My Midseason Top 25 Prospects List
by J.P. Schwartz
Greetings, fellow prospectors.
As we approach the Futures Game, a.k.a. the All-Star game for minor leaguers, many are already making lists and checking them more than twice to see which prospects have gone above and beyond during the first half.
Here is my own personal list, based upon both potential and performance. Must currently be playing in the minors to rank. Note: there are no 2013 draft picks.
1) Byron Buxton (Twins) – Really, was there any doubt? He has destroyed the Midwest League and gotten a promotion to High-A already in a system known for not rushing their top guys. Shows everything you want in a 5-tool prospect.
2) Xander Bogaerts (Red Sox) – His abilities defy his youth, especially his power. Might force a call to Fenway this year if he keeps it up.
3) Miguel Sano (Twins) – I’d say the Twins have the top system overall, and he’s a big reason why, literally. Best power in the minors plus improved plate discipline make him more dangerous than ever.
4) Archie Bradley (Diamondbacks) – Made the hitter-friendly California league look like child’s play, and is the minors’ top arm right now, in my opinion.
5) Taijuan Walker (Mariners) – Very close debate between him and Bradley for top arm, and he’s off to a terrific year so far, including an excellent debut in AAA Tacoma.
6) Nick Castellanos (Tigers) – Improved plate discipline in AA Erie led to a promotion where his power is showing up. Only a matter of time before he’s up to the D.
7) Carlos Correa (Astros) – An all around performer, a slow start is all but forgotten as he’s leading his team in hitting and could soon be promoted to an even friendlier hitting environment at High-A Lancaster.
8 ) Oscar Taveras (Cardinals) – Injuries kept him off the top five, but when he’s healthy, he simply can’t be kept off the basepaths.
9) Robert Stephenson (Reds) – Prior to his injury, he was the Midwest League’s top arm, with both amazing heat and secondary stuff. I believe he’s worthy of a two level bump to AA Pensacola after he returns.
10) Francisco Lindor (Indians) – Can do it all, save power, especially in the field. Best hitter in the Carolina League for me, and I don’t see him staying there much longer.
11) Gregory Polanco (Pirates) – True 5-tool potential, with great hitting ability and speed. I could see him playing alongside McCutchen as early as next year.
12) Noah Syndergaard (Mets) – With Wheeler now in the bigs, this is their top arm. The Florida State League wasn’t much of a challenge, and the Eastern League doesn’t seem to be, either.
13) Javier Baez (Cubs) – Once he cuts back on the K’s, he’s going to be practically unstoppable at the plate. Awesome power, as the four-in-one-game earlier this year showed.
14) Maikel Franco (Phillies) – Showed flashes of brilliance in the second half of last year, and has gotten even better this year, in all areas.
15) George Springer (Astros) – One of the minors’ top power hitters, and is now just a phone call from Houston. I have a feeling we’ll see him there later this year.
16) Christian Yelich (Marlins) – When healthy, he has perhaps the best swing in the minors and at least average power. Easily their best prospect who has yet to get the call.
17) Gary Sanchez (Yankees) – I think he’ll turn out to be the guy Montero should have been for their system.
18) Jameson Taillon (Pirates) – Has everything necessary to succeed in Pittsburgh – except a free opening. Will likely need to try out AAA Indianapolis for a while first.
19) Henry Owens (Red Sox) – Went through a makeover in the offseason, including improved velocity and secondary pitches, and definitely impressed Cherrington himself recently. Portland beckons.
20) Taylor Guerrieri (Rays) – Proof you don’t need to strike everyone out to succeed. Currently has a 22 IP scoreless streak going, with great stuff in his arsenal.
21) Garin Cecchini (Red Sox) – Speed, both on the bases and in his bat, lead to success for him.
22) Jonathan Singleton (Astros) – After his 50-game suspension, it’s as if he never left. Breezed through two levels and will likely see Houston very soon.
23) Tyler Glasnow (Pirates) – The less talked-about arm in their system, he can strike batters out at will when his command is on point.
24) Addison Russell (A’s) – Started off slow after a lofty promotion, his tools are all above average across the board, and they’re showing now.
25) Kyle Crick (Giants) – Now healthy, he will be the latest in a line of home-grown arms in their system to succeed. Been compared to a young Cain already.
Helium Alert – Julio Urias (Dodgers) – a 16-year old in full season ball is rare enough, but his pitches are causing some serious chatter. One to watch, intently.
25 More Honorable Mentions – Dylan Bundy, Tyler Skaggs, Jorge Soler, Kevin Gausman, Alex Meyer, Aaron Sanchez, Carlos Martinez, Max Fried, Yordano Ventura, Raul Adalberto Mondesi, Michael Wacha, Albert Almora, Eddie Rosario, Jesse Biddle, Alen Hansen, Rafael DePaula, Kyle Zimmer, Jake Marisnick, Lance McCullers, Andrew Heaney, Justin Nicolino, Mike Foltynewicz, Eddie Butler, Jesse Winker, Sonny Gray.