Our main current project is an updated Top 100 list for the end of the 2016 season.
The first step in the process is reviewing the pre-season Top 175 list. Let's get started with spots one through 25. Obviously we don't know how things will look three years from now, but we can at least come up with some preliminary assessments.
THIS IS THE 2016 PRE-SEASON LIST. It is the research starting point for the 2017 list.
1) Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade A: Outstanding rookie season .902 OPS through 140 games. Grade verified; graduated.
2) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade A: Outstanding in Triple-A, 1.87 ERA in 111 innings while fighting some injuries. Retains Grade A rating entering 2017.
3) Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals, Grade A: Solid year, 2.97 ERA in 115 innings in the minors, still adapting to majors; still a prospect entering 2017, likely remains a Grade A.
4) Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade A: 3.50 ERA in 72 MLB innings, still just 20 years old; grade verified. Graduated.
5) Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves, Grade A: Solid year in minors, performing well in majors so far but should still be rookie-eligible for 2017, will retain Grade A.
6) Yoan Moncada, 2B, Boston Red Sox, Grade A: Widely-regarded as the best prospect in baseball by most experts and I entirely agree. Certain Grade A for 2017.
7) Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins, Grade A: Excellent again in Triple-A but weak in the majors; graduated due to service time so won't be on 2017 list; i think there are good reasons for concern here but let's give him another year. Grade obviously not verified at this point.
8) Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade A: Although inconsistent in Triple-A he's been strong in the major league pen; 1.29 ERA in 28 innings, 34/16 K/BB; holding with a Grade A assuming he remains eligible for 2017 lists.
9) Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins, Grade A-: Excellent in Triple-A but terrible in the majors; collects strikeouts at a good clip; I remain optimistic long-term as long as health holds. I don't think he'll be rookie eligible for 2017 but if he were I think I'd go B+.
10) Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets, Grade A-: 3.42 ERA in 132 major league innings; very successful but remains prone to injury; grade verified;; graduated.
11) Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers, Grade A-: Played well in Triple-A; not hitting much since promotion to majors (.641 OPS), but strong defense, youth buy him lots of time. Graduated; I think this grade will verify.
12) Joey Gallo, 3B-OF, Texas Rangers, Grade A-: Hit .240 with 25 homers, 68 walks, 150 strikeouts in Triple-A; just 17 major league at-bats; still eligible for 2017. You can make a case for a downgrade to B+ but we'll see how things look in the fall and winter.
13) Blake Snell, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade A-: 3.87 ERA in 81 major league innings; inconsistent but highly promising; graduated. Grade partially verified.
14) Jose De Leon, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade A-: Spectacular in Triple-A with 2.61 ERA in 86 innings with excellent peripherals, and under PCL conditions. Remains eligible for 2017 and upgrade to Grade A is certain.
15) Sean Manaea, LHP, Oakland Athletics, Grade A-: 4.23 ERA in 126 major league innings; a bit more consistency could put him at the top of many rotations, graduated and grade verified in my view.
16) Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox, Grade A-: Hit .282/.335/.442 in High-A with improving defense at age 19; holding with a Grade A- at least.
17) Alex Bregman, SS, Houston Astros, Grade A-: Mashed in the minors and has shown excellent hitting skills in majors following slow start; graduated; grade looks good.
18) Andrew Benintendi, OF, Boston Red Sox, Grade A-: Like Bregman, he tore through the minors one year out of college and has adapted very quickly to majors until knee injury; should remain eligible for '17 and certain Grade A.
19) A.J. Reed, 1B, Houston Astros, Grade A-: Crushed Triple-A but has had adaption problems in majors, hitting .175 in 114 at-bats though he's shown power. If he stays rookie eligible for 2017 he would be right on the B+/A- edge. I still like him.
20) Trea Turner, SS, Washington Nationals, Grade A-: Destroyed Triple-A and even better in the majors; speed, defense, and an .898 OPS; graduated; verified; this may look too low five years from now.
21) J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies, Grade A-: Not a great year in the high minors at .250/.349/.339; solid glove and youth remain key assets. On the B+/A- cusp at present.
22) Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers, Grade A-: Impressive rookie season; .270/.324/.423 with 18 homers; graduated; should continue to improve from this base.
23) Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics, Grade A-: Very good year in Double-A; .281/.340/.413 with 30 steals; grade holding at A-.
24) Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies, Grade A-: 4.69 ERA in 150 major league innings; 3.1 fWAR; graduated; will have to see how much Coors impacts his career but he's been a success so far.
25) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds, Grade A-: 4.37 ERA in 137 Triple-A innings; command remains biggest issue; will remain eligible for 2017. On A/B+ cusp due to the command issues but I still like his upside.