My New Top 25 Prospect List

I can't get enough of these. After the draft picks have signed and we've seen some pro data, and after a few trades (though there are certainly more to come), I figured this was a decent enough time to post an updated prospect list. A lot of these were really tough calls.

1. SS Carlos Correa (A-) - He's off to a bit of a slow start, but there is really no other argument in my mind. Based on some of the mid-season overall prospect rankings from key publications, it looks like he'll get the nod from most, though a lot like Singleton as well.

2. CF George Springer (B+) - I realize that most publications will have Singleton as the #2 guy, and probably most of the people who frequent this site as well, but elite CF defense is worth a ton, and every indication is that Springer will have a very good chance to become that. Also, he's crushing the ball on the offensive side, and since the end of May, he's had a sub-20% K-rate, which is really the only concerning factor with him. If he gets called up and puts up solid numbers in AA, he'll be a top 25 overall prospect in my book.

3. 1B Jonathan Singleton (B+) - I don't consider myself to be down on Singleton (he's a top 50, maybe top 40 prospect for me), but I understand why some people here might think so. The reality is that in my opinion if you aren't showing a lot of power, or showing that you are going to be an elite average hitter with ok power, and you aren't going to play an elite defensive position, it is tough for me to consider you a truly elite prospect. To compare him offensively to Springer for a moment, his K rate is at least as concerning, and he doesn't hit for as much power. He's younger and playing a level above and he walks more, so I do consider him a better offensive player than Springer, but he's not a ton better offensively, and he is without a doubt worth a ton less defensively. I think Singleton has a very good chance to be at least the big part of a 1B platoon (hitting against RHP), and he could end up being a consistent 2nd tier 1B if things go really well for him. He is much more of a floor guy than a ceiling guy in my opinion, and that is where there is some disagreement with others (like OremLK, and some of the major publications as well probably).

4. RHP Lance McCullers (B) - There is a pretty big gap between Springer/Singleton and McCullers, but I really like his upside and I think he's currently a top 100 overall prospect. He'll probably need to prove himself to get top 100 consideration by the major publications, but he was a steal as a supp pick (and a good value for his signing bonus as well).

5. RHP Jarred Cosart (B) - He is sort of a similar prospect to McCullers in that he has elite stuff and is a possible back end top 100 prospect. I am a bit troubled by his K rate though, and his BB rate is pretty high too. He's been a good GB pitcher and his HR rate is quite low, so that is a good sign. I like him, but I prefer McCullers at this point.

6. 2B Delino DeShields Jr (B) - He is really coming on strong as of late, showing some power which we've all been waiting on, but his recent power surge this month has come with a higher K rate as well. He's striking out in 20.7% of his plate appearances while repeating the year at A ball. That's a little concerning for someone of his profile, but it isn't horrendous. In just about every other area, he's been really good. He's got a great BB rate, a great LD rate (pushing up his BABIP in a non-deceptive way), and I've read that he's stolen a couple bases this year too. He's batting almost .300 with a .400 OBP. Right now, I'd give him a straight B grade, though on the lower end. He's got a chance to make my top 100 next season, but he needs to finish strong, and hopefully reduce that K rate a bit.

7. RHP Nick Tropeano (B-) - I considered a couple others for this spot, but settled on Tropeano here. He'd be a very strong B- for me right now. All the reports on his stuff have been excellent, and he's been getting a lot of love from well respected people in the industry. His numbers have been excellent as well. He has and ERA and FIP under 3.00 in A ball, and he's been pretty decent in A+ ball, with 2 outstanding starts, 1 slightly bad start, and 1 rough outing. I think he's probably got a good #3 upside and with his stuff and pitchability, I'd say he has a good shot of getting there.

8. OF Domingo Santana (B-) - Ok. I'll admit it has taken me a while to get on board here. But I'm on board now. The K rate is concerning still, but he's young, and in July it has been much improved (also he's doing everything you'd ever want from him in July). He's really young for the league, and he's showing great power and patience. I think he's probably not quite a top 150 prospect right now, but he's got a ton of helium. He's playing in Lancaster, so it is tough to fully judge what's happening there, but I am starting to gain some faith, at least in his upside. His floor is really low still of course.

9. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (B-) - He really has just been OK this year, despite his really nice ERA. He's repeating A ball, and his FIP is an unimpressive 4.33 right now. He's got good stuff, but he isn't really quite as impressive as he should be. His K rate is only a little better than last year, and his walk rate is the same. His GB rate has improved a bit, but mainly he's benefiting from a 50 point drop in BABIP. He season has been solid but not spectacular. We all get excited after the first month, and while he's maintained a sub 3.00 ERA, he's been a bit disappointing since April. I still have faith in him, and he'd be a top 200 prospect for me, which is a good place to be.

10. 3B Rio Ruiz (B-) - I like Rio. I am basing this grade on the idea that his health concerns were a bit overblown on draft day. I think the fact that we gave him top 20 money, when we had other good options, is an indication that the organization believes he's fully healthy. He's hit well in a small sample so far, but this grade/rank is based mainly on his upside. I think he's a top 200 prospect.

11. SS Nolan Fontana (B-) - He's done everything we could have hoped for and more. He's walking a ton, not striking out at a fairly lowish rate, especially considering the counts he must be in a lot, and he's crushing the ball, with a nearly 30% LD rate. He is very polished and should move through the system quickly. I think he could easily end up at SS in a year or two at the MLB level and could stay there until Correa is ready. If we hold onto to Lowrie and he continues to perform the way he has, hopefully he could slide over to 3B instead (Ruiz will take a while). He doesn't have tremendous upside, but a major league SS that is patient and can hit the ball hard is worth a lot in this league. He's probably a border top 200 prospect for me.

12. SS Jonathan Villar (B-) - He's hurt now, but this is where I would have ranked him anyway. He's been sort of good this year, but he has such a long way to go developmentally to reach his high potential that it scares me quite a bit. He has a long long way to go even to reach a level where we can feel confident he could even contribute at the major league level too. Right now, there is no part of his game that anyone can feel confident about. But every part of his game could end up being pretty decent. He's sort of the opposite of Fontana for me. I love upside, but when you need to be a SS to reach it, and you aren't close to being a good defensive SS YET, the floor/average expectation, just can't be ignored. If his injury is more serious, he could drop out of my top 20 by pre-season next year. If somehow he ever puts things together, he could be a B/B+ prospect, but it just doesn't look likely to me. He's not a top 200 prospect for me, but in the top 250.

13. RHP Joseph Musgrove (B-) - This guy was a HS supp pick last season, and has big upside. If we drafted him let's say with the first pick of the 2nd round this year, we'd be geeking out right now (as we are with Fontana I think). He's got a long way to go, but he's by far the best prospect we got back in the last couple trades. I don't know a ton about him, but everything I've read makes me feel pretty confident ranking him ahead of the others on the list. Another top 250 guy for me.

14. RHP Vincent Velasquez (C+) - He's a strong C+ for me. I am feeling more and more confident that he is back from his injury and should be healthy going forward. It is still a bit of a gamble, but I love his upside. He's young for his league and is pitching great. I could see myself bumping him up to a B- by the start of next season, especially if he keeps dominating as he has. I loved him before the injury, and I still do. He's possibly a top 300 prospect.

15. RHP Brady Rodgers (C+) - Another pick I loved from the draft. It was a good draft, huh? This guy was a consistently ranked top 100 (or thereabouts) draft prospect and for good reason. He's got good stuff, good pitchablility, and he's been pitching great so far in the small sample we have. He's got a 28:6 K:BB ratio in 26 IP, a 1.37 ERA and a 2.56 FIP. I think he could fly through the system and end up as a solid 3/4 starter.

16. RHP Adrian Houser (C+) - He was a well regarded 2nd round pick in last year's draft and after a somewhat bumpy debut, he's been excellent. I'm hoping he gets a promotion to A- ball soon, but I can be patient. Really good upside, he has the potential to really improve his grade next season (though it will be tough go above a C+ next off-season). Either way, he's a strong prospect, maybe a top 350 prospect.

17. C Carlos Perez (C+) - He's having a nice bounceback year after hitting pretty poorly last season, and looks like he's got a decent shot to be a catcher at the major league level. He's known as mainly an offense first catcher, but his defense is coming along as well. This year he's hitting for decent power, with an excellent nearly 1:1 K:BB ratio. Without any other good catching prospects in our system, he'll have every chance to at least become a part time catcher behind Castro in a few years, and maybe he'll supplant him.

18. OF Ariel Ovando (C+) - I'm basing this still more on upside and scouting than I am on actual results, but he's shown some promise in a fairly small career sample. We paid him 2.5M a few years ago, and Bobby Heck said he was worthy of a 1st round pick if he were draft eligible that year. He is so young, that I can't really hold he so-so stats against him at all. He's got tons of upside, and he has plenty of time to reach it. In a few years he could be a top 100 prospect, but right now, he's probably only a borderline top 400 prospect. Still there are 750 players in the majors, so for a young guy with a lot of potential to improve, top 400 is not a knock.

19. 3B Matt Dominguez (C+) - This guy has a fairly stable floor, and that is of a good defensive 3B who can't really hit well enough to play very often. But those guys do have some value, and he does have a chance to become a Pedro Feliz type, that hits for a really low average and a sub .300 OBP. He can flash a little power and he won't strikeout a ton, so he could fit in maybe as a #8 or 9 hitter in the AL if things go well for him. I don't love him, but guys like him do have value to teams, even as backups/injury replacements.

20. SS Jiovanni Mier (C+) - I've gone back and forth, gaining faith and losing faith in him over the years. His glove should definitely play at the major league level, and it could be plus enough for him to be a defensive replacement, though I'm not sure it will be GG quality or anything. This year it looked like he was possibly turning a corner offensively too, but got hurt. If he had been healthy all year and was sustaining his early season numbers, I'd be more confident giving him the C+ grade, but I think he deserves it anyway. He's got some time to put things together, but not a ton of time.

21. RHP Asher Wojciechowski (C+) - He looks like he's got a decent chance to be a back end starter. His numbers this year have been ok, but nothing to get excited over. The same can be said about his stuff. But he is someone who can maybe be a long reliever/spot starter without too much trouble. And there is value in that. Maybe he has #4 starter upside.

22. RHP Paul Clemens (C+) - He's been awful. But I believed in his upside quite a bit last year and I think we need to continue to be somewhat patient with him. If someone wanted to rank him in their top 15 or even a bit higher, I would have no problem with that. He's just been rocked in every way possible this year and I'm nervous. He still has a strong #3 type upside, but that is looking less likely. Maybe he'll be converted to relief and become a future closer or setup man. There are lots of avenues to success for him, but his stock is down and he's only maybe a top 500 prospect right now. He would have been safely in my top 200 before the season. I'll be rooting for him.

23. OF Preston Tucker (C) - I'm not ready to give any of the other draftees more than a C grade right now, but several of them definitely have a chance to improve on that grade over the next 12 months or so. Tucker is my favorite of later round college guys. I've seen him ranked in the top 100 on some draft boards. He's a LHH with a nice looking swing and plus power. He just signed and only has 17 pro plate appearances, but they've been encouraging. I think he could fly through the system.

24. CF Andrew Aplin (C) - He could be ranked higher and I'd have no problem with that. He's another polished college guy, that could move swiftly through the system. His offensive numbers have been great this season, similar to his college numbers, and I am hopefully he can continue to produce as he moves up. Obviously all of our recent draftees won't work out in the end, which is why I'm giving this group only straight C grades, but all of them have potential to be at least contributors on the next level. I think he's maybe similar to Austin Wates in some respects, but I don't believe Wates really has the CF chops to be a reliable high use 4th OF, and maybe Aplin does.

25. CF Brett Phillips (C) - Some people would have him ranked a bit higher as well, as he was a slightly extra bonus guy from the draft, but remember, Tucker and Aplin had way less leverage, so they had to take what they could get and prove themselves at the pro level. I was glad he didn't get a huge overslot bonus (though in retrospect it probably wouldn't have mattered). I'm not so sure that he even has a bigger upside than Tucker and Aplin, and he certainly is further away from reaching it. I like him though, and I'll certainly be rooting for him. Oh, did I mention, that I think we had a good draft?

Honorable Mention List: Michael Feliz, Austin Wates, Jose Cisnero, Jack Armstrong, Rob Rasmussen, Jake Goebbert, Tyler Heineman, Daniel Minor, Joe Bircher

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