Join Now! Bundle Print + Digital + eEdition And Save $60/year

Before They Were Stars: What We Said About 2018 All-Stars

2018AllStarGame.jpg
(Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Now that the 2018 All-Star rosters have been announced, we looked back at where we ranked the 62 All-Stars and what we said about them back when they were prospects. Thankfully for us, everyone in the All-Star Game was ranked in the Prospect Handbook, although we'll admit we were very light on Jose Altuve. Overall, well over half (37 of the 72 all-stars) also made our Top 100 Prospects lists.

NATIONAL LEAGUE

C Willson Contreras
Highest BA Rank: 67th in 2015 Top 100 (No. 2 on Cubs Top 30 in 2015)

What we said then: “Significantly improved focus and sticking to an offensive approach helped Contreras translate his plus tools into performance in 2015, for the first time. He stopped giving away at-bats by chasing pitchers’ pitches and gained confidence. He always has had natural hand-eye coordination and has grown into more strength, giving him gap power and above-average hitting ability. Formerly a plus runner, he has lost a step catching but still runs well enough to move to the outfield.”

C Buster Posey
Highest BA Rank: 7th in 2009 Top 100 (No. 1 On Giants Top 30 in 2009)

What we said then:Posey draws legitimate comparisons to Joe Mauer. He's a pure hitter with terrific strike-zone awareness, and his clean, unfettered swing allows him to drive pitches from pole to pole. For a team full of impatient hitters, his sound, disciplined approach will be a most welcome tonic. No hyperbole: He's a better two-strike hitter than anyone on the major league roster.”

C J.T. Realmuto
Highest BA Rank: 76th in 2014 Top 100 (No. 2 On Marlins Top 30 in 2014)

What we said then:His offensive numbers in 2013 suffered as a result of his emphasis on defense, but he got back on track in 2014, focusing on a shorter swing and all-fields approach. His bat stays in the zone longer, and he has the strength for gap power, though consistent double-digit home run seasons aren't likely in his future. Realmuto profiles as an everyday catcher with two-way potential, but he may have to wait a bit at Triple-A New Orleans for his opportunity.”

1B Freddie Freeman
Highest BA Rank: 17th in 2010 Top 100 (No. 2 On Braves Top 30 in 2010)

What we said then: “Freeman has a smooth, aggressive swing from the left side. He possesses raw power that should generate 20-plus homers annually in the major leagues. He has good plate coverage with a patient approach that leads to consistent contact. He thrives in RBI situations and wants the bat in his hand with the game on the line. Defensively, Freeman has quick feet and above-average range at first base. He does all the little things well around the bag and he even has a cannon for an arm.”

1B Joey Votto
Highest BA Rank: No. 43 On 2006 Top 100 (No. 3 On Reds Top 30 In 2006)

What we said then:A catcher when he signed, Votto still is a little raw at first base. He sometimes goes too far into the hole on balls, leaving him out of position. He also can improve his footwork and throwing accuracy. Like many young lefthanded hitters, he struggles against southpaws. Votto is the Reds' first baseman of the future--and that future could begin as soon as this year.”

1B Paul Goldschmidt
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 11 On D-Backs Top 30 in 2010)

What we said then:There's no denying Goldschmidt's legitimate power to all fields, and his supporters believe he has a swing path that will allow him to improve as a hitter. He was especially dangerous against lefthanders last year, batting .413/.453/.860 with 16 homers in just 143 at-bats, so even those who don't believe in him as a regular in the big leagues believe he can at least have a solid career as a platoon player. His defense right now is adequate, and he has the potential to be an average major league first baseman because he's rangy for his size.”

2B Javier Baez
Highest BA Rank: 5th in 2013 Top 100 (No. 1 On Cubs Top 30 in 2013)

What we said then: “Baez has special bat speed and produces top-of-the-scale power with an exceptionally aggressive approach and swing. He has tremendous plate coverage and really has no true holes in his swing, which takes a direct and violent path to the ball. Baez has work to do with pitch recognition and can drift at times thanks to his leg kick, but he hits the ball so hard, he doesn’t have to square it up to hit it out of the park.”

2B Scooter Gennett
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 5 on Brewers Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:Gennett uses an open stance and level swing to consistently stroke line drives to all fields. He makes a lot of contact, though his aggressive nature cuts into his walks and on-base percentage. He has some surprising pop for his size, most of it coming in the form of doubles rather than homers. Gennett has average speed and good baserunning instincts, though he's not much of a threat to steal.”

2B Ozzie Albies
Highest BA Rank: 11th in 2016 Top 100 (No. 2 on Braves Top 30 In 2016)

What we said then: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.”

SS Brandon Crawford
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 6 On Giants Top 30 in 2010)

What we said then:Crawford's athleticism and awareness make him a potential Gold Glove shortstop, though he's not as gifted as Ehire Adrianza. He makes plays with plus range, a solid arm and smart positioning. Crawford opens eyes with his opposite-field power, but has yet to show he'll make enough consistent contact to be a big league regular.”

SS Trevor Story
Highest BA Rank: 96th in 2012 Top 100 (No. 3 On Rockies Top 30 in 2012)

What we said then:He has a knack for driving the ball the other way, though he can become too pull-conscious. Better pitchers took advantage of his aggressiveness last year, and he ran up high strikeout totals, though the Rockies expect he'll make more contact as he learns his swing. Managers rated Story as the SAL's best defensive shortstop, though some scouts questioned his actions and arm strength. He's a calm, instinctive defender who covers ground and rarely makes ill-advised throws. He does lay back somewhat on balls hit right at him. He's a solid runner.”

3B Nolan Arenado
Highest BA Rank: 52nd in 2012 Top 100 (No. 1 On Rockies Top 30 In 2012)

What we said then:A high school teammate of Yankees catcher Austin Romine, Arenado has a knack for making steady contact and getting the barrel of his bat to the ball. His swing gets long through the ball, so his finish looks unorthodox, but he has great hand speed. He has been difficult to strike out throughout his career, with just 181 whiffs in 414 pro games. He derives his power more from bat speed than muscle at this point, and as he gets stronger he should be capable of hitting 20 homers annually. Arenado entered pro ball with an opposite-field stroke but has learned to turn on inside pitches, sometimes to a fault because he strays from hitting to the center of the field. Nevertheless, he should always be able to hit for high averages.”

3B Eugenio Suarez
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 7 On Tigers Top 30 in 2013)

What we said then:Suarez has a quiet approach with a short, flat swing from both sides of the plate that allows him to keep the bat head in the zone a long time. He makes frequent contact but also shows solid plate patience, though his swing got inconsistent in Double-A when he would get too uphill trying to launch the ball. Suarez has below-average power, so he's at his best staying inside the ball and working the gaps. Some scouts see him as an offensive-oriented utility man, but others think he made significant strides on defense and consider him a potential above-average defender at shortstop. He has a plus arm, a quick release, good footwork and soft hands, though he can still get careless at times.”

OF Nick Markakis
Highest BA Rank: 21st in 2005 Top 100 (No. 1 On Orioles Top 30 in 2005)

What we said then: He (Markakis) has all the physical tools for success--the ability to hit to all fields with power, and the speed, instincts and arm to play anywhere in the outfield. His aptitude for the game is what makes him a premium prospect.”

OF Matt Kemp
Highest BA Rank: 96th in 2005 Top 100 (No. 8 On Dodgers Top 30 in 2005)

What we said then:Kemp has big-time raw power and an aggressive approach. He has strong, quick hands and good bat speed. He kept collapsing on his back side early in 2005, causing him to pop up balls, but he adjusted and later hit the top half of the ball consistently. He shows good instincts in the outfield, above-average speed and a plus arm that plays in right field, where he likely will play more often as he fills out and loses some quickness.”

OF Bryce Harper
Highest BA Rank: 1st in 2010, 2011

What we said then: “Harper's power and arm strength both rate as 80s on the 20-80 scouting scale. He has incredible strength in his hands and generates enormous torque in his lefthanded swing, allowing him to smash massive drives to all fields. Harper has some extra movement in his swing and sometimes jumps out on his front foot too early, but when he stays down and lets the ball travel, he sees pitches well and can drive them hard to the opposite field.”

OF Lorenzo Cain
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 6 On Brewers 2008 Top 30)

What we said then:Cain is an impressive athlete. He runs well, giving him the range for center field and making him a threat on the basepaths. He has the potential to hit 20 homers per year, though most of his power comes to the gaps now. He owns solid arm strength as well. Cain's power wasn't ideal for a corner outfielder, but it's less of an issue in center field. He's still learning to be patient at the plate, though he's not terribly aggressive.”

OF Christian Yelich
Highest BA Rank: 41st in 2011 Top 100 (No. 1 On Marlins Top 100 in 2011)

What we said then:Yelich has power to center field as well as to his pull side, and while he doesn't project as an elite slugger, he should be a threat for 25 homers annually once he fills out his lanky frame and learns to create more leverage in his swing. His solid-average to plus speed and baserunning acumen are even better than Miami expected. He was caught just five times in 37 steal attempts. He's a glider in the outfield, covering ground with long strides.”

OF Charlie Blackmon
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 10 On Rockies Top 30 In 2008) 

What we said then:Blackmon shows five-tool potential. He runs well enough to play any of the three outfield positions, primarily playing right field in college and moving to center field in his pro debut. He has a picture-book lefthanded swing and has shown line-drive power into the alleys. He has plus-plus speed and the arm strength that would be expected from a converted pitcher. Blackmon's inexperience as a hitter shows, however. He makes contact but will chase pitches out of the strike zone. With his speed he has to realize that walks are of value. He has quick hands but tends to get started too soon in his swing.”

Pitchers

SP Max Scherzer
Highest BA Rank: 66th in 2007 Top 100 (No. 4 On Diamondbacks Top 30 In 2007) 

What we said then:Scherzer's fastball can overmatch batters, arriving in the mid-90s with sinking action at its best. His slider also can be a plus pitch, though he's working on its command and plane. Some scouts who saw Scherzer as a starter at midseason wondered what the fuss was about. His fastball sat at 89-93 mph range, and his overall stuff, command, feel and delivery all drew questions. Then they saw him relieving in the Arizona Fall League and he was a different pitcher, touching 98 mph. Arizona's official opinion is that Scherzer is a starter. If he continues in the rotation, he'll likely open 2008 back in Double-A.”

SP Jacob deGrom
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 10 On Mets Top 30 in 2013)

What we said then:DeGrom succeeds by pounding the zone and showing a clean arm action and bulldog mentality. He threw nearly two-thirds of his pitches for strikes in 2013, though he would benefit form expanding the zone and getting batters to chase when he gets ahead in the count. He sits at 92-94 mph with plus sinking life, and he can rear back for 98 when he needs it. DeGrom made progress with a straight changeup this season, giving him a good weapon against lefties, though he misses more bats against righties with a fastball and slurvy breaking ball.”

SP Jon Lester
Highest BA Rank: 22nd in 2005 Top 100 (No. 2 On Boston's Top 30 In 2005)

What we said then:Lester is a big, physical lefthander with a chance for three plus pitches. His fastball has late life and has risen from 87-88 mph in 2003 to 90-91 in 2004 to 92-93 last year, when he topped out at 95. He has turned his cut fastball into a true slider that's now his No. 2 pitch. He can get both swings and misses and called strikes with his changeup. Once Lester gets a little more consistent with his secondary pitches and his command, he'll be ready for the big leagues. He'll keep batters off balance by throwing an occasional curveball, but it lags behind his other offerings.”

SP Aaron Nola
Highest BA Rank: 39th in 2014 (No. 2 On Phillies Top 30 in 2014).

What we said then:Nola's hallmark is his stellar command, which stems from good athletic ability and freakish flexibility. His fastball checks in at 93-95 mph and gets excellent life from a mid-three-quarters arm slot. He backs up the fastball with a slider and changeup, which each have the potential to be plus in the future. He's on a fast track for sure, but the Phillies would like to see him improve in a few areas before they consider him for the rotation. Most notably, they'd like to make sure he stays consistent with his arm slot. When it drops lower than three-quarters, his slider tends to flatten. His changeup, a plus pitch earlier in his career, has regressed. He needs to work more on controlling the running game.”

SP Patrick Corbin
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 9 on Diamondbacks Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:His (Corbin) heater now ranges from 89-94 mph and usually operates at 90-92. He's still very lanky and could gain more speed as he gets stronger. He throws with terrific angle to the plate and his three-quarters delivery also creates nice downward plane. Both of Corbin's secondary pitches have the potential to become plus offerings, with his changeup more consistent than his late-breaking slider.”

SP Mike Foltynewicz
Highest BA Rank: 59th in 2013 (No. 3 on Astros Top 30 in 2014)

What we said then:Foltynewicz has an electric arm and crazy arm strength. He hits 100 mph in virtually every appearance and holds his top-of-the-scale velocity. His breaking ball--which some call a slider, some a curveball--is an above-average offering that misses bats. His aggressive, inefficient delivery costs him control, not to mention command, and he lacks feel for the strike zone. Trusting his premium stuff more would help. His changeup is below-average because he slows his arm noticeably when throwing it. Scouts who believe Foltynewicz can start liken him to Angels righty Garrett Richards, for he has top-of-the-rotation stuff with present below-average control.”

SP Miles Mikolas
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 16 on Padres Top 30 in 2011) 

What we said then:Mikolas frequently shows two plus pitches and average control while working in relief, which makes him a good bet to reach his ceiling. He has walked just 1.7 batters per nine innings in 137 pro appearances. Mikolas dials his fastball up to 98 mph to put batters away but most frequently pitches at 93-96. His heater does lack life and can be turned around when it catches too much of the plate. His hard, downer curveball features tight rotation in the mid-70s and gives righthanders fits. He doesn't show much aptitude for a changeup, so San Diego has no plans to move him from the bullpen.”

RP Josh Hader
Highest BA Rank: 33rd in 2016 Top 100 (No. 2 on Brewers Top 30 in 2016)

What we said then:Hader has no trouble striking out batters from both sides of the plate with a live fastball in the 92-97 mph range and a filthy, sharp-breaking slider he throws from a low three-quarters arm slot. With the low arm angle and funky delivery, deception is a big part of his game. Hader made it even harder to track his pitches by moving to the first-base side of the rubber, and he changed the grip on his slider to give him more command of the high-80s breaking ball. If Hader ever finds consistency with his changeup, he'll be almost completely unhittable, but he has struggled to stay on top of the pitch.”

RP Kenley Jansen
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 8 on Dodgers Top 30 in 2010)

What we said then:Major leaguers had no answer for Jansen's power fastball. His heater sits in the mid-90s, reached triple digits at times and features some cutting action. He has a loose, easy delivery and the ball jumps out of his hand, making it that much more overpowering. Jansen's second pitch is a slurvy 82-84 mph slider that could become a plus pitch if he can tighten it up. He also has some feel for a changeup but rarely uses it. He does a good job of being around the strike zone considering his size and limited time on the mound. Though his command isn't pinpoint, he won't need it to be.”

RP Sean Doolittle
Highest BA Rank: N/A No. 10 on A's Top 30 in 2009 as a hitter)

What we said then: “He added strength and weight after coming out of college, though he has just average power. He was a two-way player at Virginia and the A's moved him to right field to utilize his arm strength, but his knee problems may preclude him playing the outfield.”

RP Brad Hand
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 6 on Marlins Top 30 in 2010) 

What we said then:All three of Hand's pitches have plus potential, with his hard curveball the most advanced. He delivers it in the upper 70s with 11-to-4 break. The pitch bites away from lefties and he also can back-door it for strikes against righties. He has improved his command of his 91-94 mph fastball, though he needs to utilize it more frequently instead of relying too much on his curve. Florida is working to lengthen Hand's stride, which should add a little velocity to his fastball.”

RP Felipe Vazquez
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 17 on Rays Top 30 in 2013) 

What we said then:Rivero (he later legally changed his last name to Vazquez) works off a 91-94 mph fastball with late, tailing movement that generates a healthy percentage of groundball outs. He also uses a curveball that has a hard, vertical drop and shows good feel for a changeup that he unleashes with the same arm speed as his fastball. Considered small when he signed with the Rays out of Venezuela, Rivero has grown two inches over the past five years and developed a stronger and thicker lower half that he employs in his delivery.”

AMERICAN LEAGUE

C Salvador Perez
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 18 on Royals Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then: “(Perez)  already was the best defensive catcher in the system, and he now shows as much offensive potential as any Royals backstop prospect besides (Wil) Myers.”

C Wilson Ramos
Highest BA Rank: 58th in 2010 Top 100 (No.2 on Twins Top 30 in 2010)

What we said then:Ramos fits the catcher profile almost perfectly. He is physical and strong, with plus raw power and the ability to get the barrel to the ball. He's aggressive but covers the plate well, has natural hitting actions and shows power to all fields. He's agile for his size, receives well and has a cannon for an arm.”

1B Jose Abreu
Highest BA Rank: 29th in 2014 Top 100 (No. 1 on Royals Top 30 in 2014)

What we said then:Physically, Abreu fits right in with the Chicago's recent string of all-star first basemen and DHs, from Frank Thomas in the 1990s to Paul Konerko, Jim Thome and Adam Dunn. He derives massive raw power from his physicality and strength, with strong hands and forearms and the ability to hit balls out to any part of the ballpark.”

1B Mitch Moreland
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 8 on Rangers Top 30 in 2010)

What we said then:Moreland has above-average power, especially to left-center field. He's an intelligent hitter who makes adjustments from at-bat to at-bat, and he hangs in well against lefthanders. Club officials say he's the best natural leader in their system.”

2B Jose Altuve
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 28 on Astros Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:Defense is his best attribute. He has quick, strong hands that work well at the plate and in the field. He's agile and at times a dazzling second baseman, with arm strength to turn the double play well.”

2B Gleyber Torres
Highest BA Rank: 5th in 2017 Top 100 (No. 1 on Yankees Top 30 in 2017 and 2018)

What we said then:Torres will likely return to Triple-A for more seasoning so he can be ready to fill a potential hole at second base or third base. Evaluators both inside and outside the organization see all-star potential.”

SS Manny Machado
Highest BA Rank: 11th in 2012 Top 100 (No. 1 on Orioles Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:The ball already carries well off his bat, and he has the room to add muscle to his wiry 6-foot-3 frame. Baltimore believes he can become a .300 hitter with 20 homers a season as he matures. Machado also has the arm, build and strength to be a major league shortstop. He shows advanced defensive skills, with solid range, soft hands and a plus arm.”

SS Francisco Lindor
Highest BA Rank: 9th in 2014 Top 100 (No. 1 on Indians Top 30 from 2012-2015)

What we said then:There are pluses almost everywhere with Lindor, both in terms of his tools and his intangibles. At the plate, he takes line-drive swings and makes consistent hard contact to all fields. He has outstanding hand-eye coordination and feel for the strike zone, which along with his speed allows his hit tool to play up.”

3B Jose Ramirez
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 9 on Indians Top 30 in 2014)

What we said then:Ramirez's speed and on-base skills are his biggest assets. He has a smooth swing from both sides of the plate and sprays line drives to all fields. He does have some pull-side power, more so as a righthanded hitter, but home runs aren't part of his game. Ramirez excels at working counts and rarely chases. Though Ramirez has plus speed and led the Eastern League in steals (38), he wasn't particularly efficient and tended to be too aggressive. Ramirez has the athleticism and versatility to play second base, third base or shortstop, but second is the only spot where he profiles as a regular. His hands work well and he has smooth actions, but he lacks the arm for shortstop or power for third.”

3B Alex Bregman
Highest BA Rank: 42nd in 2016 Top 100 (No. 3 on Astros Top 30 in 2016)

What we said then:Bregman has the power to hit 10-15 home runs a year at the expense to his average, but he's at his best when he's spraying line drives. He is one of the safer college picks in recent years with a long track record of success and a Carlos Correa-like drive to succeed, but without Correa's physical gifts. At worst, Bregman should be an everyday second baseman who hits for average with occasional power.”

OF Mookie Betts
Highest BA Rank: 75th in 2014 Top 100 (No. 7 on Red Sox Top 30 in 2014)

What we said then:Though he has a sizable leg kick, Betts has the body control and athleticism to maintain balance, the quick hands to let the ball travel and the hand-eye coordination and bat speed to produce extra-base power. He shows a penchant for highlight-reel defensive plays at second base, and he has the athleticism and range for the Red Sox to consider shortstop and center field as possibilities. Betts' arm is better suited for the right side of the infield. He pairs above-average speed with good reads to steal bases at an excellent rate.”

OF Mike Trout
Highest BA Rank: 2nd in 2011 Top 100 (No. 1 on Angels Top 30 in 2011 and 2012)

What we said then:Strong, broad-shouldered and built like a football safety, Trout has a high baseball IQ and full-throttle approach that allow him to get the absolute most out of his tools, four of which grade as future plusses or better. He combines a rare blend of bat control, strike-zone management, blazing speed and burgeoning power. His running speed continues to garner the most initial attention. He gets down the first-base line in four seconds flat from the right side to grade as a true 80 on the 20-80 scouting scale.”

OF Aaron Judge
Highest BA Rank: 53rd in 2015 Top 100 (No. 2 on Yankees Top 30 in 2015)

What we said then:Armed with 80 raw power on the 20-80 scale, Judge takes an impressive batting practice. But unlike most players his size, Judge's in-game approach is geared to hit over power. He's just as comfortable lining pitches to the opposite power alley as he is turning on a fastball on the inner-half. His swing is shorter than most players his size. As would be expected of someone with his build, there are holes in his swing as pitchers will force him to prove he can handle pitches in.”

OF Michael Brantley
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 5 on Indians Top 30 in 2010)

What we said then:He has an easy, compact swing and a good two-strike approach. He pairs his speed with good instincts on the basepaths, tying for the IL lead with 46 steals while getting caught just five times, including a perfect 33-for-33 against righthanders. His speed is also an asset in center field, where he improved his reads and routes to become a solid-average defender with a chance to get better. Brantley has well-below-average power, though he has the size to develop more pop.”

OF George Springer
Highest BA Rank: 18th in 2014 Top 100 (No. 2 on Astros Top 30 in 2014)

What we said then:A .299 career minor league hitter, he won't approach that in the majors unless he starts lining pitches on the outer half to right field more often. Though he's not on the 40-man roster, Springer should earn a big league spot in Houston's woeful outfield at some point in 2014. If he makes enough contact to hit .270 in the big leagues, he's a perennial all-star. He has enough other tools to help a team win even if his swing-and-miss tendencies turn him into a .240 hitter.”

OF Mitch Haniger
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 3 on Brewers Top 30 in 2014)

What we said then:He works the gaps and shows plus power to the pull side. His running is fringy at best and he is an average defender in right field. His arm is an asset because it's both strong and accurate. His solid baseball background has given him the confidence and work ethic he'll need to make adjustments.”

DH J.D. Martinez
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 6 on Astros Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:Despite the front-foot approach, he recognizes pitches, stays back on breaking balls and squares up good pitches. His flat swing path means much of his power is to the gaps, and he projects to hit 35-40 doubles and 15-20 homers annually. He's capable in right field and has an accurate arm but profiles better in left because he has below-average speed and fringy arm strength.”

DH Nelson Cruz
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 8 on Brewers Top 30 in 2006)

What we said then:Cruz' calling card is well above average raw power. He uses an aggressive swing, strong wrists and quick hands to generate a buggy-whip swing with violent bat speed. But power isn't his only plus tool. He also has a plus arm in right field. Cruz has holes in his swing. Pitchers use his aggressiveness against him with offspeed stuff in fastball counts. They'll also climb the ladder on him because he'll chase high heat.”

DH Shin-Soo Choo
Highest BA Rank: 51st in 2005 Top 100 (No. 3 on Mariners Top 30 in 2005)

What we said then: “His plus-plus arm rated as the best among Texas League outfielders. He has the strength to hit 25 homers, but Choo's approach isn't conducive to power. He'll need to close his swing and do a better job of recognizing inside pitches. His outfield instincts are lacking and limit him to the corners. His throws could use more accuracy.”

PITCHERS

SP Justin Verlander
Highest BA Rank: 8th in 2006 Top 100 (No. 1 on Tigers Top 30 in 2006)

What we said then:Verlander has one of the best arms in the minors and features both the best fastball and curveball in the organization. Tall, lithe and athletic, he generates tremendous arm speed that gives him an electric fastball with both above-average velocity and life. His heater sits at 93-96 mph and touches 99. He commanded his fastball--and all of his pitches, for that matter--much better as a pro than he had in college.”\

SP Corey Kluber
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 26 on Indians Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:Kluber does have a solid arsenal of pitches, working mainly off his 88-92 mph fastball and average slider. He also flashes an average changeup and throws strikes. He still needs to refine his command, because he's around the strike zone almost too much and is fairly hittable. He'd durable, having made 82 starts and worked 455 innings in his three full pro seasons. Kluber doesn't have high upside, but he has good feel for pitching and could be a back-of-the-rotation starter.”

SP Chris Sale
Highest BA Rank: 20th in 2011 Top 100 (No. 1 on White Sox Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:His command is solid, though his arm angle leads to times when he doesn't stay on top of his pitches and leaves them up in the zone. Sale is unusually poised, capable of making adjustments and pitching out of trouble. Some scouts wonder how durable Sale will be because of his skinny frame, arm action and low slot. He has no history of arm problems, however. Despite his immediate bullpen impact, the White Sox plan to develop Sale as a starter. He'll get the chance to make their rotation out of spring training, though it's more realistic to expect him to open the season at Triple-A Charlotte. If he stays healthy, he has the stuff to be a frontline starter or a closer.”

SP Luis Severino
Highest BA Rank: 35th in 2015 Top 100 (No. 1 on Yankees Top 30 in 2015)

What we said then:Severino's build, fastball-changeup combo, Dominican heritage and dominance have earned him comparisons to Pedro Martinez. Short but not skinny, Severino utilizes a drop-and-drive delivery to bring his 94-97 fastball, which has above-average life. He touched 98 and 99 plenty of times throughout the course of the season as well. He couples the fastball with a changeup that features plenty of late fade. He's confident enough to double and triple up on the pitch at times and use it to get strikeouts against both lefthanders and righthanders.”

SP Jose Berrios
Highest BA Rank: 28th in 2016 Top 100 (No. 2 on Twins Top 30 in 2016)

What we said then:An excellent athlete who fields his position and holds runners well, Berrios tops out at 97 mph with his fastball, which typically sits 93-95 mph and shows late life. Throwing from a three-quarters arm slot, he sharpened his 80-82 mph curveball, varying its speed and break. His changeup is an out pitch that allows him to keep lefties in check.”

SP Gerrit Cole
Highest BA Rank: 7th in 2013 Top 100 (No. 1 on Pirates Top 30 in 2012 and 2013)

What we said then:Cole draws comparisons to Justin Verlander and certainly has the look of a No. 1 starter who could anchor their rotation with 2010 first-rounder Jameson Taillon for years.”

SP J.A. Happ
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 8 on Phillies Top 30 in 2007)

What we said then:He's one of the better athletes in the system. Happ's slider is too soft at times, turning into a loopy slurve. He made strides with its consistency in 2006, but it will improve more as he uses it more. Though he locates his fastball exceptionally well, he can rely on to it too much. Happ is the next starter in line for a promotion to Philadelphia and projects as a No. 3 or 4 starter.”

SP Trevor Bauer
Highest BA Rank: 9th in 2012 Top 100 (No. 1 on Diamondbacks Top 30 in 2012)

What we said then:He'll report to big league camp with a legitimate chance to earn a spot in the big league rotation, if not on Opening Day then quite likely by the second half of the season. He not only has top-of-the-rotation potential, but his approach is so revolutionary that his success in the majors could cause teams to rethink how they condition and develop young pitchers.”

RP Edwin Diaz
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 2 on Mariners Top 30 in 2016)

What we said then:He throws strikes but still struggles to command pitches within the zone while learning that he can't rely on overpowering hitters as he moves up the minor league ladder. When he misses, he tends to leave the ball over the plate. Diaz's level-by-level rise will continue in 2016 when he makes his Triple-A debut with Tacoma at age 22. Further improvement of his command gives him No. 3 starter potential”

RP Joe Jimenez
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 7 on Tigers Top 30 in 2016)

What we said then:There's effort to Jimenez's delivery and his arm stroke is long, but he has deception, repeats his mechanics and is able to throw consistent strikes, with his stuff effective against both righties and lefties so far. Being a relief prospect limits his ceiling on Jimenez and he still has several levels to climb to get there, but he has the stuff and control to be a major league closer.”

RP Craig Kimbrel
Highest BA Rank: 86th in the 2011 Top 100 (No. 5 on Braves Top 30 in 2010 and 2011)

What we said then:Kimbrel has averaged 14.8 strikeouts per nine innings as a pro, thanks to his heavy fastball, which sits at 93-96 mph with excellent sink. His slurvy curveball gives him a second plus pitch to complement his heater. After rarely throwing a changeup in 2009, he worked on the pitch prior to last season and mixed it in on occasion. While moving faster than anticipated, Kimbrel has made significant strides with his command and his ability to pitch inside. Reminiscent of a righthanded Billy Wagner, he has the stuff and makeup to finish games.”

RP Aroldis Chapman
Highest BA Rank: 7th in 2011 Top 100 (No. 1 on Reds Top 30 in 2011)

What we said then:Chapman is a premium athlete, but he struggled with his tempo and with repeating his delivery as a starter. He likely never will have plus command, partly because his fastball has so much life at times that it runs out of the strike zone, though more consistent mechanics would help. He didn't have much of a grasp of the nuances of pitching--fielding his position, covering first base, holding runners--but improved over the course of the season. The big question is whether Chapman will be a starter of reliever.”

RP Blake Treinen
Highest BA Rank: N/A (No. 19 on Athletics Top 30 in 2012)

What we said then:He throws a heavy, sinking fastball at 92-97 mph. He complements the heater with an 82-86 mph slider with late, sharp break. He also throws a changeup, but it's definitely his third option and he doesn't fully trust it at this point. Treinen didn't need his changeup much while working as a reliever in his pro debut, but he'll go back to starting in 2012 and Oakland will make sure to emphasize it. He could be a No. 3 starter if his changeup comes around.”

Jesse_Chavez_AndrewDiebGetty.jpg

Rangers Send Jesse Chavez to Cubs For Pitching Prospect

The Cubs add a versatile piece to their bullpen and the Rangers take a chance on a prospect with some college fame.

Are you a member?

In order to access this exclusive content you must have a Baseball America Account.

Login or sign up  

of Free Stories Remaining