2020 Top 100 MLB Prospects Chat (1/23/20)

Image credit: Gavin Lux (Photo by Victor Decolongon)



Steve (Tallahassee):

     Thank you for this work product. It has been a high light of the off-season for me for many years. A number of players from Japan and Korea have signed contracts with teams in the US. Are they ineligible for the top 100 list, or is it simply a matter of none of them making the list?

J.J. Cooper: Hey everyone. We’re going to tag team this chat for the next few hours with myself starting it off. Yes, all the Asian free agent signings/postings are eligible (Shogo Akiyama, Kwang Hyun Kim, Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Shun Yamaguchi). Joely Rodrigez is not, as he exhausted prospect eligibility before heading overseas. We did not feel that any of them were top 100 guys. While we do not factor age into prospect eligibility, it does lower a player’s likely MLB contribution. In most cases, the players who came over this year are a little older. If we expanded to 200, I would make a case for all four, but we didn’t see any cracking the 100.

Nick (Ohio):

     Why did Brady singer drop out of the top 100? He was a top prospect from the draft and has put up good numbers since.

J.J. Cooper: The concerns with Singer is what’s going to pair with the slider. Singer’s slider is a great pitch, but his fastball as a pro has been solid, not spectacular and he’s still struggled to develop a changeup. He also throws from a lower slot that is hard on RHHs, but gives LHHs a good look at the ball. Until he figures out a pitch that can regularly get lefties out, Singer’s platoon splits are a little worrisome for a potential MLB starter. His FB/SL combo would work fine out of the pen, but scouts want to see a third pitch to feel good about his chances to be a solid MLB starter.

Justin (Tucson, AZ):

     I can’t recall a time when there were so many players with a 70 FV. Is this the highest rated prospect list since BA has been doing this?

J.J. Cooper: This year we had eight players with a 70 BA Grade or higher. Last year we had nine and in 2018 we had five. I would say that last year’s Top 100 overall was a little more loaded Top 100 than this one. I feel that last year the guys at the top were position players who were all MLB ready with few big concerns–Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr. and Eloy Jimenez.

mikeleelop (Ontario):

     do you see Jordan Groshans ending up at 3B or 1b? how concerned are you about the missed season due to injury?

J.J. Cooper: 3B, not 1B. And while it’s never ideal to have a player miss 4/5ths of the season, I would say that it is unlikely to be an injury that has significant long-term ramifications. It’s some lost development time and puts him roughly a half year behind where he would have been if healthy. The bat’s still really good.

Mark (Buffalo, NY):

     Who’s the starting second baseman for the rays going into 2021?

J.J. Cooper: Trick question. Five Rays players played 25 or more games at 2B last year. Three played 25 or more games at 2B in 2018. The Rays seem to view 2B as a position where they can most take advantage of matchups and positional versatility. To a slightly lesser extent that can be said at 3B for the Rays as well. That said, Wander Franco has to fit somewhere. Maybe it’s 2B-3B for him with Adames serving as the primary SS, since I would argue Adames is a better defender than Franco (the ever-competitive Franco may read this and work even harder on his defense to prove me wrong). The Rays have a log-jam of close to MLB ready players joining a lineup that already has several guys who can play 2B. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s also why guys like Vidal Brujan need to work on positional versatility.

Suge (Chesapeake):

     How could you guys leave Kyle Tucker off the top 100?

J.J. Cooper: Easy question. He graduated. He’s no longer eligible.

Irisheagles5 (Endwell, NY):

     Is Gavin Lux a once in a generation type talent?

J.J. Cooper: No. Very good prospect, but I would argue the only once-in-a-generation talent to reach the majors in the past decade (or so) is Mike Trout. In every other case, whoever you propose as “unique” I could probably come up with someone who has been just as productive. Arolids Chapman? Craig Kimbrel. Albert Pujols? Miguel Cabrera. Chris Sale? Clayton Kershaw. Mike Trout? No comparable player. He’s been better than anyone else over the past decade and it’s not close. Go back a generation and the answer would have to be Barry Bonds or A-Rod in my opinion, feel free to add your PED comments to that statement if you wish.

Jake (Schaumburg, IL):

     Hi JJ! Would Brusdar Graterol fall out of the top 100 if he was strictly a reliever? As “just” a reliever, would you rather have Graterol or someone with an equally elite fastball like Emmanuel Clase? Thank you for chatting with all of us today! Love BA and your work!

J.J. Cooper: Interesting question. I do think Graterol has a chance to be one of the 2-3 best relievers in the game (not likely, but is his possible ceiling), so he could crack a Top 100 eve as a pure reliever–that’s about the standard I would say we hold on being a pure reliever in the Top 100. We ranked Aroldis Chapman and Craig Kimbrel and I’m happy we did. Josh Hader ranked 33rd despite significant concerns he’d be a reliever and again, glad we did so.

Jonathan (Waverly OH):

     Luciano made a huge jump from the fall to the pre season rankings. Do you see him as a potential #1 prospect in all of baseball? Who is a good comparison to his ceiling, currently in MLB? Thanks for your time.

J.J. Cooper: We couldn’t find a scout who saw Luciano (and talked to us) who did anything other than rave about him. It was consistent from scout to scout to scout. Yes, he’s absolutely a potential No. 1 prospect. We know this ranking is aggressive, but everything we have heard in our reporting puts him on par with the top young SSs in the 2019 draft class (Witt and Abrams) and there are arguments that he’s ahead of both of them. Sorry, not going to comp him as it often creates a signal/noise problem (no players are perfectly alike and the differences become maginified when you comp a lot of the time), but he has a chance to be one of the better hitters in baseball while playing a premium defensive position if he reaches close to his ceiling.

Mr T (Michigan):

     Where would Spencer Torkelson and Kumar Rocker rate on the Top 100 list if they were in the Minor Leagues?

J.J. Cooper: Interesting. Slot Torkelson somewhere around Andrew Vaughn–maybe a touch ahead of Vaughn–both are great bats with a long track record of success. Torkelson has a little more athleticism. Put Kumar Rocker in the Top 20. You could quibble with that ranking as his end-of-season dominance may be a a little too valued in that, but if in 2020 he’s anywhere close to what he looked like at the end of 2019, he’s going to be the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in 2021 and if he was draft eligible in 2020 he’d be in the 1-1 mix.

Casey Judson (Seattle, Wa):

     Impressive list. I was surprised and delighted to see Joe Ryan make the list. Is he someone who you think will have the 98th-best career of this group, or do you foresee realistic potential for a much, much bigger upside? Was there much internal debate with all of you, or do you just vote and thats it? Anyways, Joe is an interesting, guy, and an interesting talent.

J.J. Cooper: He’s a very interesting talent. I would recommend reading this piece I did yesterday: https://www.baseballamerica.com/stories/top-100-mlb-prospects-with-unanswered-questions-entering-2020/ as we covered it pretty well. He is a high variance player. There’s a path to him being better than many of the players on this top 100, but he has a very short track record of that kind of success, he’s older and he’s been searching for a breaking ball. We had a very healthy internal debate about Ryan. I think this is a good way to explain further how we do this. We vote and those votes put together a preliminary Top 200(ish), but then we spent another 7 hours in a meeting discussing the list (split over 3 days, if we had done all 7 hours in one meeting we may have killed each other. We have found that 2-2.5 hours at a time ends the meeting right around the time where everyone is utterly worn out by discussions/arguments). There are players who don’t require a lot of discussion. Sporadically there is a player where everyone in the room views the player around the same range and everyone has a similar assessment about the player’s potential. That’s rare. We all come in with our different viewpoints as well as different reporting. Over the years you get to understand how different people value different traits more than others. I’ve always been a velo guy–not exclusively by any stretch, but you pretty much have to throw 92-93 consistently for me to consider you for the Top 100 (it used to be 90, but velos keep rising). I may rarely miss on a guy because of that viewpoint, but I’ll rule out soft-tossers with good numbers who end up struggling in the majors because they don’t have enough fastball to scare a hitter. We have another guy on the staff who strongly favors hitters with excellent batting eyes and great BB-K ratios. Another staffer weights performance in AA-AAA very heavily over what players did at the lower levels. We end up making our pitches for guys (and sharing our concerns) and then at the end of the day we do another vote spot by spot to figure out who is No. 71, No. 72. No. 73, etc.

J.J. Cooper: Thanks everyone, I’ve worked the count, found a pitch to drive and now am hoping Justin Coleman can drive me in. Kyle Glaser moves up into the on deck circle.

Justin Coleman: Hey everyone, I’m next. Lots of good questions, happy to chat!

Zach (Cleveland):

     I’ve seen lots of hype about Jose Garcia. A lot of people are calling him the most underrated prospect in baseball. Any chance he can break the top 100?

Justin Coleman: I believe you are referring to Jose Israel Garcia from the Reds. I think he is already pretty quality on defense. His bat just needs time to develop. The Reds were aggressive with him but he has responded nicely which bodes well for his future with the club.

Ed (Here):

     Great list! The usual omission question, G Kirby,B Baty, and G Valera. How close?

Justin Coleman: They are around the edge for the Top 100, but so are quite a few other guys. I like Valera– great bat speed, swing mechanics are really sound. Baty has serious raw power and should stick at third with a plus arm. Kirby has elite control and pounds the zone with a solid four pitch mix. With a good showing next year, its possible all three could be on the list pending graduations etc.

Billy Chapel (Detroit):

     Who’s your favorite prospects to skyrocket up lists similar to the rise that Julio Rodriguez and Marco Luciano made last season?

Justin Coleman: My own favorite is Francisco Alvarez of the Mets. I like his all around game and high-energy approach. Catching is tricky to predict, but Alvarez has the tools to continue trending positively.

Dan (Lansing):

     Really love Matt Manning’s progression. Do you see him having #2 upside now with all the improvements? Or is it pretty firm mid rotation?

Justin Coleman: Manning has been really good for the Tigers. With his developed changeup as another weapon, its possible he reaches that No. 2 ceiling. I think people sometimes blur the lines between a 2-3, or a 3-4 type starter, so it might depend upon your definition of that role. Regardless, it’s a three pitch profile with an excellent frame that is built for innings. Any team would take that!

Don (Austin, TX):

     Great list and thanks for the chat! How many pitchers are out there right now that have true #1 potential and who are they? I understand it’s a short list.

Justin Coleman: Gore, Pearson, Luzardo and Mize. Of that group, Gore and Pearson probably have the best shot at it. Not only takes talent but also consistency and health– thus making this a short list.

Nate (Wisconsin):

     Tell me where and why I’m wrong… 2021 top 5. 1. Wander Franco 2. Julio Rodriguez 3. Marco Luciano 4. Jasson Dominguez 5. Kristian Robinson

Justin Coleman: Those are all super talented guys– Franco should be at the top, and JRod should make a nice case for one of the top 2 or 3 prospects in the game. I find Dominguez to be too young and untested in his pro career. Luciano should crack the top 10, and Robinson could find himself in the top 15 or so.

Logan Field (MI):

     What are your thoughts on Isaac Paredes? He had a good under the radar year in double A! Thank you!

Justin Coleman: You are right, and he was pretty young for that level too. I think he has an excellent feel to hit and is showing more power. He takes professional at-bats, reacts well to breaking stuff and gets his barrel into the zone with plus bat speed. The question becomes his body and defense– if Paredes can take care of his body a bit more, 3B could be his permanent home due to his understanding of the game and sound arm.

Adam (Atlanta):

     What will it take for Cristian Pache to jump into the Top 5? Is it possible he could wind up as #1 overall before making the majors?

Justin Coleman: A better showing with the hit tool would do it. I mean, its possible. Is it probable? I’m not so sure. I believe Pache would get promoted before sticking around long enough to make our No. 1 overall.

Taylor Trammell (Will I finally break through?):

     I have dropped substantially from the 2019 preseason top 1o the 2020 list due to my overall poor production the past season. However, towards the end of the year the Padres seemed to have unlocked something in my mechanics. Do you think those will translate into this year and allow me to finally fulfill the promise many have projected for me?

Justin Coleman: I think there is still hope for Trammell– great makeup guy with athleticism. Still plenty to work with. The changes resulted in some positive results towards the end of the year, so that is good news. I’m curious to see how they will play over the course of a full season.

Julio Rodriguez (Seattle):

     You have a crystal ball, how long until I am a Top 5 prospect in the game? Will I land in Seattle by years end?

Justin Coleman: If he continues to mash, probably by the middle of the season. Crazy to think he is still developing and just turned 19. I’m a big fan! Will he be in Seattle by years end? I don’t believe so… always good to let guys accrue reps in the upper minors without rushing them.

Jeff (Idaho):

     If you could build the future of your team around one of these prospects, who would it be? Would you go with your #1 overall Franco, or opt for someone else based on position, tools, etc?

Justin Coleman: I’d probably go with Franco or Rutschman. Franco would be an obvious choice considering how advanced he is. Rutschman has a chance to be high-impact on both sides of the ball and its tough to find a guy who can do that at the catching position.

Brian (Miami):

     There is a large range of outcomes for a lot of Marlins prospects What do you expect from Monte Harrison and Jesus Sanchez this season? Can they be major league contributors?

Justin Coleman: I’d probably say Sanchez will be more impactful if I had to guess (both should be nice additions to Miami, though). I like Sanchez as a corner guy with 25+ homers, Harrison is probably a plus defender in CF with some pop.

Ryan Mountcastle (Norfolk):

     I was alittle surprised to see I fell out of the top 100 after the season I had in triple A. Is this strictly about my defense? What type of hitter do you see me as in the pros? #2 #3 hitter?

Justin Coleman: Mountcastle can hit, and as you mentioned, the defense is what held him back from the T100. I could see his bat eventually playing the 3-5 section of the lineup long term thanks to his natural hitting ability and above-average power.

Brad (NJ):

     What 3-5 players do you see with the most potential to make the biggest jump from this year’s top 100 to next year’s top 100?

Justin Coleman: I will go with Tarik Skubal (absolutely excellent stuff), Francisco Alvarez (Potential two-way impact guy at catcher), Nick Lodolo (tons of strikes with projection) and Nolan Jones (plus hit and power potential at 3B).

Tom (Cleveland):

     Is there a reason why the evaluators are down on India? Was he playing hurt last year? He seemed ok when he left the FSL

Justin Coleman: He can be polarizing amongst executives– India is polished and has feel to hit, but needs to get to the power in order to have an impact. He is athletic and can move around which should add value (although he does play a good 3B). He showed knowledge of the strike zone which I think is a good sign, as he should be getting better pitches to drive over time.

Matthew (Toronto):

     How confident are you that Nate Pearson can stick in a rotation and won’t be forced to move to the bullpen? I imagine the reliever risk isn’t all that high (compared to what it used to be), given his place on the top 100.

Justin Coleman: I think his three-pitch mix and build should keep him in the rotation. I would imagine the reliever risk here is minimal at best.

Alex (PA):

     Which of the Hit over Power prospects do you think will eventually develop their power tools (say…a full grade up)? I’m thinking of some of the following – CJ Abrams, Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll, Geraldo Perdomo (not really trying to focus on Ari ‘spects, but they popped into my mind first).

Justin Coleman: Those are some good names you mentioned– controlling the zone should help guys get better pitches to hit, which in turn should create a pathway for players to impact the baseball with more consistency.

Brayan Rocchio (Top 125?):

     Am I in the next tier after the top 100? I’ve been nicknamed “The Professor” due to my advanced baseball IQ. Additionally, I’ve developed into an above average defensive SS while already showing pop (5 HR in 2019) even in my small frame. Do you think I make a Vidal Brujan like jump into the top 100 during the 2020 season?

Justin Coleman: His defense is pretty solid. If the bat comes around more, it’s possible he could make a jump similar to Brujan this year. Lots to like in his profile.

Logan Field (MI):

     Tigers have 5 in the top 100 can you explain your reasoning for their rankings? Thank you! Also, top 10 system? Thanks for your time

Justin Coleman: The pitching they have anchors the system (Mize, Manning, Skubal). Greene has upside and can be impactful on both sides of the ball. Paredes is a bat-first guy with a very good hit tool. It would be a nice boost if Franklin Perez can get back on the hill this season. They have done a very nice job with their arms. As for the system ranking, tune in for that. It’s one of the better ones in the league.

Justin Coleman: Thanks everyone! I just laced a single to move JJ to third… runners on the corners. KG will now step up to the plate..

Baseball Pickers (Okinawa):

     I really enjoyed the 98 additional players that received top 150 consideration that you released yesterday. One thing I noticed in spending way too much time with that list is that the White Sox were the only team that did not have a single guy outside their top 100 receiving any consideration. What does that say about their system, and what does that say about some of the high upside guys they took last year like Thompson and Dalquist?

Kyle Glaser: It just says the White Sox have a very top heavy system. As far as Thompson and Dalquist, they’re very talented, but they’re also HS righthanders who are very far away. Those are the type of players you wait and see on. As Josh Norris and I discussed on the White Sox prospects podcast, you shouldn’t really worry about it. The White Sox have a lot of good young talent in the majors, four top 50 prospects who will be up soon, and some great veterans they signed in a sneaky good offseason. The fact they didn’t have anyone in the Top 150 consideration beyond the top four is really a non-issue for the franchise.

Old Timer (Raleigh NC):

     Anyone at the lower levels of Oakland’s minor league system (other than Puason) who you believe has a reasonable shot at making the 2021 top 100? Thanks.

Kyle Glaser: There’s no one who seems like a prime candidate at this point, but never say never. Maybe Logan Davidson goes out and rakes, quieting concerns about his contact skills. That would be a scenario where someone in their lower levels moves up.


     Which team that doesn’t have a lot of Top 100 guys this year could see the biggest boost in the # of guys in 2021?

Kyle Glaser: The Angels have two Top 100 guys. I can see Jordyn Adams and Jose Soriano exploding next year onto the Top 100, plus potentially whoever they take with the No. 10 pick.

Mike Green (Woodlawn, IL):

     Do you think the Diamondbacks plan to play Dalton Varsho in other positions other than catcher in Spring Training?

Kyle Glaser: He’s going to see time at second base and center field, as he did the end of last year. That is the plan for now, at least.

Andrew Korol (Korol’s Kove):

     There are a lot of high upside arms that are coming off injury and have alot to prove. Between AJ Puk, Michael Kopech, Alex Reyes and Hunter Greene, who do you feel is the safest bet to reach their ceiling and who is the biggest risk and why?

Kyle Glaser: Puk is the safest. He’s back and his stuff is intact. Reyes is the biggest risk. He’s had three straight-season ending injuries now. That’s not a great track record.

Dave (Kcmo):

     After this draft, which is is considered strong,where do you think the royals farm system will rank? And how good is their potential? Thanks for your awesome work!

Kyle Glaser: Going to depend on who they take and how well Witt/Lynch/Kowar/Singer handle their jumps. If they all do what they should, it could be a top half farm system in baseball, but again, history tells us someone will go sideways at some point and not everything turns up roses.

Corbin Carroll (On the rise?):

     I came in at #90 after a very impressive debut at 2 rookie levels after being drafted. What really seemed to surprise scouts was how hard I consistently hit the ball, evidenced by my 90 mph average exit velocity for someone my size. Do you see me hitting for more power as I physically mature? Andrew Benintendi has been floated as a comp previously, and based on the early returns, would you be surprised if I made a Jarred kelenic like leap within the rankings during my first full season?

Kyle Glaser: Carroll was a popular pick among front office officials as a guy who could really explode this season in his first full year. While it’s tough to say he’ll be the No. 11 prospect in baseball after his first full year, there are certainly a lot of reasons to believe he’ll be higher than he is now at this time next year. Again though, there is a big difference between Rookie ball and full-season, both in the quality of competition and the grind of the longer season. He’s a guy you believe in, but nothing is ever guaranteed.

Drew Waters (Underrated?):

     I know it’s hard to say someone is underrated being ranked the #36 prospect in all of baseball, but his combination of age, production, and tools seem to indicate he should be closer to teammate Christian Pache. What ultimately held Waters down? Is it his aggressively at the plate and swing and miss concerns?

Kyle Glaser: Plate coverage and swing and miss concerns. There are some holes there that concern a lot of people. At the same time, he’s super young and he’s managed to respond to the challenges of every level he’s played at. He’s a very good player and prospect, he’s just going to have to close those holes and have better plate coverage for evaluators to be fully bought-in on his ability to hit major league pitching when the time comes.

Ben (Richmond):

     Does Dylan Carlson have Austin Meadows/Michael Corforto-type upside (above average OBP/SLG)?

Kyle Glaser: Yes, those are possible outcomes.

Timothy (San Diego):

     Based on the tool grades, is it unreasonable to think CJ Abrams has top-5 overall prospect upside?

Kyle Glaser: No. If he makes the jump to full-season ball and shows his hitting ability translates, it might happen sooner rather than later.

Jack (California):

     The A’s top three of Luzardo, Puk, and Murphy is certainly impressive, but the system seems top-heavy. Were there any other names in the system that garnered real top-100 consideration, and is there anyone in the system that you think could make the list in 2021?

Kyle Glaser: Daulton Jefferies and Robert Puason were on the radar but not particularly close. You can find evaluators out there who think Puason will be Top 100 at this time next year.

Matt (Va):

     As a baseball fan in the DC area what are the chances Luciano starts off in Augusta? They play at Hagerstown in May.

Kyle Glaser: I would expect Luciano to begin the year at Augusta as long as he’s healthy.

Matty Y (VA):

     Why such a big drop on Xavier Edwards?

Kyle Glaser: There is no drop. This is the first time he’s been in the Top 100. It’s a rise.

Michael McDermott (Gilbert, Arizona):

     Do you believe that Daulton Varsho will end up getting moved from behind the plate to an outfield position on a full time basis due to Carson Kelly emerging as the everyday catcher in Arizona?

Kyle Glaser: Yes. Although Varsho could end up filling a C/2B/CF utility role, almost a hybrid of Austin Barnes and Chris Taylor. They have a couple of different options they are exploring with him. Ultimately it’s going to be up to him and how quickly he takes to all the new things they’re throwing at him.

Chewy (China):

     Adley Rutschman will be better than JT Realmuto. True or False? Please answer!

Kyle Glaser: Most expect that answer to be True. Which is no knock on Realmuto. It’s a testament to how good Rutschman can be.

Barney (Boston):

     Who is part of the next crop of risking SP’s currently outside of the top 100?

Kyle Glaser: Jackson Rutledge, Bryan Mata, Bryse Wilson and Kyle Muller were the main SPs who just missed the Top 100. 2019 draftees Alek Manoah and George Kirby got some love as well

Justin (Tucson, AZ):

     How close was Aaron Bracho to making the list? Why was he not included?

Kyle Glaser: Bracho was not close. He’s a very young kid who is a long, long way away. There are well over 100 other prospects with equivalent or greater upside who have shown they can translate their tools into production at higher levels. He really wasn’t even in the discussion.

Maria (Bay Area):

     Kristian Robinson has highly rated tools yet ranked fairly low on the list. Is this because of his proximity or needing another year to feel confident with his projected grades?

Kyle Glaser: Far away and some concerns about how much contact he’ll make against better pitching. For now you love the raw skills and what he’s done so far. Showing he can make it translate at higher levels will go a long way toward him moving up.

DH (PA):

     I like the addition of exit velo on the scouting reports. Obviously, higher is better but how low is too low? Can you hit enough with an average velo of 85? 82? I imagine speed helps but there must be a limit.

Kyle Glaser: The major league average exit velocity is 88 mph. There are plenty of productive players at that number and you can find a good chunk more in the 85.5-87 range. Once you start getting 85 mph and below, there are very, very few successful everyday major leaguers. They exist, but they’re few and far between. Keep in mind for prospects though, especially the teenagers and lower-level guys, their exit velocities will tick up as they get bigger and stronger and learn to manage at-bats better and pick out better pitches to hit. It’s a good piece of info to have, especially for the older or upper level guys, but understand it’s not a damning piece of evidence if a teenager in A-ball is at 85-86. Those guys are still growing, often with a lot left to go.

Christopher (Barrie):

     With Jackson Kowar now climbing into the top 100, where do you think his Path takes him next? (this year, and future/ceiling) thanks!!

Kyle Glaser: I think he touches the majors this year and ultimately settles in as a good No. 3-4 starter. A valuable starting pitcher a lot of teams would love to have in their system.

Dan (Chicago):

     I’m confused about Miguel Amaya being left out of the top 100 (and the just missed list). He was the youngest qualified position player in his league, played at the most demanding position, in a pitchers league, had great underlying metrics (K%, BB%, ISO), and a 122 wRC+. What am I missing?

Kyle Glaser: Amaya wasn’t far off. Josh Norris, who does our Cubs list for us, came back with reports indicating Amaya was seen as more of a solid all-around player and was lacking the carrying tools needed to give him first-division regular or All-Star potential. Given his youth and position though, you are correct, there is reason to be optimistic, and in the grand scheme, being just off the Top 100 still means you’re a dang good prospect.

Ely (Miami):

     I’m confused as to how Monte Harrison fell off all of the individual Top 150 lists? He spent some time within the BA Top 100 in 2019 and fully recovered from his wrist injury before the end of the season. Incredible tools and solid Triple-A production at an up-the-middle defensive position.

Kyle Glaser: The swing and miss concerns and strikeouts just haven’t improved enough. There are very, very few evaluators who think he’ll hit enough to be more than a second-division regular. I actually still like Monte and he can do some special things, but the consistency of contact just isn’t there.

nb (philly):

     Thanks for your great list and analysis. Always appreciated! I know these things tend to sort themselves out, but the Dbacks traded jazz as they had Perdomo emerging at SS. Now Peguero seems to be emerging. Who do you see remaining at SS? Does the other move to 2B (assuming an OF of Thomas, Carroll, and Robinson)? Thanks!

Kyle Glaser: Perdomo is the SS of the future. He can do some special things over there. As long as he keeps growing as a hitter, the position is his and everyone else will move around him.

Adam (Boston):

     Where would Kyle Tucker slot in if he was eligible?

Kyle Glaser: In the 6-10 range.

John (Pennsylvania):

     The grades for Julio Rodriguez are pretty remarkable, and even more so given his age. Is this someone who may end up being a true “stud”? The numbers have clearly been eye-opening but with limited pro-experience, what types of info goes into both evaluating and projecting someone like this? What is a realistic current MLB comp for him? (I suppose similar questions for Dominguez, as well).

Kyle Glaser: What goes into evaluations like this, putting numbers that big on someone, is heavy feedback from organizations around the league. Again, this is us reflecting industry consensus, it’s not just a personal list. Front office officials, scouts, managers, everyone is absolutely raving about him in a way rarely seen or heard. He has the potential to be one of the best players in baseball when his time comes, which something very, very few prospects can say. But everyone sees it, everyone buys in on it (and when I say everyone, I mean MLB teams, not just us as a staff) and that’s reflected in our rankings.

Bill (PA):

     Some outlets are way out ahead on Brennen Davis and Kristian Robinson, but you have them ranked much lower. Did front office feedback fuel that, or was there more concern among your team about the risks keeping them from their ceilings?

Kyle Glaser: You’re still talking about two very young players with very small sample sizes at the lowest levels of the minors. They’re both very, very promising, but both have enough concerns about their pure contact ability to hold them back until they reach higher levels.

Bill (PA):

     Would it be safe to say that Andres Munoz would rank as the top pure relief prospect this year, and he just missed the top 100.

Kyle Glaser: Yes. Although remember that many of the SPs in the top 100 will end up as relievers too when all is said and done.

Bobby (Tempe):

     Where does plate approach/discipline come into play when grading the 5 tools? It seems like players without a standout tool, but say…Plus or plus-plus approach give overlooked or ‘discounted’. A player like Geraldo Perdomo, who is ultra selective and walks more than K’s, would have what grade if approach/discipline was a stand alone tool?

Kyle Glaser: Discipline and approach play a huge role in the hit and power grades. They’re not overlooked at all. You’re not going to have a 50 or better grade as a hitter with a below-average approach. The fact that Perdomo’s approach is so strong is baked into his hit and power grades.

Frederick (Boston):

     Is the reasoning for having CJ Abrams higher than Jasson Dominguez strictly due to age and track record? If you were to rate strictly on upside is Dominguez significantly higher than Abrams or are they close in that regard as well?

Kyle Glaser: When you get your Prospect Handbook you’ll see they have the same potential grade, with Abrams a lower risk due to his age and performance in pro ball.

Alan (Washington):

     What were the reviews like coming back on Sam Huff? How high or low was he considered on the list? Thanks!

Kyle Glaser: The highest was 95 and there was actually a lot of feedback from front office officials to take him off the list. The swing and miss concerns are very, very real and there is a good chance he gets exposed at Double-A. Ultimately, he stayed on due to a fairly weak crop of candidates in the 90-100 range. There was zero consideration for him to be higher than that.

George (NYC):

     It was mentioned in the ‘Wander Franco is #1″ article that Nate Pearson was in the runner-up conversation (and surprisingly not Gore). I’d be interest to hear what the argument for Pearson at #2 was?

Kyle Glaser: I think that’s a misprint because he wasn’t. All five of our ballots had either Robert, Adell or Lux at No. 2. The highest anyone had Pearson was 3.

Paul (MA):

     iI haven’t seen this much hype for a catching prospect in Rutchman since Matt Wieters. Being drafted out of Georgia Tech with the 5th overall selection, Wieters was a can’t miss. He had an ok career, do you see the same thing happening to Rutchman?

Kyle Glaser: Certainly possible. Again, and I can’t say this enough, the number of guys on this list who will hit their absolute 100 percent ceiling is maybe 1-2. In a great year, it’s 3-4. Maybe Rutschman will be one of those guys, maybe he won’t. We’ll see.

Jim (Philadelphia):

     Hindsight question of the day: given the step forward in 2019 for Sixto Sanchez, would you rather own him and Jorge Alfaro or be okay with what J.T. Realmuto brings to the park everyday? Asking for pitching-starved franchise.

Kyle Glaser: I’m still ok with what Realmuto brings to the park everyday. More than ok with it.

Navin (Pasadena, Ca):

     How close is the gap between Brennen Davis (94) and Miguel Amaya (unrated but included in the next 98 list BA publishes yesterday)?

Kyle Glaser: Pretty close. Davis was No. 3 on the Cubs list and Amaya was No. 4. Amaya was a lot closer to No. 100 than he was to No. 150 in our voting. There’s not a huge separation, at all.

Jeff Al (Wisconsin):

     Do you see Trevor Larnach as being ahead of Kirilloff on the Twins depth chart?

Kyle Glaser: Kirilloff ranked ahead of Larnach in the Twins Top 10 and on the Top 100. There’s your answer.

Steve P. (Lake Havasu, Arizona):

     Ronald Acuna vs. Wander Franco for the next 10 years. Who you taking?

Kyle Glaser: Acuna. No questions asked.

Ryan (MD):

     So Yoshi Tsutsugo was eligible but not ranked in the top 100? Does BA not see the upside to his bat (he certainly has proximity) or is this a projection of value over his years of control, which for him will include his decline phase?

Kyle Glaser: There is definitely upside in his bat. There is real thunder there and it would not surprise me if he goes out and makes a splash in Tampa immediately. Don’t think of it as years of control. Think of it as “Who is going to have had the best MLB careers when we look back on this list 15 years from now?”. Ultimately, in part because of Tsutsugo’s age, the guys on the list have a better chance of providing more production over a 10-15 year window than he does. That said, he’s a potentially impact hitter who we all look forward to watching this season, and he should make a difference for the Rays.

James (Los Angeles):

     The Dodgers have a pretty exciting group of teenagers forming in their lower minors, who has the most potential out of Alex De Jesus, Diego Cartaya, and Luis Rodriguez ?

Kyle Glaser: The one that is in the Top 100 is the answer. That’s literally what this is – who is the best future major leaguer.

Mike (Mission Veijo,CA):

     Which team is best positioned for the next 5-10 years? My initial thought was the Dodgers since they have a young and talented MLB core, one of the best minor league systems, and tons of money. What are your thoughts?

Kyle Glaser: Dodgers and Braves. Dodgers have more financial might, which gives them the ability to outspend the Braves, but I think these are the two franchises in the 2020s that everyone should look out for. Again though, a lot can change in 3-4 years, let alone 10.

Jake (Brooklyn):

     You mentioned on the pod that many evaluators questioned your high rank on Jasson Dominguez. Why did you decide to keep it so high, and which person at BA was the high man on him?

Kyle Glaser: Ben Badler talked about this on the pod a little bit, Dominguez received a boost from how well the other top international prospects in their class have turned out on the whole. Josh Norris and Matt Eddy were the high men on him.

J.P. (Springfield, IL):

     With no Brewers to speak of, how close was Turang to the top 100?

Kyle Glaser: He’s in the picture but wasn’t especially close. He’s on the general radar though.

Tim (New York, NY):

     Tyler Stephenson seems to be at least an avg. regular to most, given his success at AA. What is he lacking from BA’s perspective?

Kyle Glaser: I liked what I saw from Stephenson a lot in the Arizona Fall League. In looking over the reports from scouts (again, it’s not about personal perspective, we’re a news organization that reports on and reflects industry consensus) there is actually a surprising amount of concern on his ability to catch, namely due to his receiving and framing skills. At the same time, he wasn’t too awfully far off the list and he’s someone that shows a lot of promise in other areas. He’s a good player, there just wasn’t much push from anyone for him to be on the Top 100, and that’s the main reason why.

Matthew (Colorado):

     Assuming that Brendan Rodgers loses his prospect eligibility this year, would the Rockies farm system rank as perhaps the worst?

Kyle Glaser: The Rockies aren’t actually our second-worst farm system. There is someone else just ahead of the Brewers. You’ll see who it is when the organization talent rankings come out.

Baron (Dallas):

     A friend of mine said Dee Gordon with slightly more power is a realistic comp for CJ Abrams. Do you think that’s fair? Abrams doesn’t have a ton of patience in his batting profile, so that seemed like a fair comp to me.

Kyle Glaser: I think that’s vastly underselling how much physical projection Abrams has left in his frame.

Brian (Boston):

     Andrew Vaughn has 60s on both hit and power, and is a RH 1B. Those ranking don’t seem amazing, but he still came in at #30 overall. Is a RH Anthony Rizzo a decent comp for his upside?

Kyle Glaser: Um….plus hit and plus power is, in fact, amazing. People already undersell how good a 50 is (that means you have a legitimate major league tool), please don’t start underselling 60s. 60 is a great, great number.

Jake Metivier (Vermont):

     Is Nate Pearson expected to be the ace of the Toronto blue jays as early as this year? And Is Jarred Kelenick expected to see Triple A early in 2020?

Kyle Glaser: No. Pitchers take time once they get up. If it happens, great, but getting Ryu, Anderson and Roark this offseason means the Blue Jays don’t need to force it. Pearson can just come up and go through his adjustment period without that pressure of needing to be the No. 1 guy from day one, which is ultimately healthier and more beneficial to his long-term development. As for your other question, yes, Kelenic should be in Tacoma at some point this season.

Jo Jo (Phoenix):

     Does the organization a player is in have any effect on their ranking? For example, does Liberatore move up or down based on his move from the Rays to the Cardinals?

Kyle Glaser: No. We rank the talent, with the risk (age/level/injury history, etc) baked in. You might feel more confident in someone’s likelihood of reaching or outperforming their perceived ceiling based on their organization (i.e. Dodgers hitters, Indians pitchers), but on the whole, you rank the talent. Liberatore stayed in the exact same spot with the Cardinals as he would have with the Rays.

Bill (Best Coast):

     So, I know everyone is pretty excited about Julio Rodriguez. Is this fair for him? Best case = Willie Mays, bust = peak Mike Trout?

Kyle Glaser: Eh, he’s more of a right fielder, so think more Hank Aaron. (I kid, I kid)

Joey (The Block):

     Why do you hate Aaron Bracho, Kyle?

Kyle Glaser: Lol what? How does me explaining why a guy wasn’t on the Top 100 mean I “hate” him.

Ken (Lakewood CA):

     Even if it was in the California League, Campusano winning a batting title has to raise his stock and make him an interesting catching prospect for the future – yes?

Kyle Glaser: Absolutely. That’s why he shot up from No. 20 in the Padres system to No. 5 and off the Top 100 to safely on it.

Andy (LA):

     What was the rationale for slotting Brandon Marsh in at #43? He crept into the back end of the top 100 back in 2018 but seemed to have faded badly by midseason 2019. With the pre-load changes in his stance, it’s like a light switch went off and his production immediately ticked up. Was what he showed in the AFL what put it over the top?

Kyle Glaser: I might be the wrong person to ask because I’ve been banging the table for Marsh to be on the Top 100 for two years now. I would say the way he ended the year in Double-A, combined with what he showed in the AFL, convinced skeptics more. The talent has always been there.

Michael (Regina, SK):

     Does Nico Hoerner make the Cubs starting roster day 1 as their 2nd baseman and does he profile as the leadoff hitter?

Kyle Glaser: It’s certainly possible. And think more of a No. 2 table-setter type than pure leadoff hitter.

Carl (San Antonio):

     Is Joc Pederson a good comp for Nolan Jones? Could Nolan Jones be better as a hitter or will he just struggle vs lefties?

Kyle Glaser: Lot more contact ability in Jones.

Kyle Glaser: All right everyone, I think that will do it for our Top 100 chat. Thanks for all the questions, and have a great rest of your week.

Comments are closed.

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone