Here is my current list for the Top 200 MLB prospects for 2017. Grades here supersede previously published lists and rankings.
The rankings are based on a combination of sabermetrics; scouting reports (including publicly available reports and private reports from friends or contacts), video, in-person views when possible, and some measure of intuition.
The list incorporates closeness to the majors and risk as well as pure upside. Every list has quirks, of course, reflecting the filters and biases of the analyst. Many of my rankings are in line with industry consensus, but some are not.
I tend to be conservative about players with no track records and rank players with an eye both to long-term value and short-term performance. I try to find a balance between the two factors. A list based on pure upside with less regard for risk would look quite different.
Ultimately these are my opinions and I take sole responsibility for them.
Thinking and analysis change constantly, so look at this as a snapshot of how things stand as spring training begins. Such lists can be tinkered with forever but at some point you have to press the "publish" button. I will revisit the list when spring training is over to incorporate the most recent information.
Once you get past the Top 100 especially, you should take a "neighborhood" tier approach rather than "this guy at 179 is clearly better than the guy at 182."
1) Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox, Grade A
2) Yoan Moncada, INF, White Sox, Grade A
3) Dansby Swanson, SS, Braves, Grade A
4) Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals, Grade A
5) Amed Rosario, SS, Mets, Grade A/A-
6) Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates, Grade A/A-
7) Gleyber Torres, SS, Yankees, Grade A/A-
8) Jose De Leon, RHP, Rays, Grade A/A-
9) Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox, Grade A-
10) Ozzie Albies, INF, Braves, Grade A-
COMMENT: Winter consensus across the industry puts Andrew Benintendi at number one. In this case, I agree with consensus. Other picks are standard except for De Leon, who usually ranks lower on other lists. I’m in love with his pitchability however; just have to hope he stays healthy. Glasnow’s industry stock is down a bit but I think people may be over-reacting.
11) Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs, Grade A-
12) Franklin Barreto, SS-2B, Athletics, Grade A-
13) Cody Bellinger, 1B, Dodgers, Grade A-
14) Lucas Giolito, RHP, White Sox, Grade A-/B+
15) Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox, Grade A-/B+
16) Willy Adames, SS, Rays, Grade B+/A-
17) Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies, Grade B+/A-
18) Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B+/A-
19) Francisco Mejia, C, Indians, Grade B+/A-
20) Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates, Grade B+/A-
COMMENT: I considered Barreto as high as 6th. His industry stock seems down over the last couple of months but he still seems like an elite prospect to me. No other major surprise here, although I’m a bit higher on Mejia than some observers.
21) Anderson Espinoza, RHP, Padres, Grade B+/A-
22) Victor Robles, OF, Nationals, Grade B+/A-
23) Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds, Grade B+/A-
24) Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays, Grade B+/A-
25) Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates, Grade B+/A-
26) Kolby Allard, LHP, Braves, Grade B+/A-
27) J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies, Grade B+
28) Josh Bell, 1B, Pirates, Grade B+
29) Francis Martes, RHP, Astros, Grade B+
30) Luke Weaver, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B+
COMMENT: Robles has a lot of helium and this may end up being a few notches too low. I’m also not as sanguine on Crawford as some but I’m not sure there will be much short-term impact with the bat.
31) Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, White Sox, Grade B+
32) Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians, Grade B+
33) Lewis Brinson, OF, Brewers, Grade B+
34) Clint Frazier, OF, Yankees, Grade B+
35) Manny Margot, OF, Padres, Grade B+
36) Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros, Grade B+
37) Josh Hader, LHP, Brewers, Grade B+
38) David Paulino, RHP, Astros, Grade B+
39) Blake Rutherford, OF, Yankees, Grade B+
40) Mickey Moniak, OF, Phillies, Grade B+
COMMENT: Paulino may be a little higher here than on other lists but the more I study him the more I like him. I believe in Hader as a starter.
41) Vladimir Guerrero Jr, OF, Blue Jays, Grade B+
42) Nick Gordon, SS, Twins, Grade B+
43) Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians, Grade B+
44) Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners, Grade B+
45) Jason Groome, LHP, Red Sox, Grade B+
46) Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Rockies, Grade B+
47) Erick Fedde, RHP, Nationals, Grade B+
48) Corey Ray, OF, Brewers, Grade B+
49) Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade B+
50) Amir Garrett, LHP, Reds, Grade B+
COMMENT: I’m a huge fan of Vlad Jr. but I want to see him in full-season ball before ranking him higher than this. Garrett may seem a bit high here but he will be ready to help soon. McKenzie is higher here than elsewhere but I don’t think his low-level dominance was a fluke.
51) A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics, Grade B+
52) Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers, Grade B+
53) Tyler O’Neill, OF, Mariners, Grade B+
54) Justus Sheffield, LHP, Yankees, Grade B+
55) Zack Collins, C, White Sox, Grade B+
56) Stephen Gonsalves, LHP, Twins, Grade B+
57) Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves, Grade B+
58) Sean Newcomb, LHP, Braves, Grade B+
59) Robert Gsellman, RHP, Mets, Grade B+
60) Dylan Cease, RHP, Cubs, Grade B+
COMMENT: The outlier here is Gsellman, In my opinion what we saw late in the year was not a fluke, and even the ranking here may prove too pessimistic. The other choices are close to consensus.
61) Max Fried, LHP, Braves, Grade B+
62) James Kaprielian, RHP, Yankees, Grade B+
63) Jake Bauers, OF-1B, Rays, Grade B+
64) Jesse Winker, OF, Reds, Grade B+
65) Bobby Bradley, 1B, Indians, Grade B+
66) Richard Urena, SS, Blue Jays, Grade B+
67) Carson Fulmer, RHP, White Sox, Grade B+
68) Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves, Grade B+
69) Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers, Grade B+
70) Jorge Mateo, INF, Yankees, Grade B+
COMMENT: There is a wide range of opinion on Winker and Bradley, though for opposite reasons: Winker’s power is questioned, while Bradley’s ability to make contact is doubted. I remain optimistic about both, although that may just be carryover stubbornness on my part from their previous high ranks. Acuna is another guy who holds up well the more you study him.
71) Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres, Grade B+/B
72) Riley Pint, RHP, Rockies, Grade B+/B
73) Trevor Clifton, RHP, Cubs, Grade B+/B
74) Ian Happ, 2B-OF, Cubs, Grade B+/B
75-A) Luiz Gohara, LHP, Braves, Grade B+/B
75-B) Raimel Tapia, OF, Rockies, Grade B/B+
76) Brady Aiken, LHP, Indians, Grade B/B+
77) Jharel Cotton, RHP, Athletics, Grade B/B+
78) Chance Adams, RHP, Yankees, Grade B/B+
79) Domingo Acevedo, RHP, Yankees, Grade B/B+
80) Matt Chapman, 3B, Athletics, Grade B/B+
COMMENT: At this point on the list we start to see idiosyncrasies. Chance Adams ranking is outside consensus but he ticks off all my "this is an under-rated prospect" markers. Chapman has one of the best third base gloves I’ve ever seen. Cotton may be too low. Gohara was supposed to be in this range but the swap between the Mariners and Braves ended up resulting in his inclusion on the Braves list but missing him here due to the way I was keeping records of trades. He's supposed to be at 75.
81) Yulieski Gurriel, 3B-1B-OF, Astros, Grade B/B+
82) Tyler Beede, RHP, Giants, Grade B/B+
83) Jorge Alfaro, C, Phillies, Grade B/B+
84) Carson Kelly, C, Cardinals, Grade B/B+
85) Fernando Romero, RHP, Twins, Grade B/B+
86) German Marquez, RHP, Rockies, Grade B/B+
87) Casey Gillaspie, 1B, Rays, Grade B/B+
88) Yohander Mendez, LHP, Rangers, Grade B/B+
89) Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves, Grade B/B+
90) Isan Diaz, INF, Brewers, Grade B/B+
COMMENT: I have no idea what to do with a 32-year-old "rookie" like Gurriel, so this is a "stick him on the list somewhere" ranking. Fernando Romero is the main "who is this guy?" non-consensus ranking but the stats are excellent and he has the stuff to back them up.
91) Cal Quantrill, RHP, Padres, Grade B/B+
92) Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins, Grade B/B+
93) Franklin Perez, RHP, Astros, Grade B/B+
94) Tom Murphy, C, Rockies, Grade B/B+
95) Josh Staumont, RHP, Royals, Grade B/B+
96) Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros, Grade B/B+
97) Ariel Jurado, RHP, Rangers, Grade B/B+
98) Kevin Maitan, SS, Braves, Grade B
99) Tyler Jay, LHP, Twins, Grade B
100-A) Andrew Toles, OF, Dodgers, Grade B
100-B) Frankie Montas, RHP, Athletics, Grade B
COMMENT: Maitan is the difficult slotting here. If you go by pure tools, he should be in the Top 50, or the Top 20, or even in the Top 10. But he hasn’t played yet, he turned 17 yesterday, and this is a hybrid list between pure upside and present ability. We have no idea how his marvelous tools will translate into a professional environment until he gets a chance to show us. If you are looking for long-term upside as opposed to a short or medium term horizon, bump him way up the list. Frankie Montas was supposed to be at 100 but as with Luiz Gohara, the trade caused some sort of record-keeping issue. He'll share the spot with Toles.
101) Albert Abreu, RHP, Yankees, Grade B
102) Albert Almora, OF, Cubs, Grade B
103) Willie Calhoun, 2B-OF, Dodgers, Grade B
104) Kevin Newman, SS, Pirates, Grade B
105) Lourdes Gurriel, Jr, INF-OF, Blue Jays, Grade B:
106) Anthony Alford, OF, Blue Jays, Grade B
107) Dominic Smith, 1B, Mets, Grade B
108) Hunter Dozier, 3B-OF, Royals, Grade B
109) Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds, Grade B
110) Harrison Bader, OF, Cardinals, Grade B
COMMENT: All of these guys have a case as high as the 80s. Stephenson has seen his stock decline a lot over the last two years as his command and secondary pitches have lagged.
111) Chance Sisco, C, Orioles, Grade B
112) Delvin Perez, SS, Cardinals, Grade B
113) Roman Quinn, OF, Phillies, Grade B
114) Christian Arroyo, INF, Grade B
115) Jack Flaherty, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B
116) Dakota Hudson, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B
117) Yusniel Diaz, OF, Dodgers, Grade B
118) Mauricio Dubon, SS, Brewers, Grade B
119) Cody Sedlock, RHP, Orioles, Grade B
120) Luis Ortiz, RHP, Brewers, Grade B
COMMENT: Dubon is probably the outlier here but I think he made real progress with his hitting in ’16. I like Quinn a lot but he can’t stay healthy.
121) Brandon Woodruff, RHP, Brewers, Grade B
122) Magneuris Sierra, OF, Cardinals, Grade B
123) Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves, Grade B
124) Phil Bickford, RHP, Brewers, Grade B
125) Anthony Banda, LHP, Diamondbacks, Grade B
126) Juan Soto, OF, Nationals, Grade B
127) Andy Ibanez, INF, Rangers, Grade B
128) Zack Burdi, RHP, White Sox, Grade B
129) Rob Kaminsky, LHP, Indians, Grade B
130) Dane Dunning, RHP, White Sox, Grade B
COMMENT: Soto is a low-level guy but I really believe in that bat and expect him to handle full-season ball without trouble. He could vault into the Top 50 this year.
131) Greg Allen, OF, Indians, Grade B
132) Domingo Leyba, INF, Diamondbacks, Grade B
133) Alec Hansen, RHP, White Sox, Grade B
134) Oscar De La Cruz, RHP, Cubs, Grade B
135) Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B
136) Christin Stewart, OF, Tigers, Grade B
137) Matt Strahm, LHP, Royals, Grade B
138) Rowdy Tellez, 1B, Blue Jays, Grade B
139) Matt Thaiss, 1B, Angels, Grade B
140) Jahmai Jones, OF, Angels, Grade B
COMMENT: The more I study Greg Allen, the more I like him. If he looks good in spring training, he could move up into the B+s on the next version of this list. This may be a tier too high for Thaiss and Jones but Angels fans need some compassion.
141) Grant Holmes, RHP, Athletics, Grade B/B-
142) Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B/B-
143) Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees, Grade B/B-
144) Ryan McMahon, 3B-1B, Rockies, Grade B/B-
145) Adrian Morejon, LHP, Padres, Grade B/B-
146) Juan Hillman, LHP, Indians, Grade B/B-
147) Sandy Alcantara, RHP, Cardinals, Grade B/B-
148) Jacob Nix, RHP, Padres, Grade B/B-
149) Austin Riley, 3B, Braves, Grade B/B-
150) Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates Grade B/B-
COMMENT: Morejon is the Maitan of pitchers: all the talent in the world but no track record yet, plus he’s a pitcher and his arm could fall off. You could bump him up 100 spots and I wouldn’t argue with you. I have cooled on Judge.
151) Luis Urias, INF, Padres, Grade B/B-
152) Daniel Gossett, RHP, Athletics, Grade B/B-
153) Thomas Szapucki, LHP, Mets, Grade B/B-
154) Dinelson Lamet, RHP, Padres, Grade B/B-
155) Justin Dunn, RHP, Mets, Grade B/B-
156) Leody Taveras, OF, Rangers, Grade B/B-
157) Eric Lauer, LHP, Padres, Grade B/B-
158) Braxton Garrett, LHP, Marlins, Grade B-/B
159) Joey Wentz, LHP, Braves, Grade B-/B
160) Brandon Nimmo, OF, Mets, Grade B-/B
COMMENT: Szapucki should be watched closely, he has a top 100 case but we need more data on durability. 2016 draftees Lauer, Garrett, and Wentz could rise quickly. Consensus has Taveras in the Top 100 due to his tools. I kept finding reasons to move him down, but it is very possible that this drop is too steep. This is another case I will study during the spring with an eye towards revision.
161) Ramon Laureano, OF, Astros, Grade B-/B
162) Chih-Wei Hu, RHP, Rays, Grade B-/B
163) Franklyn Kilome, RHP, Phillies, Grade B-/B
164) Desmond Lindsay, OF, Mets, Grade B-/B
165) Derek Fisher, OF, Astros, Grade B-/B
166) Gavin Cecchini, SS, Mets, Grade B-/B
167) Jacob Faria, RHP, Rays, Grade B-/B
168) Nick Niedert, RHP, Mariners, Grade B-/B
169) Jon Harris, RHP, Blue Jays, Grade B-/B
170) Dan Vogelbach, 1B, Mariners, Grade B-/B
COMMENT: Laureano is the outlier (say that five times really fast) but the power/speed combo he showed in the Texas League last year is highly intriguing and deserves more attention than it has received.
171) Bryan Reynolds, OF, Giants, Grade B-/B
172) Teoscar Hernandez, OF, Astros, Grade B-/B
173) Ty Blach, LHP, Giants, Grade B-/B
174) Jaime Schultz, RHP, Rays, Grade B-/B
175) Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Phillies, Grade B-/B
176) Shed Long, 2B, Reds, Grade B-/B
177) Andrew Suarez, LHP, Giant, Grade B-/B
178) Brock Stewart, RHP, Dodgers, Grade B-
179) Trey Mancini, 1B, Orioles, Grade B-
180) Matt Olson, 1B, Athletics, Grade B-
COMMENT: Shed Long is the upside guy here. Brock Stewart and Trey Mancini may be too low. We’ll watch them closely this spring.
181) Marcos Diplan, RHP, Brewers, Grade B-
182) Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Phillies, Grade B-
183) Christian Pache, OF, Braves, Grade B-
184) Yu-Cheng Chang, SS, Indians, Grade B-
185) Lewin Diaz, 1B, Twins, Grade B-
186) Jesus Sanchez, OF, Rays, Grade B-
187) Max Povse, RHP, Mariners, Grade B-
188) Cody Reed, LHP, Reds, Grade B-
189) Renato Nunez, 3B, Athletics, Grade B-
190) Daniel Robertson, SS, Rays, Grade B-
COMMENT: Povse may be too low; he’s on the spring watch list.
191) Paul DeJong, 3B-SS, Cardinals, Grade B-
192) Mark Zagunis, OF, Cubs, Grade B-
193) Taylor Clarke, RHP, Diamondbacks, Grade B-
194) Steven Okert, LHP, Giants, Grade B-
195) Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Cubs, Grade B-
196) Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers, Grade B-
197) Joshua Lowe, 3B, Rays, Grade B-
198) Nolan Jones, 3B, Indians, Grade B-
199) Dawel Lugo, SS-3B, Diamondbacks, Grade B-
200) Lucas Erceg, 3B, Brewers, Grade B-
So there you have it. Some of the grades are a half-notch different than on the Top 20 Prospects per organization lists, but the earlier lists will be revised over the next few days.
I will be around to answer questions in the comments section.