Breaking Down Movement On The Top 100 Prospects List

Image credit: Masataka Yoshida (Photo by Paul Rutherford/Getty Images)

We update our Top 100 monthly during the season, but we always treat the post-spring training update as one where we’d rather move guys too little rather than too much. Going overboard on very small samples can be problematic, so this Top 100 update is a modest one, with bigger moves expected to come in our May update and even bigger moves when we update at the start of June.

Here are the moves we made this time, with explanations:

Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs: No. 2 to No. 1

Carroll gets to occupy the No. 1 spot now that Gunnar Henderson has graduated. His reign will be extremely brief, because Carroll himself could graduate from prospect status as soon as tonight (April 6).

When that happens, Brewers outfielder Jackson Chourio will move up to No. 1. He ascends to No. 2 for now. We’re quite comfortable with Chourio moving up to No. 1 once Carroll graduates. Chourio’s expected assignment to Double-A Biloxi is an excellent reminder of how special he is as a prospect. He finished last year in Double-A as an 18-year-old. Just weeks after his 19th birthday, he returns to the Southern League.

Anthony Volpe, SS, Yankees: No. 14 to No. 5.

Volpe’s strong spring led us to move him up a few spots, at the top of a train of talented shortstops. Volpe claimed the Yankees’ starting shortstop job with an excellent spring and seems headed toward graduating from prospect status before long.

We also leapt him over the top trio of pitchers. For now, we haven’t moved Andrew Painter down. While he is shut down with an elbow injury, it is not yet clear whether he will need Tommy John surgery. His spot on the Top 100 Prospects list will depend in some way on the results of his shutdown and rehab, but even if he needs Tommy John surgery, he will not move too far down the list, as he’s easily among the top tier of pitching prospects in the minors.

Masataka Yoshida, OF, Red Sox: No. 87 to No. 56

The concerns we received about Yoshida’s power coming out of Japan have been lessened by the impact and positive reports we have received this spring. We’d rather adjust and reflect as best we can the combination of pre-signing reports and post-signing reports, and moving him to the top 60 accomplishes that goal. 

The Red Sox faced a lot of criticism when they signed Yoshida, but so far, he’s looking to be more in line with the Red Sox’s evaluation.

Cade Cavalli, RHP, Nationals: No. 61 to Unranked

Cavalli came into the season ranked 61st. Since then, he’s suffered an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery. It may seem harsh that we have someone like Dylan Lesko on the list at No. 68 while he recovers from Tommy John surgery and Shane Baz remains at No. 30 while he recovers from his TJ, while we’re dropping Cavalli off the list, but it reflects how the different parts of the Top 100 work.

Baz and Lesko’s BA Grades are 65/Extreme. Cavalli came into the year as a 60/High. With the Tommy John surgery, Cavalli is now viewed by us as a 60/Extreme. That drops him into the bucket of players who can make the back of the Top 100 but aren’t assured of a spot.

When you get to the second half of the Top 100, the differences between those players who are on and those players who are off the list are smaller. 

Jackson Jobe, RHP, Tigers: No. 83 to Unranked

The other player who dropped off is Tigers righthander Jackson Jobe. Jobe ranked 83rd on our January Top 100. Jobe is not expected to return to action for two to five months as he deals with back pain and inflammation. 

As was explained with Cavalli, it’s hard for a pitcher with a major injury to stay on the back half of the list when there are other healthy players who are also in consideration. If and when Jobe is healthy, he will once again be a Top 100 candidate.

Ethan Salas, C, Padres: Unranked to No. 98

Our new No. 98 prospect is the youngest player on this list and joins Dylan Lesko and Druw Jones as the only members who have yet to play in an official pro game. Padres catcher Ethan Salas is 16, but it’s easy to forget how young he is when you watch him in action. 

He has already caught a number of Padres big leaguers at spring training, and he’s also shown no problems hitting against players as much as 10 years older than him. He tripled against George Kirby in one spring training game according to multiple evaluators. 

Salas was viewed as one of the top players in January’s international signing class, but since then he’s already shown that his bat is even better than we expected and his defensive tools are as advanced as advertised.

Edouard Julien, 2B, Twins: Unranked to No. 99

Julien continues to have defensive concerns, but his power and ability to get on base should be able to handle a move down the defensive spectrum. He showed that power in the World Baseball Classic and isn’t far from Minnesota.

Joey Wiemer, OF, Brewers: Unranked to No. 100

Wiemer has made his MLB debut with the Brewers as part of a roster revamp and youth movement that is quickly picking up speed. He is a power-speed outfielder who will likely strike out a healthy amount, but should provide enough thump and defense to make up for any strikeout concerns.

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