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. Earlier we did spots one through 25. Here's 26 through 50.
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.
26) Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland Indians, Grade B+: Hit .250/.365/.425 in high minors with 15 homers, 38 steals, 77 walks; contact is a concern but holding with a Grade B+ entering 2017 due to broad skill base.
27) Carson Fulmer, RHP, Chicago White Sox, Grade B+: 4.63 ERA in 103 innings in high minors; hit hard during major league trial due to control problems; still like the upside; holding with a B+.
28) Mike Clevinger, RHP, Cleveland Indians, Grade B+: Solid in Triple-A, inconsistent in the majors (4.76 in 45 innings, 43/25 K/BB); if he remains rookie eligible I'm inclined to stick with the B+.
29) Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians, Grade B+: Strong in Double-A but had contact issues when promoted to Triple-A then traded to Yankees; consistent history of grinding through and making adjustments when he has problems. I'll hold with the B+.
30) Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade B+: .266/.333/.536 in the high minors while fighting injuries; power seems to be developing but, like Frazier, he had some adjustment issues in Triple-A. And like Frazier he is still a B+.
31) Lewis Brinson, OF, Texas Rangers, Grade B+ Traded to Brewers in Jonathan Lucroy deal; hit .268/.305/.468 between Double-A and Triple-A; 17 steals, 15 homers; showed very aggressive approach in Triple-A though it didn't hurt him; another holding at B+.
32) Nick Williams, OF, Philadelphia Phillies, Grade B+: Hit .258/.287/.427 in Triple-A; 13 homers; terrible 19/136 BB/K; not ready for the majors yet; upside remains high but approach needs refinement; may downgrade to Grade B.
33) Francis Martes, RHP, Houston Astros, Grade B+: Very good season in Double-A; 3.30, 131/47 in 125 innings; scouting reports remain positive; on the B+/A- cusp.
34) Anderson Espinosa, RHP, Boston Red Sox, Grade B+: Traded to San Diego Padres; 4.49 ERA in 108 innings in Low-A with 100/35 K/BB; only 18 years old and jumped from rookie ball; will hold with a Grade B+.
35) Jorge Lopez, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers, Grade B+: Terrible season, got crushed in Triple-A (6.81 ERA in 79 innings) ruining momentum from excellent 2015; downgrade is inevitable but how far will depend on "what the hell happened" reports which I don't have yet.
36) Joe Musgrove, RHP, Houston Astros, Grade B+: 2.74 ERA with 87/10 K/BB in 85 innings in high minors; 4.71 in 49.2 major league innings but with excellent 47/13 K/BB; will exceed rookie parameters. I think he will continue to improve and expect this grade to verify.
37) Taylor Guerrieri, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B+: 3.76 ERA in 146 innings in Double-A, 89/46 K/BB; normally I'd like more strikeouts but he may be an exception to the rule; strong ground ball pitcher; holding with a B+.
38) Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies, Grade B+: Hit .281/.342/.480 in Low-A but with the typical Asheville split, with .973 OPS at home but just .672 on the road; right now I am inclined to keep him at a B+ which would likely put him lower than you'll see on other 2017 lists.
39) Max Kepler, OF, Minnesota Twins, Grade B+: One of the few bright spots in dismal Twins season, .242/.317/.442 with 16 homers in the majors; graduated and I think this grade will verify long-term.
40) Tim Anderson,SS, Chicago White Sox, Grade B+: Hit .280/.302.410 in the majors with 10 steals, 10 walks, 101 strikeouts; strong glovework; graduated and grade will verify if the strike zone doesn't get too far away from him.
41) Sean Newcomb, LHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade B+: Erratic year in Double-A due to control problems but pitched well late; 3.86, 152/71 in 141 innings, just 113 hits, can dominate but needs another year. Holding with a B+.
42) Cody Reed, LHP, Cincinnati Reds, LHP, Grade B+: Strong in Triple-A but got killed in majors with 7.36 ERA in 46 innings; fighting back injuries; I still like his upside but needs more adjustment time. Incomplete.
43) Aaron Blair, RHP, Atlanta Braves, Grade B+: Got crushed in majors with ERA over 8.00 and even Triple-A numbers were weaker than previous standards. Graduated with over 50 innings but not living up to the grade so far.
44) Dillon Tate, RHP, Texas Rangers, Grade B+: 4.70 ERA in 82 innings in Low-A with 70/33 K/BB; was traded to Yankees in Carlos Beltran deal and shifted to bullpen; not as polished as I'd hoped and bullpen may be best role. Downgrade to B is possible.
45) Gleyber Torres, SS, Chicago Cubs, Grade B+: Traded to Yankees in Aroldis Chapman deal; hit .270/.354/.421 in High-A; reports remain positive; B+/A- cusp.
46) Hector Olivera, OF, Atlanta Braves, Grade B+: Yeah, let's just forget this ever happened. I think this was a Twilight Zone episode come to life.
47) Kenta Maeda, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade B+: Very successful in the majors with 3.28 ERA in 156 innings; I never know what to do with the experienced Japanese guys like this in terms of rankings but people want ratings.
48) Brett Phillips, OF, Milwaukee Brewers, Grade B+: Poor season in Double-A with .229/.332/.397 line, 16 homers 67 walks, 154 whiffs; contact an obvious issue but retains tools, youth; downgrade into the Bs seems likely.
49) Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds, Grade B+: Hit .303/.397/.384 in Triple-A; power declined but still shows polish; I think the power will come back and intend to hold with a B+.
50) Ozzie Albies, SS, Atlanta Braves, Grade B+: Hit .292/.358/.420 in high minors; 30 steals, 52 walks, moved over to second base and looked great; just 19 years old. Moving into the A-range.