones who often exceed even lofty expectations. His frame and cutter remind me of Mariano Rivera. Now there is a comp for ya.
6) Archie Bradley, D'Backs: The delivery, the frame, the stuff, and even the command profile remind me of Ben Sheets. Before you are too disapointed, Ben was a stud. He had a season in the maors where he had 264 Ks and walked 32. Lets hope Bradley's med report is better and, there are signs (less violence in delivery) that it could be. Pre-season: 19th7) Francisco Lindor, Tribe: "Francisco Lindor is as instinctual on the field as any prospect you will find, existing in his surroundings like he was born and raised in the dirt-filled area between second and third. He moves in this space like I move in a bar." - Jason Parks. The best comp I can see is Jose Reyes, with only solid-above average speed, rather than Reyes' electric speed. There is some pop in that stick that will come out as he gets older. Pre-season: 13th
8) Xander Bogaerts, Red Sox: In defense my placement of Lindor over Bogaerts, I tried to find a reason to put Bogaerts higher but, basically it's the next Jose Reyes vs the next Evan Longoria. It is close but, I'll take the real Shortstop Pre-season: 9th9) Miguel Sano, Twins: The more I watch him play, the more he reminds me of Albert Pujols. I like Franco's baseball swing better and, I think Sano will move to first but, man, he is a beast. He has answered a lot of questions I had about his hit-tool this season. Pre-season: 37th
10) Kyle Crick, Giants: Yeah, he need to iron some command issues, ok, sure, he's 20. My god though, his build and power mechanics remind me of Roger Clemens. That FB is 94-97 all the time and it gets on hitters fast as well. He also deals out a hard, power curve. He is some kind of power pitching prospect. Pre-season: 54th
11)Mark Appel, Astros: The Astros have some serious help on the way. I love this kis kid - a fluid, athletic delivery with a big fastball and big fastball command. My kind of pitcher. His slider and change that are coming along nicely too. Appel also has a boring, Steady-Eddie everyday quality to him, like a Doc Halladay. I think bodes well for a big future.
12) Jonathan Gray, Rockies: He has bucked-down Pioneer League and Cal League batters (working on that change-up) in short stints. It's pretty hard to beat a huge strong kid, with command of a big fast ball, curve and then a good change too? Damn.
13) Maikel Franco, Phils : I see a short-to-the-ball, lethal-quick, power stroke, as well as very good hand-eye coordination. I also see 70 XBH's vs 70 Ks this year, in leagues that he was young for. He is a decent, sure-handed, strong-armed third baseman too. I honestly am more certain that Franco will hit consistently in the majors than I am that Miguel Sano will. Pre-season: 68th14) Tyler Glasnow, pirates: When you watch a kid pitch and his fastball, curveball, size and athletic delivery make you think "Justin Verlander", you have got something there. He has a long ways to go but, he's come a long way, and fast. Tyler has also shown, early on, one of the first things you look for in a potential, top of the rotation starter, dominance - 54Hits,164 Ks. The Sally League isn't the Gulf Coast League, or High School, either folks. This kid is just a monster talent.
15)Kris Bryant, Cubbies: I've been watching video of his swing until my eyes bleed (my idea of fun these days) and it, and his height and body type, remind me of Mark McGwire at the same stage. Like young Big-Mac, KB is currently a third-baseman but, I think he may be ticketed for leftfield eventually.
16) Addison Russell, A's: I have been completely impressed at his toughness and ability to bounce back from slumps. He has had a good year overall, and handled the big jump to High A well, displaying big pop for a SS, good eye, improved contact, speed, and sure-handedness at SS. Pre-season: 17th
17) Micheal Wacha, Cardinls: I saw a two-pitch pitcher - FB and change - when I saw him but, those are two damned good pitches. My comp for Wacha is Chris Carpenter; It may seem like an an easy one but though the stuff and delivery are a bit is different, Wacha has the size, the no BS approach, and the raw talent to reach those lofty heights. Pre season: 49th
18) Nick Castellanos, Kitties: Just an old-school hitter. Pre-season: 25th19) Lucas Giolito, Nats: Gio just returned from TJ, so putting (or drafting) him high is risky, I suppose, but his talents before the surgery and reports of his stuff after it (fastball in the 95-98 mph range, is throwing his curveball around 86 mph and his changeup in the 84-86 mph range), are sensational. I love his picturesque delivery. he is huge but, completely balanced, under control, and straight over the top until an explosive finish on an outstretched, left leg, then he falls to the 1B side. Just like Tom Seaver. Go back and look. It's pure, power, pitching mechanics.
20)Albert Almora, Cubs: "Obviously he's very fit and toned and all that, but it's not the explosiveness that's very easy to see with him. You watch this kid play the game and you understand his feel for the game, his instincts for the game, he's very talented at the plate, he can hit and hit to all fields. But it's just that innate awareness of the situation, his instincts, especially on defense, that for us is what set Albert apart." - Jason McLeod, Sr. VP. of scouting player development for the Cubs.To me there is a aura of graceful, baseball magic that surrounds his play that reminds me of future hall of famer Darek Jeter, or Robin Yount. He is just a pure, pure hitter. Pre-season:32nd
21)Rougned Odor, Rangers: "He's a potential .300 hitter with some pop, a good glove, and decent speed. His instincts and mature skill set should enable his raw tools to play at full utility at the highest level." - Jason Cole. Pre-season: 63rd
22) Noah Syndergaard, Mets: As surprising as his earlier-than-expected promotion to AA was, it is down right stunning how he has handled it, like a future big-league ace, that's how. "It's a lot of fun to pitch when you've got the fastball, curveball, and changeup going for you." - Syndergaard after his start on 8/16. as for a comp, his size arm slot, arsenal, and aggressiveness remind me of John Lackey. Pre-season: 46th
23)George Springer, Astros: Interesting player. I see him as an arrogant, cocky, hustling ballplayer who's confidence will serve him well in the show. The Chris Young comparisons are apt, skill-wise but, Springer seems more like he may be the super-deluxe version of Young. That would be a monster player. Pre-season: 30th24) Arismendy Alcantara, Cubs: The switch-hitting Alcantara's swing, especially from the left side is very big league to me. It appears simple, smooth, and very powerful, as evidenced by the moon-shot he hit in last month's futures game. AA has had a fine season AA Tennessee also. the past three years he has split time between 2B and SS but, I think his likely future is at 2B.
25) Kyle Zimmer, Royals: Definite big league starting pitcher for me with a an ultra-fast arm, good delivery, solid command profile, and very, very good stuff. Only a sneaking fear of injury keeps him this low for me. I really, really like him. he is just a bit green. Pre-season: 53rd
26) Rafael Montero, Mets: I saw this kid pitch a couple times this year and, Man, was I impressed. He attacks, has a fast arm, easy velocity, a nasty breaking slider and - commands that fastball, really, really well. Montero also appears bigger, and stronger, than he is listed (6'-0"- 170). Also, a rarity, it looks like he throws harder than than most reports I have read on him. He deals with command and confidence.
27) Robert Stephenson, Reds: On first glance, he reminds me of the Timmy Lincecum, with the skinny legs and the ultra-fast arm. He may have Lincecum's velocity currently but, he doesn't have his momentum-generating delivery or his more complete arsenal. I could be underrating him here. Preseason: 57th
28) Alan Hanson, Pirates: Hansen didn't have a great year with the stick but, more significantly, he has come along way as far as cutting down mistakes at SS. He has all the tools and, he fills a big organizational need if he sticks there, and I think he can do it Pre-season: 26th29) Austin Hedges, Padres: I'm warming to Hedges. The way he commands a game, the way he springs out to catch pop-ups or a tapper in front of the plate, his throws, and his defense in general, is really good. He hasn't hit as much this year (.219 in AA) but, he has reached AA and turned 21 in August. Pre-season: 67th
Tie 30) Henry Owens, Red Sox: He's a sweet mix of youth, size, health and devastating fastball and change-up combo... especially that change. Once he gets a bit better fastball command, watch out!
30) David Dahl, Rox: What an incredibly tough, disaster of a year for this kid eh? Suspended, then injured, he has played a grand total of 10 ballgames. He is a more than decent athlete for LF or RF but, that bat will carry him far, if he is okay physically. He was born to hit . Pre-season: 5th
31) Cesar Puello, Mets: This powerful RF prospect really broke out in the EL this year, until it was abruptly halted with a 50-game, biogenesis-related suspension. This may lead some to be skeptical of the breakout but I tend to think it was real. He already had plus tools across the board and, his power really started to come this year. He even learned to take a pitch once in a while.
32) Jameson Taillon, Pirates: He has all the size, the BIG fastball, the curve, the dedication, that you'd want but, he never shows any dom-in-ance. What I see is a pitcher who is durable, solid, and reliable. Maybe someday that will lead to being great but, I just don't see it right now. I realize I could be selling his upside short. Pre-season: 44th33) Hak-Ju Lee, Rays: Mister Lee was kicking the International League's ass (.422/.536/.600) before he went down with a terrible knee injury in April. He is a fantastic all-around SS talent who was just coming into his own. It's a shame. It'd be a risk but, Id still take him highly amongst this class, but, then again I am no Doctor. He is just a beautiful baseball player. Pre-season: 24th
34) Dylan Bundy, Orioles: Knowing what I think I know about Bundy, I'm certain he will attack TJ rehab with the same legendary intensity that he is known for. That said, there are no guarantees with thaty injury. Pre-season: 4th35) Joc Pederson, Dodgers: AA was a big challenge for this 21 year old OF, and he has aced it. On the season as a whole, I see a guy who has hit, hit for power (49 XBhs), taken his share of walks (70), swiped (31) bags with a good percentage, and played defense well enough to start in centerfield most of the season. As an athlete, he reminds me some of Hunter Pence, in that he may be a player who plays better than he looks. He looks kind of klunky out there, which hides what a good athlete he is. I think he's a player.
36) Jake Marisnick, Marlins: It is easy to question his future, based on age and hitting numbers / easy to fall in love once you see him on the field. What a great, great athlete. Maybe you don't hear it as much, because he can actually PLAY good baseball at this point but, I'd say he easily has the tools that Bubba Starling has (besides maybe raw power), and that is no small feet. Pre-season: 66th
37) Jesse Biddle, Phillies: There is a tendency amongst prospect watchers to think that Biddle lacks upside but, he has some things going for him: Good size (6'-4", 225), durability, and a deep arsenal. Biddle has some inconsistencies to iron out but, he is AA ball and not yet 22 year old. He also flashed major upside in April when he fanned 16 batters.Pre-season: 81st
38) Jon Singleton, 'Stros: He has had a rough year, suspended for smokin' grass, then returning fat. This makes me question his want, makeup, etc. - which can make ALL of the difference, at this stage. I believe in his bat greatly but, we'll see if he reports to camp clean, and in shape next spring. Pre-season: 18th
39) Greg Polanco, Pirates: Though the tools are obvious, I am not as crazy-high on Greg Polanco as the average evaluator these days. The guy who is compared to the most, Dexter Fowler, has grown into a decent ballplayer and, I believe Polanco can as well but, I was underwhelmed by his AA performance. Pre-season: 72nd
40) Reymond Fuentes, Padres: Here is a kid I definitely back-burnered, leaving him unranked too long. The more I watch him, his quick twitch-play in Centerfield and on the bases, and his slashing stroke remind me of Co-Co Crisp, who is a HELL of a big leaguer.
41) Matt Barnes, Red Sox: It wasn't a great year for Barnes, superficially, but he still has the size, stuff, delivery, and command. I have my doubts about him holding up under a major league starter's workload but, he remains a fine prospect. He ended the year in AAA and, in style.
42) Jonathan Schoop, Orioles: His 2013 was derailed on May 11, with a back injury that cost the remainder of May him all of June and most of July. he is still getting his rhythm back, leading to a so-so year in AAA (.243/.293/.383) but, I still love the his bat-speed and power + the ability to handle SS or 2B well, and he is not even 22 yet. Pre-season: 83rd.
43) Taylor Lindsey, Angels: I always liked him as a hitter but, he added power to his game and blossomed as a 21 year old in AA this year. I heard a Kelly Johnson comp slapped on him the other day by a scout in a BP article, and I thought it sounded spot-on. he's a sleeper for AL rookie of the year next year, I'm serious.
44) Zach Lee, Dodgers: Great athlete + pitchers build, tough kid, attacks hitters. He goes under the radar as a top-end kid but, I just have a feeling on him. If you just look at the stuff, it looks like a a 4 or a 5 but, I think it adds up to more than that. pre-season: 85th
45) Chris Owings, D.Backs: A puzzlingly undervalued prospect. I think he can hit, hit with some power, and play a very solid and steady shortstop in the big leagues. He also isn't much for taking a walk, so no wonder I like him. His career path, and skills, remind me some of JJ Hardy.46) Jorge Soler, Cubbies: pre-season: Before his season was derailed by a broken leg, he was a very solid season in the FSL, when he wasn't attacking opposing players with bats. At the plate he reminds me of the Astros, Chris Carter some. Both are hulking sluggers with a better than expected hit tool for their size, decent athleticism, and lots of usable power. he is penciled in as the Cubbies right-fielder of the near future. Pre season:62nd
47) Matt Davidson, D'Backs: Pre-season: "This guy has a steady approach and he looks like he is in complete control of his ABs. I doubt he will scare off now that he is in the big leagues, and his power and approach should work in the majors. He might bring more offense to [the Diamondbacks] than some of their regulars." -Pro scout comment, published by BP. pre-season:77th
48) Joey Gallo, Rangers: I'm of the opinion that, at his age, Gallo's ability to slam balls way out of the ballpark is more significant than the amount of times he is swinging and missing. His kind of power is rare. There are really good major eague power hitter who didn't have any when they were 19. He's a special power-prospect like a Chris Davis, or a Russell Branyan. Pre-season: 51st
49) Eddie Butler, Rockies: He reminds me of a smaller Addison Reed, with that "uncoiling" delivery but with a more complete arsenal. I think he's going to be a closer or, late -inning arm... a very good one.
50) Jorge Bonifacio, Royals: The power will come. He has strong wrists, hands and, is a natural hitter ( .289 .354 .441, in tough parks). When he learns to integrate the lower half more, watch out. I expect a big season in the Texas League next year for the younger Boni. Pre-season: 59th
High School kids: I am not ranking them officially, It's just too difficult for me to do accurately (I have basically watched them take BP or bat/pitch like 2-3 times) but here are the ones in the top 100: Austin Meadows, Pirates - top 25, Clint Frazier, Indians -top 30, Kohl Stewart - Twins, Trey Ball, Red Sox - both top 35, JP Crawford, Hunter Harvey. Julio Urias is 17 and, he deserves to be on the list as well. Id slot him 60-70 I think.