Tis' the season for updating prospect lists and here at TCB, we tend to follow the pack in these things and do the same. We had significantly less graders for the update which can skew the results somewhat in that each vote carries slightly more weight than the off-season. But, still nine different graders is a good variety.
This season has seen quite a few graduations to the majors creating quite a shakeup in the top 10. Gone from the list are Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Preston Tucker. We left Vincent Velasquez and Domingo Santana as they still have their rookie eligibility.
Recent draftees were also excluded due to limited professional data and reports.
1. Brett Phillips OF- B+ (7.722)
He started right where he left off last season. He again torched his first assignment but what has really allowed for him to climb from 5th to 1st (outside of promotions) is that he is still performing well in Double-A. He's showing great hitting ability, potential CF defense and more power than expected. We upgraded his stock from B to B+.
2. Vincent Velasquez RHP-B+ (7.167)
Just one spot improvement but again an improvement from B to B+. He's shown an ability to get outs at the major league level which is partly the reason for his upgrade. But, he also showed some weaknesses with his pitch selection and pitch counts.
3. Joe Musgrove RHP- B+ (7.056)
Twenty point improvement. Definitely on the low side in the off-season but he's sky-rocketed up the system and up the prospect list with dominance of two full-season leagues. He's ran into some bumps in Corpus but is quite young and it's to be expected for someone who started the season in Low-A. We had him as a C+. That's a full letter grade. Huge improvement.
4. A.J. Reed 1B- B+ (7.000)
Barely made it to a B+ and is quite a change from the B- in the off-season. He was originally ranked as the 6th best prospect but pure dominance offensively in every way of the California League helps. Not just power, but a strong ability to hit and draw a lot of walks. Double-A will surely solidify this grade or knock him down a rung in the second half of the season.
5. Mark Appel RHP- B (6.889)
Oh Mark. Again you frustrate the fan base. Flashes of being really good. Then there's the bad times. And the bad times just seem to last so long. The velocity is still there. The slider is still an above-average pitch (when he can control it) and the change is at least average (again if he can control it). He lacks command and continues to try to paint corners rather than attack with his high-end stuff. That caused us to lower him from a B+ to a B and from 2nd to 5th.
6. Derek Fisher OF- B (6.444)
He's healthy and has done nothing but display the tools he showed in college. The difference is that he's showing the skills he was never on the field consistently enough to showcase in college. He's dominated the MWL and has hit quite well in stints in the Cal League. His arm might still limit him to LF but he appears to have the offensive profile to be an impact bat. For his progress he was upgraded from his B- and ranked one position higher.
7. Domingo Santana OF- B (6.222)
He's still here. His second stint in the majors looked much better than the first but the swing and miss is still there. He has even been dominant in AAA at times this season. That allowed for some to up their grades so he's now a B as opposed to a B- and three spots higher.
8. Michael Feliz RHP- B (6.000)
He holds steady at 8 but went up from a B- to a B. But is barely a B. Showed his stuff at the ML level but has his fair share to work on in the minors before he's a regular contributor in the majors.
9. Jacob Nottingham C- B- (5.833)
Rated as a straight C in the off-season and tied for 50th in the system. Now, he crushed the MWL and is in the process of raking in the Cal League. After not doing much of anything until this season, he's looking a lot like another prospect to make the Brett Phillips jump this season.
10. Colin Moran 3B- B- (5.667)
A year later and we're still talking about if he can hit for enough power for the hot corner. He missed some time because of a fractured jaw from an outfield throw, but that shouldn't have held him back much at the plate. Another year older and no development leaves him degraded from a B and drops from 4th.
11. Josh Hader LHP- B- (5.556)
He's definitely improve in CC compared to last year and is posting numbers similar to what he did in Lancaster last year except the strikeout rate has dropped and the walk rate has increased some. Still looks like a BoR type. He maintains a grade and moves up the rankings one spot.
12. Tony Kemp 2B/OF- B- (5.389)
Another standout season so far for Kemp and it includes a selection to the Future's Game. He is phenomenal at making contact and getting on-base but lacks impact speed for stolen bases or the arm to fit anywhere else except 2B and possibly CF/LF. He's a real grinder that has caught many eyes. John Sickels mentioned him as a possible inclusion to a top 100 list at year end. He's upgraded from C+ and moves up three spots.
13. Daniel Mengden RHP- B- (5.389)
He showed dominance in the MWL but has struggled in the violent winds of Lancaster. He's improved his GB% but his strikeout rate has plummeted. His swinging strike percentage has as well which is a big concern. He has an extremely high BABIP in that environment which is at least some good news along with a stable walk-rate. His MWL performance helped him come up from a C+ and up for spots.
14. Frances Martes RHP - B- (5.167)
He's another C grade to B-. He was ranked 32 so he just barely missed the top 30 and now is in the middle of it. He's shown very good overall stuff in a full-season league which helps believe the numbers he posted after being brought over via trade. His calling card is an electric fastball and is a good card to have.
15. Teoscar Hernandez OF - B- (5.056)
Easily one of the biggest disappointments of the season so far. His season in Lancaster had some compelling comparisons to George Springer's and had drawn lots of praise for his work ethic. But, this season has been quite rough as has an incredibly low BABIP but a lot of his peripheral stats are holding fairly steady indicating he could still adjust. He holds on to his B- grade but drops six spots from 9th.
16. Jason Martin OF - B- (5.000)
Another breakout this year. We predicted this one a bit better with the help of a good performance last season in rookie ball. He got a late start due to an injury but since he's shown an ability to hit, good plate discipline, and power. If he can stick in center, which he should be able to, he could continue to climb. He was a C+ in the off-season and 20th overall.
17. J.D. Davis 3B - C+ (4.944)
He hasn't been bad but he hasn't been great. He's hitting for a good average and draw walks. He hits for good power. But, as always at this area on a list there's a but, he is striking out at a rate near 30%. That's a problem. He's still a C+ but drops one spot.
18. Akeem Bostick RHP - C+ (4.778)
He ranked 33rd in the off-season with a straight C grade. This season he's come out and looked like the second round pick the Rangers made him. He was very good in the MWL and showed an almost nonexistent walk-rate there. But, his strikeout rate dropped in the Cal League.
19. Conrad Gregor 1B - C+ (4.625)
He maintains a C+ grade but his overall score dropped some and dropped him from 14th pre-season to this. He still just doesn't hit for the power needed to be a serviceable first base prospect. The strikeout rate has climbed some and he's not hitting that well either. For an offensive dependent position, he doesn't really provide it.
20. Adrian Houser RHP - C+ (4.611)
Houser pushed himself back on this list after coming in as a tie with Nottingham for 50th pre-season. He pitched extremely well in Lancaster with his best strikeout to walk ratio and strikeout rate. Thats dropped off since heading to CC but that's one of the tougher transitions to make in the minors. The Cal League numbers are enough to bring some back some confidence.
21. Aaron West RHP - C+ (4.500)
The difference being healthy makes. He goes up from 24 with the same letter grade but higher in that grade. He has a very low ERA and an even lower walk rate. He's lacking the strikeout rate that he showed in Lancaster which is what holds him from the ranking of 15th after owning the Cal League.
22. Andrew Aplin OF - C+ (4.375)
Hasn't really been anything notable in AAA this season but he hit the ball at will in AA. He's solidifying a ceiling of a reserve outfielder as he's very good defensively and has good plate discipline to help him consistently have a decent chance of getting on base. He drops just one spot.
23. Joe Sclafani IF - C+ (4.188)
Almost identical rating and also drops one spot. His BABIP has come down from last season but he still has a good OBP but near nonexistent ISO. Utility guy type role is solidified pretty much. Hard not to root for him though.
24. Brady Rodgers RHP - C+ (4.111)
Nearly identical numbers in AAA this year to AA last year. Great BB/SO ratio but the overall k-rate is sub-par. The ground ball rate continues to be around 48-49%. Because he's doing the same thing in the PCL, he creeped up from a C to C+ and he moves up from 29th.
25. Kyle Smith RHP - C (3.944)
Lost season due to undergoing TJ surgery. Dropped from 19th with a C+.
26. Asher Wojciechowski RHP - C (3.944)
Rated behind Smith because Smith was given a B- grade by one rater. Wojo had a stint in the majors but he had some bad luck and overall wasn't very good. He's been better in the PCL but can't seem to end things at the plate with the strikeout which limits his future role. He was a C pre-season but his grade has risen in the number. He was 30th pre-season.
27. James Hoyt RHP - C (3.813)
Don't let his ERA fool you. His swinging strikeout rate is higher than many overall strikeout rate. He's cut his walk rate in half. The 7+ ERA is not representative of his season thanks to a BABIP over .400. The 1.70 FIP and 3.23 SIERA are much more encouraging. He was 33rd in pre-season and also rated a C.
28. Tyler Heineman C - C (3.778)
Still doesn't walk. Still doesn't strikeout. Still doesn't hit for power. However, he's hitting for a better average thanks to his BABIP coming back up. He was 26th in the pre-season rankings as a C.
29. Tyler White 3B - C (3.714)
He can hit and draw a lot of walks. The power is average at best and is likely to be average at best at the hot corner. Will have to answer more questions in AAA but this is some recognition as he was 63rd in the pre-season as a C- prospect.
30. Kristian Trompiz SS - C (3.688)
He just missed the cut in pre-season as he was 36th with a C grade. He's had a very up and down season this year. He has streaks where he looks really good but then will slump very badly. He's also racking up the errors.