Quick Report: Cream of the crop of an impressive recent influx of talent over the past year plus. He has a thick lower half that should allow him to handle a big innings number. He varies his arm slot slightly between traditional 3/4 slot and just lower with mild effort late in the delivery. He shows both a two and four seam fastball that are plus-plus offerings to go with advanced feel for a change and a breaking ball he manages to command even when altering speeds. He is a front line starter and could knock down the door to Miami this season.
Quick Report: Selected fourth overall, Bleday was a star for perennial powerhouse Vanderbilt and should be that for Miami as well. He lacks any real speed, so the value comes completely form the bat and arm, two things he has plenty of. He shows good instincts to make up for his lack of speed in right and has a plus arm. At the plate he has natural lift in his bat plane that allows him to drive the ball while making plenty of contact. He should become a 30+ home run guy and hit .275.
Quick Report: The big question on Chisholm is whether or not he sticks at short. If he does, his value is obviously increased, if not a move to center is likely in the cards. There are holes in the bat that lead to more swing and miss than you want from a guy with above average speed. The bat gets long and will lead to slumps, but he has much more pop than you expect from a guy his size. Ultimately, I think he sticks at short and is an average defender who only hits .250 but can put up 20+ home runs.
Quick Report: Another guy with a big bat and strong arm, Sanchez has all the tools needed to be a quality right fielder and an above-average defender there. At the plate the raw power is legitimately plus, although he has not shown massive power numbers in games yet. He needs to improve his eye at the plate as he swings wildly and chases too often and doesn’t walk enough. When he stays within himself, he has very good bat control, he just doesn’t stay controlled often enough. There is real boom or bust in the tools, but if all comes together he could become a borderline All Star.
Quick Report: There is a ton of risk in Cabrera despite making it to AA in 2019. He has still has plenty of room to fill out and there is plenty of athleticism in the delivery leading to a good 3/4 arm slot. The command is still a big question meaning he may be best suited for a bullpen role where his fastball flirting with triple digits will play well and the breaking ball is a bit slurvy but plays well. If the change and command improve, he can be a quality number three starter, but chances are the bullpen will be his long term role.
Player: Monte Harrison
Opening Day Age: 24
2019 Highest Level: AAA
Weight: 220 lbs.
Quick Report: Harrison has all the tools, and the Marlins are hoping 2020 is the season they all come together. He will never be a guy who makes a ton of contact, but the ball absolutely flies off the bat, and he can fly down the line. He is a quality defensive centerfielder with an arm that would be borderline plus even in right. There is little question Harrison is one of the 25 best players employed by the Marlins today, but I would anticipate he has to start in AAA before being an early season call up.
Quick Report: I am incredibly high on Misner, but I do want to see more success as a pro before I go all in on him. I believe he has enough athleticism to hold down a job in center but could be an elite defender in right. He has a ton of swing and miss which led to him falling to 35 rather than being a top ten pick but the bat is an impact bat when at his best. He has a very good tournament a season ago and I expect him to sky rocket up lists this season as a guy who could hit 25+ home runs and hit .265.
Quick Report: This is where the system somewhat fall off a cliff as Harrison is likely to be the final impact player on this list and there was plenty of internal debate on who to place at seven, and the upside of Diaz won out. The power in the bat is the best potential carrying tool of any of the final three players on the Marlins list. There are plenty of long levers in the swing, but those also allow for the ball to really jump and carry although the hands stay low and can be beat with elevated velocity. Defensively Diaz is purely a first baseman, but he could be a quality defender at the position.
Quick Report: Garrett is proof a smooth delivery does not ensure longevity, as he has already had to undergo TJ in 2018. The delivery has almost no effort leading to a good extension out of a high arm slot. The fastball is average at best, but he has a curve that is already above-average and cold develop into plus, and a change that is a likely average offering as well. Add to that solid command and you have a guy who is pretty safe to earn a role in the back of a rotation, but lacks any real impact pitch.
Quick Report: The big question on Rogers is whether or not he will ever develop a reliable breaking ball. He has shown attempts at a slider, curve, and cutter, but none have ever given any real confidence in being better than average if it even gets there. He can sit in the mid-90s with his fastball but it plays harder given the good extension off a long body. His best pitch might be the change which he commands really well. He may be able to find his way into a rotation with just two quality pitches, but it is more likely he is a two pitch reliever.
Quick Report: Hands down the class of the Red Sox system, Casas provides a legit power bat with a defensive profile that allows for some flexibility. He is painfully slow making third base a true secondary position, but he has good hands and a strong arm. The defensive profile really lends itself to be a plus defender at first. He makes plenty of contact despite striking out 118 times in 120 games a season ago, but he did put up 20 home runs in his first full season. The body and lofty swing will allow for plenty more power to show up and he can become a 25-30 HR bat in the middle of the Red Sox order, but is probably two full seasons away from debuting in Boston.
Quick Report: Dalbec looked good in Mexico at the Premier12, but the lack of ability to hit for average will always limit his potential impact. The bat head gets down on the ball with ease, but he will chase out of the zone frequently and is pop up prone. When he does make solid contact, the ball flies, so there is definitely plenty of potential to impact a game with the bat. He is a solid defender at third with good hands and a cannon of an arm, but his range is quite limited due to his lack of foot speed. He, like the guy ahead of him, is best suited for first, but has a much better chance to earn regular time at third as he has a bit more range and an even stronger arm than Casas.
Quick Report: Easy plus speed and good enough reads to hold down center, Duran has a chance to make an impact in the field and on the bases. The bat is nothing special as the bat speed is nothing special and there is rare effort in the swing for a left-handed hitter. The shoulders are stiff and the bat feels as though it has to fight against his body. Despite that, he has hit well over .300 in his season and a half of pro ball and found his way to AA a season ago. He does not draw enough walks, something that could definitely benefit him given the wheels, but there is plenty of potential there. He showed better patience in the AFL and he looked to drive the ball a little more, but he is best suited to shorten the swing, go the other way, and make an impact by stretching singles into doubles and playing a solid center field.
Quick Report: I have Mata listed at 175 lbs. as it is the heaviest I have seen him listed, but he is easily 200 lbs., and that is weight works for him. He has a fastball that will get up to 99 while sitting up to 97 to go with a power slider and an above average change. The curve was once a quality pitch but he has struggled with it the past couple seasons. He created plenty of depth with an upright low 3/4 slot delivery that creates some run on the fastball. There is some late effort and stiffness in the delivery that leaves some concern, but Mata is the only pitcher in the Red Sox system with a better chance than not to make it as a starter.
Quick Report: No player had as much hype as Groome heading into the 2016 MLB draft, but real makeup concerns contributed to him slipping to pick 12 and into the Red Sox lap. Since arriving it has been a mixed bag, as he has flashed the plus fastball and curve at times, but the change has lagged behind and command has been a real concern. Add to that there have been weight concerns, and Tommy John surgery in 2018 means he has pitched just four innings the past two seasons and just 44.1 in full season ball thus far in his career. If he can come back healthy and in shape, Groome could skyrocket back into a top 100 type prospect in baseball, but he could also tank and land outside the Red Sox top 10 a year from now.
Quick Report: Jimenez was signed for just $10k in 2017 but has quickly rocketed up the Red Sox prospect ranks. He has a first off the bus body that screams power, but that doesn’t really translate to the box. Instead he is a plus speed switch hitting center fielder that has homered just three times in his two pro seasons. He also lacks discipline at the plate, striking out well more than twice per walk, but he does a good job making contact from both sides of the plate. He should get the opportunity to make his full season debut out of camp this Spring, and has a future as a leadoff man patrolling center, there is just a lot of time and growth between now and reaching that potential.
Quick Report: If not for the Naval commitment, Song would come in fifth for me. I voted Song ahead of Adley Rutschman in the Dick Howser Award voting a season ago. He has four average to better pitches and commands the zone well. He comes out of a 3/4 slot with limited effort and plenty of extension allowing his fastball to play even harder than his mid-90s velo. His fastball runs as does his change, while his slider dives out of the zone late and a hammer curve. He doesn’t have front end upside, but landing as a number three starter is a real possibility and I would not be shocked at all to see him reach that potential.
Quick Report: Where Houck will ultimately end up is a real question. He has seen time as a starter and as a reliever, and it seems nobody con come to a consensus which role fits him best. I am pretty well done with him as a starter and I think he could be a high quality reliever. He has a low 3/4 cross body delivery with a slider that sprints away from righties and a fastball that will get up to 96 while bearing in on their hands. His curve is good enough but the change still has a lot of work to go. Given there is effort in the delivery, I see him as a mid-relief guy early in 2020 with a shot at becoming a quality late inning arm before too long.
Quick Report: Ward is long and lean with four pitches that flash average to better but very inconsistent. He creates some deception with multiple speeds in his leg kick that allows his fastball play faster than the 91-93 he typically sits. The change does not have enough velo gap off the fastball and the curve spins too often. His slider is easily his best secondary offering, bordering on plus potential, and will likely be the carrying pitch. My guess is he will shed the change and/or curve before too long and transition more into relief where the fastball should tick up and the slider could really play well.
Quick Report: Lugo and Song were my favorite selections for the Red Sox in the 2019 draft. Lugo has a big load in his swing that he times quite well and keeps his hands back well even when he mistimes the kick. The hands clear well and there is some natural loft to the bat plane. There is little doubt he can stick as a shortstop long term, showing plenty of arm and quickness to go with natural instincts at the position. I am hopeful he starts the season in Greenville where I expect him to show well enough to land in the top five in next year’s Red Sox list.
Quick Report: While there were questions whether or not Bart could stick as a catcher coming out of high school, he proved at Georgia Tech he could not only play there but be very good behind the plate. He is a good receiver of the ball and has a plus arm at the position. When at the plate he has a leg kick that varies in size and stride, leading to some inconsistency in his hand placement when the hips fire. He also can drift out onto his front foot too far making him susceptible to swinging over breaking balls quite often. When he does make contact it is hard contact, as he has plus plus raw power and could be a catcher who hits 30+ home runs a season, mitigating the below average grade you could put on his hit tool.
Quick Report: I have little doubt Ramos can stick in center where good reads and above average speed combine with a determined approach to make the plays you expect to fall, although I could see him running into some future injury issues by running into a wall too hard chasing down a fly ball or two. If he eventually fills out too much to stay in center, his arm is more than enough to play in right where he would be a plus defender. He has plus power at the plate, but he is very aggressive his center of gravity is inconsistent through his swing. He can get out front on off-speed stuff, then be caught with his weight too far back to catch up to velocity at times. Ultimately, I do think he becomes a middle of the order bat who plays center, but there will need to be adjustments to his approach at the plate to reach that ceiling.
Quick Report: Lost in the bullpen of the Florida Gators watching first rounder after first rounder get the starting nods, Anderson finally moved into a rotation in pro ball and hasn’t looked back. He has a sinking fastball that regularly touches 95 with some arm-side run and an above average slider that would make him a quality reliever option. His change has developed into a pitch that is already average at times but shown signs of being above average, although there are still some inconsistencies still. He breaks off a curve now and then but it hangs too often and I expect him to scratch the pitch before too long. His mechanics are solid and lower effort suggesting he will be able to eat plenty of innings as a starter, where he could become a number three starter, although a number four is more realistic.
Player: Marco Luciano
Opening Day Age: 17
2018 Highest Level: DNP
Weight: 180 lbs.
Quick Report: Thought by many to be the top IFA of the 2018 crop, there is some belief he may skip over the Dominican Summer League and start his pro career in the AZL this summer at just 17 years of age. There is already real pop in the bat with plenty more to come as he fills out. He has a swing that allows him to barrel up the ball well and will spray line drives all over the field. He currently has plus speed, but that could regress closer to above average as he fills out. He has all the tools to stick at short, but there is always some concern about how a teenage will fill out but, if he does have to move off short, he has plus arm strength that will make him a very good defensive third baseman with the power at the plate to fit the profile.
Quick Report: Webb bounced back well from Tommy John surgery a season ago earning a late season promotion to AA and could threaten the big leagues in September. His fastball is a heavy 96 thanks to sinking run and he has a power slider. The change may improve to average, but I have my doubts it will ever be a truly viable offering. The effort in the delivery is no insignificant, although it is not enough to write him off as a potential starter. If the change does improve beyond where I see it getting to, then he could be a number three or four starter, but I think he is more likely destined to be a high leverage reliever.
Quick Report: There is no mistaking Hjelle for another pitcher as he literally stands head and shoulders above his teammates. While he is a very long 6’11”, his delivery is quite controlled and balanced allowing him to have an almost unheard of for his size above average command. The fastball can touch 96 but the extension he gets with his landing leg often finishing less than a foot from the grass in front of the mound allows that to play up even more. His knuckle-curve is easily his best pitch and borders between above average and plus. The change is still inconsistent but has the makings of turning into an average pitch giving him three viable pitches he can spot and a body that can withstand the riggers of an innings eater work load. He does not have much of a ceiling, maybe a number three if absolutely everything breaks right, but he might have a floor of a number five starter, which is incredibly valuable.
Quick Report: Grand Canyon has only recently become a full-fledged Division 1 program, but Wong was selected in the third round a year ago and they could see Quinn Cotton go even higher this year. He has a fastball-curve-change arsenal whose ceiling relies heavy on how the secondary offerings come along. His fastball is an easy above average offering, regularly sitting 94-96 with a good downhill plane, it is the curve that is intriguing. The pitch is inconsistent and can be quite flat at times, but when he really snaps it off it simply falls off the table and will have even the best hitters swinging right over the top. The change has shows signs of being decent, but is well behind the other two offerings, although his good body control allows him to spot it rather well. He may have the upside of a quality number three starter, but there is quite a bit of risk he ever sees anything close to that ceiling.
Quick Report: Canario has the tools to be a special player and plenty of time to put them together, but he is still quite raw. The bat speed is truly plus, problem is the bat plane is about as long as you are going to find as he looks to show off his plus raw power, leading to a lot of swings and misses. If he shortens up the swing and allows his natural bat speed and the strength to come, he will be able to turn that raw power into game power, but he doesn’t make enough contact to do so yet. In the field, he has average to better tools when it comes to glove, speed, and arm, so he has the makings of a future center fielder. This is a guy who has the ceiling of an All Star, but the floor of washing out before seeing AA. I lean more towards him making the adjustments to become a quality big leaguer, but there is a lot of work to do before that becomes something Giants fans can count on.
Quick Report: Quinn is an odd evaluation as I like him more than I probably should as you could argue he will never even have an average tool, but I think he could put it all together and be a positive WAR left fielder. His best tool by far is the raw power, although he does not make enough hard contact in games to really tap into that power as much as the Giants would like to see. On the bases and in the field he is, well, slow, although his instincts in both spots prevents him from being a liability in either location. He has plenty of arm, but he takes quite a long time to release the ball, leading to it playing average or lower despite the ball coming out with well above average velocity. There is a good chance he ends up as a bench piece with pop, but I still feel he has a reasonable chance to meet his ceiling of an everyday left fielder.
Quick Report: The second arm, along with Shaun Alexander, the Giants acquired from the Red Sox in the Eduardo Nunez deal, Santos has plenty of upside. His fastball sits 94-96 with plenty of downhill action that makes it hard to barrel up. His slider is a potential plus offering although it currently lacks consistency and can sit and spin too often. The change will be the pitch that determines his future as it currently is an offering that gets hit hard, but there is some late action to it that suggest it could become an average offering. He has a stiff front leg that his body fights against too much and would need to be cleaned up for him to make it as a starter long term. His ceiling is a number two starter, although I am not sold on the delivery or change so I think there is a higher likelihood he becomes an impact reliever.
Quick Report: News recently came out that Tatis Jr. will be on the roster on Opening Day (mere hours from when this is being posted) and is widely ranked as one of the top three prospects in all of baseball. The Padres got Tatis from the White Sox in the James Shield trade before he took the field as a pro, and it is about to haunt the White Sox. Tatis is a genuine five tool player with a plus bat, plus power, can really run with an arm that plays anywhere on the field. His glove may be his lightest tool, but even that is above average and leaves no doubt he will be the shortstop for the long term. He has Hall of Fame potential, but that is getting well ahead of ourselves, although it shouldn’t be too long before he makes his first All-Star game.
Quick Report: The number three pick in the 2017 draft, Gore did not get as many innings as season ago as most would like due to blister issues, but the pure stuff is second to none. I got to see Gore a good amount during his pro debut both on the mound and off, and what stood out was his desire to seek out senior members of the organization and pick their brains, looking to improve his mental side as well as his physical side of the game. He has a big leg kick but incredible balance with an effortless 3/4 slot deliver that allows him to have plus command for his young age. The fastball is up to the high 90s but sits in the mid-90s with some late run. His slider is far and away his worst pitch but has shown the ability to have good two plane break, it is just inconsistent. Both the curve and change are plus offerings allowing Gore to have the ceiling of a true ace.
Quick Report: It appears Urias is the short term casualty of an active off-season by the Padres and the Tatis call-up, as it appears he will start in AAA despite getting in a dozen MLB games a season ago. Unlike Tatis, Urias is not a guy who possesses much in terms of power, instead he is more of a doubles guy, but the hit tool is very good and he could hit .300 in the future. The open stance leg kick does see him out on the front foot a bit much and he gets off his back foot in his swing, sapping the home run power that could be in the bat. In the field he is a sure handed fielder who could be a solid shortstop, although with Manny Machado and Tatis now in San Diego, Urias’ future is at second base where he could be a truly plus defender.
Quick Report: Somebody who will never be considered a plus defender is Mejia. I saw him a good amount of him the season he was in the Fall League playing third base as the Indians were trying to find a spot for him in the big league lineup, that experiment did not go well. Eventually the Indians sent Mejia to the Padres for their top two relievers, Adam Cimber and Brad Hand, and Mejia is trying to carve a role for himself at the big league level. He is a below average receiver behind the plate but has a massive arm that allows him to really control the running game well. Problem is Austin Hedges stands ahead of him on the depth chart and Hedges is about as good a defensive catcher as you will find. Mejia is seeing some time in a loaded Padres outfield but, regardless of where he end up defensively, Mejia has hit and will be able to hit at any level and be an above average bat in any lineup.
Quick Report: One of the more surprising announcements when it comes to names who have made the big league roster is Chris Paddack. He has just seven starts at AA, but the Padres are making him their number four starter to start the season. He has a mild short arm delivery at times, but the effort isn’t concerning and the ball jumps out of his hand, regularly touching 95-96 on the gun. His change is arguably the best in minors, and now is one of the better ones in the big leagues. The curve tends to come out of an arm slot that shows more bend than his other pitches, making it a distant third offering. He can spot both the fastball and change remarkably well and that duo is enough to be a future number three starter, and the Padres feel it is already enough to be a number four. If he can turn the curve into at least an average offering, he could be an elite mid-rotation arm.
Quick Report: I remember the first time I saw Morejon pitch. It was on the backfields in Peoria, I was getting looks at some high minors guys (I believe it was Logan Allen) when I hear a few pops of a catcher’s glove behind me. I walked down the small hill between fields 1-2 on the Padres side and watched Morejon buzzing fastballs by quality Padres prospects Hudson Potts, Buddy Reed, amongst others. To go with that he has a solid change already that could develop into a plus pitch and a curve that is big league ready. The delivery has some balance and consistency concerns as he has a heavy body lean towards the third base side that can leave the change and curve floating high in the zone in a very hittable spot. If he cleans up the mechanics some and goes from just below average command to merely average, he could be a solid number two starter, but the command is just enough of a concern to keep him behind the big league ready Paddack for me.
Quick Report: In practically any other system Patino would be a slam dunk top five prospect, but he started last season in extended spring before heading to the Midwest League for 17 starts. He has a fastball that runs up to 99 but sits in the mid-90s although it lacks run. His slider could play in the big leagues today and has the makings of a truly plus offering. He has a curve and change that are well behind his fastball and slider, but both flash signs of at least being average. The delivery is high effort with the arm getting quite whippy at times and a wide inconsistency in his arm slots. There is a chance he ends up a power reliever, although there is also the upside of being a potential number two starter.
Quick Report: Allen is not the flashy, radar gun darling that is so popular in today’s game, but his pitch mix and approach on the mound gives him a very high floor. His fastball rarely tops 93 and will have a digit that begins with an 8 at times, but it has cutting action to it making it play well above the velo would suggest. His best secondary offering is his change that doesn’t have a ton of velo gap but comes out of the same arm slot and speed as his fastball and can really drop late. He has a slider that is just a slower, bigger cutting version of the cut fastball while his only true breaking ball would be his curve that is rather easy to read thanks to its loopy action, but given the pitch mix it plays really well. He might have an upside of a number three starter, but a likely future of a number four who is a quality start machine while never being dominant.
Quick Report: Baez is the first pitcher on the list that I truly believe will end up as a reliever long term rather than a starter, but that could be a dominant high-leverage reliever. He has an incredibly long body that is every bit of the 6’8” he is listed. He does not take full advantage of his length in his extension through his delivery, and he allows his upper half to drive the command of his pitches, causing some command concerns. The fastball has a good plane and regularly touches 98 but can get flat when he attacks the upper half of the zone. The slider just spins too often, but when it is at its best the late, sharp, downward break can be unhittable. His change I doubt will ever be a viable offering, which is why I think he is a future closer, although there is an outside chance he develops into a mid-rotation arm.
Quick Report: This legitimately might by my favorite person in Minor League Baseball as he is a competitor but will have you keeled over laughing at least a handful of times a game. Based on his stocky frame, you expect a pure power hitting pull hitter, but he has an impressive approach at the plate and could develop into a guy who can hit .280. The raw power is everything you would anticipate, and he has the upside of hitting 30 home runs, the real concern with him is in his defense. He has long been a first baseman where his is serviceable with the glove, but the Padres tried him out in left field in AA last season where he actually has a very good arm for the position, but his well below average speed and raw reads led him to posting just a .913 fielding percentage. He is probably best suited for an AL club, but I also wouldn’t be shocked to see him hit his way to San Diego this season.