Our main current project is an updated Top 100 list for the end of the 2016 season.
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.
76) Justus Sheffield, LHP, Cleveland Indians, Grade B+: Traded to Yankees in Andrew Miller deal; combined for 3.09 ERA in 125 innings between High-A and Double-A, 129/53 K/BB; all systems nominal here, holding with a strong B+.
77) Clayton Blackburn, RHP, San Francisco Giants, Grade B+: Second season in Triple-A not as good as 2015; 4.36 ERA in 136 innings, 101/35 K/BB; continues to throw strikes and eat innings; I refuse to give up on this one completely but downgrade into the Bs will be needed.
78) Manuel Margot, OF, San Diego Padres, Grade B: Hit .304/.351/.426 in Triple-A with 30 steals, 12 triples, outstanding reviews for defense. Ready for a trial next year, on B+/B cusp.
79) Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays, Grade B: Limited to 92 games in High-A by injury, hit .236/.344/.378 with 18 steals, 53 walks; not as impressive as 2015 but physical tools are still strong, thinking B- entering 2017 at this point.
80) Javier Guerra, SS, San Diego Padres, Grade B: Got hurt in August; hit .202/.264/.325 in High-A with 34 walks, 141 strikeouts in 391 at-bats; has power, still young at 20, defense needs more polish, contact an obvious concern. thinking B- area.
81) Byung Ho Park, 1B-OF, Minnesota Twins, Grade B: Hit .191/.257/.409 with 12 homers, 21 walks, 80 strikeouts in 215 major league at-bats; out with wrist injury; power is certainly here but a big disappointment overall, though the injury didn't help. Not sure where he goes from here.
81-A) Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees, Grade B (inadvertently left off list at first due to data entry error): Hit .270/.366/.489 with 19 homers in 352 at-bats in Triple-A; .179 with four homers and 42 strikeouts in 84 at-bats in the majors until getting hurt; will remain eligible for 2017; clearly no doubts about the power but contact? B+/B cusp.
82) Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals, Grade B: Hit .280/.366/.423 between Low-A and High-A with 37 steals; not a big breakout but a solid season at age 19; stock holding.
83) Michael Fulmer, RHP, Detroit Tigers, Grade B: 10-7, 3.03 ERA in 24 major league starts, 120/39 K/BB in 149 innings; obviously very successful, graduated, grade verified and could have been a notch higher.
84) Luis Ortiz, RHP, Texas Rangers, Grade B: Traded to Brewers in Jonathan Lucroy deal; combined 3.08 ERA in 91 innings between High-A and Double-A with 78/23 K/BB; has pitched well, will have to see about larger workload, may move up to B+.
85) Luke Weaver, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B: Superb in minors, 1.40 ERA in 77 innings; continued to pitch well in majors with 3.21 ERA in seven starts, 43/10 K/BB in 34 innings; may remain rookie eligible for 2017, if so he'll move up to a B+ at a minimum and you can make a good case for A-.
86) Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates, Grade B: Very impressive in major league action, 3.39 ERA in 93 innings with 74/14 K/BB; met or exceeded all expectations; graduated; like Fulmer, this has verified and could have been higher though caution after he missed two years with injuries was wise.
87) Edwin Diaz, RHP, Seattle Mariners, RHP, Grade B: Excellent debut in Mariners bullpen, 16 saves with 2.20 ERA and 77/15 K/BB in 45 innings; I liked him as a starter but you can't argue with these results. Graduated and verified.
88) Domingo Acevedo, RHP, New York Yankees, Grade B: Very successful season in Low-A and High-A, 2.61 ERA with 102/22 K/BB in 92 innings before going on DL in August with "lower body" injury. Had a good case for A- until he got hurt, will go with preliminary B+ pending more details on his health.
89) Yusniel Diaz, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade B: Hit .272/.333/.418 with eight homers, 29 walks, 71 strikeouts in 316 at-bats in High-A at age 19; impressive tool set and held his own overall though streaky; was hot late, huge breakout could come next year; thinking B+.
90) Dom Nunez, C, Colorado Rockies, Grade B: This was an aggressive grade as I projected a big breakout season which did not happen; hit .241/.321/.362 in High-A with 10 homers; he did take a step forward on defense and is still just 21 so I wouldn't give up yet, but right now this one is trending down.
91) Antonio Senzatela, RHP, Colorado Rockies, Grade B; Performed well in seven starts in Double-A with 1.82 ERA in 35 innings until going on disabled list; hasn't returned; status depends on health.
92) Ariel Jurado, RHP, Texas Rangers, RHP, Grade B: Very solid year in High-A and Double-A, 3.66 ERA in 123 innings, much of that in High Desert, with 106/34 K/BB and 1.98 GO/AO; holding up so far.
93) Jacob Faria, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays, Grade B: Made 27 starts in Double-A/Triple-A with 3.99 ERA, 157/68 K/BB in 151 innings, just 110 hits; have to like the dominance numbers but needs to sharpen up control; stock holding.
94) Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, Grade B: 23 major league starts with 5.07 ERA, 120/60 K/BB in 126 innings; dominates at times but erratic control holds him back; graduated, grade not verified yet but still may do so eventually.
95) Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals, Grade B: Solid age 20 season in High-A, 3.56 ERA in 134 innings, 126/45 K/BB; on course to be workhorse, grade holding.
96) Grant Holmes, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers, Grade B: Traded to Oakland Athletics in Josh Reddick/Rich Hill deal; 4.63 ERA in 134 innings in High-A with 124/53 K/BB; the next Ethan Martin? Stock not really down but not rising either, still gets good scouting reports.
97) Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Washington Nationals, Grade B: Strong in minors with 3.21 ERA in 109 innings, 126/35 K/BB, 90 hits; still adapting to majors with 5.24 ERA with 34/19 K/BB in 34 innings; remain enamored with his upside; if he remains rookie eligible for 2017 may upgrade to B+ despite shakiness in majors.
98) Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks, Grade B: 55 innings in majors since being promoted, 5.56 ERA with 31/22 K/BB, 63 hits allowed; tough debut but has mixed in some starts and could still adjust; graduated but not verified yet.
99) A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals, Grade B: 4.26 ERA in 125 innings in Triple-A with 109/35 K/BB; 4.71 in 29 major league innings with 31/9 K/BB; now has 38 major league innings on his resume. If he remains rookie eligible for 2017, he could be a good "post-hype investment" since the ERA is not pretty but the K/BB ratio is.
100) Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles, Grade B: Successful season as reliever/starter for Orioles, 3.88 ERA in 100 innings with 96/39 K/BB; given injury history it was tough to rate him pre-season but I wish I had ranked him higher; graduated; can improve from this sound basis and live up to the hype from earlier in his career. Even if he never reaches top-of-the-rotation status, he should have a very solid career.