Players Making Significant Moves Down June Top 30 Prospects Lists


Image credit: Jacob Berry (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

We’ve updated our Top 30 Prospects lists for our June update. Below are players who fell significantly on the lists.


Walbert Urena, RHP (No. 14 to No. 30)

Urena has shown impressive arm strength but has been extremely hittable with poor control at Low-A Inland Empire. He has an 8.36 ERA in 10 appearances (nine starts) with 44 hits allowed and 28 walks in 37.2 innings.

Arol Vera, SS (No. 25 to NR)

Vera continues to show impressive polish at shortstop, but his poor swing decisions have made him an ineffective hitter who is difficult to project to reach the majors.


Pedro Leon, OF (No. 6 to No. 21)

Now 25 years old, Leon returned to Triple-A for the third time. His production is down at the plate from last season, when he had a league average campaign. The experiment in the infield looks like it is long over and despite excellent speed, Leon is a below-average outfielder. Still two years away from gaining Rule 5 eligibility Leon is looking more like an up-and-down guy then the player we expected at signing. 

Korey Lee, C (No. 7 to No. 29)

Lee’s plus-plus throwing arm can only take him so far. He’s failed to hit for league average numbers at every stop since his hot 29-game stint in High-A back in 2021. Lee is a poor blocker and receiver, which has led to some questions around his long-term upside at the position.


Shintaro Fujinami, RHP (No. 17 to No. 21)

Fujinami should have graduated by now, but he hasn’t because his bottom-of-the-scale control so far in 2023. He’s walking 7.16 batters per nine innings through his first 19 outings. He began the year in the A’s rotation before quickly moving to the bullpen and has also been deployed as an opener.

Blue Jays

Adam Macko, RHP (No. 10 to No. 26)

Acquired by the Blue Jays in the Teoscar Hernandez trade with the Mariners in November 2022, Macko has been unimpressive in 2023 as he’s struggled with command and has been hit hard. Over nine starts with High-A Vancouver Macko has a 6.39 ERA and a .279 opponent average.

Dasan Brown, OF (No. 13 to No. 20) 

Few players have the ability to defend in center field the way Brown does. After a step forward with his hitting ability in 2022, however, things have regressed again in 2023. In his second extended run at High-A, Brown isn’t getting on base, hitting for power or contact. Without any offensive upside Brown looks like a standout defender and little else. 


Darius Vines, RHP (No. 5 to No. 16)

The Braves system is shallow enough that few players made significant drops, but Vines did move out of the top 10. He’s been on the shelf all season with shoulder inflammation. He’s an older prospect and the shoulder injury further complicates his timeline. He is on the 40-man roster and could see some MLB time if he returns to health. 

Blake Burkhalter, RHP (No. 7 to No. 15) 

Burkhalter possesses big stuff, which we got glimpses of during his time at Auburn. Unfortunately, he suffered an elbow injury this spring and had Tommy John surgery. Burkhalter’s high-effort mechanics make this injury worrisome. It may take awhile for Burkhalter to recapture his stuff, and no one knows the strain his operation will have on his surgically repaired elbow. 

Cal Conley, SS (No. 11 to NR)

The first few months of 2023 have been atrocious for Conley as he’s hitting .221/.301/.281 over 62 Double-A games. Conley’s barrel rate is among the lowest in the minor leagues and his contact quality is bottom of the barrel. Now 23 in Double-A, Conley’s lack of hitting ability is the reason he fell off the Braves list.


Felix Valerio, 2B (No. 18 to No. 28)

Valerio’s best tool is supposed to be his bat. But after a strong start to the 2022 season, Valerio’s performance cooled considerably in the second half, and it still hasn’t picked back up. He’s a below-average defender at second base who might need to move to the outfield, so the offensive output over the last 365 days is particularly worrisome.

Hedbert Perez, OF (No. 20 to NR)

The Brewers showed their confidence in Perez when, after signing him out of Venezuela in 2019, they sent him to their alternate training site the following year as a 17-year-old. He spent 2021 in the Rookie-level Arizona Complex League before finishing it with 16 games in Low-A Carolina. Since then, Perez has stalled out, with the Brewers sending him back to Carolina this year for what is approaching his 170th game with the Mudcats. Perez does have big raw power, but strikeouts and chase tendencies continue to hold him back, especially now that his speed has regressed to the point where he’s limited to left field.


Joshua Baez, OF (No. 13 to No. 22)

A top prep name in the 2021 draft, Baez’s professional career has never really gotten off the ground. He’s struggled to stay healthy and when he is healthy he hasn’t been productive. There are questions around Baez’s body backing up and a stiffness that wasn’t there as an amateur both at the plate and in the field.


Brennen Davis, OF (No. 2 to No. 9)

Davis hit .198 and struggled to make hard contact in 45 games at Triple-A Iowa before going back on the injured list. He was habitually late on pitches, a recurring issue since he first arrived at Triple-A in 2021, and has yet to demonstrate he can stay on the field.

Kevin Alcantara, OF (No. 3 to No. 10)

Alcantara continues to struggle with poor swing decisions and inconsistent swing mechanics and is batting .252/.285/.399 at High-A South Bend. He has 58 strikeouts against just nine walks.

Cristian Hernandez, SS (No. 7 to No. 21)

Signed for $3 million in 2021, Hernandez swung and missed concerningly often as soon as he arrived stateside and has continued to demonstrate a worrying lack of contact skills. He has a 30% strikeout rate at Low-A Myrtle Beach and is increasingly looking like a well below-average hitter, at best.


Manuel Pena, 2B (No. 21 to No. 27)

Pena entered the year known for his offensive potential, but he showed little ability at the plate for Low-A Visalia. He hit .248/.314/.345 despite playing in a hitter-friendly park and a hitter-friendly league and failed to make impactful contact.


Eddys Leonard, SS (No. 14 to No. 24)

Leonard continues to struggle to make contact against higher-level pitching and remains erratic at shortstop. He’s still young and has tools to work with, but he has been passed by other players in the system with better approaches and more reliable defense.


Matt Mikulski, LHP (No. 26 to NR)

Quite frankly, Mikulski has never lived up to the reputation he earned as an amateur. His stuff, nearly from day one, was down several ticks from his time in college and the results have been similarly unimpressive. He’s been hit hard and often at both Class A stops and has struggled mightily with control and command as well. 


Gabriel Rodriguez, SS/3B (No. 21 to NR)

Entering the season, Rodriguez was lauded for a solid all-around skill set, albeit one without a truly plus tool on the card. This season, the results have not been good. There was an expected learning curve as one of the Double-A Eastern League’s youngest players on Opening Day, but Rodriguez simply has not hit at all. Moreover, scouts who’ve seen him this year report that Rodriguez has looked stiffer and less athletic at third base. They’ve also not seen him show the ability to make adjustments to the way upper-level pitchers are attacking him so far this season.


Axel Sanchez, SS (No. 17 to No. 22)

Sanchez has struggled to make quality contact against better pitching as feared and is batting just .204/.301/.303 with a 30% strikeout rate at High-A Everett.

Tyler Gough, RHP (No. 23 to NR)

A popular breakout pick before the season, Gough sat just 86-90 mph on his fastball with a low-60s curveball and a low-70s changeup at Low-A Modesto before going on the injured list. He had a 6.11 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) with 14 walks and 22 strikeouts in 28 innings.


Jacob Berry, 3B (No. 3 to No. 12)

Miami’s first-round pick from a year ago has had a rough go in pro ball. He struggled at Low-A in his pro debut and simply has not hit for either average or power after moving to High-A Beloit. About the only positive to draw is that he is not striking out at an alarming rate and has also taken his fair share of walks. Scouts who have seen him do not believe he will stick at third base, meaning even more pressure will be on his bat once he moves to first.

Joe Mack, C (No. 12 to No. 17)

Miami’s supplemental first-round pick in 2021 has struggled mightily at High-A Beloit. Specifically, he’s making bad swing decisions and swinging at way too many pitches out of the zone. He needs to identify pitches earlier and then use his best swing to damage ones in his zone. Behind the plate, he needs to work to improve his sequencing and come up with better plans from game to game. 


Matt Allan, RHP (No. 15 to No. 30)

Allan signed for $2.5 million in the third round of the 2019 draft. He pitched 10.1 innings in Rookie ball that summer, and that’s where his pro workload sits four years later. Allan shined at the Mets’ alternate training site in 2020 when the pandemic wiped out the minor league season and then looked sharp at 2021 spring training. He had Tommy John surgery that May and then ulnar transposition surgery in January 2022 that kept him off a mound for both seasons. Allan had a third elbow surgery in January—this time UCL revision surgery—that will sideline him for the 2023 season. In a best-case scenario, Allan would return to the mound in early 2024.


Mitchell Parker, LHP (No. 15 to No. 25)

Parker was a prospect to watch last season, pitching to a 2.88 ERA with High-A Wilmington. He started the 2023 campaign with the Nationals Double-A affiliate, being challenged against higher talent. The lefty has struggled this season with control, allowing more walks and finding himself unable to pitch out of jams like he had done in the past.  

Matt Cronin, LHP (No. 19 to No. 26)

After positioning himself as a real bullpen option for the Nationals with Double-A, the organization promoted the lefty to Triple-A Rochester to end the 2022 season. He struggled to adjust in 34 games, but still looked like a viable bullpen option for the big league team. However, Cronin looks like a different player in 2023. He has not pitched for the club since May 20, when he faced one batter and was removed from the game. He was then placed on the injured list with an undisclosed injury.


Dylan Beavers, OF (No. 11 to No. 19)

While other players from the Orioles 2022 draft class have taken flight this season, Beavers has struggled. He’s hit just .224/.321/.390 over 57 games with High-A Aberdeen and has at times looked out of sync at the plate. Opposing evaluators have been unimpressed by Beavers’ swing mechanics, plate skills and lack of defensive value in the outfield.


Samuel Zavala, OF (No. 4 to No. 7)

Zavala has shown good strike-zone discipline and solid defensive ability in center field, but big holes in his swing have been exposed by pitchers who can throw strikes. He struggles to make contact with good velocity and against anything in the upper third of the strike zone.


Francisco Morales, RHP (No. 12 to NR)

Morales was designated for assignment in January and has continued to struggle mightily to throw strikes this season, with 17 walks in as many innings at Triple-A Lehigh Valley as of June 19.

Jordan Viars, OF (No. 15 to No. 26)

Viars, a 2021 third-rounder, has yet to show the offensive upside that led the Phillies to draft him in 2021. He’s struggled mightily at Low-A, and there are concerns with the stiffness of his operation at the plate.

Hans Crouse, RHP (No. 16 to NR)

Crouse, who is currently on the injured list, has struggled mightily in a relief-only role this season, with 21 walks in 19.2 innings to go with a 6.86 ERA.

Rickardo Perez, C (No. 17 to No. 25)

Perez has yet to play this season due to a suspension for undisclosed reasons, leaving his future up in the air.


Michael Burrows, RHP (No. 9 to No. 20)

Burrows’ move down is in part because of the risers in the system and part because of Tommy John surgery that will keep him out until some point next year. He showed well in two starts at Triple-A Indianapolis before suffering the injury that required the procedure.


Cole Winn, RHP (No. 12 to No. 15)

After a strong start at Triple-A in 2022, things have gone backward for a while. Part of it stemmed from Winn’s mechanics getting out of sync after being struck by a comebacker in 2022. Since then, he’s struggled to throw strikes. Through his most recent start, the 23-year-old was walking nearly nine hitters per nine innings and had thrown strikes at a rate of just 57%. Scouts still like the overall stuff, but without much improved command and control it won’t matter.


Mason Auer, OF (No. 7 to No. 11)

Auer seems to have lost the feel for his swing for a couple of months this year. At-bats became a struggle, and at his low point he hit .074 in May while striking out 40 times in just 93 plate appearances. He’s starting to pull out of the slump, and his defense remains strong.

Mason Montgomery, LHP (No. 9 to No. 14)

Montgomery relies heavily on his fastball movement. His fastball isn’t generating the same carry at the top of the zone this year, which has been reflected in struggles he never faced last year.

Red Sox

Bryan Mata, RHP (No. 8 to No. 23)

After once being considered one of the prizes of the Red Sox system, Mata has dealt with injuries over the last few seasons and is down to his final option. Mata has been out since early May and has never been able to discover consistent command of his stuff. At this point many other players in the Red Sox system have surpassed him. 

Matthew Lugo, SS (No.18 to No. 25) 

After a strong performance for Greenville in 2022, Lugo has struggled in 2023 with Double-A Portland. He hasn’t found consistent playing time and hasn’t hit when he’s been in the lineup. Lugo has a combination of bad contact quality and an aggressive approach, which really limits his outcomes when his profile is based on bat-to-ball skills alone.


Sal Stewart, 2B/3B, Reds (No. 8 to No. 17)

Stewart’s fall in the rankings is in part due to other prospects who have had excellent years. His .230 batting average can in part be explained by the offensive environment of the Florida State League, but his lack of power (nine doubles, two home runs and .075 isolated power) is more troubling for an infielder whose bat is more well regarded than his glove.


Zac Veen, OF (No. 2 to No. 3) 

While it doesn’t seem like a big move from a rankings perspective this is not a great sign for Veen. After the graduation of Ezequiel Tovar, many expected Veen to solidify himself as the top prospect in the Rockies system. Instead his prolonged struggles at Double-A Hartford have continued. Over Veen’s first 80 games in Double-A he’s hit .196/.287/.277 with three home runs. When you begin to break down Veen’s profile his once lofty status really becomes murky. He’s a corner outfielder whose best attribute over the last year has been his baserunning ability. Veen is still just 21, but it’s been a truly abysmal run over his last 80 games. 

Drew Romo, C (No. 3 to No. 7) 

In many ways, Romo is what he is—a strong defensive catcher whose prospect status is based on his defense and the hope he’ll hit enough. Romo so far in 2023 has not hit much: he’s batting just .228/.269/.371. As a switch-hitter and a catcher it’s naturally going to take a little time to develop his hitting ability. He’s not strikeout-prone and can display good bat-to-ball skills but he lacks impact. His lack of impact has led to bad luck on balls in play, which is particularly ominous when you consider that Romo’s entire approach is based around putting the ball in play. 

Gabriel Hughes, RHP (No. 5 to No. 16) 

The Rockies 2022 first-rounder was recently promoted to Double-A, which certainly seems like good news on the surface. In reality he leaves behind a 5.50 ERA in High-A and was welcomed to Double-A by allowing 16 earned runs over 14 innings. Hughes features above-average velocity but below-average pitch shapes across the board.


Asa Lacy, LHP (No. 12 to No. 20)

The fourth overall pick in 2020 has disappointed since his entry into pro ball. While he still flashes top quality stuff, Lacy has struggled with multiple injuries and an inability to consistently throw strikes. He has yet to pitch in games in 2023.


Peyton Graham, SS (No. 6 to No. 10)

Graham was given a very conservative assignment to Low-A Lakeland. Detroit does that pretty regularly, and usually the college draftees sent there dominate and get a late May/early June promotion to High-A West Michigan. Graham has struggled to make hard contact and he’s battled accuracy issues with his throwing.


Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP (No. 11 to No. 26)

Woods-Richardson has never had overwhelming stuff, but his lack of command this year has led to way too much hard contact. Coming into the year, he seemed poised to at least be an up-and-down starter for the Twins this year. Right now, he’s falling behind a number of other options on the Twins depth chart.

Jose Salas, SS (No. 8 to No. 13)

Acquired in the Jorge LopezLuis Arraez trade, Salas has seemed less athletic this year, raising questions about his ultimate defensive home. He’s also struggling to hit (.505 OPS).

White Sox

Norge Vera, RHP (No. 8 to No. 18)

Vera’s high-90s velocity from early last season disappeared as the 2022 season progressed and has not yet returned in 2023, more often pitching in the low 90s and struggling to land his pitches for strikes. The native of Cuba failed to get out of the first inning in both of his starts for High-A Winston-Salem, and is now back at the White Sox complex in Arizona recovering from a lower back strain.

Kohl Simas, RHP (No. 13 to No. 23)

A pick to click in 2022, Simas has struggled at High-A Winston-Salem, with observers noting that the righthander added weight in the offseason, lost some of his athleticism and arm speed and has seen his stuff dip below-average.

Yolbert Sanchez, 2B (No. 23 to NR)

Signed from Cuba in 2019, Sanchez early on looked like a middle infielder who could get on base and deliver consistently high batting averages, but it’s now mostly weak contact resulting in a lot of ground balls and low walk rates. Sanchez is already 26, so this may be his ceiling.


Elijah Dunham, OF (No. 15 to No. 24)

Dunham, who signed with the Yankees as an NDFA in 2020, has struggled in Triple-A. He’s getting exposed by more experienced pitchers who can find and attack his weaknesses. He’s had particular trouble against lefthanders, and overall is going to have to work to come up with better plans based on who he’s facing on any given night. 

Tyler Hardman, 3B (No. 17 to No. 30)

There’s little doubt that Hardman can lose baseballs easily when he makes contact. Now, he just needs to make more contact. His swing gets too uphill, which leaves him with holes at the top of the strike zone that upper-level pitchers have learned to exploit. 

Download our app

Read the newest magazine issue right on your phone