Updated Top-10 Prospect Lists: AL Central

Below are the updated summer top-10 prospect lists for the orgs in the American League Central. I have notes beneath the top 10s explaining why some of these prospects have moved up or down. For detailed scouting information on individual players, check out the player’s profile page which may include tool grades and/or links to Daily Prospect Notes posts in which they’ve appeared this season. For detailed info on players drafted or signed this year, check out our sortable boards.

Chicago White Sox (Preseason List)

1. Yoan Moncada, 2B
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF
3. Michael Kopech, RHP
4. Lucas Giolito, RHP
5. Luis Robert, OF
6. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP
7. Blake Rutherford, OF
8. Alec Hansen, RHP
9. Dylan Cease, RHP
10. Zack Collins, C

Alec Hansen’s season has bolstered confidence that he can start. Carson Fulmer’s season, meanwhile, has done the opposite and bumped both him and injured Zack Burdi out of this deep group. The depth also kept likely back-end starter Spencer Adams and first-round pick Jake Burger unnamed. Giolito is still having strike-throwing issues. Nevertheless, he pitches with a low- to mid-90s downhill fastball and flashes a plus curveball and changeup while also mixing in a short but tight slider.

Cleveland Indians (Preseason List)

1. Francisco Mejia, C
2. Triston McKenzie, RHP
3. Yu-Cheng Chang, INF
4. Bobby Bradley, 1B
5. Will Benson, RF
6. Nolan Jones, 3B
7. Yandy Diaz, UTIL
8. Greg Allen, OF
9. Quentin Holmes, CF
10. Willi Castro, SS

Mejia and McKenzie are top-50 prospects. Bobby Bradley continues to get to his power at Double-A despite continued contact issues. Benson is similarly prone to strikeouts, mostly due to lever length, but he’s seeing the ball well and was considered a long-term project before the draft. He’s tinkered with a stance change this year. Injuries have plagued Greg Allen and fourth-outfielder reports from scouts grow more frequent. Castro, a speedy, middle-of-the-diamond athlete with some pop, is moving up.

Detroit Tigers(Preseason List)

1. Matt Manning, RHP
2. Jeimer Candelario, 3B
3. Beau Burrows, RHP
4. Christin Stewart, LF/DH
5. Mike Gerber, OF
6. Kyle Funkhouser, RHP
7. Alex Faedo, RHP
8. Isaac Paredes, 3B
9. Joe Jimenez, RHP
10. Dawel Lugo, UTIL

Funkhouser was fantastic early in the year but he’s been out since mid-June with an elbow injury. The entire top 10 is hard-throwing righties and fringey athletes who can really hit. Burrows has a chance to miss bats with his fastball, curveball, and changeup. Gerber has platoon issues but will see mostly right-handed pitching, and his glove is good enough that you can live with him every day against lefties, too. Jimenez has set-up stuff.

Kansas City Royals (Preseason List)

1. Nick Pratto, 1B
2. Khalil Lee, OF
3. Hunter Dozier, 3B
4. Josh Staumont, RHP
5. Ryan O’Hearn, 1B
6. Seuly Matias, OF
7. MJ Melendez, C
8. Scott Blewett, RHP
9. Jake Junis, RHP
10. Eric Skoglund, LHP

Dozier has had oblique and hand injuries this year. He turns 26 next week. Scouts thought Matias was gifted but inconsistent and maddening to watch this spring, but he’s hitting since being sent to an affiliate. O’Hearn and Staumont have warts but both have core competencies (Staumont misses bats and has late-inning stuff if the strike throwing doesn’t come, O’Hearn reaches base and hits for power) and both are exhibiting them at Triple-A. Junis pitches off a sinker and two effective breaking balls. He profiles as a back-end starter. Skoglund’s combination of deception and control portend a similar future.

Minnesota Twins (Preseason List)

1. Royce Lewis, CF
2. Nick Gordon, SS
3. Stephen Gonsalves, LHP
4. Alex Kirilloff, OF
5. Wander Javier, SS
6. Fernando Romero, RHP
7. Felix Jorge, RHP
8. Blayne Enlow, RHP
9. Mitch Garver, C
10. Zach Granite, OF

Gordon remains error-prone but is turning in his best offensive season as a pro. Gonsalves pitched his way to Triple-A and had a dominant debut start there. He looks like a low-risk mid-rotation piece. Romero has a great fastball/slider combination but several reliever attributes (lower arm slot, below-average present command, current lack of changeup) as well. Jorge moves up despite a fringey fastball because he throws strikes with five pitches and his changeup and curveball can miss bats. Garver and Granite might only play bench roles but, due to position, they will be valuable ones.

Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.

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6 years ago

Wow, Giolito is way higher here than most places. Glad to hear someone still optimistic about him.