RoboScout Top MLB Prospects At Every Level On May 5, 2024


Happy Cinco de (Coby) Mayo! There’s a lot going on in the minor leagues right now. The Complex Leagues started this weekend, Kyle Manzardo, Junior Caminero and Mayo appear on the verge of callups, and Mets righty Christian Scott made a great major league debut this weekend.

So let’s just jump right into it.

Low-A Pitchers (min 7 IP)

The top five pitchers remain the same, but a new name enters the top 10. Red Sox RHP Jedixson Paez struck out 12 batters while yielding just nine baserunners over two starts and 10 innings. The Venezuela native’s two-seamer sits just 90-91 mph, but has over a foot-and-a-half of horizontal armside run. His low-80s frisbee slider moves gloveside with over 18 inches of horizontal break, and he bridges the two offerings with a mid-80s cutter. On average, a 20-year-old will gain 1.5 to 2 mph of fastball velocity as he matures. Still, Paez is fighting an uphill battle to develop into anything more than a back-of-the-rotation starter if he averages 92.5 mph.

Reds lefty Adam Serwinowski tumbled 10 spots to No. 16 this week after a stumbling through a five-inning start while striking out only two batters. Don’t be surprised when his mid-90s fastball and low-to-mid-80s slider mix finds its way back into the top 10—but he will need a bit more swing and miss to impress RoboScout.

Nationals righty Jarlin Susana, on the other hand, is ascending. The 20-year-old has added even more velocity to his upper-90s fastballs and looks like he has added nearly seven inches of horizontal movement (and 200 rpm) to his slider/cutter/curveball (though keep in mind, it is difficult to distinguish the three). Susana’s future success has always hinged on whether he can limit walks. Thus far in 16 innings in 2024, he has an excellent 6.7% walk rate, significantly lower than the double-digit mark he has had over his minor league career. Keep your eyes on this one.

1Jonah TongNYM98100
2Quinn MathewsSTL8994
3George KlassenPHI8893
4Matt WilkinsonCLE10091
5Santiago SuarezTBR8287
6Jarlin SusanaWAS7885
7Charlee SotoMIN8684
8Yujanyer HerreraMIL8983
9Jedixson PaezBOS8382
10Michael KennedyPIT9079

Just missed: Luis De Leon (Orioles), Franklin Gomez (Mets), Thomas White (Marlins), Michael Forret (Orioles)

Low-A Hitters (min 35 PA)

Mariners slugger Lazaro Montes takes over the top spot among Low-A hitters after hitting a pair of home runs. Fellow Modesto Nut—and there are FOUR in the top 10—Tai Peete entered the top 10 despite not hitting any home runs by raising his triple slash and stealing two bases.

Guardians prospect Ralphy Velazquez had the most disappointing week for Low-A hitters. He fell from the top 10 after recording only one hit in 24 plate appearances.

1Lazaro MontesSEA100100
2Jeral PerezLAD97100
3Jaison ChourioCLE9799
4Cristofer TorinARI9394
5Tai PeeteSEA9091
6Colt EmersonSEA8689
7Jonny FarmeloSEA8387
8Josue BricenoDET8186
9Zyhir HopeLAD8085
10Blake MitchellKCR8485

Just missed: Aidan Smith (Mariners), Michael Arroyo (Mariners), Max Clark (Tigers), Nehomar Ochoa Jr. (Astros)

High-A Pitchers (min 7 IP)

Nationals righty Andry Lara is knocking on the door of the top 10 after striking out seven batters over six shutout innings. Lara would have the fourth-highest score for a High-A pitcher if the ranking was merely based on age, strikeouts, walks and traditional performance projections. Unfortunately, he falls to No. 11 when folding in Statcast Stuff+ metrics. Lara’s 86-87 mph slider gained two ticks of velocity since last year and remains his best pitch with bullet spin. But his four-seamer still lacks the shape of the modern day fastball of high IVB and flat VAA, even despite gaining two mph in velocity as well. He’s a fascinating arm to watch. 

Rays pitcher Trevor Martin dropped out of the top 10 after giving up four earned runs in less than four innings and striking out only one.

Twins righty Zebby Matthews still hasn’t walked a batter in 22 innings. He’s an interesting arm to monitor. While Matthews is 24-year-old carving up High-A, his fastball now sits 96 mph after gaining nearly two mph and an inch of IVB. He should be in Double-A shortly where we can see if his five-pitch mix plays against upper-level hitters.

1Noah SchultzCHW98100
2Chase DollanderCOL8990
3Jaden HammDET9589
4Owen MurphyATL9089
5Zebby MatthewsMIN8789
6Sean SullivanCOL10088
7Winston SantosTEX8788
8Luis PeralesBOS8286
9Brett WichrowskiMIL8384
10Patrick ReillyPIT7981

Just missed: Andry Lara (Nationals), Aidan Curry (Rangers), Moises Chace (Orioles), Alessandro Ercolani (Pirates)

High-A Hitters (min 35 PA)

Former Reds RoboScout darling Jay Allen already hinted at a potential breakout after ranking No. 16 last week. He rocketed into the top three this week after hitting two home runs, stealing four bases and raising his wRC+ from 169 to over 200. The contact, barrel and chase rates are all better than average for the level. The 21-year old is showing a solid blend of power and speed.

Another Dayton Tortuga, Hector Rodriguez, also had a solid robo week with two home runs and a stolen base. The former Met has improved on nearly every Statcast measure. His contact rate, 90th percentile exit velocity and barrel rates were all essentially league-average in 2023. Thus far in 2024, each of those measures is a standard deviation or above in the early going. Most encouragingly, his swing decisions seem to be much better in the nascent season. His swing% (63%) minus chase% (48%) was 15% in 2023, where the league average is around 20%. He has been essentially league-average in 2024. If he can maintain these improvements, he can knock on the door of a fantasy top 100 prospect.

Cubs prospect Pedro Ramirez enters the top 10 for the first time after hitting two home runs, stealing two bases and raising his wRC+ by 50 points. Ramirez has a solid hit tool, but has a 64% ground ball rate, leading to a lower-than-average barrel rate which is currently capping his in-game power.

1Carter JensenKCR100100
2Cam CollierCIN9895
3Jay Allen IICIN8586
4Alex FreelandLAD8085
5Hector RodriguezCIN8184
6Jefferson RojasCHC8484
7Mike BoeveMIL7782
8Luke KeaschallMIN7782
9Sal StewartCIN7478
10Pedro RamirezCHC7776

Just missed: Luke Adams (MIL), Yohendrick Pinango (CHC), Joe Mack (MIA), Luis Lara (MIL)

Double-A Pitchers (min 7 IP)

Fresh off seven shutout innings and 11 strikeouts, D-backs righty Yilber Diaz jumps to the No. 1 spot. It’s a common refrain, but his chances at remaining a starter will ultimately depend on his command. If not, his 96-97 mph fastball should play in a bullpen. It’s currently leaning relief considering his 11% walk rate, but the 23-year old Venezuelan is doing his best to stake a claim in a rotation, averaging five innings per start.

Old friend Tink Hence has catapulted into the top five following a 10-strikeout performance last week. The 21-year-old is the fifth-youngest pitcher in the Texas League and is averaging just over five innings per start so far. Using only 2024 statistics, Hence has the best projection of any Double-A pitcher thus far.

Mets righty Blade Tidwell ranks just ahead of Hence after striking out 19 batters and yielding only one earned run over his last 14+ innings. Tidwell has added two mph on his fastball, five inches of sweep on his slider, and an upper-80s cutter since last year. It’s all proving to be an uncomfortable at bat for Double-A hitters. Just like with Diaz, if he can keep the walk rate in single digits—he’s at 9.2% right now—he might be able to stick in the rotation. Tidwell has shown the endurance to do so. His 5.8 innings per game in Double-A is second only to Caden Dana and Drew Thorpe

1Yilber DiazARI100100
2Brett KerryLAA9698
3Blade TidwellNYM9197
4Tink HenceSTL10097
5Carson PalmquistCOL9495
6Ben CaspariusLAD8894
7Mason AdamsCHW10093
8Jacob MisiorowskiMIL8592
9Ian SeymourTBR9491
10Chandler ChamplainKCR9089

Just missed: Tyler Woessner (Brewers), Jackson Jobe (Tigers), Miguel Ullola (Astros)

Double-A Hitters (min 35 PA)

Mariners catcher Harry Ford makes the biggest jump—going from No. 40 last week to No. 4—after hitting two home runs, stealing four bases and raising his wRC+ from 101 to 157. He is showing increased 90th percentile exit velocity and barrel rate for the second consecutive season. His chase rate has always been elite and has decreased over that time as well. Interestingly, his overall swing rate has increased from last year despite chasing less. He’s caught most of his games this year. If he remains a regular at catcher in the big leagues, he’s a surefire top 50 fantasy prospect. 

Red Sox left fielder Matthew Lugo continues his delayed ascension in 2024. He ranks just outside the top 10 after raising his wRC+ to 219, hitting another homer and stealing a base. Lugo hit six homers through his first 71 plate appearances and has shown improvements in barrel rate and 90th percentile exit velocity from last year. He is showing significantly more selectivity in 2024, lowering his overall swing rate from over 50% to just over 41%.

This has led to the “Emmanuel Rodriguez effect,” where his ultra-selectivity creates a discrepancy between his 30% strikeout rate and his contact, in-zone contact,and swinging strike rates, which are all actually better than league average. Lugo was drafted as an infielder and played most of his games at third base last year, but he has only played left field so far in 2024. With a slugging percentage over .800, so far there is no concern as to whether he will have enough thump in the bat for the position.

1Emmanuel RodriguezMIN100100
2Moises BallesterosCHC9799
3Agustin RamirezNYY9193
4Harry FordSEA9189
5Mike BoeveMIL8186
6Carson WilliamsTBR8285
7James TriantosCHC8285
8Jett WilliamsNYM7983
9Zac VeenCOL8181
10Nacho Alvarez Jr.ATL7578

Just missed: Matthew Lugo (Red Sox), Roman Anthony (Red Sox), Cole Young (Mariners), Jacob Wison (Athletics), Tyler Locklear (Mariners), Deyvison De Los Santos (D-backs)

Triple-A Pitchers (min 7 IP)

Cardinals righty Sem Robberse will be a popular name in FAAB bidding this week. He’s rumored to be a potential callup to replace Steven Matz, who just went on the IL with a herniated disc in his back. This makes sense on the surface. The 22-year old righthander has a 0.95 WHIP and 1.77 ERA through 35.2 innings for Memphis and has a sub-4 ERA projection at peak. The main concern, though, is whether his 91 mph fastball will play in the majors. He’s another fascinating one to watch considering he’s the fifth-youngest pitcher in the International League and is knocking on the doorstep.

Bryan Woo (Mariners) and Taj Bradley (Rays) are MLB starters on rehab assignments who rank in the top five. Expect them to be back in their respective MLB rotations shortly.

1Paul SkenesPIT100100
2(Christian Scott) – MLBNYM8989
3Jack LeiterTEX8786
4(Taj Bradley)BAL8282
5(Bryan Woo)SEA8281
6Cade PovichBAL8777
7(Matt Manning) – MLBDET7577
8(Louie Varland)LAA7776
9Will WarrenNYY7175
10Brett KerryLAA7374

Just missed: Jacob Waguespack (TBR), Tobias Myers (MIL), Mason Black (SFG)

Triple-A Hitters (min 40 PA)

Marlins utility option Jonah Bride ranked ninth in the Triple-A hitter rankings last week. He jumped to No. 8 this week and the Marlins called him up, presumably as additional infield depth after trading Luis Arraez to the Padres. Or, if RoboScout’s ego is to be believed, the Marlins traded Arraez because of Jonah Bride’s performance. The 28-year-old righty is not a prospect in the traditional sense of the word, but he produced the highest Triple-A wRC+ (199) of anyone with at least 70 plate appearances through Friday’s games. He played first base, second base, and third base with equal regularity for Triple-A Jacksonville. He’ll probably start as bench depth or the short side of a platoon, but RoboScout believes that if he were given a longer leash, he would be a better-than-league-average hitter for the Marlins.

Unsurprisingly, Rays 3B Junior Caminero surges to No. 2 after hitting *checks notes* four homers and raising his wRC+ from 104 to 173 through Friday’s games. Caminero hit six homers through 64 plate appearances as a 20-year-old in Triple-A. He merely reinforced why he ranks No. 3 in Baseball America’s Top 100 and isn’t long for the minors. He should be in the Rays’ MLB lineup in a matter of days. 

1Jackson HollidayBAL100100
2Junior CamineroTBR9999
3Coby MayoBAL9395
4(Jose Fermin) – MLBSTL9194
5Kyle ManzardoCLE8690
6(Heston Kjerstad) – MLBBAL8587
7James WoodWAS8787
8(Jonah Bride) – MLBMIA8285
9Caleb DurbinNYY8383
10(Tyler Black) – MLBMIL8083

Just missed: Miguel Vargas (Dodgers), Ji-Hwan Bae (Pirates), Chase Meidroth (Red Sox), Orelvis Martinez (Blue Jays), Owen Caissie (Cubs)

New Feature: MomoScout

I’m introducing a new feature this week. I’ll use this space to discuss an interesting player who RoboScout identifies with upward momentum despite little fanfare. This week’s selection may even contribute in redraft leagues in 2024, but he’s likely not rostered in most dynasty leagues: Isaac Collins (Brewers), who has a wRC+ of 149 with four home runs and three stolen bases. 

The Brewers plucked him from the Rockies in the 2022 MiLB Rule 5 Draft. The switch-hitter has raked for Triple-A Nashville while playing left field, center field and second base. Prior to the season, Steamer600 had him as an uninspiring nine home run, 19 stolen base, 84 wRC+ player. After 102 plate appearances through Friday’s games, his 2024 small-sample Triple-A performance has been so solid that his current major league projection has jumped to 98 wRC+ with 10 home runs and 17 stolen bases. 

To put that in perspective, he’s gone from being Jonathan Davis to, essentially, Brayan Rocchio or Masyn Winn. Not too shabby, and a notch on the belt of the Milwaukee scouting and development department. 

Happy bidding!

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