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Q:Which 2016 draftees would have made the Midseason Top 100 Prospects list if draftees had been eligible?
BA: This was not a great year for draftees to crack the Top 100. There was no clear top prospect in this year’s draft. There were widely varying opinions on a number of the top players picked.
That wide range of opinions began at the top. Mickey Moniak went first overall to the Phillies, but there were other teams that did not have him among their top five or 10 prospects in this draft class.
Because of all that uncertainty, I would not expect any of this year’s draftees to jump right into the Top 50. That might change by next February’s Top 100 as pro scouts get their chance to take looks at the class of 2016 in regular season games, instructional league and the Arizona Fall League.
When it comes to who would crack the Top 100, it’s also a pretty short list. Last year, 10 2015 draftees ended up making the 2016 Top 100 Prospects list. At this point, I’d guess we’ll see eight or maybe nine 2016 draftees make next year’s Top 100.
A quartet of hitters would make the midseason list. Moniak, Nick Senzel (Reds), Kyle Lewis (Mariners) and Corey Ray (Brewers) all have solid cases, and you could argue for Blake Rutherford (Yankees) as well. On the pitcher’s side, Riley Pint (Rockies) and A.J. Puk (Athletics) are safe bets to slot into a Top 100. If they sign, Jason Groome (Red Sox) and Braxton Garrett (Marlins) could also make the list.
If you’re looking for where they would rank, the Phillies’ Moniak and the Reds’ Senzel both have cases to slot into the back of the Top 50 or in the 50s at the lowest. Moniak is more divisive as a prospect because of his lack of prototypical size, but his advanced bat is loved by many scouts.
Going beyond them, we can compare the Padres’ Hunter Renfroe, who ranked 66th on the Top 100. Renfroe is in Triple-A, so he’s much closer to the big leagues. But Lewis, the 2016 College Player of the Year, has similar power and speed and a better chance to stick in center field, so he fits somewhere around that spot, likely right behind Renfroe. Ray fits around that range as well.
The pitchers are a little tougher to rank. Puk was No. 1 in our BA 500 pre-draft rankings but that was finalized in mid-May. His finish to the college season did nothing to alleviate questions about Puk’s ability to stick as a starter long-term. He was clearly Florida’s third-best starting pitching option down the stretch. He struggled in a regional start against UConn (five earned runs in four innings), had control troubles in a super regional start against Florida State (six walks in three innings) and he hit the only batter he faced in Omaha before the Gators were eliminated.
Pint had one of the best arms in the draft, so he makes sense as the top pitcher out of this group, likely somewhere in the 50s or 60s. Puk fits just behind him. Groome and Garrett, if they sign, would logically slot somewhere in the 80s or 90s.
But these are ballpark figures. Our editor-in-chief John Manuel would be a little more aggressive with the hitters, slotting Senzel and Moniak somewhere in the 30s and 40s. Maybe I’m weighing pro experience too much. We’ll have plenty of discussions about this from now through next February.
As far as July 2 signees, Braves shortstop Kevin Maitan has a very solid case to be the first July 2 signee to jump right into the Top 100 since Miguel Sano ranked No. 94. I’d expect to see Maitan slot in the 90s as well. Maitan won’t play his first pro game until 2017, but the scouting reports out of Venezuela make him out to be one of the most polished international amateur hitters in years.