See Each 2020 Top 100 Prospect's Best Professional Game
Typically our first significant Top 100 update coincides with the start of the Minor League season, which would've been today.
Obviously, with games halted since mid-March amid the coronavirus outbreak, there won't be any games for quite some time. There also were not enough games played this spring prior to the shutdown to warrant a Top 100 update.
So we improvised.
Below is a look at the top single-game performance by each Top 100 prospect as a professional, beginning with Wander Franco and ending with Isaac Paredes.
- See the 2020 Top 100
- The Toolsiest Top 100 Prospects
- Top 100 By The Numbers
- Notable Players Who Missed The Top 100
- Top 100 Oral History
- Team-by-Team Top 10 Prospects
- Prospects We Hope Have A Healthy 2020
1.Wander Franco, SS, Rays
Date: July 14, 2018
Franco gave a glimpse of his immense potential at Rookie-level Princeton in his first pro season. Just a month into his career, Franco hit for the cycle AND homered twice in the same game against Yankees affiliate Pulaski. He homered in the first inning, tripled in the second, homered again in the fourth, singled in the fifth and completed the cycle with a double in the seventh. Overall Franco finished 5-for-6 with three runs scored and six RBI, still his career highs for hits and RBI in a game.
2. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
Date: July 11, 2019
Robert’s Triple-A debut was one to remember. The Cuban outfielder went 3-for-5 with two home runs and seven RBI in his first game for Charlotte, including a grand slam. His grand slam in the third inning was his first Triple-A hit, and he added a solo home run in the fifth and an RBI single in the seventh to help the Knights secure a 15-12 win over Braves affiliate Gwinnett.
3. Jo Adell, OF, Angels
Date: May 15, 2018
Adell quickly announced he would be a force to be reckoned with in pro ball. Just over a month into his first full season, Adell went 4-for-5 with a double, two home runs and five RBI, including the go-ahead two run homer, in a 9-3 win over D-backs affiliate Kane County. Adell’s monster performance began a stretch of five home runs in six games and culminated in his promotion to high Class A Inland Empire.
4. Gavin Lux, 2B/SS, Dodgers
Date: July 18, 2019
Lux’s assault on Triple-A pitchers led to his first big league callup and Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year award last year. His loudest game came against Cubs affiliate Iowa, when he went 5-for-6 with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and three RBI. Lux led off the game with a double, delivered an RBI single in the second inning, doubled again in the fourth, homered in the sixth and finished his night with an RBI single in the ninth.
5. Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles
Date: Aug. 19, 2019
Rutschman played only 37 games after being drafted No. 1 overall last year, but that was enough for him to show his prodigious talent. Rutschman’s best game came with short-season Aberdeen, when he went 5-for-5 with a triple, a home run and four RBI. His solo home run in the sixth put the IronBirds on the board, and his bases-clearing triple in the eighth put the finishing touches on a 6-2, comeback win over A’s affiliate Vermont.
6. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres
Date: July 2, 2019
Gore made a lasting impression in his final start for high Class A Lake Elsinore last summer. Facing Dodgers affiliate Rancho Cucamonga, Gore pitched a career-high seven innings, gave up three hits and no runs, walked three and struck out nine. He retired 10 of the final 12 batters he faced, five via strikeout, and gave up only one hit after the fifth inning. The outing lowered his ERA to 1.02, a new California League record by a starter with at least 70 innings pitched.
7. Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays
Date: April 25, 2019
After missing most of 2018 due to injury, Pearson came out firing in his return in 2019. In his fifth start back, Pearson pitched five scoreless innings with two hits allowed, one walk and a career-high 10 strikeouts for high Class A Dunedin. He retired the first 11 batters he faced, six via strikeout, and saved the best for last. After allowing a single and a double to lead off the fifth and receiving a mound visit, Pearson struck out the next three batters—all swinging—to escape the jam and put a final exclamation point on his outing.
8. Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners
Date: Aug. 28, 2019
Rodriguez generated otherworldly buzz upon his promotion to the high Class A California League last summer. The best of his jaw-dropping performances came when he went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, two runs scored and four RBI against Athletics affiliate Stockton. The performance was so loud, one Stockton player told Modesto manager Denny Hocking that Rodriguez was the best player he’d ever seen.
9. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, Athletics
Date: Aug. 30, 2019
In a season defined by balls flying out of the park at Triple-A, Luzardo delivered one final standout showing at launching pad Las Vegas to show he was ready for the majors. Luzardo pitched six innings, allowed one run, no walks and struck out 10 against Mariners affiliate Tacoma. He struck out six straight batters at one point and finished his outing with his 10th and final strikeout, tying his career high. Less than two weeks later, he received his first big league callup.
10. Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals
Date: Aug. 11, 2019.
Carlson had many memorable performances during his breakout 2019. The best came with Double-A Springfield against Mariners affiliate Arkansas. Carlson went 3-for-5 with a double and two home runs in a 7-3 win, but most impressive was how he did it. The switch-hitter homered from both sides of the plate, hitting a home run righthanded in the first inning and lefthanded in the eighth inning. He was promoted to Triple-A four days later.
11. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mariners
Date: Sept. 1, 2019
Kelenic was promoted to Double-A at the end of last season and quickly became a thorn in the side of Padres affiliate Amarillo. On Aug. 23, Kelenic went 2-for-4 with two homers and four RBI against Amarillo. Nine days later, facing Amarillo again, he one-upped himself. Kelenic went 2 for 4 with two home runs and five RBI, including the game-tying three-run homer in the ninth.
12. Cristian Pache, OF, Braves
Date: June 1, 2018
Pache began taking offensive steps forward in 2018 and never looked back. Playing for high Class A Florida, Pache went 4-for-6 with a double, a home run and five RBI against Phillies affiliate Clearwater to open June. The performance is still tied for his career highs in hits and RBI.
13. Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers
Date: April 29, 2019
The Tigers promoted Mize to Double-A less than a month into his first full season, and he responded by throwing a no-hitter in his first Double-A start. Mize got the baseball world buzzing with his historic feat, allowing only one walk and striking out seven while no-hitting Pirates affiliate Altoona. He was so dominant from start to finish that he needed only 98 pitches to complete his no-hitter.
14. Brendan McKay, LHP, Rays
Date: June 15, 2019
McKay pitched five scoreless innings with one hit allowed, one walk and seven strikeouts for Triple-A Durham against Yankees affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. What made it more notable is who he was pitching against. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup on rehab assignments, and McKay kept the duo hitless while striking out Judge once and Stanton twice.
15. Carter Kieboom, 2B/SS, Nationals
Date: April 30, 2017
Kieboom’s best game came in his first month of his first full season. Playing for low Class A Hagerstown, Kieboom went 5-for-7 with three home runs and five RBI on against Royals affiliate Lexington. He also doubled and scored four runs in the game to lead a 22-4 shellacking.
16. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Marlins
Date: July 23, 2019
Sanchez’s high-octane fastball hasn’t always translated to missing bats, but it certainly did on this date last year. Pitching for Double-A Jacksonville, Sanchez tossed seven scoreless innings with two hits allowed, no walks and nine strikeouts in a win over Brewers affiliate Biloxi. He retired nine straight batters at one point, eight straight at another, and struck out his final two batters swinging to end the night on a high note.
17. Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers
Date: April 10, 2019
Manning gave a preview of the dominance ahead in his second start last season. Pitching for Double-A Erie, Manning pitched seven scoreless innings with one hit allowed, no walks and 10 strikeouts against Pirates affiliate Altoona. The righthander was perfect into the fifth, allowed a two-out single, and then retired the final seven batters he faced in a 2-1 SeaWolves victory.
18. Luis Patino, RHP, Padres
Date: July 31, 2019
Patino introduced himself nationally with an eye-popping performance at the Futures Game last year, then returned to high Class A Lake Elsinore and dominated. Facing Giants affiliate San Jose, Patino pitched 8.1 scoreless innings with three hits allowed, no walks and nine strikeouts. The outing was the longest of his career by two full innings, and is nine punchouts tied his career high.
19. Marco Luciano, SS, Giants
Date: June 21, 2019
The 18-year-old Luciano has played only 47 games in his young career. His best came when he went 4-for-4 with a home run, three runs scored, three RBI and a stolen base in a Rookie-level Arizona League game against the Cubs. It is the only four-hit game of Luciano’s career so far.
20. Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers
Date: June 22, 2019
May rose from Double-A to the majors in a span of six weeks last summer because of outings like this one. Pitching for Double-A Tulsa, May pitched seven scoreless innings, allowed two hits, walked none and struck out 14 in a sensational performance against Padres affiliate Amarillo. May struck out seven of his first 10 batters to open the game, struck out the side in the fifth and then finished his night with swinging strikeouts of his final two batters. He was promoted to Triple-A for his next start.
21. A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics
Date: Aug. 31, 2017
Puk closed out the 2017 regular season with a flourish for Double-A Midland. Facing Padres affiliate San Antonio, Puk tied his career-high with 13 strikeouts and didn’t allow an earned run over six innings. He struck out the side in the first, second and fifth innings, didn’t walk anybody and kept the RockHounds competitive in a tight game, departing with the score 0-0.
22. C.J. Abrams, SS, Padres
Date: June 18, 2019
It was impossible to know it at the time, but Abrams’ pro debut was a sign of things to come. Abrams reached base five times against the AZL Indians in his first professional game, going 4-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and a walk. It set the tone for an eye-opening season that ended with him batting .401 in the AZL and winning the league’s MVP award.
23. Brendan Rodgers, 2B, Rockies
Date: April 22, 2018
A hit machine in the minors, Rodgers’ best single-game effort came in the opening weeks of the 2018 season with Double-A Hartford. Facing Nationals affiliate Harrisburg, Rodgers went 5-for-5 with a double, a home run, three RBI and three runs scored. It is one of three five-hit games in his career, but the only one where he reached based in every plate appearance.
24. Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals
Date: Aug. 26, 2019.
Witt Jr. played only 37 games after signing as the No. 2 overall pick last year. His best performance came when he went 3-for-5 with a triple, two runs scored and three RBI against the Brewers in the Rookie-level Arizona League.
25. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros
Date: July 3, 2017
Whitley’s breakthrough 2017 season featured dominant outings throughout, but his first start with high Class A Buies Creek was especially notable. In his Carolina League, Whitley pitched five no-hit innings, allowed only one baserunner (via a walk) and struck out nine against Nationals affiliate Potomac. Whitley was perfect into the fifth, striking out nine of his first 14 batters, before allowing a two-out walk. He got the next batter to fly out to cap a brilliant debut.
26. Royce Lewis, SS, Twins
Date: Aug. 6, 2018
In a battle of the No. 1 overall picks from 2017 (Lewis) and 2018 (Casey Mize), Lewis came out victorious. The Twins’ top prospect led off the game with a single against Mize, then socked a homer off of Mize in his next at-bat. Mize exited after three innings, but Lewis wasn’t done. He added another single and another home run in the fifth and eighth innings, giving himself the second multi-homer game of his career.
27. Spencer Howard, RHP, Phillies
Date: Sept. 7, 2018
After a lackluster first half, Howard turned it on in the second half with low Class A Lakewood. He shaved his ERA from 5.25 to 2.67 and struck out 81 over 64 innings. The cherry on top, however, came in the playoffs. Facing Kannapolis, Howard tossed a nine-inning no-hitter while striking out nine. The win sent Lakewood to the South Atlantic League Championship Series, and also marked the first time Howard’s fastball had touched 100 mph. He’s since ascended to the top of the Phillies’ system and is primed to make his big league debut once baseball returns.
28. Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies
Date: July 20, 2019
In a lineup that featured three Phillies first-round picks (Bohm, Mickey Moniak, Cornelius Randolph), Bohm showed off. The long-limbed slugger stole the show in Reading’s defeat. Bohm clubbed a pair of home runs—in the fourth inning off of Joey Murray and again in the eighth inning off of Justin Dillon—to give himself the first multi-homer game of his career.
29. Jordan Groshans, SS, Blue Jays
Date: July 31, 2018
Groshans reached seven total bases twice in his first pro season—in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League after Toronto drafted him in the first round out of high school in Texas—but this game takes the cake because he drove in six runs.
30. Andrew Vaughn, 1B, White Sox
Date: July 2, 2019
After a sensational junior season at California, Vaughn moved quickly up the ladder as a professional. His best game, however, came early in his career. In his second game, a tune-up in the Rookie-level Arizona League, Vaughn showed off the power the White Sox saw when they selected him with the third overall pick. He swatted his first career home run as part of a 4-for-5 effort with two doubles.
31. Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins
Date: June 14, 2018
After a year off in 2017 while recovering from Tommy John surgery, the first-round pick out of high school in Pittsburgh put together a year that would have put him in the running for BA’s Minor League Player of the Year honors were it not for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s season for the ages. With Cedar Rapids for this game, Kirilloff slammed a pair of home runs and drove in six runs as part of a 15-hit Kernels attack.
32. Joey Bart, C, Giants
Date: July 4, 2018
After a quick warmup in the Rookie-level Arizona League, Bart moved up to short-season Salem-Keizer. He made his debut with the Volcanoes on the Fourth of July and immediately provided some . . . fireworks. Facing Hillsboro, Bart slammed two home runs as a part of a 3-for-5 day in S-K’s 15-1 rout of the Hops. Bart slaughtered the Northwest League for the rest of the summer and ranked No. 1 in the league on BA’s annual Top 20 Prospects list.
33. Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox
Date: Aug. 24, 2016
Even before he became one of the centerpieces of the deal that sent Chris Sale to Boston, Kopech had tremendous upside. He showed flashes of dominance in the minor leagues, but really kicked it into overdrive in his second full year as a professional. Facing Potomac in late August, the big righthander spun seven one-hit innings while striking out 10. The outing was one of four that season in which he’d recorded double-digit strikeouts. He added eight more of those games before making his big league debut at the end of 2018.
34. Tarik Skubal, LHP, Tigers
Date: July 19, 2019
The biggest riser of the season without question was excellent at high Class A Lakeland before hitting another gear at Double-A Erie. Over 42.1 innings with the SeaWolves, Skubal struck out an absurd 82 hitters. For those doing the math, that works out to an average of 17.4 strikeouts per nine innings—as a starter. His high-water mark came on July 19, when he grounded the Richmond Flying Squirrels for six innings while striking out 13. Former Baseball America associate editor Justin Coleman was there that night and wrote about the game.
35. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles
Date: April 12, 2019
Rodriguez came out of the chute hot in 2019. The righthanded Texan opened the season on April 5 by striking out 10 over five innings against Lexington, then whiffed 10 more a week later against Lakewood. Rodriguez pitched six innings in that game and allowed the BlueClaws just one hit while walking three. The game also marked his second of four 10-strikeout games on the season, which resulted in a Futures Game appearance at midseason.
36. Drew Waters, OF, Braves
Date: June 1, 2019
Along with Cristian Pache, Waters is part of the dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of Atlanta’s system. The pair was with Double-A Mississippi when Waters showed everyone just what he could do with his combination of power and speed. Facing Pensacola, Waters went 4-for-5 with a double and two triples, two runs scored and an RBI. That outburst helped power the M-Braves’ 8-4 victory over the Blue Wahoos.
37. Brailyn Marquez, LHP, Cubs
Date: July 25, 2019
Marquez has slowly climbed the prospect ranks as his stuff has ticked up and he’s learned to better control his massive body. On this night, Marquez and his high-octane fastball and nasty slider held the Lake County Captains in check. The Cubs’ No. 1 prospect struck out 14 over six one-hit, no-walk innings while throwing just 71 pitches. Overpowering would be an understatement. He followed that gem with six no-hit innings his next time out, then added six more hitless frames after a promotion to high Class A. Over those three starts, Marquez went 17 shutout innings, allowed one hit, walked four and struck out 26.
39. Daniel Lynch, LHP, Royals
Date: May 15, 2019
Matched against Frederick’s Dean Kremer for a 10:35 a.m. prospect showdown, Lynch delivered. The fireballing lefthander whom the Royals selected out of Virginia int 2018 matched Kremer zero for zero over seven brilliant innings. Lynch whiffed nine while allowing just two hits and no walks before exiting. The game was scoreless until the eighth, when Nick Pratto’s single drove home the winning run.
40. Nico Hoerner, 2B, Cubs
Date: July 5, 2019
After blasting the Arizona Fall League in his draft year, Hoerner started his first full season in Double-A. He broke his hand in mid-April, then returned on July 4. A day later, he went off. Facing Montgomery, Hoerner went 2-for-5 with a triple and a bomb and three RBIs. Two months later, after playing just 89 games, Hoerner was in the big leagues.
41. Sean Murphy, C, Athletics
Date: July 26, 2019
This game was insane. In fact, it was possibly the most insane game in the minor leagues in 2019. Everybody knows the Triple-A baseballs were a little juicier than usual. And everybody knows the ball already flies really well in the Pacific Coast League. Combine those two facts and you get, well, you get July 26, 2019. Murphy’s Las Vegas Aviators hit 11 home runs that night as part of a 20-11 thrashing of El Paso, which hit just one home run. (Side note: El Paso hit 258 home runs in 2019). Murphy was one of four players in the Las Vegas lineup (Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and Mark Payton were the others) to hit multiple homers that night. But while Mateo, Fowler and Payton hit two apiece, Murphy did them one better and hit three two-run shots.
42. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Cardinals
Date: June 15, 2019
Before being dealt to the Cardinals in the offseason, Liberatore spent the 2019 season in the Bowling Green rotation. His peak came in a game against Lansing, when he sliced the Lugnuts lineup for seven efficient innings. The lefty struck out nine and walked one while allowing just three hits.
43. Brandon Marsh, OF, Angels
Date: May 1, 2018
After an excellent debut season in the Pioneer League, Marsh moved to the low Class A Midwest League for 2018. Though he has just 21 career homers, scouts often project him to be a power bat at the next level. He showed that burgeoning pop in this game, when he socked two home runs in a game as part of a 3-for-6 effort against Dayton. The effort still stands as Marsh’s only multi-homer game of the minor league regular season, though he did repeat the feat last year in the Arizona Fall League. Notably, this game also featured homers from a pair of prominent prospects—Jeter Downs and Jose Garcia.
44. Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves
Date: June 28, 2019
Anderson has plenty of impressive games in his career, but the peak came last year as part of a combined no-hitter against Jackson. Anderson went the first seven innings and struck out 14 before handing the ball off to Jeremy Walker, who finished the game and put a bow on history. That total included the first five outs of the game.
45. Trevor Larnach, OF, Twins
Date: May 7, 2019
Larnach was one of the bigger breakout prospects of last year, when the former Oregon State slugger finished his first full season as a pro with a .309/.384/.458 slash line combined between high Class A and Double-A. It took a little while for the power to show up, but he unloaded his first two home runs of the season in this game against Charlotte. This was the second multi-homer game of Larnach’s career, with the first coming on July 31, 2018 in the Appalachian League.
46. J.J. Bleday, OF, Marlins
Date: July 22, 2019
After a whirlwind season that began in February with Vanderbilt and ended seven months later in the Florida State League, Bleday would be excused for being a bit gassed once he turned pro. Still, the Marlins were so sure of his abilities that they jumped him straight to high Class A. For his best pro game, we’ll take his first career pro home run, which came against Charlotte against reliever Alex Valverde. He added two more home runs before the season ended, but the first one is always the sweetest.
47. DL Hall, LHP, Orioles
Date: April 26, 2019
Hall faced a tough task at the top of the Winston-Salem lineup, where slugger Luis Robert and slasher Nick Madrigal were stacked in the leadoff and two-holes. The former entered the game hitting .475, while the latter had already notched five multi-hit games. Unfazed, Hall carved. The lefthander struck out Robert three times and held Madrigal hitless en route to five hits of one-hit ball with eight strikeouts.
48. Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox
Date: Sept. 2, 2019
Throughout the course of three seasons at Oregon State and two more as a pro, Madrigal has garnered a reputation as a contact machine. He collects hits in bunches and almost never strikes out (just 21 in 163 minor league games). Madrigal already has three four-hit games on his ledger, but he saved his coup de gras for the last game of 2019. On that day, against Norfolk, Madrigal established a new high-water mark by slapping five hits to close the season.
49. Riley Greene, OF, Tigers
Date: June 24, 2019
As the phrase goes, Greene announced his presence with authority as soon as he turned pro. In the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, Greene, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft, went 4-for-5 with a double and two home runs in his pro debut. One of those home runs was a grand slam.
50. Nolan Jones, 3B, Indians
Date: Aug. 1, 2018
Jones closed his Lake County career with a bang. Well, with two bangs. Facing a prospect-laden Bowling Green team, Jones swatted his 15th and 16th home runs of the season as part of a 3-for-4 day. He was promoted to high Class A Lynchburg after the game and added three more home runs the rest of the way.
MiLB Top 10 Prospects Flashback: 1986 American Association
The American Association class of 1986 features two Hall of Famers along with several other longtime contributors.
51. Vidal Brujan, 2B
Date: Aug. 22, 2018
At his best, Brujan is an excellent leadoff hitter because he gets on-base at a high rate and has the speed to pressure pitchers and fielders. Power isn’t usually his game, but in this game against Bradenton he both thumped and proved the perfect leadoff hitter. Brujan walked in the first, stole second and then scored. He homered to drive in two in his next at-bat. He manufactured another run the next time up. He singled, stole second and advanced to third when the shortstop couldn’t field the catcher’s throw. A sacrifice fly then scored him in an inning where there were no other hits. He walked and stole his third base of the game in the seventh inning, then hit a three-run home run in the ninth. In five plate appearances, Brujan reached base five times, stealing three bases, driving in five runs and scoring four.
52. Mitch Keller, RHP
Date: June 7, 2019
Keller’s career has had plenty of ups and downs. After a brilliant start to his pro career, he hit a speed bump in his promotion to Triple-A in 2018 and had even more issues in his 11 MLB starts in 2019. But he did have plenty of moments in Triple-A in 2019 that reminded everyone of the talent that is still there. Keller struck out 13 Toledo batters in only 15 outs (five innings). Keller did walk three, but he was virtually unhittable--the only Toledo batter to get a hit was Danny Woodrow’s single to start the bottom of the first.
53. Daulton Varsho, C
Date: July 5, 2017 Varsho already has five four-hit games in his brief MiLB career. But it’s his one five-hit game that stands out as his best effort. Varsho came a triple short of a cycle as he doubled, homered and lined three singles. He also threw out one of two basestealers. As a catcher, Varsho’s work behind the plate was also important--he helped starting pitcher Connor Grey work six effective innings as Hillsboro allowed only two runs in a 17-2 trouncing of Salem-Keiser.
54. Evan White, 1B
Date: Aug. 16, 2018
White can be knocked for having less-than-profile power for a first baseman--he has never slugged .500 in a MiLB season. But few doubt his ability to hit. White went on a tear in August of 2018 in his first full minor league season. Three of his five four-hit games came in a two week stretch that August. The best of that group was White’s 4-for-4 day against Stockton. He had two doubles and a triple that day and also walked.
55. Nolan Gorman, 3B
Date: June 30-July 1, 2018
It’s impossible to choose between Gorman’s best two games because they were back-to-back gems. On his final day in the Appalachian League, Gorman hit two home runs. The Cardinals promoted him to low Class A Peoria (a very aggressive assignment for a high school player in his draft year). Gorman responded with his second two home run game in two days (while this time adding a single as well).
56. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B
Date: June 1, 2018
Hayes doesn’t have top-of-the-scale power, so it’s not shocking that he doesn’t have a two home run game. But he does put together consistent professional at-bats, and when he has a good day, he often collects hits in bunches. Hayes has 30 MiLB games with three or more hits. The best of those came against Hartford in mid-2018. Hayes had four hits including three doubles.
57. Oneil Cruz, SS
Date: July 20, 2017
It’s easy to forget that Cruz was first a Dodgers prospect before he was traded to Pittsburgh for Tony Watson. Cruz was playing a lot of third base in deference to teammate Gavin Lux. As a third baseman, Cruz went 5-for-5 with a double and a home run. Less than two weeks later, Cruz was a Pirate.
58. Jesus Sanchez, OF
Date: Aug. 2, 2019
Sanchez gave his new team a glimpse of what he could do a month after the Marlins acquired him a deadline deal with the Rays. After striking out in the first, Sanchez doubled and scored, then hit home runs in his next two plate appearances. He walked in his final appearance of the night.
59. Logan Gilbert, RHP
Date: May 19, 2019
Gilbert was impressively consistent in his first full pro season. He allowed more than three runs only twice in 26 starts. But he also had the ability to dominate as he’s more than just a nibbler. Gilbert generated a career-high 22 swinging strikes in his seven scoreless innings. He struck out 11 and allowed only two hits.
60. Brusdar Graterol, RHP
Date: April 16, 2019
For a pitcher who can tickle triple digits on the radar gun, Graterol is not one who regularly logs big strikeout numbers--his career high is 10 strikeouts and he’s reached that number only twice. Partly that is because he doesn’t work deep into games--he’s finished the seventh only three times in his pro career. Graterol’s most impressive outing so far is one where he didn’t reach double digits in strikeouts. Graterol allowed only two baserunners (one hit, one walk) while striking out eight in seven scoreless innings. He was more efficient than usual, needing only 80 pitches.
61. Simeon Woods Richardson, RHP
Date: June 3, 2019
As a teenage pitcher, both the Mets and now the Blue Jays have been very careful to not overwork Woods-Richardson. He’s pitched past the fifth only once and he’s yet to be allowed to throw 85 pitches in a game. But he is more advanced than most teenagers. He showed that with a masterful five no-hit innings against Rome. Woods-Richardson walked one and needed only 66 pitches to carve through 15 outs.
62. Clarke Schmidt, RHP
Date: April 4, 2019
Opening Day is a sign of what can be. And very rarely, it can be everything you hope to see in a baseball game. That happened last year on Opening Day, as Lakeland and Tampa matched up for a game that lived up to every hope. Casey Mize, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, was outstanding, but Schmidt was just a bit better. The only two runners to reach against Schmidt both came on errors as he completely shut down the Flying Tigers for five hitless innings. Later in the season, he would have had a chance to go longer than 65 pitches, but for Opening Day, it was a nearly perfect outing.
63. Heliot Ramos, OF
Date: July 1, 2017
In only his second game as a pro, Ramos made an emphatic arrival. He went 4-for-5 with two doubles and his first pro home run. He also showed off his above-average arm by throwing out a runner who tried to stretch a double into a triple.
64. Kyle Wright, RHP
Date: Aug. 13, 2018
Wright’s professional career has so far had as many downs as ups. He’s yet to fully establish himself as a part of the Braves’ MLB rotation (admittedly, a tough rotation to crack), although he showed solid signs this spring that he may be turning a corner. But he has had his moments of dominance, especially during a stretch in Triple-A late in the 2018 season. A D.J. Peterson walk and a Tim Fedorowicz single were the only blemishes he showed in seven innings as he struck out eight.
65. Deivi Garcia, RHP
Date: June 18, 2019
Garcia pitched his way out of Double-A Trenton with back-to-back gems last June. The second of the two starts was five hitless innings, but we were even more impressed by the previous outing. He struck out 15 of the 21 batters he faced, allowing one hit and walking one in six overwhelming innings. By early July, Garcia was pitching in Triple-A.
66. Ronny Mauricio, SS
Date: June 6, 2019
Mauricio’s best games are likely ahead of him. He’s a young, long-limbed shortstop who has a long path from Columbia to Citi Field. But there are those moments where you see what he could be. One of those glimpses came against Hickory, as Mauricio hit two doubles and a home run. His eighth-inning home run gave Columbia a 3-2 lead--it wasn’t his fault they blew it in the ninth.
67. Francisco Alvarez, C
Date: Aug. 24, 2019
If Mauricio’s best days are ahead of him, Alvarez has barely gotten going. He’s got only 157 pro at-bats on his career resume (and seven pro home runs), but he already has three four-hit games. But those were topped by his first two home run game against Bluefield.
68. Edward Cabrera, RHP
Date: May 1, 2019
The 2019 season marked Cabrera’s arrival as a top prospect and no one day did more to show that than his 13-strikeout demolition of Bradenton. Cabrera consistently got ahead of Marauders’ hitters that day. Cabrera filled the zone (70 percent of his 88 pitchers were strikes) and had little trouble finishing batters off.
69. Tyler Freeman, SS
Date: Aug. 1, 2018
Freeman isn’t a slugger. He’s a hitter with excellent bat control and a discerning eye at the plate. He came a home run short of the cycle, but settled for a still-excellent 4-for-5 day with a double and a triple. It was Freeman’s first four-hit day as a pro--he’s added two more since.
70. Triston Casas, 1B
Date: June 10, 2019
Like Freeman, Casas’ first pro four-hit game came close to being his first cycle. But if Freeman isn’t a slugger, Casas is not someone who will regularly hit triples into the gap. He came up in the eighth inning needing a triple for the cycle but instead hit a single. It still was an excellent night and the best so far of his career.
71. Shane Baz, RHP
Date: May 26, 2019
Baz is undergoing a steady transformation from a hair-on-fire thrower to a pitcher with some developing refinement. Sure, he’s still not painting the black pitch after pitch, but he did throw a lot more strikes in 2019. Baz struck out nine of the 18 Dayton batters he faced that day, allowing only two hits and one walk.
72. Geraldo Perdomo, SS
Date: Sept. 2, 2018
Another of the youngsters whose best days (even in the minors) are going to take place in the 2020s, Perdomo’s best day so far came on the second to last day of the 2018 season. Facing Salem-Keizer, Perdomo tripled and homered in a three-hit game.
73. Taylor Trammell, OF
Date: Sept. 15, 2019
The best game of Trammell’s pro career doesn’t show up in his stat line--playoff games don’t add to a player’s cumulative season stats. But it’s hard to top Trammell’s grand slam home run that led Amarillo back from a 3-1 ninth-inning deficit in the deciding game of the Texas League championship series. It was just one final bit of heroics during a playoff run where Trammell hit three home runs.
74. Kristian Robinson, OF
Date: Aug. 23, 2018
Robinson will likely have several more games where he goes deep twice, but so far, he has only one--a 2018 game against Grand Junction where he homered in back-to-back at-bats.
75. Bobby Dalbec, 3B
Date: May 11, 2019
On the days when Dalbec is locked in against a pitcher he can size up, there isn’t a park in pro ball that can hem him in. Even most minor leaguer sluggers have only a couple of two home run games on their ledger (Jo Adell has three while Alec Bohm has one). Dalbec has seven. But unlike most minor leaguers, Dalbec also has a three home run game. He hit the first in the fourth inning, added another in the sixth and then took advantage of extra innings to hit his third in the 12th inning. Thanks to Dalbec (and extra-inning rules), Portland scored four runs in the top of the 12th, but they still lost as Trenton scored five runs in the bottom of the 12th.
, RHP, Reds
Date: July 2, 2018
Roughly one year after signing as the No. 2 overall pick, Greene tossed seven scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts, no walks and just two hits allowed in a start for low Class A Dayton against Lake County.
, LHP, Reds
Date: July 30, 2019
The top pitcher drafted in 2019, Lodolo worked no more than four innings or threw more than 49 pitches in any of his nine appearances during his pro debut. The 6-foot-6 lefty looked sharp after a long season at Texas Christian, particularly in this start
, RHP, Royals
Date: Aug. 3, 2019
Kowar had no trouble adapting to Double-A in his first full pro season after making the jump in late June of last year. In his eighth start for Northwest Arkansas, he turned in this gem: eight innings, four hits, zero runs, zero walks, six strikeouts.
, C, Padres
Date: April 10, 2019
Campusano had one of his biggest games early in his California League MVP season. On April 10 last year, in a game at hitter’s haven Lancaster, he went 4-for-5 with a double and a home run while driving in four runs and scoring four times.
, RHP, Rays
Date: July 18, 2015
While Honeywell’s most memorable performance was his MVP turn at the 2017 Futures Game, his best individual pitching performance came two years before that while pitching for high Class A Charlotte. In a start against Tampa he pitched a nine-strikeout, zero-walk shutout, allowing just four hits. We eagerly await Honeywell’s return after he did not pitch in 2018 or 2019 as he recovered from Tommy John surgery and then a fractured elbow.
, C, Dodgers
Date: July 12, 2018
Ruiz spent most of 2018 as a 19-year-old at Double-A, turning 20 on July 20. He had three two-homer games that season, including one on July 12, when he went 3-for-4 with a double, a walk, four RBIs and three runs.
Tony Gonsolin, RHP,
Date: Aug. 5, 2019
Making his second major league start, and his first at Dodger Stadium, Gonsolin carried a no-hitter into the fifth inning against the Cardinals. He finished with seven strikeouts, one walk and two hits allowed over six scoreless innings.
, LHP, Rays
Date: June 20, 2019
McClanahan used his easy high-90s heat to twice strike out 10 batters in Florida State League starts, but it was his June 20 start for Charlotte that showcased his upside. In that start he struck out seven against Lakeland while allowing three hits, no walks and no runs in 6.1 innings.
Josiah Gray, RHP,
Date: July 12, 2019
The former Division II position player broke out as a pitcher in his first year in the Dodgers’ system, beginning his trek at low Class A and finishing at Double-A. Gray’s shining moment occurred at high Class A Rancho Cucamonga, where he tossed seven shutout innings against San Jose, striking out seven, walking one and allowing one hit.
, 2B, Rays
Date: Aug. 22, 2018
The speedy Edwards has stolen two bases in a game seven times in his career, including three times in his 2018 pro debut. The final one of those two-steal games occurred on Aug. 22, when he went 3-for-5 with a double, a walk, three RBIs and two runs for short-season Tri-City.
, SS, Red Sox
Date: Aug. 28, 2019
Downs shone brightly in the second half, never more so than in one of his final games for Double-A Tulsa. He blasted a pair of home runs—his second was a ringing shot to center field—while going 2-for-5 with a walk, three runs and three RBIs.
Alek Thomas, OF,
Date: July 3, 2019
One day after going 5-for-6 for low Class A Kane County and falling a home run shy of the cycle, Thomas accomplished the feat in a 4-for-4 day that included two runs, two RBIs and an intentional walk.
, SS, Marlins
Date: July 16, 2018
During his breakout 2018 season in the D-backs’ system, Chisholm went 5-for-6 with two home runs, a triple, five RBIs and four runs for low Class A Kane County on July 16. Arizona promoted him to high Class A after the game. About a year later, the D-backs traded him to the Marlins for Zac Gallen.
Adrian Morejon, LHP,
Date: May 9, 2018
Morejon looked like the next great lefthander in the spring of 2018, based on performances like this one for high Class A Lake Elsinore: seven innings, three hits, no runs, one walk, seven strikeouts.
, OF, D-backs
Date: July 21, 2019
Drafted 16th overall last summer, Carroll embarked on a successful pro debut focused in the Rookie-level Arizona League. On July 21 he showcased his power (one double), speed (three stolen base) and patience (one walk) in a 3-for-3 day at the plate in the AZL.
Luis Garcia, SS,
Date: July 23, 2019
The youngest regular player in the Double-A Eastern League last year, Garcia scuffled through most of the season. But he shined on July 23 by batting 2-for-3 with a home run, a walk, two runs and an RBI for Harrisburg.
Noelvi Marte, SS,
Date: Aug. 14, 2019
The power-speed phenom blazed through the Dominican Summer League last season. His best game was Aug. 14, when he went 2-for-4 with a home run, two stolen bases, an RBI and two runs.
, 3B, Rangers
Date: Aug. 9, 2019
Drafted eighth overall out of Texas Tech last June, Jung spent most of his summer at low Class A Hickory, hitting for average (.287) but limited power (one home run). In his finest South Atlantic League game, he went 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, two RBIs and two runs.
, OF, Cubs
Date: Sept. 2, 2019
A couple stints on the injured list muted the impact of Davis’ season at low Class A South Bend, but at least he ended on a high note. In the final game of the season, he showed his power-speed credentials by going 3-for-3 with a home run, a stolen base, a walk, a run and an RBI.
, RHP, Twins
Date: May 5, 2019
Drafted in 2016, Balazovic burst on the national prospect scene in 2019 based on performances like the one he turned in on May 5 of last year. In a start for high Class A Fort Myers, the 6-foot-5 Canadian righthander tossed seven shutout innings on no hits and no walks while striking out 10 Palm Beach batters.
, RHP, Twins
Date: Aug. 23, 2019
The Twins parted with hard-hitting Eduardo Escobar to acquire Duran in 2018. A breakout season from Duran in 2019 pointed to a future in Minnesota’s big league rotation. In his next-to-last Double-A start last year for Pensacola, he struck out 11 in eight shutout innings, allowing two hits and one walk.
Diego Cartaya, C,
Date: July 29, 2019
After signing for $2.5 million in 2018, Cartaya advanced to the Rookie-level Arizona League in his pro debut last summer. On July 29 he went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, a walk, an RBI and two runs.
Joe Ryan, RHP,
Date: Aug. 7, 2019
Ryan used his “invisible” fastball to reach Double-A for at the end of his first full season. Along the way he recorded the second-highest strikeout total in the minors. Ryan’s best individual start was his last for high Class A Charlotte, when he fanned a season-high 13 batters and allowed one hit and no walks in seven shutout innings to Bradenton.
Sam Huff, C,
Date: July 25 and 31, 2018
While Huff blasted 28 home runs in 2019 and won MVP honors at the Futures Game that summer, his best individual game performances came a year earlier. Make that performances. Huff smacked two home runs with five RBIs on both July 25 and 31, 2018, for low Class A Hickory.
, 3B, Tigers
Date: Aug. 8, 2017
Ten games after he joined the Tigers organization at the 2017 trade deadline—the Cubs swapped him and Jeimer Candelario for Justin Wilson and Alex Avila—Paredes had his best game as a pro, one of his two two-homer games. In this one, Paredes went 4-for-6 with two homers, four RBIs and two runs.