For us prospect watchers, and watchers of prospect watchers, the mid-season updates are a time to aggregate the little bits of information and data that accumulate over the course of the first 3.5 months of the MILB season. And keep in mind, the season is over right around Labor Day, so one shouldn’t expect too much to change over the offseason.
Although Fangraphs and Keith Law did some updating, nothing compares to the thorough remaking of the list that MLB just dropped. One can read the list oneself, but here are a few observations from above:
- Somebody has noticed that Seth Beer has had his rake out all damn year. As a bat only guy, it’s a steep hill for this prospect. He moved from 10th to 3rd in the list of top Astros prospects, and even cracked the top 100 as the very last entry on the midseason national list. When you’re a 2018 college draftee, and you slash 302/411/529 in the Texas League, it’s worth noting.
- Tucker and Whitley have dropped, but not disastrously. At a time with so many recent call-ups, it wouldn’t have been crazy to assume, if they were still prospects, they’d both be top 5. Instead they’re both in the teens.
- Lack of depth noted in the placement of 2019 draftees. Korey Lee (#7), Jordan Brewer (#11), and Grae Kessinger (#16) all cracked the top 20, despite not oozing pedigree or doing much since hitting professional ball. That’s owed, more than anything, to bats like Matijevic, Dawson, and Santana not breaking out in any significant way.
- One bat who has broken out is Jeremy Pena (#12), who started the year at #27. It’s the kind of season you hope for from a small-college guy. He performed well in QC and got called up a month ago to A+, where he’s more than holding his own. That’s where the better college players from the last draft are, but not always the guys from smaller schools.
- Mr. Polarizing Ross Adolph is off the list. After a dreadful April, Adolph turned it around in QC and got himself promoted to Fayetteville, where he’s reached an astounding 47% of his 72 PAs, while cutting his absurdly high (36%) K rate in the MWL to a manageable but alarming 26%. Still, this toolsy OF is not getting to his power enough to justify the swing-and-miss element of his game.
- Under-performing/injured arms drop: Peter Solomon, Jason Schroeder, and Jairo Solis all dropped. Most disappointing is Schroeder. When Luhnow drafts a HS arm this high, one hopes it’s another Whitley. Schroeder was a 2nd rounder, but has been a train wreck in almost every appearance in 2019, first at QC, now at Tri-Cities.
- Abraham Toro has been the most on-the-radar, under-the-radar prospect I can remember. He’s now on the radar, moving up from 23 to 9, on the basis of a solid but not spectacular season.
- Say hello to Josh Rojas (#22). When a middle-IF has 54 extra base hits across AA and AAA while stealing 31 bases, it’s time to sit up and take notice. Who cares if he’s 25? He’s been a professional baseball player for less than 26 months, has raked across four levels, and only struggled once, when he was at AA last year.
- Not a sniff from 2018 college arms, despite notable progress, from Deason, Conine, Hanson, all of whom remain outside the top 30.
- Overall, the breakout performances have been skilled guys at upper levels (Urquiddy, Alvarez, Rojas, Toro, Beer), which is less exciting than, say, a huge debut from Korey Lee or Freudis Nova. Except for Alvarez of course, whom a solid one-quarter of GMs would probably take over Eloy Jiminez, and maybe two or three would take over Vladimir Guerrero. That’s something for a guy who dropped out of the top 100 of both Fangraphs and Keith Law. Okay, maybe nobody would take him over Vlad, who at 20 is a clunker on the base paths and a butcher with the glove and doesn’t seem one bit more athletic than Alvarez.
What are your thoughts? Who’s missing from the top 30? Who’s the most overrated? Underrated?