When publishing our lists — in particular, the top 100 — we’re frequently asked who, among the players excluded from this year’s version, might have the best chance of appearing on next year’s version. Whose stock are we buying? This post represents our best attempt to answer all of those questions at once.
This is the second year that we’re doing this, and we have some new rules. First, none of the players you see below will have ever been a 50 FV or better in any of our write-ups or rankings. So while we think Austin Hays might have a bounce back year and be a 50 FV again, we’re not allowed to include him here; you already know about him. We also forbid ourselves from using players who were on last year’s inaugural list. (We were right about 18 of the 63 players last year, a 29% hit rate, though we have no idea if that’s good or not, as it was our first time engaging in the exercise.) At the end of the piece, we have a list of potential high-leverage relievers who might debut this year. They’re unlikely to ever be a 50 FV or better because of their role, but they often have a sizable impact on competitive clubs, and readers seemed to like that we had that category last year.
We’ve separated this year’s players into groups or “types” to make it a little more digestible, and to give you some idea of the demographics we think pop-up guys come from, which could help you identify some of your own with THE BOARD. For players who we’ve already covered this offseason, we included a link to the team lists, where you can find a full scouting report. We touch briefly on the rest of the names in this post. Here are our picks to click:
Torres was young for his draft class, is a plus athlete, throws really hard, and had surprisingly sharp slider command all last summer. White looked excellent in the fall when the Rangers finally allowed their high school draftees to throw. He sat 92-94, and his changeup and breaking ball were both above-average. Pardinho and Woods Richardson are the two advanced guys in this group. Thomas is the most raw but, for a someone who hasn’t been pitching for very long, he’s already come a long way very quickly.
Eric Pardinho, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (full report)
Lenny Torres, Jr., RHP, Cleveland Indians
Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP, New York Mets (full report)
Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (full report)
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Baltimore Orioles (full report)
Owen White, RHP, Texas Rangers
Mason Denaburg, RHP, Washington Nationals (full report)
Tahnaj Thomas, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates (full report)
The “This is What They Look Like” Group
If you like big, well-made athletes, this list is for you. Rodriguez was physically mature compared to his DSL peers and also seems like a mature person. The Mariners have indicated they’re going to send him right to Low-A this year. He could be a middle-of-the-order, corner outfield power bat. Luciano was the Giants’ big 2018 July 2 signee. He already has huge raw power and looks better at short than he did as an amateur. Canario has elite bat speed. Adams was signed away from college football but is more instinctive than most two-sport athletes. Most of the stuff he needs to work on is related to getting to his power.
Julio Rodriguez, RF, Seattle Mariners
Marco Luciano, SS, San Francisco Giants
Alexander Canario, RF, San Francisco Giants
Jordyn Adams, CF, Los Angeles Angels
Jordan Groshans, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays (full report)
Jhon Torres, OF, St. Louis Cardinals (full report)
Shervyen Newton, SS, New York Mets (full report)
Kevin Alcantara, CF, New York Yankees (full report)
Freudis Nova, SS, Houston Astros
Brice Turang, SS, Milwaukee Brewers (full report)
Connor Scott, CF, Miami Marlins (full report)
Advanced Young Bats with Defensive Value
This is the group that produces the likes of Vidal Brujan and Luis Urias. Edwards is a high-effort gamer with 70 speed and feel for line drive contact. Marcano isn’t as stocky and strong as X, but he too has innate feel for contact, and could be a plus middle infield defender. Perez has great all-fields contact ability and might be on an Andres Gimenez-style fast track, where he reaches Double-A at age 19 or 20. Ruiz is the worst defender on this list, but he has all-fields raw power and feel for contact. He draws Alfonso Soriano comps. Palacios is the only college prospect listed here. He had three times as many walks as strikeouts at Towson last year. Rosario controls the zone well, is fast, and is a plus defender in center field.
Xavier Edwards, SS, San Diego Padres
Antoni Flores, SS, Boston Red Sox (full report)
Jose Devers, SS, Miami Marlins (full report)
Tucupita Marcano, SS, San Diego Padres
Wenceel Perez, SS, Detroit Tigers
Esteury Ruiz, 2B, San Diego Padres
Richard Palacios, SS, Cleveland Indians
Antonio Cabello, CF, New York Yankees (full report)
Cole Roederer, LF, Chicago Cubs (full report)
Jeisson Rosario, CF, San Diego Padres
Luis Garcia, SS, Philadelphia Phillies (full report)
Simon Muzziotti, CF, Philadelphia Phillies (full report)
Corner Power Bats
Nevin will probably end up as a contact-over-power first baseman, but he might also end up with a 70 bat. He looked great against Fall League pitching despite having played very little as a pro due to injury. Lavigne had a lot of pre-draft helium and kept hitting after he signed. He has all-fields power. Apostel saw reps at first during instructs but has a good shot to stay at third. He has excellent timing and explosive hands.
Grant Lavigne, 1B, Colorado Rockies
Sherten Apostel, 3B, Texas Rangers
Triston Casas, 1B, Boston Red Sox (full report)
Dylan Carlson, RF, St. Louis Cardinals (full report)
Moises Gomez, RF, Tampa Bay Rays (full report)
Elehuris Montero, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals (full report)
Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays (full report)
Tyler Nevin, 1B, Colorado Rockies
It’s hard to imagine any of these guys rocketing into the top 50 overall. Rather, we would anticipate that they end up in the 60-100 range on next year’s list. Gilbert was a workhorse at Stetson and his velo may spike with reshaped usage. Singer should move quickly because of how advanced his command is. Lynch’s pre-draft velocity bump held throughout the summer, and he has command of several solid secondaries. Abreu spent several years in rookie ball and then had a breakout 2018, forcing Houston to 40-man him to protect him from the Rule 5. He’ll tie Dustin May for the second-highest breaking ball spin rate on THE BOARD when the Houston list goes up. We’re intrigued by what Dodgers player dev will do with an athlete like Gray. Phillips throws a ton of strikes and has a good four-pitch mix.
Logan Gilbert, RHP, Seattle Mariners
Zac Lowther, LHP, Baltimore Orioles (full report)
Brady Singer, RHP, Kansas City Royals
Bryan Abreu, RHP, Houston Astros
Daniel Lynch, LHP, Kansas City Royals
Wil Crowe, RHP, Washington Nationals (full report)
Josiah Gray, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Jordan Holloway, RHP, Miami Marlins (full report)
Tyler Phillips, RHP, Texas Rangers
Bounce Back Candidates
The Dodgers have a strong track record of taking severely injured college arms who return with better stuff after a long period of inactivity. That could be Grove, their 2018 second rounder, who missed most of his sophomore and junior seasons at West Virginia. McCarthy was also hurt during his junior season and it may have obscured his true abilities. Burger is coming back from multiple Achilles ruptures, but was a strong college performer with power before his tire blew.
We’re very excited about the current crop of minor league catchers. Naylor is athletic enough that he’s likely to improve as a defender and he has rare power for the position.
Potentially Dominant Relievers
These names lean “multi-inning” rather than “closer.” Gonsolin was a two-way player in college who has been the beneficiary of sound pitch design. He started last year but was up to 100 mph out of the bullpen the year before. He now throws a four seamer rather than a sinker and he developed a nasty splitter in 2017. He also has two good breaking balls. He has starter stuff but may break in as a reliever this year.
Trent Thornton, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (full report)
Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP, Boston Red Sox (full report)
Dakota Hudson, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals (full report)
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays (full report)
Colin Poche, LHP, Tampa Bay Rays (full report)
Trevor Stephan, RHP, New York Yankees (full report)
Vladimir Gutierrez, RHP, Cincinnati Reds (full report)
Dakota Mekkes, RHP, Chicago Cubs (full report)
Tony Gonsolin, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
Mauricio Llovera, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies (full report)