Moderator: The BA staff will be here at noon Monday to chat about the Top 100 Prospects
Frank (Chicago, IL): Why isn't service time taken into account when ranking prospects for your list? I'm speaking specifically of A.J. Reed. Thanks.
John Manuel: It never has been; we’ve never really worried about it. I think part of it is that’s how it’s been for a long time, as we’ve been doing these since 1990, and in 1990, it was hard to know just how much service time everyone had, so we left it out. (Yes, I’m old, but no, I wasn’t here in 1990.) So we have history of not doing it, and so we still don’t do it. There’s never been a hue & cry about it but if there is, we can reconsider for the future. Cody Reed I believe also falls into this category.
Harry (Houston, TX): Was Yulieski Gurriel given any consideration for this list? Which position suits him best?
John Manuel: He was, because he’s at 130 ABs, the upper limit of consideration. We don’t take age into consideration for eligibility. You know, if we had, we would have missed Ichiro back in 2000, for example, or several Cuban or Asian players. Gurriel is tougher because he’s older than most, and honestly I thought he’d make a bit more impact last year than he did. He’d really have to have a monster 2017-2019 to be a guy who would look good on this list 5 years in the future, and that’s why I didn’t put him in my top 150.
Danny (Atlanta, GA): Not that I'm complaining about so many Braves on your list, but no Patrick Weigel? What's his ceiling?
John Manuel: He definitely was considered, and I know he’s a JJ Cooper favorite. I like him a lot as well; we’ve written about him for a while. I’m not 100 percent convinced he’ll be a starter long-term because of the power arm and the at-times iffy command. But he was in the mix toward the back to the Top 100. I think the Braves’ prospect depth almost worked against them; the guys at the back of the Braves Top 10 almost split up all their votes.
J.P. (Springfield, IL): Predict for us, which prospect in the 80-100 range do you expect to make the biggest leap forward by this time next year?
John Manuel: Kaprielian and Quantrill just have to show us some durability to move up, though I prefer Kap for the deeper repertoire. I’ve considered him the top college pitcher from the 2015 class, thought that was the case before the draft. The other guy I’d point out is Adrian Morejon, he was a good long-term play for us at the back of the 100 I thought.
J.P. (Springfield, IL): Hypothetically speaking, about where would Hunter Greene have slotted in on your list?
John Manuel: We’ve debated this. I’m of two minds. One part of me says No. 5, right after Alex Reyes. He seems to have similar stuff, does it easier, athleticism … I could see him that high. I also could see slotting him in lower, such as at No. 14, after Victor Robles. For all his talent, Green is still a high-risk demographic as a high school pitcher. It’s fun to get excited about young players, and he’s one of the most exciting to come along in years. But he’s still a high school righthander (and I suppose maybe a SS & 3B down the line).
Juan Soto (At the gym): Hey guys, what gives? Wasn't my season in the GCL given more weight? Could I be a fast riser in the Nats' system?
John Manuel: He was actually in an early iteration of the Top 100. Ultimately we decided to hold off on a GCL corner bat. He’s got a chance to be a very exciting hitter, but it is a complex-league corner bat, not an infielder, not a middle of the diamond or center fielder. So we held off.
Kyle (Dallas, TX): Was his position the main reason for Willy Adames to crack the top 10? Or are you really that bullish on his bat as well?
John Manuel: We’re bullish on all aspects. He’s a shortstop, he’s good on both sides of the ball … he’s a very capable player whose all-around ability lifts him moreso than any one tool. Kudos again to Ben Badler for having him in the Tigers top 30 out of the Dominican Summer League; he was traded the next year in the David Price trade. That’s another great example of why we go 30 deep.
Trevor (Atlanta): Hi, I have a general question about your ETA estimates. Are those for a possible September call-up or when you expect them to stick on the MLB 25 man roster ?
John Manuel: It’s when they’ll lose their prospect eligibility; in other words, when they won’t be Top 100 eligible again.
John Henry (Chicago): How do you think the Brewers OF situation shakes out with Broxton, Braun, and Santana in the majors and both Lewis Brinson and Corey Ray likely to be ready for the majors later this year and next. Thank you
John Manuel: Santana and Broxton have the potential to be everyday regulars; they are not established big league regulars at this time. Both of those guys strike out a lot. A LOT. Brinson and Ray have more talent than either Broxton or Santana, so I think if they come through on that talent, they’ll establish themselves as the regulars and the Brewers will figure out a way to get something for Broxton and Santana. Of course Milwaukee has other OF options as well, from Brett Phillips to Trent Clark to Ryan Cordell and later on perhaps Monte Harrison or Demi Orimoloye.
Mo (Miami, FL): Who would you consider to be better at playing second base - Isan Diaz or Willie Calhoun?
John Manuel: Diaz, no question. Calhoun ranks ahead because of the power, and for me, I see Willie winding up in left field as a Khris Davis type, only with more of a feel for hitting.
chase (stl): was sandy alcantara considered? seems like he's on the edge of a massive jump.
John Manuel: He was, and he is. I think the entire Cardinals system, at least the younger guys such as Sierra, Sosa, Delvin Perez, maybe Randy Arozarena and also Alvaro Seijas, that system is bursting with players who could be ready to take a big leap in 2017.
Grant (NYC): Did Luis Basabe's name get brought up at all when putting this list together?
John Manuel: Which one? Ha … not really on the Top 100. Luis Alexander with the White Sox has the higher ceiling, and with a BA Grade from the Handbook of 55 High, he’s in the range of the guys at the back of the top 100. AJ, Luis Alejandro with the D-backs, is a 45 High, so he wasn’t in the mix.
john (missouri): why does carson kelly have a 40 hit tool after hitting so well? does it project to get any better? thanks
John Manuel: He’s a catcher, and most catchers don’t hit for average. He had a great year in 2016 but is a .250 hitter in his minor league career. Ultimately I have more confidence in his defense and even his power than his ability to hit for average. He’s not fast, catching’s hard … I just don’t see him hitting .260 consistently in the big leagues.
Mark (Fargo ND): What are the chances Jorge Alfaro stays at Catcher?
John Manuel: Much, much improved in the last year. His receiving is much cleaner than it was previously, when he was a 20-plus passed ball guy every year. His arm remains a high-grade weapon, and now his receiving and blocking have improved. He still has polish to add in those regards, but he’s a strong athlete who should stay back there. I had my doubts two years ago but the aptitude and improvement have convinced me that I was too hasty.
Scott (West Fargo, ND): Who is the most likely of the top 100 to become a dominant closer?
John Manuel: I’ll say Dylan Cease, but I also could see the same thing happening with Tyler Glasnow, Dellin Betances style. I’d also throw in Jharel Cotton with his fastball-changeup combo.
Tony (Lakeland, FL): Who is the most likely of the top 100 to hit 50 homers in a season?
John Manuel: We went 70 grade power on Cody Bellinger, Eloy Jimenez, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Hunter Renfroe and Aaron Judge. If I were picking one from that group, it would be Vlad Jr. first, Bellinger a close second. If Renfroe played elsewhere than Petco, I could see him having a crazy year where it all clicks and he approaches that.
Grant (NYC): Let's stir things up a bit - which player's name caused the most amount of argument between you BA staffers when putting this list together?
John Manuel: We definitely have worked hard to come up with a No. 4 pitching prospect. We had a clear consensus on Reyes, then Martes, then Anderson Espinoza . . . then after that it was a difficult time to line up those pitchers. Keller vs. Glasnow vs. Giolito, then Y. Alvarez vs. De Leon vs. Honeywell vs. Lopez vs. Kopech vs. Josh Hader. There is not a lot of separation between those nine pitchers. It’s very hard to come up with a consensus for those pitchers, and that debate took up a lot of our Top 100 meeting.
Greg (ATL): Ozzie Albies comp -- Jose Vidro with a little less power but with better defense. Yes or no?
John Manuel: Nah. I’m not feeling that one. Albies will be a shortstop masquerading as a second baseman. I think of Brandon Phillips when I think of players like that. I think Albies will be a better hitter for average, hopefully more walks, not as much power as Phillips, but he could be in that family of player.
Brandon (Connecticut): How much do the injuries of Kyle Lewis and Corey Ray hurt their evaluation?
John Manuel: It was tough, Lewis especially with the severity of his knee injury, will it affect his chances to be a center fielder? That’s an unknown. For me, I ranked him as a corner outfielder but I can’t speak for everyone else. I believe in the bat, power and athleticism. Ray had a bit more speed already but again, I wasn’t banking on him being a center fielder. I like him a lot but I can see him being a left fielder and still being a productive player. So for me, those knee injuries sure didn’t help them but it wasn’t a huge factor for me. I don’t think I would have had 100 percent conviction on either as a center fielder before the injuries.
Justin (Tucson): Is Leody Taveras a top 15 prospect in 2 years? His tools' scouting grades aren't far from Victor Robles
John Manuel: Yes, he’s got significant potential to jump up into the top 10-15 after we see what he does in his first attempt at full-season ball.
Justin (Tucson): Senzel at 9?! Is a third baseman batting .280 with 18 hrs really that special or is his rank contributed to his low risk and proximity to the majors?
John Manuel: He’s going to be better than a .280 hitter consistently; we were conservative, in my opinion, on his hit grade, I would have been comfortable going higher. But a true plus hitter is pretty hard to find. I made the comp on our Top 50 show and I’ll make it again, he’s an Anthony Rendon type and I think he’ll actually be a better hitter for average. He is low risk because of how much confidence scouts have in his hitting ability.
Jason (Charlotte): Which Braves pitcher do you think we will look back next year and say he was underrated ?
John Manuel: Touki Toussaint and Max Fried jump to mind. They could both take off in 2017. They both really needed innings in 2016 and got it. I also could see them both flaming out.
Zack (Jersey): Is Jorge Mateo a CF moving forward? Does he have the bat to play there? The glove?
John Manuel: Moving to CF actually would mean lower expectations for his bat than at 2B. Second base is a power position right now, much more so than center field. His speed would play so well in center. I think most of the industry expects him to move to center field and to be an asset there defensively thanks to his speed and playmaking ability.
Jason (Charlotte): Gleyber Torres stock has really risen. He has risen 20+ spots since midseason. Are you putting that much into AFL performance ? Dare say, Yankees overhype
John Manuel: The AFL performance was strong but it’s a small sample. His second half was quite strong, as was his entire 2016 season, including after being traded. He’s also of very low risk. Even if he moves to 2B or 3B, he’s got plenty of bat for either of those spots where more defense is demanded. If he were still a Cub, he’d rank just as high, and people would say we were over-hyping the Cubs.
Jack (DC): Per your grades it looks like Giolito has lost at least one grade on both his fastball and curve. Is this more if a reflection of his hitability in his short debut, a change in mechanics, or just what you're hearing from scouts?
John Manuel: Scouts and the data from his MLB time. His fastball lost at least a grade if not more. His delivery changed last year and his stuff went down with it; he had more head movement, lost direction to the plate, and lost velocity and sharpness to his stuff as a result. That’s reflected in the grades. Players change; they get better, and sometimes they get worse. Baseball is hard, and I hope Giolito gets his old heater back.
Dan (Bakersfield): Is a .265/.350/.500 line realistic for Bellinger at peak? Do you expect him to be a better hitter than Joc Pederson?
John Manuel: Yes, I do think he’ll be better, I actually think that line sells his peak short. He’s a better pure hitter than Pederson with similar power, and he’s a whiz at first base defensively. We’re all in on Bellinger. I could see him peaking north of a .550 slugging with 35-40 homers, again, at his peak. It has a chance to be a very special bat.
John Manuel: All right, I’ll answer one or two more but then I’m handing off to JJ Cooper. Thanks to all of you for your interest.
Dave (NJ): What's a good pro comp for Gleyber Torres? Maybe Frazier/Rutherford also. Thanks!
John Manuel: Torres to me could have a career like Ian Kinsler, only as a shortstop, not a 2B. If he’s a 3b or 2b, I could see him hitting for more power a bit more consistently. Frazier is tougher for me. I could see him having a Carlos Quentin type of career, though I think he’s a better athlete. The Alex Gordon comp that I got early on in the draft process for Blake Rutherford appears to ring true.
Jason (Charlotte): How does this list with 8 Braves prospects compare to the 2011 Royals list with I believe a record 9?
J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. JJ taking over here. It’s not as good as either that Royals list or the Cubs’ 2015 list. That 2011 Royals list had 3 prospects in the Top 10 and 5 in the top 20. The Cubs had 2 of the top 3 prospects in 2015 and 4 of the top 20. This Braves group has 1 in the top 10, 2 in the top 20 and 4 in the top 50. In my mind (and in studies) there is significantly more value in a top 5 prospect on this list than a top 25 prospect. The Top 25 prospect is worth significantly more than a top 50 prospect, etc. This Braves group could rival that next year with a strong 2017, but it’s not really comparable to those all-time farm systems yet. The system that could have compared this year would have been the Red Sox. If not for trades, Boston could have had the top 2 prospects in baseball and 5 in the top 25.
Justin (Tennessee): You seem to be much higher on Franklin Perez that other sources. I know that he has four average to plus pitches. But his velocity seems to be less than elite. Do you see him having the upside to be a #2 starter or is he more of a back of the rotation arm? Thanks!
J.J. Cooper: I don’t know what reports you are basing that on. He sits 92-94 and touched 96 as an 18 year old who thrived in low Class A. That’s pretty elite in my book. Perez will head to HiA as a 19-year-old. He’s extremely advanced but with stuff as well. Front-line starter in my book.
Jason (Charlotte): Once Friend knocked of the rust from not pitching in almost 2 years, his results were on par with the hype he received as a prep pitcher. Why is everyone slow to jump back on the bandwagon ?
J.J. Cooper: I can only speak for myself and BA. The big thing is he’s part of the same prep draft class as Lucas Giolito, Corey Seager, Carlos Correa and Byron Buxton. His peers are all big leaguers at this point while Fried is shaking off rust and dominating LoA. One would expect him to dominate LoA as he also pitched in LoA in 2013. His stuff is front of the rotation stuff, but you want to see durability and success against more experienced hitters to get fully back on board.
Chris (Chicago): Who were a couple of players that had the widest ranges of staff rankings for you? Also, how do you ultimately decide on where to place a guy with such differing opinions?
J.J. Cooper: John answered something similarly as well, but I do think around No. 22 on this list is where the consensus became less consensus if that makes any sense. We rank our preliminary 150s by a variety of means (averages+median rank+weighted averages) and then try to come to a consensus as a group. When it gets to a spot where we’re debating who is No. 31 vs. No. 32 at the end we’ll sometimes hold a vote to pick 31 vs. 32 (or 55 vs. 56). Some guys at the bottom of the list felt tough to rank. A.J. Puk had a wide range of opinions. He was considered one of the top college pitchers in last year’s draft class and normally that would put a guy in the top 50, but Puk had a rough debut. That and the struggles of some recent top college pitchers in pro ball (Dillon Tate for example) led to him sliding.
Mark (Fargo, ND): Why do you insist on putting Rockies pitchers in the top 100 every year! They never end up being good and they waste a spot for a pitcher that has a chance to be good!
J.J. Cooper: We rank based on talent. We can’t say we’re not going to rank you because you may pitch in Colorado (the pitchers also could be traded). Pitching in Colorado is tougher, although Tyler Chatwood and Chad Bettis have been productive starters in Coors Field in recent years.
AstrosFuture (Houston): Forrest Whitley didn't make the list despite being a first round pick and having a solid showing in rookie ball. What is your opinion on him?
J.J. Cooper: I’d expect to see him in next year’s top 100. Very impressive combo of stuff and control for his age.
mike (new york): Why no Juan Soto in the top 100? He outperformed many of the top draft picks from last year. He also was 17 years old, 1.5 years younger than Rutherford...
J.J. Cooper: He was one of the last omissions. Could call him Mr. 101 on this list. Great season and I would expect to see him on the 2018 list.
Chris (Baltimore): Is Kevin Maitan a #1 overall prospect type of talent? Who has more upside: Maitan or Acuna? Thanks!
J.J. Cooper: Maitan’s bat has a chance to be exceptional. Acuna has a more well-rounded set of tools. Both have top 10 prospect potential if everything breaks right.
Gabriel (Dominican Republic): Did you guys consider touki touissaint in the top 100?? How far was he?
J.J. Cooper: If a Braves’ pitcher not on the 100 would have jumped onto the 100 it would have been Max Fried or Patrick Weigel. Want to see Touki put together a lengthier stretch of success with control.
Adam (Atlanta): Favorite under the radar pitching prospect in Atlanta's system?
J.J. Cooper: How under the radar. I think Corbin Clouse could be a big league reliever if you’re looking for deep sleeper.
Larry (Atlanta): I'm a Braves fan, but I'm struggling with Albies. Obviously the defense is plus and that's good. The hit tool certainly seems to be, too. What else is there though? I know he'll steal some bases and that's nice, but if the power is as limited as it seems, what's his realistic impact? As a batting average and defense dependent player?
J.J. Cooper: I think you are understating how much impact that can be. Let me give you some examples: Jose Ramirez–a roughly 4 WAR player last year with modest power, but average, speed and defense. Cesar Hernandez was a 3/4 WAR player (depending on which WAR you use) last year as an average, speed, defense middle infielder with zero power. Albies is never going to be a 20+ HR guy consistently, but he’ll hit a ton of doubles and triples so he’ll post solid slugging percentages to go with high average, great defense and baserunning value.
Matt (Denver): Will Luis Urias make the list next year?
J.J. Cooper: He’s a divergent opinion guy in the office. Guys who really like him are sold on the hit tool and feel and his ability to excel as one of the younger players in every league he’s played in. Guys who are more skeptical ask who are the impact 2B in the big leagues with below-average speed and power.
Chris (Denver): Do you think Mitch Keller will be the Pirates best pitcher at the beginning of 2019?
J.J. Cooper: No. Little early for that. 2020-2021? Maybe.
Norm Chouinard (Connecticut): Thanks for the great chat. Do you ever hear from agents about why their guy is ranked too low? Considering the salary structure for MLB pre-arb guys, I am guessing that most don't care a ton.
J.J. Cooper: All the time. They care. At the minor league level, making the top 100 can lead to better gear deals, etc. Being a top 100 prospect may mean a player gets better bats or free gloves/shoes, etc.
Jack Law (Seattle): I pre-ordered the handbook in December - still anxiously awaiting it's delivery in the Pacific Northwest...
J.J. Cooper: It should arrive very very soon then as all pre-orders have been shipped. If you don’t see it soon call 800-845-2726 and they can help you in customer service.
Jose Gaztambide (DC): If the Red Sox had held onto Moncada, Kopech, Basabe, and the other recently traded top prospects, how would the Red Sox talent match up to the top farm systems of the past 10 years?
J.J. Cooper: One of the best. Teams rarely have that many top 50 prospects.
Brian (Portland): Do you think a player like Andrew Moore(Mariners) will have a better career than most of the players in the top 100? Sure he doesn't project as a No.1 or No. 2 but he seems like a player that belongs in the top 100 as he has a better chance than most of these players to have a impact for a long time. Thanks
J.J. Cooper: No I don’t. I think there is a desire to hope/believe that lesser-velocity RHSPs are often overlooked and under appreciated. But most pitchers of Moore’s ilk–touch/feel RH starter with a fringy fastball and no plus pitch don’t have consistent big league success. There are outliers who do, but it’s a small list. He will likely have a better career than some of the players on this list because he’s close to the majors and some of the low-minors guys will never make the majors (there is always attrition). If you are looking for some example from the past. Kevin Slowey was a better version of Moore (avg fb but in Slowey’s case 80 command), but his lack of stuff kept him from consistent big league success.
Christin (Detroit): Is it safe to say the only reason Christin Stewart didn't make top 100 is because of his poor defense and the fact he is a corner outfielder?
J.J. Cooper: I think he’d have a shot if we were more convinced he could be even a playable OF. If people are wondering about Josh Bell’s defensive grade, Stewart would have graded lower.
Adam (Houston): If Bregman were still eligible, would he have ranked ahead of Benintendi?
J.J. Cooper: Considering everything we know right now, probably, but it’s close. Both very good hitters but one plays in the dirt and can play SS vs. one playing in the grass.
Jason (Dallas): Where would you slot Seth Beer?
J.J. Cooper: Behind Shohei Otani in this hypothetical Top 100.
Erik (Roseville, MN): Who is the most likely of the top 100 to steal over 50 bases?
Matt Eddy: He didn’t make the overall Top 100 Prospects, but he did make my personal top 100, so I’ll say Phillies OF Roman Quinn. But only if he can learn to stay healthy. He has 80 speed and better hitting ability than many realize.
Ryan (USA): Do you think WIlly Adames is a guarantee to stick at SS?
Matt Eddy: “Guaranteed” may be strong. But I fully expect to see Willy Adames playing shortstop for the Rays in 2017 or 2018. Teams value pure range less than they have in recent memory. Physical shortstops who can convert routine fielding chances are common now — as long as they produce offensively.
Wes (NY): Must've been really tough for you guys to leave Robert Gsellman off the list, right? 93-95 FB with sink, plus slider and average curve all with an ERA + of 170 in 45 MLB innings last year.
Matt Eddy: Gsellman has a major league arm and had a fine debut. I wouldn’t build an argument around ERA+, however. Here are the top 10 ERA+ marks since 2006 for first-year starters with between 25-50 IP: 1. Jharel Cotton, 2016; 2. Alfredo Aceves, 2008; 3. Dillon Gee, 2010; 4. Brandon Cumpton, 2013; 5. Gsellman, 2016; 6. Steven Matz, 2015; 7. Wily Peralta, 2012; 8. Ramon Ramirez, 2008; 9. Josh Geer, 2008; and 10. Stephen Fife, 2012.
Mike R (Little Rock, AR): This question is less about the actual ranking and more about the scouting. I am trying to wrap my head around a first base prospect with a 30 fielding tool being a top 50 prospect (Josh Bell). I am assuming the ranking is based on the certainty of the hit tool(s) which are listed at 55. I interpret that to mean he's roughly a .275, 20 HR type player who can't field (at all) at first base. So, am I misunderstanding the player and his grades or is BA higher on the bat than the grades seem to indicate or have I just underestimated the value of the profile?
Matt Eddy: Bell has received uniformly poor reviews for his defense since moving from RF to 1B at Double-A. However, when ranking 1B prospects we bear down on offensive tools and minor league performance to a greater extent than we do at any other position. Even a 20 or 30 grade defender at 1B can contribute to a good team. Think young Billy Butler or Kendrys Morales or Prince Fielder.
j (OR): Which Yankee prospect that didn't make it into the BA Top 100 this year has the best chance to do so next year?
Matt Eddy: Righthander Chance Adams was a late cut from this year’s Top 100, which would make him a strong contender for next year — it he’s still prospect eligible.
Hoosier (Indiana): I was surprised by the omission of Canderlario, what with his good hit/power and demonstrated ability at the highest levels. Is his defense 1B-only? Or are there other warts to consider here?
Matt Eddy: I like Candelario as well. I like his well-rounded ability and had him about No. 115 on my personal list. I think there is enough concern about his offensive impact to be conservative for the time being.
Brad (New Hampshire): Have you ever considered doing a Top 100 list for pitchers only, and another Top 100 list for non-pitchers? It seems it would make sense to divide the two groups up.
Matt Eddy: For the sake of brand consistency — Baseball America has issued its Top 100 Prospects product since 1990 — I think that idea is a non-starter. However, I am intrigued by the idea of presenting various component prospect rankings, like the one you cite. How about different lists for overall potential and one that balances potential with MLB proximity? How about one list for upper-levels prospects (those who have qualified for a Double-A or Triple-A league top 20) and one for the lower level guys who lack that same experience?
B (MD): You list Senzel's ETA as 2017. How does that happen? Either the Reds are really bad to the point that starting his clock wouldn't make sense, or they're contending, in which case it will be because of surprising over-performance - which could come from Suarez. What is the scenario where Senzel gets significant time in 2017?
Matt Eddy: I studied this issue and presented my findings in out Top 100 issue. The piece will run online on Friday. Three of the past four top college bats drafted reached the majors in their second pro seasons — and the fourth (Kris Bryant) was more than qualified to do the same. Dansby Swanson (2015 draft), Kyle Schwarber (2014) and Mike Zunino (2012) all reached the majors about a year after being drafted. Bryant (2013) had to settle for winning our Minor League Player of the Year award. A few other college bats who went second or third among that demographic also reached the majors in their second pro years, e.g. Bregman, Benintendi, Conforto. So yes it would help Senzel’s chances to make a 2017 MLB debut if the Reds are competitive, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Swanson and Zunino both received callups despite their teams being in the midst of 90-loss seasons.
Tiny Lister (Compton, CA): Who was the guy that didn't make the top 100 consensus, but that you fought the hardest for inclusion?
Matt Eddy: Some of my picks to click who didn’t make the Top 100 were Brock Stewart (Dodgers) and Scott Kingery and Roman Quinn (Phillies). Some others with carrying tools who deserve mention: Padres 2B Luis Urias (hit), Reds OF Aristides Aquino (power), Cardinals OF Magneuris Sierra (speed, defense), Twins RHP Fernando Rodney (power stuff, plus control) and potential power-speed outfielders Desmond Lindsay (Mets) and Jesus Sanchez (Rays).
David (Cycledelic. NY): Is Ramon Lauriano a 4th outfielder or an everday player?
Matt Eddy: His tools profile suggest more of a fourth outfielder because he lacks plus hitting ability or power, but he had an outstanding season. I included him in a piece that singles out prospects with strong secondary skills. It goes live Tuesday.
Jason (Charlotte): Does Maitan spend the entire season in Rookie Ball ? Any scenario you see him in Rome ?
Matt Eddy: I doubt it. However, the Braves are aggressive when it comes to advancing teen prospects from the GCL to the Appy League during the season. This was true for Jose Peraza, Ozzie Albies and even Ian Anderson this year.
Dayvid (Owego,NY): I dropped Ronald Acuna. Is he going to be a top 5-10 prospect?...Should I just quit fantasy baseball forever? I have a partner, both in fantasy and real life, and we just can't seem to get to the level of success we want to get to. Any tips?
Matt Eddy: You definitely shouldn’t quit. Instead you should learn from your mistakes. I am more of a sim baseball player, e.g. Strat-O-Matic, than a Roto player, but in general you might try adopting a philosophy that some major league teams espouse. Go for players with at least one carrying tool — 60 grades or higher — in an effort to impact specific categories.
Mike (AL): I am pretty sure Fernando Rodney is no longer prospect eligible.
Matt Eddy: Ha ha. I meant Fernando Romero if that was indeed my typo you are calling out.
Mr Roto (Bristol): Are you guys conscience of how a player is ranked differently in fantasy circles? Do you think on some players, that if this was a fantasy ranking this player would be much higher or lower? Or could you not possibly care less about fantasy baseball?
Matt Eddy: I think prospect rankings are important to fantasy baseball, especially for those owners who draft skills, not roles. A top 100 ranking will help you identify some of those high-skilled players. But as to the influence of Roto rankings on our list, the connection is tenuous. For one thing, Roto statistics such as stolen bases or saves don’t correlate well with run creation or prevention, thus they don’t correlate with wins. Yet in a 5 x 5 fantasy league, those two statistics are valued at an outsized proportion. Also, defensive value is not considered in Roto as it would be for a major league front office.
psw (long beach,ca): are you guys going to do a top 100 podcast?
Matt Eddy: You had better believe it.
Lewis Brinson (Colorado Springs): Why did you give my hit tool a 60 in the team top 10's and a 50 on the top 100? Has my swing gotten that much worse in the last two months of the OFFSEASON!?!?
Matt Eddy: We have Brinson as a 50 hitter in the Handbook, which I think is fair. Where did you see the 60?
Ben (Chicago): What's a reasonable expectation for Moncada's power once he get acclimated to MLB?
Matt Eddy: Moncada will be good for 20 home runs annually, I bet.
Matt Eddy: I am passing the chat baton to Kyle Glaser. Keep sending those questions.
Ryan (USA): If Alvarez continues to dominate except at a higher level, could he move into the top 5 next year?
Kyle Glaser: Hey there, I’ve officially taken the baton. I do think that if Yadier Alvarez dominates the Cal League and rises up to AA with more excellent performance this year, he very well could be a top 5 prospect in the 2018 BA Top 100. Stuff is that good, now it’s just a matter of sharpening it and showing he can hold up under a full workload of innings against more advanced hitters
carey (peoria): Where will delvin perez start/end 2017?
Kyle Glaser: I think there is a reasonable chance he starts the year in Peoria and ends the year at Palm Beach. A lot is going to depend on how he performs this spring
mason (jefferson city, missouri): was arozarena close? i remember you mentioning a few months ago that he had a chance.
Kyle Glaser: His name never once came up in our top 100 discussions, so no
Whooper (Maple Grove, MN): Who is the most likely of the top 100 to have 40 home runs and 40 steals in a season?
Kyle Glaser: Considering only four players in baseball history have gone 40-40, the answer is no one. Perhaps Moncada could go 30-30, but 40-40 is a stretch
Eloy (Chicago, IL): Why are you so conservative on Eloy Jimenez and Brendan Rodgers ETA?
Kyle Glaser: Not quite sure what you mean. They just finished LoA. 2017 Hi/AA and 2018 AA/AAA is a pretty standard path for guys their age and experience level. It’s possible they get their first callups in 2018, but in terms of getting enough ABs to surpass rookie eligibility, 2019 is the target assuming a normal progression. That gets them to the majors for good at at 22, which is hardly conservative
Ryan (USA): If Triston Mckenzie never fills out, can he still succeed in the Majors.
Kyle Glaser: I mean, never say never, but find me a 165-pound starting righthanded pitcher in the majors…Zach Davis is literally the only one, and there have been 4 total since 2010…so no, you’ve gotta add strength to hold your stuff and stamina over 6-7 plus innings throughout the course of a major league season.
Mitchell Baker (Indiana University): If you could pick a guy that just missed the top 100, but has a great chance to be top 50 this time next year, who would it be?
Kyle Glaser: I’m going to say Rockies RHP Ryan Castellani. If he goes to AA as a 21-year old, pitches 160 innings with a sub. 3.50 ERA showing another jump in his stuff, then he’s an easy Top 50 for me
Brandon (Albuquerque): Which prospects do you think will make the biggest jump this year?
Kyle Glaser: I’m going to go out of the box and give Angels fans some hope. I think Jahmai Jones has a chance. About to have his first full season, all the scouting reports have been excellent, if he just continues to shine at Burlington and maybe even Inland Empire as a 19-year old, he’s going to vault up
Tommy Ngo (San Diego): Could Morejon be the top lefty by next year?
Kyle Glaser: Yes. The current lefty crop is not great to begin with, so if Morejon does what everyone expects him to do, it’s plausible.
Matt (Virginia): Thank you for taking time for this! My question surrounds Francis Martes. You have him ranked higher than anyone I've seen. I like the guy but to me his numbers have been good not great. Can he succeed in AAA this year and get to the highest level? Is his stuff THAT good? Thanks again guys. Love the stuff.
Kyle Glaser: Martes splits a few of us on our staff. JJ Cooper, our Astros guy, is very high on him. I personally am less so. That said, to have the success he did as a 20-year old in AA (131 K in 125.1 IP, only 4 HR allowed) is hard to ignore or downplay too much. He’ll go to Fresno this year and I think we’ll get a good look at just how good the stuff is, because the PCL will expose it will quickly if it’s not
Greg (Charlotte): Where does the stuff/profile of Alex Reyes rank compared to other elite SP prospects over the past few years (Cole, Bundy, Shelby, etc.)?
Kyle Glaser: Personally, I would rank that Cole, Reyes, Bundy, Shelby Miller. Cole is one of baseball’s top 15-20 starters or so by age 25 and could still get better. I wouldn’t be surprised if Reyes is in the same boat when he is 25
Jeff (LA): We all knew about Bellinger's power, but what should be expected about his ability to hit?
Kyle Glaser: He won’t ever contend for a batting title, but he’ll hit more than enough. I think at his peak he’s a .285, 35-40 HR guy, over the course of his career he’ll probably settle into a .260-.265 career average, which is more than enough with the power he’ll bring
Mike (Chicago): Where do you see Eloy Jimenez ranking by the end of the season? Top 10? Top 5?
Kyle Glaser: Top 5. I honestly think he could contend for No. 1, but I know some of my other colleagues aren’t quite as bullish. Still, top 5 wouldn’t surprise anyone
Steve (WASH): There seems to be some varying opinions on Tyler O'Neill. How much of a conversation did the BA staff on him? Was there a wide range in staff rankings? Thanks.
Kyle Glaser: There actually wasn’t that much haggling over him. We’ve all seen him and know the power is real, the hittability has improved and the defense/arm is fine. It was pretty consensus he was a 35-45 range prospect
Louis (colorado): 2019 top 5 prospects?
Kyle Glaser: Considering the 2017 and 2018 drafts have yet to take place, impossible to say and irresponsible to guess
Jim (Upstate NY): What does Zack Collins' ranking in the top 100 (No. 56) tell us about his likelihood of sticking at catcher?
Kyle Glaser: There was a general sense that he will stick. Even if he doesn’t the bat is enough to make him a top 100 guy though.
Ben (Ohio): Lower level non 100 players to keep an eye on?
Kyle Glaser: I would refer you to Ben Badler’s article about this today: http://www.baseballamerica.com/minors/beyond-top-100-breakout-prospects-every-position/#cOPyZE5C1BR4KOCv.97
Ryan (Des Moines): In an earlier chat this year you suggested some of the comps you were hearing about Eloy were crazy good. Care to elaborate?
Kyle Glaser: Miguel Cabrera’s name came up, and from a scout with the credibility to make that comparison. Others who don’t think he’ll ever be as pure a hitter say Giancarlo Stanton. These of course are the top comps we’ve heard, there are plenty of others who think much less highly, but you ask for the top ones, and there they are
B (MD): Some players will graduate, and others will regress. Who are the early candidates for #1 on the list next season?
Kyle Glaser: Gleyber Torres, Victor Robles and Eloy Jimenez are probably the main guys right now, but it wouldn’t be crazy to see someone currently ranked in the 20s or 30s make a huge leap. It’s happened before
Joey (Richmond): Which pitching prospect, if moved full time to relief, has the most exciting chance of dominating the end of a game in MLB?
Kyle Glaser: Michael Kopech. If he doesn’t have to worry about conserving himself and can just air it out for an inning, watch out
Paul (Tampa): Love seeing the high ranking of Adames. Recent reports seem less concerned about a need to move off SS. What is it about his offensive profile that moves him this high heading into 2017?
Kyle Glaser: Growing power, improving speed, more walks, less strikeouts…it’s everything you want to see.
Hal (Fontana): Does Y. Alvarez have the mechanics to improve his control by a grade, and if so, would he have a shot at headlining this list a year from now? What's his upside?
Kyle Glaser: His upside is a true No. 1 starter. In regards to your mechanics question, that’s what the minors and player development is for. He’ll work to improve them, and we’ll see if it clicks. Only one way to find out
Val (Chicago): So would you move Tucker, Martes, and Musgrove for Quintana if you were the Astros front office?
Kyle Glaser: I personally would be hesitant, simply because Musgrove and Martes can actually help you this year rather than only 3-4 years down the road, but I wouldn’t assail the Astros front office if they did it either
Troy (Wisconsin): Not a top 100 guy, but previously was - What are your thoughts moving forward on Trent Clark? Had a down year due to hamstring injuries but still really like his talent
Kyle Glaser: The main concerns scouts reported having with Clark this year was his inability to pick up spin. No question he’s very talented and the injury didn’t help, but he’s going to have show improvements on that front to regain top 100 status
M's Fan (Seattle, WA): Kyle Lewis injury obviously sucks. But, with extended ST; 200 ABs in A-Ball; and then perhaps the AFL or Winter Ball, can he perhaps by next spring get back to close to where he would have been without the injury?
Kyle Glaser: Yes, if the knee heals without too many setbacks and he continues to produce like he did in college and at Everett, he can be a top 20, maybe even top 10 prospect
Andy (Los Angeles, CA): How far off the list is Jahmai Jones?
Kyle Glaser: He wasn’t really in top 100 consideration, but if we went further he’d be in that 125 ish range. Good player, great makeup, excellent reports, now just needs to do it in full season ball
Clint (Omaha): Reyes, Kopech and Pint with the only 80 grade tools in the 100. Anyone else get close?
Kyle Glaser: I think if we wanted to be aggressive we could have put an 80 on Eloy Jimenez’s power potential, but that’s about it. 80 tools are rare, as in some scouts believe there is only one 80 tool in the game at any given time because it truly represents the absolute top of the scale, so it’s not something handed out lightly
Jimbo ((Halethorpe, MD)): It seemed like Gleyber Torres would be a top 15 prospect instead of top 5 if it weren't for his AFL performance. Do the scouts have no doubt that it wasn't really a blimp on the radar? What if he underachieves slightly to the sky-high expectations that publications seem to give him?
Kyle Glaser: I wasn’t as high on Gleyber until I saw him the AFL myself. He’s a guy that once you see it, it just jumps out at you. It’s all there, what is needed to be a star in the majors for a long time. Now if he doesn’t put it together he’s another prospect flameout, but if he does even half of what he should do he’ll be a starting SS in the majors for a long while. Just an excellent, really well-rounded blend of skills and talent
Ben (LA): Who has more pennants in the next 10 years: Cubs or Dodgers?
Kyle Glaser: Depends how long the Dodgers keep insisting on signing injured retread SPs to bloated contracts (hi Scott Kazmir, Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy). If they wise up, I like them better long term because of the pitching depth they’ve assembled.
Jimmy (Potomac): Are you on the side that thinks Giolito will regain his form and return to prospect greatness...or was he really just overrated for the past 3 seasons?
Kyle Glaser: I think its 50/50. His fastball dropped from 98 to 92-93, not an insignificant drop. If he can make a fix and get it back up even to 95, I think we’re talking about a guy who should be just fine in a big league rotation. If not, well, pitchers have a high flameout rate for a reason.
Jordan (Maryland): These rankings are base upon fantasy rankings? Or based upon projected real life ability?
Kyle Glaser: Projected real life ability. Nothing we ever do is based on fantasy. It’s about real major league teams compiling the talent needed to win games at the major league level
Mike R (Little Rock, AR): Manny Margot...is Shane Victorino a reasonable comp or is that too much?
Kyle Glaser: That’s not bad actually. I like it and can see it
Prich (Seattle, WA): What does Nick Neidert need to do to become a legit #3? Do you think that's realistic; or is he destined to be a 4/5 guy in your eyes?
Kyle Glaser: Just keep adding strength and improving his stuff. His FB has already ticked up, the offspeed is improving, if he takes another such leap with his stuff this year than a legit No. 3 is very much in the offing
Kyle Glaser: Alright folks, passing the baton to Josh Norris now. Go ahead and keep asking away
Josh Norris: This is Josh Norris taking the cutoff from Kyle Glaser and bracing myself to take the hit at the plate. Let’s chat.
Kevin (Alexandria, VA): Of the guys in the low minors (A-ball and below), who has the best chance of becoming a superstar?
Josh Norris: My money here would be on the Nationals’ Victor Robles. He’s got all the tools you could want (minus the “not getting hit by pitches” tool) and seems a good bet to stick in center field long term.
Dave (Excelsior, MN): Why such a conservative ETA on Eloy Jimenez and Brendan Rodgers?
Josh Norris: They’re both just 20 years old and haven’t played a day above low Class A. Might take a little while to slow-cook them.
Rick (Chicago): The Dodgers have a great farm system and are ready to win a World Series. While they have depth at starting pitching, why are they not brought up as contenders to acquire Quintana. They seem to have plenty without particular with Bellinger.
Josh Norris: I’m pretty sure their name was bandied about in Quintana conversations this offseason, and they definitely have the parts to make that deal without using Bellinger. Quintana would definitely be an upgrade to some of their current SPs, but they also have plenty of options for their starting five as well.
Jeff (NY): If eligible, would Luis Robert have made the list? If so, where would he have placed?
Josh Norris: This is kind of a workaround to your direct question, but our Ben Badler has written before that Robert, if he were eligible, would be a first-round pick in the draft. So that’s a decent way of assessing his talent.
Jeffrey (West VIrginia): What is Kolby Allard's Ceiling, Floor and ETA?
Josh Norris: If he continues sharpening his already-improved changeup, Allard has a ceiling of a mid-rotation type of starter. He’ll likely start this year at high Class A, and with consistent progress could sniff Atlanta at the end of 2018.
Dave (NJ): If James Kaprielian stays healthy, doe she have top of the rotation ability and stuff? Pro comp?
Josh Norris: If Kaprielian stays healthy (and his delivery is a rightful concern in the eyes of evaluators) he has a No. 2-type of ceiling. Not quite an ace-level starter (those are very, very rare). Still, a very nice piece in an excellent farm system.
Big Suge (Norfolk, VA): The Rome Braves have a star studded rosters. What are some other minor league rosters that are must see this season? Particularly in the higher minors?
Josh Norris: Ooooh, this is catnip for me. I’ve been talking for weeks in the office about how unfathomably loaded some of the teams in our area (North Carolina) will be. Take a look and note these are projections: DURHAM Brent Honeywell Jose De Leon Chih Wei Hu Jacob Faria Jake Bauers Casey Gillaspie CAROLINA Trent Clark Monte Harrison Gilbert Lara Lucas Erceg Isan Diaz Corey Ray Marcos Diplan Charlotte Yoan Moncada Reynaldo Lopez Lucas Giolito TRENTON Gleyber Torres Justus Sheffield Miguel Andujar James Kaprielian (maybe when the weather warms up) Jorge Mateo FLORIDA FIRE FROGS Basically the Rome Braves roster from last year Kolby Allard Max Fried Touki Toussaint Austin Riley Mike Soroka
Mike (Illinois): Thoughts on Michael Kopech? Could he be the best pitching prospect the White Sox have?
Josh Norris: With a big year in 2017 he could absolutely push himself to the top of the stack. He’ll need to keep improving his offspeed stuff (slider, changeup) and work to keep himself off the field and he could rocket up the list.
Whooper (Maple Grove, MN): Which of the top 100 prospects has the best chance of becoming a 40 homer/ steal guy?
Josh Norris: As Kyle Glaser points out, there have been just four guys to do this in the history of the game, so any of The Top 100 hitters reaching that plateau is unlikely. That said, if any of them had an *outside* chance of doing it, I’d say Yoan Moncada.
Philip (San Diego): Can you rank the top 3 puns made by BA staffers?
Josh Norris: I wrote a pretty good headline about Kendall Graveman learning a new pitch and called it “Graveman’s New Undertaking.” That’s gotta rank, right?
Mike (Orange County, CA): True or false. The Dodgers win a World Series in the next 3-5 years?
Josh Norris: I’ll say yes. The combination of talent and financial muscle makes me believe they can do it. Hopefully they can convince Vin Scully to come back and call those games if they get there.
Chip (Boise): What about Franklyn Kilome? He seems to have #1 starter potential. What are his gaps to getting to the top 100?
Josh Norris: Kilome was always going to be a long-term project. He’s big and raw mechanically, but has the ingredients to do big things at the highest level. He might not be a No. 1 starter (few are) but he definitely has rotation potential. If he has a big year in 2017 he should be solidly in the conversation for the list next year.
G4 (Milwaukee): The Indians have some interesting bats ranked 5-12 in their org list. Any of these guys get considered for top 100? How about your individual Top 150?
Josh Norris: I really like Greg Allen. He’s got speed, on-base skills and a touch of power and didn’t miss a beat when he moved from high Class A to Double-A last season, and then kept on doing it in the Arizona Fall League. I can see big things in his future.
Jeff (DC): Thanks for all u guys do
Josh Norris: You’re very welcome. It’s a labor, but it’s a labor of love. … and barbecue.
Aaron (Norway): Any royals you see making the jump into the top 100 next year?
Josh Norris: If he picks up where he left off last year, Josh Staumont and his 13.1 K/9 at Double-A last year (SSS, for sure) could land on the 2018 Top 100.
Hoosier (Indiana): Was happy to see Dylan Cease on this list, how would you compare him to Oscar De La Cruz in the Cubs system? Also, is Cease's ceiling higher than Jose Albertos' or is it more of a professional sample size thing?
Josh Norris: Cease has better stuff, but has less chance of being a starter (though don’t rule it out with short-season guys, obviously) De La Cruz is older and had injury issues delay his progress, but they’re both excellent talents. There are folks inside the Cubs’ system who think that De La Cruz is their best SP prospect.
Jim (Los Angeles): If he continues to improve and command improves a decent amount could Yadier Alvarez break into 2018 in the Dodgers rotation ?
Josh Norris: That’s what we peg his ETA as, so, yes, I do.
Patrick (Austin): There is a cluster of 1B ranked around #70 with Jake Bauers leading the way. What factored into the decision of Bauers ranking ahead of Smith, Reed, and Gillaspie?
Josh Norris: Athleticism played a factor in it. Bauers is the only guy among the four you mentioned who could play the outfield (and did so regularly in 2016). He’s also going to play all season (probably at Triple-A) at 21 years old. That’s pretty good.
Dave (NJ): Who ends up being better: Blake Rutherford or Clint Frazier?
Josh Norris: I ranked Frazier just ahead of Rutherford on the Yankees’ Top 30 prospects list, so I’ll keep it that way, but boy are they close. As GM Brian Cashman says, Frazier has “legendary” bat speed and creates all sorts of power with Popeye-level forearms. By the same token, it was hard to watch Rutherford this past summer with Pulaski and not be blown away. Both guys are probably going to wind up in a corner, but both have the potential to be special.