Today marks the sixth day of an 11 article special that is designed to help get you all caught up and informed on MLB prospects for your fantasy baseball leagues. My colleague Adam Garland and I are going to be releasing mid-season top prospect lists for every position and we will release our lists on the following schedule:
Top 30 Catchers
Top 30 1st Basemen
Top 30 2nd Basemen
Top 30 3rd Basemen
Top 30 Shortstops
Top 25 Outfielders
Top 50 Outfielders
Top 150 Overall Hitters
Top 150 Overall Pitchers
Adam’s Disagreements – July 23rd
Brennen’s Disagreements – July 24th
We have included a rough prime projection for each player as well as an estimated ETA. We tried not to include players that have cemented roles in the majors at the time of this writing, so guys like Juan Soto and Mike Soroka will not be included. Note that we place an emphasis on upside, namely power and speed guys, while also prioritizing closeness to the majors when the value is close. Feel free to ask questions or drop a comment, we are always happy to discuss! Without further ado, onto the list!
|1.||Eloy Jimenez||Chicago White Sox||AAA||21||.300 AVG / 30 HR / 0 SB||2018|
|2.||Victor Robles||Washington Nationals||AAA||21||.300 AVG / 20 HR / 20 SB||2018|
|3.||Kyle Tucker||Houston Astros||MLB/AAA||21||.280 AVG / 22 HR / 15 SB||2018|
|4.||Taylor Trammell||Cincinnati Reds||A+||20||.285 AVG / 8 HR / 30 SB||2020|
|5.||Jo Adell||Los Angeles Angels||A+||19||.280 AVG / 20 HR / 20 SB||2021|
|6.||Willie Calhoun||Texas Rangers||AAA||23||.290 AVG / 30 HR / 1 SB||2018|
|7.||Luis Robert||Chicago White Sox||A+||20||.280 AVG / 18 HR / 20 SB||2020|
|8.||Yordan Alvarez||Houston Astros||AAA||21||.290 AVG / 20 HR / 5 SB||2019|
|9.||Jesus Sanchez||Tampa Bay Rays||A+||20||.300 AVG / 18 HR / 5 SB||2019|
|10.||Alex Verdugo||Los Angeles Dodgers||AAA/MLB||22||.285 AVG / 10 HR / 5 SB||2018|
|11.||Alex Kirilloff||Minnesota Twins||A+||20||.285 AVG / 20 HR / 0 SB||2020|
|12.||Myles Straw||Houston Astros||AAA||23||.290 AVG / 0 HR / 40 SB||2018|
|13.||Tyler O’Neill||St. Louis Cardinals||MLB/AAA||23||.265 AVG / 25 HR / 5 SB||2018|
|14.||Christin Stewart||Detroit Tigers||AAA||24||.265 AVG / 34 HR / 0 SB||2018|
|15.||Adam Haseley||Philadelphia Phillies||A+||22||.285 AVG / 12 HR / 10 SB||2019|
|16.||Jarred Kelenic||New York Mets||R||18||.285 AVG/ 20 HR / 15 SB||2022|
|17.||Blake Rutherford||Chicago White Sox||A+||21||.280 AVG / 10 HR / 12 SB||2020|
|18.||Buddy Reed||San Diego Padres||A+||23||.275 AVG / 8 HR / 30 SB||2019|
|19.||Travis Swaggerty||Pittsburgh Pirates||A-||20||.285 AVG / 15 HR / 20 SB||2021|
|20.||Akil Baddoo||Minnesota Twins||A||19||.270 AVG / 12 HR / 20 SB||2020|
|21.||Julio Pablo Martinez||Texas Rangers||A-||22||.280 AVG / 15 HR / 25 SB||2020|
|22.||Brian Miller||Miami Marlins||AA||22||.285 AVG / 0 HR / 30 SB||2019|
|23.||Estevan Florial||New York Yankees||A+||20||.265 AVG / 20 HR / 10 SB||2021|
|24.||Brandon Marsh||Los Angeles Angels||A+||20||.275 AVG / 15 HR / 15 SB||2020|
|25.||Franmil Reyes||San Diego Padres||AAA/MLB||23||.265 AVG / 30 HR / 0 SB||2018|
- Tommy John surgery derailed Alex Kirilloff’s 2017 season, but the former first-round pick has been back with a vengeance this season hitting 14 home runs while batting .323 between A and A+ ball. Kirilloff is still young and projects to have plus power by the time he reaches the MLB.
- A cold spring and repeat year in Triple-A have left many soured on Willie Calhoun. Calhoun still projects to be an everyday hitter for the Texas Rangers and has the plate discipline to make the transition. Power and position are Calhoun’s biggest question marks this season, the power should come and he will get a crack at left field when called up.
- My boldest placement on this list is Myles Straw. Straw has been obscene this season, leading the minor leagues with 48 stolen bases (on 55 attempts) with a batting average of .322. While he has no power to speak of, Straw walks regularly (12%), strikes out infrequently (15%), and gets on base at an elite rate (.413 OBP). He has spent about one-third of his season in Triple-A and has not skipped a beat from his success in Double-A. Despite an already high rank on this list, I can still see Straw moving higher if he maintains this success in Triple-A.
- I may be too bullish on Christin Stewart, but I love the improvements he has made overall to his game this year. He is striking out less (down 5% to 19.8%), still walking in the double digits (11%), and prior to his injury still hitting for power. Consistency will be key for when Stewart makes the jump as 2018 has demonstrated his streakiness, but I think with some time in the MLB he will be able to lead the Tigers after their rebuild.
- Akil Baddoo has what it takes to climb this list quickly. His batting average hasn’t been impressive and he strikes out too frequently for my taste given he is only in Single-A ball, but he has the patience at the plate and is young enough to make the corrections as he moves through the minors. He is already showing more power than originally expected, this ranking may also be bullish, but I think he will earn it.
- Estevan Florial despite being #23 was the player I was closest to keeping out of the top 25. Despite a solid 2017, 2018 is showing how much luck may have been involved in his success. Despite a 13.5% walk rate, Florial is still striking out at a 30%+ rate and this year that lack of discipline showed itself in his average. Florial maintains a top-25 rank because he was injured in May and was unable to correct his poor spring. He should be back in a month to make those improvements, but I remain one of the skeptics.
- Franmil Reyes will go down as having one of the most exciting runs of the 2018 season when he hit 8 home runs in 5 games. Don’t let that overshadow the other improvements he made to his game between 2017 and 2018. He jumped his walk rate from 8% to 14% and has maintained that rate all season, he has cut his strikeout rate, and projects to have plus power. Although he had a rocky reception in his brief stint in the MLB (including a 40% strikeout rate over 96 plate appearances), Reyes is showing that he is putting it together.
If Kyle Lewis stays healthy for all of 2018 does he get back on this list heading in to the off season?
Give me the rest of the year healthy with a bit better production and we’ll talk.
Where are you on the toolsy Heliot Ramos these days? He had preseason hype as someone who could vault into a top 25-50 overall prospect this year. He performed at a high level in the AZL last summer with the scouting reports to back it up. His move to full-season ball has been a big struggle this year but he’s 18 until September so I guess it’s debatable how much of a mulligan that gives him?
Just a follow-up, how close was Drew Waters to making the list?
I’d have him in the mid-30s about now.
I had him in my mid to late 20s – just missed out. If he turns it around and can continue to push his strikeouts down – he’ll crack the top 25.
I have to think Yordan’s ceiling is higher than 20 HR. Dude is large man. I would think he would closer to 30 in these projections.
Brennen. Good stuff. Hey, you didn’t list Dodger prospect Yusnia Diaz on this list. I can pick him up tomorrow in a free agent grab. What do you think?
Thanks! I actually had him in my list and pulled him out after looking more closely at his numbers. The deciding point for me dropping him just out was that despite a modest 8 steals, he has been caught 8 times. Inefficiency at this level makes me question whether he’ll be effective at higher levels. I think his ceiling could be where Alex Verdugo is now, maybe. Depends on the size of your rosters – I think Diaz has a solid floor – but modest upside.