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.
Before I even got this posted Alex Reyes exhausted his rookie eligibility (needed a single out to do so and pitched an inning on Friday) so I updated my top 150 before it went live. Reyes was at 22 but is now removed making room for Ryan Weathers, giving the Padres two more than any other team with 12 players making the top 150. 15 players on the list open the season in the big leagues, with 14 of those in the top 80 and the Padres and Mariners both starting with two players in the big leagues.
The Rays have made successful trades in recent years, dealing their “veteran” pitchers for quality young pieces like Shane Baz in the Chris Archer deal, and Lucius Fox in the Matt Moore deal. They have three players that are true elite talent, and arguably a fourth. If they have too many of one position, it is second base, but they are already trying some of those players at different positions. There is some depth in the system and top tier talent.
Quick Report: Few players impressed as much in their pro debut as Wander Franco. He played 61 games at the Rookie level, hitting .351/.418/.587 with 11 home runs. He has bat speed and control that allow him to hit for good average and power despite his smaller frame, and he is an easy shortstop at the current time. There is a chance he grows out of the position to second or third, but he will spend the entire season at just 18 years old and could play himself as up to High A by the end of the season.
Quick Report: Still a two-way prospect, McKay struggled some at the plate last season, hitting a combined .214 and just 6 home runs in 192 at-bats. That said, many still feel he has the potential to turn into a .300 hitter with 20-25 home run power. Meanwhile he was quite impressive on the mound, putting up an ERA of 2.41 and nearly 12 K/9 while only walking 1.6 per nine. His fastball gets into the mid-90s and is matched with a plus curve, above average cutter, and solid change. At this pace, McKay needs a good year at the plate to stay a two-way prospect, but he still has all the tools to do so.
Quick Report: Honeywell missed all of 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, but he still features one of the most unique pitches in baseball. His screwball is one of legend and may have been the best secondary offering anyone saw in the 2017 Minor League season. He adds to that a fastball that reaches the mid-90s, both a curve and slider, and even has a plus change. As if all that wasn’t enough, he has better command than most pitchers. Had it not been for the injury, it may have been Honeywell tabbed to be the ace of the staff rather than eventual Cy Young Award winner Blake Snell.
Quick Report: Still a sophomore in high school when I first saw him throw in person, it was immediately clear Liberatore had something special. He was as polished a high school pitcher as you are gonna find when he came out of Mountain Ridge HS in Arizona last year, and he could develop four plus pitches. His fastball won’t light up radar guns, but he has good extension and it has good run, allowing it to play up. His change may be his best off-speed pitch even though his curve induces a ton of swing-and-miss. The slider is the newest and rawest of pitches, but it has flashed well, and he can spot all four pitches. Liberatore has the upside of becoming a solid number two starter.
Quick Report: Second base is a position the Rays are incredibly deep with talent, but Brujan might be the most prototypical thanks to his small size. Due to the depth at the position, he will likely see some time at short and center to see if his elite speed can play at a more premium defensive position. He will never hit for much power, but he can certainly develop into a quality leadoff hitter. His bat is quick to the ball and he does a good job staying on top, giving him the upside of a .300 hitter. Overall, this may be the best $15,000 (his signing bonus in 2014) the Rays ever spent.
Quick Report: Primarily a left fielder, Sanchez has the natural ability to get the job done in center or right if needed. He is still rather skinny, so he may lose some of the athleticism and become a true left field only guy, but the bat will play anywhere. He has a smooth stroke from the left side that provides natural loft and will hit plenty of line drive home runs and will turn into a doubles machine.
Quick Report: Lowe doesn’t have any true carrying tool, although power is as close to one as he has. The bat can be a bit long, but it has a good plane that allows him to drive the ball to all fields. Despite the length, it does get into the zone quickly, which will allow him to hit for a solid average. The position he plays is a big question, as he is a natural second baseman, but that is a position the Rays are loaded in. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but it may be just enough to play in right, and he has shown well in left, so there is definitely some defensive flexibility that will help his value.
Quick Report: A legitimate threat with the bat, it will be the defense that determines the true ceiling of Hernandez. At the plate he has an inconsistent swing, typically dependent on game situation and what he is looking to do at the plate. When the situation calls for it, he keeps the swing quiet and quick to the ball, at other times it gets long in an attempt to produce power. Power he has, likely a 20+ home run future, and a power arm, a true plus tool. His receiving and footwork are works in progress and I doubt he ever becomes an above average defender, but average would be more than enough to make him an impact player.
Quick Report: The key prospect in the trade that sent Matt Moore to the Bay, Fox impressed with his incredible athleticism and defensive ability that will surely keep him up the middle. Chances are he sticks at short, but there is still a chance he ends up having to move to center. His bat is going to be the deciding factor on his future impact, which has been unimpressive until this season’s AFL. He really broke out with the bat against pitching that had a good bit more elite arms than recent years. There will never be much power, but if he can make better contact, he could become a quality leadoff man.
Quick Report: Selected 12th overall in 2019 by the Pirates, many were surprised to hear Baz announced as the PTBNL in the Chris Archer trade. He is still incredibly raw and will have to show well this Spring to ensure a full season debut out of camp, but he has all the upside one could want. His fastball bets up into the upper 90s out of the 3/4 cross-body slot. There is some effort to his delivery, but he also creates some deception by varying his leg kick both in the windup and stretch. He has a cutting slider that flirts with the 90 MPH mark, and a curve that has flashed plus. His change is by far his fourth best pitch, but it has shown potential of being at least average. His command is a real concern, and it may limit his ceiling. He has the upside of a number two or three starter, but the fear with the effort and command is he may end up being a bullpen arm, but a late inning bullpen arm.