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Top 54 Prospects: Tampa Bay Rays

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Tampa Bay Rays. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Rays Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Wander Franco 17.9 R SS 2021 65
2 Brendan McKay 23.1 A+ LHP/1B 2019 60
3 Brent Honeywell 23.8 AAA RHP 2019 55
4 Vidal Brujan 21.0 A+ 2B 2021 55
5 Brandon Lowe 24.5 AAA 2B 2019 50
6 Jesus Sanchez 21.3 AA RF 2020 50
7 Ronaldo Hernandez 21.2 A C 2022 50
8 Matthew Liberatore 19.2 R LHP 2022 50
9 Nick Solak 24.0 AA 2B 2020 50
10 Shane Baz 19.6 R RHP 2022 50
11 Lucius Fox 21.6 AA SS 2021 45+
12 Nathaniel Lowe 23.5 AAA 1B 2019 45+
13 Moises Gomez 20.4 A RF 2022 45
14 Joe McCarthy 24.9 AAA LF 2019 45
15 Josh Lowe 21.0 A+ CF 2021 45
16 Taylor Walls 22.5 A SS 2020 45
17 Resly Linares 21.1 A LHP 2021 45
18 Anthony Banda 25.4 MLB LHP 2019 45
19 Nick Schnell 18.8 R CF 2022 45
20 Shane McClanahan 21.7 R LHP 2020 45
21 Tyler Frank 22.0 A- 2B 2021 45
22 Jose De Leon 26.5 MLB RHP 2019 40+
23 Drew Strotman 22.4 A RHP 2020 40+
24 Colin Poche 25.0 AAA LHP 2019 40+
25 Garrett Whitley 21.9 A CF 2021 40+
26 Tanner Dodson 21.7 A- RHP/CF 2021 40+
27 Jelfry Marte 17.8 R SS 2023 40
28 Alejandro Pie 16.4 R SS 2024 40
29 Tobias Myers 20.5 A RHP 2022 40
30 Ian Gibaut 25.2 AAA RHP 2019 40
31 Michael Perez 26.5 MLB C 2019 40
32 Joe Peguero 21.7 R RHP 2022 40
33 Nick Ciuffo 23.9 AAA C 2020 40
34 Matt Krook 24.3 AA LHP 2019 40
35 Alberto Figuereo 18.7 R 2B 2023 40
36 Ryan Boldt 24.2 AA LF 2020 40
37 Curtis Taylor 23.5 AA RHP 2020 40
38 Chris Betts 21.9 A C 2021 40
39 Abiezel Ramirez 19.0 R SS 2023 40
40 Kean Wong 23.8 AAA 2B 2019 40
41 Tristan Gray 22.8 A+ 2B 2020 40
42 Jermaine Palacios 22.5 AA SS 2020 40
43 Orlando Romero 22.3 A+ RHP 2020 40
44 Miguel Lara 21.5 R RHP 2022 40
45 Michael Mercado 19.8 A- RHP 2022 40
46 Sandy Gaston 17.1 R RHP 2023 40
47 Austin Franklin 21.3 A RHP 2021 35+
48 Ford Proctor 22.1 A- SS 2022 35+
49 Osmy Gregorio 20.7 A- SS 2022 35+
50 Taj Bradley 17.8 R RHP 2023 35+
51 Matthew Peguero 19.0 R RHP 2023 35+
52 Grant Witherspoon 22.3 R RF 2021 35+
53 Edgardo Rodriguez 18.1 R C 2023 35+
54 Victor Munoz 18.1 R RHP 2023 35+

65 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 17.9 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr S / R FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/65 60/65 30/55 60/60 45/50 60/60

Franco was identified as a top tier player in his age group as early as 12 or 13, and was seen regularly by scouts by age 14. Sometimes, precocious prospects are workout warriors or have early physical peaks, but Franco isn’t either of those. He essentially hasn’t failed on a baseball field in any meaningful way since puberty, with his success punctuated by a 2018 pro debut in which he outpaced the game’s most recent phenom, No. 1 overall prospect Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., in just about every way, at the same level, at the same age. Franco signed for the largest bonus in the 2017 July 2nd class ($3.825 million) and was seen as the best player in the class by a good margin. There were some questions about his occasionally disinterested style of play as an amateur, but he likely already had a deal done and didn’t have anything to play for in later workouts. He’s literally always been the best player on any field he’s been on, usually by a lot. The raw tools are accordingly loud, and match his stats: at least a plus hit tool with explosive bat speed, elite bat and body control, and an advanced sense of the zone to go along with plus raw power, plus speed, a plus arm, and a real chance to stick at shortstop. Franco is about as close as you’ll see to a perfect prospect at this point, with questions only arising if you really nitpick — the main one being that Franco isn’t tall — but he already has huge power, so it matters less that he isn’t physically projectable. The Rays have indicated they will start Franco at Low-A in 2019 and, so long as he keeps performing, keep pushing him until he’s challenged so he can experience adversity before he reaches the big leagues. It wouldn’t surprise us to see Franco move across multiple levels, but we wouldn’t expect quite a Juan Soto-esque pace of promotion, and a 2019 MLB debut seems incredibly unlikely, given the Rays’ upper-level infield glut and the service time implications. Rays officials have likened their immediate impression of Franco, as a player and person, to Evan Longoria. Teammates respond to him, and there isn’t even a whiff of the makeup concern some scouts conjured up as an amateur. Franco seems to be the sole author of his potential at this point.

60 FV Prospects

2. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Louisville (TBR)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 212 Bat / Thr L / L FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 65/65 40/55 35/30 45/50 60/60
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 50/55 50/55 55/60 91-95 / 96

McKay was a cold-weather, two-way high school prospect with average tools. As is the case with many Louisville commits, his asking price was high. He got to campus and took such an immediate step forward that he was invited to play for college Team USA after just his freshman year. His tools steadily progressed and entering his draft spring, McKay was showing effortless 65-grade raw power, and above-average raw stuff on the mound. On draft day, we think a slight majority of teams preferred McKay as a hitter (the two of us were split). But every MLB team had him as a first round talent both ways, so it seemed inevitable that he would be the rare player who would get a chance to do both in pro ball so his team could at least have time to determine which path was the right one if he couldn’t do both. That open-minded approach has driven how Tampa Bay has developed McKay. In 2018, his offense was fine — he was unlucky by advanced and TrackMan metrics — while he really broke out as a pitcher, regularly showing all the best stuff that he had only flashed in college. McKay leaned on a low-to-mid-90s fastball and didn’t have trouble navigating lineups because of his above average to plus command of the pitch. A plus-flashing curveball is his best secondary offering, but his cutter and changeup are both above-average, giving him No. 2 or 3 starter upside, and he’s not a long way off from reaching it. Shohei Ohtani’s usage is the only precedent for how McKay might be handled: a standout, playoff rotation-caliber starter and DH. Given how baseball is valuing first base/DH players, there appears to be much more value on the mound for McKay, but there’s still a real chance he turns into something like a 110 wRC+ hitter who could make a club just on the merits of his hitting and fielding ability as a first baseman, and scouts have always raved about his makeup and work ethic. The most exciting scenario would be if Tampa Bay paired him with a two-way righty (they currently have one in Tanner Dodson and are rumored to be adding a second in Matt Davidson) and pull the gambit Joe Maddon has tried before: rotating righty and lefty pitchers between the mound and a spot in the field based on the matchups. It could be an effective strategy on its own while enabling roster flexibility in other areas, and it saves matchup relievers until later in the game. Of course, nobody wants the Rays to get too cute and spoil what might just be a traditional, mid-rotation profile.

55 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Walters State JC (TN) (TBR)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Splitter Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 60/65 55/55 45/50 45/55 92-94 / 97

Honeywell felt forearm tightness while throwing live batting practice to Wilson Ramos in late February, and five days later Dr. James Andrews was reconstructing his UCL. It was the first of several season-ending injuries Rays prospects would sustain early in the year, and it delayed Honeywell’s run at a potential Rookie of the Year award. A creative sequencer, Honeywell’s deep, unique repertoire is unlike any other pitcher in the minors. Though his fastball touches 98, his stuff is so diverse that he never has to pitch off of it. He can lob his curveball in for strikes, induce weak contact early in counts by throwing a cutter when hitters are sitting fastball, and he’ll double and triple up on the changeup. What you see listed in Honeywell’s tool grades as a splitter is actually a screwball. It wobbles home in the 79-82 mph range, while his true changeup is usually a little harder than that. The screwgie is more than a gimmick and can miss bats, though it’s best in moderation because it’s a little easier to identify out of his hand, and hitters are able to recognize it after seeing it multiple times in the same at-bat. Honeywell’s delivery is pretty violent and his TJ was not his first injury, but he’s ready and has No. 2 or 3 starter stuff if it comes back after the surgery. He has been throwing off a mound since early December and should be pitching in games before April is through.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 21.0 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 45/50 30/45 65/65 50/60 55/55

Five years ago, Brujan was illiterate and living in extreme poverty in the Dominican Republic. Now he’s fluent in multiple languages and has grown so much as an athlete and ballplayer that we think he’d be in the conversation for the 2019 draft’s first pick were he a college player. If you’re willing to look beyond Brujan’s diminutive stature, he leaves nothing to be desired. He is an elite athlete with acute baseball instincts, a dynamic up-the-middle defensive profile, and mature feel for the strike zone. He has always been physical enough to make quality contact and fast enough to make an impact on the bases, but really began driving the ball in 2018 as his frame started to physically mature. He slashed .313/.395/.427 at Low-A before an August promotion to Hi-A, where he slugged a shocking .582. Aside from his size, Brujan’s profile is flawless and he has a chance to be a star.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from Maryland (TBR)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 55/55 45/55 50/50 40/45 45/45

Lowe (pronounced with a vowel sound like ‘plow’ or ‘allow’) was an under-the-radar, bat-first prospect at Maryland who the Rays picked in the third round. He has always been a second baseman but was never the pedigree type given his position and average at best speed, defense, and arm. He also tore his ACL as a freshman. His indicators were positive–plate discipline, contact skills, bat speed, enough power to profile–and we were high on Lowe entering the year, pegging him as a 45 FV. He went off in 2018, following a fine Double-A look in 2017 by demolishing the level in 2018, then performing even better at Triple-A, earning a big league look, where he put up almost 1.0 WAR in just 43 games. The offense has taken off even more than those highest on him internally had expected, with some chance for 50 hit and 60 game power with passable defense at second, along with versatility to play left field and possibly first base if needed. Lowe is now in the weird prospect spot where he isn’t the highly-drafted, tooled-up brand name type you typically find in the middle of a top 100, but he’s about as low risk a bat as there is with prospect eligibility, and he can also play up the middle, so his six years of control have tons of value to a small market team like the Rays.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 60/65 30/55 50/50 50/55 60/60

Corner bats with 30-grade plate discipline are scary, but Sanchez has the talent to override his impatience and so far he has performed in spite of it. In possession of a picturesque swing and some of the most electric bat speed in the minors, Sanchez has a .306/.347/.478 career line over four pro seasons, and he’s been young for each of the levels to which he has been assigned. As awestruck as his swing leaves onlookers, it is imperfect and causes him to drive the ball into the ground about 50% of the time. He hits it so hard that it hasn’t mattered yet, and it may not be prudent to tweak Sanchez’s swing so long as he keeps performing, but the ceiling on his power output is huge if his bat path gets dialed in. This is a pretty traditional right field profile, instability and all, and Sanchez has a chance to hit at the heart of a big league lineup. He got a taste of Double-A late last year and should return there in 2019.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Colombia (TBR)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 55/60 30/50 35/30 40/50 70/70

Hernandez’s career got off to a slow start in part due to his conversion (he was originally a SS/3B who the Rays asked to catch) but also due to injury, which cost him much of his first pro season. He so dominated the DSL in his second go at it that the Rays had him skip the GCL and sent him right to Princeton the following year. The last two seasons, Hernandez has slugged .500 as a young-for-the-level regular, and he was one homer off the Midwest League lead in 2018. He has above average raw power and sufficient feel to hit that he’ll get to most of it, certainly enough to profile at catcher. While Hernandez is still a below average receiver and inconsistent ball-blocker, he shows enough aptitude for both to project that he’ll be an average defender at maturity, and he has run-stopping arm strength. He’s a top 100 prospect.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Mountain Ridge HS (AZ) (TBR)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 45/50 55/70 50/55 40/55 92-95 / 97

Oakland’s selection of Kyler Murray seems to have been the catalyst for Liberatore’s draft day slide. He was arguably the best high school pitcher in the class, evaluated heavily early on by the Giants (who picked second), before settling into the 7-13 range by June. When Murray was selected, teams picking behind Oakland suddenly had access to one more player than they had anticipated. It meant Travis Swaggerty was there for Pittsburgh at 10, which meant Grayson Rodriguez was there for Baltimore at 11, and so on. Other teams hadn’t considered the possibility that Libby would fall to them and either hadn’t done a lot of background work, or weren’t comfortable with how he might alter their bonus pool math. When Liberatore was at his best, he’d throw strikes with 93-97 for the first several innings of his starts, show you a 70 curveball, a good change, and alter the timing of his delivery to toy with hitters. He added a slider part way through his junior year and instantly had nascent feel for it. At other times, he’d sit 88-92 with scattershot command and get too cute with Johnny Cueto shenanigans. But the frame, athleticism, arm strength, and ability to spin are all ideal, and there’s immense ceiling here.

9. Nick Solak, 2B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Louisville (NYY)
Age 24.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 50/50 30/45 60/60 45/50 50/50

Solak was a college teammate of Brendan McKay’s at Louisville, and they’ve both drawn some of the most vociferous makeup raves from scouts of any of the players in the minors. There’s a story going around scouting circles that Solak actually broke one club’s makeup algorithm, scoring higher than they thought was possible. It’s probably not surprising to hear that he’s a grinder type of player who makes the most of his sneaky-good tools. Solak has a pretty level cut, but is an opportunistic enough hitter to know how to lift mistake pitches and use his deceptively-average raw power. He’s a plus runner who projects to play an average second base and be an everyday player, but he can play almost any other position on the field if needed, with an arm that’s just a bit shy of what’s preferred for shortstop. He put up a 19 home run, 21 stolen base season in Triple-A last year and would be penciled in as a top prospect about to be handed an everyday job for almost any other club, but the Rays are insanely well stocked with middle infielders, including arguably the best in the minor leagues in Wander Franco; Vidal Brujan is also ahead of Solak on this list. The Rays like to have a versatile big league roster, but there’s likely a trade coming at some point to clear out spots, with Willy Adames, Joey Wendle, Brandon Lowe, Matt Duffy, Yandy Diaz, Daniel Robertson, and Christian Arroyo all seemingly ahead of Solak in the running for three starting spots since first base and designated hitter are also fully manned.

10. Shane Baz, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Concordia Lutheran HS (TX) (PIT)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 40/50 55/60 40/45 92-96 / 98

Other than players who qualify under outdated rules about trading recent draftees, we can’t think of a Player to be Named Later who had a stronger evaluation at the time of trade than Baz, who was part of the Chris Archer deal. The tightly-wound Baz has a repertoire tailored like Marcus Stroman’s: it’s four or five pitches, everything is hard, and his best stuff has glove-side action. Pitchers can succeed without changeups provided their breaking balls give them the tools to deal with opposite-handed hitters. Often, that’s enabled by command. Baz’s delivery is explosive but violent, and he may never have average command, let alone the command necessary to succeed without a change of pace pitch, or something to bisect the plate to his arm side. There’s a chance he’s a reliever but with three plus pitches, he could be elite in that role. If the command and/or a changeup develop, he fits in the middle of a rotation.

45+ FV Prospects

11. Lucius Fox, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Bahamas (SFG)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 35/40 30/40 70/70 45/50 55/55

It wasn’t that long ago that being an international amateur free agent could be more lucrative than subjecting oneself to the domestic draft. Several players with family abroad moved away and reclassified. Fox, who is of Bahamian descent, netted the most lucrative of these deals, signing with San Francisco for $6 million. The industry was surprised when the Giants immediately sent Fox, who was a tantalizing athlete but an undercooked ballplayer, to full-season ball. He didn’t play well, and was traded to Tampa Bay for Matt Moore a few minutes ahead of the 2016 trade deadline. When the Rays performed a post-swap physical on Fox, they discovered a bone bruise in his foot that would end his season, a matter the two clubs settled after the Rays initially sought further compensation. Fox repeated Low-A the following year and started to perform some with the bat. He’s hit for high averages wth no power each of the last two years, and had a strong 2018 Fall League. The lack of power might prevent Fox from being a true average or better regular, and he remains inconsistent on defense, but he’s a top of the scale athlete whose late 2018 showing could be a sign of real growth. If he comes out in 2019 and performs well, we’ll buy it.

Drafted: 13th Round, 2016 from Mississippi State (TBR)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 65/65 50/60 40/35 45/50 50/50

Lowe was nearly anonymous as a prospect until 2018. He played at a high profile Atlanta-area high school (the same one as his brother Josh, who the Rays drafted in first round in 2016), played sparingly for a year at Mercer, then transferred to St. John’s River junior college in Jacksonville, FL, where he hit 17 homers, a feat that got him to Mississippi State for his junior season. He had a solid season for the Bulldogs but was a first base-only prospect with no pedigree who hit five home runs, so you can see why he lasted until the 13th round in the 2016 draft. His hitability translated well that first pro summer and in 2017, which he split across both A-Ball levels at ages 21 and 22. The missing element here is that while Lowe had plus raw power the first time we saw him at Mississippi State, he didn’t have the kind of swing or approach to get the most out of it. This untapped tool and his plate discipline are the reasons he was a 13th rounder and not a 35th rounder who went back to school for his senior year. In 2018, Lowe did a rare thing: he tried to do more damage at the plate and lift the ball a bit more, but was able to keep his contact rates the same while adding game power. Miguel Andujar did this in the Yankees farm system two years in a row and went from an untapped, toolsy prospect who was passed over in the Rule 5 Draft to a Rookie of the Year runner-up; Lowe went from the top of the ‘Others of Note’ section last year to one of the top 150 prospects in the game over a 12 month period. Lowe is a fine defender at first but the value here is all in the bat. Because he’s left-handed, the downside is a platoon option at 1B/DH, though the Rays cycle through those types very quickly. Underlying indicators and TrackMan data suggest Lowe’s very loud 2018 stats aren’t fluky and he may just be a 50 bat with advanced feel for the zone and 60 game power, which is a solid regular. He might be big league ready in the middle of 2019.

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (TBR)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 60/60 35/55 55/50 45/50 55/55

Gomez was a plus-running center field prospect when he signed, but over four seasons, his body has matured in a way that is more Wily Mo Pena than Willy Taveras. He has already moved to a corner and might be limited to left field, but with that heft came power and a 2018 statistical breakout (65 extra-base hits) at Low-A Bowling Green. Gomez has below-average plate discipline, and that kind of flaw in a player near the bottom of the defensive spectrum is pretty scary, because it means both the hit and power tools need to develop into plusses for Gomez to clear the overall offensive bar at his position. There’s enough thump here for that, though we’ll have to wait and see on the bat.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Virginia (TBR)
Age 24.9 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/55 55/55 40/50 40/40 50/50 50/50

McCarthy might be this decade’s Nick Johnson. He has limited physical ability but exceptional secondary skills, and a concerning injury history. In college, McCarthy missed several weeks of his junior year due to back surgery, and in 2018, he had back issues again, which cost him several months. His Fall League stint ended prematurely due to a fractured hand. Amid these injuries, McCarthy has reached base at .390 career rate and climbed to Triple-A Durham. He has sufficient physical tools to hit, just not for stardom, and we expect him to be a role playing 1B/OF who yields value on par with a low-end regular, assuming he can stay healthy.

15. Josh Lowe, CF
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Pope HS (GA) (TBR)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 60/60 30/45 60/60 45/50 60/60

Lowe was on the draft radar as a prep junior in the Atlanta area when he ran his heater up to 95 mph in a high profile playoff game 13 months before he was draft eligible. Throughout the summer, scouts realized that he was a clear top five round talent on the mound, but a truly elite prospect at the plate. Lowe flashed plus speed, a plus arm, and plus raw power from the left side, projecting as the rare big center fielder with hit and power tools. The concern was that Lowe’s uphill, aggressive, power-oriented cut would limit his contact rate; after the Rays took him in the first round, his swing plane was flatter. In 2018, Lowe’s older brother and fellow Rays farmhand, Nate, shockingly went from fringe prospect to passing his more famous sibling in prospect status. Josh hasn’t put the loft back in his game swing, so he doesn’t look much different than the No. 1 overall pick from his draft class, Phillies center fielder Mickey Moniak. Both posted solid, contact-oriented offensive seasons in the Florida State League at age 20 while playing a solid center field. The difference is that Lowe has plus raw power he could tap back into, while Moniak may eventually grow into just average raw power. Lowe is ticketed for Double-A in 2019 and has a very laid back demeanor, which can turn off some scouts, though others see it as a sign he can handle the grind of the game and break through like his older brother did last year.

16. Taylor Walls, SS
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Florida State (TBR)
Age 22.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 45/45 30/40 50/50 50/55 50/50

If you want to get a sense of the depth of the Rays middle infield, take a look at the end of the Nick Solak report (ninth on this list). It’s a testament to Walls’ breakout 2018 season that he’s even in that conversation, as many scouts thought the Rays had drastically overdrafted him in the third round out of Florida State in 2017. Walls played second base in college and had an all-fields, spray approach with little power but excellent pitch selection and plate discipline. He was getting pegged as a non-impact type, the sort of backup second baseman the likes of which teams don’t carry anymore; his best ability (pitch selection) wasn’t even a tool, and it didn’t matter much if he didn’t have any power. Most of that changed in 2018 as the Rays’ strategy of drafting players projected as second baseman and seeing if they can play shortstop worked out, with Clay Davenport’s defensive metrics grading Walls at +16 runs over 103 games, about as high of a number as you’ll see in the minor leagues. Scouts tended to agree that Walls was above average at the position, more due to angles and instincts than raw tools, and this development seemed to surprise even the Rays. Offensively, Walls started driving the ball more and doing some extra base damage when he was getting into good counts. The raw tools are still mostly average and he was 22 years old in Low-A, a function of the Rays’ middle infield depth blocking a deserved promotion, so there isn’t amazing upside here. That said, a player many scouts thought was an overdraft now looks like he has a solid shot to turn into a good utility guy or low-end regular just 18 months later.

17. Resly Linares, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 45/55 45/55 90-93 / 95

Even though Linares’ frame hasn’t filled out very much since he teenage days, his velocity has climbed. Loose and spindly, the low-slot lefty now sports a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid 90s. Linares uses his curveball to attack both left and right-handed hitters, and his lack of changeup development to this point is the chief reason why he may project to the bullpen, where he may throw even harder and turn into something resembling Felipe Vasquez. We like lanky, athletic pitchers with feel for spin. Though there are clear things to work on, Linares is one of those. He should spend 2019 at Hi-A.

18. Anthony Banda, LHP
Drafted: 10th Round, 2012 from San Jacinto JC (TX) (MIL)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/50 40/45 50/55 40/45 92-95 / 97

Banda has been traded twice — Milwaukee sent him and Mitch Haniger to Arizona for Gerardo Parra in 2014, and then in 2018, Banda was part of the massive, three-team trade involving Steven Souza and Brandon Drury, among others — and finally looked like he’d get a long-term big league look in 2018. He was ten innings shy of exhausting rookie eligibility when he tore his UCL and had Tommy John in early June. It’s an awkwardly-timed surgery that might keep Banda out for all of 2019 as he recovers. He has No. 4 starter stuff when healthy, but we may not see it in the big leagues again until Banda is 26.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Roncalli HS (IN) (TBR)
Age 18.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 55/60 25/50 60/60 40/50 60/60

Schnell was an upside, cold-weather hitter to watch in the 2018 draft class but he exceeded expectations in the spring, rising into discussions for the middle of the first round. He landed near the top of a group of top-tier toolsy outfielders, flashing plus raw power, speed, and arm strength. He also went on a tear down the stretch in the Illinois state playoffs when high-level scouts were coming in for looks, hitting homer after homer. Some scouts were still uncertain about Schnell’s ultimate upside, arguing that his style of hitting indicates a swing flaw. To possess premium bat speed and face pitching in the 80s and still hit opposite field homers indicates Schnell was late on subpar stuff, and his deep hand load (which helps create the power) means this approach and his ultimate upside might not work in pro ball. While it’s too early to pass judgment on that opinion, Schnell struggled against good pitching in his pro debut and in instructional league, often exhibiting poor timing and ending up late on good fastballs. The Rays aren’t worried — expectations for cold-weather hitters are close to nil in their pro debut, not only because of the big jump in competition but also because they’re playing the longest season of their lives. Schnell may start 2019 in extended spring training so the org can keep a close eye on his habits and challenges in a controlled environment, but his upside is still among the best in his draft class.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from USF (TBR)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 173 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 50/55 45/50 40/45 92-95 / 100

McClanahan was barely seen the summer before his senior year in high school, pitching in the low-to-mid-80s in the lightly-scouted southwest corner of Florida, and committed to a smaller mid-major school. In his senior spring, things starting changing; he was getting into the low-90s, but it was still raw enough and abrupt enough of a change that it made sense for McClanahan to go to school, now at South Florida. He had another velo bump early in his college career, which eventually led to Tommy John surgery. Buzz grew in scouting circles as his post-surgery stuff was elite and after his first start of 2018, a heavily-scouted matchup with North Carolina, McClanahan looked like a top five overall pick. In that game, he hit 100 mph and flashed an above average slider and changeup along with enough feel to project as a starter. From then on, things started to unravel, until the Rays popped the local kid 31st overall. McClanahan had some minor issues — a finger injury and fluctuating velo as weather and workload dictated — but more worrisome to scouts were both his maturity and how he fared when his fastball was more of a 6 than an 8, and his command was a 3 or 4 instead of a 5. Most college pitchers can succeed with 55 or 60 stuff and below average command, but McClanahan struggled and showed it on the mound. The optimistic case is that a change of scenery, coaching, and workload (with less pressure) will help tease out that top five overall pick version of McClanahan, while the pessimistic case is that what we saw down the stretch is indicative of a future as a streaky power reliever with limited feel.

21. Tyler Frank, 2B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Florida Atlantic (TBR)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 45/45 30/40 50/50 45/50 45/45

Frank was first seen by most scouts as a utility player on college Team USA the summer before he was draft eligible. He didn’t stand out much there, playing all over the field and making contact, but lacking impact tools. He shined much brighter in the spring for Florida Atlantic, with just shy of a 1.000 OPS and 13 homers while playing a passable shortstop. The setting in which you scout a player can do wonders and the Team USA look didn’t give Frank much of chance to show what he could do. Scouts who saw Frank in pro ball, after the Rays popped him in the second round, see a slightly lesser version of Taylor Walls, another under-tooled Rays middle infielder with lots of feel. Frank is seen as more of a second baseman going forward and his 45 raw power, 50 speed, and 50 defense still aren’t loud, but his ability to hit, take a good at-bat, and have advanced feel for the game give Frank the look of a potential low-end regular who could move quickly through the minors.

40+ FV Prospects

22. Jose De Leon, RHP
Drafted: 24th Round, 2013 from Southern (LA)
Age 26.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/45 50/50 60/60 50/55 90-92 / 94

Acquired from Los Angeles for Logan Forsythe, De Leon has basically lost the last two years to poor arm health. He had intermittent injury issues throughout 2017 — flexor mass discomfort, a lat strain, elbow tendinitis — and needed Tommy John during 2018 Spring Training. He’s been throwing bullpens and is on track to return sometime in the middle of 2019. It’s unclear if the drop in velocity De Leon exhibited betwixt his DL stints was due to injury or if that’s just how hard he throws now. At his prospect peak in Los Angeles, when De Leon struck out no fewer than 32% of opposing hitters over a three-season stretch, he was sitting 92-94, and touching 96. Though there’s less stigma surrounding drop-and-drive deliveries now, there was concern about De Leon’s fastball being liftable even at that velocity due to it’s plane. At his more recent 89-91, it’s more worrisome. But if the velocity comes back, De Leon will have two plus pitches in his fastball and a goofy changeup, which has weird, horizontal action. He throws a ton of strikes and has two viable breaking balls. He could be a No. 3 or 4 starter if everything comes back, but is more like a No. 5 if it doesn’t.

23. Drew Strotman, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from St. Mary’s (TBR)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 50/55 45/50 45/50 92-95 / 97

In many ways, the first half of Strotman’s 2018 season was just like that of Phillies righty Spencer Howard, who’s now in the overall top 100 picture because his stuff exploded late in the year. Like Howard, Strotman mostly pitched out of the bullpen at a second tier California college and only began starting full time in 2018. He was probably slightly underscouted as an amateur, and definitely underdeveloped. For a month and a half of 2018, he showed mid-rotation stuff, then blew out his elbow and needed Tommy John. He may not be back in affiliated ball until late next summer, but he was quite young for a college draftee (another trait he shares with Howard) and has more developmental wiggle room for a setback like this than most of his peers would. He’s a 2019 Arizona Fall League breakout candidate.

24. Colin Poche, LHP
Drafted: 14th Round, 2016 from Dallas Baptist (ARI)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
65/70 50/55 50/55 90-93 / 94

It’s pretty common for pitchers to have a delivery that accentuates their stuff, and often, it’s easy to detect with the naked eye. This is not so for Poche, whose mechanical sleight of hand is not visually obvious, but whose success with what appears to be a mediocre fastball is unmatched in the minors. Poche has somehow managed to generate elite swinging strike rates with fringe fastball velocity and a spin rate that’s shy of average. Scouts and colleagues have asserted that Poche hides the ball well, only showing it to hitters when it suddenly appears out from behind his head. Poche also generates elite down-mound extension and fastball rise. His pitches not only make hitters look uncomfortable, they sometimes sneak up on the catcher, too. Essentially, Poche has an average fastball with three separate characteristics that make it play up. Big league hitters may be less vulnerable to one or more of these characteristics, but if not, Poche’s fastball is going to play like a 7 or 8, and he could be a top 50 big league reliever.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Niskayuna HS (NY) (TBR)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 30/50 60/60 40/50 55/55

The Dave Stewart Dbacks regime purportedly considered Whitley for the 2015 draft’s first pick, which seemed ill-advised given how blatantly risky both Whitley and his draft demographic were and are (raw, cold-weather prep outfielders can be Mike Trout or Anthony Hewitt). He fell to pick 13. As a pro, Whitley has become a power and patience center field prospect. He owns a 12% career walk rate and in 2017 started tapping into power thanks to a swing change. He was a candidate for a 2018 national breakout, but got hurt during spring training and missed the entire season while recovering from labrum surgery. The injury ate an important year of Whitley’s development, and also created risk that he has to move to left field if his arm strength doesn’t return (he began throwing a baseball again in late August). Just as he was starting to answer a lot of the pre-draft questions, a bunch of new ones were introduced, but we’re still enamored with Whitley’s physical gifts and upside. He’ll likely begin 2019 at Hi-A.

26. Tanner Dodson, RHP/CF
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Cal (TBR)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/50 20/40 55/55 45/50 60/60
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 55/60 45/50 40/45 92-96 / 98

Dodson’s father, Bo, hit .288/.397/.436 as a 10-year minor league first baseman, and may have gotten a shot had he played during an era that better appreciated his on base skills, or had he not been blocked by John Jaha in ’95 and Mo Vaughn in ’96. Tanner is a totally different baseball entity, standing apart not just from his father but from the rest of the minors, and access to such a unique skillset is partly what motivated the curious Rays to draft him in the second round in 2018. Dodson was Cal’s two-hole hitter, starting center fielder, and closer. If forced to chose a traditional developmental path, teams would have overwhelmingly preferred Dodson on the mound, where his stuff is commensurate with a typical middle reliever. But he is also a plus-running switch-hitter, with some natural lift as a right-handed hitter and good barrel control as a lefty. The Rays want to take advantage of all of Dodson’s skills and asked that he be announced on draft day as a two-way player. At Cal, Dodson would often warm up his arm in center field, sometimes very little, before coming in to pitch in save situations. In pro ball, he pitched once every seven days, would have a bullpen day at the midpoint between outings, and either DH or play CF on the other days. Developing as a two-way player is actually less labor intensive than existing as one in college, where Dodson’s schedule was more variable. Neither of Dodson’s individual roles projects to be ones of impact. On the mound, he looks like a middle reliever; with the bat, he looks like a fourth outfielder. But if he performs like a standard 40-inning reliever, like Jacob Barnes, and quintessential fourth outfielder, like Travis Jankowski, he’ll generate a combined 1.5 to 2 WAR annually.

40 FV Prospects

27. Jelfry Marte, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 17.8 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 40/50 20/40 60/60 50/60 60/60

Marte originally signed for $3 million with the Twins as one of the top position players in the 2017 July 2nd class. That deal was voided over concerns about Marte’s vision, but those concerns weren’t as strong as they were with the last prospect who went through a situation like this, Dominican power-hitting right fielder Wagner Mateo. Mateo signed for $3.1 million with St. Louis in 2009, and after his deal was voided, signed with Arizona for $512,000 almost a year later. Mateo played parts of four seasons before being released by Arizona, only playing 10 games in a full-season league with a career .660 OPS. Marte ended up signing with Tampa Bay less than a month after his deal was voided, this time for $820,000; Tampa Bay sees his vision as a correctable issue that’s already shown improvement, adding strength to his eyes like you would to a projectable frame. Marte has already surpassed Mateo’s performance in some ways, posting a comparable OPS in the GCL as a 17-year-old who is underdeveloped physically, switch hits, and plays a plus shortstop. One scout described teammate and fellow 17-year-old Wander Franco’s physicality as beyond his years, while Marte was so slightly built that he looked like a 14-year-old in 2018, despite being arguably the best defender in a deep system of shortstops. Marte flashes plus speed, range, hands, and arm strength and while he needs to tighten up his strike zone, he has contact skills even though the strength deficit means pitchers can throw strikes without fear of an extra base hit. Marte’s key will be continuing to add visual and physical strength to hit game — there’s clear everyday potential here if that happens.

28. Alejandro Pie, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 16.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/60 20/50 60/55 40/50 55/60

Pie, who ranked 17th on our 2018 July 2 Board, now looks like top 100 prospect Oneil Cruz did at the same age: endless limbs, uncommon athleticism and body control for his size, uncapped power projection, and much more intrigue than certainty about any aspect of the profile. It’s not even clear whether Pie is going to stay on the infield. He runs well enough that center field is a possibility if his actions don’t improve, and he has the arm to play short or third if they do. Even if Pie tumbles down the defensive spectrum, it likely means he’s grown into substantial raw power, enough to profile at any position. Our current tool grade projections indicate what we think things will look like if Pie’s frame develops in a way that allows him to stay at shortstop, but we think it’s going to take a long time before his skillset truly comes into focus.

29. Tobias Myers, RHP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Winter Haven HS (FL) (BAL)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 193 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 45/55 40/50 91-93 / 95

Myers was a bit under-the-radar at a central Florida high school, showing all the markers of a classically projectable and athletic pitcher. But the stuff didn’t edge past average as an amateur, so he lasted until the sixth round, where Baltimore drafted him in 2016. Tampa Bay acquired the local in the Tim Beckham 2017 trade during a breakout season in the New York-Penn League, and we anticipated a full-season breakout in 2018, but things didn’t go as planned. He didn’t get hurt or have a dip in stuff, so the No. 3 or 4 starter upside is still there. Scouts indicated that Myers’ struggles were more in the way he pitched: in the top and middle of the zone more than before, and now against better hitters.

30. Ian Gibaut, RHP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2015 from Tulane (TBR)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 70/70 40/45 95-97 / 98

There isn’t huge upside with Gibaut: he’s a 40 FV (middle reliever) for us now and likely won’t be more than a 45 FV (setup man) in the big leagues if things go well. That said, he has huge stuff and while it mostly fits in a one-inning stint, he’s big league ready and dominated Triple-A in a full season in 2018. Given the Rays’ glut of MLB-ready talent and propensity to lean on multi-inning types on their staff, there’s a significant barrier to a long stint on the 25-man roster for a pitcher of this type. Gibaut will get there on the strength of his stuff: sitting 95-97 mph, mixing in a 70-grade changeup and slider that flashes plus. This is a little more raw stuff than Fernando Rodney at his peak, but Gibaut is 25 and hasn’t had his command proven at the big league level yet, so there’s still some uncertainty here.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2011 from Colegio Vocacional Para Adultos HS (PR) (ARI)
Age 26.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 45/45 20/40 40/40 45/50 60/60

It’s possible Perez would have been Arizona’s best everyday option at catcher toward the end of last year, but a desperate need for pitching depth facilitated his trade to Tampa Bay for Matt Andriese. Perez is an athletic catcher with a plus arm, average receiving skills, and some feel to hit. After struggling to perform with the bat during the first several years of his career, Perez has two straight season of league-average offensive performance at Double and Triple-A. He has a pull-and-lift style of hitting, but not enough raw power to optimize that kind of approach. He’s a safe bet to be a quality backup and has a non-zero chance to hit a little more than we expect and be a low-end regular.

32. Joe Peguero, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 21.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/80 50/55 40/45 35/45 96-100 / 102

Peguero is a late-blooming power arm who took a step forward stuff-wise in 2018, but didn’t take a step forward statistically until he was put in the bullpen for the last month of the season in the short-season Appalachian League. After the full-time shift, Peguero threw 16.2 IP with 19 K and 3 BB. It’s not as simple as you may think, with most of those relief outings going multiple innings, so it seemed to be more of a mental adjustment than being better in short stints, with some sources telling us his confidence increased in that role. Peguero will turn 22 in May and has a career 6.28 ERA with no experience outside of short-season leagues, so there are some clear concerns. On the other hand, he sits 96-100 and has hit 102 mph, mixing in a curveball that’s plus at times, though he struggles to command it. His delivery is athletic and easy, and he’ll throw an occasional low-90s changeup that is usable. Peguero needed more innings at a low level of competition to build into 2019 and went to the Australian Baseball League this winter, throwing 13.1 IP with 19 K and 2 BB. At this point, Peguero is similar to a position player who converted to pitching in college and is now draft eligible with huge stuff but little polish; that guy goes roughly in the third round, which is right about where we have him pegged here, but he needs to move quickly and perform now that he’s found his role.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2013 from Lexington HS (SC) (TBR)
Age 23.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 55/55 40/45 20/20 50/50 70/70

Ciuffo was a first round pick out of a South Carolina high school in 2013 based on the strength of his arm and power, with his hitting and catching skills closer to average. That’s still largely the report 5.5 years later, with the gap being that Ciuffo isn’t quite offensively talented enough (a combination of plate coverage, loft and bat control) to hit for both leagues’ average contact and power. The lower offensive upside makes him more of a potential backup. He got a cup of coffee in 2018 and is currently the third catcher for the Rays, so he’ll almost certainly get more big league time when there’s a catcher injury or prolonged slump next season.

34. Matt Krook, LHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Oregon (SFG)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
50/50 40/50 45/50 88-90 / 93

Krook has one of the best 88 mph fastballs in the minors due to its dramatic sinking movement, which makes it capable of missing bats despite below-average velocity. His arm angle and the shape of his fastball create a pitch that looks very similar to Zach Britton’s sinker, but with much less zip. Though the Giants, who traded him to Tampa as part of the Evan Longoria deal, tried to develop Krook as a starter early in his career, a combination of injury concern (bad delivery, flunked physical coming out of high school, TJ in college) and lack of control made it likely that he’d eventually move to the bullpen, and that transition — or at least, one to a role where Krook throws a number of innings typical of a reliever; he may be a candidate to ‘open’, but we don’t know for sure — is underway. Krook used to live in the low-to-mid-90s and his drop in velocity is perhaps a red flag, considering his medical history. But it plays even at this velocity, and so do his two breaking balls, which benefit from the deceptive ugliness of his delivery.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 18.7 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 145 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 35/45 20/40 65/65 50/55 50/50

We’re undeterred by Figuereo’s childlike measurables because, for a 5-foot-8 guy, he actually has a good frame and lots of present baseball skill that should start yielding on-field results as he gets stronger. He’s a plus athlete and runner with a high baseball IQ, switch-hits, and is going to stay on the infield. Unlike his prototypically-sized peers, whose attributes are more obvious in showcase environments, it takes longer to get a feel for and appreciate skillsets like Figuereo’s. We think it’s why skills-over-tools infielders like this tend to sneak up on us, and we’re trying to suss out this profile earlier than we have in the past. If Figeureo’s strength never materializes, he’s probably just a utility guy, at best. If it does, he could be a well-rounded every day player.

36. Ryan Boldt, LF
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Nebraska (TBR)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 50/50 30/45 55/50 50/55 50/50

A big part of why Boldt’s college performance never quite matched the power/speed hype of his high school tools was that his swing was not geared for any sort of lift. He clearly had substantial raw power, but never slugged more than his freshman year mark of .437 at Nebraska. Since college, Boldt’s swing has evolved in a way that better incorporates his lower half. It has more scoop, more ability to catch pitches in, and he’s better able to lift balls that are down. Supporting evidence can be found by observing Boldt’s batted ball profile, as his groundball rate is now close to league average instead of well above it. Though he thickened quickly in college, Boldt is still an above-average runner once he gets underway. His slow first few steps prevent him from everyday viability in center field, and Boldt saw more time in the outfield corners last year than at any other time during his career. He projects as a platoon corner outfielder, especially if last year’s swing changes were just the start of a continuous, upward trend in power output.

37. Curtis Taylor, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from British Columbia (ARI)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/50 40/45 93-97 / 98

This is another reliever who, based on usage patterns, it appears is being developed for some kind of multi-inning role, perhaps to follow the opener. Taylor was acquired from Arizona for Brad Boxberger, and after the Dbacks had taken his early-career development slowly (Taylor was a raw college arm from Canada), the Rays hit the gas pedal and quickly moved him to Montgomery in May. He thrived there, typically throwing 35 to 50 pitches once every three to five days. Most of those pitches were mid-90s fastballs that played up due to big extension, while some were above-average sliders. On paper, this reads like a standard two-pitch middle reliever, and for that reason, it’s fair to question whether Taylor’s usage might be caricaturing his velocity, and if his fastball would be this hard on back-to-back days, or if his usage were more variable. But if this is just how Tampa Bay is going to use him, then this is the stuff. Taylor threw 78 innings in 38 games. His four starts were some of his shortest outings. It’s possible Taylor’s usage has been for developmental reasons, but we tend to think he’s being prepared for a fairly distinctive role.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Wilson HS (CA) (TBR)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 35/50 35/30 40/50 55/55

Betts was one of the most heavily-scouting prep prospects in recent memory, maturing early as a catcher with a plus arm and plus raw power from a strong prep program in Long Beach, CA that has produced five first round picks, including Aaron Hicks. Betts looked to be a mid-first round pick in 2015 when a medical showing that he would need Tommy John surgery caused him to slip to the second round. Betts missed the summer after signing for surgery, played 39 games in 2016, then played just seven games in 2017 due to injury. 2018 was his breakout year on many fronts: he stayed healthy the whole season, caught 63 of the 72 games in which he played, and made his first appearance at a full-season level. Betts turns 22 during spring training and still has plenty to prove — some scouts doubted his ability to catch as an amateur and some still do as a pro — but the arrow is pointing up in that regard as well.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 19.0 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 45/55 25/45 60/60 40/50 60/60

Ramirez is still a under-the-radar as a prospect: he wasn’t a top pedigree amateur, signing for $300,000 when the Rays were in the international penalty box, and has only played in the US as a very limited participant in instructional league. He made quite an impression on the scouts who have been able to see him for his loud tools: plus batspeed, running speed, and arm strength, to go along with a chance to stick at shortstop. Ramirez has put on about 20 pounds since signing, with one scout comparing his frame and toolset to Jose Ramirez’s, though the skills and feel for the game are obviously not even close to that. He also has a good plate approach but can play out of control at times, especially at shortstop. Ramirez likely will head to GCL in 2019 at age 19.

40. Kean Wong, 2B
Drafted: 4th Round, 2013 from Waiakea HS (HI) (TBR)
Age 23.8 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 45/45 35/40 50/50 50/50 50/50

In his second straight year at Triple-A, Wong hit .282/.345/.406 (the highest SLG% of his career, which coincided with a modest-but-relevant 5 percentage point drop in groundball rate) and started seeing action in left field in addition to his usual time at second and third. We don’t think he plays every day, but lefty bats with that kind of positional flexibility are good role players, and Wong is ready for the big leagues right now. The infield situation in Tampa Bay is very crowded and Wong may need a change of scenery to get an opportunity.

41. Tristan Gray, 2B
Drafted: 13th Round, 2017 from Rice (PIT)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 50/50 40/50 50/50 45/50 50/50

Like Ford Proctor a few spots later on this list, Gray was a three-year starter at Rice as a middle infielder and likely projects as a utility guy at the next level. To contrast with Proctor, Gray was a lankier-framed prospect who has slowly filled out and added noticeable loft to his swing this year, so there’s more impact with the bat than there is with Proctor. He’s started playing some shortstop to develop that utility profile, but is a little lesser with the glove than Proctor, fitting better at second base long-term with emergency shortstop ability.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (MIN)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 145 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 45/45 30/40 50/50 45/50 55/55

Then with Minnesota, Palacios got red hot during the early part of 2017 and looked like he might be turning a corner. Teams saw him as a multi-positional infielder with good feel for contact, but were forced to revisit that evaluation when Palacios had a long stretch during which he was also hitting for power. He was promoted, his performance regressed, and he was traded to Tampa Bay for Jake Odorizzi just before the 2018 season. It seems as though the upper levels of the minors have begun to take advantage of Palacios’ epicurean pitch selection, as his numbers continued to decline in 2018. His tools still indicate a utility and pinch-hitting role is possible, but Palacios hasn’t hit for a year and a half now, so we’re less confident he gets there.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (TBR)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 211 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 40/45 35/40 92-95 / 97

Tampa Bay’s usage of Romero suggests they may be developing him with a multi-inning role in mind, as 17 of his 26 appearances in 2018 were of the multi-inning variety. Visually though, he looks like a two-pitch, single-inning reliever, though potentially a very good one, as he’ll flash the occasional 70-grade curveball. A well below average athlete and strike-thrower, there’s skepticism that Romero will improve his command deficiencies, but his stuff is very good. He struggled with a late-season promotion to Hi-A and should return there in 2019. He could move quickly if the command suddenly clicks, but we don’t think it will.

44. Miguel Lara, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 21.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/65 45/50 50/60 30/40 92-96 / 99

Lara’s delivery evokes a Tesla Coil; mid-90s lightning shoots out of this seemingly unstable thing, a delivery unlike any other in baseball. So funky and violent is Lara’s cross-body, side-arm style of throwing that it’s rare for any two consecutive deliveries of his to look even kind of the same. He only projects in relief, and a lack of control may eventually be his complete undoing as a prospect, but Lara also has a premium three-pitch mix on par with modern high-leverage relievers. His arm slot alone makes him a tough at-bat for righties and his changeup stifles lefties. He may have three functionally plus pitches at peak and be a dynamic bullpen stopper, or he may have strike-throwing issues that make him unrosterable. This is one of the more volatile relief prospects in the minors.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Westview HS (CA) (TBR)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/55 45/50 45/55 89-93 / 94

As the 2017 draft approached, it seemed like there was a strong possibility that Mercado would matriculate to Stanford. It was unclear if circumstances would align in such a way that he’d find a home; it would take a team that had a strong evaluation of Mercado (some teams were more apt to project on his fastball than others), a pick near where his talent level made sense, and the pool space to coax him away from college. It turned out the Rays were that team, and Mercado signed for $2.1 million, about $400,000 over slot, as a second rounder. After a year and a half of pro ball, Mercado’s stuff is basically the same. His fastball resides in the low-90s and he’ll show you an above-average curveball and changeup once in a while. He has better command than is usual for a pitcher of this age and size, so he comfortably projects as a starter, likely of the No. 4 or 5 variety.

46. Sandy Gaston, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (TBR)
Age 17.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 45/55 45/50 30/45 93-96 / 100

Gaston was a 15-year-old Cuban defector and right around his 16th birthday, he hit 100 mph on some guns in short stints working out for teams. That nearly unprecedented velocity for his age obviously garnered a lot of attention in the scouting community, though he was, as you’d guess, still very raw and often had 20 control when he was scraping triple digits. Gaston also isn’t classically projectable in that his velocity is already at the top of the scale and he has a maturely-built frame at 6-foot, but he did some arm slot and arm action tinkering over the last few years that has affected his control and command. So while Gaston may get stronger as he physically matures, what’s more important is the projection of his feel for pitching, which appears to be more natural at a three-quarters arm slot (more mid-90s velocity), where his arm action is also more naturally online than the higher slot where he was throwing harder and wilder. Gaston’s best pitching performance was as the main event on the mound at the Victor Victor Mesa workout in Marlins Park where the better version of his arm slot, arm action, and control was first seen by a large scouting audience. His best off-speed pitch is a solid average curveball and he also has a changeup that flashes average, so the full stuff package, beyond just the fastball, is also top of the scale elite, but Gaston is also hard to project given the varied looks he’s given scouts over the last year.

35+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Paxton HS (FL) (TBR)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

After a breakout 2017, Franklin took his fastball/curveball combination to Bowling Green and made 15 mostly unremarkable starts there before tearing his UCL. He had Tommy John near the end of July. We likely won’t see Franklin again until late next year, and he might end up throwing the bulk of his innings during instructs or Fall League. The time off means missed reps with a third pitch, and a greater likelihood that Franklin ends up in relief, which was already a possibility given his delivery and limited control.

48. Ford Proctor, SS
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Rice (TBR)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+

Proctor started nearly every game in his three year career at Rice at shortstop (alongside Tristan Gray, a fellow Ray after a trade from Pittsburgh) and the steady performer peaked in his draft year. He’s a decent shortstop with a chance to stick, but like many players in the Rays system, he’s on the spectrum between lock-down shortstop and second base-only. Proctor is near the bottom of the middle infielders on the list for now because the tools aren’t impact (below average raw power, average speed, solid average arm), and the questions around his defense are more on range and explosiveness than hands or instincts. He’s a flatter-planned, all-fields approach type who projects as a utilityman if the bat plays as expected, but one scout pointed out that this was almost exactly the report on Taylor Walls a year ago, and foresees a similar rise for Proctor in 2019.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (SEA)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Gregorio came over to Tampa Bay from Seattle as the player to be named later in the deal that saw the Mariners acquire Mike Marjama (who is now retired) and Ryan Garton (who has made 13 MLB appearance in a year-plus with Seattle, mostly pitching in Triple-A) in exchange for Luis Rengifo and Anthony Misiewicz. The trade looked bad in hindsight with Rengifo’s (now with the Angels) emergence early in 2018 but looks even worse now with Gregorio’s continued improvement for the Rays. Gregorio has put on considerable strength since the trade but is still an average runner and is showing plus raw power. The power is starting to show up in games and exit velocities, and the strength has helped him add bat control, which assists with both contact and game power. Gregorio may fit best at third base longterm, but he has above average range for the position and a plus arm, so Tampa Bay will give him a chance to develop as a shortstop, as is their tendency. He looks ticketed for Low-A for his age 20/21 season and is a prime example of what can happen when a skinny but projectable athlete grows into some man strength.

50. Taj Bradley, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Redan HS (GA) (TBR)
Age 17.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Bradley popped a bit in the spring at his Atlanta-area high school when his velo took a step forward and he was sitting in the low-90s. That’s not super surprising since Bradley has a clean arm action and some projection to his frame, but the change in perception was mostly because he was the youngest prep prospect in the country — he’ll be 17 even during spring training, younger than many top prospects for the 2019 MLB Draft. Bradley still needs to clean up his delivery some, throw his changeup more often, and fine-tune his command, but his fastball/curveball combo both project for above average, so there’s clearly something to work with here.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Peguero was the MVP of the 2018 DSL champion Rays. He’s already 19 (on the older end of the spectrum for prospects in the DSL) but is otherwise a well-rounded prospect. He has a good build and is a good athlete, with good stuff (91-94, up to 96 with a 2400 spin rate on the breaking ball), and on-mound poise. We have him evaluated the way we would an older high school arm who could go anywhere from the third to fifth round in the draft.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Tulane (TBR)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Witherspoon benefitted from a big draft spring for Tulane, jumping from two campaigns with a .700-something OPS to a 1.023 OPS and 33 extra base hits in 58 games. The upside here still isn’t huge, with all five tools right around average, but Witherspoon has the feel to hit and defend such that he could be a good platoon outfielder who can play all three spots and get a bulk of the at-bats. The realistic outcome if the bat plays and the 22-year-old moves relatively quickly through the minors is a 450 plate appearance outfielder with fringy offense who plays above average corner defense.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (TBR)
Age 18.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 207 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

It’s not abundantly clear whether or not Rodriguez will be able to catch as, at age 18, he’s already a pretty big, long-levered kid who was initially unsure if he even wanted to try it. But Rodriguez can really hit. He has excellent timing, bat control, and feel for all-fields contact, and he can open up and get his barrel on pitches inside. He might end up at first base or in an outfield corner, but he might hit enough to profile at those spots and if he can catch, his ceiling is sizable.

54. Victor Munoz, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (TBR)
Age 18.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Munoz signed for $442,000 in the 2017 July 2nd period as a second-tier projection arm in the class and he’s already showing some progress just over a year after signing. He’s 6-foot-4, 170 pounds, with an easy delivery and was already touching 95 mph this summer in the DSL, showing starter traits and spinning a solid average curveball at times. Munoz is roughly the same age and competition level as Taj Bradley, who is a few spots ahead of Munoz on the list. Munoz may have a hair more upside due to projection but Bradley has been seen a lot by scouts over the past year while Munoz was very lightly seen, so we’re in a bit of wait-and-see mode here.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Young Positional Prospects
Tony Pena, LF
Daiwer Castellanos, CF
Stir Candelario, RF
Aldenis Sanchez, CF
Carlos Vargas, 1B
Kaleo Johnson, 3B

Pena is raw for a 21-year-old but he crushed the Appy League and has plus power, and notably high exit velos. Castellanos, 18, is a spark plug outfielder with plus speed and good feel for the strike zone. There’s risk he’s a fourth outfielder or a Gregor Blanco type of everyday player, but this kind of profile tends to overperform. Candelario, also 18, has a traditional right field profile, including a 70 arm and big pull power. Sanchez is 20 and spent 2018 in the GCL. He’s a rangy, athletic 6-foot-2 and runs well. He could be an above-average defensive center fielder at peak. Vargas, 19, was acquired in the first Mariners Mallex Smith trade. He was a DSL shortstop at the time but he’s filled out to the point where he’ll probably need to move to first base. He has 70 raw power projection but needs to hit a ton to profile. Johnson was a 32nd round pick this summer from Montana State Billings and impressed some pro scouts after signing as a lottery ticket type with plus raw power that showed up in games (and in exit velos) with some chance to stick at third base.

Young Latin American Pitchers
Wikelman Ramirez, RHP
Angel Felipe, RHP
Franklin Dacosta, LHP
Carlos Garcia, RHP
Rodolfo Sanchez, RHP

Ramirez, 18, only threw eight GCL innings due to injury, and he recently had TJ. When healthy, he looked like a potential No. 4 or 5 starter thanks to a low-90s sinker, plus changeup, and average breaking ball. Felipe has been a slow mover and spent the first four years of his career in rookie ball. That’s typically not a great sign, but he throws really hard (up to 100 mph) and is 6-foot-6, so maybe the rest comes later. He’s 21. Dacosta, 18, has a vertical arm slot that should enable him to run four seamers (up to 94) past hitters at the letters, and his curveball has vertical action that will compliment that pitching approach. Garcia was also a little old for the DSL but he throws a heavy, mid-90s fastball and is an interesting relief prospect. Sanchez, 19, is an athletic 5-foot-10 and has a fast arm. He’s been up to 95 and can spin a breaking ball. Most of these guys profile as relievers, save for Ramirez who would have been on the main section of the list if not for his surgery.

Utility Types
Gionti Turner, 2B
Zach Rutherford, SS
Daury Del Rosario, SS

Turner was acquired from Cleveland this offseason for Chih-Wei Hu; a full report is available here. Rutherford is totally competent at just about everything but lacks a carrying tool. He performed at Low-A last year but college bats should do that. Del Rosario signed for $600,000 in July. He’s a switch-hitter who probably fits better at second or third in the long run, and he has fringy bat speed but a track record of hitting.

Catcher Depth
Roberto Alvarez, C
David Rodriguez, C
Rene Pinto, C

Alvarez, 19, had a growth spurt and exceeded expectations in the Appy league as a 19-year-old. He has 50 raw power, a 45 arm, and is a good receiver. He was the last cut from the main section of the list and we think he gets there next spring. Rodriguez is a glove-first catcher with some pop who could be a second or third catcher. Pinto is a bat-first catcher whose glove has started to come along. If viable back there, he could be a backup.

Pitchability Guys
Riley O’Brien, RHP
Rollie Lacy, RHP
Jose Mujica, RHP
Simon Rosenblum-Larson, RHP
Blake Bivens, RHP
Luis Moncada, LHP
Alan Strong, RHP
Josh Fleming, LHP
Joe Ryan, RHP
Tommy Romero, RHP

O’Brien, whose grandfather played for the Pirates in the ’50s, might break out next year. He’s a well-made 6-foot-4 righty who was a 2017 eighth rounder out of Idaho. He pitched well out of Bowling Green’s bullpen early in 2018, was moved to the rotation, kept pitching well, and was promoted to Charlotte. He could end up with a plus fastball and curveball combo. Lacy as been traded twice in the last year. He’s a strike-throwing changeup specialist who projects as a sport starter. Bivens, Moncada, and Strong all have low-90s fastballs with average secondary stuff and command. Rosenblum-Larson sits 90-94 mph with a mid-80s slider from a low slot that reminds some of Steven Cishek, and he went to Harvard, so you’ll never stop hearing about that if Rosenblum-Larson makes the big leagues. Fleming pounds the zone with three solid average pitches from the left side. Romero has some projection left and a deceptive fastball that could help him become one of the 2nd-to-6th inning sort of pitchers that Tampa Bay used this season. Ryan has an ultra-loose arm, which is the reason scouts are projecting more stuff to come from his 88-93 mph heater and average secondary stuff.

Potential Relievers
Michael Plassmeyer, LHP
Travis Ott, LHP
Jhonleider Salinas, RHP
Brandon Koch, RHP
Nick Sprengel, LHP

Plassmeyer was Seattle’s 2018 fourth rounder, who they traded to Tampa in the Mike Zunino deal. He’s an athletic, low-slot lefty with average stuff that plays because he has great command. Ott, too, has average stuff that plays up because he has low-slot funk. He has lefty specialist projection. Salinas was acquired from Cleveland for Brandon Guyer. He’s a monster 6-foot-7 with premium arm strength and middling secondary stuff. Koch is yet another Rays arm who had surgery in June. He’s a quintessential two-pitch power relief prospect with a mid-90s fastball and slider. Sprengel looked like a second rounder (low-90s sinker, above average slider, starter look) as an underclassman at San Diego but developed concerning strike-throwing issues as a junior. He’ll be interesting if his feel for pitching can bounce back.

System Overview

The Rays have made some fascinating decisions in the past few years in an effort to make their small market payroll work without a new stadium on the horizon. They seem to be shooting for an 85-win baseline with a sustainable payroll every year (an accomplishment on its own), and then will either look to use pieces from the major league roster to stock the system if things play out worse than hoped (the Chris Archer deal), or consolidate pieces and make a run if the stars align. This mean trading a lot of assets (first or second-year arbitration eligible starters) most clubs would want to hold on to for multiple upper level minor leaguers of comparable upside (think the Steven Souza deal). Currently, the club appears to be considering some consolidation moves given its glut of MLB-ready talent, particularly in the middle infield, though the tight competitive window in the AL East may be more attractive when the Red Sox lose a few core players over the next few seasons (or the Yankees keep humming and the Blue Jays surge, and it never gets particularly attractive).

On the acquisition front, the Rays’ fortunes in the draft have improved since a particularly poor run a few years back, which many thought was more bad luck than a terrible process, while the international department is in the top tier in baseball. This has been helped by the emergence of Wander Franco, Vidal Brujan, Jesus Sanchez, and Ronaldo Hernandez in the last 12 months, but there are prospects all over the list, largely without big bonuses, who follow a similar distribution as those on the lists of other top international programs.

Similar to the Yankees, the Rays are in the midst of a 40-man crunch that won’t let up anytime soon, with some trades, such as the Genesis Cabrera and Justin Williams for Tommy Pham deal, influenced by trying to clear 40-man spots with young players that aren’t 25-man quality yet. It’s unusual to see a small market team give up first-year arb players for prospects, while also giving up prospects near the majors in return for big leaguers, but such is the situation the Rays have found themselves in.


Top 26 Prospects: Boston Red Sox

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Red Sox Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Triston Casas 19.0 R 1B 2022 45
2 Darwinzon Hernandez 22.1 AA LHP 2021 45
3 Michael Chavis 23.4 AAA 1B 2019 45
4 Antoni Flores 18.2 R SS 2023 40+
5 Tanner Houck 22.5 A+ RHP 2019 40+
6 Nick Decker 19.3 R RF 2023 40+
7 Bobby Dalbec 23.5 AA 3B 2020 40+
8 Jay Groome 20.4 A LHP 2021 40+
9 Bryan Mata 19.7 A+ RHP 2021 40
10 Travis Lakins 24.5 AAA RHP 2019 40
11 Durbin Feltman 21.7 A+ RHP 2019 40
12 C.J. Chatham 24.0 A+ SS 2020 40
13 Jarren Duran 22.3 A CF 2022 40
14 Brandon Howlett 19.3 A- 3B 2023 40
15 Gilberto Jimenez 18.5 R CF 2023 40
16 Mike Shawaryn 24.3 AAA RHP 2019 40
17 Denyi Reyes 22.2 A+ RHP 2021 40
18 Brayan Bello 19.6 R RHP 2022 40
19 Daniel Diaz 18.0 R 3B 2023 40
20 Nicholas Northcut 19.6 A- 3B 2022 40
21 Roniel Raudes 21.0 A+ RHP 2020 40
22 Bobby Poyner 26.1 MLB LHP 2019 40
23 Marino Campana 21.1 A RF 2022 35+
24 Jhonathan Diaz 22.3 A+ LHP 2019 35+
25 Eduardo Lopez 16.7 R CF 2024 35+
26 Yoan Aybar 21.5 A LHP 2021 35+

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from American Heritage HS (FL) (BOS)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 238 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 70/80 35/65 40/30 45/55 60/60

Casas was one of the more heavily scouted underclassman high school prospects in recent memory, and stood out hitting in the heart of the lineup for South Florida powerhouse American Heritage and various Team USA squads, and at travel showcases and tournaments. Some of this success was probably because Casas was one of the oldest prospects in the 2019 graduating class, which prompted him to accelerate his schooling in 2017 and reclassify for the 2018 draft. Moving up a year made him age-appropriate for a high schooler in their draft year; at 18.4, he was basically average for a prep player. With the early-career acclaim came a change in the way opposing pitchers approached Casas. They began to pitch around him, and scouts often left Casas games having seen him swing just once or twice because he was constantly walking. Luckily Casas had a long track record of hitting in games, participated in multiple home run derbies during his amateur summers, and posted gaudy exit velocities during team pre-draft workouts, so clubs knew what his offensive potential was. He has good hands and a plus arm that helped him pitch into the low-90’s on the mound, but is a well-below average runner with poor lateral mobility. He played third base after signing (though mostly during instructs, as Casas injured his thumb sliding for a ground ball in June, needed surgery, and barely played during the summer) but expectations are he’ll move across the diamond to first base in 2019 or 2020, where we think he’ll be quite good. Casas’ calling card is his bat and there’s potential for a 60 hit, 70 game power, 80 raw power kind of package. The margin for error for a teenage first base-only types is very small, but we’re very high on Casas’ bat.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (BOS)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 45/50 40/45 94-97 / 99

We have the scowling Hernandez projected into a relief role and think his stuff is on par with many of the best lefty relievers in baseball. Developed as a starter to this point, he has well-below average control and likely wouldn’t throw enough strikes to go more than two or three innings a game in a big league rotation. In relief though, he could be incredible. His fastball is hard and comes in with tough angle. It has natural cut when Hernandez is locating it to his glove side, and with it, he misses bats away from lefties who swing inside its break. Both of his secondary offerings are capable of missing bats but the same mechanical repetition issues that plague Hernandez’s command cause them to be inconsistent. At times, he’ll flash a plus-plus breaking ball; at others, the pitch isn’t located near enough to the plate to entice hitters. And so, projected roles for Hernandez vary depending on the evaluator’s degree of confidence in his ability to tighten up his command. On stuff, he has a chance to be a high-leverage arm, and one of the top 30 or so relievers in baseball.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Sprayberry HS (GA) (BOS)
Age 23.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/40 65/65 50/55 40/40 40/45 55/55

Chavis was a well-known Atlanta-area prep prospect, who in high school was a strong statistical performer with easy plus raw power that showed up in games. He didn’t have a clear positional fit as an amateur, and that’s still mostly the case now–he was a shortstop in high school but wasn’t an athletic fit there, tried catching, which didn’t work, and scouts generally projected third base or first base long term. Though he has mostly played third, pro scouts see Chavis as a first base-only type, and he started seeing time there during the 2017 Fall League and again late in 2018. He missed much of 2018 with an 80-game PED suspension, which ominously came after a breakout 2017 campaign during which he hit 31 homers. He has now reached Triple-A, and had a strong half-season after the suspension was up, but scouts are wary of being all-in on a player whose entire profile is dependent on power and who has also had a recent PED suspension. One-dimensional hitters who are limited on defense tend to end up in a first base platoon (and in this case, it’d be the lesser side of one) or as a low-end starter like Kevin Millar. Either way, it seems unlikely a high-payroll, contending club like Boston would wait for a young player with limited upside to break in as an everyday player. We think Chavis is a low-end regular, who may be trade bait once he further establishes his level of performance post-suspension.

40+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (BOS)
Age 18.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 45/55 20/50 50/45 45/55 60/60

Flores, who received the second highest bonus in the Red Sox 2017 international class at $1.4 million — just behind Danny Diaz’s $1.6 million — was the buzz of the Southwest Florida instructional league and has exciting potential. After dominating the DSL during the summer, Flores got a late call-up and played two games in the GCL before his summer was shortened by a minor injury. He reminds some scouts of a potential everyday shortstop who takes a few games to grow on you. Unlike many high-bonus July 2nd prospects, Flores doesn’t have loud, flashy tools, or exceptional twitch or physical projection. He’s more of the steady, low-key type of player with excellent feel for defense (common among prospects from Venezuela, where there’s more of a game-focused development) and high-quality contact. He projects to be an above-average bat with average raw power and the swing attributes to have a chance to get to most of it. Deceptively quick for his size, Flores has average speed and the defensive instincts to cover more ground than his raw foot speed indicates, as well as a plus arm. There’s a chance he outgrows shortstop, but he’d likely be at least above-average, if not plus, at third base in that event. It may be a card full of 5’s (except for arm strength) on the 2-8 scale, with very little pro experience, but scouts are excited about what little they’ve seen here and think Flores could be a first division regular if the bat develops enough.

5. Tanner Houck, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Missouri (BOS)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/50 55/60 40/50 90-93 / 95

Houck was a projection prep arm from Illinois whose price was just high enough to get him to Missouri. He had a big freshman year there and then had a national coming-out party as the ace of Team USA that summer. Houck continued at about that level for the next two seasons, slinging in a heavy, 91-96 mph sinker from a low slot with a deceptive, crossfire delivery. He threw strikes and had a plus slider. Scouts who weren’t as enthusiastic about Houck’s changeup, or arm slot, or the length of his arm action, saw a reliever. His stuff would flatten out and his command would back up as he fatigued into the late stages of some starts. The Red Sox had Houck change his delivery and arm action for the first half-dozen or so starts in 2018, focusing on a more traditional four-seam fastball approach. It didn’t work, and Boston let Houck go back to what he had been doing later in the year; his dominant final two months of 2018 reflect his comfort with this approach. We think the likely outcome here is a multi-inning power reliever who dominates righties with strikeouts and groundballs, though some see a starter in the mold of Justin Masterson. Either way, Houck should move quickly, especially if he’s only asked to face a lineup once or twice per outing.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Seneca HS (NJ) (BOS)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 55/60 25/55 50/45 40/50 55/55

The amateur side of the scouting industry is fearful of prep bats from the Northeast because they face bad pitching during the spring, and are tough to evaluate as hitters. This, coupled with Decker’s slightly advanced age relative to other high schoolers, as well as a deep, late first and early second round group of high school outfielders pushed him into the second round despite having first round physical ability. Decker is a high-effort player with good instincts on the bases and in the field. He probably doesn’t have the pure speed for center but has a small hope of staying there based on his feel. Even when he likely moves to a corner, there’s enough power for Decker to profile as an everyday player provided he hits enough, and early returns on his bat in pro ball (he missed GCL time due to a wrist fracture but played during instructs) are very strong.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Arizona (BOS)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 70/70 30/55 40/40 50/55 70/70

There isn’t much precedent for sustained big league success when hitters run strikeout rates as high as Dalbec’s (he’s struggled badly with whiffs since college), but his combination of power and defensive ability give him significant upside if he grows into even a 40 bat. Breaking balls especially flummox him, even when they hang and appear hittable. Mike Olt, Juan Francisco, Matt Davidson, and Pedro Alvarez are recent examples of players with offensive skills who struggled to overcome their issues with strikeouts. But Dalbec is also more athletic than most of those low-contact, corner sluggers, and looked great at third base during the Fall League. Realistically, Dalbec’s issues limit him to a bench or platoon role, which is largely enabled by his ability to play third base well. But because there’s superlative power here, the ceiling is sky high if things suddenly click with the bat. Dalbec also spent time pitching in college (he was 91-93 with an average slider), a secondary skill that is of increasing interest to teams, though it’s still just largely considered to be a parlor trick to show off during a blowout.

8. Jay Groome, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Barnegat HS (NJ) (BOS)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/65 45/55 40/50 90-92 / 96

As early as his freshman year of high school, Groome was pegged by those who scouted him as a potential high first round pick. He had a silky smooth delivery and projectable frame, with average big league stuff almost two years before he was even eligible to be drafted. His stuff just ticked up from there, and arguably peaked the summer before his draft year, when Groome would work 92-96 mph in short stints, worked with an easy plus curveball, mixed in an average to above changeup, and did it with that big, athletic frame and a starter’s delivery, all of which led to being a first overall pick favorite at the time. But a myriad of concerns unrelated to Groome’s talent dogged him more than most prep prospects. That, combined with a quickly thickening frame, contributed to his fall out of the top 10 picks of the 2016 draft. Since signing, Groome hasn’t been on the mound much, making just 17 total pro starts due to a back injury and an eventual Tommy John surgery. He’s slated to return to the mound in June or July of 2019. Some scouts are still wary of his high school off-field issues and maxed-out frame, seeing a bunch of 50 or 55 attributes aside from his plus curveball. Those who are still on board note that his changeup was improving and his velo was regularly up to 96 mph prior to surgery, leading them to think that he was just getting back on track. Proponents expect him to pick up where he left off and reach the No. 2 or 3 starter upside he seemed to have at age 17.

40 FV Prospects

9. Bryan Mata, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (BOS)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 50/55 30/45 92-94 / 96

Mata’s conditioning, velocity, and control all fluctuated wildly throughout 2018, and he ended up walking 58 hitters in 72 innings before his season ended in late July due to back tightness. That’s not to say the industry expected Mata to perform. When he began his season at Hi-A, he was only 18 and the youngest pitcher in the league by a wide margin. He was sent to the Futures Game in July despite these struggles because his stuff is quite good. Mata worked more with a two-seamer in 2018 and his ground ball rate rose to 57%. His low, three-quarters slot creates movement on his changeup that pairs well with the two-seamer and also gives right-handed hitters a tougher look at his loopy curveball. He could have four above-average pitches at peak if you count the four- and two-seamers as two separate offerings, but none of it will matter if Mata’s 2018 strike-throwing is the norm going forward. The consensus is that he has feel for creating effective movement on his pitches but not for locating them yet. Proponents think due to his age that Mata will improve and become a No. 4 starter. Detractors are skeptical of his athleticism, his ability to repeat and throw strikes, or both.

10. Travis Lakins, RHP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2015 from Ohio State (BOS)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 45/50 55/55 45/45 92-94 / 96

Two elbow fractures halved Lakins’ 2016 and 2017 seasons and caused him to break camp late in 2018. He was quickly moved to the bullpen last year, and had a healthy, successful season that ended with him claiming a spot on the 40-man. Lakins works a lot with a low-90s cutter that has enough length to miss bats away from righties. After peppering his glove side with cutters, he can throw riding, mid-90s four seamers past hitters at the top of the strike zone, which then sets up his 12-6 curveball beneath it. Relievers with four viable pitches are rare, and Lakins has the stuff to play a valuable multi-inning relief role, though single-inning usage might give him the best shot at staying healthy.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from TCU (BOS)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 60/60 40/45 45/50 93-97 / 99

If forced to pick one prospect from the 2018 draft to throw a big league inning tomorrow, we might pick Feltman, who has an electric fastball/slider combination. As a junior, Feltman struck out 43 batters and walked just six in 24.1 innings, and tied the TCU school record for saves despite being injured for some of his junior year. His fastball is hard and comes in at a tough angle, while his slider has bat-missing vertical action. Barring injury, Feltman should be a quick-moving reliever and has a chance to turn into a late-inning arm.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Florida Atlantic (BOS)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/45 45/45 30/40 50/50 50/55 60/60

Chatham played on Miami-area powerhouse high school team American Heritage with Zack Collins, and stood out defensively for being a long-limbed athlete with a plus arm and above average defensive ability. Collins went to Miami and became a top ten pick while Chatham went to Florida Atlanta and became a second round talent. Over 2.5 seasons, he has played only 156 games due to multiple injuries. He has viable infield defensive ability and above-average bat control with some doubles pop, but also has some clear offensive limitations. He had a mostly healthy 2018 at Hi-A, and should begin 2019 on the doorstep of a big league utility role.

13. Jarren Duran, CF
Drafted: 7th Round, 2018 from Long Beach State (BOS)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/55 30/45 70/70 40/50 40/40

The trajectory of Duran’s summer and fall rise is unique. During collegiate scrimmages in the fall of 2017, scouts saw a big, athletic second baseman who was just okay defensively, had an all-fields, line drive approach without much pop, and plus to plus-plus speed. Duran had a fine junior spring, but hit for almost no power (which perhaps should be expected in a pitcher-friendly home stadium like Blair Field in Long Beach) and slipped to the seventh round as a nearly-22-year-old with a modest statistical track record. After signing, the Red Sox had Duran change his swing a bit in BP to see if they could tap into something more, and the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Duran started showing above-average pull power. Boston also moved him to center field, where his long-range speed fits better than it did on the infield. He crushed short season and Low-A after signing. For Long Beach State, Duran had 13 extra base hits in 253 PA in 2018; across two pro levels, he had 28 extra base hits in 302 PA, including 11 triples. There are multiple examples of hitters, including Matt Chapman and several of the Stanford guys, who had breakouts after leaving overly-traditional west coast college hitting programs. Duran may be the most recent.

Drafted: 21th Round, 2018 from George Jenkins HS (FL) (BOS)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 55/60 35/50 40/40 40/50 50/50

Howlett was a known prospect in Florida for years and was on a trajectory to go in the top five rounds after a strong start to his spring, but he finished poorly, including a brutal NHSI tournament where all 30 teams had multiple scouts on hand. Howlett swung and missed a ton in front of dozens of high level evaluators, when many had pegged him as the sleeper prospect to break out at the event. The Red Sox found after signing him that he had an issue with his contacts, giving him particular trouble in day games (which all of the games at NHSI were), and got him squared away before his pro career began. Howlett hit six homers in 43 pro games with a manageable strikeout rate that surprised many amateur scouts who had discounted his hitting ability earlier that year. He’s often compared to Northcut since they both play third base and were widely-scouted later-round finds for Boston. Howlett has a little better feel to hit and ability to tap into his power in game situations, but is a little behind Northcut defensively.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 18.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/55 35/40 20/35 80/80 45/55 45/45

Jimenez is a scout favorite and probably the highest-rated of the true sleepers on this list. The Sox 2017 international signing class is already paying dividends with Flores, Jimenez, Bello and Diaz all among the org’s top 20 prospects while none have played longer than a week in the GCL. Jimenez is described as a running back playing baseball due to his sneaky athleticism in a compact frame, his all-out style, and standout work ethic. Depending on whom you ask, he’s either a 70 or 80 runner, but his instincts on the bases and in the field aren’t up to snuff just yet. Since there isn’t much raw power presently, he plays more of a slap-and-dash, small-ball game that accentuates his speed. This limits his upside a bit, but when you look back at prospects who outplay their projections, scouts will often point to a name and tell you not to underrate plus athletes with plus makeup; we were aggressive in ranking Jimenez for that reason.

16. Mike Shawaryn, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Maryland (BOS)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/50 45/50 89-92 / 93

Shawaryn’s prospect stock peaked when he was a dominant college sophomore at Maryland. Injury and a downtick in stuff plagued him as a junior and he fell to the fifth round of his draft. Shawaryn has traversed the whole of the minors as a starter but ultimately might fit best in relief due to some of his stuff’s limitations. He has a funky, low-slot delivery that creates cuttery, horizontal movement on his slider; it’s his best way to miss bats. His changeup and fastball (which was only in the upper-80s for much of his time in the Arizona Fall League) are both fringy on their own but play up a bit due to the deceptive funk in his delivery. Shawaryn fits in a No. 5 starter/swingman relief role, and could be ready in 2019.

17. Denyi Reyes, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 45/50 45/55 88-90 / 92

As rare as complete games have become at the big league level, they’re even rarer in the minors, where developmental caution takes precedence over single-game results. A hyper-efficient strike-thrower, Reyes threw two complete games in 2018 (and needed less than 100 pitches in both) and also had an 8-inning outing against Columbia in July. Though he doesn’t throw that hard, Reyes’ propels himself way down the mound and has super long arms that help him generate big extension, which help his upper-80s fastball play like one in the low-90s. His fastball angle isn’t great for missing bats, but his changeup and curveball are both effective, though not dominant, alternatives. Reyes profiles as an efficient backend starter.

18. Brayan Bello, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 50/55 45/55 30/50 91-95 / 96

A hard-throwing, flexible teenage righty who had a strong summer in the DSL, Bello came stateside for a single GCL outing, then later went to instructional league for shorter outings during which he’d flash three above-average pitches. His build and arm action both portend greater, potentially significant velocity. He has No. 4 starter stuff if things come together, but he’s probably several years away.

19. Daniel Diaz, 3B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (BOS)
Age 18.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 55/60 20/50 50/40 40/50 60/60

Diaz was the Red Sox top international signing in 2017, getting $1.6 million, just ahead of now-superior prospect Antoni Flores’ $1.4 million bonus. Diaz was solid in the DSL last year and made his stateside debut during instructional league. He’s already a big kid — scouts estimate 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds or so, much more than where he’s listed — and he’s unlikely to be a third baseman long term, but players this young still have the opportunity to reshape their bodies pretty significantly. He has plus arm strength and raw power, but there’s also some question about how much he’ll hit, due to an aggressive, power-first approach that needs to be dialed in. Diaz is limited to a corner and there are questions about his position and hitting ability, so he’s a wait-and-see case for now, but he has ceiling because of the power and could generate above-average offense as a third baseman.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Mason HS (OH) (BOS)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/45 60/60 30/50 45/40 45/55 55/55

Northcut drew wide-ranging takes from scouts in the year leading up to signing with the Red Sox as an 11th rounder from an Ohio high school. He played on the Evoshield Canes, the top travel team in the country, and was scouted often, with a decent but not great glove at third base, above average to plus power, and some feel for hitting and game power, but seemed a mid-round prospect. In the spring and into pro ball, Northcut slimmed up a bit and now projects as at least average at third base, with similar raw power, but some pro scouts questioned his feel to hit. All the elements have been there at some point over the past year and some amateur scouts were really in on Northcut — one said he saw a lot of Austin Riley in him — but didn’t realize his price would end up being as low as it was once he started sliding in the draft.

21. Roniel Raudes, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Nicaragua (BOS)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 45/55 40/50 89-91 / 93

After pushing him very quickly at the onset of his pro career, in 2018 the Red Sox throttled down Raudes’ development and had him repeat Hi-A. He regressed statistically (his strikeout rate was down, and his walk rate stayed just below average after regressing in 2017) before he succumbed to a June elbow injury that cost him the remainder of his summer. Raudes started throwing harder in 2018 and remains a projectable, athletic 20-year-old with a great arm action and some changeup feel. That’s still a lot of good stuff, even though other aspects of his profile have either plateaued or gone backward. We hope the fastball control comes back and think Raudes can pitch at the back of a rotation if it does.

22. Bobby Poyner, LHP
Drafted: 14th Round, 2015 from Florida (BOS)
Age 26.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
40/40 50/50 55/55 50/50 60/60 88-92 / 93

Oddly, because four-pitch lefties with command typically find their way into a rotation, Poyner has run the pro ball gamut exclusively as a reliever, with a long track record of performance in that role. His changeup is excellent, but the rest of his stuff is largely enabled by his command. He’s a big league-ready middle reliever.

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Campana has strikeout issues that are fed by lever length and mediocre bat control, but he still got to much of his considerable raw power in 2018 and logged 42 extra-base hits as a 20-year-old in full-season ball. A wiry 6-foot-4, Campana could have plus raw power at maturity, which would carry a corner outfield profile if he can hit enough. Successful outcomes for skillsets like this can still be volatile at the big league level, with Domingo Santana and Avisail Garcia as contemporary examples.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (BOS)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/60 45/50 45/55 87-89 / 92

Diaz had a strong 2018 repeating Low-A as a 21-year-old (153 innings, 147 K, 39 BB, 53% GB%). He’s a husky, low-slot, pitchability lefty with a rainbow curveball and average changeup. The changeup may need to get a bit better to keep righties from teeing off on his fastball, but Diaz also hides the ball really well and can throw his curveball for strikes in fastball counts, so perhaps he already does enough to make the lack of velocity matter less. He profiles as an innings-eating No. 5 starter or long reliever.

25. Eduardo Lopez, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 16.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Lopez was the Red Sox top signing in the 2018 July 2nd period and the club thinks they have one of the safer bets in the class, due to his feel to hit and instincts. Some scouts saw Lopez without much power and with fringy speed and arm strength, but as is the nature of international showcases, often clubs get a look or two at a player when he is 14 or 15 years old, then won’t see him again until instructional league almost 18 months later. Players can change significantly from those limited and early looks, while feel for hitting and defensive instincts are often not obvious unless the club puts in extra work, which not all clubs can do for every player. The Red Sox and rival scouts see an above average bat, average speed, and feel for the game. Some clubs see that as a bat-first left fielder with limited projection, while the Red Sox see a center fielder with a plus bat, a combo that can post a sneaky 3-win season every now and then.

26. Yoan Aybar, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

After four fruitless pro seasons as an outfielder, Aybar moved to the mound in 2018. He spent most of his 2018 season in Florida — first in extended spring training, then the GCL, then Instructional League — throwing really hard (94-97, up to 100) and flashing the occasional above-average slider. Without context, Aybar is raw for a 21-year-old but perhaps someone so new to pitching, with this kind of arm strength and fledgling feel for spin, has potential for growth. Aybar is Rule 5 eligible next year.

Other Prospects of Note

Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Upper-level Hitters
Brett Netzer, 2B
Josh Ockimey, 1B
Roldani Baldwin, C

Netzer is a Tommy LaStella type: fine at second base, an advanced hit tool with a little bit of power, and probably just a good bench bat. Ockimey shows plus power and patience at the plate, but the average will be low and he’s a 30 athlete who some scouts think is a DH-only, so it’s going to be tough to profile. Baldwin has some pop, but isn’t a lock to catch and he’s had injury issues, including a concussion.

Lower-level Hitters
Kole Cottam, C
Cedanne Rafeala, OF
Tyler Dearden, OF
Bryan Gonzalez, RF
Albert Feliz, OF
Eduardo Vaughan, CF

Cottam, 21, is either short on arm strength or defensive ability behind the plate (maybe both) depending on who you ask, but he has plus power and hit 19 homers for Kentucky last year, so there’s some Mike Napoli type upside if it all works out. Rafaela, 18, is a Curacao-born Ronald Torreyes-type, about 5-foot-8 and a multi-positional plus runner with bat control and sneaky tools. If we’re talking upside, one scout said Dearden, 20, could be Cody Bellinger if it all goes perfectly, with a similar frame and swing, but he’s a raw cold-weather player who hasn’t reached Low-A yet, so he’s a wait-and-see case. Gonzalez and Feliz are 2018 July 2 signees. Both have plus raw power and strong frames now, but Gonzalez has the arm for right and a little better feel to hit at the moment. Vaughan is a very raw projection type with some average current tools, but he’s the sort who could take a big step forward.

Relevant Pitching Depth
Chandler Shepherd, RHP
Josh Taylor, LHP
Colten Brewer, RHP

Brewer was acquired for Esteban Quiroz this winter and relies heavily on a 92-94 mph plus cutter, mixing in a solid curveball. He put up great numbers in Triple-A and might be a middle relief piece. Shepherd is an inventory arm with a standout curveball who’s likely a long reliever in the big leagues. Taylor was acquired from Arizona for Deven Marrero and has a big arm that’s been into the upper-90’s, but the rest comes and goes. He was added to the 40-man this offseason.

Lower-level arms
Alexander Montero, RHP
Thad Ward, RHP
Also Ramirez, RHP
Jake Thompson, RHP

Thompson looked like a real prospect after going in the fourth round in 2017 from Oregon State, hitting 98 mph with a starter look in his pro debut, but everything backed up this year. He’s still throwing pretty hard but hasn’t performed. Ramirez is a 17-year-old Mexican pitcher who would’ve gone to the GCL last summer if not for fatigue; he has advanced feel of a four pitch mix and looks like a potential starter. Ward had a velo jump at UCF this spring, going from 88-91 to 91-95, touching 96 mph, but was used heavily and regressed in his pro debut. There’s a slider that is a consistent 55 and flashes 60, and solid command that should allow him to start for a bit in pro ball, but his skinny frame will likely limit him to relief.

System Overview

This system is bad, though it got that way in part because talent from it was used to build a championship team, which is the very best of reasons to have a bad farm system. Still, this group is more compelling than the one we wrote up last year now that the 2017 IFA group has already had several members who have asserted themselves as the system’s most interesting players to follow. The Red Sox have a strong recent track record in Latin America. Former International Director Eddie Romero was promoted to Assistant GM while former Mets International Director Chris Becerra, who signed several of the Mets’ prospects near the top of our recent audit of that org, was brought in to replace him. The Red Sox domestic talent acquisition is going to be limited as long as they’re fielding a good big league team, but we expect the international talent to keep flowing.


Top 25 Prospects: New York Mets

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the New York Mets. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Mets Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Peter Alonso 24.1 AAA 1B 2019 50
2 Andres Gimenez 20.3 AA SS 2020 50
3 Ronny Mauricio 17.8 R SS 2023 50
4 Mark Vientos 19.1 R 3B 2022 50
5 Shervyen Newton 19.7 R SS 2022 45+
6 David Peterson 23.3 A+ LHP 2019 45
7 Simeon Woods Richardson 18.3 R RHP 2022 45
8 Thomas Szapucki 22.6 A LHP 2021 45
9 Anthony Kay 23.8 A+ LHP 2021 40+
10 Desmond Lindsay 22.0 A+ CF 2020 40+
11 Francisco Alvarez 16.6 R C 2023 40+
12 Franklyn Kilome 23.5 AA RHP 2019 40
13 Will Toffey 24.0 AA 3B 2020 40
14 Carlos Cortes 21.5 A- LF 2021 40
15 Adrian Hernandez 17.9 R CF 2022 40
16 Junior Santos 17.4 R RHP 2023 40
17 Walker Lockett 24.7 AAA RHP 2018 40
18 Sam Haggerty 24.6 AAA 2B 2020 40
19 Tony Dibrell 23.2 A RHP 2020 40
20 Christian James 20.6 AA RHP 2021 40
21 Ryley Gilliam 22.4 A- RHP 2020 40
22 Gavin Cecchini 25.0 MLB 2B 2018 35+
23 Nick Meyer 21.9 A- C 2021 35+
24 Ryder Ryan 23.7 AA RHP 2020 35+
25 Jordan Humphreys 22.6 A+ RHP 2021 35+

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Florida (NYM)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/50 80/80 55/70 30/30 40/40 50/50

Alonso followed up a breakout 2017 with a minor league leading 36-home run 2018 campaign split between Double-A Binghamton and Triple-A launching pad Las Vegas. In addition to clubbing the most home runs, Alonso hit some of 2018’s loudest individual blasts. He had the most prolific batting practice session at the Futures Game, then threatened a passing satellite with a titanic seventh-inning homer off of a grooved, 95 mph Adonis Medina fastball. He exceeded Mets Statcast-era records on a ball in play in the Arizona Fall League, out-hit Vlad Guerrero, Jr. during Fall Stars BP, then homered the opposite way off a 103 mph Nate Pearson fastball in the game. This is what top-of-the-scale, strength-driven raw power looks like, and it drives an excellent version of a profile we’re typically quite bearish on: the heavy-bodied, right/right first baseman. Alonso is tough to beat with velocity because his swing is compact and even when he’s a little late, he’s capable of muscling mis-hit balls out the other way. After some adjustment, Fall League pitching chose to attack him beneath the knees, and well-located pitches down there were successful, but Alonso crushes mistake breaking balls that catch too much of the zone. We think a typical Alonso season will look like something between what C.J. Cron and Jesus Aguilar did last year, depending on whether the 2018 uptick in Alonso’s walk rate holds water or not. He makes some nice effort-based plays at first base, but as a feet and hands athlete, Alonso is well below average. Perhaps more notable than what we anticipate will be several years of mashing in the heart of the Mets lineup, Alonso is also a favorite to become the poster child for player compensation reform. Already near the center of public discourse regarding teams’ suppression of prospect promotion, he is 24 years old and has a skillset and body type at heightened risk to enter physical decline relatively early. With his early-career earning power stifled by his parent club, Alonso might start to show signs of physical regression during his arbitration years and also struggle to find a lucrative market in free agency. His free agency is timed awkwardly between what will probably be the next two CBA negotiations, but otherwise the circumstances indicate his situation could one day be a focal point for change.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (NYM)
Age 20.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 40/45 30/45 60/55 50/55 55/55

While evaluations of his defense are universally strong, assessments of Gimenez’s bat vary significantly depending on when he was seen. He looked like a well-rounded, first-division player while he was hitting with pleasantly surprising power (.282/.343/.432 with 30 extra-base hits in 85 games) at Hi-A St. Lucie during the season’s first half, but like much less of one during a rough six weeks in the Arizona Fall League. In Fall League, Gimenez looked physically overmatched at the plate, likely due to exhaustion. He was still 19 when the Mets promoted him to Double-A for the season’s final six weeks, and his sophomoric body had endured a 122-game season against older, more physically developed athletes before he had even set foot in Arizona. It’s fair to project Gimenez to add strength, but because his frame is small, it’ll probably be just the kind of strength that gives him season-long stamina, not huge raw power. But while big raw power is unlikely, if his feel for contact is refined in a way that prioritizes lift, it’s possible that Gimenez will end up hitting for more power than we project in the same way Ozzie Albies has. Gimenez has excellent natural bat control and can pull his hands in to get the barrel on pitches that would jam other hitters, and he has feel for fully extending on balls away from him and roping them into the opposite-field gap. If he does, he might end up hitting a ton of doubles and out-slug our projections without hitting a lot of home runs, or he may naturally start lifting the ball like Albies did. In general, we like Gimenez as an above-average defensive middle infielder with advanced contact skills. We think he’ll be a solid-average everyday player, and while we think it’s unlikely, we can see a developmental path that leads to better production than that.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 17.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 166 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 45/55 20/50 45/50 40/50 55/60

Much of scouting teenage prospects has to do with identifying good athletes and good frames, and like many of this century’s All-Star, power-hitting shortstops, Ronny Mauricio is both. A broad-shouldered but lean 6-foot-3, Mauricio looks like Manny Machado, and Hanley Ramirez, and Carlos Correa, and a host of other super talents all did at age 17: long-limbed, with surprising grace, flexibility, and coordination for someone this age and size, and possessed of physical gifts that might enable them to stay at shortstop while also growing into huge power. The Goldilocks Zone. But Mauricio is also more than just a frame/athleticism/projection bet. He has relatively advanced feel to hit for a teenage switch-hitter, his timing is fine, and he hasn’t exhibited any confidence-altering, contact-related red flags, like lever length or poor plate discipline. He may outgrow shortstop but if he does, it means big power on a plus-gloved third baseman. We were surprised by Mauricio’s GCL assignment, and then surprised further by both his admirable statistical performance there and his late-season promotion to Kingsport. He might be ushered through the system more quickly than we anticipated when he signed. Regardless of where he’s playing, once Mauricio turns a physical corner, he’s likely to rocket up this list.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from American Heritage HS (FL) (NYM)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 60/70 40/55 40/35 35/45 55/60

Vientos got on the national scouting stage as a prep underclassman when he flashed first round tools despite being very young for his draft class, which is pretty unusual. He didn’t hit as much as expected as a senior and some scouts questioned his defensive ability, competitiveness, and feel to hit, so he slipped to the second round despite flashing big power and being 17 on draft day, something that is generally really attractive to analytically-leaning clubs. Vientos performed fine in his pro debut, but broke out in his second year, crushing the Appalachian League at age 18 in 2018. He controlled the strike zone and hit for power while exhibiting very high exit velos for someone his age. Vientos is advanced mechanically, making him a potential 6 bat/6 power combination at maturity if he continues at this trajectory. The competitiveness that some scouts questioned showed up in 2018 when Jarred Kelenic arrived in Kingsport and became the top prospect on the team, and then when Ronny Mauricio, Luis Santana, and Shervyen Newton were all top 10 prospects in the system in an infield time-share with him. If the makeup has turned a corner and the hitting continues to progress, the main issue will be defensive fit. Vientos is a well below average runner who one scout described as ‘athletic from the knees up,’ to the point where the lack of quickness will limit him to being average defensively, but he’s far from that right now. One Mets source drew a parallel to Nolan Arenado’s makeup and defensive concerns, which quickly evaporated in the upper minors as he turned into the best third baseman in baseball, but that seems unlikely at this point.

45+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Netherlands (NYM)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 20/50 50/50 40/50 55/55

Newton was the best of a small contingent of prospects who the Mets pushed right past the GCL and straight to advanced rookie-level Kingsport for their first American summer. There, Newton outperformed even the most optimistic expectations, hitting .280/.408/.449 with 23 extra-base hits. Newton is much more of a physical marvel on which to dream than he is a polished performer. At a very projectable 6-foot-4, he’s the size of an NFL wide receiver prospect and already has considerable raw power that projects to plus at maturity. It’s rare for infielders this size to stay at shortstop, but Newton looks natural and comfortable there even though he clearly hasn’t totally grown into his body yet and appears uncoordinated at other times. Even if he outgrows short, switch-hitting third basemen with power are extremely valuable. Newton has less bat control and feel to hit than his .280 batting average would otherwise indicate, and there’s a chance he’s always strikeout prone and doesn’t get to some of his power. But it’s unreasonable to expect a switch-hitting teenager this size to have fully sentient bat control, and the ceiling on Newton if everything actualizes is superstardom. This is one of the more high-variance prospects in the minor leagues.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Oregon (NYM)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/45 50/55 45/55 89-91 / 93

Peterson was a known prep prospect as an underclassman in Colorado due to his 6-foot-6 frame and ability to touch 90 mph from the left side at an early age. The limitation here is that Peterson has essentially never had a plus pitch and doesn’t project to have one, working downhill from a steep plane and great extension with a low-90’s sinker and an above-average four pitch mix. He doesn’t have high spin rates on his breaking stuff and pitches more to weak contact, looking like a steady, durable, roughly league-average starter even as a college player. His feel to pitch and mix offerings in different locations is advanced, so the expectation here is for Peterson to save the Mets some money on that No. 3 or 4 starter that so many teams overpay for in free agency.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Kempner HS (TX) (NYM)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/60 45/55 40/55 92-94 / 97

An athletic, outwardly competitive two-way high schooler, Woods Richardson would also have been a prospect as a power-hitting third baseman were he not so good on the mound. His vertically oriented release point makes it hard for him to work his fastball east and west, and several teams had him evaluated as a future reliever before the draft because they saw a lack of fastball command. But this vertical release also enables him to effectively change hitters’ eye level by pairing fastballs up with breaking balls down, and he has a plus breaking ball. Woods Richardson works so quickly that it often makes hitters uncomfortable, though scouts love it. He’s also shown some nascent changeup feel, but it will be hard to turn the cambio over consistently from his arm slot. Though he was one of the 2018 draft’s youngest prospects, his frame is pretty mature, so we’re not rounding up on the fastball even though he’s still a teenager. His reasonable floor is that of a high-leverage or multi-inning reliever (a role that would seem to suit his fiery on-mound presence), but if a third impact pitch develops he could be a mid-rotation starter.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Dwyer HS (FL) (NYM)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 40/50 40/50 91-95 / 96

Szapucki is another player on this list who stood out early in his prep career, and ranked near the top of his class as a prep sophomore because he could get into the low-90s with a high-spin breaking ball from a tough arm slot. He slipped to the fifth round in his draft year as some scouts were worried his crossfire delivery was both an injury risk and the underlying reason for his command issues, and would be tough to “correct.” The injury concerns were mostly accurate, as Szapucki had shoulder soreness that led into Tommy John surgery in July 2017. He’s back on the mound and every indication is that he’ll be able to return to his prior form, when he dominated the minor leagues to the tune of 116 strikeouts to 30 walks over 18 appearances before his arm trouble. Szapucki gets into the mid-90s with a plus curveball and flashes an average changeup from that tough slot and knows how to use his stuff to elicit chase swings, even though his control is average at best. The Mets have no plans to develop him in the bullpen in the short-term, but it seems very possible that his durability and style of pitching may fit best in a Josh Hader-type role.

40+ FV Prospects

9. Anthony Kay, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from UConn (NYM)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 218 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 50/55 45/50 91-94 / 96

21 months elapsed between when Kay signed his pro contract and when he finally threw a pitch in affiliated ball. UConn rode him hard during his junior year in Storrs. He faced 36 hitters in a March game the Huskies won 18-to-1. During conference tournament play, Kay threw a complete game, then pitched again during the tournament on three days rest; he threw 90 pitches amid an hour-long lightning delay. It was unsurprising when he blew out in the fall of 2016. When Kay finally returned last year, he looked markedly different than he did in college when he was a lefty changeup monster with mediocre velocity. Kay’s fastball has ticked up and now sits at about 93 mph instead of peaking there, and his two-plane breaking ball is better. His once-dominant changeup has regressed. There’s a strong chance Kay ends up as a good lefty reliever but if the changeup ever returns, he could be a No. 4 starter.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Out of Door Academy HS (FL) (NYM)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 30/50 60/55 45/50 50/50

Lindsay was frustrating to scout as an amateur. He flashed plus speed, potential plus power, and plus bat speed, but also suffered through a number of nagging injuries on his way to being a speculative second round pick by the Mets. The raw tools have still been there in pro ball but so have the nagging injuries, mostly of the hamstring and elbow variety. Lindsay also hasn’t shown much bat control at any point in his career, so his path to success (after staying healthy) is as a lower average hitter with some power playing a solid average center field. He’ll find himself lower on this list if he doesn’t stay healthy and produce this year, but there’s a route for him to turn into a player along the lines of new Mets center fielder Keon Broxton.

11. Francisco Alvarez, C
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (NYM)
Age 16.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 50/50 20/45 45/35 40/50 55/55

Alvarez received one of the top bonuses in the most recent July 2nd class, signing for $2.7 million with the Mets. He’s a physically-mature Venezuelan catcher, a demographic with a solid track record, even more so when you consider that Alvarez himself has a long track record of hitting in games and some present raw power. He projects to stick behind the plate with solid defensive tools and enough athleticism, though some scouts are tougher on the finer points of his framing and throwing technique, which is pretty typical for a catching prospect this age. There isn’t a plus tool, but the now skills and hit tool, all at a premium position, makes Alvarez one of the safer bets in his class and among all prospects of this age.

40 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 45/50 40/40 92-94 / 96

Kilome was markedly better after the Mets acquired him from Philadelphia for Asdrubal Cabrera ahead of the deadline. In seven starts with Binghamton, Kilome halved his walk rate (his strike % was up six percentage points), flashed a better changeup than he had earlier in the year, and turned in his best performance of the season, striking out 10 former Reading teammates on August 3rd. After things had plateaued for so long with Philly, he seemed to be improving. Then he broke, and at an unfortunate time. Tommy John in late October means Kilome, who’s already relatively raw for a prospect his age, may not throw another professional pitch until mid-2020, when he’s 25. We think this makes it significantly more likely that Kilome ends up in relief and while we think he could be a dominant three-pitch reliever, it has also delayed his timeline to the big leagues by perhaps two years, putting him in line to debut near the same time as similar talents who just wrapped a season in A-ball.

13. Will Toffey, 3B
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Vanderbilt (OAK)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/50 50/50 30/40 50/50 50/55 70/70

Toffey was scouted heavily as a senior in high school as his teammate, right-handed pitcher Austin DeCarr, went in the third round to the Yankees and signed for $1 million; Toffey was a Yankees’ 23rd round pick, but he ended up going to Vanderbilt. He was an eligible sophomore in 2016 but hadn’t progressed much in two years, still not showing much power or loft at the plate to make pitchers pay for using his eye to get into good counts. That changed in 2017, when Toffey’s OPS jumped 424 points. He went from 0 homers to 12 and cut his strikeout rate by over 5%, all while continuing to show above average defense at third base. Since he was 22 years old during that breakout season and has only average raw power, some scouts weren’t sold on Toffey’s everyday potential, so he lasted until the fourth round where Oakland took him. Toffey was traded to the Mets this summer in the Jeurys Familia trade. He needed to perform and move quickly through the minors to stay on schedule to reach his everyday upside and he’s mostly done that. Toffey will open in Double-A at age 24 and could get a big league look in late 2019 if he keeps hitting this way, but if he shows more corner platoon upside, as scouts expect him to, he’ll work through some growing pains in the upper levels this year.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from South Carolina (NYM)
Age 21.5 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / S FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 35/55 40/40 40/45 45/45

Cortes was a bit of an oddity as a prep underclassman, a switch-thrower who played multiple positions and had elite bat control. His body went south a bit from that point and he’s lost some athleticism; he’s now a left fielder or first baseman after a stint at second base and a short-lived attempt to catch. Cortes has plus raw power and a good lefty swing with some bat control, but not as much as he used to have, and it’s further undermined by his power-based approach. He was streaky at South Carolina, getting hot in the second half of his draft year. Scouts who see him when he’s running well think he has elite offensive ability, and given the defensive and physical limitations, Cortes will have to be an elite offensive force to be more than a platoon corner bat. We’ll probably know if that’s possible in the next year or so.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 17.9 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/55 20/50 55/50 40/50 50/50

Signed for $1.5 million in 2017, Hernandez is a physical power/speed center field prospect who showed a proclivity for pull-side lift as an amateur. Built like an M-80 at 5-foot-9, 210 pounds, Hernandez lacks body-based power projection, but he already has some pop, and his frame is so compact that it’d be surprising if he thickened enough to necessitate a move out of center field. He had a pull-heavy, somewhat limited approach to contact as an amateur, but his first pro summer was free of statistical red flags. How his bat-to-ball skills and plate discipline develop will dictate his future role, and it’s hard to have great feel for either of those variables. He’s here largely because we like the defensive profile and raw power.

16. Junior Santos, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 17.4 Height 6′ 8″ Weight 218 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/50 40/50 40/55 91-94 / 97

Trenta-sized teenagers who throw in the mid-90s don’t typically have any idea where its going, but Santos threw strikes so efficiently for two months in the DSL that the Mets thought him fit for an August promotion. He made his stateside debut just before his 17th birthday and walked just six hitters in 50 innings all summer. So Santos has rare size, precocious velocity, and control, though much of the rest of the profile has room for improvement. He exhibits neither notable raw spin nor feel for locating his current breaking ball, a low-80s slurve. There’s a strong chance Santos tries several iterations of various breaking balls during the course of his development and the one(s) he ends up with will probably look much different than what he’s currently using. At this point in his development, we just care about the raw spin, a trait of limited malleability, and Santos’ is just okay. It’s reasonable to hope he grows into elite velocity. The fact that he’s throwing this hard at this age and at this size is encouraging, though he’s less projectable than one would probably assume given his age and height. All talk of Santos’ physical progression centers around reshaping his current frame rather than just adding mass, as he’s already pretty filled out. This clouds the fastball projection somewhat, but he’ll probably still end up throwing really hard. There’s need for significant development throughout the rest of the repertoire, and it’s more likely that a portion of that happens (resulting in a back-of-the rotation or bullpen role) than it is that all of it does (resulting in stardom). He signed for $250,000 in 2017.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2012 from Providence HS (FL) (SDP)
Age 24.7 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 50/55 40/45 92-95 / 96

Lockett, who made his major league debut in 2018, was first traded from San Diego to Cleveland for teenage right-handed pitcher Ignacio Feliz and then to the Mets in the Kevin Plawecki deal later in the offseason. He has a mid-90s sinker that has significant tail when Lockett is locating it to his arm side, but it’s hittable and straight in most parts of the strike zone. His fastball’s movement pairs well with a power, mid-80s changeup that also has arm side action; Lockett works left-handed hitters away with these two offerings. His curveball has good shape and bite, but Lockett struggles to set it up for whiffs because his fastball is hittable in the top of the zone. He needs a weapon that works in on the hands of lefties, like a cutter. If he can find one, he’ll be a fine backend starter.

18. Sam Haggerty, 2B
Drafted: 24th Round, 2015 from New Mexico (CLE)
Age 24.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 45/45 20/30 60/60 50/55 50/50

Haggerty was acquired from Cleveland in the January Kevin Plawecki trade. He’s an athletic, multi-positional defender with hands, actions, and arm strength enabling him to play all over the infield, and speed that might make him a plus corner outfield defender as he continues to play and learn the position. A switch-hitter with a simple swing and conservative approach to contact, Haggarty’s best offensive skill is his eye for the strike zone, which has enabled him to walk at a 13% career clip. He is limited from both a power and bat-to-ball standpoint, so it’s possible his patience will be irrelevant if big league pitching decides he’s not a threat to do damage on his own and make it a point to let him put the ball in play. Through Double-A, though, this hasn’t happened. The oft-injured Haggerty fell all the way to the 25th round of the 2015 draft because he dealt with an oblique injury during his draft year and underperformed. His oblique was an issue again in 2017 and he missed some time with a shoulder issue during the early part of 2018. He projects as a versatile defensive replacement and pinch runner.

19. Tony Dibrell, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Kennesaw State (NYM)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/50 45/50 50/55 40/45 90-92 / 94

Dibrell looked like a second round talent at times in college but his velocity and command varied pretty wildly during his draft year at Kennesaw State, and he fell to the fourth round. In his first pro season Dibrell, though somewhat old for the league, tied for the Sally League lead in strikeouts. His velocity held in the low-90s all year and his combination of mechanical deception and four viable pitches projects to fit in the back of a rotation.

Drafted: 14th Round, 2016 from East Lake HS (FL) (NYM)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/55 40/50 40/55 88-92 / 94

Precipitation and misfortune forced Double-A Binghamton to play three double-headers in a row in late May (not on consecutive days, but still) and, suddenly, the club was in need of pitching reinforcements. The Mets promoted James directly from extended spring training to make a spot start, just three days after his 20th birthday. It’s further evidence of James’ advanced on-mound craftsmanship, which enables him to succeed with limited stuff. He has now had two strong years of performance at short-season affiliates on the back of a sinking and tailing upper-80s fastball and a slurvy 78-82 mph breaking ball. James’ delivery is pretty rough but it doesn’t appear to detract from his command, and it may actually help make him tougher for hitters to time. Little things like that are important, as his stuff exists on the margins. If his command maxes out, he’ll be a sinker balling backend starter.

21. Ryley Gilliam, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Clemson (NYM)
Age 22.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/55 40/45 92-94 / 96

Gilliam was the ace starter for one of the most prospect-laden prep teams in the country in 2015, Kennesaw Mountain HS, which was led by 11th overall pick catcher Tyler Stephenson (Reds) and center fielder Reggie Pruitt (Blue Jays), who got a $500,000 bonus in the 24th round. Gilliam could’ve received a low-to-mid six figure bonus out of high school, but instead went to Clemson, where he mostly relieved, a role that agrees with his aggressive approach and standout fastball/curveball combination. Gilliam’s command backed up a bit in 2018, which is why he lasted until the fifth round despite being the sort of up-in-the-zone four-seam fastball and power curveball reliever that clubs now favor due to TrackMan data. If he can dial in his delivery and command, there’s quick-moving setup man potential for the 22-year-old.

35+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2012 from Barbe HS (LA) (NYM)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 196 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Cecchini posted promising strikeout and walk rates in the early part of his career and then suddenly began hitting for power in 2015 and 2016 at Vegas before returning to career norms in 2017. On paper, Cecchini was very intriguing as a young pro because he played shortstop and had such terrific control of the strike zone, but eyeball evaluations were more generic, indicating a bench role at best, and were incongruous with Cecchini’s performance, especially when he suddenly had power. He was sidelined for much of 2018 after he was struck by a pitch on the foot, but he put enough balls in play to note that his pull rate was up and his ground ball rate was down, and a hitter with this kind of innate talent would suddenly become very interesting if a swing change were to coax out some more power. At 25, Cecchini is probably just an up/down utility type, but that’s also what we thought about Jeff McNeil at this time last year.

23. Nick Meyer, C
Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from Cal Poly (NYM)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Meyer is a pretty straightforward prospect, easier to project with fewer unknowns that the teenage prospects in this area of the list. Meyer is an accomplished defender, with a plus arm and at least above average defensive ability. He has some pop (45 raw power, game power below that) and is a solid athlete, but there isn’t much impact with the bat. He leans more contact-oriented in his approach, but often won’t make consistent hard contact, with some timing, pitch recognition, and plate coverage shortcomings at present. He seems likely to reach the upper minors and with some improvement, would get on a 40-man roster and get at least some big league time. If he can improve a little more offensively, then he could carve out a solid career as a backup.

24. Ryder Ryan, RHP
Drafted: 30th Round, 2016 from North Mecklenburg HS (NC) (CLE)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Ryan stood out as a prep sophomore for his big raw power and arm strength, both as a catcher and a pitcher in the low-90s on the mound. He peaked early in that regard, signing for $100,000 late in the 2016 draft when his catching and hitting didn’t progress and he was mostly just a mid-90s arm that occasionally showed command or a breaking ball. That projection has mostly held, as three years later Ryan has reached Double-A as a short reliever, but his breaking ball is consistently average to above and his command has improved, so there’s a clear path to becoming a middle reliever. The Mets acquired him in late 2017 in the Jay Bruce deal with Cleveland.

Drafted: 18th Round, 2015 from Crystal River HS (FL) (NYM)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 223 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Humphreys jumped on most fans’ radar when the 18th round pick, who signed for $150,000 out of a Florida high school, put up gaudy numbers over 26 starts in 2016 and 2017, before needing Tommy John surgery in August of 2017. He should be back on the mound in 2019, but there isn’t as much upside as his numbers would suggest, even if everything comes back as it was before. Humphreys works with three pitches that are all average to slightly above to go with similar command, but his control is above average. The upside is as a No. 4 starter and the reasonable expectation is more of a No. 5 starter, spot starter, or long reliever. This is the kind of pitcher who will excel statistically in the lower levels, where hitters generally aren’t selective and aren’t used to a pitcher who can command three MLB-quality pitches, but that’s the expectation in Double-A. Humphreys is another in a long line of a stated Mets draft strategy: low-bonus, later-round high school pitchers (all from Florida in this case) like John Gant, Erik Manoah, and Christian James. Saul Gonzalez from the 2018 draft, Bryce Hutchinson from 2017, and a couple others in the ‘wait and see’ bucket also fit this description.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Outfield Projects
Freddy Valdez, OF
Stanley Consuegra, OF

Valdez, 17, got $1.5 million in July 2018. He’s a traditional corner outfield power prospect; physical, with a huge frame and natural feel for lift. He’s athletically limited and may end up in left field. Consuegra worked out at shortstop when he was an amateur but his footwork belonged in the outfield and he’s already out there full time. He’s a lean, projectable power bat and will be 18 next season.

Catching Depth
Ali Sanchez, C
Juan Uriarte, C
Wilfred Astudillo, C

Sanchez is an above-average defender with a plus arm and might be a backup, but his bat is so light that that’s probably his ceiling; he might just be a third catcher. Uriarte had a breakout statistical 2017 and had kept his body in check when he broke camp and headed to Brooklyn, but he fouled a ball off of his leg in his first at-bat and didn’t play the rest of the year. He’s picked up offseason reps in Mexico. Astudillo is a squat catcher who has notably low early-career strikeout rates, if you can believe it.

Relief-types
Daniel Zamora, LHP
Bryce Montes de Oca, RHP
Jose Butto, RHP

Zamora got some big league time last year. He’s a low-slot lefty with a pretty extreme horizontal release point who throws a ton of his above-average frisbee slider. His fastball only sits in the upper-80s, so he’s going to have to have pinpoint fastball command to profile as more than lefty specialist. Montes de Oca, 22, is a physical, fireballing reliever who touches 100 but has had injury issues, including a Tommy John in high school and nerve transposition surgery in college. Butto, 20, could be a traditional mid-90s, above-average breaking ball reliever.

Can Play Shortstop
Edgardo Fermin, SS
Luis Carpio, SS

Each of these guys can pick it at short but probably won’t hit enough to be more than a utility type at peak. Fermin has a knack for barreling balls at the top of the zone, though, which we like.

Individuals Who Didn’t Fit Into Another Group
Joe Cavallaro, RHP
Brailin Gonzalez, LHP

Cavallaro is a side-arming righty with a slider that spins at 2650 rpm. He had a good year in A-ball at age 22 and might be a reliever. Gonzalez, 19, is a semi-projectable lefty who can spin a plus slider. He sat in the upper-80s last year and needs more velo to come.

System Overview
The Mets have been aggressive this winter under new GM Brodie Van Wagenen, dealing top 100 prospect and 2018 first round pick Jarred Kelenic and fringe top 100 prospect Justin Dunn, along with a 40+ and three 40 FV prospects. This will likely send what was an average farm system at season’s end to one somewhere in the 20s when we re-rank the farm systems later this winter. The system will produce an everyday player early in 2019 in first baseman Peter Alonso, but he’s the only prospect likely to return any real big league value next year. The exciting part of the system this year will be at Low-A Columbia, where the No. 3, 4, 5, and 7 prospects should all start the year; all show potential to be top 100 prospects in the next 12-18 months. Given the posture Van Wagenen has taken so far, these prospects will either be the potential center pieces of blockbuster deals or the wave of cost-controlled starters who will show up in about three years when the current big league group is losing its effectiveness. This new regime will carryover the same amateur scouting group but will have a new leader internationally, with Omar Minaya overseeing the effort after former director Chris Becerra left for the Red Sox.

Several league sources have told us that the Mets don’t scout beneath full-season ball, which is the opposite of what most others teams are doing as data comes to be a greater and greater part of the player evaluation process at the upper levels of the minors. The Mets haven’t acquired a player below full-season ball since Blake Taylor was the Player to be Named Later in the 2014 Ike Davis deal with Pittsburgh. As New York makes several trades, it appears they’ve mistakenly limited the talent pool from which they’re drawing by only caring about full-season prospects, something that the new regime has to live with this offseason, even if they desire to change it next year, because they simply lack reports on a lot of players.


Top 36 Prospects: Philadelphia Phillies

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Philadelphia Phillies. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Phillies Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Sixto Sanchez 20.4 A+ RHP 2020 60
2 Adonis Medina 22.0 A+ RHP 2020 55
3 Alec Bohm 22.4 A- 3B 2021 50
4 Spencer Howard 22.4 A RHP 2020 50
5 Luis Garcia 18.2 R SS 2023 45+
6 Adam Haseley 22.7 AA CF 2019 45+
7 JoJo Romero 22.3 AA LHP 2019 45
8 Enyel De Los Santos 23.0 MLB RHP 2019 45
9 Simon Muzziotti 20.0 A+ CF 2022 45
10 Francisco Morales 19.2 A- RHP 2022 45
11 Mickey Moniak 20.6 A+ CF 2021 40+
12 Mauricio Llovera 22.7 A+ RHP 2019 40+
13 Ranger Suarez 23.3 MLB LHP 2019 40
14 Rafael Marchan 19.9 A- C 2022 40
15 Daniel Brito 20.9 A+ 2B 2021 40
16 Nick Maton 21.9 A SS 2021 40
17 Arquimedes Gamboa 21.3 A+ SS 2019 40
18 Will Stewart 21.5 A LHP 2021 40
19 Jhailyn Ortiz 20.1 A 1B 2021 40
20 Starlyn Castillo 16.4 None RHP 2024 40
21 Rodolfo Duran 20.9 A C 2021 40
22 Edgar Garcia 22.2 AAA RHP 2019 40
23 Kevin Gowdy 21.1 R RHP 2021 40
24 Kyle Young 21.1 A LHP 2021 35+
25 Kyle Dohy 22.3 AA LHP 2020 35+
26 Jonathan Guzman 19.2 A+ SS 2022 35+
27 Jake Holmes 20.5 A- 3B 2022 35+
28 Zach Warren 22.6 A LHP 2020 35+
29 Victor Santos 18.5 R RHP 2023 35+
30 Raul Rivas 22.2 A+ SS 2021 35+
31 Bailey Falter 21.7 A+ LHP 2021 35+
32 Dominic Pipkin 19.2 R RHP 2023 35+
33 David Parkinson 23.0 A+ LHP 2020 35+
34 Manuel Silva 20.0 A- LHP 2022 35+
35 Alejandro Requena 22.1 A+ RHP 2020 35+
36 Ethan Lindow 20.2 A- LHP 2022 35+

60 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/65 45/50 55/60 50/60 45/55 94-98 / 101

Sanchez’s first 2018 start — during which he walked an uncharacteristically high four hitters and spent much of the outing rotating his head and neck about his shoulders, and stretching his arm and upper back — was perhaps a harbinger of things to come; his season would later end due to multiple injuries. After that rough first start, his stuff and command were as they usually are. He was generating upper-90s velocity with ease, his breaking balls were crisp, and his changeups were well-located and moving. He walked just seven hitters in his final seven starts of the year before succumbing to elbow inflammation, which ended his regular season in early-June. Sanchez rehabbed in Florida in anticipation of an Arizona Fall League assignment and threw some tune up innings early during the 2018 fall instructional league, his stuff intact and ready for Arizona. Then he awoke one morning with soreness in his collarbone. After an MRI it was determined that Sixto would have to shut things down for a bit and head to Arizona quite late, so he was just shelved for the year. Sanchez has now missed time to injury in two consecutive seasons. In each year, he has often been given extended rest between starts and dealt with issues in his neck and collarbone area. That isn’t ideal and all else being equal, we’d rather have a pitching prospect without this kind of injury history. But all else isn’t equal when one lines up Sixto’s stuff and command, both of which are very advanced for a conversion arm so new to pitching, against the stuff and command of other minor league pitchers. This is one of the most talented pitching prospects on Earth, one with top of the rotation potential. He’s still only 20 so the fact that injuries have diluted his innings output isn’t a huge issue yet. Hopefully he has a healthy, robust 2019 and gets back on track to debut in 2020.

55 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/60 50/60 40/50 92-95 / 97

Medina is right there with Sanchez in the Phillies system when it comes to upside. He shows three plus pitches at times and may be a better athlete than Sanchez, so the elements of frontline starter potential are here. Medina works in the mid-90s early in games with plus life and at his best, he’ll pair it with a changeup with similar action and a slider that can play even better than 60 when ideally used and located. Like most young power arms, Medina’s command and velocity degrade in the middle innings as his focus and intensity wane and fatigue starts to set in. More advanced hitters can lay off his lively stuff when it’s more an area-type control than MLB-level pitch execution. Scouts like Medina’s makeup, coachability, and athleticism (most prefer him to Sanchez in this regard) and expect him to continue to improve in these areas.

50 FV Prospects

3. Alec Bohm, 3B
Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Wichita State (PHI)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 65/70 40/60 50/40 40/50 60/60

Bohm was under the scouting radar until a breakout campaign on Cape Cod, during which both he and teammate Greyson Jenista (a second round pick by the Braves) emerged as top tier bats in the 2018 draft. During the spring, Bohm steadily worked his way up from the late first round to the third overall pick by hitting more than scouts expected a long-limbed power threat to hit. Bohm pulls this off by keeping his arms tucked in during his swing and having a flatter plane; as a result he’s both quicker into the zone and in the zone longer than most power hitters. Ideally, hitters with Bohm’s plus-plus power have more loft in their swing plane and extend their arms to generate the most power, with Kris Bryant an example of a hitter with a similar frame and this more power-focused approach. We’re projecting Bohm as a 50 bat with 60 game power, and split the difference a bit — he could go even more extreme for power at the expense of contact — but there are a number of ways this offensive skillset could turn out, particularly with new and more progressive hitting instruction this year for the Phillies. Bohm’s defense also could go a few different ways, depending how much weight he adds to his lean frame and how his lateral quickness ages. Defensively, Bohm looks major league average at times and clearly below average at others, but he’ll get plenty of chances to make things work at third base.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Cal Poly (PHI)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 50/55 55/60 40/45 92-98 / 100

Teams were understandably late to identify Howard as an upper crust draft prospect. He redshirted, then only threw 36 innings the following spring as a redshirt freshman and began his draft year in the bullpen, a relative unknown. He moved to the rotation in March and crosscheckers started showing up to see him much later than is typical for a first look at a second round talent. In 2018, his first full season as a member of the rotation, Howard thrived and late in the year his stuff took off. After two dominant months to close his regular season, Howard threw a no hitter in the Sally League playoffs. During that stretch, he was sitting 94-98 for much of his starts and flashing three good secondary pitches, the best of which is a disappearing, low-80s changeup. Howard can also freeze hitters with a mid-70s curveball and use it to get ahead, and his mid-80s slider has enough length to miss bats away from righties. Though he has below average fastball command, Howard’s ability to throw his breaking balls for strikes significantly improves his chances of starting. His inning count in 2018 (112) was about the same as it was if you combine his college and pro workload from 2017, and it’s fair to assume that even if Philly wants to him to throw more innings, an innings cap might impede a 2019 debut, even if Howard’s stuff is ready. He has considerable upside if he can retain his stuff while carrying a 160-plus inning burden.

45+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 18.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/50 20/40 55/55 50/55 60/60

Garcia signed for the fifth highest bonus in the 2017 July 2nd class, among a few already-elite prospects like Rookie of the Year Shohei Ohtani, Rays shortstop Wander Franco, Diamondbacks outfielder Kristian Robinson and Mets shortstop Ronny Mauricio. Garcia could be next in line to jump into the 50 FV tier during the 2019 season, building on a solid pro debut in 2018, where he improved his already-impressive tool profile. To clarify any confusion, it’s worth noting that there is another, very similar middle infield prospect with the Nationals of the same name who was also born in the same year. The Phillies’ Garcia has an above average hit tool to go with above average speed, defense, and arm strength at shortstop, so it won’t be a long journey to turn into a regular if he can maintain those current tools. He’s played just 43 official minor league games and has an unsustainably-high .418 BABIP, but the performance also supports the standout skillset. Some scouts argue there isn’t a plus tool here other than arm strength, so you can’t stuff Garcia too high until he’s done a little more in official games, but he’s already among the top 200 prospects or so in baseball. Some see sneaky potential average raw power down the road, which Garcia could mostly get to in games if he ends up being the plus hitter some are projecting, though some scouts see 45 hit and 40 power, given the limited pro looks they’ve had. It’s also worth noting that Garcia has become close friends with Alec Bohm; the pair could team up to form half of the infield of the future in Philadelphia. Garcia will definitely be one to watch closely in 2019 as there’s some in-season ceiling to his potential ranking, particularly if he can perform the way the Nationals’ Luis Garcia did this past year; that Garcia reached High-A at age 18.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Virginia (PHI)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/55 40/45 55/55 45/45 45/45

Haseley was an intriguing two-way talent with a big price tag and decent tools out of an Orlando-area high school. In college, he stood out playing both ways for the Cavaliers, emerging in his draft year as an elite hitter. He’d still pitched his whole career, so some scouts saw further offensive potential beyond Haseley’s dominating draft year due to an exclusive pro focus on hitting, excellent exit velocities, and a quirky, flat-planed swing that could be streamlined in pro ball. He’s made some subtle changes to his swing but he’s still mostly the same player he was in his draft year at Virginia. Haseley is fringy to average for most scouts in center field. His pitcher arm strength doesn’t translate to the outfield, but he would be an above average left fielder if he can’t stick in center. Like a few hitters in this system, a loft or approach change could shift the offensive profile a bit for Haseley, but he seems capable of a roughly 100 wRC+ (read: major league average at the plate), which is a solid regular if he can be average in center field. That may not be super exciting, but high probability, close-to-the-majors 2-3 WAR position players are incredibly valuable in today’s game.

45 FV Prospects

7. JoJo Romero, LHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Yavapai JC (AZ) (PHI)
Age 22.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/55 50/55 45/50 45/55 89-92 / 95

After a year of sitting 90-94, Romero’s fastball velocity fluctuated pretty significantly both start-to-start and within individual games, often resting in the upper-80s like it did while he was in college. But he was also up to 95 at times, even reaching back for that kind of heat late in his starts. Some of the drop in velocity may have been artificial, a result of Romero working more on sinking and cutting his fastball rather than just throwing it hard. He’s a plus on-mound athlete who we anticipate will be a sinker/changeup No. 4 or 5 starter relatively soon. His season ended in mid-July due to an oblique strain.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (SEA)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 45/45 50/50 55/60 45/50 92-96 / 98

De Los Santos was acquired from San Diego in the 2017 one-for-one deal for Freddy Galvis and reached the majors in 2018. He throws hard, has a good changeup, and makes good situational use of two pedestrian breaking balls. De Los Santos’ fastball plays down a little bit because he’s a short-striding, lower arm slot guy who doesn’t get down the mound all that well. He probably won’t blow hitters away as often as others who throw in the mid-90s do, but he still has a playable fastball. We think he’s a near-ready No. 4 or 5 starter.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela null
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/45 20/40 60/60 45/55 55/55

It’s been two and a half years since the Red Sox bonus packaging scandal of 2016, and Muzziotti has emerged as the best of the collection of prospects who were granted free agency in its aftermath. Muzziotti shares traits with many tweener/fourth outfielder prospects — he’s small-framed and lacks raw power — but what separates him is the verve in his hands and his promising feel for contact. A plus bat on a good defensive center fielder (or elite corner defender) plays every day, and Muzziotti makes a visual case for that kind of projection. He also struck out in just 13% of his full-season at-bats last year, which is impressive for a 19-year-old. Ender Inciarte and Brett Gardner are two examples of far right tail outcomes for players of this ilk.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/60 30/45 30/45 90-95 / 96

Morales is comparable to the high school pitching prospects who are selected at the back of the first or in the early second round. Like most well-regarded teenage arms, Morales throws in the mid-90s, flashes impact breaking stuff (he’ll snap off the occasional plus-plus slider), and is athletic enough for proponents to project in the areas where he is currently deficient. His long, deep, plunging arm action is quite violent and he has walked 12% of hitters he’s faced during his career, so there’s considerable relief risk here, but it’s not uncommon for teenage arms with this kind of stuff to struggle with strike throwing for a while. Morales’ stuff is good enough that, even if he turns into a crass, imprecise strike-thrower, it gives him a sizable margin for error within the hitting zone. He’ll also have to develop a better changeup. There’s mid-rotation upside here if that stuff comes, but it’s more likely Morales will be a dominant bullpen piece or inefficient backend starter.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from La Costa Canyon HS (CA) (PHI)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 40/50 30/45 55/55 45/50 50/50

Moniak got onto scouts’ radar as a prep underclassman and was a classic projection hitter, showing plus speed and defense with a smooth stroke and projection to his frame. As the draft neared and he entered pro ball, Moniak added strength and lost a step (though he can still be an average center fielder) but struggled to make offensive adjustments. In the second half of 2018, Moniak turned the corner and stopped rolling over on pitches away; he also chose better pitches he could drive. He was also very young for the Hi-A Florida State League, which is notoriously pitcher friendly. In 2019, Moniak will start the season as a 20-year-old in Double-A Reading, which is notoriously hitter-friendly, and sources indicate he’s bulked up since the season ended. This, in combination with a more progressive, loft-oriented hitting coordinator, could make now a buy-low opportunity on Moniak, even if his numbers will be artificially inflated at Reading. There’s still a chance for a solid regular here, with fringe-to-average offense and defense in center field, and his age vs. level masks his ability a bit, but we’d like to see what changes are made in 2019 before totally buying in.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 22.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Splitter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 55/60 45/50 93-96 / 98

Llovera had a bit of a breakthrough in 2018, teaching himself a splitter that flashes plus in the second half when he wasn’t happy with how his breaking ball was coming out of his hand. One pro scout we spoke with saw Llovera once early, when he was into the upper-90s with a plus-flashing breaking ball, then saw him later with the same heater and the plus-flashing splitter, only this time, he wasn’t throwing the breaking ball much. That scout said if all three elements were together at once, it would be something like Kelvin Herrera (who was a 55 or 60 PV/FV at his peak). There’s some obvious risk that Llovera’s stuff plays below it’s peak 2018 showings, that his command is a bit below average, and that his size limits him to multi-inning relief, in which case he’s more of a 40 or 45 FV reliever who dazzles at times. He probably isn’t a 180 inning starter, but Llovera will be one to watch early in 2019 to see what sort of stuff he’s showing. He could be the next Phillies Latin power arm to be moved to relief who then shoots to the big leagues after Seranthony Dominguez, Edubray Ramos and Victor Arano. We like the makeup and ability to make adjustments, so expect his grade to be higher in 2019 if he continues doing what he did in 2018.

40 FV Prospects

13. Ranger Suarez, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/50 50/55 45/55 89-93 / 95

Suarez is in the mix with Enyel De Los Santos, Drew Anderson, and Cole Irvin for the No. 5 starter job, and while Suarez is the second-best prospect of that bunch, the decision is likely to come down more to March performance and a short-term outlook on being able to navigate a big league lineup. At his best in short stints, Suarez works 92-95 and has hit 97 mph, but usually works a tick or two below that as a starter. When the arm speed is at it’s best, Suarez’s fastball has extra life and his curveball, changeup, and slider all flash above average at times. As a starter, Suarez is more average to a touch above across the board and is an innings-eating backend type, but there’s much less room for error and pitchers like this can find themselves on waivers when things get out of whack. Either version has big league value, but Suarez’s best role may be a multi-inning relief type with four pitches, and he may get a chance to do just that in 2019 at the big league level.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 19.9 Height 5′ 9″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 40/45 20/40 45/40 40/55 55/55

Marchan is an athletic, catch-and-throw guy with bat control and gap power. He hit .301 in the Penn League as a 19-year-old and now has three straight years of strikeout rates well below league average. He struggles to squeeze good breaking balls but is otherwise a promising receiver and ball blocker. So long as Marchan’s little frame can withstand the physical grind of the position, he could be a well-rounded every day catcher.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 20.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/60 40/45 20/45 55/55 40/55 45/50

So unpolished is Brito that the Phillies omitted him from 40-man protection in November and he went unpicked in the Rule 5 draft. The quality of his at-bats remains inconsistent and he has yet to have a strong full-season statistical campaign. But he’s an above-average athlete with middle infield actions, a good frame, and very attractive left-handed swing. Solely on hand talent and defensive profile, we think Brito has considerable upside, but there’s a chance he’s just always a frustrating guess hitter. Brito will be the age of most college juniors next year and he’s already had a taste of Hi-A. Were he a junior at an SEC school, he’d be the kind of talent that goes in the second round if he turns a corner during the spring and performs, and in the fourth round if he doesn’t.

16. Nick Maton, SS
Drafted: 7th Round, 2017 from Lincoln Land JC (IL) (PHI)
Age 21.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 45/45 30/40 55/55 50/55 60/60

Maton’s older brother Phil is a big league reliever for the Padres but Nick was below the radar as an amateur prospect. He was a 40th rounder from high school who went undrafted his first year at a junior college, then was a 7th rounder in his second year. Nick has done nothing but perform since entering pro ball and scouts have noticed, hanging average or better grades on four of his tools, with power still lagging behind a bit. The likely upside here is a good utility player, but the gap between that and a low-end regular is usually a good swing or approach adjustment. Maton doesn’t have the prettiest swing in the world, but a new hitting coordinator may be able to tease a bit more out of what has already been working so far.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 40/40 20/30 60/60 50/60 60/60

Gamboa is a plus runner and thrower along with being a flashy defender who shows plus ability but needs to be a little more consistent with his execution. Offensively, there’s much less to get excited about; there isn’t much raw power, with even less in games (due in part to his contact-oriented mechanics), and his pitch selection comes and goes, as seen especially in a down 2018 season. Due to his glove, he was added to the 40-man roster and now there’s less chance his offense will get time to breathe, as he’ll be burning options and may be needed for emergency duty in the big leagues. Odds are Gamboa becomes a utility guy; he’s still young enough to be more, but it isn’t looking likely.

18. Will Stewart, LHP
Drafted: null Round, 2015 from Hazel Green HS (AL) (PHI)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/50 45/50 45/50 45/50 89-92 / 94

Stewart was an under-the-radar 20th rounder from an Alabama high school in 2015 and was mostly anonymous his first two pro summers until showing some progress in 2017 during his third summer in a short-season league, then breaking out this year in Low-A. Stewart primarily relies on an above average low-90s sinker that helped him post a 62% groundball rate in 2018, ranking fourth among qualified pitchers in all of the minor leagues. His slider is his best secondary pitch, but all three grade as various versions of average; his control, if not his command, is above average. The main hurdles to Stewart becoming an innings-eating starter is whether there is enough swing-and-miss in his repertoire, and if his strike-heavy approach will need to change in the upper minors.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 70/80 30/60 30/20 40/45 60/60

Ortiz is a prospect of extremes: he signed for $4 million at age 16, and had 70 raw power as a 15-year-old (some scouts call it an 80 now) when he weighed around 250 lbs. (some scouts went higher on that number, as well). He’s a surprisingly good athlete and underway runner for his size, but there’s an obvious risk that he’s a bad-body right-right first baseman, which may be the worst hitter profile for a prospect in today’s game.

20. Starlyn Castillo, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 16.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 40/50 40/50 30/45 92-96 / 97

Castillo was one of the top pitchers in the 2018 July 2nd market, receiving the second-highest bonus and ranking third in the class for us when he signed. He has a strong, mature and somewhat maxed-out frame, though some similar pitchers have changed their body composition in pro ball and found more velocity and consistency. Castillo was up to 97 mph as a 15-year-old at the highly-scouted MLB international event in February in the Dominican Republic, and has touched higher in private settings. There’s still a long way to go, but currently Castillo has rare arm strength, good athleticism, and a good delivery without much else. When projecting someone this young, you can see off-speed pitches that flash average becoming crisper with maturity, and below average command turning into average command, and all of a sudden, you have an average or better MLB starter. Given his precocious skills, this is not completely unwarranted projection, but it’s mostly just that at this point, beyond the velocity.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 181 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/50 35/45 40/30 45/55 55/55

Duran is an athletic, workmanlike catcher with plus raw arm strength. He receives well, is mobile, and will show you pop times in the low 1.9s when his footwork is correct. So short are Duran’s swing and levers that it’s tough to beat him with velocity. He can muscle up and pull just about everything, and he was able to yank out 18 homers in 2018. That’s probably not sustainable, but the defense, athleticism, and contagious effort level make him a high probability backup.

22. Edgar Garcia, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 40/45 92-95 / 97

Garcia had been yo-yo’d back and forth between the bullpen and the rotation during each of the previous two seasons, but was left to air it out in relief for all of 2018 and broke out, striking out 72 hitters in 64 innings and reaching Triple-A. He’s a classic two-pitch, single-inning reliever. Garcia sits 93-96 at times, 91-94 at others, and has a power mid-80s slider. The slider has bat-missing movement away from righties but just kind of tumbles when Garcia tries to throw it for a strike. He doesn’t have a great way of attacking lefties, which is part of why his usage may be limited.

23. Kevin Gowdy, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Santa Barbara HS (CA) (PHI)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 50/60 40/50 45/55 89-92 / 94

The pitches Gowdy threw on the final day of Philly’s 2018 fall instructional league were his first in more than two years due to an unfortunately-timed Tommy John and subsequent rehabilitation. He topped out at 92. In high school, Gowdy had No. 4 starter stuff. At his best, he’d sit 90-94 with pinpoint glove-side command of an above-average slider. He was in the 2016 draft’s crowded late-first and early-second round prep pitching picture, a group that hasn’t yet seen anyone emerge as several have required UCL reconstruction. Gowdy probably moves into the 40+ FV tier if his velocity and breaking ball are back in the spring, but he’s clearly behind the developmental curve for a 21-year-old.

35+ FV Prospects

24. Kyle Young, LHP
Drafted: 22th Round, 2016 from St. Dominic HS (NY) (PHI)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 10″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Purely on stuff, Young belongs in the bottom section of this list. His fastball lives in the upper-80s, sometimes 86-88, and he has a curveball and changeup that each project to average. But Young’s size makes him an uncomfortable at-bat, especially for left-handed hitters, and he has the tools to deal with righties when he’s locating, as he often is. In essence, this is a No. 6 starter, pitchability lefty with extreme size, and we think the size impacts his stuff in a positive way. There’s no modern precedent for a pitcher like Young. 14-year veteran righty Chris Young has a similar build but was a superior athlete, and Kyle and Chris differ mechanically and stylistically so much that they’re not really comparable past their frames.

25. Kyle Dohy, LHP
Drafted: 16th Round, 2017 from Citrus JC (CA) (PHI)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 188 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Dohy entered pro ball with limited pedigree as a 17th rounder from a smaller SoCal junior college and walked a batter per inning in his pro debut. 2018 was a different story, as Dohy breezed through both A-ball levels, then finally ran into some trouble in Double-A as more advanced hitters didn’t just chase every pitch he threw out of the zone. Dohy will go back to Double-A at age 22 for 2019 and needs to dial in his command and approach to find a happy medium, but there’s some ceiling here if he does. Dohy gets into the mid-90s from the left side, his slider and changeup both flash above average at times, and he has excellent extension. There’s reason to believe his command will always be below average, and his reasonable upside is a middle reliever, but it’s early enough in his prospect lifecycle to think there could be more.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 156 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Guzman proponents acknowledge he’s unlikely to do any offensive damage whatsoever, but they think he’s slick enough at shortstop to eventually play a low-end everyday role there. A small-framed 6-feet tall, Guzman has a low-impact swing path and below-average bat speed, but he’s an acrobatic infield athlete with good range and arm strength. He projects as an above-average defensive shortstop who plays a utility infield role.

27. Jake Holmes, 3B
Drafted: 11th Round, 2017 from Pinnacle HS (AZ) (PHI)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Plus-running infielders with some power aren’t readily available, which made Holmes’ acquisition an 11th round coup at $500,000. His frame and limited lateral agility made him likely to move off of shortstop, and Holmes is already seeing most of his playing time at third base. In possession of notable physical tools at age 20, but with relatively raw feel to hit, we have Holmes valued the way we would a good junior college prospect, and think he’s an interesting developmental flier.

28. Zach Warren, LHP
Drafted: 14th Round, 2017 from Tennessee (PHI)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Warren’s breaking ball has a tough-to-square angle and a rare ability to miss bats within the strike zone. He struck out 44% of hitters he faced in 2018. His velocity has ticked up a bit since college and now rests in the 91-94 range, and also forces hitters to reckon with a weird angle. The combination of deception and the breaking ball are probably enough to make Warren a dominant lefty specialist, but if his fastball also plays against righties he could be more.

29. Victor Santos, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 18.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 191 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Santos is pretty singular in the context of low-level pro ball but actually shares traits with a cluster of recent high school pitching prospects who unexpectedly grew into premium stuff. Just 17 when the season started, Santos dominated older GCL hitters for two months. He walked just four batters in eleven starts and struck out more than a batter per inning despite often sitting just 88-92. If he develops velocity, Santos could be very good very quickly because he can do everything else. He has a plus-flashing split-action changeup and can locate an average slider. His fastball moves, and he can run it back onto his gloveside corner or just off the plate to his arm side. But it’s hard to say if Santos will grow into more fastball because his frame is already maxed out. The scouting reports of rising high school seniors Jesus Luzardo and Forrest Whitley read an awful lot like that before each of them altered their training and conditioning, and experienced a huge jump in velocity. Whether Santos is a candidate for “reverse projection” in this way is hard to say, but it’s fair to assume some growth on the fastball through sheer physical maturity. If Santos retains his command at greater velocities, he’s going to move quickly and could be a monster. If the velo doesn’t come, he’ll have to keep proving year after year that he can gets guys out with 40 velo.

30. Raul Rivas, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (PHI)
Age 22.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Rivas is an athletic switch-hitter who plays good defense all over the field. He has gap-to-gap pop and runs pretty well. Rivas has never performed statistically, but he has several rosterable traits and might grow into more competent offensive ability late, as is sometimes the case with switch-hitters.

31. Bailey Falter, LHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2015 from Chino Hills HS (CA) (PHI)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Falter doesn’t throw hard — he sits 88-91 with a pretty straight fastball — but he’s big and gets excellent extension down the mound, adding over two ticks of perceived velocity to his heater. He also knows how to operate up in the zone with his fastball, with good enough command to do it on the corners, and pair it with a big-breaking curveball, mixing in some changeups to keep hitters honest. There’s a chance for a unique backend starter, especially if the velocity comes a little more, but it’s more likely Falter becomes a spot starter or long reliever given the limited margin for error with which he operates.

Drafted: 9th Round, 2018 from Pinole Valley HS (CA) (PHI)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Pipkin is a frame/athleticism developmental project who signed for $800,000 as a ninth rounder. He has a prototypical frame and fluid delivery. He was up to 96 the summer before his senior year but topped out at 94 in pro ball. His feel for spin is just okay, and it’s more likely that a plus fastball and a changeup eventually drive his profile.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from Ole Miss (PHI)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+

Parkinson signed as an over-slot 12th rounder ($250,000) in 2017 and in his first full pro season was the 2018 minor league ERA leader and the Phillies’ Minor League Pitcher of the Year. Big-conference college arms are supposed to carve up Low-A, but Parkinson was especially dominant. He struck out 141 and walked just 35 in 124 innings, most of which came at Lakewood. He has plus command of average stuff, with the changeup flashing above, and the stuff plays up against lefties because of Parkinson’s lower arm slot. There’s significant risk that upper-level hitters tee off on his fastball, but Parkinson might do enough other stuff to offset the lack of velo and pitch at the back of a rotation. If the latter happens, Parkinson should materialize as viable big league depth pretty quickly.

34. Manuel Silva, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (PHI)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 145 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

A twiggy, projectable lefty, Silva struck out a batter per inning in the New York-Penn League at age 19. He’s flexible and loose, currently sitting 87-93 with a four and two-seamer that Silva complements with a slurvy breaking ball and immature changeup. Much of Silva’s future depends on how much velocity comes as he matures. Realistically, he ends up with a bevy of average pitches and pitches toward the back of a rotation.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (COL)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Requena was acquired from Colorado in 2017 as one third of the Phillies’ return for Pat Neshek, along with Jose Gomez and J.D. Hammer, both 35 FV type prospects. Requena is just a touch above that level, despite being a somewhat generic right-handed depth starter. Requena has three average-to-slightly-above pitches that can flash 55 at moments due to his feel for pitching. It isn’t swing-and-miss stuff, and is probably more middle reliever or spot starter than rotation stalwart given pitcher attrition, but he has plus makeup, knows how to pitch, and should be in Double-A next year.

36. Ethan Lindow, LHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Locust Grove HS (GA) (PHI)
Age 20.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / L FV 35+

Lindow signed for $500,000 (late third, early fourth round money) as a fifth round high schooler in 2017. He has a four-pitch mix headlined by a slider/cutter and his 88-92 mph fastball plays up because it approaches hitters at a tough angle. He’ll likely make his full-season debut in 2019 and projects as a No. 5 starter.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Catching Depth
Deivi Grullon, C
Juan Aparicio, C
Logan O’Hoppe, C
Abrahan Gutierrez, C
Edgar Cabral, C

Grullon has elite arm strength and hit 21 homers at Double-A last year. The power output was likely caricatured by Reading’s ballpark and Grullon is a slow-twitch, immobile defender, and a 20 runner with below average bat speed and is probably more of a third/inventory catcher than a true backup despite the hose and pull pop. Aparicio has a well-rounded collection of tools (5 bat, 45 raw, can catch, 45 arm) but at age 18, is a hefty 5-foot-8, 210, and it’s going to be tough to keep that frame in check. Gutierrez is similar. O’Hoppe was a nice late-round flier, an athletic, projectable catcher from the northeast with the physical tools to hit and catcher’s intangibles. He turns 19 in February and is probably going to take a while to develop. Cabral gets some Henry Blanco comps because he’s similarly built and is a tough guy with a 7 arm, but to say Cabral will have a 16-year career that starts in his late-20s is probably excessive. He profiles as a third catcher.

Young Lottery Tickets
Logan Simmons, SS
Leonel Aponte, RHP
Carlos De La Cruz, OF
Keudy Bocio, CF
Brayan Gonzalez, INF
Joalbert Angulo, LHP
Jhordany Mezquita, LHP

Simmons signed for $750,000 as a 2018 sixth rounder. He’s super toolsy but sushi raw and may never hit. Aponte, 19, has a projectable frame (6-foot-4, 150) and can spin a breaking ball (2650 rpm) but he’s a below-average athlete and only sits 86-90 right now. De La Cruz has a power forward build at 6-foot-8 and is an extreme power projection long shot. Bocio has plus bat speed and a lean, projectable frame but he’s an extreme free swinger. Gonzalez was sent to the NYPL at 18 and struggled, striking out in 40% of his PA’s. Visually he remains advanced on both sides, tracking pitches well and playing polished defense. He projects as a utility type. Angulo is a lanky, low-slot teenage projection arm. The Phillies wanted to sign Mezquita as an international amateur but he moved away from the U.S. and to the Dominican too late to qualify, so the Phillies stashed him in Hazelton, PA, where he didn’t play high school baseball, and drafted him in the 2017 eighth round. He sits 88-91 and has an average curveball.

Upper-Level Pitching Depth
Drew Anderson, RHP
Connor Seabold, RHP
Cole Irvin, LHP
J.D. Hammer, RHP
Thomas Eshelman, RHP
Colton Eastman, RHP

Anderson was off and on the DL a bunch in 2016, his first year back from Tommy John, but his stuff blossomed anyway and he was a surprise 40-man add that November. The Phillies have continued to develop him as a starter and he’ll likely compete for the rotation’s fifth spot in the spring. He has a four-pitch mix, and can spin a solid breaking ball. He’s a No. 5 or 6 starter type, like everyone in this group, except for Hammer who is a mid-90s/changeup relief prospect who was hurt for most of 2018. Seabold is a true 40 for those who think he has plus command of an average fastball and slider. Irvin is a soft-tossing lefty whose changeup has improved in pro ball. He dumps a ton of curveballs in for strikes and might be Tommy Milone. Eshelman and Eastman are similar pitchability righties.

Bat-only Types
Matt Vierling, OF
Dylan Cozens, OF
Austin Listi, OF
Ben Pelletier, OF

All of these guys need to hit a ton to profile because of where they are on the defensive spectrum. Vierling was the club’s 2018 fifth rounder out of Notre Dame. He hit well at Lakewood after signing and is a fairly athletic prospect who spent his early college career as a two-way player. He has some strength-driven power but probably needs a swing change to get to it in games. Cozens is the toolsiest player of this group and has elite power/size/athletic ability, but he’s also plateaued at Triple-A and has red flag contact rates. Listi has some strong underlying indicators (he hits the ball in the air and had strong peripherals at Hi-A last year) but he’s 25, very old for the levels at which he has competed, and looked out of place in the AFL from a tools standpoint. Pelletier is only 20 and has promising hitter’s hands, but imbalanced footwork. If that gets cleaned up, he might break out as he’s performed for two straight years despite these issues.

Pitching Curiosities
Ramon Rosso, RHP
Josh Tols, LHP
Damon Jones, LHP
Jose Taveras, RHP

Rosso is a low slot cutter/breaking ball righty who struck more than a batter per inning over a season split between Low and Hi-A. He sits in the upper-80s and his stuff doesn’t appear to merit the results he’s already gotten, so we might be underrating him. Tols is 29 and has a work of art, 69 mph curveball that spins at 3050 rpm. He’s physically and mechanically similar to Timmy Collins but doesn’t throw nearly as hard. Jones is a big-bodied, 24-year-old lefty whose fastball plays above it’s velo due to deception and extension. He has an average curveball. Taveras’ velocity was way down last year, but he’s a similar extension/deception arm whose stuff is good in short stints before hitters can adjust.

System Overview

The new Phillies regime has been around long enough that it’s now fair to attempt to identify talent acquisition trends. Perhaps mostly notable so far is how the club has targeted upside in the middle rounds, often scooping up $500,000 – $1 million prep prospects in the fifth to 11th rounds. The player development arm of the organization is transitioning to the philosophy du jour, as the org has brought on adventurous, contemporary thinkers like Driveline Baseball’s Jason Ochart, who will oversee hitting instruction. Several of the prospects in this system would benefit from well-executed swing alterations (especially Haseley and Bohm, and perhaps Moniak), arguably making the new player development infrastructure the focal point of the organization’s growth now that the big league team is good again.

Despite having graduated or traded five 45 FV or better prospects in the last year, the Phillies have a respectable group of high-end talent largely thanks to the emergence of several additions from 2017. Paired with high-upside players like Bohm and Garcia is an awful lot of interesting depth, specifically from Venezuela, which is notable because political and social unrest in the country have made it dangerous and difficult to eat and obtain medicine there, let alone find baseball players.

There are fourteen Venezuelans on this list if we include those in the Others of Note section, which is a much greater number than any other organization we’ve audited so far. The Phillies have several Venezuelan people in influential front office positions and are one of the few teams to still operate an academy there at a time when the U.S. government and MLB have advised citizens and team employees to avoid the country or reconsider travel there.


Top 22 Prospects: Washington Nationals

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Washington Nationals. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Nationals Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Victor Robles 21.6 MLB CF 2019 65
2 Carter Kieboom 21.3 AA SS 2020 60
3 Luis Garcia 18.6 A+ SS 2021 50
4 Mason Denaburg 19.4 R RHP 2022 45+
5 Wil Crowe 24.3 AA RHP 2020 45
6 Tim Cate 21.2 A LHP 2021 40
7 Yasel Antuna 19.1 A 3B 2021 40
8 Seth Romero 22.7 A LHP 2019 40
9 Israel Pineda 18.7 A- C 2022 40
10 Gage Canning 21.7 A CF 2021 40
11 Tanner Rainey 26.0 MLB RHP 2019 40
12 Malvin Pena 21.5 A RHP 2020 40
13 Telmito Agustin 22.2 A+ LF 2020 40
14 Reid Schaller 21.7 A- RHP 2020 35+
15 James Bourque 25.4 AA RHP 2019 35+
16 Sterling Sharp 23.6 AA RHP 2020 35+
17 Taylor Guilbeau 25.6 A+ LHP 2019 35+
18 Jeremy De La Rosa 16.9 R RF 2024 35+
19 Jordan Mills 26.6 AA LHP 2020 35+
20 Joan Adon 20.4 A- RHP 2022 35+
21 Ben Braymer 24.6 A+ LHP 2020 35+
22 Brigham Hill 23.4 A RHP 2020 35+

65 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 65
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
60/65 50/50 45/50 70/70 70/70 70/70

If not for a hyperextended elbow that shelved him for several months in 2018, Robles wouldn’t be on this list. (The injury to Robles was also part of why Washington pushed Juan Soto along quickly.) In the 2017 Fall League (he missed some time that season due to hamstring tightness), he looked both readier and nearly as talented as fellow Fall Leaguer Ronald Acuña, and it seemed certain that he’d be up for good at some point the following spring. But in April an awkward dive on a shallow fly ball that most center fielders wouldn’t even have sniffed at bent Robles’ elbow backward and based on the way he writhed around in pain, the injury appeared catastrophic. X-rays were negative and an MRI showed no structural damage, but Robles didn’t start swinging a bat for a month and a half and was out of game action for three. He spent July and August rehabbing before a great September in Washington, during which he slashed .288/.348/.525. This is a do-everything center fielder who glides from gap to gap, has runner-halting arm strength, and plus-plus speed that is aided by seemingly sixth-sense instincts on the bases. Robles has middling bat speed and doesn’t generate huge exit velocity, but he has above-average hand-eye coordination, bat control, and pitch recognition, and a gap-to-gap approach that suits his speed. He’ll slug on paper by turning the line drives he slaps into the gaps in to extra bases. Robles has slightly below-average plate discipline, which may dilute his production for a bit, but he projects as a 3-plus WAR center fielder with a skillset akin to Lorenzo Cain’s, and he’s big league ready right now.

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Walton HS (GA) (WSN)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 55/60 40/60 50/45 40/45 60/60

Kieboom entered 2018 with just 48 full-season games under his belt due to a nasty hamstring injury that cut short his promising 2017 campaign. He crushed Hi-A, hitting .298/.386/.494 and forcing a promotion to Double-A at age 20. Kieboom didn’t hit well during his two-month stay in Harrisburg and he didn’t look very good at shortstop in the Fall League, but he has performed much better than expected for a hitter who is the age of a college sophomore. He is going to stay on the infield, and has big, playable raw power, and we’re unconcerned about his late-season struggles. Kieboom’s hands work in a tight, explosive circle, which generates all-fields thump and enables Kieboom to catch up to premium velocity. He’s a little heavy-footed on defense but his arm plays on the left side of the infield and his mediocre range might be able to be hidden by modern defensive positioning. This is a complete player with a chance to hit in the middle of the order and also stay at shortstop, if not second or third base. That’s a potential All-Star.

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 18.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/60 50/55 30/45 55/55 45/50 55/55

In the Nationals’ budget-busting 2016 international signing class, Garcia ($1.3 million) was the lesser-paid and, until close to signing day, lesser-regarded prospect when compared to Yasel Antuna ($3.9 million). Antuna looked like one of the top players in the class early, tailed off a bit, and then began improving in pro ball, whereas Garcia was a smaller kid with solid tools and advanced feel who slowly developed above average tools after Washington had locked him up at a lower price. Garcia has filled out some in the intervening time, and has sneaky raw power that may be above average at maturity. That, in combination with clearly above average bat control and enough patience that Garcia lays off pitcher’s pitches, is a rare combination for an 18-year-old middle infielder. You can see why Washington pushed him to Hi-A and why he continued performing. Garcia is an above average runner and thrower but may not stick at shortstop, in which case he’ll be fine at second base. There’s a shot Garcia continues hitting this year, mixes in more game power, and becomes a top-50 prospect in the game, so he’ll be one to monitor closely early in 2019.

45+ FV Prospects

4. Mason Denaburg, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Merritt Island HS (FL) (WSN)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 60/60 50/55 40/50 92-95 / 98

Denaburg was a legitimate pro prospect as a catcher, but it became clear during showcase season that he fit best on the mound and aside from biceps tendonitis in the spring, he was on a trajectory to go in the top half of the first round. At his best, Denaburg works 93-95 and hits 98 mph, and throws a plus curveball that’s among the most consistent 60-grade curveballs you’ll see from a teenager. He also has a rarely-used changeup that was used more and flashed 55-potential late in the spring, particularly in the region final when he twice used it to strikeout Red Sox first rounder Triston Casas. In addition to consistently throwing the best version of his curveball, Denaburg also located it well for his age, often down in the zone. His fastball also works best down due to his plane and the life on the pitch. Denaburg arguably could have been regarded as the best prep pitcher in his draft class if not for the biceps injury (which appears to have no long-term affect), so he could rise in 2019 relative to the prep pitching class if he can show that level of stuff over a longer period.

45 FV Prospects

5. Wil Crowe, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from South Carolina (WSN)
Age 24.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/50 50/55 55/55 45/50 91-94 / 95

Crowe turned down approximately $1 million out of a Tennessee high school and had a smaller market than his talent would indicate, due to some long-term questions about his elbow and knee. At South Carolina, he stood out as a freshman by staying healthy and showing the above average stuff he showed in high school. Then he blew out about halfway through his sophomore year, requiring Tommy John surgery. He missed all of 2017, then came back for an age-22 redshirt junior year and appeared to be all the way recovered, which lead to the Nationals taking him in the second round. Early in his career, Crowe looked to be on the same trajectory as Joba Chamberlain (who also slipped in the draft due to elbow and knee concerns), which would mean ending up in the bullpen while throwing in the high-90’s with a power breaking ball. Post surgery, he’s a little more starter-looking than that, working 91-94 and hitting 95 mph, with a changeup that has emerged as his best offspeed pitch, and a high-spin curveball and slider that both are average to above. Crowe has made progress with starter traits like pitch efficiency, and reading and setting up hitters, while his stamina is building to the point of handling a starter’s workload. He’ll open in the upper levels and could be big league rotation help as soon as in the second half of 2019.

40 FV Prospects

6. Tim Cate, LHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Connecticut (WSN)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 60/65 40/45 45/50 89-90 / 93

Early-season forearm tightness sparked a lot of concern about Cate as a draft prospect, both because he had already had Tommy John in high school and because of the way UConn rode former Huskie prospect Anthony Kay into the ground during his final post-season. Scouts were worried the same fate would befall the hyper-competitive Cate later in the year. He returned in May and pitched out of the bullpen with the same 88-92mph fastball he had as a starter. Cate is a great athlete with great makeup and a devastating snapdragon curveball. He’s a cold-weather arm who lost reps to injury and the rest of his craft requires polish. He may end up being a multi-inning reliever.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 45/55 20/50 55/50 40/50 55/55

Antuna was a nearly $4 million signee as a lanky, projectable infielder with a wide range of potential career outcomes depending on how his body developed. After a strong statistical debut in the GCL, the Nationals pushed Antuna to full-season ball at age 18, and he struggled. Scouts have him projected to third base and think he’ll grow into significant power, but the hit tool projections are tepid. Teenage switch-hitters often have raw feel to hit since they have two swings to develop, so it’s prudent to be patient with Antuna in this regard. He had Tommy John in early-August and is going to miss important reps. Non-pitchers only comprise 3% of UCL reconstructions and there isn’t great feel in the industry for hitters’ typical recovery times. If everything comes together for Antuna, he’ll be a switch-hitting infielder with pop, but he’s the riskiest hitting prospect on this list.

8. Seth Romero, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Houston (WSN)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 45/55 40/50 91-93 / 96

A litany of off-field issues dominate every discussion about Romero, who can’t seem to get out of his own way. A fist fight with a teammate ended a college career marred by various other infractions and inconsistent physical conditioning. Romero’s stuff was really good — he’d bump 96 and flash two plus secondaries — and he probably would have gone early in the first round of the 2017 draft had he not been a makeup powder keg, but he fell to pick 25, where Washington decided his talent was worth the gamble. Romero was sent home during his first pro spring training for repeated curfew violations. He came back in July and made six starts, then was shut down. He was back up in mid-August for a single start, then was shut down again and needed Tommy John, which he had at the end of August. The timing of the injury means Romero may not pitch until 2020, when he’ll be 24. There’s a chance he pitches in Arizona next fall or perhaps in the Aussie League, but if not, he’ll just be a 40 on our lists until we see that the stuff is back.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Venezuela (WSN)
Age 18.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 45/50 20/40 30/20 40/45 55/55

Pineda has all the catcherly intangibles you can think of and scouts have been wholly unsurprised that Washington has pushed him up the minor league ladder at a speed that might be considered a bit quick since catcher development is typically taken very slowly. He went straight to the GCL at age 17, then to a Penn League packed with 21-year-olds at age 18. Pineda works hard enough that scouts from opposing clubs have taken notice; his leadership qualities have been evident during two postseason runs (circumstances that are helping to drive the ‘winning player’ narrative here) in two pro seasons. He’s a bat-first catcher with some pull power and an above-average arm. He’s raw on defense and is already a sturdily built young man who may overthicken and become immobile, but based on the makeup reports it sounds like Pineda will do what is necessary to stay back there. Teen catching prospects are risky. This one seems like a potential everyday backstop if everything breaks right, but it’s more likely he becomes a backup.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Arizona State (WSN)
Age 21.7 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 178 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 30/45 60/60 45/50 45/45

Canning’s junior year at ASU got off to a roaring start and, because so much of the scouting industry is in Arizona in February and March, he was quickly seen by lots of decision makers. Though they all left skeptical about his bat-to-ball ability, Canning’s speed, physicality, and max-effort style of play were all appealing and buoyed his draft stock. He ended his junior year with a .369/.426/.648 line. Canning wasn’t running as well after the draft and he’s not a very instinctive player, so there’s a chance he’s only a fringe defender in center field. He has similar issues on the bases. Realistically, he profiles as a fourth outfielder.

11. Tanner Rainey, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from West Alabama (CIN)
Age 26.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/70 55/60 40/40 35/40 95-99 / 100

Rainey was among the top small-school prospects in the 2015 draft, showing plus stuff in a relief profile at West Alabama, where he popped up late because he was a two-way player with limited mound experience. His raw stuff gives him a chance to pitch in late-innings if he can harness it, but Rainey’s control is behind what is typical for a 26-year-old and it may scare managers away from using him in high-leverage situations.

12. Malvin Pena, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 50/55 45/50 91-93 / 96

Peña missed all of 2015 and 2016 due to injury and is a bit behind other 21-year-olds, having thrown just 30 innings above rookie ball thus far. But he has three big league offerings and filled up the strike zone in 2018, so he could move quickly if he stays healthy. Peña’s delivery is pretty rough and features quite a bit of violence about his head. This, along with his lengthy injury history, has created worries about his health, and hinders his ability to locate with precision, as he throws strikes but not always where he wants to. Perception about Peña’s health may drive Washington to move him quickly so he can reach the majors before he breaks again. His stuff appeared close to ready last year, as he worked in the mid-90s with armside movement that pairs well with his power, and a mid-80s changeup, while his lower arm slot enables his slider to play against righties. He started last year but we like him as a three-pitch middle relief prospect.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from U.S. Virgin Islands (WSN)
Age 22.2 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 50/50 40/50 45/40 45/55 45/45

The last time one of us wrote up Agustin he was a skinny, all-fields line drive tweener who looked like a classic bench outfielder. He has put on about 30 pounds since and has undergone a swing and approach change that has him lifting and pulling the ball more often. He’s likely limited to left field due to mediocre arm strength, but he may profile as a low-end regular out there if the bat maxes out. Keep an eye on Agustin’s walk rate. In 2018 it was a good bit better than his career mark. If that holds, he’ll have a better chance of profiling than if it regresses to his career norms.

35+ FV Prospects

14. Reid Schaller, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Vanderbilt (WSN)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Schaller was a draft eligible redshirt freshman who lost his true freshman season to Tommy John. He pitched out of Vanderbilt’s bullpen in the spring and was throwing really hard, sitting 94-97 and touching 99. After he signed with Washington, he joined Short-season Auburn’s rotation. We have Schaller projected as a reliever but it makes sense to run him out as a starter as a way of developing his milquetoast slider and below-average changeup, as he’ll be throwing 25 or 30 innings every month instead of the 12 to 15 innings he’d get coming out of the bullpen. His ceiling will be dictated by the eventual quality of his breaking ball.

15. James Bourque, RHP
Drafted: 14th Round, 2014 from Michigan (WSN)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Bourque moved to the bullpen full-time in 2018 and had a bit of a breakout, enough that Washington added him to the 40-man. He scrapped his changeup during the year and worked primarily with his above-average curveball. He struck out 52 Hi-A hitters in 33 innings before he was promoted to Double-A for the season’s final month. He may re-introduce the changeup to give hitters another look, but for now profiles as a two-pitch middle reliever.

Drafted: 22th Round, 2016 from Drury (WSN)
Age 23.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Though he’ll be 24 in May, the clay may not be totally dry on Sharp, who has several late bloomer traits. Tall, lanky, cold-weather arms often develop late; small-college players are typically a little behind large conference peers; and malleable athletes are frequently able to make adjustments throughout their entire careers. Sharp is all of these. Originally from Michigan, he pitched at three colleges in three years (Eastern Michigan, Darton State College, and Drury University) in front of various groups of area scouts before he was drafted late in 2016. Sharp is also an ectomorphic 6-foot-4, and his limbs distract and also aid in his down-mound extension, enabling his fastball to sneak up on hitters more often than one would expect given its fringe velocity. Sharp learned the grip for his sinker, which has helped him generate a nearly 60% ground ball rate over the last two years, by seeing Blake Treinen’s grip on the internet. Scouts have also noted that he has begun to vary the timing of his delivery to disorient hitters, à la Johnny Cueto. He’s clearly still developing and doing so quickly. His stuff — the sinker, a good changeup, average slider — looks like that of a swing man or up/down arm, and most pitchers this age with this kind of stuff don’t end up on our lists. But that stuff might play up because of extension and deception and continue to improve as Sharp’s body and feel for his craft evolve. He may end up as a core member of a pitching staff rather than just a depth arm.

Drafted: 10th Round, 2015 from Alabama (WSN)
Age 25.6 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Guilbeau’s velocity was up during the Fall League. Low-slot lefties who touch 96 and have an average breaking ball typically end up in someone’s bullpen, and we thought Guilbeau had a shot to be picked in the Rule 5. He was hurt a few times during the spring and summer and his fastball has a hittable angle, so we’re rounding down a bit on what otherwise looks like a fine middle relief piece if you just look at the stuff.

18. Jeremy De La Rosa, RF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 16.9 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

De La Rosa only signed for $300,000 but he made a lot of really loud contact as an amateur, both during BP and in games, and he continued to do so during 2018 instructional league. His hands are very quick and strong, and he is a pretty advanced hitter for a 17-year-old, with more present game power than is typical for a hitter this age. His frame is already very physical and has less room for mass than most teen prospects and though he’s an above-average runner who will get early-career reps in center field, there’s a strong chance he moves to left at some point (he has a 40 arm). De La Rosa’s physical maturity and potential tumble down the defensive spectrum merit skepticism, but his bat is much more interesting than that of most $300,000 signees.

19. Jordan Mills, LHP
Drafted: 28th Round, 2013 from St. Mary’s (HOU)
Age 26.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

Once you’re able to look past the macabre nature of Mills’ sidearm delivery — cross-bodied, rigid, with an R-rated head whack — you can see a viable big league reliever. He only sits 87-91, but Mills’ delivery helps his fastball and average curveball play against left-handed hitters and his best pitch, an above-average changeup, might be enough to stymie righties and keep them from teeing off on his fastball. He at least appears to be a viable lefty specialist, though those are starting to disappear. He went unselected in the Rule 5 but we kind of like him.

20. Joan Adon, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (WSN)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Adon is a physical, throw-it-by-you relief prospect who inspires Neftali Feliz body and delivery comps. Like Feliz, Adon generates mid-to-upper 90s velocity without much mechanical violence outside of his incredible arm action. He also can’t repeat his release, which detracts from the consistency of his slider. If Adon can dial in his slider feel and fastball command, he could be a high-leverage reliever. For now, he’s an arm strength lottery ticket in short-season.

21. Ben Braymer, LHP
Drafted: 18th Round, 2016 from Auburn (WSN)
Age 24.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+

In 2015, Braymer set the single-season strikeout record at LSU-Eunice, a junior college that produces a lot of pro baseball talent. He transferred to Auburn and spent his junior year pitching mostly out of the Tigers bullpen. He signed for $100,000. Washington has tried him in the rotation and in long relief and Braymer has been fairly successful at both, but he projects as a two-pitch reliever long-term. His low-90s fastball has flat plane and lives in the top of the strike zone. It’s hard to differentiate between it and his 12-6 curveball, which is effective against both-handed hitters.

22. Brigham Hill, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from Texas A&M (WSN)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Hill was A&M’s Friday night starter as a junior and he struck out more than a batter per inning in the SEC with a monster changeup that looked like it might carry him to some kind of big league role. In 2018, Hill missed two months with injury, his control backed up a bit, and he didn’t miss that many bats at Low-A, which is arguably worse talent-wise than the SEC. We’ve shaded him down a half grade and are hoping for a bounce-back.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Young Sleepers
Viandel Peña, 2B
Jose A. Ferrer, LHP
Carlos Romero, RHP

Peña, who turned 18 in November, is short at about 5-foot-8 but he has a good frame for that size. He’s a switch-hitting middle infielder with precocious feel for the strike zone and a nice swing. Ferrer (not the guy from Dune, a different Jose Ferrer, but also not this one) can really spin it and posted 2800 breaking ball spin rates in the DSL last year, but he’s quite physically mature. He has an upper-80s fastball and it’s unclear how much more is coming because the frame isn’t obviously projectable. Romero is a 6-foot-6 projection arm with little feel for spin. He sits 87-91 right now.

Bench Types
Cole Freeman, 2B
Jake Noll, 3B
Austin Davidson, 1B/LF
Jose Marmolejos, 1B

Freeman has above-average bat-to-ball skills and speed, and he plays with his hair on fire. He could be a utility infielder. Noll has power but is limited to the corners on defense and will be 25 in March. Davidson has performed for several years but took a tumble down the defensive spectrum last year and now sees time in left field and first base instead of at second and third. Marmolejos had a bad statistical season after several very good ones. It’s hard to roster more than one Noll/Davidson/Marmolejos type at the big league level, and Washington already has Matt Adams.

Post-hype Long Shots
Anderson Franco, 3B/1B
K.J. Harrison, C/1B
Gilbert Lara, 3B

Franco is a 21-year-old power bat with a good frame and raw bat. Harrison and Lara were acquired together for Gio Gonzalez and both were once very interesting prospects. Harrison had a huge freshman year at Oregon State but his aggressiveness at the dish began to be toyed with the following year. He has pop, but the bat and inability to catch are a barrier. Lara was a $2 million signee who looked like he might be a shortstop or third baseman with huge power as an amateur. After a raucous first fall and spring as a pro, he just stopped hitting and it’s never been clear why.

Catching Depth
Raudy Read, C
Tres Barrera, C

Read has enough stick that he might one day be a 40 but he’s coming off a PED suspension. Barrera has the better glove. Both project as third catchers.

Starter Depth
Kyle McGowin, RHP
Jackson Tetreault, RHP
Nick Raquet, LHP

McGowin has a 40 fastball but can really spin a breaking ball, and he throws strikes. He’d be fine making a spot start. That’s what Jackson Tetreault projects to be, but he’s very lanky and thin for a 22-year-old and some think there’s more velo on the way. Raquet is a funky lefty, 90-93, average secondaries.

Older Relief Fliers
Austin Adams, RHP
Ronald Peña, RHP
Joan Baez, RHP

Adams has nasty stuff — mid-90s, elite breaking ball spin — but can’t repeat his delivery and sends many pitches skipping to the backstop. Peña, who has touched 100, is similar and improved a bit last year. He’s 27. Baez sits 94-96 and flashes a plus curveball. Any of this group could be on the main section of the list pretty quickly if they arrive for spring training with better command.

System Overview

This system is very thin but has about as much potential high-end impact as most farm systems do. Both Denaburg and Crowe, who has some of the better spin rates we’ve dug up during this process (you can see those on The Board), could be on our midseason top 100, and Antuna and Romero have more talent than the typical 40 FV. This farm is strangely better equipped to add a star in a one-for-one kind of deal than it is to add talent with a package of 40s and 45 FVs.

Seven of the twenty-two prospects we wrote up for this list have had UCL reconstructions, by far the greatest number and highest rate of any club we’ve covered so far. That’s not accusatory and other than the org’s penchant for drafting players who have fallen past where they’d be drafted on talent due to a TJ, is probably just randomness.


Top 32 Prospects: Miami Marlins

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Miami Marlins. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Marlins Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Isan Diaz 22.6 AAA 2B 2019 50
2 Monte Harrison 23.4 AA CF 2020 50
3 Sandy Alcantara 23.3 MLB RHP 2019 50
4 Nick Neidert 22.1 AA RHP 2019 45+
5 Victor Victor Mesa 22.4 R CF 2020 45+
6 Connor Scott 19.2 A CF 2022 45
7 Braxton Garrett 21.4 A LHP 2021 45
8 Jose Devers 19.0 A+ 2B 2022 45
9 Jordan Holloway 22.5 A RHP 2020 45
10 Jorge Guzman 22.9 A+ RHP 2021 45
11 Zac Gallen 23.4 AAA RHP 2019 40+
12 Edward Cabrera 20.7 A RHP 2021 40+
13 Osiris Johnson 18.2 A CF 2023 40
14 Brian Miller 23.3 AA CF 2020 40
15 Trevor Rogers 21.1 A LHP 2021 40
16 Will Banfield 19.1 A C 2023 40
17 Garrett Cooper 28.0 MLB 1B 2019 40
18 Tristan Pompey 21.7 A+ LF 2021 40
19 Jose Quijada 23.1 AAA LHP 2019 40
20 Robert Dugger 23.5 AAA RHP 2020 40
21 Jordan Yamamoto 22.6 AA RHP 2020 40
22 Thomas Jones 21.0 A CF 2022 40
23 James Nelson 21.2 A+ 3B 2021 40
24 Merandy Gonzalez 23.2 MLB RHP 2019 40
25 Riley Ferrell 25.2 AAA RHP 2019 40
26 Joe Dunand 23.2 AA 3B 2021 35+
27 Bryson Brigman 23.5 AA 2B 2020 35+
28 Colton Hock 22.8 A RHP 2020 35+
29 Christopher Torres 20.9 A SS 2021 35+
30 Nick Fortes 22.1 A C 2021 35+
31 George Soriano 19.7 R RHP 2023 35+
32 Davis Bradshaw 20.6 A- CF 2022 35+

50 FV Prospects

1. Isan Diaz, 2B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Springfield HS (MA) (ARI)
Age 22.6 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 60/60 45/50 40/40 45/50 55/55

In mid-May, already mired in a six-week slump during which he hit just .194, Diaz was struck in the helmet by a fastball and missed ten days with a concussion. He began to perform when he returned, slashing .288/.400/.488 over the next six weeks and earning a promotion to Triple-A New Orleans. We have eyeball reports that Diaz struggled to turn on pitches this year and has adopted more of a line drive approach, each of which is backed up by data, as his ground ball rate is up and his pull rate is down. These issues may have been timing-related, perhaps the lingering effects from the concussion, rather than the result of a mechanical change. Diaz still projects as a three-true-outcomes hitter who plays a premium defensive position. He has a 12% career walk rate as a pro and plus raw power we feel confident Diaz will get to in games given how readily he hit the ball in the air. Diaz isn’t great at second base, but his mediocre range can be aided by proper defensive positioning, and his arm strength should enable him to make the longer throws demanded of second baseman by shifts. His arm would play at third base, too, though Diaz has never played there. There’s some risk he underperforms with the bat and is a mediocre defensive second baseman, but because of his power and patience, his floor seems to look like Yoan Moncada’s 2018 season, which was good for 2 WAR. As such, it seems likely that Diaz will become a solid everyday player.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from Lee’s Summit West HS (MO) (MIL)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/35 65/65 45/55 60/60 50/60 70/70

If ever there were an athletic contest in which players from across multiple leagues had to compete against one another in all of their respective sports, Harrison would be a top five pick. An athletic deity in high school, Harrison was a star in every sport. He was an acrobatic dunker and a dominant open-field runner, who was signed away from a football commitment to Nebraska for $1.8 million. For much of his pro career, Harrison has either been hurt or underperformed. Aside from his .270/.350/.480 season in 2017, he has struggled to make contact, especially in 2018, when he struck out in 37% of his plate appearances, and a minor league leading 215 times. Despite this, Harrison nearly posted yet another 20/20 season and improved so much as a defensive player that he’s now considered plus in center. The Marlins sent him to the Arizona Fall League with a desire to see some kind of bat-to-ball improvement. Harrison responded by ditching his leg kick. His strikeout rate in Arizona was 25% — better than the summer, but still not great — and he hit for almost no power there. His issues with strikeouts weren’t, in our opinion, caused by excessive movement in his swing but rather by things like breaking ball recognition, bat path, and hand-eye coordination. Those aren’t things that can be remedied by mechanical changes, and we’d rather an athlete like this be moving a lot at the plate to help ensure he’s getting to as much of that power as possible, even if it means living with a lot of strikeouts. There’s a wide range of outcomes possible for a talent like this, ranging from Carlos Gomez to Colby Rasmus to Melvin Upton to Drew Stubbs to Jake Marisnick. Harrison is a premium athlete with good makeup who should get plenty of opportunity to cure his own ills at the big league level. We think he’s likely to be frustrating, but reasonably valuable, and possibly have some star-level seasons in his late twenties.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (STL)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/65 55/55 45/50 55/60 40/45 93-97 / 99

We’ve learned a lot about Alcantara’s stuff based on the data we have from his 2017 relief-only cup of coffee with St. Louis and from his larger, eight-start September 2018 carafe with Miami. The Marlins gave Alcantara his curveball back after it appeared that St. Louis had shelved it late last year, but there’s now release point data supporting the anecdotal evidence that the right-hander raises his arm slot when he throws it. It’s also clear that despite high-end velocity, Alcantara’s fastball isn’t going to miss that many bats. He’s created greater demarcation in the movement between his four and two-seamers, that latter of which pairs well with his improving changeup, which now projects to be Alcantara’s best secondary pitch. There’s a strong chance he either ends up in relief due to issues with his fastball efficacy stemming from limited command and movement, but even if that’s the case, he’s a four-pitch reliever with two plus offerings, and that probably plays at the back of a bullpen.

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Peachtree Ridge HS (GA) (SEA)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/50 60/60 55/60 89-91 / 94

A quintessential changeup/command righty, Neidert carved up Double-A hitters with surgical precision and ended his 2018 with a 25% strikeout rate and 5% walk rate in 152 innings. Big leaguers with similar peripherals and similarly below-average velocity include Zack Greinke (whom Neidert mimics, mechanically), Marco Gonzales, and Kyle Hendricks. There’s precedent for success in spite of poor velocity, and several of those case studies tout changeups and fastball command, but many of them also involve a deeper repertoire than Neidert has, which is rounded out by a pedestrian curveball. Without something else, Neidert projects as more of a No. 4 or 5 starter than he does a mid-rotation arm. He’s only 22, so there’s a chance that happens. There’s also a chance his changeup and command become elite and he mimics Kyle Hendricks’ career very closely.

5. Victor Victor Mesa, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Cuba (MIA)
Age 22.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/55 50/50 30/45 65/65 50/60 60/60

It took four trades for bonus space to sufficiently pad the Marlins’ international free agent coffers in excess of Baltimore’s top mark, or at least to come close enough that the appeal of Miami made up the difference, and snag the Mesa brothers. The pair signed for $6.25 million, $5.25 million of which went to 22-year-old Victor Victor. Mesa began playing in Cuba’s Series Nacional when he was 16. He had a breakout ’16-’17 at age 20 and swiped 40 bags while slashing .354/.399/.539. He was seen stateside the following summer during Cuba’s tour of the CanAm League, but didn’t play well. After he defected, teams’ only looks at Mesa were in a workout setting. Cuban prospects have sometimes undergone drastic physical transformations between the point at which they’ve last been observed in Cuba and their workouts for teams. Sometimes these changes are positive, as with Luis Robert, who looked like an Ancient Greek sculpture when he worked out for teams in the Dominican Republic in 2017. Sometimes they are not; Yasiel Puig’s living conditions made it impossible for him to remain in baseball shape for his eventual workout in Mexico. But this was not the case with Mesa, who retained the sort of physicality he possessed during his last several years in Cuba. He ran a plus-plus 60-yard dash time, threw well, and hit some balls out to his pull side during batting practice. Mesa has a linear, contact-oriented swing that we think will lead to below-average power output in games. He can hit, defend, and add value on the bases, but there’s real doubt about the game application of his power. In aggregate, it looks like an average to slightly below-average offensive profile on an above-average defender at a premium position, which amounts to a low-risk, moderate impact prospect who should be ready for the big leagues relatively soon. He garners frequent comparisons to Cubs CF Albert Almora.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Plant HS (FL) (MIA)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 50/55 20/50 70/65 45/55 50/60

Scott was a big name as a freshman at Tampa’s Plant High School during the draft year of teammate and eventual fifth overall pick Kyle Tucker. Scott was his spitting image, with a lanky frame and a loose, gloveless lefty swing. Scott is a superior athlete to Tucker; he has been into the mid-90’s on the mound, with three average or better pitches and 70 speed that profiles in center field. Scott doesn’t appear to like pitching, so scouts haven’t seen him throw much, but he’s easily a prospect in the top five rounds on the hill. The Marlins popped Scott with the 13th pick and there was some disagreement in the industry about his projection. He had a number of minor injuries in the spring and only went to a couple showcases in the summer, so scouts have different reads on his hitting ability, though they agree he has a pretty swing and premium athleticism. Scott’s lanky frame may not fill out much more, but scouts like his makeup and aren’t worried about the swing-and-miss in his pro debut, as he was just getting an early taste of his 2019 assignment in Low-A.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Florence HS (AL) (MIA)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/60 45/55 45/55 91-92 / 96

Garrett’s precocious use of a strong three-pitch mix led the Marlins to draft him seventh overall in 2016, and signalled that he might move quickly. Instead, Garrett has been limited to just 15.1 pro innings across three seasons due to a poorly-timed Tommy John surgery that cost him all of 2018. To limit his first year’s workload, Garrett did not pitch during the summer of 2016. After some time in extended spring training, he was sent directly to Low-A. After three good starts he was knocked around in his fourth, and removed after 1.2 innings. He had surgery a month later. Though he didn’t pitch during the summer, Garrett threw in Jupiter during the fall and sat mostly 91-92 with average secondaries. Given how little he’s thrown, it would be reasonable for Garrett’s stuff to be a little better across the board next year and look like it did in high school. He still has a mid-rotation ceiling; he’s just now a good bit behind some of the other first round high schoolers from the 2016 rather than way out ahead of them.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (NYY)
Age 19.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 40/50 20/45 60/60 45/55 55/55

Devers was one of just four 18-year-olds in the 2018 Sally League and yet some scouts, who are well aware of the importance of this context, are still skeptical of Devers because he so lacks physicality. There’s universal acknowledgement that Devers must add strength to be a viable big league hitter because he has so little power right now, and aspects of his swing are compromised because he has to cut some mechanical corners just to swing the bat hard. If Devers does get stronger and grow into some pop, he could become very good very quickly, because he can already do everything else. He’s a plus runner, is likely to stay on the middle infield, and has exceptional hand eye coordination and bat control. His 13.5% strikeout rate was among the best in the entire South Atlantic League, irrespective of age. If Devers remains a skinny slap hitter, he probably maxes out as a utility man. We’re cautiously optimistic that he fills out, though we hesitate to point to his 237-pound cousin, Rafael, as genealogical evidence of that possibility, as they bear almost no physical resemblance to one another.

Drafted: 20th Round, 2014 from Ralston Valley HS (CO) (MIA)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/70 55/60 45/50 35/45 95-97 / 99

Holloway has never pitched above Low-A and threw just 7.2 innings all of 2018 as he rehabbed from Tommy John. And yet the Marlins felt compelled to add him to their 40-man roster based on how good he looked during fall instructional league, commanding 95-97 with movement, touching 99, and flashing a plus breaking ball. Holloway had a huge growth spurt in high school and came to pitching late. It’s possible things are just starting to click here. His inexperience and 40-man presence cloud his development. He probably isn’t already a fully realized starter, but he is on the 40-man and is likely to be on some kind of innings limit coming off of TJ. He might get squeezed into a relief role by these circumstances, but scouts were buzzing about this guy in the fall, and he has a chance to break out.

10. Jorge Guzman, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (HOU)
Age 22.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 50/55 45/55 40/45 95-97 / 102

Guzman has been traded twice: first from Houston to New York for Brian McCann, then to Miami in the Giancarlo Stanton deal. His control regressed pretty badly in 2018 and this, combined with his addition to the 40-man, make it more likely that he ends up in a relief role. Both the quality of his breaking ball and his fastball velocity vary pretty dramatically, but when they’re both dialed in, Guzman can dominate without throwing a lot of strikes, mostly by bullying hitters with his heater. He is stiff, oddly postured, and may not have the necessary athleticism to repeat his delivery. The Marlins should continue developing him as a starter so he gets more reps with both his change (which got better in 2018 and has a chance to miss bats one day) and breaking ball, but we think they’ll pull the ripcord eventually and let Guzman breath fire in late innings.

40+ FV Prospects

11. Zac Gallen, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from North Carolina (STL)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/50 50/55 45/50 50/55 91-93 / 94

Viewed as a low-ceiling pitchability arm in college, Gallen reached Double-A just one calendar year after he was drafted by St. Louis, which traded him to Miami in the Marcel Ozuna deal the following winter. Last year he experienced an uptick in velocity and his four-seamer now sits in the low-90s and touches 94. It helped Gallen miss more bats, and he struck out a batter per inning at Triple-A New Orleans. Realistically, Gallen will pitch at the back of a rotation as a No. 4 or 5 starter because nothing he throws is plus and it’s hard to envision him striking out many major league hitters. But if the velo bump last year was just the start of a trend that continues into the future, there might be a bit more here.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/55 45/50 35/45 93-95 / 100

Cabrera has prototypical size and arm strength but is almost exactly the same player we wrote up last offseason. He still has issues locating his heater and with his breaking ball’s consistency, though it flashes plus. Because he has two unteachable skills in his elite velocity and ability to spin, Cabrera has significant upside if he improves the remaining aspects of his craft. He’s not likely to fully actualize, but it is possible. There’s a greater chance that some things improve and enable Cabrera to be a No. 4 or 5 starter or late-inning reliever.

40 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Encinal HS (CA) (MIA)
Age 18.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 60/60 20/50 50/40 40/50 50/50

There are gothic cathedrals in Europe that have smaller gaps between their ceilings and floors than Johnson, who had some of the most explosive but unkempt talent in the 2018 draft class. Johnson’s special bat speed and ability to rotate are both evident to the naked eye, and he also has remarkable bat control for a player who takes such high-effort swings. But everything about his game is very raw and he’ll likely require years of polish before he’s ready for the majors. This is especially evident in his footwork in the box, where Johnson’s stride length and direction are both highly variable. At times, this enables Johnson to turn on pitches on the inner half; at others it wrecks his swing’s balance and composition entirely. There’s also a wide range of potential defensive outcomes for Johnson. He may end up on the middle infield or in center, depending on how his body and infield actions develop, or possibly in an outfield corner. The good news is that Johnson was one of the youngest players available in the 2018 draft and he didn’t turn 18 the middle of October. There’s a lot of time for both him and the Marlins to figure this stuff out, and he has some unteachable talents (the bat speed and bat control) that could drive an offensive profile befitting any position if he transforms into a hitter instead of a swinger.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from North Carolina (MIA)
Age 23.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 177 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/60 45/45 20/40 55/55 45/50 40/40

Miller had big sophomore and junior years at North Carolina, which helped scouts feel more comfortable about taking him in the top 40 picks because his tools aren’t as loud as some of those drafted around him. He’s an above average runner who projects as average in center field, but his arm and raw power are both below average, so his instincts and hitting ability will have to carry him. His swing has gotten a little more contact-oriented in pro ball, as was evident in his one home run and 12% strikeout rate across 175 pro games. The outcome here is likely somewhere from 40 to 50 FV, which could be a reserve, platoon, or low-end everyday outfielder depending on how the offense progresses.

15. Trevor Rogers, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Carlsbad HS (NM) (MIA)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 45/50 40/45 50/55 30/45 91-93 / 96

Rogers was a divisive draft prospect. He was considered by teams in the 8-15 range because lefties this size who throw this hard are very rare, but there was trepidation regarding his age (he was well over 19 on draft day) and whether or not he could actually spin a breaking ball. The Marlins took the same route with Rogers as they had the year before with Braxton Garrett; Rogers didn’t throw a single pro pitch in his draft year and instead was sent to Low-A the following May after a few weeks in extended. By that time, Rogers was already 20. He struck out a lot of hitters at Greensboro but was also relatively hittable, and pro scouts have the same issue with his breaking ball as some on the amateur side of the industry did, though it plays okay against lefties because of his lower arm slot. We think the changeup will eventually be Rogers’ best pitch and it might have to be since right-handed hitters get a nice, long look at the fastballs coming out of his hand. We tend to think he winds up in relief or that he’ll be undermined by several seemingly small issues if he starts, which combined will limit his effectiveness.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Brookwood HS (MIA)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 55/55 20/50 50/45 45/55 60/60

Banfield burst onto the scouting scene as a prep underclassman, looking among the best in his class with above average raw power, a plus arm, and advanced defense. Things didn’t go quite as well in his draft spring, as those three tools continued to stand out, but Banfield’s swing mechanics, feel to hit, and overall hitting projection tailed off a bit. The Marlins like the upside here, with a chance to have an above average defensive catcher who may just need consistent coaching to tease out average offensive upside. Even if there isn’t much movement there, a hindered power hitter with these defensive tools and makeup still could be an everyday catcher with what is being run out there in the big leagues today.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2013 from Auburn (MIL)
Age 28.0 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 60/60 50/55 30/30 45/45 50/50

A wrist injury jettisoned Cooper’s 2018, when he might otherwise have had an extended big league opportunity due to Justin Bour’s departure. His 2017 breakout was likely somewhat distorted by the hitting environment in Colorado Springs, but the Yankees bought it and traded fringe reliever Tyler Webb to Milwaukee for him as a way of creating depth behind oft-injured Greg Bird, just as they did with Luke Voit the following year. After the 2017 season, the Yankees sent Cooper to Miami during their annual 40-man crunch, and he spent much of his first season dealing with a nagging right wrist contusion and sprain. The runway appears to be clear for Cooper at first base and we think he has the physical tools to be an okay everyday player there, but he has been hurt a lot as a pro and is already approaching his decline phase.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Kentucky (MIA)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 30/50 50/45 40/45 45/45

Pompey was on the radar for the first round entering his draft year but things didn’t quite go to plan in 2018 at Kentucky. Scouts were turned off by his lackadaisical defensive play and inconsistent approach at the plate, but loved the big power and exit velos to go along with a projectable frame and solid-but-not spectacular performance at the plate. Pompey isn’t a standout runner, defender or thrower, so he’s limited to left field, but the positives I mentioned shone through in his pro debut, hitting his way to Hi-A at age 21. There’s some offensive regression expected in 2019 and eyes will be on Pompey’s attitude to see if he handles things well when he faces adversity, but he’s certainly beat expectations so far as a pro, so we’ll round up on what we had on him pre-draft.

19. Jose Quijada, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Venezuela (MIA)
Age 23.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 40/45 40/45 90-95 / 97

Quijada performed in Double-A and Triple-A in 2018 and was added to the 40-man this winter. He may have the raw stuff to start but his frame and stamina leave something to be desired, so he fits best in 1-2 inning stints. His fastball and slider are both above average, with the slider flashing plus at times, and his command has improved to be close to average, so there’s plenty here for a left-handed middle reliever. Plus, he’s big league ready.

20. Robert Dugger, RHP
Drafted: 18th Round, 2016 from Texas Tech (SEA)
Age 23.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 40/45 45/50 45/50 90-93 / 95

Dugger was dealt before the 2018 season from Seattle to Miami in the Dee Gordon trade. He’s a solid inventory pitcher that can play multiple roles and relies on his above average slider, as his velocity and other pitches all hover around average. His velo was down a bit in 2018 relative to the big jump he made in 2017 when he gained 2 ticks on his fastball. When he’s 92-94, touching 96, his slider plays closer to 60; Dugger’s future may be in shorter stints where that could be what he’s throwing in the big leagues on a regular basis.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2014 from St. Louis HS (HI) (MIL)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/55 55/60 50/55 50/55 86-92 / 94

Yamamoto was the best pitchability prospect in the Fall League and has super advanced feel and command of several good secondary pitches. He froze guess hitters for six weeks in Arizona, bisecting the plate with his changeup and slider, and changing eye levels with his curveball and fastball. That fastball, though, sits in the upper-80s and dipped down to 86 at times during his starts. It gives Yamamoto little margin for error with the pitch in the strike zone, and caps his ceiling well beneath that of some of the lower probability prospects in this system, which is why Yamamoto is down here even though we like him a lot. There are several potential outcomes here. Yamamoto could be a vanilla fifth starter, or he could fit into a Ryan Yarbrough kind of role as change of pace long reliever. He could be a junkballing reliever who kitchen sinks hitters for an inning at a time, or once through the lineup. The quality of the secondary stuff and Yamamoto’s artistry should enable him to be something despite the lack of velocity, and he’s on the 40-man now, so we may get to see it next year.

22. Thomas Jones, CF
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Laurens HS (SC) (MIA)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/60 30/50 60/55 45/50 50/50

Jones has a great body, beautiful swing, and runs well enough to stay in center field. The rest of his skills are under-developed. Most significantly behind is Jones’ ball and strike recognition, and he may never have a playable hit tool because of it. But he was a two-sport high school athlete who missed early-career reps with a hamstring injury, so there’s a chance some of this stuff is still coming. This is a classic boom or bust type prospect, as there’s a lot of theoretical upside because of his speed, defensive profile, and power projection.

23. James Nelson, 3B
Drafted: 15th Round, 2016 from Cisco JC (TX) (MIA)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/50 30/45 55/50 45/50 60/60

Two years ago it appeared as though the Marlins had gotten in on the ground floor of an athletic, projectable junior college player for whom things were beginning to click. Over the last two seasons, Nelson has plateaued, been hurt a few times, and looks to have lost some of the twitch that made him interesting in 2016. At that time it looked like he could grow into an average offensive player and translate his athleticism into plus defense at third, but those traits still only exist in abstraction. Nelson just turned 21 in October, so we’re not totally out on him yet, but he needs to have a bounce-back 2019.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (NYM)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 216 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 55/55 45/50 45/50 40/45 91-95 / 97

Gonzalez was acquired at the 2017 trade deadline from the Mets for A.J. Ramos. He made a few big league appearances in 2018, mostly in relief, which is the role we have him projected into long term. He throws hard and at times his fastball has natural cut, but it lives in the middle of the zone where it’s tough for Gonzalez to miss bats. His curveball has nasty natural movement but he doesn’t finish it consistently. These two offerings need a bit of polish but should eventually enable Gonzalez to be a middle reliever.

25. Riley Ferrell, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2015 from TCU (HOU)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 40/45 94-97 / 99

Ferrell was a high profile amateur, closing for TCU and Team USA before Houston took him in the third round in 2015. They didn’t add him to the 40-man this winter and the Marlins took him in the Rule 5 as an MLB-ready middle reliever who flashes two plus pitches at times. The bump in the road that led to not adding Ferrell to the 40-man roster was a shoulder aneurysm that derailed his 2016 season. He needed a surgery that transplanted a vein from his groin into his shoulder in order to repair it, and the industry worried at the time that the injury threatened his career. His above-to-plus stuff is back and Ferrell is at least a big league-ready middle reliever with a chance to be a set-up man. There was some suggestion by scouts that Ferrell wasn’t the type of pitcher who excels with all of the data and information that Houston offered; Miami’s approach with him will reflect that.

35+ FV Prospects

26. Joe Dunand, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from North Carolina State (MIA)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Dunand received attention while at a Miami-area high school for a torrid streak of homers and because he’s Alex Rodriguez’s nephew. In college, Dunand’s long-levered swing didn’t create enough contact to put up the big numbers that many hoped for, and it continues to give him problems now. The Marlins continue playing him at shortstop, but he’s a third baseman long-term. His plus raw power still doesn’t shine through as often as you’d like and he’s now 23-years-old, so the clock is ticking for Dunand to show he can be a big leaguer of consequence.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from San Diego (SEA)
Age 23.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Brigman had a swing change in 2018, though it’s still unclear if he’ll do enough offensive damage to be an everyday second baseman. He added the tiniest of leg kicks last season and dropped his ground ball rate from 54% to 40% in the process. He’s hitting more line drives and hasn’t sacrificed any of the plus contact skills that made him famous as an amateur. He’s also very good at second base, enough that some teams may think they can shoehorn him in at shortstop and live with deficient arm strength if it means there’s a plus bat playing there. We just think he’s either a plus glove at second and he’ll either hit enough to be a low-end regular there, or he won’t and his lack of defensive versatility will make it tough for him to be rostered. The makeup reports indicate we’d be wise to bet on the former.

28. Colton Hock, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Stanford (MIA)
Age 22.8 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

In mid-July, Hock was moved from the bullpen (where he had been in college) to Greensboro’s rotation, and his performance dipped despite the fact that he had often thrown multiple innings as a reliever. He struck out a batter per inning in relief but as a starter his velo was down, his strikeout rate was significantly down (from 24% to 14%), and he was more hittable. It’s a sign his future is in the bullpen as a fastball/curveball middle reliever.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (SEA)
Age 20.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Torres is pretty interesting — he can play shortstop, he has doubles pop, he walks a ton, and runs pretty well — but he can’t stay healthy. He has never played more than 64 games in a season and that was in his first pro year back in 2015. Torres also dealt with a shoulder injury as an amateur and because of it, the Yankees reneged on their deal with him, which is why he signed with Seattle. He came over from Seattle with Neidert and Dugger in the Dee Gordon trade. He has low end everyday or utility tools, and turns 21 in February.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Ole Miss (MIA)
Age 22.1 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Fortes was a high-profile prep catcher who has plateaued tools-wise since showcase season three years ago, but has made strides in the craft of catching. His arm is a 45 that can occasionally play at a 50 when his release is quick, but he shows solid average receiving skills to go with above average makeup. At the plate, there’s some raw power, but it’s more of a contact-oriented, line drive approach, helping Fortes profile as a high probability backup who could be a low-end starter if anything outperforms expectations.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (MIA)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Soriano didn’t pitch in 2017 and we wonder if there was a surgery here, but we haven’t been able to confirm it. He was sent to the GCL last year and pitched pretty well, pounding the zone with 91-93 and a good breaking ball. At almost age 20, Soriano’s frame isn’t especially projectable but we think he’ll throw a little harder and could wind up with two pluses, which, combined with advanced control, makes him a teenage arm to monitor.

Drafted: 11th Round, 2018 from Meridian JC (MS) (MIA)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+

Bradshaw was an under-the-radar juco athlete in the 2018 draft class who the Marlins popped in the 11th round. His pro debut went well, with the 20-year-old excelling at both short season clubs for Miami. Bradshaw is a plus-plus runner who tinkered with the infield in the spring but fits best in center field long-term. He has a good swing and a chance to be a 50 or 55 bat, which would come with little game power. But that, along with his speed and defense, would help make him a high level reserve or low-end regular. The track record is short and BABIP-fueled, but some blazing runners can replicate that even in the upper levels, so Bradshaw is one to monitor.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Young Position Players
Ynmanol Marinez, SS
Albert Guaimaro, RF
Sean Reynolds, 1B
Keegan Fish, C
Victor Mesa, Jr., RF

Marinez was a $1.5 million signee in 2017 as a projectable infielder with some feel to hit. He didn’t have a great summer and wasn’t invited to the states for instructional league. Guaimaro is a curvaceous 19-year-old outfielder with average tools. He was young for the Penn League but physically looked like he belonged. Scouts wanted to see him catch as an amateur and Miami briefly tried it, but Guaimaro hasn’t done it for a few years now. Reynolds is a huge, 6-foot-7 first base prospect with big raw power and very little chance of hitting due to lever length. He also pitched in high school, so perhaps the contact comes late. Fish is a Midwest developmental project with modest physical tools and plus makeup. Mesa got a $1 million bonus, but has fourth outfielder tools.

Slightly Older Position Players
Isael Soto, RF
Jerar Encarnacion, RF
Riley Mahan, 2B
Brayan Hernandez, CF

Soto and Encarnacion each have big power but may not make enough contact to profile in a corner outfield spot. The amateur side of the industry was split on Mahan’s defensive future, with some thinking he’d be okay at second and others thinking he’d move to left field. That second group is correct so far, so Mahan needs to hit. Hernandez has fourth outfielder tools and has had issues staying healthy.

Near-Ready Potential Relievers
Kyle Keller, RHP
Tyler Kinley, RHP
Chad Smith, RHP
Tommy Eveld, RHP

Keller’s stuff got better last year and he was 93-96 with an above-average breaking ball in the fall league. Smith also threw really hard in the AFL, up to 99, but his breaking ball is closer to average. Kinley was Rule 5’d by Minnesota last year but returned to Miami mid-season. He sits in the mid-90s and has a hard, upper-80s slider. Eveld has a four-pitch mix. He’ll touch 95 and his secondaries are average.

Young Sleeper Arms
Luis Palacios, LHP
Dakota Bennett, RHP
Zach Wolf, RHP

Palacios, who is still just 18, was Miami’s DSL pitcher of the year after posting a 62-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He sits 86-92 with good breaking ball feel. Bennett’s fastball currently resides in the mid-80s but his curveball spin rate is plus. Wolf, 21, is another spin rate/deception sleeper who stands just 5-foot-8.

System Overview

The Marlins’ current regime has been able to install new leadership across their departments and had stronger internal processes in place for at least part of the 2018 season. That doesn’t mean one shouldn’t judge what has happened in their rebuild up until now. But with turnover in the front office, and an increase in overall staffing levels, there should be fewer excuses for underperformance now than there would have been a year ago. Some rebuilds come with front office and tech system overhauls; some demand big transactions right away, as Miami’s did. Others, like those of San Francisco, Baltimore, and Atlanta, can best be described as wait-and-see situations, with a front office that can get a few things working in their favor before the situation calls for significant action.

The Marlins’ main story right now is the continued presence of franchise catcher J.T. Realmuto, but his situation will likely be resolved this winter. The Marlins need a good result there, so you can see why they’re hesitant to make a move until an obviously good deal comes along, especially after the mixed-at-best early returns on the Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich trades. While the team’s young core isn’t fully formed, the 2019 big league team will be almost certainly bad matched up against a division that features four competitive clubs. There are some nice pieces that will be in the majors next year, but it isn’t clear what the next Marlins playoff team will look like. Forward momentum on the personnel front is what’s needed, and Miami has their front office ducks in a row now, so this winter marks the start of a key next year or two of asset collection and development.


Top 29 Prospects: Atlanta Braves

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Atlanta Braves. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Braves Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Cristian Pache 20.1 AA CF 2021 55
2 Austin Riley 21.7 AAA 3B 2019 55
3 Mike Soroka 21.4 MLB RHP 2019 55
4 Ian Anderson 20.6 AA RHP 2020 55
5 Kyle Wright 23.2 MLB RHP 2020 55
6 Drew Waters 19.9 A+ CF 2021 50
7 William Contreras 21.0 A+ C 2021 50
8 Touki Toussaint 22.5 MLB RHP 2019 50
9 Luiz Gohara 22.4 MLB LHP 2019 50
10 Bryse Wilson 21.0 MLB RHP 2019 50
11 Joey Wentz 21.2 A+ LHP 2020 45+
12 Kolby Allard 21.3 MLB LHP 2019 45
13 Kyle Muller 21.2 AA LHP 2021 45
14 Greyson Jenista 22.0 A+ RF 2021 45
15 Freddy Tarnok 20.0 A RHP 2022 40+
16 Alex Jackson 23.0 AAA C 2020 40+
17 Jacob Webb 25.3 AAA RHP 2019 40
18 Huascar Ynoa 20.5 A+ RHP 2021 40
19 Tristan Beck 22.5 R RHP 2021 40
20 Tucker Davidson 22.7 A+ LHP 2021 40
21 Patrick Weigel 24.4 AAA RHP 2019 40
22 Chad Sobotka 25.4 MLB RHP 2019 40
23 Trey Riley 20.6 R RHP 2022 40
24 Izzy Wilson 20.8 A+ RF 2021 40
25 CJ Alexander 22.4 A+ 3B 2021 40
26 Josh Graham 25.2 AA RHP 2019 40
27 Jefrey Ramos 19.8 A LF 2021 35+
28 Jasseel De La Cruz 21.5 A RHP 2021 35+
29 Ray-Patrick Didder 24.2 AA SS 2020 35+

55 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (ATL)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 20/45 70/70 70/70 70/70

If we told you a prospect seemed like an injury-independent lock to play elite outfield defense, how much offense would he have to provide to be a star-level player? The industry’s six-week look at Pache during the Arizona Fall League further cemented the belief that Pache has a great chance to be one of the, if not the, best defensive center fielders in baseball as soon as he arrives in Atlanta. He’s a plus to plus-plus runner with a great first step, and he has a knack for contorting his body in ways that enable him to make spectacular catches on flyballs that would otherwise fall in for tough-luck hits. He also has a 70-grade arm when he sets and throws properly, though at times he sacrifices velocity and accuracy in order to get rid of the ball more quickly, which isn’t always the right decision. Pache also has good bat-to-ball skills and solid average raw power, but the quality of his at-bats and his hitting mechanics both vary. His upside is enormous if everything comes together, and Pache just turned 20 years old, but there’s risk that the bat plays down because of Pache’s approach. If that’s the case, he might exist in the Hamilton/Pillar area of WAR production, but even a one-dimensional offensive profile likely results in star level production and because Pache is still just the age of a college sophomore, we anticipate growth in this area.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from DeSoto Central HS (MS) (ATL)
Age 21.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 70/70 45/60 45/40 45/50 65/65

Riley was a two-way high school player who many teams preferred as a pitcher, but the Braves preferred him as a hitter and liked him more than any other club, popping him rounds before most teams were prepared to draft him. That gamble has paid off. Braves personnel rave about Riley’s makeup and the strides he has made defensively, now projecting him as an average defender at third base after a lot of work on his footwork and keeping his strong frame nimble. He has an easy plus arm and plus plus raw power along with the contact skills to avoid being a huge strikeout type. What sort of hitter Riley becomes is more a matter of choice for him, but we think he’ll end up in the .250 average, with an average OBP and plus game power, meaning 25 homers or so annually.

3. Mike Soroka, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Bishop Carroll HS (CAN) (ATL)
Age 21.4 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 50/55 45/55 90-93 / 95

Soroka is a former hockey defenseman who brings that mentality to the mound, attacking hitters with three above average pitches and command. He attacks the zone with a low-90s sinker down in the zone and is a pitch efficient starter who isn’t gunning for the strikeout. He’s also a shorter strider so his velocity plays down a bit, making his command and offspeed pitches even more important. Soroka’s changeup went from rarely used to a pitch that flashes plus in the last year or so, and his high-spin hybrid breaking ball has always been a trusted secondary pitch. He missed much of 2018 with a muscular issue in his shoulder, but was ready to pitch in the big leagues in September, hitting the mid-90s in simulated games and only staying out of competitive contents because of the Braves’ cautious approach to his rehab.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Shenendowa HS (NY) (ATL)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 50/55 50/60 45/55 91-94 / 96

Anderson was a prep standout as an underclassman and despite some minor injuries in his draft year, was the third overall pick in 2016. The Braves got him for an under slot bonus that freed them up to grab Wentz, Muller, and Wilson for over slot bonuses; that group has worked out extremely well so far, especially considering how risky a subgroup prep pitching is. Anderson is the most advanced in terms of his combination of stuff now, command, and size, as evidenced by reaching Double-A at age 20 with excellent stats at every stop. He isn’t the sexiest prospect in terms of spin rates, so his command will need to continue to be a separator as the hitters he faces continue to get better. Anderson flashed a 60 curveball as an amateur but it’s more of a 55 now, while his changeup went from not being used much to flashing plus regularly, passing ahead of his curveball for some scouts.

5. Kyle Wright, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Vanderbilt (ATL)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 55
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 50/55 45/50 45/50 91-95 / 97

Wright passed up seven figures from the Braves out of an Alabama high school to go to Vanderbilt and got many times more than that three years later as the fifth overall pick. He’s a near ideal combination of frame, arm action, delivery, athleticism, broad repertoire, and feel for pitching. Wright’s fastball is solid, but not a standout swing-and-miss pitch, though his slider often is. Wright mixes in a curveball and changeup that are tertiary options and his lower slot matches the sinker/slider combo a bit better. His best route to early big league success may be to lean on his breaking ball and throw it as often as his fastball, like Chris Archer or Patrick Corbin do. Given the Braves young pitching depth, there may not be a rotation spot for Wright, but his stuff and approach would definitely work in a multi-inning relief role until that spot is available.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Etowah HS (GA) (ATL)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 183 Bat / Thr S / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 55/60 30/50 60/55 45/50 60/60

Waters was the rare prep prospect who had present hit tool utility, top-of-the-line prep performance, and 55- or 60-grade supporting tools to give him both high certainty and some ceiling. He got lost in the shuffle a bit in his deep draft class and had a tough pro debut due to both fatigue and swing tinkering. His full season debut in 2018 was a smashing success; he demolished the Low-A Sally League and posted a 98 wRC+ in High-A as a teenager. Waters’ raw power is a 55 that will likely be a 60 as he fills out, and his speed is a current 60 that likely becomes a 55. His center field instincts are above average, so he’s still got a solid chance to stick at the position and his arm is an easy plus. Waters’ carrying tool is his bat and he regained an approach that works for him in 2018. His exciting combination of physical projection, now ability, and ceiling will give him upward mobility in the Top 100 with a strong start to 2019.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Venezuela (ATL)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 50/55 20/50 45/40 45/55 60/60

Contreras’ older brother Willson is among the best catchers in baseball and was a late bloomer, breaking through at age 23 in Double-A. William had his breakout in 2018 as a 20-year-old, going from a trendy pick to breakout to a consensus Top 100 prospect by mid-season. He has been defensively advanced for years, both in his tools and his mental approach to the game, in part due to help from his brother. William projects as an above average defender with a plus arm. Contreras has also gotten stronger and is growing into his man strength after establishing a feel to hit, so he has a well-rounded approach now. He toned down his swing in 2018 and is slowly adding elements as he feels comfortable, rather than making a noisier swing work all at once. Contreras stands out because there are not many 21-year-olds who project for average to above offense along with above average defense, and have the makeup/mental part of the game under control without any major red flags like injuries. The scouts who like Contreras really like him–rounding up on both the tool grades due to makeup and his overall value due to a high floor at a position that’s a wasteland in the majors right now. This top 10 could be in almost any order, and Contreras may be the guy with the biggest variance as to where various baseball people rank him, which is a positive when his ranking peers are mostly MLB-ready, heavily-pedigreed prospects with much more track record.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Coral Springs Christian HS (FL) (ARI)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 65/65 55/60 50/55 40/45 91-95 / 97

Toussaint was a heralded and famous prep pitcher, showing plus-plus stuff as a high school sophomore and eventually going in the middle of the first round in 2014. He was traded to Atlanta as the prize for taking on Bronson Arroyo’s contract, and has slowly made adjustments to develop his starter traits and harness his high octane stuff. When he’s at his best, Toussaint works 91-94 and will hit 97 mph a couple of times a game when he needs to, mixing in a 55 or 60 grade curveball and hard changeup, though he’ll break out the 70-grade hook once or twice a game. With his power approach and delivery, Toussaint still has some command issues at times, but when he dials his stuff down a bit, he’s learned to be more pitch efficient. At the least, Toussaint is an ideal candidate to be a setup man or closer who can go multiple innings, but there’s a real chance he can be the no. 2 or 3 starter that teams work so hard, and go through so many arms, to find, and he’s ready to contribute now.

9. Luiz Gohara, LHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Brazil (SEA)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 60/60 45/50 45/50 93-96 / 98

Gohara has had an up-and-down couple of years; he’s dealt with serious health issues and death in his immediate family, and living far away from home, along with some relatively less important professional matters, has also proven to be burdensome. A series of off-the-field issues and maturity concerns led the Mariners to sell low on him in the trade that brought him to Atlanta. He has a frame along the lines of a Prince Fielder or a CC Sabathia in that he looks unathletic when static, but you can see he’s deceptively athletic for his size. Gohara has reportedly recently lost a lot of weight and gotten into the best shape of his life (alarm sound). He has high octane stuff with a plus fastball/slider combo and a changeup that’s come to be average, along with better control and command than you might expect from a young power pitcher. Gohara is very close to losing eligibility, but he may be the rare case of a player who actually demonstrates in March that the changes he’s made are real and moves up a list, since it’s hard to upgrade a guy based on verbal reports that he’s making progress in non-competitive environments.

10. Bryse Wilson, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Orange HS (NC) (ATL)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 224 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/55 50/55 50/55 91-95 / 98

Wilson is a scout favorite, as an aggressive bulldog who relies on spotting his fastball in all quadrants of the zone, with the velocity, movement, and command all grading above average on his various fastballs. His slider will flash 55 in ideal situations, but plays closer to fringe average regularly, while his changeup also flashes 55 at times and is better than the slider most games. Wilson fits in today’s game because the concerns around him involve turning over the lineup and using his third pitch, but he normally has a plus fastball, above average command, plus plus makeup, and at least one average to above offspeed pitch, so he could be a great 2-3 inning reliever who works in various roles. There’s still a chance he could be a traditional starter, but the Braves’ pitching depth likely dictates a hybrid role in the short term.

45+ FV Prospects

11. Joey Wentz, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Shawnee Mission East HS (MO) (ATL)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 209 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/55 60/60 45/55 88-92 / 94

Wentz has flashed three plus pitches at times, but has never done it all in the same outing. Some thought he was on the verge of doing so in 2018, but he missed huge chunks of the year with oblique and shoulder ailments, though they seem minor to us in terms of their long-term effects. Wentz was 88-92 mph with solid average stuff and average command in 2018, and projects to improve when he has a full, healthy offseason to regain what he was the year before. He is also big and athletic with a smooth delivery and arm action, so there’s the classic projection you’re looking for. Like Muller, Wentz also has 70-grade raw power to provide offensive value when he reaches the big leagues. At its best, Wentz’s fastball was 92-95, hitting 96 mph, and his curveball and changeup were plus, with multi-innings stretches when his command looked above average, which led some scouts to invoke Cole Hamels. Things probably land somewhere between the peak of each of his elements and his average 2018 showing.

45 FV Prospects

12. Kolby Allard, LHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from San Clemente HS (CA) (ATL)
Age 21.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 45/55 50/60 88-91 / 93

Allard has largely been the same pitcher since his draft spring, working with a 45 or 50 fastball, an above average offspeed offering, and plus command. He isn’t big and he got hit around in his first taste of the big leagues, which is what most scouts were afraid might happen to him. It was a short look and many have recovered from performances like that, but Allard has to be fine with what he does, and his style of pitching (along with his weapons) offers almost no margin for error and doesn’t exactly fit where the game is going. Luckily he has advanced feel for what he’s doing on the mound, so there is a path to being a reliable back-end starter.

13. Kyle Muller, LHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Jesuit Prep HS (TX) (ATL)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/50 55/60 40/50 90-94 / 96

Muller is a big, athletic, aggressive lefty with a sturdy frame and above average stuff to go with average type command. He displayed raw power in high school that some scouts graded as a 70, so there’s likely some real value above what most NL pitchers offer at the plate. He had a velocity dip after signing, which most seem to think stemmed from heavy usage in high school. That appeared to be the case, as his velocity was back up this spring after some training at Driveline. Muller isn’t traditionally exciting since he doesn’t have huge velocity or a crazy athletic and loose delivery, but lots of long-time starters have looked like this at this stage in their careers.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Wichita State (ATL)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 65/65 30/55 50/45 45/50 55/55

Jenista has a skillset that will be familiar to long-time fans of the game, with some qualities in common with players like Jeromy Burnitz, Adam Dunn, and Lance Berkman. Jenista is deceptively athletic for his size (a 50 runner at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds) and has big raw power (a 65) along with a right field profile. Jenista is a late-count, power-focused hitter, so his approach will come with some swing-and-miss and some walks. He’ll need a slight adjustment to his swing plane, as it’s a little too flat for this type of player (he hits more doubles when he makes hard contact than you’d like), and he may age more quickly than player with a slighter build would. The upside is a three-win power-focused corner bat, though a more realistic expectation is probably a low-end regular worth around two wins annually, but he’ll need to make some offensive adjustments between now and then regardless.

40+ FV Prospects

15. Freddy Tarnok, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Riverview HS (FL) (ATL)
Age 20.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 50/55 45/55 40/50 92-95 / 98

Tarnok was primarily a hitter in high school, and many teams didn’t take him seriously as a pitcher or even see him multiple times until late in the spring. The Braves were the team highest on him, and talked him into giving pitching a shot full-time with a well-over-slot bonus. Tarnok is, as expected, still raw, but it’s easy to see what Braves scouts were so excited about: he has near-ideal body and arm action along with standout arm strength, athleticism, and ability to spin the ball. The finer points of pitching, how to mix all of his pitches, and dialing in the repetition of his delivery are still variables, all stemming from his lack of innings. He’s a popular pick to be the breakout prospect in the system and has among its highest ceilings if it all comes together.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2014 from Rancho Bernardo HS (CA) (SEA)
Age 23.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 70/70 40/55 30/30 45/50 60/60

Jackson was selected sixth overall out of a SoCal high school in 2014, and was among the most celebrated prep bats of all time. He ranked at the top of his class for three years and was projected to move from catcher to right field because of his prodigious talent at the plate, like Bryce Harper and Wil Myers before him. He had a tough pro debut with unlucky injuries, streaky hitting, and poor coaching, which he responded poorly to in turn, bristling at the criticism that came with not meeting expectations. Jackson was traded to the Braves, who moved him back behind the plate in an attempt to build some value since his bat no longer profiled as the 6 hit/6 power that was projected out of high school. He made great strides as a catcher in 2018 and now looks likely to be an average-or-close-to-it receiver with a plus arm and plus plus raw power. He’s gotten much bigger since high school and isn’t a runner, and his lessened twitch quickness also makes him more of a mistake hitter at the plate. Jackson being near MLB-ready and given the current state of catching, he could be a 90 wRC+ hitter and fringe-to-average receiver and have a long career. There’s a chance for more, but expectations have settled right around there.

40 FV Prospects

17. Jacob Webb, RHP
Drafted: 18th Round, 2014 from Tabor College (ATL)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/55 50/50 45/45 94-96 / 98

Webb was a low-bonus, late-round, small school pick who still wasn’t really on the prospect radar for most clubs until 2018. His velocity took a step forward (up to 98 mph) and the added armspeed helped his 50 to 55 type stuff grade out a tick better. This improvement made him a lock to be a Rule 5 pick if not protected, so Atlanta added him to the 40-man roster. Like many of the 40 FV-grade relievers on this list, Webb projects as a middle reliever, but he has the best chance to turn into a bit more, and could possibly be a setup man.

18. Huascar Ynoa, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (MIN)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/70 50/55 45/50 35/45 94-98 / 100

Ynoa’s older bother Michel was the July 2nd bonus record-holder for awhile and still sets the pace for non-Cuban pitchers in the market. Huascar was also a premium arm in his class, receiving a high-six-figure bonus and making incremental progress since then, reaching a velocity peak of 100 mph in 2018. Ynoa’s fastball plays down a bit because he’s a short strider and throws a bit of sinker, but it often flattens out up in the zone when he overthrows, happens at his highest velocities. His slider occasionally flashes plus, but projecting a 55 pitch is more reasonable for the type of breaker he can command. Ynoa’s changeup is usable and his command shows flashes, but he was added to the 40-man roster this year and will start burning options now. This ticking options clock limits the time he has to develop starter traits, making a power middle reliever the most likely outcome.

19. Tristan Beck, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Stanford (ATL)
Age 22.5 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/60 45/50 40/45 90-95 / 96

Beck was premium prospect out of a SoCal high school, reportedly turning down over $2.5 million to go to Stanford as he had long wanted to do. There, Beck had various injury issues and his stuff and command didn’t progress as many had hoped, but he still showed glimpses of his upside from high school. In instructional league, he ran his fastball up to 96 mph, which didn’t happen often in college, and his signature hammer curveball flashed plus once again. Beck is still in the nether region of starter vs. reliever given his uneven track record and command that doesn’t consistently flash average, but his power stuff will play in any role if he can continue showing what he did in instructional league.

Drafted: 19th Round, 2016 from Midland JC (TX) (ATL)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 45/50 50/55 45/50 40/50 90-94 / 95

Davidson was a low-profile JC arm the Braves gambled on in 2016 and after improving his body composition entering the 2017 season, his stuff and command improved too, and he looked like a potential no. 4 starter. Davidson’s 2018 season wasn’t as good, as his stuff and command were both a bit worse, so he’s now at the nexus of back-end starter or depth relief lefty, though the upside of being a starter in the big leagues keeps him ahead of some of the 35 FV lefty relievers below (Clouse and Burrows) with similar stuff.

Drafted: 7th Round, 2015 from Houston (ATL)
Age 24.4 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 230 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/65 55/55 45/50 45/50 40/45 92-96 / 98

As an amateur, Weigel was a big dude with an upper-90’s fastball and little else that showed much consistency, which allowed him to slip to the seventh round. In pro ball, Weigel was able to put it together as a starter, continuing to run his heater into the upper-90’s, but working more 92-94 mph with a four pitch mix that was also average or better. Due to the power of his repertoire and approach, and his long frame, Weigel had the sort of fringy command that made him seem better suited to being a multi-inning reliever than a starter. He underwent Tommy John surgery once he reached Triple-A in 2017 and returned to the mound late in 2018. In instructional league, Weigel’s arm speed was mostly back, hitting 96 mph, but the stamina and crispness of his offspeed pitches wasn’t quite there yet. It’s still too early to expect him to be completely back and there’s an expectation that he will return to his prior form in the upcoming season. That belief led the Braves to add him to the 40-man, as he would’ve been a strong candidate for a rebuilding team looking to buy low on him in the Rule 5 Draft.

22. Chad Sobotka, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2014 from South Carolina Upstate (ATL)
Age 25.4 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/65 50/55 40/45 40/45 95-98 / 100

Sobotka was a pop-up small school pitcher in the 2014 draft, but issues stemming from his size and arm speed limited him in various ways until 2018, when he velocity took the step forward that many foresaw in 2014. Sobotka now hits 100 mph and mixes in a slider that’s a 55 at times. His command will never be great since he has a slightly stiff, 6-foot-7 frame, but his stuff doesn’t need pinpoint control to be effective in a middle relief role. After contributing out of the big league bullpen down the stretch and in the playoffs in 2018, Sobotka is a useful middle reliever with options for the Braves to use and develop further.

23. Trey Riley, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2018 from Logan JC (IA) (ATL)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 55/60 50/55 40/50 35/45 92-95 / 97

Riley burst onto the scouting scene in 2018 at Logan JC in Iowa after bouncing back from Oklahoma State. Some teams were hesitant to take him where his talent suggested (second or third round) due to their interpretation of what led to him to leave Oklahoma State, but the Braves were excited to give him an over slot bonus in the fifth round of a draft where they were missing a third round selection. Riley’s stuff is exciting — up to 97 mph, with a slider that flashes plus, and a solid average curve and changeup that flashed average — while his arm action, athleticism, and command give him a chance to start, despite a short track record of doing so. Regardless, his present stuff will play in any role and fits where the game is going, so simply staying healthy, getting innings, and maintaining his stuff should keep him on the prospect radar.

24. Izzy Wilson, RF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Saint Maarten (ATL)
Age 20.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 55/60 30/50 45/45 45/50 55/55

Wilson burst onto the prospect scene in 2015, hitting 10 homers in 48 games in the GCL at age 17. He signed as a shortstop but has moved down the defensive spectrum to right field, retaining his loose, lefty swing and physical projection. In the interim, Wilson has had maturity and consistency issues, which he appears to be moving past now. Longer-limbed power hitters typically take the longest to develop offensively, making his pro debut that much more surprising. He’ll be 21 years old next year, with a chance to get to Double-A and regain the everyday player projection some saw in 2015.

Drafted: 20th Round, 2018 from State College JC (FL) (ATL)
Age 22.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 30/50 40/40 40/45 55/60

C.J. Alexander and his brother, SS Blaze Alexander (IMG Academy HS in Florida, drafted by the Diamondbacks), were both drafted lower in 2018 than their talent suggested. Blaze slipped due to demands as an over slot high school pick, while C.J. was old for a junior college player and is limited to a corner, though scouts have some debate about which position is his best fit. C.J. had a big pro debut, getting to High-A and playing in instructs in a season that saw him in real games from late January until October. He has plus raw power and a plus arm, with deceptive contact skills and at least passable defense at all four corner spots. The upside is a low-end regular or the correct side of a corner platoon, which is more likely to happen if he continues to move quickly through the system. His pro ball batted-ball outcomes were lucky but he also played among the longest seasons in all of organized baseball, putting up big numbers at every level.

26. Josh Graham, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2015 from Oregon (ATL)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/60 65/70 40/45 92-95 / 97

Graham has some of the best pure stuff in baseball, running his fastball up to 97 mph, flashing a 60 slider at times, and relying heavily on one of the best changeups in the game, which is a 70 for most scouts. His short arm action is a giveaway that he converted from catching while at Oregon. The issues holding Graham back are that he consistently works behind in the count and seems focused on putting up big velocity numbers, which affects his fastball command and allows hitters to sit on his offspeed pitches. Like Didder and Demeritte, hope was bright in the past year that Graham could fix his issues and become a big league contributor, but none of the three have changed much in the interim and now have shorter developmental ropes as they enter their mid-20’s.

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (ATL)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Ramos was a higher profile July 2nd prospect whose market didn’t materialize as expected, so he waited until 2016 to sign as a 17-year-old in the Braves pool-busting class. Ramos is a left field only fit, with plus raw power as his carrying tool, so he has to hit. He made real progress on that front in 2018, bopping 16 homers and posting a 102 wRC+ in Low-A as a 19-year-old. He’s backed into a corner profile-wise, and has to keep progressing at the plate to avoid his upside being the wrong side of a left field/first base platoon. As an example, the Braves had a version of this at Triple-A recently in Dustin Peterson; he was put on waivers as the demand for this sort of less-versatile player is waning.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (ATL)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

De La Cruz is 92-95, touching 97 mph and flashing a plus slider at his best, so there’s some clear ceiling here. His changeup, command, and delivery all come and go, and he has pitched limited innings for a 21-year-old. A reasonable scenario for him is to continue trying to start for a bit longer, and if he doesn’t emerge in that role, to eventually focus on his fastball/slider combo in shorter stints. In that role, he could work his way into higher leverage late relief, but there’s still a long way to go before that happens.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Aruba (ATL)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Didder can play at least average defense at all the non-pitcher-and-catcher positions on the field and he’s shown plus ability in center, buoyed by plus-plus speed and a plus-plus arm. He’s shown ability at the plate and mistake power at times, but he’s now 24 and still hasn’t put it together offensively for long stretches. He’s Rule 5-eligible and is an ideal 25th man type if a team thinks they can tease out some offense and get a 1-2 WAR player with all of his secondary skills.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Likely Reserve Position Players
A.J. Graffanino, SS
Drew Lugbauer, C
Justin Dean, CF
Andrew Moritz, CF
Travis Demeritte, LF

Graffanino is the son of Tony, and is an advanced defender with contact skills and feel for the game; he’s likely a reserve but was injured in college and is still adding weight, so there’s low-end regular upside. Lugbauer was a nice find in the 11th round and is at least third catcher quality behind the plate with 60 raw power and 55 arm strength, but he may end up being a primary first baseman and the contact skills come and go. Dean was another late-round find in the Carolinas for the Braves and is a true 80 runner, but is still raw enough that the realistic upside is a speed-oriented reserve. Moritz is a 55 runner who is hit-over-power and can play all three outfield positions, with one scout comparing him to Sam Fuld as a potential instinctual reserve. Demeritte still has easy plus power and is passable at multiple positions defensively, but will need to make some offensive adjustments to have a big league future.

Likely Relievers
Corbin Clouse, LHP
Wes Parsons, RHP
Thomas Burrows, LHP
Victor Vodnik, RHP
Gabriel Rodriguez, LHP
Troy Bacon, RHP
Jeremy Walker, RHP
Odalvi Javier, RHP

The other pitchers here are a mix of pure middle relief prospects and chance no. 5 starters who are more likely to slip into long relief territory if we’re being realistic. Clouse and Burrows are similar lefty relievers, with Clouse having a little more velo and Burrows more deception/feel; they share a similar breaking ball. Parsons and Javier are starter types with solid average stuff but nothing is plus, so you’re hoping for a no. 5 starter and will probably get a multi-inning depth arm if things work out. Walker flashes above average stuff from a frame/arm action that scouts like, but his delivery, command, and changeup haven’t progressed, so he’s a likely reliever but with more ceiling than Parsons or Javier. Vodnik and Rodriguez are relief-type arms from the 2018 draft class. Vodnik is a smallish righty who was 87-90 for some of the spring, but was 92-95, touching 98 mph with solid average offspeed in instructs. Rodriguez was a junior college position player who threw a handful of innings in the spring. The Braves saw them all, and stuck him on the mound in pro ball; he also topped at 98 mph, though he’s a project. Bacon can run it up to 96 mph and flashes a 55 breaker along with two other usable pitches and average command at times, but he’s a smallish righty reliever and isn’t always that good.

System Overview
The top 10 of the Braves’ system is still among the best in the game, which is why they still rank highly in our org rankings; Top 100 caliber players are so much more important than the depth pieces. Given some recent trades, graduations, and league sanctions, the depth in the system is down considerably, with something like 15 fewer prospects having trade value (between the list and the Others of Note section) than the list had before those issues. Once you get beyond the 50 FV prospects, this system is very ordinary or even below average. The weaknesses are at the lower levels, though, as the trades and sanctions affected players mostly aged 17-20, so the big league team won’t feel these losses for years and there’s still plenty of ammunition for trades, along with near-ready prospects for the big league team.

Their competitive window is securely open now and will likely stay that way for at least 4-5 years, even if the organization opts to move all their chips in for the short-term. The Braves have a rare group of talent in their core and should add a few more pieces to it from this list in 2019, with a trade of a few of the top dozen on this list for an established star with multiple years of control seemingly likely as well. The NL East could go a few different ways this winter, but it looks like every team but the Marlins is trying to win in the short-term and will have a chance at the division. Having a stable of young, optionable power arms should be a useful talent infusion in the second half for the Braves’ rotation and bullpen, constituting a built-in midseason trade of sorts, as payroll is always a factor for mid-market clubs.


Top 31 Prospects: Chicago Cubs

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Chicago Cubs. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Cubs Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Miguel Amaya 19.7 A C 2022 50
2 Nico Hoerner 21.6 A 2B 2020 50
3 Aramis Ademan 20.2 A+ SS 2020 50
4 Adbert Alzolay 23.8 AAA RHP 2019 45+
5 Justin Steele 23.4 AA LHP 2019 45
6 Cole Roederer 19.2 R CF 2022 45
7 Brailyn Marquez 19.9 A LHP 2021 45
8 Alex Lange 23.2 A+ RHP 2020 45
9 Zack Short 23.5 AA SS 2019 40+
10 Richard Gallardo 17.3 R RHP 2023 40+
11 Reivaj Garcia 17.3 R 2B 2024 40
12 Brennen Davis 19.1 R CF 2023 40
13 Brendon Little 22.3 A LHP 2020 40
14 Jeremiah Estrada 20.1 R RHP 2021 40
15 Oscar De La Cruz 23.8 AA RHP 2020 40
16 Jose Albertos 20.1 A RHP 2022 40
17 Alec Mills 27.0 MLB RHP 2018 40
18 Luis Verdugo 18.2 R SS 2023 40
19 Cory Abbott 23.2 A+ RHP 2020 40
20 Keegan Thompson 23.7 AA RHP 2019 40
21 Tyson Miller 23.4 A+ RHP 2020 40
22 Trent Giambrone 25.0 AA 2B 2019 40
23 Christopher Morel 19.5 A- 3B 2023 40
24 Yovanny Cruz 19.3 A- RHP 2022 40
25 Dakota Mekkes 24.1 AAA RHP 2019 40
26 Thomas Hatch 24.2 AA RHP 2019 40
27 Jonathan Sierra 20.1 A- RF 2022 40
28 Nelson Velazquez 19.9 A LF 2023 40
29 Danis Correa 19.3 R RHP 2022 40
30 Benjamin Rodriguez 19.4 R RHP 2023 40
31 Kohl Franklin 19.2 R RHP 2023 40

50 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Panama (CHC)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 50/55 30/45 40/30 45/60 55/60

Even as he struggled early as a pro to perform on paper, Amaya drew trade interest from clubs hoping to leverage the Cubs’ championship aspirations to convince the club to part with him. The Cubs refused and have been rewarded, as the offensive potential promised by Amaya’s graceful swing and burgeoning physicality began to actualize in 2018. Amaya’s hands have life, and work in a tight little loop as he accelerates them to swing. He can pull and lift balls in various parts of the zone with regularity, and the impact of his contact is only limited by his average bat speed. The physical grind of catching is likely to dilute his in-game offensive production a little bit, but unless the beating he takes back there starts to take away from his defensive abilities (which sometimes happens to young catchers), Amaya is a pretty good bet to have some kind of big league career, and, if the bat maxes out, he’ll be an above-average regular. He turns 20 in March and will likely head to Hi-A next year. How his advanced defensive ability and less-advanced bat develop could affect how quickly the Cubs push him: slowly if they want to wait for the latter or, depending on how much he hits early as a big leaguer, quickly if they don’t.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Stanford (CHC)
Age 21.6 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 50/50 35/45 55/55 45/50 50/50

Already, Hoerner’s swing has changed. He was making lots of hard, low-lying contact at Stanford, but since signing he has added a subtle little bat wrap that has made a substantial difference in how he impacts the ball. He hit for much more power than was anticipated in the summer and fall, and the identifiable mechanical tweak is evidence that the change is real and not small-sample noise. Hoerner makes routine plays at short and so long as scouts are okay with his funky throwing motion, he has a chance to stay there. There are scouts who have him projected to second base or to center field. Hoerner’s previous swing enabled a bit of a jailbreak out of the batter’s box, exaggerating his home-to-first speed. With the new swing, he’s a 55 runner. Hoener’s bat and probable up the middle defensive profile mean he’s likely to be at least an average regular, and he could move quickly.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 20.2 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/55 45/45 30/45 45/50 45/50 55/55

We’re chalking up Ademan’s terrible 2018 statline to an overzealous assignment. At age 19, the Cubs sent him to Hi-A Myrtle Beach, where he barely hit above the Mendoza Line. He did look a little bit heavier than he had the year before, and his swing was more upright and less athletic than it has been, but all the physical tools to stay at short are still here (quick actions, sound footwork, plenty of arm) for now. Much of Ademan’s offensive woes can be explained away by his age relative to the level. He doesn’t project to be an impact bat, just one that is better than is usual at shortstop. Ideally he shows up to Mesa in the spring looking a little leaner and twitchier. He’ll likely repeat Myrtle Beach (at least for the season’s first half) and projects as an average everyday player.

45+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Venezuela (CHC)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 40/45 45/50 92-95 / 97

Alzolay felt a weird sensation in his throwing arm in the fourth innings of a late-May start at Triple-A. It was a lat strain, for which he’d need a PRP injection and the rest of the summer to rehab. He was throwing again in the fall and is expected to be ready for 2019. Alzolay may have also had some health issues during his breakout 2017. He was given extended rest throughout July and August, his starts often spaced out by six days. He didn’t throw more than 80 pitches in any August start and was shut down late in that month, then asked to pick up innings in the Arizona Fall League. He has this system’s best two-pitch mix, a fastball/power curveball combo that is ready for a major league bullpen as soon as Alzolay is healthy. To profile in a rotation, he will need a better changeup than the one he has shown in the past; missing several months of action with his lat issue likely slowed that process. The combination of injury and the changeup reps lost to it make it more likely that Alzolay ends up in the bullpen, but he could be a dominant high-leverage option there.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 5th Round, 2014 from George County HS (MS) (CHC)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/50 45/45 40/50 89-93 / 95

Steele signed for $1 million as one of several over-slot players in Chicago’s terrific 2014 draft class and was tracking through the minors at an even pace before he blew out his elbow in August of 2017. He returned from Tommy John just eleven months after his injury and by the end of his six-week Arizona Fall League run, looked as though he might contribute to the Cubs in 2019. He was touching 95 in the fall and living in the low-90s with less life than his spin rate would indicate. He has an above-average curveball and will flash an average change and a pitch that looks like a cutter, but it may just be a variation of his changeup. He projects as a no. 4 or 5 starter.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Hart HS (CA) (CHC)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/50 50/55 30/55 55/50 40/50 45/45

As a high school underclassman, Roederer looked like a hit-first tweener outfielder. He added a bunch of good weight and strength and had significantly more raw power when he arrived in the AZL after signing. He has already begun trading a little bit of contact for significantly more game power. With added mass and strength typically comes a reduction in straight line speed, but Roederer hasn’t slowed down just yet and still looks like a possibility to stay in center, though most scouts who saw him in pro ball think he’ll eventually move to left field. Regardless, there’s a whole lot more bat here than there was on our pre-draft evaluation of Roederer, who has risen to the top of the promising teenage hitter group in this system because he has a chance to hit for average and power while the rest are likely to do just one of those.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 45/50 30/45 40/50 93-96 / 99

Name another teenage lefty who touches 99. As far as we know, this is the only one, meaning Marquez is perhaps the hardest-throwing teenage southpaw on the planet right now. He also has pretty advanced fastball command for someone with that kind of heat to go along with a 6.5% walk rate over his last 100 innings of work. His secondary stuff is pretty pedestrian, but everything of his plays up against left-handed hitters because Marquez has a weird, sawed off, low-slot arm action. He’ll need to develop better ways to deal with right-handed hitters, either via command or better secondary stuff, and ultimately Marquez projects as a no. 4 starter because one cannot live on velo alone, but the elite arm strength means his ceiling is higher than that if the Cubs can work some magic with his stuff.

8. Alex Lange, RHP
Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from LSU (CHC)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 55/55 50/55 40/45 89-90 / 92

Lange had a legendary college career at LSU, where he always performed despite some year-to-year fluctuations in his velocity. He carved up the SEC with just two pitches, and repertoire depth, the velo issues, and the violence in Lange’s delivery all contributed to the amateur scouting world’s opinion that he would be a reliever in pro ball. Lange’s changeup usage increased dramatically in 2018 and the pitch improved. His curveball doesn’t have big raw spin but it’s still really effective and remains his best pitch. His delivery is deceptive and enables his fastball to play despite below-average velocity. It appears there’s a starter’s arsenal here and Lange threw plenty of strikes in 2018. If he’s living off of deception, perhaps his future role will be limited to a one time through the order type of guy, but that’s still more than a generic 40 FV reliever.

40+ FV Prospects

9. Zack Short, SS
Drafted: 17th Round, 2016 from Sacred Heart (CHC)
Age 23.5 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 45/45 45/45 50/50 50/50 50/50

Arguing in Short’s favor is best done using the same statistics that have made him a Fringe Five mainstay for the last two years. He owns a 17% career walk rate and gets to every bit of his fringy raw power in games because he hits flyballs at a 54% clip, which would be the highest rate in the majors among qualified hitters. Short exists at the far right tail of the player population where both of these skills are concerned. He’s very similar, statistically, to one-year wonder Ryan Schimpf, except Short has better feel for contact and can actually play shortstop. He may wind up in a utility role, but Short is freaky enough in these ways to be more intriguing than your average bench guy, and the Addison Russell situation complicates the Cubs’ shortstop situation enough that Short might be relevant pretty quickly.

10. Richard Gallardo, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (CHC)
Age 17.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 187 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 55/70 40/50 35/55 89-93 / 94

Gallardo signed for an even $1 million in July and was, in our opinion, the most well-rounded pitcher in his IFA class. He’s really loose, flexible, and athletic, and has some physical projection. He sits 89-93 right now and it plays at the top of the strike zone. He’ll likely throw harder as he matures. Gallardo also has a proclivity for spin and his curveball already flashes plus. He checks all the traditional boxes for a teenage pitching prospect, has advanced pitchability, and his stuff works in a specific way (four-seamers up, curveballs down) that fits with contemporary pitch usage. Teenage pitching is risky, but every aspect of Gallardo’s profile is indicative of improvement. He has a chance to be really good.

40 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Mexico (CHC)
Age 17.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/45 20/45 50/45 45/55 50/50

Garcia, who signed for $500,000, just turned 17 in August and hit .300 in the AZL despite being a whopping 3.5 years younger than the average player there. He has really great feel to hit, and not just for his age. It’s punchy, all-fields contact right now. Garcia’s swing has an abbreviated finish and he’s already a pretty stocky kid without much room for mass, so it’s unlikely he develops big home run power as he matures; he might never hit more than 12-15 bombs. But he’s going to hit a ton and he’s athletic enough to have tried shortstop, though he probably fits best at second base, where he might be above-average. Depending on how his bat develops, he could be a Cesar Hernandez type of regular who makes a ton of contact and plays a premium position, which would generate a significant amount of value even if there’s not much pop here. The Cubs have pushed advanced hitters like this pretty aggressively of late, but Garcia is just so young that we anticipate he’ll be in extended next year, then head to Eugene for the start of his summer. If he hits there, he may get a cup of coffee at South Bend late in the summer.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Basha HS (AZ) (CHC)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 20/55 60/60 40/55 55/60

If you’re looking for the Platonic Ideal of upside, it exists in Davis, who is raw as a hitter but still enthralling in every other possible way. Davis was his conference’s Defensive POY on a 2016 state championship basketball team and didn’t fully commit to baseball until his senior year. His mother was a track and field athlete at the University of Washington and his father is former NBA All-Star, Reggie Theus. In addition to his athletic gifts, scouts rave about Davis’ maturity as a student and a worker (often citing the odd hours he keeps taking care of a goat and llamas at his family home), and all thought he’d be able to cope with likely early-career contact struggles and would work to improve his ability to hit. If Davis grows into a 40 bat, he could be a star because of his power and ability to play center field. There’s some risk he never gets there.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from State College JC (FL) (CHC)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/55 40/50 40/45 89-91 / 93

Little’s stuff was down in 2018. He was 92-94 and touching 95 or 96 last year, had a plus curveball, and only lasted until late in the first round because of concerns surrounding his command. This year, he was mostly 89-92 with just an average curveball and no improvement in his ability to locate. There’s a chance he bounces back, but college starters often just never throw as hard as they did in school due to increased usage and a longer season, and that’s possible in this case, too. A left-handed breaking ball like this probably means Little will at least have a future in the bullpen or as a backend starter, but his stuff needs to rebound if he’s going to be more.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2017 from Palm Desert HS (CA) (CHC)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 45/50 55/60 30/45 91-93 / 96

Estrada, who signed for $1 million as a sixth rounder in 2017, had a very strong spring and extended spring in Mesa and looked like he might be pushed to short season ball as a 19-year-old. Then, just before short season leagues began, he was placed on the reserve list and didn’t throw again all summer. He is already much thicker and heavier than he was in high school. He was touching 96 before he was shut down and had one of the nastier changeups among teenage arms in Arizona. He struck out a rehabbing Andrew Toles with that changeup twice in extended, though his curveball remains pretty fringy. If his command improves and he finds a third pitch, the curveball or otherwise, he’ll be a mid-rotation option. If not, he projects as a late-inning fastball/changeup reliever.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 55/60 40/45 40/40 88-92 / 96

De la Cruz spent much of 2017 injured, and was sitting 88-92 while rehabbing in preparation for a Fall League stint that was nixed due to a setback. After showing similar velocity in March of 2018, he was suspended for PEDs in the second half of the season. He’s currently throwing about an inning per week for Estrellas Orientales in the Dominican Winter League. Peak prospect De la Cruz would show you a plus fastball and breaking ball consistently, as well as some feel for a changeup. Because of all the lost reps due to various injuries over the last several years, his development has been slow. Assuming his stuff comes back, it makes sense to move him quickly as a reliever before something else happens to him, which would make his lack of a strong changeup and command less relevant. In that case, he could be a high-leverage arm.

16. Jose Albertos, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Mexico (CHC)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 55/60 55/60 20/40 91-94 / 97

Jose Albertos’ final spring training start was unremarkable. As usual, he looked like he was in control of two excellent secondary pitches much more than his mid-90s fastball. When the Low-A South Bend’s season began a few days later, Albertos had issues finding the strike zone and lasted just a single inning. The problem snowballed, and his’ control unravelled throughout the course of the year. He walked 32 hitters in 13.2 innings at South Bend, then was sent back to extended spring training for a month before he was reassigned to short-season Eugene, where he walked 33 in 17.2 innings, at times throwing fastballs in the mid-80s just to try to throw a strike. This happens to athletes in various sports from time to time, but not often enough for us to have developed refined ways of helping athletes deal with it, so we just don’t know if Albertos will bounce back. We do know he is very talented. He had three plus pitches at age 19. There was concern about his physical composition and release variability, though remedying one of those things might aid the other. If that were to happen, he could move quickly because his stuff is already in place. Hopefully, Albertos can flush 2018. He’s only 20 and has above-average starter stuff if he can compose his body and mind.

17. Alec Mills, RHP
Drafted: 22th Round, 2012 from Tennessee-Martin (KCR)
Age 27.0 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/50 40/40 55/55 55/60 88-92 / 94

Mills epitomizes the pitchability righty. He has a below-average fastball but locates it well and can add and subtract from its sink and tail in ways that enable him to work like a power pitcher does. He works his sinker and changeup down and to his arm side or runs either of them back onto his glove side corner to set up a slider. Mills struggles to finish his curveball consistently, but the rest of his fairly generic repertoire plays just fine because his command is so good. He’s a big league ready backend starter.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Mexico (CHC)
Age 18.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 172 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/50 20/45 45/50 50/60 55/60

Verdugo signed for $1 million out of Mexico in 2017. He can really pick it at shortstop and could be plus there at maturity. His hands, range, actions, footwork, and athleticism are all superlative, especially considering his age, and while he is physically projectable, he’s not so big-framed that he’s a threat to move off shortstop. Verdugo’s defensive ability was in place when he arrived for camp in the spring. By the start of the summer, he had already filled out a bit and started putting a serious charge into the baseball during BP and, occasionally, in games. That thump tapered off later in the year and Verdugo has some swing length issues that will likely make him strikeout prone, but it’s possible he was just tired in August and that there’s some pop here, too. It’s unlikely that he has a well-rounded, impact profile on offense, but he could be a plus glove at short who also runs into 15-plus bombs if that power develops.

19. Cory Abbott, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Loyola Marymount (CHC)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 50/50 50/55 45/50 50/55 90-92 / 93

Abbott was a draft spring popup guy as a junior and went in the second round. He struck out 100 more hitters as a junior than he did as a sophomore in just 28 more innings. His scouting report still lead with affection for his command rather than his improved stuff, but there was thought that the stuff might continue to blossom in pro ball. But it has plateaued and Abbott now projects as a low-variance fifth starter. Abbott’s fastball plays best when it’s moving most, which for him is when he’s locating it just off the plate to his arm side; it is hittable everywhere else, including up above the zone. He can locate there, but Abbott is limited in where he can attack with the fastball, which also makes it harder for him to set up his breaking balls. Those are either two separate pitches or one curveball that has pretty variable shape. The best of Abbott’s breakers are vertical curveballs that bite hard and have enough depth to miss bats beneath the zone; his changeup is okay, used often for first pitch strikes later in game.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Auburn (CHC)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 193 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/45 45/50 50/50 45/50 50/55 89-92 / 94

Thompson split his first full pro season between Hi and Double-A and looks exactly as he did at Auburn. He throws a lot of strikes with an average four-pitch mix, and misses in places where he can’t get hurt when he’s not locating exactly. He’s going to have to pitch off of his two breaking balls very heavily because of his lack of velocity, but Thompson makes diverse use of his slider and curveball, both of which he can spot for strikes early in counts or use at a chase pitch. His ceiling is limited, but he is arguably ready to take a big league mound right now if the Cubs need a competent start.

21. Tyson Miller, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2016 from Cal Baptist (CHC)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 45/50 45/50 90-93 / 95

Miller’s crafty application of pretty average stuff enabled him to strike out a batter per inning at Hi-A Myrtle Beach last season, albeit as a prospect of relatively advanced age. He can manipulate the shape of his fastball — which can cut, sink or ride — which, in Miller’s best starts, he had pinpoint control of. Both of his secondaries are viable big league offerings when they’re located, but Miller gets in trouble, especially with his changeup, when he misses within the strike zone. He has fifth starter traits. Double-A will be an excellent stress test for Miller’s command, which needs to max out if he’s to fit on a big league staff.

Drafted: 25th Round, 2016 from Delta State (CHC)
Age 25.0 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/45 50/50 45/50 50/50 45/45 50/50

Giambrone’s athletic, contemporary, full-body swing makes efficient use of his little frame, and he’s able to tap into in-game pull power because of it. He can also play several different positions (2B, 3B, OF) at varying levels of skill, and he’s a solid-average runner. Fall League discussion surrounding Giambrone often focused on comparing him to David Bote, both because Bote crushed Fall League the year before and because Giambrone will literally be competing with Bote for a roster spot as an infield bench contributor. Giambrone is a better, more versatile defender, but Bote has more power.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 19.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 140 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 45/55 20/50 40/40 40/50 55/60

Morel has visible on-field leadership qualities and was the vocal protagonist of an AZL club team that lost the league championship series to the Dodgers. He’s wiry and projectable but already strong, and he has present pull power that projects to plus. He also has plenty of arm for the left side of the infield and has seen time at short, but he almost certainly will move to third at some point, and there’s a non-zero chance he ends up in right field. Morel has some pitch recognition issues that lead to strikeouts. Those create uncertainty about his profile, but they’ll be more acceptable if he can stay on the dirt. He could be an athletic, power-hitting corner bat in the big leagues so long as he hits a little bit.

24. Yovanny Cruz, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 45/50 50/60 40/50 90-93 / 95

Cruz is a sinker/changeup prospect in a world where four seam/breaking ball prospects are increasingly desired, but it’s a good sinker and changeup to go along with advanced control. He’s not as physically projectable as most 19-year-olds, but Cruz should add a little bit of velocity simply through physical maturity, and his fastball’s movement profile pairs nicely with the change, which should allow both to thrive as he moves up. He profiles as a no. 4 or 5 starter.

25. Dakota Mekkes, RHP
Drafted: 10th Round, 2016 from Michigan State (CHC)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 7″ Weight 250 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 55/55 40/40 91-93 / 95

Looking at his stuff without all the context that encompasses ‘mound presence,’ Mekkes is a three-pitch middle-relief prospect. His fastball typically sits in the low 90s and his slider is solid average, perhaps a tick above. But Mekkes is a gargantuan 6-foot-7, takes a large stride toward the plate, and releases the ball much closer to home than the average pitcher, creating a Doug Fister-like effect that allows his stuff to play up. He has a 1.16 career ERA in pro ball and has K’d more than a batter per inning. Like most XXL pitchers in their early 20s, Mekkes struggles with control, but hitters’ inability to adjust to his delivery in short stints has limited their overall ability to reach base. As a result, he has a 1.05 career WHIP despite an 12% career walk rate. It’s hard to say how this rare type of deception will play in the big leagues, assuming upper-level hitters are still flummoxed by it as Mekkes moves on. Jordan Walden was dominant for a half decade with a similar type of deception but he had much better stuff.

26. Thomas Hatch, RHP
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2016 from Oklahoma State (CHC)
Age 24.2 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 50/50 40/40 92-93 / 95

Hatch hasn’t developed the control typical of a starter, so while he does have a fairly deep repertoire, he projects in middle relief, where his fastball might tick up beyond where we have it projected.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/70 30/50 45/40 40/45 55/55

Sierra has moved one level at a time since signing in 2015 for $2.5 million and finally left the womb of the complex and spent his summer in Eugene. He has plus power right now at age 20 but he struggles to get to it in games. This is a long-levered hitter whose necessary hitting development will likely take a while. He has the power to profile as an everyday right fielder if it does.

Drafted: 5th Round, 2017 from P.J. Education HS (PR) (CHC)
Age 19.9 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 30/50 50/40 30/45 50/50

Like several Cubs prospects who were handed aggressive assignments for their age, Velazquez struggled at Low-A and was eventually demoted. He performed after being sent back down to Eugene (.250/.322/.458) but was still plagued by the plate discipline issues that were his undoing in the spring at South Bend. Velazquez has big power, and there’s ceiling here if he can hit, though he’ll need to be more selective if he’s going to. He’ll also have to develop on defense.

29. Danis Correa, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Colombia (CHC)
Age 19.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40

We assume Correa was hurt for much of 2018 (he threw just two AZL innings) but it’s unclear what ailed him. In 2017, he had some wild fluctuations in velocity (he was seen throwing anywhere between 93 and 100, but mostly sitting 94-98), which continued when he threw in 2018. Correa was 94-96 in the spring and then didn’t pitch until late in the summer when he was 92-93. If his arm strength bounces back, he’ll move up this list.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CHC)
Age 19.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
35/50 45/55 40/50 30/50 86-90 / 92

The Cubs didn’t sign Rodriguez until very late in the amateur signing calendar. He signed in early May of 2017 and barely pitched that year, only seeing consistent reps for the first time in 2018. Rodriguez is a wispy 6-foot-2. He was up to 92 in extended spring training but sat in the upper-80s in the DSL. He can spin a good breaking ball and his fastballs spins well relative to its velocity.

31. Kohl Franklin, RHP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2018 from Broken Arrow HS (OK) (CHC)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40

Franklin was only throwing in the low-80s as a high school junior, but his velocity spiked later in the year and he threw much harder the following year. He now sits in the low-90s. Franklin also has a sizable frame and can spin it. He signed for a well-over slot $540,000 as a 6th rounder. He’s a really high variance prospect because the velocity is fairly new and might keep coming.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
All This Pitching Depth

Erich Uelmen, RHP
Paul Richan, RHP
Matt Swarmer, RHP
Javier Assad, RHP
Michael Rucker, RHP
Bryan Hudson, LHP
Ryan Lawlor, LHP

Uelmen has the best velo of this group (a low-90s sinker) and his changeup might be enough to offset potential platoon issues caused by his low arm slot. He could be a 40 on this list at some point during the year. Richan throws a ton of strikes with five fringy pitches. Swarmer has a trick pitch changeup and might end up like Trevor Richards. Assad is a maxed-out righty with advanced pitchability for his age. His stuff is average. Rucker can really spin a curveball and has a weird delivery that helps him fool hitters; it might work in short bursts in the bigs. Hudson was a 6-foot-8 midwest projection arm who hasn’t really developed much, but he’s a ground ball machine. Lawlor was signed after a few Independent ball outings. He sits 90 mph but has a plus curveball.

Latin Americans with Upside

Rafael Morel, SS
Yonathan Perlaza, SS
Jose Lopez, CF
Joel Machado, LHP
Fabian Pertuz, SS
Luis Vazquez, SS
Fernando Kelli, CF

Morel signed for $800,000 in July. He has a plus arm, quick actions, a good frame, and his swing has good foundation. Perlaza is a stocky, try-hard spark plug who ignited the AZL Cubs lineup during the summer. His ceiling is probably that of a max-effort utility guy. Lopez signed for $1.5 million in July. He’s a 55 runner with a 55 arm, and he has bat speed but his swing needs an overhaul. Machado is athletic and has a great arm action. He was only sitting in the mid-80s the last time we got an update on him, but we think he’s going to throw pretty hard in the future, and he really gets off the mound well. Pertuz is a somewhat mature Colombian shortstop with some present pull pop and feel for the zone. Vazquez projects as a glove-only utility man. Kelli is a 70 runner with bat speed but everything else about him is fringy right now.

Bench Bats

Wladimir Galindo, 3B
Mark Zagunis, OF
Jhonny Pereda, C
D.J. Wilson, OF

Galindo has 6 power. He has below average contact skills and a below average glove. Zagunis is on the 40-man and projects as a perfectly fine fifth outfielder who can take a walk and pinch run. Pereda might get popped in the Rule 5 draft because he’s an okay catcher with an approach. Long term, he projects as a third catcher. Wilson’s speed has gone backwards and his bat hasn’t really developed, due at least in part to bad injury luck.

System Overview

Several positions players in this system had rough years due to assignments beyond their capabilities. Aramis Ademan, Jose Albertos, Chris Morel and Nelson Velazquez are all examples of this. Most of the college pitching the Cubs have drafted lately is developing as expected, which is to say that several of those players are already viable depth options if the big league staff has several injuries, but none of them have much upside. Overall, this system still appears to be below average due to recent trades that siphoned star power from the very top of the farm, but there’s enough here that the Cubs have the ammo to make some trades without totally gutting the system, so long as some of the younger guys on this list take a step forward next year.


Top 33 Prospects: Cincinnati Reds

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Cincinnati Reds. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Nick Senzel 23.4 AAA 3B 2018 60
2 Taylor Trammell 21.2 A+ LF 2021 60
3 Hunter Greene 19.3 A RHP 2021 50
4 Jonathan India 22.0 A 3B 2020 50
5 Tyler Stephenson 22.3 A+ C 2020 50
6 Tony Santillan 21.6 AA RHP 2020 50
7 Shed Long 23.3 AA 2B 2019 50
8 Jeter Downs 20.4 A 2B 2021 45+
9 Jose Siri 23.4 AA CF 2020 45+
10 Vladimir Gutierrez 23.2 AA RHP 2019 45
11 Mike Siani 19.4 R CF 2022 45
12 Jose Garcia 20.7 A SS 2021 40+
13 Josiah Gray 21.0 R RHP 2021 40+
14 Lyon Richardson 18.9 R RHP 2022 40+
15 TJ Friedl 23.3 AA CF 2019 40
16 Joel Kuhnel 23.8 A+ RHP 2020 40
17 Stuart Fairchild 22.7 A+ CF 2020 40
18 Keury Mella 25.3 MLB RHP 2019 40
19 Bren Spillane 22.2 R 1B 2021 40
20 Jimmy Herget 25.2 AAA RHP 2019 40
21 Danny Lantigua 19.7 R RF 2023 40
22 Rylan Thomas 21.4 R 1B 2021 40
23 Mariel Bautista 21.1 R CF 2021 40
24 Ryan Hendrix 24.0 A+ RHP 2019 40
25 Jose Lopez 25.3 AAA RHP 2019 40
26 Miguel Hernandez 19.6 R SS 2023 40
27 James Marinan 20.1 R RHP 2022 40
28 Michael Beltre 23.4 A+ CF 2021 35+
29 Cash Case 19.6 R 2B 2022 35+
30 Jacob Heatherly 20.5 R LHP 2021 35+
31 Edwin Yon 20.4 R RF 2023 35+
32 Debby Santana 18.3 R 3B 2023 35+

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Tennessee (CIN)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/70 55/55 40/55 55/55 45/55 55/55

Several freak injuries upended Senzel’s 2018. He missed most of May battling vertigo symptoms for the second time in nine months (they first started in late August ’17), then fractured a finger in late-June and missed the rest of the season. He was supposed to play in the Fall League, but a return of the left elbow pain he had played through during the year became severe enough that he needed an MRI, which revealed bone spurs. He had surgery and was shut down for the year. When Senzel did play, he was very good and slashed .310/.378/.509 in 44 games at Triple-A while playing second base for the first time in affiliated ball.

Senzel’s likely future defensive home is still to be determined. He wasn’t a very good defensive third baseman early in college but became one as a junior. The presence of Eugenio Suarez led to reps at second base, and Scooter Gennett’s emergence led to what was supposed to be reps in left and center field this fall before Senzel needed surgery. The departure of Billy Hamilton leaves an obvious hole that he could potentially fill, but he hasn’t been seen playing center enough to know for sure. At the very least, he has stumbled into defensive versatility.

Mostly though, Senzel hits. He doesn’t have monster raw power, nor does he seek to take max-effort swings by utilizing a big stride or leg kick. Instead, his power comes from precise, high-quality contact. He’s going to be a doubles machine with home runs coming opportunistically rather than playing core aspect of his approach, but he’ll still hit for power. He has the skills and polish of a near-ready star, and the injuries don’t seem like they’re going to be a chronic thing.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Mount Paran HS (GA) (CIN)
Age 21.2 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr L / L FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/60 55/55 40/55 70/70 55/70 40/40

Trammell has uncommon on-field self-awareness for a two-sport high school athlete who was only 20 last year. He has excellent plate discipline and an all-fields, gap-to-gap approach that suits his plus-plus speed; everything he slices down the line or sprays into the gap goes for extra-bases.

Trammell also put on a shocking display of power during BP at the Futures Game and hit two absolute seeds during the game. He never did anything remotely like that in the Fall League (nor, frankly, did any of the other prospects who played in D.C. and then later in Arizona) and actually struggled to turn on balls there, but there’s a chance of huge, if dormant, in-game power here, too.

Though Trammell runs well enough to play center field (by a lot), his arm strength still might limit him to left field. That’s where we have him projected, where we think he’ll be a Carl Crawford or Brett Gardner type of defender. He projects as an excellent leadoff hitter with some pop, but there’s a chance he ends up hitting for more power at some point.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Notre Dame HS (CA) (CIN)
Age 19.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 197 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/80 50/55 40/45 45/55 40/60 95-98 / 103

Greene is a generational on-mound athlete whose 2018 season ended with an elbow sprain. A strong two month run of starts in the early summer culminated in a 7-inning shutout start (2 H, 0 BB, 10 K, it took 69 pitches) on July 2 at Lake County followed by his feat of strength at the Futures Game. Eleven days later, Greene’s season was over. He had a PRP injection and rehabbed the sprained UCL in Arizona with broad plans to start throwing during the winter and so far, he seems on track for spring training.

Greene’s development was already pretty likely to be slow. He was able to throw strikes with that upper-90s fastball in high school, but his breaking ball was just okay, and he had no use for a changeup, so both of his secondary pitches were behind other pitchers in the class. Teams needed to project heavily on Greene’s stuff to buy him as a top five pick, but he’s such an exceptional athlete and success-oriented person that many of them did. Focusing solely on pitching for the first time, Greene’s slider improved in 2018. His ceiling will be dictated by the continued development of his secondary stuff.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Florida (CIN)
Age 22.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/50 55/55 30/55 50/45 50/55 55/55

India was a well-known prep prospect in South Florida, but the combination of a solid, but not spectacular, tool set and seven-figure asking price sent him to Florida. His first two years were about as expected; India got regular ABs but didn’t have any performative breakthroughs. In his draft year, India lost bad weight and added some strength, made some offensive adjustments, and exploded, torching the best conference in the country to the tune of a 1.21 OPS and 21 homers in 68 games. Scouts saw early in the spring that his tools had improved and the performance along with them, but it wasn’t until mid-way through the season that he seemed like a sure first round pick. He eventually looked like a consensus top 10 pick in the weeks leading up to the draft.

India has 55 raw power (60 for some scouts) and is a 55 defender with a 55 arm at third base. He played some shortstop at Florida and could be a limited-range fill-in there, with a chance to fit at second base if needed for longer stretches. We see India continuing to tap into his power, with something like a 50 hit tool and 55 power, with slightly more strikeouts than league average, but has the ability to be a hit-over-power type of player if he and the Reds choose that kind of approach.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Kennesaw Mountain HS (GA) (CIN)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/60 30/50 35/30 40/50 70/70

Stephenson flew under the national radar during summer showcase season as a prep prospect because he didn’t go to all the big events, but Georgia area scouts knew to keep close tabs on him. He broke out in the spring, going from a top five round follow to the 11th overall pick. Multiple GMs showed up to many of his late playoff games since they didn’t have the same extensive history with him that they did with other top picks. Stephenson has a rare toolbox for a catcher, with a 70-grade arm and surprisingly advanced defensive skills for a 6-foot-4 backstop, along with plus raw power.

Stephenson isn’t a runner and his hit tool has been a little inconsistent, due to both his power-focused offensive approach and multiple injuries in pro ball (broken wrist, concussion). He performed well in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League in 2018 and caught the whole year, which has him on the upswing, primed for a taste of Double-A in 2019 and a future as a big league regular in view.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2015 from Seguin HS (TX) (CIN)
Age 21.6 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 240 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
70/70 55/60 40/50 40/50 92-94 / 98

Like Stephenson, Santillan wasn’t a summer showcase favorite, only appearing at one fall event where he showed low-90’s velocity and not much else. He emerged in the spring (this always seems to happen with at least one Texas prep arm), running his heater up to 98 mph and flashing a good breaking ball at times. But Santillan was still a work-in-progress strike-thrower and most teams considered him a reliever. Cincinnati took him 49th overall.

He has progressed well in pro ball, with the Reds’ belief in his makeup and athleticism paying off, as he’s gotten more consistent across the board and is now a little more likely to be a starter than reliever. He still mostly has the big stuff he flashed as a prep, though his velo and spin rates are slightly down. Santillan has mid-rotation upside, but his fallback options if the command/consistency doesn’t work in a starter role would be an above-average multi-inning or high leverage reliever, which is much more valuable now than it was in 2015. Santillan could open 2019 in Double- or Triple-A but the pitching-starved Reds seems likely to give him a big league look at some point next year.

7. Shed Long, 2B
Drafted: 12th Round, 2013 from Jacksonville HS (AL) (CIN)
Age 23.3 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr L / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
40/45 55/55 40/50 55/55 40/45 50/50

After a bad 42-game initial foray into Double-A in 2017, Long’s BABIP and overall statline rebounded in his 2018 full season campaign at Pensacola, where he hit .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and 19 steals. A converted catcher, with rare straightline speed for a backstop but the stereotypically excellent catcher makeup, Long is still not a very good second baseman and has below average hands and clunky footwork. He has now been playing there regularly for three and a half seasons, and his development has plateaued. We still have him projected as a 45 defender at second base but also think there’s an increased chance that he eventually moves to the outfield.

It would be much easier for Long to profile were he to stay at second base, where big leaguers slashed a collective .254/.317/.395 (good for a 93 wRC+) in 2018. The outfield corners are not so kind. Ultimately, Long has some power and his thunderous uppercut swing is going to enable him to get to it in games, even if his contact profile is fringey. That will play everyday at second base so long as he can.

45+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Monsignor Pace HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 20.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 45/50 20/50 45/40 40/50 55/55

He was just 19 for most of the season, but Downs had a strong 2018 at Low-A Dayton, where he hit .257/.351/.402 with 37 steals (78% success) and 35 extra-base hits. He’s a bat-first middle infielder who has a non-zero chance to stick at shortstop, and he’s likely to continue to see time there until he reaches the upper levels of the minors, at which point the Reds will make a decision as to where he fits best. Scouts in other orgs think it will be second base or the outfield. Most of Downs’ physical abilities hover near average but he does a little bit of everything, which, so long as he stays on the middle infield, gives him a good chance to be an average everyday player.

9. Jose Siri, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2012 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/55 55/55 40/55 60/60 50/55 60/60

Siri is a superb talent who can’t help but take max-effort swings at just about everything. His approach and early-career maturity issues (which have improved but still exist) slowed his development a bit and he only has half a season at Double-A despite being 23 and having played pro ball for six seasons. But Siri has great bat speed, power, and an innate feel for impacting the bottom of the baseball and lifting it into the air. If he weren’t so aggressive (he appeared to be under a mandate to see more pitches in 2018) he’d be an easy plus future hit, plus future power center field prospect in the middle of our top 100.

But the volatility created by the impatience, combined with Siri’s noticeably thicker 2018 frame, has created apprehension. His upside is huge, but so is the risk. Ultimately, he shares many traits with Phillies outfielder Nick Williams (though Siri’s a better defender by a wide margin), and, like Williams, Siri might just be such an amazing offensive talent that he’ll be fine eventually despite his issues and several developmental bumps in the road.

45 FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 23.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 60/70 40/45 45/50 90-94 / 95

There’s a lot of disagreement in baseball about whether or not Gutierrez’s fastball is going to play in the big leagues. It’s certainly not slow, and routinely creeps into the mid-90s. And the combination of Gutierrez’s size and drop-and-drive delivery creates flat plane that plays well with good curveballs, which he has. But the fastball doesn’t spin and doesn’t sneak over the top of hitter’s barrels, so there’s some fear he’ll be homer-prone. Gutierrez is also an incredible athlete with a video game breaking ball and improving changeup, so we like his chances to turn into something, just probably a no. 4/5 starter. He siged for $4.75 million late in 2016 and spent all of 2018 at Double-A Pensacola.

11. Mike Siani, CF
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from William Penn Charter HS (PA) (CIN)
Age 19.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 45/50 20/45 60/60 50/55 60/60

Siani was a well-known name to scouts years before he was drafted because as an underclassman, he was great at USA Baseball’s Tournament of Stars. That put Siani (as well as Alek Thomas and Jarred Kelenic) much further ahead of the notoriety/perceived polish curve than is typical for cold weather hitters. Siani isn’t physically projectable and doesn’t have big raw power, so he isn’t the sexy upside high school player to whom clubs are drawn, but he does have a long track record of hitting and showing plus defensive ability in center field. He’s a plus runner with a plus arm (90-92 on the mound) and gets great jumps on fly balls. There’s a real chance Siani could have four tools that grade out as a 60, along with power that’s a 45 or 50, and he’s much closer to hitting that upside than most 19-year-olds.

40+ FV Prospects

12. Jose Garcia, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Cuba (CIN)
Age 20.7 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 40/50 20/40 60/60 40/50 70/70

Between his lack of reps during the ’16-’17 Series Nacional in Cuba and the arduous process of defecting, followed by slowly working out for teams, then waiting for the 2018 season to start, Garcia played very little baseball for the several months leading up to last season and it showed when he finally put on a uniform. The 20-year-old was given an assignment that matched his loud tools (teams who saw him work out were putting 6’s and 7’s on his speed, arm, and defense at short) but not his readiness, and he was bad early in the year at Low-A Dayton. He came on, statistically, at the end of the year, but didn’t walk much in either phase.

Latin American players who have spent their entire lives playing ball back home, or in Florida or Arizona, sometimes struggle with the early-April chill of the Midwest League when they’re first assigned there; as if being 20 in a full-season league after not playing for over a year wasn’t enough, Garcia may have struggled with this. 2019 should be a more representative sample statistically of what Garcia is. There’s no question about his run, field or throw tools, and he was seen at a bat-first prospect early in his Cuban career, so that might be in there, too. If he can develop some confidence around his offense, Garcia could quickly jump into 50 FV territory, which is where we had him last year based on how he worked out for teams. He signed for $5 million.

13. Josiah Gray, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from LeMoyne (CIN)
Age 21.0 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/60 50/55 40/50 40/50 92-95 / 96

Gray is an athletic, undersized conversion arm with big time arm-acceleration. His arm action is a little stiff, but it’s fast, and generates a fastball in the 92-96 mph range (mostly 3s and 4s) with riding life. Gray’s size and the drop and drive nature of his delivery combine to create flat plane that plays well up in the zone. He’ll miss bats at the letters with his heater.

Thanks to his athleticism, Gray repeats, and throws more strikes than is typical for someone fairly new to pitching who has this kind of stuff, with a notable proclivity for locating his fastball to his arm side. The slider can slurve out and even get kind of short and cuttery at times, but when it’s well-located and Gray is on top of the ball, it’s a plus pitch. His changeup, which he seldom uses at the moment, is easy to identify out of the hand due to arm deceleration, and is comfortably below average. Because of the strike throwing, fastball efficacy, and ability to spin the breaking ball give him a good shot to play a big league role, and we’ve moved Gray up beyond where we had him pre-draft. The athleticism, small school pedigree, and position player conversion aspect of the profile indicates there’s significant potential for growth as Gray gets on-mound experience. He projects as no. 4 starter, with a chance to be more because of his late-bloomer qualities.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Jensen Beach HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 18.9 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 45/50 40/50 90-94 / 97

Richardson was an intriguing two-way athlete on the showcase circuit, then hit 97 mph repeatedly early in his draft spring and moved into top two round contention. His stuff backed up a bit down the stretch. Richardson had not thrown as much as many of his peers and lacked their stamina, though this could be spun into a positive, namely Richardson’s arm being relatively fresh. Late in the spring, he was working more in the low-90’s rather than 93-96 mph, and his shorter stature and stride length led his fastball to be hittable. The Reds are gambling on the plus fastball returning as he builds strength, experience, and stamina in his arm in a starting role, and he has no. 3/4 starter potential with good, clear checkpoints to watch that will indicate improvement, including fastball rebound and maintaining his stuff into the summer.

40 FV Prospects

15. TJ Friedl, CF
(CIN)
Age 23.3 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
45/55 45/50 30/40 70/70 50/55 45/45

It’s still unclear to us whether or not anyone knew Friedl was draft-eligible as sophomore in 2016. At the very least, he was overlooked playing on a weaker team in a lightly-scouted conference. He went undrafted, which allowed him to play for College Team USA, who only found out about him from a fortuitous tip, later in the summer.

Friedl was the sparkplug on the heavily-scouted team that included multiple future first round picks, and a bidding war for him amongst teams that hadn’t yet spent their entire 2016 draft pool ensued toward the end of Team USA’s run. Friedl is a plus-plus runner with good baseball instrincts and a contact-first approach at the plate. He has sneaky raw power that he may tap into with swing adjustments.

Somewhat similar to Stuart Fairchild, both have outcomes that range from upper-level 40-man occupant to low-end regular, but Friedl’s bat is more stable and he’s left-handed, so we have him ahead. He’s almost a lock to hang around the big leagues for at least a few years in some role, even if it’s as a fifth outfielder.

16. Joel Kuhnel, RHP
Drafted: 11th Round, 2016 from Texas-Arlington (CIN)
Age 23.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 260 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
65/70 55/55 45/45 45/50 95-99 / 101

Kuhnel wasn’t a top draft prospect coming out of Texas-Arlington: he had a maxed-out, bulky frame, inconsistent command, and just average stuff for a right-handed reliever. In 2018, he took a big step forward. His fastball jumped 3-4 ticks and hit 101, his slider improved into an above-average pitch, and his command also improved a bit. Kuhnel’s conditioning and delivery improved simultaneously and he’s moved to the top of the heap among the relief-only arms in this system. If he continues performing like he did in 2018, he could get a big league look in 2019.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Wake Forest (CIN)
Age 22.7 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 50/50 35/45 55/55 50/55 60/60

Fairchild had a great draft year. He had a plus arm, above-average speed and defense, solid-average raw power, and performed on paper. The concern was that his swing was a little stiff and had a grooved, invariable path, and it was thought that this might limit his offensive upside and relegate him to a fourth outfielder role. A year and change later, and that’s largely still the report, with likely outcomes ranging from low-end everyday center fielder to 40-man filler/emergency callup depending on how his offense progresses.

Editor’s Note: RHP Tanner Rainey was originally ranked here. He was traded to Washington on December 12, 2018 and is on the Nationals list, which is accessible in the link at the top of this post.

18. Keury Mella, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2011 from Dominican Republic (SFG)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 45/50 40/45 92-97 / 98

Mella (along with Adam Duvall) came back from San Francisco in the 2015 Mike Leake trade. He’s always been on the starter/reliever bubble, in large part because his fastball doesn’t play quite as well as its pure velocity would seem to indicate and because the lack of a truly average changeup forces Mella to use his fastball very heavily. His stuff backed up just a tad last year. He should still be a no. 5 starter or middle reliever if it doesn’t any more.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Illinois (CIN)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 60/60 40/55 40/30 45/50 55/55

Spillane burst onto the prospect scene with a gaudy stat line in his draft year at Illinois: 1.401 OPS, 23 homers in 50 games. He’s also not a bad athlete, with a chance to fit everyday in right field, though first base is still his most likely home. Spillane has 60 raw power, plenty for a corner regular, but he needs to either get to all of that raw power (game power is one of his better present skills), or be a 45 to 50 grade hitter to profile in an everyday role. With a limited high-level track record and 41% strikeout rate in his pro debut, that’s still an open question, but that’s also why he lasted until the third round.

20. Jimmy Herget, RHP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2015 from South Florida (CIN)
Age 25.2 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/55 50/55 91-94 / 96

Herget is unique among prospects. He’s a side-arming righty with the typical frisbee slider, but he also hits 96 mph and has a good enough changeup and command to get lefties out, too. Herget started in college, worked around 90 mph and was a middling prospect, but the Reds saw potential in his athleticism, his feel to pitch, and his arm slot, and projected he’d experience a velo boost in short stints. They were right. He’s likely to carve out some kind of middle relief role in the big leagues, and will probably get an extended look in 2019.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 19.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 55/60 30/55 50/45 45/50 60/60

There are ways to nitpick Lantigua — he’s very likely to move out of center field entirely and he also strikes out a lot– but, ultimately, he’s a switch-hitter with plus power whose two swings are further along than is typical for most 19-year-old switch hitters. Lantigua has big time thump from both sides of the plate and had 26 extra-base hits in just 52 AZL games. The strikeout issues make him a low-floor prospect, but there are very few switch-hitters in the minors with this kind of playable pop, and if Lantigua can hit, find a way to stay viable in center field, or both, he could be an impact regular.

Drafted: 26th Round, 2018 from UCF (CIN)
Age 21.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 70/70 45/60 30/30 45/50 60/60

Thomas has a unique skillset, which could develop in a number of different ways, packed into a fullback-like body. An everyday corner bat is his realistic upside. He has explosive strength in his hands, which creates 70 raw power despite ordinary bat speed. He’s a well below-average runner, but has quick feet due in part to his football background. Thomas also closed for UCF, sitting in the low-90’s on the mound. Most scouts project him at first base, but he’ll get some looks at third and there’s a chance he’ll get a look at converting to catcher because of the arm. Those most optimistic see arm strength, a competitive mentatilty, and the short-area explosion necessary to move up the defensive spectrum from first base. There’s lift in the swing and current game power skills that make up for a tendency to chase sliders off the plate. Thomas was an age-eligible sophomore who lasted until later in the draft, where the Reds met his overslot ($287,000) asking price.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 21.1 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/50 55/60 20/45 60/55 45/50 50/50

We don’t trust Bautista’s Pioneer league numbers (.330/.386/.541, 12% K% at age 20) because of the hitting environment, but we also don’t want to undersell his physical ability. This is a plus runner with plus bat speed who is also tough to strike out because he has good hand-eye coordination. However, Bautista has balance and swing path issues at the plate that limit the quality of his contact in certain parts of the zone. Once he reaches a level of the minors where pitchers can exploit this, he’s going to have to make an adjustment. If he can do that, his ceiling is significant, because he has rare ability. We’d just like to see the signs that he can.

24. Ryan Hendrix, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Texas A&M (CIN)
Age 24.0 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Command Sits/Tops
55/55 60/60 40/45 93-96 / 98

Hendrix went in the 5th round in 2016 as a relief-only, power curveball guy (you could also just call it a slider, we’ve heard it both ways) with some command issues. He’s still largely the same prospect. His mid-90’s velocity stands out a little less now than a few years ago and he’s still a little wild, but he is learning how to use his breaking ball more effectively. Hendrix seems likely, barring injury, to carve out some kind of major league role in middle relief starting in the nexy year or two.

25. Jose Lopez, RHP
Drafted: 6th Round, 2014 from Seton Hall (CIN)
Age 25.3 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/50 50/50 40/50 50/55 90-94 / 95

Though he had mostly been throwing in the upper 80s as an underclassman, Lopez’s ticked into the mid-90s as he entered the fall before his junior year at Seton Hall. His elbow got sore. After an effort to rehab without surgery, Lopez had TJ, missed his junior seasonand fell to the sixth round.

Though his peak velocity hasn’t returned, he averages about 92 mph on a fastball that touches 95 and features enough life that it’s capable of missing bats up in the zone. His secondaries are mostly average, and he should debut in 2019 as a relief or backend starter option.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (CIN)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 30/40 20/30 55/55 45/55 60/60

Of the shortstops on the main portion of this list, Hernandez has the best chance to stay at the position. His hands and actions are both characteristic of a promising teenage shortstop and he has enough arm for the left side of the infield. Hernandez has also performed reasonably well with the bat as a pro, which is surprising given his clear lack of physical strength. He could have a below-average offensive profile and stay at short, which gives him a chance to be a 50 if he gets stronger into his twenties. If not, he could still be a low-end regular or utiltiy type. He turns 20 in April and should see full-season ball for the first time in 2019.

27. James Marinan, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from Park Vista HS (FL) (LAD)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/60 45/55 40/50 30/45 92-94 / 97

Marinan had a velocity jump during his draft spring and has had some issues in the two years since dialing in his arm speed and refining his delivery. His velo has varied a bit, but when he’s on, he’ll work 92-94, hit 97 mph, flash an above-average breaking ball, and have the look of a potenial league-average — or a bit better — starter. Other days, he’s just a big guy with a clean arm, some velocity, and little else. He’s further along in the search for starter traits than lefty Jacob Heatherly is, but you can lump them in the same group as talented young arms that need to show consistency.

35+ FV Prospects

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 23.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 220 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Built like an old school in-the-box NFL safety, Beltre is a physical dynamo whose entire offensive profile is undercut by his extreme propensity to hit the ball into the ground. Beltre has a nearly 60% ground ball rate over each of the last two years. He does a lot of other stuff: he has raw power, great feel for the strike zone, and is a plus runner, with well-regarded makeup. The quality of his in-game contact is simply not good right now. Stiffness in Beltre’s hitting hands could mean this issue is less about a swing change than it is about innate talent.

29. Cash Case, 2B
Drafted: 4th Round, 2017 from The First Academy HS (FL) (CIN)
Age 19.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+

Case is a bat-first prospect with power and some chance to stick at second base, who signed for $1 million as a 2017 fourth round pick. Early-career hip surgery has limited his defensive mobility, so he’s more of a wait-and-see, somewhat one-dimensional prospect to keep an eye on in 2019. If everything comes together he could be a passable second baseman with game power.

Drafted: 3rd Round, 2017 from Cullman HS (AL) (CIN)
Age 20.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 208 Bat / Thr L / L FV 35+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 50/55 30/45 89-93 / 95

Heatherly looked like a first round pick heading into his draft spring, then had command issues and slipped. He then had some velocity issues early in pro ball. The command still isn’t there and even Reds’ personnel describe him as a ball of clay, but he was working 92-94 mph in instructional league and he can spin it, and some think he may turn a corner next season, where his no. 4 starter potential could become more obvious.

31. Edwin Yon, RF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2014 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Yon has an NBA shooting guard build at a long-limbed 6-foot-5. He towers over almost all of his peers and has rare physical projection. He might grow elite raw power, though it will be a challenge for him to hit due to his lever length. Hitters like this often don’t develop viable hit tools until they’re well into their mid-twenties. Yon may take another five years to develop a playable hit tool, but as long as the power develops, he’ll get getting chances to learn how to make contact.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (CIN)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Santana is a R/R corner power bat with a plus arm. His swing needs polish if he’s to hit, and his defensive actions need polish if he’s going to stay at third. There’s a chance he moves to right field and strikes out too much to profile, but he may also stay at third and hit for big power if his ills are cured. He’s on pace to be a 2020 19-year-old in full-season ball.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.
Tweener OF Types
Allan Cerda, OF
Lorenzo Cedrola, CF
Andy Sugilio, OF

Cerda, 19, had a strong pro debut in the DSL and has some bat speed, feel for lift, and a projectable frame. He might grow into enough pop for a corner if he can’t stay in center. Cedrola has bat control, but he’s very aggressive and lacks strength. There’s a chance he hits enough to be more than a fourth outfielder, but it’s still his most likely outcome. He turns 21 in January and could see Hi-A in 2019. Sugilio is a 70 runner whose stats came back down to Earth in 2018 because he left the Pioneer League. He has some bat to ball skills but struggles to lift balls in the air; low-level defenses struggle to deal with his speed.

Viable Shortstops
Blake Trahan, SS
Alfredo Rodriguez, SS

Either of these two could play a perfectly fine big league shortstop tomorrow if asked. Trahan is a heady, max-effort player who play a solid average shortstop. He has some bat control, but well below average bat speed. Rodriguez is smooth and acrobatic but ultimately average at short, and is limited with the bat.

Two Otherwise Uncategorical Hitters
Jonathan Willems, 2B
Chris Okey, C

A 20-year-old from Curacao, Willems had a strong year in the Appy League and has some feel to hit. He’s an aggressive swinger and doesn’t have a position, as he’s well-below average at second base right now. Okey has dealt with a lot of injuries as a pro. A bat-first amateur, Okey is now an average defender and may be a backup.

Huge Power, Tough Defensive Profile
Hendrik Clementina, C
Ibandel Isabel, 1B
Aristides Aquino, RF

Both Isabel and Clementina were acquired in minor trades from the Dodgers. Isabel has 80 raw power and had a strong 2018, but he’s also 23 and hit against A-ball pitching. We don’t think Clementina can catch. Aquino has a 30 bat and a career .306 OBP in eight pro years, which is tough to pull off in an outfield corner.

Pitching Pupu Platter
Jesus Reyes, RHP
Packy Naughton, LHP
Aneurys Zabala, RHP

Reyes was an undrafted 21-year-old freshman at Advanced Software Academy in New York in 2014. Cincinnati signed him that August, and he has turned into a mid-90s sinker/changeup righty who is going to rely heavily on his ability to get ground balls. Naughton has a bunch of average pitches and a changeup that flashes above. He’s a no. 5 or 6 starter type, a good return for where he was picked. Zabala also came over from the Dodgers. He’s a heavy-bodied arm strength guy (94-98) with an inconsistent breaking ball.

System Overview

The Reds general direction is building up to their competitive window opening. Rumors persist that they’re willing to spend on top free agent arms, there’s a core developing in the bigs or just short of it, and they’re in clear asset collection mode. It’s interesting to note that arguably the top two assets in the organization (Eugenio Suarez and top prospect Nick Senzel) both fit best at third base, and another top 10 org asset (Jonathan India) also profiles best at the hot corner. These issues aren’t hard to work out — India and Senzel can both play second base and Senzel likely will play center field this year, with incumbent second baseman Scooter Gennett very possibly not a long-term core piece — but it presents some challenges in sorting out their pieces out in the most efficient way possible.

We always say that having too much talent is never a problem, but too much talent is decidedly not the problem on the pitching side. Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, and some middle relief types should all go from this list to getting big league looks at some point this year, and Hunter Greene could be the frontline guy they need long-term, but the hurlers on this list aren’t answering short-term questions at the big league level. Once quality depth presents itself on the major league pitching staff, the lineup will probably be good enough to compete, so pitching remains the challenge going forward for Cincinnati. The Reds have new voices running both the amateur and international departments along with a new GM in Nick Krall, but the continuity of President Dick Williams and scouting czar Chris Buckley in prominent roles remains.


Top 32 Prospects: Milwaukee Brewers

Below is an analysis of the prospects in the farm system of the Milwaukee Brewers. Scouting reports are compiled with information provided by industry sources as well as from our own (both Eric Longenhagen’s and Kiley McDaniel’s) observations. For more information on the 20-80 scouting scale by which all of our prospect content is governed you can click here. For further explanation of the merits and drawbacks of Future Value, read this.

All of the numbered prospects here also appear on The Board, a new feature at the site that offers sortable scouting information for every organization. That can be found here.

Brewers Top Prospects
Rk Name Age Highest Level Position ETA FV
1 Keston Hiura 22.4 AA 2B 2019 60
2 Tristen Lutz 20.4 A RF 2022 50
3 Corey Ray 24.3 AA CF 2019 50
4 Brice Turang 19.1 R SS 2022 45
5 Mauricio Dubon 24.5 AAA SS 2019 45
6 Zack Brown 24.1 AA RHP 2019 45
7 Mario Feliciano 20.1 A+ C 2022 40+
8 Eduardo Garcia 16.0 R SS 2024 40
9 Aaron Ashby 20.6 A LHP 2022 40
10 Joe Gray 18.8 R CF 2023 40
11 Payton Henry 21.5 A C 2022 40
12 Troy Stokes Jr. 22.9 AA LF 2019 40
13 Braden Webb 23.7 AA RHP 2020 40
14 Trent Grisham 22.2 AA OF 2020 40
15 Lucas Erceg 23.7 AAA 3B 2020 40
16 Pablo Abreu 19.2 R OF 2023 40
17 Trey Supak 22.6 AA RHP 2019 40
18 Marcos Diplan 22.3 AA RHP 2019 40
19 Bobby Wahl 26.8 MLB RHP 2019 40
20 Carlos Rodriguez 18.1 R CF 2022 40
21 Micah Bello 18.5 R CF 2022 40
22 Larry Ernesto 18.3 R RF 2024 40
23 Adam Hill 21.8 A- RHP 2021 40
24 Korry Howell 20.3 R CF 2022 40
25 Clayton Andrews 22.0 A LHP 2021 40
26 Lun Zhao 17.4 R RHP 2024 40
27 Tyrone Taylor 25.0 AAA OF 2019 40
28 Adrian Houser 25.9 MLB RHP 2019 40
29 Eduarqui Fernandez 16.6 R CF 2023 35+
30 Antonio Pinero 19.8 R SS 2022 35+
31 Yeison Coca 19.6 R 2B 2022 35+
32 Daniel Castillo 17.9 R SS 2024 35+
33 Je’Von Ward 19.2 R RF 2023 35+
34 Caden Lemons 20.1 R RHP 2022 35+

60 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from UC Irvine (MIL)
Age 22.4 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr R / R FV 60
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/60 60/60 45/60 45/45 45/50 45/45

Hiura reached Double-A in his first full pro season, and then was clearly one of the top five or six talents in the Arizona Fall League, where he won League MVP. Most importanly, his arm strength is once again viable at second base. An elbow injury relegated Hiura to DH-only duty as a junior at UC Irvine, and he may have gone even earlier in the 2017 draft if not for concerns about the injury and how it might limit his defense. That’s no longer a concern, as Hiura has an average arm and plays an unspectacular second base. This is an incredible hitter. He has lightning-quick hands that square up premium velocity and possesses a rare blend of power and bat control. Hiura’s footowork in the box is a little noiser than it has to be, and if any of his swing’s elements are ill-timed, it can throw off the rest of his cut. This, combined with an aggressive style of hitting, could cause him to be streaky. But ultimately he’s an exceptional hitting talent and he’s going to play a premium defensive position. We think he’s an All-Star second baseman.

50 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2017 from Martin HS (TX) (MIL)
Age 20.4 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 70/70 40/60 50/45 40/45 60/60

Lutz’s 2018 foray into full-season ball (.272/.348/.477 in May, June and July) was bookended by two awful months (he hit .180 in April, .215 in August) resulting in a .245/.321/.421 line. Already at physical maturity, Lutz’s huge power is the foundation of his profile. He’s capable of hitting long home runs to left and center, and he has the raw strength to drive out mis-hit balls the opposite way. Everything else he does is average. Adept at identifying breaking balls in mid air, Lutz’s moderate swing-and-miss issues stem from his mediocre bat control. This might limit his game power output, but the issues aren’t so bad that we’re worried about Lutz not hitting entirely. He has below-average range and instincts in right field, but his arm is plus. Lutz will likely start next season, age-20, at Hi-A. He projects as a middle-of-the-order power bat who provides little value on defense.

3. Corey Ray, CF
Drafted: 1st Round, 2016 from Louisville (MIL)
Age 24.3 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr L / L FV 50
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 45/50 70/70 40/45 40/40

Despite his notable 2018 statistical output — 66 extra base hits, including 27 home runs, and 37 steals on 44 attempts at Double-A Biloxi — we’re still somewhat apprehensive about Ray and have him graded out exactly as we did last offseason, when he was coming off a terrible statistical campaign. Ray, long lauded for his makeup, made some adjustments to remedy the timing issues that plagued him in 2017. His front hip is clearing earlier, enabling him to catch some of the inside pitches that were tying him up last year. This has seemed to improve the quality of Ray’s contact, but it hasn’t remedied his strikeout issues. Ray struck out in 29.3% of his 2018 plate appearances and had a 17.5% swinging strike rate, the latter of which would rank as the 15th most frequent SwStr% in the majors last year. Ray swings through pitches in the zone fairly frequently and despite his prodigious physical abilities, his offensive profile feels unstable. His up-the-middle defensive profile gives him some wiggle room on offense, but he’s not a very instinctive defender and is closer to average in center field than one might expect given his speed. Players can succeed despite heavy strikeouts; Chris Taylor’s skillset looks an awful lot like Ray’s (power, strikeouts, and a pedestrian defense at a premium position) and Taylor was a 3 WAR player last year. Ray’s peak could look like that. He’s also similar to players like Franchy Cordero, Brad Zimmer, late-career Colby Rasmus, and an even longer list of hitters who also have lean years when they don’t hit and produce closer to replacement level. We expect peaks and valleys over the course of a long career from Ray.

45 FV Prospects

Drafted: 1st Round, 2018 from Santiago HS (CA) (MIL)
Age 19.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/50 20/45 60/60 50/60 55/55

Even as an underclassman playing alongside rising seniors like Nick Allen, Hunter Greene, Nick Pratto and Royce Lewis, Turang did not look out of place. In addition to his a balletic defensive abilities, he was also a polished hitter who had advanced strike-zone feel. Turang struck out just once as a high scool junior and entered his final showcase summer at the top of his high school draft class. Then, he stopped hitting. After looking sluggish during the summer and fall, Turang’s placement among the first round candidates changed. He fell to the back half of the first round and signed for $3.4 million, roughly $400,000 over slot. After signing, Turang looked so much more advanced than the rest of the AZL that he was pushed, after just two weeks, to the Pioneer League. Throughout the summer and fall, he ran deep counts and walked a lot, but made little impact contact. He’s shown average raw power in BP, so perhaps he’ll eventually have the developmental option of sacrificing contact to get to it. As long as some aspect of his offense develops, especially as it seems likely to be paired with a great idea of the strike zone and plus shortstop defense, Turang should be an above-average regular.

Drafted: 26th Round, 2013 from Capital Christian HS (CA) (BOS)
Age 24.5 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
55/60 40/40 30/35 55/55 45/50 55/55

If not for suffering a left ACL tear during a rundown in early May, Dubon, who had a 23-game hit streak at the time, probably would have debuted in 2018 due to Milwaukee’s middle infield woes. Instead, Dubson missed much of the season and is on track for a likely 2019 debut. He’ll be the first native Honduran to play in the majors. Dubon was acquired (along with Travis Shaw) as part of a lopsided package for Tyler Thornburg. His elite hand-eye coordination and bat control drive a contact-oriented offensive profile. Since coming over from Boston, Dubon has thickened his once frail-looking frame and improved upon some of the things that limited his in-game power. He was rotating better early in 2018, with the timing of his hip/hand spearation being better, too, and he was no longer ditching his leg kick with two strikes. His 2016 Portland and 2017-2018 Colorado Springs slugging outputs are probably cariacatures of his true talent level, but Dubon should at least have doubles power. Defensively, Dubon is passable at shortstop and second base. He saw time in center field during the 2016 Fall League but hasn’t played there since. Lots of scouts like him as a super utility type, but Dubon will be 25 in July and he hasn’t played anywhere other than the middle infield at any point in his career, save for that Fall League. It’s more likely he gets a chance to be Milwaukee’s everyday shortstop in 2019 and, provided he hasn’t lost a step due to the ACL tear, we like him as a low-end regular there.

6. Zack Brown, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from Kentucky (MIL)
Age 24.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 45
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
55/55 55/60 45/50 45/50 91-94 / 95

The Brewers 2018 Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Brown has now performed at every level up through Double-A. Trepidation regarding his ability to start stems from Brown’s wonky, violent delivery. But he’s never had issues filling up the strike zone, has a pitch mix sufficient for navigating lineups several times, and hasn’t had an arm injury, with his lone pro DL stint was due to an ankle injury caused by a comebacker. He’s likely on a path similar to Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta, where he’ll initially debut as a multi-inning reliever, but a fine three-pitch mix means Brown could eventually transition into a starting role, profiling as a #4/5.

40+ FV Prospects

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Beltran Academy HS (PR) (MIL)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40+
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/55 50/55 30/45 40/30 30/45 55/55

Feliciano had a totally lost 2018 due to various nagging injuries. He was limited to just 42 games at Hi-A, and two in the Fall League. While at Hi-A Carolina, he struck out in 36% of his plate appearances. Feliciano also has one of the higher ceilings in this system. He turned 20 shortly before this list went to press, so his inabiltiy to perform as an 18-year-old in full-season ball in 2017 and a 19-year-old at Hi-A in 2018 is less troublesome due to his age. When healthy, Feliciano has shown bat control and above-average power on contact. If he can develop defensively (a process which has, thus far, been slow due to the reps lost to injury), Feliciano will be a catcher with a complete offensive profile, and a potential star. Teenage catching prospects are notoriously volatile and often, a decline in physical tools and/or stagnant defensive development starts with chronic injury. Feliciano’s 2018 is what the start of past catching bust narravites look like. This is a very talented, volatile prospect who could be at or near the top of this list next year or be off it in two.

40 FV Prospects

8. Eduardo Garcia, SS
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 16.0 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 30/50 20/50 45/50 40/60 50/60

Signed for $1.1 million in mid-July, Garcia had an eye-opening instructional league. His range, hands, actions and arm are all easy fits at shortstop, and he could be a plus glove there at peak. His entire offensive profile depends on his frame filling out. Garcia’s lack of strength is evident with the bat in his hands, but you can go kind of nuts projecting on much of his skillset, including the speed and arm strength, because Garcia so clearly has lots of physical growth on the horizon and is an above-average athlete. He’s so young that he wasn’t even eligible to sign on July 2nd because he was still 15. Were he a domestic high schooler, he wouldn’t be draft eligible until 2020, when he’d be just shy of 18. His development may initially be slow, but he has significant literal and figurative growth potential and a non-zero shot to be a well-rounded shortstop at peak.

9. Aaron Ashby, LHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from Crowder JC (MO) (MIL)
Age 20.6 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
50/55 50/55 55/60 45/50 40/50 90-94 / 95

It became clear during instructional league in Arizona that we were low on Ashby before the draft. Despite his clear issues– he has below average command caused by an arm slot that makes it hard for him to work in all parts of the zone–Ashby has nasty, left-handed stuff. He was up to 94 this fall, and the pitch has flat plane and lives in the top part of the zone, where it sneaks past barrels. Ashby’s two breaking balls need better demarcation, but they each flash plus and his changeup flashes average. He turns 21 in May, and should carve up the lower levels of the minor leagues with his stuff alone. His ability to locate and effectively mix his pitches will dictate his ultimate role and how fast he moves. For now, Ashby fairly conservatively projects in a multi-inning relief role.

10. Joe Gray, CF
Drafted: 3rd Round, 2018 from Hattiesburg HS (MS) (MIL)
Age 18.8 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/40 50/60 30/50 55/50 45/50 60/60

On the surface, Gray looks like a pretty standard right field prospect. He’s a projetable 6-foot-3, has present power and might grow into more, and he has some swing and miss issues due to poor breaking ball recognition. But upon extended viewing, Gray’s feel for center field is advanced and he has a better chance to stay there than is typical for a prospect his size. Gray has had strikeout issues in the AZL (he missed AZL time with a respiratory issue, not an injury), during fall instructional league and against good high school pitching. We’re skeptical of his ability to make sufficient contact but if he does, he’ll be a power-hitting center fielder.

Drafted: 6th Round, 2016 from Pleasant Grove HS (UT) (MIL)
Age 21.5 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 60/60 20/45 30/30 40/50 55/55

A bat-first high school catcher who was considered a long shot to stay behind the plate, Henry has made sufficient developmental progress as a defender and now projects to stay back there. Always in possession of a strong throwing arm, his once thick frame is now learner and more agile, enabling him to better handle the athletic burdens of catching. He also has huge raw power that he doesn’t often get to in games because Henry’s bat path causes him to drive the ball into the ground at a 50% clip and he’s also prone to swing and miss. Now that Henry’s defensive future is more in focus, he may just be a swing tweak away from a statistical breakout.

Drafted: 4th Round, 2014 from Calvert Hall HS (MD) (MIL)
Age 22.9 Height 5′ 8″ Weight 182 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
35/40 55/55 45/50 55/55 50/55 30/30

Stokes is Diet Khris Davis. He’s limited to LF/DH duties because of nearly unplayable arm strength, and he’s able to hit for in-game power despite blatant swing-and-miss issues due to his ability to consistently hit the ball in the air. Stokes’ extreme, pull-only approach to contact makes him vulnerable to breaking stuff down and away from him, and he is going to swing and miss at an above-average clip. But he’s also adept at identifying balls and strikes. There is some precedent for this type of offensive profile (low batting average, above-average OBP, and power) working in left field. It looks like Kyle Schwarber–though Stokes doesn’t have that kind of raw pop–or late-career Curtis Granderson. Stokes runs well enough that he could be an above-average defender in left field but he might also give back significant value there becauase of his throwing issues. He’s an odd one who we think fits as the smaller half of a corner outfield platoon and pinch runner.

13. Braden Webb, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2016 from South Carolina (MIL)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 195 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 50/55 40/45 92-95 / 98

Webb was a rare, draft-eligible freshman because he had Tommy John as a senior in high school, then missed all of what would have been his freshman year at South Carolina while he recovered. He was a 21-year-old redshirt freshman when he was drafted in 2016. Webb’s measurables don’t properly capture his size; his broad shoulders mimic the shape and proportions of a generic minor league batter’s eye. He has a mid-90s fastball and upper-70s curveball that pair well together, as the latter has sharp, vertical action and bat-missing depth. Webb continued to log innings as a starter up through Double-A, but he likely projects in relief. His changeup has improved and he was healthy throughout 2018, though his fastball control remains below-average. But the stuff is nasty enough that Webb could be a high-leverage or multi-inning reliever, especially if his fastball ticks up in a single, max-effort inning.

Drafted: 1st Round, 2015 from Richland HS (TX) (MIL)
Age 22.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 205 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 50/50 30/40 50/50 45/50 45/45

The amateur side of scouting considered Grisham to be perhaps the most advanced high school hitter in the 2015 draft. Cut to 2018 and Grisham is a career .238 hitter. The low batting averages he has posted have been due less to his inability to put the bat on the ball and more to an approach that is passive in excess. Grisham watches a lot of driveable pitches go by. That approach is also part of why he’s never run a season walk rate beneath 14%, and Grisham’s ability to reach base is part of why he’s still such an interesting prospect. There has also been an approach change here, one that may have impacted his plate coverage. In two years, he has transitioned from an all-fields doubles doubles approach to a pull-oriented hitter. In the 2018 Fall League he was fouling off pitches that he used to slice for doubles the opposite way. Still only 22, Grisham has physical talent (he once projected, for us, as an average regular) that may resurface with some approach changes, but this current iteration probably isn’t a big leaguer.

15. Lucas Erceg, 3B
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2016 from Menlo College (MIL)
Age 23.7 Height 6′ 3″ Weight 200 Bat / Thr L / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/40 55/55 40/45 50/45 45/50 70/70

After initially looking like he was an egregious underdraft immediatley following his 2016 matriculation from Menlo, Erceg has been frustrating and enigmatic. The only constant has been his 70-grade arm. He’s nearly 24 now and some of our sources, no longer enamored with his bat, are ready to see him on the mound. (Erceg pitched in college at Cal and then, after he transferred, closed at Menlo.) When Erceg is going at the plate, he’s dropping the bat head and golfing out pitches down and in, or flaying pitches away from him down the third base line for a double. But as his career has drawn on, his swing is often ill-timed and its components don’t seem to be cohesive. He’s also not extending through contact as dramatically as he was in college. Whatever the reasons for Erceg’s struggles, he has hit. He has made progress as an infield defender, but he has to hit some to profile. He’ll be 24 in May.

16. Pablo Abreu, OF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2016 from Dominican Republic (MIL)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/45 50/55 30/50 55/50 45/50 55/55

Abreu’s combination of instincts and speed give him a fair chance to stay in center field, but he’s not a lock to remain there. He has above-average bat speed but his ultra-conservative lower half usage hampers his in-game power production. He might suddenly start hitting for more game power with a small change in that regard. Though just 19, Abreu has already added a lot of good weight since signing. His frame already looks maxed out, so there’s not a whole lot of raw power projection left here, and if there is, it’ll come at the cost of Abreu moving to an outfield corner.

17. Trey Supak, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2014 from La Grange HS (TX) (PIT)
Age 22.6 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 235 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
50/50 50/55 50/55 45/50 50/55 89-93 / 94

Supak owns a career 3.43 ERA and has now reached Double-A. He has an average four-pitch mix that works because he has above-average command, and because his fastball, which lives in the top part of the zone, has flat, tough-to-catch plane. When Supak misses his spot it’s often in a place where he can’t get hurt, essential because neither of his breaking balls–a relatively new curveball and a slider/cutter that we have labeled as a cutter, since we think it’s best suited for use like a cutter–is nasty enough to live in the strike zone and instead are best when buried beneath it, or garnering awkward swings at floaters above the zone. He’s a near-ready back-end starter.

18. Marcos Diplan, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2013 from Dominican Republic (TEX)
Age 22.3 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 170 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 50/55 55/60 40/45 89-93 / 97

Diplan’s body and control have each backpeddaled since his electric 2016 season. His fastball velocity is also less consistent now than it was at that time; he’ll bump 97 at times but sit 89-93 at others. He walked a whopping 74 hitters in 118 innings last year, but still has tantalizing stuff. His changeup is plus, his slider flashes plus when he finishes it properly and sometimes, the velo is there. When Diplan is right he looks like a nasty, multi-inning reliever, but the arrow is pointing down.

19. Bobby Wahl, RHP
Drafted: 5th Round, 2013 from Ole Miss (OAK)
Age 26.8 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 210 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Cutter Command Sits/Tops
60/60 60/60 40/40 50/50 40/40 94-96 / 99

Wahl, who turns 27 in March, was part of the two-player package Oakland sent to the Mets for Jeurys Familia last summer. He has just twelve career big league innings at this age mostly because Wahl missed extended development time due to multiple surgeries, including one in 2017 to remedy Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. His stuff was back last year. Wahl’s fastball sits in the mid-90s and will touch 99. He has a four-pitch mix but works primarily with the fastball and a power, mid-80s breaking ball that has bat-missing vertical action. A firm cutter and changeup are also folded in on occasion. Wahl has set-up man stuff but below average command and more significant injury risk than most pitching prospects.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 18.1 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 30/40 20/20 70/70 45/60 50/50

Rodriguez is a plus-plus-running center field prospect with a slash-and-dash approach at the plate. He is currently unable to turn on pitches and do any real offensive damage, but his defensive profile, speed, and hand-eye coordination make him an interesting follow. Barring a swing change that enables him to turn on more pitches, he projects as a fourth outfielder, but at age 18, there’s lots of time for that adjustment. There’s a pretty rare skillset at the core of Rodriguez’s profile.

21. Micah Bello, CF
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2018 from Hilo HS (HI) (MIL)
Age 18.5 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 165 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
25/55 40/45 20/30 50/50 45/55 55/55

Bello signed for an under slot $550,000 as a second rounder. He’s a polished, contact-oriented center field prospect without typical big league physicality. He has several tweener traits, and might end up as a bench or platoon outfielder. A path toward everyday reps involves Bello developing a plus bat or glove, which are both in the realm of possibility as he has great breaking ball recognition and bat control, and good instincts in center field. He is one of several Hawaiian players drafted by Milwaukee since 2014 (Kodi Medeiros, Jordan Yamamoto, KJ Harrison, Kekai Rios).

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Dominican Republic (MIL)
Age 18.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr S / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
20/50 50/55 20/50 50/50 45/50 50/50

Ernesto got $1.8 million in 2017. His profile hasn’t changed at all since he was written up last year. He’s a switch-hitter with surprising pop for his age and build, but neither swing is dialed in quite yet. He runs well-enough to give center field a try for a while, but will probably move to a corner at physical maturity. He’s a well-rounded physical talent with little present feel to hit.

23. Adam Hill, RHP
Drafted: 4th Round, 2018 from South Carolina (NYM)
Age 21.8 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 215 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Slider Changeup Command Sits/Tops
45/50 50/55 50/55 40/45 90-94 / 95

The Brewers also acquired Adam Hill, the Mets 2018 4th round pick out of the University of South Carolina. Hill was dominant during the first four starts of his junior year, but his control disappeared once the Gamecocks began conference play. He struggled to throw strikes for two months leading up to the draft and fell to the fourth round. Hill does have good stuff. He’ll sit 90-94 and his big, 6-foot-6 frame and lower arm slot combine to create a unique look for hitters. His slider breaks late and has good length when located to Hill’s arm side, and Hill’s changeup has good action because of his lower arm slot. His limited command probably relegates Hill to the bullpen eventually, but he has #4/5 starter stuff if he can develop better control in his mid-20s, which sometimes happens to pitchers this size.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2018 from Kirkwood JC (IA) (MIL)
Age 20.3 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
30/45 40/45 20/30 70/70 40/45 40/45

Howell was a pleasant, toolsy, post-draft surprise whose combination of speed and crude bat control was too much for AZL defenses to deal with. A JUCO draftee would only turned 20 in September, Howell has some catalytic offensive qualities and a chance to play somewhere favorable on defense. He saw time at shortstop and third base during the summer and fall, but Eric and several scouts think he ends up in center field. Physical development will play a sizeable role in Howell’s future, especially as far as his bat is concerned. He will be the age of a college sophomore in 2019.

Drafted: 17th Round, 2018 from Long Beach State (MIL)
Age 22.0 Height 5′ 6″ Weight 160 Bat / Thr L / L FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/45 55/60 55/60 45/50 86-88 / 90

Andrews is weird. He’s just 5-foot-6 and throws in the upper-80s but he has two really excellent secondary pitches in his curveball and changeup. He played two ways at Long Beach State and performed well (54 K’s, 7 BB’s in 33 pro innings) after signing. We don’t know what he is but we think it’s something.

26. Lun Zhao, RHP
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from China (MIL)
Age 17.4 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
40/50 55/70 30/45 30/45 90-92 / 93

Zhao is one of very few Chinese players in pro ball–we know of two others: Itchy Xu (BAL) and Hai-Cheng Gong (PIT)–and is the most talented. The 17-year-old broke off some ferocious curveballs during instructional league that elicited verbal expletives from onlooking scouts. His fastball control is very raw. Right now, Zhao is just a very young developmental project who can really spin it.

Drafted: 2nd Round, 2012 from Torrance HS (CA) (MIL)
Age 25.0 Height 6′ 0″ Weight 185 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Hit Raw Power Game Power Run Fielding Throw
50/50 45/45 40/45 55/55 55/55 50/50

Taylor’s performance tapered off in 2014 and he spent several years slugging about .330, then spent much of 2017 injured. He had a statistical breakout at Triple-A in 2018 that could be attributed to the hitting environment at Colorado Springs, but Taylor has made significant changes to his swing and the uptick in power could be a PCL cariacature of real, meaningful change. Once a wide-based, no-stride swinger, Taylor now has a big leg kick and his batted ball profile has changed dramatically between 2016 (the last, reliably large sample we had) and now. He was added to the 40-man this offseason and is a sleeper breakout candidate.

28. Adrian Houser, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2011 from Locust Grove HS (OK) (HOU)
Age 25.9 Height 6′ 4″ Weight 225 Bat / Thr R / R FV 40
Tool Grades (Present/Future)
Fastball Curveball Changeup Command Sits/Tops
60/60 45/45 55/55 45/45 93-96 / 97

Houser finally made it back to the majors in 2018 after missing significant time due to Tommy John. During that time, he remade his body into a lean, more flexible vessel and his velo was up a bit; instead of 92-95, he was sitting at 94-95 last year. His curveball didn’t have good finish during his brief big league time but it has been average and flashing above in the past. His changeup is now clearly his best secondary offering. Houser’s fastball plays down a bit due to lack of movement and it’d be nice to see the breaking ball bounce back, but for now he projects as a middle reliever.

35+ FV Prospects

29. Eduarqui Fernandez, CF
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2018 from Dominican (MIL)
Age 16.6 Height 6′ 2″ Weight 180 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

A $1.1 million signe from July, Fernandez is a R/R corner outfield projection bat with present feel to hit. He’s already quite a bit more physical now than he was as an amateur, so the rest of the power might come pretty quickly.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Venezuela (BOS)
Age 19.8 Height 6′ 1″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Pinero was originally with Boston but was granted free agency as part of their 2016 international bonus bundling scandal. He’s a plus defensive shortstop–he has elite hands, but his range and athleticism are suspect–with very little bat. Pinero has a lanky frame, but he’s a slow-twitch hitter with below average bat speed and he won’t necessarily grow into offensive impact. His likely range of positive outcoms spans from glove-first bench infielder to low-end regular.

31. Yeison Coca, 2B
Signed: July 2nd Period, 2015 from Dominican Republic (BOS)
Age 19.6 Height 5′ 10″ Weight 155 Bat / Thr S / R FV 35+

Coca is an average middle infield defender with below-average offensive tools. If those grow to average, he could sneak up on us and be an everyday player. If they continue to hang in the 40/45 area, Coca will be a utility option.

Signed: July 2nd Period, 2017 from Venezuela (MIL)
Age 17.9 Height 5′ 11″ Weight 150 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Castillo signed for $140,000 in 2017. His swing has a good foundation, he’s an athletic middle infield defender, and his frame has some room for mass as he matures. He had a good fall instructional league showing.

Drafted: 12th Round, 2017 from Gahr HS (CA) (MIL)
Age 19.2 Height 6′ 5″ Weight 190 Bat / Thr L / R FV 35+

Long a notable amateur prospect due to his projectable, wide receiverish frame, Ward has made significant mechanical progress and is already much more of a refined baseball player than he was a senior in high school. He’s still mostly a lottery ticket frame who you’re hoping grows into big power, but now his underlying skills have started to develop.

34. Caden Lemons, RHP
Drafted: 2nd Round, 2017 from Vestavia Hills HS (AL) (MIL)
Age 20.1 Height 6′ 6″ Weight 175 Bat / Thr R / R FV 35+

Lemons was up to 96 in high school, often sitting in the low-90s. He was 90-92 this fall with an average slider that has horizontal wipe during instructs. He’s a big-framed projection arm whose stuff hasn’t ascended yet.

Other Prospects of Note
Grouped by type and listed in order of preference within each category.

Power-only Bats Low on the Defensive Spectrum
Jacob Nottingham, C
Weston Wilson, 1B/3B/OF
Jake Gatewood, 1B
Chad McClanahan, 1B
Branlyn Jaraba, 3B
David Fry, C/1B
Ernesto Martinez, 1B

Nottingham will turn 24 this offseason. He has plus power but needs to improve behind the plate in order to profile as a power-over-hit backup. Weston Wilson has above-average raw power and can play the corner outfield spots, first base, and some third. He could be a right-handed corner bench bat. Gatewood has plus-plus raw power and has moved from shortstop to third base to first base as a pro. He’s a R/R first baseman with huge power and strikeout issues. Fringe 40-man candidates like that sometimes bloom late, or at least get a shot at some point. McClanahan signed for $1 million as an 11th rounder in 2016. He’s a big-framed projection bat who is already seeing more reps at first than at third. He has premium makeup. Jaraba was a $1 million signee this year. He’s a R/R power bat who looked like a future first baseman this fall. David Fry was the club’s 7th rounder out of Northwestern State. He has above-average power and hasn’t caught all that much, in part because he had TJ in college. Ernesto Martinez is built like a Greek god and has 70 raw power but his swing has not progressed and it’s currently unusable.

The Tommy John Crew
Drew Rasmussen. RHP
Nathan Kirby, LHP
Quintin Torres-Costa, LHP
Nash Walters, RHP
Devin Williams
Josh Pennington, RHP

Rasmussen has had two TJs. He sits 93-96 with average secondary stuff and below average command when healthy. Kirby has had several injury issues and now has a 40 fastball, but his repertoire is deep and he has a 55 curveball. Torres-Costa is a situational lefty who likely would have been in the big leagues in 2018 if not for his injury. Walters was 92-94, touching 95 in the fall and struggled to throw strikes. Devin Williams is 92-93 with a plus curveball. Pennington retired when he needed his second TJ.

One Plus Pitch
Reese Olson, RHP
Justin Jarvis, RHP
Rodrigo Benoit, RHP

Olson signed for $400,000 and was 92-93, touching 94 with a plus curveball in the fall. Benoit has scattershot command of an average fastball and a plus breaking ball. Jarvis has an above-average changeup.

Weird Arm Slots
J.T. Hintzen, RHP
Scott Sunitsch, LHP

Sunitsch no-hit the University of Oregon in April. He’s a low-slot lefty with a good changeup. Hitzen strides way, way open, toward the first base side, and the ball appears to hitters out of where his stomach was when he came set. Both are release-point oddities who have performed so far.

Offseason Addition
Felix Valerio, 2B

Valerio, who turned 18 in December, was acquired as part of the package for Keon Broxton in January. He hit .319/.409/.433 in the DSL during his first pro season and is a skills-over-tools type of prospect who is more polished than most of his peers. He has promising feel for contact and is athletically viable at second base but, at 5-foot-7, 165, he’s less likely to grow into more impressive physical tools than someone with some length and room on their frame. Players like this either hit enough to play second base every day or they don’t, and they end up as org guys. Valerio walked more than he struck out last year, and those types of peripheral indicators are great evidence to support a case that a player will indeed hit that much, but not when we’re talking about DSL stats, so we’re hesitant give significant weight to Valerio’s early-career numbers.

System Overview

This system looks very weak now that several 45 FV or better prospects have either graduated or been traded, and the farm alone doesn’t project a clear picture of the youthful health of this franchise. The focus now shifts to the collective development of the large number of teenagers in the 40 and 35+ FV tiers. Another sizable wave of talent — position players this time — could arrive in Milwaukee in three to five years. The organization’s recent history of hitter development isn’t all that inspiring; most of Milwaukee’s big league position players came from outside the org, and Orlando Arcia hasn’t made the kind of offensive impact that was expected of him as a prospect. Grisham and Erceg have been frustrating and have gone backwards. Things may not bode well for several of the hitters in this system who clearly need improvement in some way to progress like Milwaukee’s pitching has. The Brewers love idiosyncratic pitchers whose stuff plays up because of one weird thing or another, and they’ve had success developing them.