Reviewing Last Year’s Top 100 List

Each year, we strive to improve our process for ranking prospects. Part of that is reviewing our past rankings to identify any trends or biases that may have emerged. This post doesn’t represent a comprehensive effort to do so. Rather, think of it more as a first step to finding any low-hanging fruit we may have missed.

The 2018 version of our Picks to Click was less formal than this year’s edition. Last year, we listed 62 players, representing a mix of those in striking distance of the top 100, guys we thought would improve their rankings in 2019, and players we just liked. This year, we narrowed it down further to players who have never been a 50 FV before and who hadn’t appeared on the 2018 Picks to Click list. The aim is to have a leaner list with a higher percentage of players who will become 50 FV prospects for the first time next year.

We identified 15 of the 33 players who were new to the 2019 Top 100 in the 2018 Picks to Click (this excludes Yusei Kikuchi and the players drafted in 2018, as none of them were eligible for last year’s list). A handful of the 18 we didn’t include in our Picks to Click were close to last year’s Top 100 and wouldn’t have been much of a stretch to rank; a few were late cuts from both lists. All told, we picked about half of the new Top 100 talents. The 62 players on last year’s Picks to Click essentially broke down into three equal groups: stock up, steady, and stock down. Our goal is that this year’s leaner and more-focused group of 55 prospects will beat that mark. We also found the Picks to Click group of performers with lesser tools had our worst outcome (the success was Brandon Lowe, who would’ve been shoehorned into another group if this one didn’t exist), so we axed that subset from this year’s incarnation.

On last year’s Top 100, we included honorable mentions for the rest of the 50 FV prospects, which got us to 139 total players. I’ve manually graded whether the stock of those 139 went up, down, or held steady in 2019, and added a “slight” modifier for the in-between cases.

2018 Top 100 Prospects Stock Movement
Direction Graduated Prospects Total
Up 7 11 18
Slight Up 2 5 7
Steady 9 37 46
Slight Down 8 16 24
Down 3 41 44

The names you’re most familiar with are in the “Up” group: Ronald Acuna, Juan Soto, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Walker Buehler, Gleyber Torres, Miguel Andujar, Wander Franco, Forrest Whitley, and so on. The top tier of the “Up” group only makes up 13% of the list, but that’s also picking from the most elite prospects in the game, so there isn’t much more room to improve.

I’m open to suggestions from the readers as to how best to read this, but the most notable trend I see is that the “Up”/”Slight Up” group tends to have more hitters (18 of 25, for 72%), while the down group is mostly pitchers (24 of 44, for 55%). This makes sense given pitcher attrition, but also suggests that we should perhaps be more cautious ranking minor league pitching prospects. It’s worth noting that in Craig Edwards’ research, generally speaking, the lower you go in the Top 100, the bigger the gap between hitter and pitcher value. I didn’t complete this analysis before we finalized this year’s Top 100, but we did note while making the list that it seemed to have more hitters on the back half than last year’s. This year, 33 of the 87 (38%) prospects with exactly a 50 FV were pitchers; that number was 44 of 97 (45%) last year.

Stock Movement of Graduates from the 2018 Top 100
2018 Rk Player Name Pos. Team 2018 FV 2018 WAR Trend
2 Ronald Acuna CF ATL 65 3.7 Up
50 Juan Soto RF WAS 50 3.7 Up
82 Brian Anderson 3B MIA 50 3.4 Up
27 Walker Buehler RHP LA 55 3.3 Up
14 Miguel Andujar 3B NYY 60 2.7 Up
65 Jack Flaherty RHP STL 50 2.3 Up
12 Gleyber Torres SS NYY 60 1.9 Up
HM Joey Lucchesi LHP SDP 50 1.1 Slight Up
HM Jesse Winker LF CIN 50 0.9 Slight Up
1 Shohei Ohtani RHP/DH LAA 70 2.8 Steady
11 Willy Adames SS TB 60 1.3 Steady
61 Tyler O’Neill RF STL 50 1.3 Steady
HM Fernando Romero RHP MIN 50 0.7 Steady
43 Jake Bauers RF TB 50 0.6 Steady
HM Brandon Woodruff RHP MIL 50 0.5 Steady
35 Corbin Burnes RHP MIL 55 0.2 Steady
47 Austin Meadows LF PIT 50 0.2 Steady
HM Christian Arroyo 3B TBR 50 0.2 Steady
53 Colin Moran 3B PIT 50 0.7 Slight Down
78 Max Fried LHP ATL 50 0.4 Slight Down
29 J.P. Crawford SS PHI 55 0.3 Slight Down
32 Franklin Barreto CF OAK 55 0.2 Slight Down
HM Tyler Mahle RHP CIN 50 0.1 Slight Down
83 Ryan McMahon 1B COL 50 0.0 Slight Down
HM Chance Sisco C BAL 50 0.0 Slight Down
85 Carson Kelly C STL 50 -0.4 Slight Down
25 Scott Kingery 2B PHI 55 -0.1 Down
63 Dustin Fowler CF OAK 50 -0.6 Down
13 Lewis Brinson CF MIA 60 -1.2 Down

Stock Movement of Prospects from the 2018 Top 100
2018 Rk Player Name Pos. Team 2018 FV 2019 FV Trend
3 Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. 3B TOR 65 70 Up
8 Forrest Whitley RHP HOU 60 65 Up
38 Royce Lewis CF MIN 55 65 Up
56 Ke’Bryan Hayes 3B PIT 50 55 Up
57 Taylor Trammell CF CIN 50 60 Up
66 Jo Adell RF LAA 50 60 Up
70 Jesus Luzardo LHP OAK 50 55 Up
81 Sean Murphy C OAK 50 55 Up
99 Alex Kirilloff RF MIN 50 60 Up
HM Wander Franco SS TBR 50 65 Up
HM Keibert Ruiz C LAD 50 60 Up
24 Keston Hiura 2B MIL 55 60 Slight Up
40 Carter Kieboom 3B WAS 55 60 Slight Up
45 Ian Anderson RHP ATL 50 55 Slight Up
55 Austin Riley 3B ATL 50 55 Slight Up
73 Adonis Medina RHP PHI 50 55 Slight Up
4 Victor Robles CF WAS 65 65 Steady
5 Fernando Tatis, Jr. 3B SD 65 65 Steady
7 Nick Senzel 3B CIN 60 60 Steady
9 Bo Bichette 2B TOR 60 60 Steady
10 Kyle Tucker RF HOU 60 60 Steady
19 Sixto Sanchez RHP PHI 60 60 Steady
22 Brendan McKay LHP/1B TB 60 60 Steady
26 Kyle Wright RHP ATL 55 55 Steady
28 Luis Urias 2B SD 55 55 Steady
30 A.J. Puk LHP OAK 55 55 Steady
33 MacKenzie Gore LHP SD 55 55 Steady
34 Mike Soroka RHP ATL 55 55 Steady
37 Cristian Pache CF ATL 55 55 Steady
49 Jesus Sanchez RF TB 50 50 Steady
51 Triston McKenzie RHP CLE 50 50 Steady
60 Touki Toussaint RHP ATL 50 50 Steady
68 Tristen Lutz RF MIL 50 50 Steady
69 Jahmai Jones CF LAA 50 50 Steady
71 Danny Jansen C TOR 50 50 Steady
74 Cole Tucker SS PIT 50 50 Steady
76 Nate Pearson RHP TOR 50 50 Steady
80 Yu-Cheng Chang SS CLE 50 50 Steady
86 Leody Taveras CF TEX 50 50 Steady
87 Isan Diaz 2B MIA 50 50 Steady
88 Jon Duplantier RHP ARI 50 50 Steady
97 Brandon Marsh CF LAA 50 50 Steady
HM Seuly Matias RF KCR 50 45+ Steady
HM Sandy Alcantara RHP MIA 50 50 Steady
HM Shane Baz RHP PIT 50 50 Steady
HM J.B. Bukauskas RHP HOU 50 50 Steady
HM Dane Dunning RHP CHW 50 50 Steady
HM Matt Manning RHP DET 50 50 Steady
HM Logan Allen LHP SDP 50 50 Steady
HM Adrian Morejon LHP SDP 50 50 Steady
HM Aramis Ademan SS CHC 50 50 Steady
HM Shed Long 2B CIN 50 50 Steady
HM Corey Ray CF MIL 50 50 Steady
6 Eloy Jimenez RF CHW 65 60 Slight Down
15 Brent Honeywell RHP TB 60 55 Slight Down
16 Alex Reyes RHP STL 60 55 Slight Down
18 Brendan Rodgers SS COL 60 55 Slight Down
20 Michael Kopech RHP CHW 60 55 Slight Down
21 Luis Robert CF CHW 60 55 Slight Down
23 Mitch Keller RHP PIT 60 55 Slight Down
31 Luiz Gohara LHP ATL 55 50 Slight Down
39 Justus Sheffield LHP NYY 55 50 Slight Down
42 Hunter Greene RHP CIN 55 50 Slight Down
44 Yordan Alvarez LF HOU 50 50 Slight Down
48 Alex Verdugo RF LA 50 50 Slight Down
52 Monte Harrison CF MIA 50 50 Slight Down
62 Anderson Espinoza RHP SD 50 50 Slight Down
64 Will Smith C LA 50 50 Slight Down
79 Estevan Florial CF NYY 50 50 Slight Down
17 Francisco Mejia C/3B CLE 60 50 Down
36 Anthony Alford CF TOR 55 40 Down
41 Michel Baez RHP SD 55 50 Down
46 Willie Calhoun DH TEX 50 45 Down
54 Yadier Alvarez RHP LA 50 45 Down
58 Jorge Mateo CF OAK 50 45 Down
59 Albert Abreu RHP NYY 50 45 Down
67 Jorge Guzman RHP MIA 50 45 Down
72 Alec Hansen RHP CHW 50 45 Down
75 Riley Pint RHP COL 50 45 Down
77 Nick Gordon SS MIN 50 45 Down
84 Joey Wentz LHP ATL 50 45+ Down
89 Zack Burdi RHP CHW 50 45 Down
90 Austin Hays RF BAL 50 45 Down
91 Zack Collins 1B CHW 50 45 Down
92 Bobby Bradley 1B CLE 50 45 Down
93 Jose Siri CF CIN 50 45 Down
94 Braxton Garrett LHP MIA 50 45 Down
95 Michael Chavis 1B BOS 50 45 Down
96 Cole Ragans LHP TEX 50 45 Down
98 Jay Groome LHP BOS 50 40 Down
100 Franklin Perez RHP DET 50 45 Down
HM Heliot Ramos CF SFG 50 45+ Down
HM Adbert Alzolay RHP CHC 50 45 Down
HM Beau Burrows RHP DET 50 45 Down
HM James Kaprielian RHP OAK 50 45 Down
HM Luis Medina RHP NYY 50 45 Down
HM Chris Rodriguez RHP LAA 50 45 Down
HM Kolby Allard LHP ATL 50 45 Down
HM Stephen Gonsalves LHP MIN 50 45 Down
HM Yohander Mendez LHP TEX 50 45 Down
HM Jose Israel Garcia SS CIN 50 45 Down
HM Christin Stewart DH DET 50 45 Down
HM Franklyn Kilome RHP PHI 50 40 Down
HM Freicer Perez RHP NYY 50 40 Down
HM Cal Quantrill RHP SDP 50 40 Down
HM Anthony Banda LHP ARI 50 40 Down
HM Lucas Erceg 3B MIL 50 40 Down
HM Kevin Maitan 3B LAA 50 40 Down
HM Jose Adolis Garcia CF STL 50 40 Down
HM Trent Grisham LF MIL 50 40 Down

We hoped you liked reading Reviewing Last Year’s Top 100 List by Kiley McDaniel!

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Kiley McDaniel has worked as an executive and scout, most recently for the Atlanta Braves, also for the New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates. He's written for ESPN, Fox Sports and Baseball Prospectus. Follow him on twitter.

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Francoeurstein
Member
Francoeurstein

I know his stuff is pretty pedestrian, but it’s crazy to me how Kolby Allard has trended down the past two offseasons despite pitching very well in a league in which he is WAY younger than the competition. I know 88-90 mph isn’t sexy, but a 3.52 FIP in the International League as a 20-year old has to mean something.

bosoxforlife
Member
Member
bosoxforlife

It is hard to ignore just how poorly he did when called up to the Braves.

delatopia
Member
Member
delatopia

Why does it have to mean anything at all? I’ve never thought age relative to league meant that much when it came to pitchers, especially if their body types didn’t seem to be very projectable. Hitters are another story, of course.

LightenUpFG
Member
Member

It seems that when guys aren’t striking people out at a stunning rate their stock tends to plummet. This is akin to hitters who don’t look like they’re going to stick anywhere in the field aside from 1B or DH (gulp), so they get pushed a bit out of the way. Allard reminds me of Jon Duplantier in that although they’re both considered good minor league pitchers, their lack of strikeout dominance automatically gets them pegged as possible relievers or SP4/5 guys.

If Allard gets another crack at the MLB and shows he can beguile hitters with some good innings, hopefully he’ll have a future as a starter. Even if he does, I wonder if he’ll remain a Brave for much longer given how many guys are coming up in that system that actually can strikeout a stronger amount of hitters.

dl80
Member
dl80

The problem with Allard is that not only doesn’t he throw hard, he doesn’t strike anyone out (even in the minors) and he doesn’t have particularly great ground ball rates, either. That’s a recipe for disaster in the majors, which is what happened. Obviously 8 innings doesn’t mean much, but his surface numbers in the minors are the result of low home run rates that his ground ball numbers don’t support.