2017 Top 100 Prospects
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Andrew BenintendiBOS ofVideoNotes:
Hit: 70. Power: 60. Speed: 55. Fielding: 60. Arm: 50. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: Benintendi was one of the top high school hitters in Ohio history and also drafted by the Reds in the 31st round but opted to head to Arkansas. After a modest freshman season with the Razorbacks, Benintendi passed on playing in summer leagues, instead focusing on improving his strength and conditioning. The result was a spectacular 2015 season that saw him lead the country with 20 home runs on the way to winning BA College Player of the Year and vaulted him to top-of-the-first-round status. The Red Sox selected him seventh overall. Benintendi confirmed the expectation that he could take the fast track to the big leagues by flying through high Class A Salem and Double-A Portland—he batted .312/.378/.532 in 97 games—en route to a callup to Boston at the beginning of August. He missed three weeks with a knee injury but returned in September. He homered in his first postseason plate appearance and put together the best at-bats of any Red Sox hitter in their American League Division Series loss to the Indians. Multiple evaluators believe that Benintendi has a chance to be a perennial all-star who competes for batting titles. “He’s a once-in-a-decade hitter,” one said. Benintendi combines excellent hand-eye coordination with the pitch recognition to avoid strike zone expansion. His precisely-tuned swing, with his strong forearms and core along with a rare knack for putting the bat on the ball, allow him to drive the ball with surprising authority given his diminutive stature. Another evaluator thought Benintendi’s upside was that of a 20-25 home run player with 50 doubles. More conservative views of his abilities still suggest an everyday player with a plus hit tool, which would make him an ideal No. 2 hitter with modest extra-base abilities but whose lack of weakness will minimize slumps. Though he hit just .179 in 28 at-bats against big league lefthanders, his willingness to use the whole field mitigates long-term platoon concerns. Defensively, Benintendi has the ability to play center field at an above-average level, though with Jackie Bradley in center and Mookie Betts in right in Boston, he appears destined for left where his plus range will be barely taxed playing in front of the Green Monster. Benintendi isn’t a burner on the bases, but his baserunning impact exceeds his pure speed, which grades as above-average. In short, evaluators see a player who does everything well while displaying phenomenal makeup that could make him a cornerstone for years to come. Benintendi seems almost certain to open 2017 in the same role he occupied at the end of 2016: a near-everyday outfielder in the big leagues. Depending on how his game evolves—whether to feature more power or take more walks—it would come as little surprise to see him occupying one of the top three spots in the Red Sox lineup for years to come.More Less
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Yoan MoncadaCWS 2b/3bVideoNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 70. Fielding: 50. Arm: 70. ETA: 2017
Scouting Report: Moncada showed plenty of promise during a transition year in 2015 following his entry into the Red Sox organization for a record-setting $31.5 million bonus. Boston paid a 100 percent penalty tax-$31.5 million-when they signed the young Cuban because they exceeded their allotted international bonus pool. Still, the way in which Moncada's tools coalesced in 2016 proved to be breathtaking at times at high Class A Salem and then Double-A Portland. He hit .294/.407/.511 with 15 home runs and 45 stolen bases in 106 games and also starred at the Futures Game in San Diego, where he earned MVP honors. The Red Sox called up Moncada in September as they sought offensive punch at third base, but it proved to be an anticlimactic final note to the year. He hit just .211 with 12 strikeouts in 19 at-bats. Yet the progress he has made as a professional reinforces the notion that his tools and aptitude could yield a player of rare impact. The White Sox are on board with that projection after trading ace Chris Sale to the Red Sox at the 2016 Winter Meetings for Moncada plus three other prospects: hard-throwing high Class A righthander Michael Kopech, switch-hitting low Class A center fielder Luis Alexander Basabe and low Class A reliever Victor Diaz. Moncada possesses the size and strength of a linebacker and he runs like a runaway locomotive. Though he typically features a flat bat path that creates screaming line drives, the switch-hitter showed an increasing willingness to drive balls with loft in 2016, resulting in some prodigious home runs on top of doubles. While batting lefthanded, he evokes comparisons with Robinson Cano. On the bases, he possesses elite speed though with still-developing situational awareness, and his enormous stolen base totals are likely to decline as he advances. Moncada showed hickeys in his game even before he struggled in the big leagues. He hit a more modest .243/.371/.379 batting righthanded and striking out 25 percent of the time, both of which raise concerns about this hit tool. Still, many believe that he has the athleticism and aptitude, along with the pitch recognition and strike-zone recognition, to intermingle high averages and on-base percentages with plenty of extra-base power. Moncada spent most of 2016 at second base, where he showed sounder fundamentals and an ability to make standout plays. His lateseason move to third base, however, showed off his flexibility. He displayed an enormous arm and quick-twitch actions that could play well at the hot corner, though his footwork and fundamentals suggest a work in progress. Many evaluators believe that he could also handle the outfield, though for now, he will work primarily at second base. Moncada will be given a chance to compete for a big league job in spring training, but especially given how he struggled after being rushed to the big leagues in 2016, it seems more likely that he'll open the year at Triple-A Charlotte. Still, it wouldn't come as a surprise if he asserted himself as ready to make a substantial big league impact by the middle of 2017. If he makes the adjustments to limit his strikeouts, he could explore a ceiling that may be unrivaled in the minors.More Less
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Dansby SwansonATL ssNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 50. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: Winning has become synonymous with Swanson since he was a dual-sport athlete at Marietta High in suburban Atlanta. He was part of two state championships in basketball and was a member of the East Cobb Yankees, a team that won the 2012 Perfect Game national championship. After opting to attend Vanderbilt despite being drafted by the Rockies in the 38th round in 2012, Swanson overcame a broken foot and a shoulder injury as a freshman, then led the Commodores to the program's first College World Series national championship as a sophomore in 2014. He earned CWS Most Outstanding Player honors while hitting .323. He moved from second base to shortstop as a junior and helped guide Vandy back to the CWS finals in 2015. That month the Diamondbacks made Swanson the first overall pick in the draft. Hit in the face by a pitch during a simulated game, he bounced back in time to be part of short-season Hillsboro's Northwest League championship in his pro debut. Three months later, Arizona sent Swanson, outfielder Ender Inciarte and righthander Aaron Blair to the Braves for righthander Shelby Miller and low Class A lefthander Gabe Speier. He proceeded to tear up the high Class A Carolina League for a month in 2016 before moving on to the Double-A Southern League, where he ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the circuit. He made his major league debut as Atlanta's starting shortstop on Aug. 17, stroking two hits in four at-bats against the Twins. He batted 129 times, thus retaining his rookie eligibility for 2017 by just two at-bats. Braves scouting director Brian Bridges got to know Swanson well during the latter's high school career and loved everything the shortstop brought to the table at a young age. Rated by SL managers as the league's best defensive shortstop, Swanson has outstanding quickness with exceptional range, soft and steady hands, and above-average arm strength with excellent accuracy on his throws. He uses his intelligence and superior feel for the game to anticipate plays, which helped him lead all minor league shortstops with an average of 3.27 assists per game in 2016. His cerebral approach is also noticeable on offense, where he uses his above-average speed to take the extra base. An ideal No. 2 hitter, Swanson makes hard and consistent contact with his advanced approach at the plate. His patience and feel for the strike zone allow him to work counts and pile up walks. He also is capable of executing the hit-and-run and driving the ball to all fields, and he should have at least average power once he gains more experience at the game's top level. The biggest question scouts have is how much his power will play to go along with a fairly high strikeout rate going back to his Vanderbilt days. Swanson looked the part as Atlanta's long-term answer at shortstop over the final seven weeks of the 2016 campaign. While he may not put up the kind of numbers to garner perennial MVP consideration, his steady and consistent performance on the field and his overall makeup and personality off it, while playing his home games in the county where he was born, make Swanson a natural fit for a rebuilding organization. He's positioned to be a face for the franchise as its starting shortstop for years to come.More Less
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Alex ReyesSTL rhpNotes:
Fastball: 80. Curveball: 70. Changeup: 60. Control: 50. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: When he decided to leave his home and family in New Jersey to see if baseball would take notice of him in the Dominican Republic, Reyes packed his dreams of being a third baseman, a glove, some cleats and a few bats. He wouldn't need the bats for long. Born and raised in Elizabeth, N.J., the righthander skipped his prom and graduation to live with his grandmother and become eligible as an international amateur, if he could draw the scouts. He did with one move-to the mound. Reyes volunteered to throw when his Dominican team ran out of pitchers one day, and after flashing a power fastball a trainer gave him advice: "Stick to pitching," Reyes recalled. As his velocity increased, scouts swarmed. The Cardinals signed him for $950,000 in December 2012 after winning a bidding war against the Astros and Royals. Reyes zoomed through the minors, but late in 2015, at the Arizona Fall League, he drew a 50-game suspension for marijuana use. That delayed his 2016 debut but not his arrival to the majors. He reached St. Louis on Aug. 9 and topped out at 101 mph. The Cardinals see Reyes as a stronger, taller, broader version of a pitcher with whom he'll share the rotation: Carlos Martinez. Reyes operates at the highest registers when it comes to velocity. He averaged 97 mph on his fastball in the majors, routinely worked from 96-100 with it, and an opposing team clocked him in the minors at 102. He can maintain that power late into his starts and spot it up in the zone. Nearly 45 percent of his outs recorded came via strikeouts in the minors. His fastball has been described as elite and a true top-of-the-scale weapon. With it, he mixes a hard, hammer curve that unnerves the first batter who sees it in every game. It too is a plus pitch, and increasingly in the majors his strikeouts came off the curve, or soon after a hitter saw it. Reyes' changeup profiles as a plus pitch, though he's had less consistency with it, and he is working on a cutter-slider hybrid that can get him access to both sides of the plate. Reyes throws across his body and his mechanics, like his command, can fluctuate. To pitch deeper into games he has to become more efficient with his pitch count (he walked 4.5 per nine innings in the majors), and a root cause coaches feel is finding a rhythm for his delivery so that he can repeat it. He has the wide shoulders and tree-trunk legs to hog innings. If other teams' interest is any measure of a prospect, then Reyes is poised for stardom. The Cardinals had difficulty finding an impact trade for an outfielder because other teams wanted Reyes. That was a non-starter for the Cardinals, who intend to make Reyes a permanent part of the big league rotation in 2017. In the years to come could emerge as that rare, power-packed, bona fide ace.More Less
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Gleyber TorresNYY ssNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 55. Speed: 50. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60. ETA: 2018.
Scouting Report: As an amateur, Torres trained in Venezuela with Ciro Barrios, who also worked with Athletics shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto. The Cubs signed Torres on July 2, 2013, for a bonus of $1.7 million as part of the same international haul that brought outfielder Eloy Jimenez to the Chicago organization. Torres also worked with Cubs minor league infield coordinator Jose Flores to help him mold the skills that will help him stay at shortstop for the long term. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman reportedly was given a choice between Torres and Jimenez when negotiating the Aroldis Chapman deal with the Cubs, and he chose the shortstop. Torres joined high Class A Tampa after the trade and slotted in at shortstop despite the presence of Jorge Mateo, another of the system's cadre of shortstops and the organization's No. 1 prospect entering the season. Pushing Mateo to the other side of the bag, Torres continued to hit after the trade. He batted .270/.354/.421 with 11 home runs, 21 stolen bases and 58 walks at two high Class A stops and impressed evaluators in the Carolina (No. 4 prospect) and Florida State (No. 2) leagues. Even with a host of talented middle-infield prospects in the system, Torres shoots to the top of the ranking. He's an excellent bet to stay at shortstop because of his soft, quick hands and smooth actions around the bag. He's also got range to both sides, and an accurate arm with enough strength to handle third base if he switches positions. He also played a little second base in the Arizona Fall League (because there are other players who need time at shortstop) and showed the same smooth actions and instincts at the keystone. Moreover, he looked comfortable turning the double play from that position. Evaluators in the FSL compared his defensive chops with the Reds' Zack Cozart. What makes Torres special, however, is his offensive potential. At just 19 years old he already has excellent pitch recognition skills and has shown the ability to sort through breaking pitches in order to get to the fastball he desires. Early in the season, Torres tried too hard to hit for power and got pull happy, but he showed the ability to adjust and got back to an all-fields approach. Evaluators believe Torres has the ability to hit for plus average and plus power, and this season showed pop to both corners. It's evident in both games and batting practice, but Torres has an uncanny ability to put barrel of the bat on the baseball. To prove it, he opened his AFL campaign with a monster home run to the opposite field at Scottsdale Stadium. Though he has just average speed, he has enough baseball instincts, aggressiveness and intellect to make it play on the bases. After being named MVP of the Fall League, Torres should move up to Double-A Trenton in 2017. He'll continue to be paired with Mateo in what should be a dynamic Trenton lineup. He'll play all of the 2017 season at age 20, and with a good year could position himself to make his big league debut before he turns 22More Less
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Austin MeadowsPIT ofNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: The Pirates selected Meadows with the first of two first-round picks in the 2013 draft, choosing him ninth overall with the compensation pick the club received for failing to sign first-rounder Mark Appel in 2012. Meadows battled back-and-forth with fellow Georgia prep outfielder Clint Frazier for the title of best high school bat in the 2013 draft class. Frazier ended up going before Meadows but both have lived up to expectations so far. Meadows signed for $3,029,600 to forgo a Clemson commitment. He comes from an athletic background as the son of two Division I athletes. His father played baseball and football at Morehead State, while his mother was a softball player at Georgia Southern and Georgia State. Meadows also played football in high school as a running back, linebacker and punter. He ranked among the top prospects in Double-A Eastern and Triple-A International leagues in 2016, a season in which he batted .266/.333/.536 with 12 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 87 games. Meadows has harnessed his athleticism to become a pure hitter with a short, smooth stroke who sprays line drives to all fields. He is in the process of unlocking his raw power as he continues to get comfortable turning on pitches and learning when it is wise to sell out for power. Meadows also shows a good eye at the plate, rarely chasing pitches out of the strike zone, and is willing to take a walk. Defensively, Meadows is a fluid outfielder with outstanding instincts that allow him to get good jumps in center field and run down fly balls from gap to gap. His arm is slightly above-average, which will allow him to play right field if needed-or left field at Pittsburgh's PNC Park, where the gap in left-center field stretches to 410 feet. Meadows also runs well and has the raw speed to become a topflight baserunner, though he still needs to improve his leads and jumps on balls off the bat while running the bases. Meadows wins high marks for his makeup as a hard worker with a great attitude and leadership capabilities. One potential drawback is durability. He missed most of the 2014 season and a month in 2016 at Triple-A Indianapolis because of hamstring injuries. The 2016 injury caused him to miss the Futures Game in San Diego. Meadows is expected to begin 2017 back at Indianapolis, but it is not out of the question that he will make his major league debut before the all-star break or earlier if the Pirates decide to trade Andrew McCutchen. Some additional development time wouldn't hurt because Meadows did not get a full year of development in 2016, and injuries, which also included a fractured orbital bone sustained in spring training in a freak accident while playing catch, set him back slightly. He projects to be a star-caliber player and probably will follow in the footsteps of such outfielders as Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco, who have been developed by the Pirates over the last decadeMore Less
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Cody BellingerLAD 1bNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 70. Speed: 50. Fielding: 70. Arm: 60. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: Bellinger's father Clay played three seasons with the Yankees from 1999-2001 and two games with the Angels in 2002, batting .193 over 311 career at-bats. While Clay's major league career was brief, his son Cody has a chance to develop into one of the game's stars. Bellinger was 17 when the Dodgers drafted him in the fourth round of the 2013 draft and signed him for $700,000. His first two years in the system, Bellinger showed impressive pure hitting ability but mostly gap power as a first baseman. In 2015, Bellinger transformed himself into slugger who hit 30 home runs at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga despite skipping a level. In 2016, after missing most of April with a strained left hip, he put himself among baseball's elite prospects with a terrific season in the Double-A Texas League. In September, he joined Triple-A Oklahoma City, hit three home runs in three games, then went to the Arizona Fall League and batted .314/.424/.557 in 85 plate appearances. Cody's younger brother, Cole Bellinger, played in the 2016 Area Code Games and is committed to play baseball at Grand Canyon. While most first base prospects tend to be one-dimensional sluggers, Cody is a dynamic allaround player in both the batter's box and with his glove. He made an adjustment in 2015 to load his hands to create better torque instead of relying more on his body in his swing. That change increased his power production, but also created a more uphill swing plane, leaving him with a bigger strikeout rate. Toward the end of 2015, Bellinger condensed his hand trigger slightly and became more studious of opposing pitchers and his own strengths and weaknesses, which allowed him to cut his strikeout rate. Those changes carried over into 2016, as he lowered his strikeout rate from 27 percent at high Class A in 2015 to 20 percent at Double-A in 2016 without sacrificing his power. Bellinger has a balanced lefthanded swing with plus bat speed, good leverage and use of his lower half, generating the potential to hit 30 home runs at the next level. He has good hand-eye coordination and a disciplined feel for the strike zone and he hangs in well against lefties. Bellinger is a supreme athlete for a first baseman and a gifted fielder who earns 70 grades on the 20-80 scouting scale for his defense. He's a potential Gold Glove winner with excellent range, smooth actions, clean footwork and soft hands to go along with a plus lefthanded arm. Bellinger is even an average runner, so the Dodgers have had him play the outfield as well. He's stretched thin in center field but is playable at both corners. Bellinger has a chance to be a foundational hitter in the middle of a lineup who can also save runs with his fielding at first base. The Dodgers have first baseman Adrian Gonzalez signed through the 2018 season, but Bellinger will be ready before then, so Bellinger's versatility and athleticism in the outfield could come in handy soon. Bellinger should start 2017 in Oklahoma City, but he could make his major league debut in the second half of the year.More Less
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Amed RosarioNYM ssNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 45. Speed: 60. Fielding: 70. Arm: 60. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: Sandy Alderson took the reins as Mets general manager after the 2010 season and promoted Chris Becerra to international scouting director in 2012. Becerra had previously worked as an area scout in Southern California- he recommended Robert Gsellman for the 2011 draft-and in his new role focused on Rosario as his first major acquisition. The Mets signed the Dominican shortstop for $1.75 million on July 2, 2012, and that bonus amount stands as a franchise record for an international amateur. Rosario, who was teammates with Rangers right fielder Nomar Mazara as a youth in Santo Domingo, graduated from high school before turning pro. His father, who was a lawyer and a judge, helped steer the signing process. Rosario wowed the Mets at instructional league after signing and made his pro debut at Rookie-level Kingsport in 2013, ranking as the No. 1 prospect in Appalachian League at age 17. After ranking as the top position prospect in the short-season New York-Penn League in 2014, he shot to high Class A St. Lucie in 2015. Rosario advanced rapidly through the minors in his teens, but he didn't begin to hit until 2016, his age-20 season, when he spent half the year at St. Lucie before moving to Double-A Binghamton in the second half. All told he hit .324/.374/.459 with 42 extra-base hits and 19 stolen bases in 120 games, and his .833 OPS ranked fourth among minor league shortstops. Tall and lean, Rosario began to fill out his frame and swing the bat with more authority in 2016. He also improved his pitch selectivity and batto-ball skills, resulting a career-best .324 average and walk rate of 7.6 percent across high Class and Double-A. His bat plays best when he lets the ball travel and uses his hands, strong wrists and plus bat speed to drive the ball to all fields. Capable of turning on the ball for occasional pull power, Rosario set a new personal standard with five home runs and .135 isolated slugging percentage in 2016. While his strikeout rate crept into dangerous territory at Double-A, Rosario has all the tools to be a plus hitter with possibly fringe-average power. Plus speed and strong instincts will help him take extra bases and steal perhaps 20 bags per season. The best athlete in the Mets system, Rosario stands out most for his glove work. Managers in both the Florida State and Eastern leagues recognized him as the best defensive shortstop in those leagues in 2016, and he has the easy plus range and arm strength to profile as a true impact defender. He will improve his throwing accuracy with experience, but scouts rave about his hands, live body and infield actions. Rosario has the potential to be an all-star shortstop with Gold Glove potential who can bat near the top of a lineup. He might begin 2017 back at Binghamton to refine his plate discipline, but he could push his way into the big league picture later in the season. The Mets have Asdrubal Cabrera under contract through 2017, meaning Rosario could be the organization's full-time shortstop at some point in 2018.More Less
Nick SenzelCIN 3bNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 55. Speed: 50. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: All through his prep career at Farragut High in Knoxville, Senzel was never viewed as the star. Teammate Kyle Serrano drew the majority of the scouting attention, though the Reds' reports from that time did note they believed Senzel had a chance to become a very good player. But first, he needed to head to college. After three years at Tennessee, Senzel has now far surpassed Serrano as a prospect. As a junior in 2016, Senzel hit .352/.456/.595 with a Southeastern Conference-best 25 doubles while walking nearly twice as often as he struck out. He even stole 25 bases for the Volunteers. The Reds selected Senzel with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 draft and signed him for $6.2 million, the highest signing bonus for any member of the draft class and also the Reds' franchise record for a drafted player. He kept lining doubles as a pro, hitting 23 in 58 games at low Class A Dayton, where he ranked as the No. 1 prospect in the Midwest League. Senzel was arguably the safest pick in the 2016 draft. Even scouts who aren't sold on him being an impact player see him as a polished college hitter who should move quickly. He has worked hard to develop into an above-average defender at third base, and even held his own in a stint at shortstop with Tennessee. Senzel has above-average shortrange quickness thanks to quick hips. His hands are average, while his best asset defensively is his plus arm. Senzel's throws have plenty of carry, but they are even more notable for accuracy. He can throw from a variety of arm angles and doesn't need to set his feet to uncork an accurate throw. At the plate, Senzel is a hitter who sometimes drives the ball for power rather than a slugger who can hit. He stays balanced in his swing and has excellent pitch recognition, laying off tough breaking balls out of the zone while catching up to fastballs. His biggest vulnerability in his pro career has been when pitchers bust him up and in with fastballs, though he will yank the occasional inside pitch. All seven of his pro home runs were pulled to left field. He has average productive power, but he is more comfortable lining the ball from gap to gap. In batting practice he shows plus raw power. Senzel is a heady baserunner who has a knack for basestealing. He will turn singles into doubles by aggressively coming out of the batter's box and reading how outfielders play balls in the gaps. Senzel's long track record of production-he hit .300 or better in each of his three years at Tennessee and was the Cape Cod League MVP in 2015-makes scouts comfortable he will be a big league regular. The debate is just how much impact he will make. Senzel's excellent work ethic and surprising athleticism give him a chance to exceed some of those expectations. He projects as a .280-.290 hitter with 15-20 home runs, plenty of doubles and solid defense at third base. If he hits the high end of his projection, he is a plus hitter with plus power. Players with Senzel's type of hitting ability and strength sometimes exceed their power projections in the majors. He is ready for high Class A Daytona in 2017 and should reach Double-A Pensacola during the season. If all goes according to plan, Senzel should be competing for a job in Cincinnati by 2018.More Less
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Willy AdamesTB ssNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 55. Speed: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 55. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: The Rays' 2014 trade of David Price signaled a transition from one era to another, as the organization soon saw a change of management and leadership in the baseball operations department. Adames, the lone prospect acquired in the Price trade, has since established himself as the Rays' top prospect, and he's put himself in the discussion among the best position prospects in baseball. Signed as an international free agent by the Tigers for $420,000 in 2012, Adames advanced through the low minors rapidly. The Tigers skipped him past their domestic Rookie-level affiliates and assigned him to low Class A West Michigan for his U.S. debut as an 18-year-old in 2014. After heading to the Rays as the centerpiece of the Price trade, Adames hit the ground running, and he's made steady progress and adjustments as he's climbed the minor league ladder. He reached Double-A Montgomery in 2016 and led the Southern League with 74 walks and ranked third with 31 doubles. He led all SL shortstops with 11 home runs and earned a spot in the Futures Game. In 2014, Adames showed power to his pull side and the ability to drive the ball to the wall in center field. His power has steadily developed as he's matured physically, and in 2016 he showed the ability to drive the ball out to the opposite field in game situations. Offensively, Adames earns plus grades for his hit tool and raw power, though scouts see his power playing more in the way of hard line drives, with annual home run total projections ranging from 15-25. He has above-average bat speed and the loose wrists to control the barrel, make late adjustments and square up pitches with late movement. He shows both the ability to stay inside the ball and to turn on inside pitches. He works deep counts and isn't afraid of hitting with two strikes. Adames' timing at the plate has improved from year to year, and his strikeout rate declined to 21 percent in 2016, down from 27 percent in 2015. Defensively, he continued to endear himself to scouts in 2016. Adames has plus hands and a well-timed internal clock, and he doesn't rush plays or play nervously in the field. He lacks exceptional range and explosive foot speed, and he's more of an average runner on the basepaths, but his pure arm strength typically plays aboveaverage. He has an ability to get his feet set and make accurate throws consistently, though he can flash plus arm strength when needed. In addition to his well-rounded assortment of tools, Adames has exceptional makeup, both in terms of his work ethic and character. He quickly achieved fluency in English and connects well with American players as well as other Latin Americans. Rays officials laud his leadership ability and enthusiasm for game-day preparation. Overall, Adames has the total package that teams look for in top prospects, with impact tools on both sides of the ball and the personality to become a marketable franchise player. In 2017, Adames figures to spend the season at Triple-A Durham. He projects as the Rays' shortstop of the future, with the ability to hit somewhere in the middle of the lineup.More Less
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Ozzie AlbiesATL 2b/ssNotes:
Hit: 70. Power: 40. Speed: 70. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: Albies continued his rapid ascent through the organization in 2016. At age 19, he skipped high Class A and led the Double-A Southern League in average (.321) and on-base percentage (.391). Despite struggling during a two-month stint in Triple-A at midseason, he thrived in a return to Mississippi before breaking the tip of a bone in his right elbow on Sept. 9, keeping him out of the SL playoffs. Strictly a shortstop prior to 2016, Albies shifted to second base when he teamed with Dansby Swanson at Mississippi. The definition of a quick-twitch athlete, Albies' first-step quickness, soft hands, above-average arm strength and baseball instincts make him a plus defender at both middle-infield spots. He has work to do making the pivot on double plays, which should come with experience. His offensive strength is his ability to make hard and consistent contact from both sides of the plate, thanks to his plus bat speed and superior hand-eye coordination. He drives the ball better than advertised, draws walks and uses his plus speed to beat out grounders and steal bases, making him an ideal top-of-the-lineup hitter. Atlanta's long-term second baseman, Albies is headed for Triple-A Gwinnett in 2017 with his first big league callup not far off.More Less
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J.P. CrawfordPHI ssNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 45. Speed: 50. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: For the third straight season, Crawford ranks as the Phillies' top prospect. It's a ranking that comes after a season in which he didn't take the next big leap forward that was expected of him coming into the year, but he's still one of the game's elite shortstop prospects. His athleticism runs in the family-he's a cousin of Carl Crawford and his father played football at Iowa State and the Canadian Football League-but it's the combination of athleticism and polished baseball skills for his age that have made Crawford stand out since his high school days. The Phillies selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the 2013 draft and signed him for $2,299,300. Crawford moved through the system quickly, reaching Double-A Reading as a 20-year-old in 2015 in a season that ended when he tore a ligament in his thumb in the Arizona Fall League. He opened 2016 by returning to Reading, where he spent six weeks before playing the rest of the season at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He missed one week in August with an injured oblique. Crawford hit .250/.349/.339 with seven home runs in 123 games between the two stops. Crawford's best offensive asset is his plate discipline. He has nearly as many walks (232) as strikeouts (243) in his career and shows a keen eye at the plate by recognizing offspeed pitches and rarely expanding the strike zone. Even as he went through growing pains upon reaching Triple-A, his strike-zone judgment remained intact. Crawford is a high-contact hitter with an efficient, compact swing from the left side, which combined with his plate discipline gives him a chance to be a high on-base threat at the top of a lineup. When Crawford struggled, he had a habit of stepping in the bucket and leaking open early with his hips, creating a longer path to the ball. His ability to keep his hands back and control the bat head still allowed him to make contact, however. When his swing is in sync, Crawford stays inside the ball well, with a chance to be an above-average hitter. Getting stronger will be critical for him because his power is mostly to the gaps, with the occasional home run to the pull side. His power hasn't developed as quickly as some evaluators expected, but between his bat speed and room to fill out his frame, Crawford could develop average pop in the future. In the field, Crawford shows plus defense, a mixture of athleticism, actions and instincts. With average speed, he isn't a burner on the basepaths, but he has a quick first step and reads the ball well off the bat, providing him with plenty of range at shortstop. Crawford is a fluid defender who can make plays to either side with his plus throwing arm, which plays up because of his fast hands and quick transfer. Crawford isn't on the Phillies' 40-man roster yet, though he hasn't shown enough yet to merit a spot in the Opening Day lineup ahead of incumbent Freddy Galvis. Instead, he should return to Triple-A, with an opportunity to force his way to the major leagues by the all-star break. If everything clicks, the Phillies should have a franchise cornerstone at shortstopMore Less
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Victor RoblesWSH ofNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 50. Speed: 70. Fielding: 60. Arm: 60. ETA: 2018.
Scouting Report: Robles had impressed Nationals evaluators for years before breaking out in 2015 during his U.S. debut. He signed with Washington for $225,000 in 2013 and impressed in the Dominican Summer League the following year. He wowed the Nationals during extended spring training in 2015, then carried that performance over to the regular season in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and short-season Auburn. He ranked as the No. 2 prospect in both leagues while hitting a combined .352/.445/.507 with 24 stolen bases in 61 games. Robles advanced to full-season ball in 2016 for the first time, beginning the season at low Class A Hagerstown. After earning a spot in the South Atlantic League all-star game, he was promoted to high Class A Potomac, where the 19-year-old was the youngest player in the Carolina League. He again ranked as a top prospect in two leagues-No. 1 in the South Atlantic and No. 3 in the Carolina. Robles was sidelined for about three weeks in the second half of the season by a thumb injury he suffered after being hit in the hand by a fastball, one of 34 times he was hit by a pitch in 2016. Even as he has raced through the minor leagues, Robles has continued to hit and earn praise for his baseball IQ and willingness to learn. Robles has excellent quick-twitch athleticism and true five-tool potential. He is advanced for his age, displaying a good feel for hitting. He has strong, quick hands that help him to produce impressive bat speed. Presently, his power results mostly in hard line drives to the gaps, but as he physically matures, those balls should start going over the fence. He sometimes gets big in his swing as he tries to drive the ball with more authority. He has a good feel for the barrel and is difficult to strike out, though he does not often walk. He sets up very close to the plate, which allows him to cover the outer half of the plate well, but also results in him often being hit by pitches. He is confident in his ability to turn on inside pitches, but after his stint on the disabled list he is also starting to learn about the importance of getting out of the way of inside pitches. Robles is a plus runner and makes good use of his speed on both the basepaths and in the outfield. He tracks down balls well in center field and has plus arm strength. His defensive ability and speed enable him to impact the game in many different ways. He plays with lots of energy in all facets of the game, a trait that endears him to teammates, coaches and scouts alike. Robles has proven to be capable of moving quickly in the minors and will likely return to Potomac to open 2017. Because he won't turn 20 until May, he will likely again be among the youngest players in the Carolina League. It will be a challenging assignment for the precocious outfielder, but his makeup and dynamic skill set should help him continue to find success against older competition. He has all-star potential and could arrive in Washington late in the 2018 season and be a regular player at age 22 in 2019.More Less
Eloy JimenezCHC ofNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 70. Speed: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 45. ETA: 2019.
Scouting Report: Jimenez's father Luis played and coached basketball in the Dominican Republic, so Jimenez grew up around athletes and some degree of fame. He was ready for the spotlight when his baseball career took off as an amateur and he ranked as the top talent in the 2013 international signing class. The Cubs signed both of the top players that year, Jimenez for $2.8 million and Venezuelan shortstop Gleyber Torres for $1.7 million. They have grown into exactly what the Cubs thought they were, with Torres the savvier, steadier middle infielder and Jimenez the high-risk, high-upside corner bat. When Torres was traded to the Yankees in the Aroldis Chapman deal in July 2016, Jimenez emerged as the Cubs' top prospect with a breakout season at low Class A South Bend. He led the Midwest League in doubles (40) and slugging (.532) while ranking third in batting (.329). He also played in the Futures Game, where he homered and made a highlight-reel over-the-fence catch in foul territory down the right-field line. Jimenez was signed for his bat and his body- one club official admiringly called him "a physical animal"-and has started to deliver. His body evokes comparisons with former Cub Jorge Soler and Marlins outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, but he is more than just a power-first hitter. Some scouts rate Jimenez's pure hitting ability on par with his power, or put 60 grades on his hitting and 70 on his power (on the 20-80 scouting scale). While his walk rate is modest, Jimenez improved his strikezone judgment in 2016 by seeing more pitches per at-bat, identifying spin better and applying the Cubs' selective-aggressive mantra. When he turned it loose, he barreled balls and made plenty of hard contact. He added a knee tuck and a bit of a hand pump to his swing, getting less rotational and on time more often, and it aided his ability to drive the ball to right-center field. Some scouts see long levers and a long swing, which could be exploited more by advanced pitchers. However, he has tremendous plate coverage and the aptitude to adjust quickly, and scouts laud his hitting intelligence. Jimenez is an average runner limited to a corner defensively, and he mostly played left field in 2016. An average defender, he may move to right field if he improves his below-average arm. He must continue to work to improve his throwing mechanics, which remain inconsistent. His throws lack carry, though he has become more accurate He had only one outfield assist in 2016 and has five in his career. He has a chance for an average arm, though, if he dedicates himself to a throwing program. The Cubs are working to keep him lean and athletic physically so he doesn't get too big. Some scouts question Jimenez's ultimate level of athleticism, as he's not graceful, but the Cubs believe he is still growing into his body and will gain body control with natural physical maturity and added strength. While the Cubs don't need Jimenez soon considering their wealth of outfield options, he may force their hand if his bat continues to progress. He has polish to add against lefthanded pitchers-who handled him with a steady diet of offspeed stuff-and to his defense to be more than just a left fielder. But his bat will play. Jimenez likely will take one step at a time, reporting to high Class A Myrtle Beach for 2017, with a big league ETA of 2019.More Less
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Francis MartesHOU rhpNotes:
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 70. Changeup: 55. Control: 50. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: The Marlins don't spend much money internationally, but they have done a great job of finding bargains on the international market. Miami signed Martes for just $78,000 in 2012 and watched him quickly develop from a pitcher with a high-80s fastball and some feel into a lowto mid-90s fireballer. He stood out in the Dominican Summer League in 2013 before he ever pitched in the U.S. Impressed with Martes' ability to mix a plus fastball and plus curveball in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League in 2014, the Astros ensured he was included in the Jarred Cosart trade that July, even though Martes was struggling to get outs and throw strikes in a complex league. He has made dramatic leaps since then as he has filled out and developed a changeup. Once considered a likely power reliever, Martes has developed into one of the fastest-moving starting pitchers in the minors. For example, he was the youngest pitcher in Double-A when the 2016 season began. Martes started slowly at Corpus Christi and had a 5.03 ERA in early June, but he went 5-4, 2.67 in the second half with 81 strikeouts and 20 walks in 71 innings. Few minor league pitchers can match Martes in terms of raw stuff, and the same is true for major leaguers. He has touched 100 mph with his fastball and generally sits 93-97. His plus-plus four-seamer doesn't have exceptional run, but it still generates plenty of swings and misses thanks to its extreme velocity and his ability to work in and out and up and down. Scouts debate whether Martes' ability to work all four quadrants is by design or by good fortune, because he sometimes misses his target significantly but still manages to be around the strike zone. Even though he's short for a righthander-he is officially listed at 6-foot-1 but probably is closer to 6 feet-Martes gets some downhill plane when he works down in the zone. His hard downer curveball at 85-87 mph gives him a second potential 70-grade pitch on the 20-80 scouting scale. It has power and downward break reminiscent of that of fellow Astros righthander Lance McCullers Jr. Martes' curve comes in at slider speed, but it has true 12-to-6 or 11-to-5 break rather than the sweep of a slider. Unlike McCullers, Martes uses his fastball as his main weapon, which sets up his curve. His changeup is less consistent, but it generates plus grades from some and it improved as 2016 wore on. He throws it harder than most changeups, but it generates whiffs thanks to its late drop. It will show some late fade at times, though more by accident than design. The fade generally happens when he spins out of his delivery instead of staying direct to the plate. Martes has also toyed with using a cutter against lefthanders. Martes has the raw profile of an ace with two pitches that grade near the top of the scale, a changeup that is at least average and at least average control. He has filled out into a thick-chested, meaty righthander who evokes comparisons with Johnny Cueto because of his short stature and big stuff. After six starts in the Arizona Fall League, Martes is ready for Triple-A Frenso and could reach the big leagues at some point in 2017.More Less
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Brendan RodgersCOL ss/2bNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 50. Fielding: 50. Arm: 55. ETA: 2019.
Scouting Report: Rodgers grew up in a family that had a focus on soccer, but his attention turned to baseball at the age of 5. His best friend's father, Ralph Nema, introduced Rodgers to baseball and coached him a good part of his youth. He was a multi-sport participant during his youth, but in kindergarten he proclaimed that he would be a baseball player when he grew up. He certainly had big league touches to his development. While Nema was his youth coach, former big leaguers Dante Bichette, an original Rockies outfielder, and all-star closer Tom Gordon also coached Rodgers. He was considered the top prospect in the 2015 draft but slipped to the Rockies with the No. 3 pick when the two teams ahead of them opted for college shortstops. The Diamondbacks took Vanderbilt's Dansby Swanson at No. 1 and the Astros selected Louisiana State's Alex Bregman at No. 2, and they both reached the majors in 2016. The Rockies signed Rodgers to a franchise-record $5.5 million bonus. His pro beginning was a challenge. He battled nagging foot, hamstring and hip injuries at Rookie-level Grand Junction in 2015, limiting him to 37 games and leading scouts who hadn't seen him as an amateur to question his attitude and potential. At low Class A Asheville in 2016, Rodgers reaffirmed his elite status. He finished third in the South Atlantic League in home runs (19) and fourth in slugging (.480) despite being one of only 14 players in the SAL who was younger than 20. Don't be misled by the fact Rodgers saw time at second and third base as well as shortstop in 2016. The Rockies still feel he has a strong future at shortstop, but the front office is trying to create flexibility with its prospects so that they will be able to fill various holes. With Rodgers' athleticism and power potential he could fit anywhere in the infield. He has elite bat speed and good feel for the bat head, and he punished fastballs before SAL pitchers adjusted and fed him a steady diet of offspeed stuff. He made adjustments but will have to do so against quality sliders he rarely saw as an amateur. He has a polished approach for such a young hitter with solid plate discipline. With strength and conditioning in the offseason, he will add strength and durability. He has quality actions at shortstop and a solid, at times plus, arm that will improve in its consistency with added strength. Rodgers does not have the speed of a player who would be considered a basestealing threat, but his athletic ability and instincts give him surprising range. The Rockies see Rodgers as an eventual all-star and feel confident he can attain that goal at shortstop if he can stay healthy. A hamstring problem landed him on the disabled list in May 2016, and he went through a dead-arm period in his first full season that he must learn from. The Rockies will allow Rodgers to force the issue when he is ready-they have Trevor Story in Colorado, and he just set an NL record for homers by a rookie shortstop-but the next step is high Class A ModestoMore Less
Mickey MoniakPHI ofNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 50. Speed: 55. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55. ETA: 2020.
Scouting Report: Moniak was the center fielder and two-hole hitter for the U.S. team that won the 18U World Cup in Japan in 2015. A strong high school senior season propelled him to the top of the 2016 draft, with the Phillies signing him for a club-record $6.1 million as the No. 1 overall pick. Moniak is a premium position prospect who does a lot of things well with few glaring weaknesses. He has an easy lefthanded swing that's short, quick and fluid. His barrel awareness and pitch recognition allow him to consistently square up good fastballs and adjust to put the bat on breaking balls. He's a disciplined hitter who goes with where the ball is pitched and uses the whole field. He's still skinny with mostly gap power now, but he should hit 10-15 home runs one day with strength gains, and he added about 20 pounds in the fall after a three-week strength and conditioning camp at the Phillies' Clearwater complex. Moniak is an above-average runner with a quick first step in center field, where his good instincts and above-average arm make him a plus fielder. Moniak's balance of tools and skills on both sides of the ball make him a high-upside prospect without any major risk factors, aside from inexperience. He will make his full-season debut at low Class A Lakewood in 2017.More Less
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Rafael DeversBOS 3bNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 40. Fielding: 55. Arm: 60. ETA: 2018.
Scouting Report: The Red Sox felt that Devers was the best international amateur bat available in 2013, viewing him as a future middle-of-the-order slugger. He hasn't disappointed them yet. Devers started slowly at high Class A Salem in 2016, carrying a .195 average into June, but he was one of the best hitters in the Carolina League over the final three months. Devers shows an unusual ability to drive the ball to all fields with loft and backspin that creates the possibility for all-fields power. He's aggressive in a way that likely will cap his on-base percentage but with bat-to-ball skills that suggest solid batting averages and that, to date, have limited his strikeout totals. As a 19-year-old in 2016, his most significant progress came at third base, where evaluators saw a player with above-average to plus range and throwing arm. His wide hips suggest that his weight management and conditioning will always be a focus, but to this point, he's maintained athleticism not only to stay at third but also to surprise as a solid baserunner. That reflects well on his makeup and willingness to work. At this point, Devers looks like the top power-hitting prospect in the system, a future fiveor six-hole hitter with plus power and above-average defense. He appears destined for Double-A Portland for most if not all of 2017.More Less
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Kyle TuckerHOU ofNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 50. Fielding: 55. Arm: 55. ETA: 2019.
Scouting Report: The younger brother of Astros big league outfielder Preston Tucker, Kyle was the BA High School Player of the Year in 2015, when he hit .484 with 10 home runs and 10 stolen bases. The fifth overall pick that year, he stood out in a pair of Rookie-level stops in his pro debut then jumped to low Class A Quad Cities in 2016. Tucker's advanced bat gives him a shot to be a plus hitter with plus power. Even though he is lean with long levers, he actually prefers hitting balls on the inner half, which helps explain why he has handled lefthanders well. He can pull his hands in on the inside pitch, and his hands and wrists work well to make his pull-oriented approach work. His swing generates excellent loft. But that projected power won't arrive until Tucker adds some more good weight to add strength in his trunk and legs. The Astros have worked him in all three outfield spots, but he projects as an above-average right fielder with an above-average arm. He's an average runner but does a great job reading pitchers and timing his jumps. Tucker handled a late-season cameo at high Class A Lancaster with no issues. He will return to high Class A in 2017-at the Astros' new Carolina League affiliate-and could reach Double-A before he turns 21.More Less
Vladimir GuerreroTOR 3bNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 70. Speed: 50. Fielding: 45. Arm: 55. ETA: 2020.
Scouting Report: Vladimir Guerrero signed with the Expos in March 1993, reached the majors in 1996 and became American League MVP with the Angels in 2004, one of his nine all-star seasons. In spring training before his first all-star campaign, in 1999, his son Vladimir Jr. was born in Montreal. He grew into a hitting prospect with some of his father's mannerisms (such as a lack of batting gloves), a strong facial resemblance and plenty more fanfare. The father signed for a $2,100 bonus, while Vladimir Jr. signed for $3.9 million. In fact, the Blue Jays traded minor leaguers Tim Locastro and Chase De Jong to the Dodgers for three international bonus slots, raising their international pool high enough just to sign the junior Guerrero. The Blue Jays first saw Guerrero take swings in their Dominican complex when he was 14 years old, after he'd already been training with his uncle Wilton, also a former major leaguer. He shifted from outfield to third base in instructional league after signing, went through his first spring training in 2016 and had a strong pro debut in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, finishing third in total bases while being the league's youngest player. Guerrero does just about everything evaluators want to see in a teenage hitter. He has tremendous hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills, to the point he seems to have been born to hit. His special hands allow him to manipulate the barrel and square up pitches of all types. He has excellent strike-zone judgment for a 17-year-old, walking nearly as often as he struck out and showing an ability to lay off breaking balls that will be further tested at higher levels. He has tremendous raw power and showed the ability to drive the ball to all fields at an advanced rate for his age. Guerrero covers the plate well and should be an above-average hitter with 30-plus homer potential down the line. Some club officials have compared his overall offensive profile to that of Edwin Encarnacion, though with more speed, as he's actually an average runner. Like Encarnacion, Guerrero has a chance to be a third baseman early in his career. Defense was rarely a focus of his as an amateur, and moving to third base from outfield has prompted Guerrero to work harder on all aspects of that side of the ball. He has improved his short-area quickness and arm strength the most. If he keeps working on his defense, he should have average range. Once owner of a below-average arm, he now flirts with a plus tool. His footwork has improved as well, and he made the routine play with some reliability in his debut. Guerrero has gotten his stocky body in better shape since signing, but it will always be a concern and is his biggest weakness as a prospect. The Blue Jays' high-performance team, which focuses on mental and physical training, will continue to work with Guerrero to maintain his looseness while improving his body fitness. His potential may not match his father's, but he won't shame his dad's name as a ballplayer. He figures to reach low Class A Lansing in 2017, and he could make it hard for the Jays to keep him from getting to the big leagues by the time he's 20.More Less
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Anderson EspinozaSD rhpNotes:
Fastball: 70. Changeup: 70. Curveball: 60. Control: 55. ETA: 2019.
Scouting Report: While some teenage international standouts fly under the radar, Espinoza is one whose promise has been evident for some time. Considered the top available pitcher by a wide margin in the 2014 international class, he signed with the Red Sox for $1.8 million. If Espinoza felt any pressure from the lofty expectations he never showed it, zooming all the way from the Dominican Summer League to low Class A in 2015, his age-17 season, and ranking as one of baseball's top prospects one year after signing. The Red Sox were reluctant to part with him but ultimately did in a onefor-one swap for Drew Pomeranz two days after Pomeranz pitched in the 2016 All-Star Game as a member of the host Padres. The lean Espinoza is not physically intimidating but possesses a strong lower half and electric arm speed that allows him to nonetheless pitch with elite velocity. He is not dissimilar from fellow 6-foot flamethrower Yordano Ventura in that regard. Espinoza's 95-98 mph four-seam fastball possesses so much late tail away from lefthanded batters that Padres broadcaster and former major league pitcher Mark Grant confused it for a two-seamer-a mistake made by others before him-and Espinoza commands it masterfully to both sides of the plate. His main secondary pitch is a mid-80s changeup that is above-average on a bad day and "simply fantastic" in the words of one opposing scout on a good one. His upper-70s curveball lacks consistency but still flashes plus with 11-to-5 movement. Spotty command of his breaking pitches led to Espinoza getting hit more often at low Class A in 2016 than his pure stuff indicates he should, and he also struggled with trying to be too fine at times rather than attacking hitters. He admitted being a bit shell-shocked after being traded and struggled in his first few outings in the Padres system, but he adjusted and finished strong with 10 strikeouts and just two runs allowed in his final two starts at Fort Wayne. He continued that with a dominant 1-2-3 inning in the Padres' futures game at Petco Park on Oct. 7, where he struck out two Rangers batters. His exceptional performance on a big stage at Petco was nothing new for Espinoza, who draws raves for his ability to reach back and find something extra in big moments. He possesses exceptional makeup and intelligence, signified both by his poise on the mound and the fact he learned English almost fluently by age 18, less than two years after first coming to the U.S. Ventura is a common comparison for Espinoza in terms of size and raw stuff, but Espinoza does it easier and possesses superior makeup and maturity that should help him surpass the Royals righthander. He has all the tools to become a front-of-the-rotation ace and will look to solidify that profile atop high Class A Lake Elsinore's rotation in 2017.More Less
Mitch KellerPIT rhpNotes:
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 60. ETA: 2019.
Scouting Report: Keller climbed up many teams' draft boards when he added nearly 10 mph to his fastball between his junior and senior seasons of high school. The Pirates snatched him in the second round of the 2014 draft and signed him for an above-slot $1 million to forgo a North Carolina commitment. His older brother Jon is a pitcher in the Orioles system. Keller's fastball reaches 97 mph, sits at 93-95 and has the type of late life that causes plenty of swings and misses. He also has an above-average curveball with 11-to-5 shape that improved as the 2016 season progressed. He learned to take a little off his breaking ball in order to gain better control. Keller's changeup is also becoming an effective pitch. It drops just as it reaches the strike zone, generating many ground balls. Durability is a concern after Keller missed most of 2015 with forearm problems, but he stayed healthy throughout the 2016 season at low Class A West Virginia and finished strong with high Class A Bradenton, winning a pair of playoff starts to help the Marauders win the Florida State League title. He earns high marks for his maturity. For example, he immediately offered to help victims when flooding struck southern West Virginia. Keller will begin 2017 back with Bradenton and will likely end it at Double-A Altoona. He has the stuff, size and makeup to become a front-of-the-rotation stalwart and could reach the majors by late 2018 or early 2019.More Less
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Tyler GlasnowPIT rhpNotes:
Fastball: 70. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 45. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: Glasnow threw just 83-89 mph in high school with an uncoordinated 6-foot-7 frame, but the Pirates saw potential and drafted him in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He has added strength to his body and became one of the most dominant pitching prospects in the game as he ascended. His trek culminated in his major league debut in 2016. Glasnow's added strength gave him outstanding raw stuff, topped by a 92-95 mph fastball that hits 99 and a wipeout curveball. He also throws his changeup at 90 mph, and the pitch is showing signs of being a third plus weapon. He has allowed a career .172 opponent average in 500 minor league innings. Walks, however, have been a major problem for the now 6-foot-8 Glasnow, who like many other tall pitchers has problems repeating his mechanics. He also struggles holding runners because of his slow times to the plate and lack of an effective pickoff move. That weakness was exposed at the major league level. While some have questioned his athleticism, Glasnow answered by posting a video on social media of him dunking a basketball after pulling it between his legs. He will get a chance to win a rotation spot in spring training but will likely return to Triple-A Indianapolis. He has the ceiling of a No. 1 starter, but many evaluators outside the organization believe his futures lies as a reliever due to his poor control.More Less
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Manuel MargotSD ofNotes:
Hit: 60. Power: 40. Speed: 60. Fielding: 70. Arm: 55. ETA: 2017
Scouting Report: The Red Sox signed Margot for $800,000 as a 16-year old international free agent in 2011 and watched him stand out at every level as he ascended their system. He was a consensus Top 100 Prospect when the Padres acquired him and three other well-regarded minor leaguers in exchange for closer Craig Kimbrel after the 2015 season. Margot possesses strong wrists and exceptional feel for the barrel, allowing him to make consistent hard contact. His plus speed helps his bat play up, turning singles into doubles and doubles into triples, and his control of the strike zone was uncanny for a player his age at Triple-A. The sum of all of that profiles Margot as a plus offensive player, even with fringe-average power. The Padres were surprised at Margot's lack of defensive polish when he first arrived, but he dramatically improved his reads and routes throughout 2016, which combined with his raw speed and athleticism, turned him into one of the top defensive outfielders in the upper minors. His above-average arm also took a huge leap forward in 2016, with corrected footwork leading to more strength behind his throws to the point he led the Pacific Coast League with 18 assists. Margot has everything you want in a top-of-the-order center fielder. His superior offensive profile to Travis Jankowski makes Margot the Padres' center fielder of the future, beginning in 2017More Less
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Lucas GiolitoCWS rhpNotes:
Fastball: 60. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 50. Control: 50. ETA: 2017.
Scouting Report: Giolito has shown incredible promise since his high school days, when he was considered the top prep pitcher in the 2012 draft class until he sprained his ulnar collateral ligament and was shut down early that March. After being drafted by the Nationals 16th overall he had Tommy John surgery later that summer. Washington traded him to the White Sox-along with righthanders Reynaldo Lopez and Dane Dunning-for Adam Eaton at the 2016 Winter Meetings. Giolito made his longanticipated major league debut in July 2016, completing a closely watched journey through the minors. While he stumbled in Washington, his star remains bright. Giolito has three above-average offerings and an extra-large frame that allows him to throw from a steep downhill angle. He has touched 100 mph in the past, but his fastball has not typically shown that kind of velocity when he is pitching on a regular schedule. He topped out at 96 mph with his fastball in the major leagues, and sat around 94 mph. He still has a powerful 12-to-6 curveball that can be a plus pitch. His changeup has good sinking action and is effective against lefthanded hitters. Most concerning about Giolito's 2016 performance was his control. After averaging 2.7 walks per nine innings in his first two years of full-season ball, he saw his walk rate spike in 2016, particularly in the big leagues where he averaged 5.1 walks per nine. Giolito often fell behind in the count and will need to get back to consistently throwing quality strikes to get big league hitters out. While Giolito's big league debut was disappointing, he still has incredible upside. He will pitch most of 2017 as a 22-year-old and still has the potential to develop into a front-of-the-rotation starter. He likely will open the season at Triple-A Charlotte.More Less