For my Midseason Top 50, I decided to add a little twist: no player that has already made his MLB debut will be featured. I’ve got some pitchers ranked pretty high on this list that I really like, despite my bias against pitchers. These top prospects are fast-tracked like FastCoin is fast-tracked to the top of the Cryptocurrency world. Without further adieu, let’s get right into it. Hit me up in the comments or on twitter with your thoughts!
1) Kyle Tucker (Astros) (Preseason Ranked #17)
The power began to breakout this year at High-A Buies Creek and it earned him a promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi at age 20. He will see the majors in 2018 and be a very legitimate 25/25 threat. What do we love in fantasy? 5 category contributors…Texas Shrugged is that kind of guy.
2) Ronald Acuna (Braves) (Preseason Ranked #15)
Ronald’s breakout last winter down under that I referenced in my Preseason Rankings was clearly no fluke. He has exploded up through the Braves system and debuted at Triple-A Gwinnett a few days ago. Another 5 category monster. Expect a September call up and MLB debut over 3 months prior to his 20th birthday.
3) Victor Robles (Nationals) (Preseason Ranked #3)
The 5 Tool Mystical Beast
Has done absolutely nothing to alter my view of him by continuing his evolution as an XBH behemoth (36) that steals bases (16). Will be an impact player at the major league level as early as next year. Just turned 20 in May and is primed for a promotion to Double-A Harrisburg in the near future.
4) Rafael Devers (Red Sox) (Preseason Ranked #23)
It’s a laser show all over the field. He just hit beebees all over the damn yard. @Ralphlifshitzbb can’t handle another month of Devers in the minors. Call him up and let RD solve the nightmare that is the Red Sox 3B black hole.
5) Michael Kopech (White Sox) (Preseason Ranked #18)
Still love the confidence and fire that borders on arrogance. He plays with an edge that most ballplayers simply do not have. The stuff is filthy, very little hard contact is made, and he will continue to refine his fastball command and control of his slider/changeup. I’ve watched a few of his starts this year and even when he puts up some ugly stat lines that are amplified by the walks it still looks good. It’s all about piling up innings and continuing to develop for this horse. Will debut in 2018 and be an explosive front of the rotation stalwart.
6) Brendan Rodgers (Rockies) (Preseason Ranked #6)
As many expected, he absolutely annihilated the Cal League playing his home games in ridiculously hitter friendly Lancaster. His home/road splits were pretty egregious. Was promoted to Double-A Hartford in late June and there has been an understandable adjustment period. Still love the hit tool/power combo that will be incendiary at
Coors Field. I expect him to have a strong second half and be at AAA-Albuquerque in late 2018 priming for his MLB debut.
7) Brent Honeywell (Rays) (Preseason Ranked #11)
Strikeouts. He gets them BIGLY. Made hitters look foolish recently in his 2nd futures game and is ready for his debut. The fastball is electric and he command it well. The hitters just don’t know what is coming with his 5 pitch mix (fastball, changeup, slider, curve, screwpiece). It’s not fair! The humanity!
8) Gleyber Torres (Yankees) (Preseason Ranked #13)
Nothing much has changed with Torres. Everyone knows that he will be an impact player for the Yankees when he returns from TJ surgery next year. Could be more power in the bat than consensus recognizes.
9) Vlad Guerrero Jr (Blue Jays) (Preseason Ranked #27)
Future #1 prospect. Baseball American already has him at #2. He is going to be a very exciting power bat to watch as he ascends the Blue Jays system and aims for an MLB debut prior to his 20th birthday.
10) Walker Buehler (Dodgers) (Preseason Ranked #50)
My favorite pitcher to watch in the minors. It’s just pure lightning. Needed to see him healthy and begin to pile up innings before ranking him this high. Can’t wait to see him pitch out of the bullpen for the Dodgers in August/September and into the best spectacle in professional sports -October/November playoff baseball.
11) Taylor Trammell (Reds) (Preseason Ranked #80)
Backing up his undeniable tools in Low-A by showing an extremely impressive plate approach that is allowing to put up great numbers just over 1 year since being drafted. Loved him preseason but didn’t have the balls to rank him higher until seeing some more production. He looks like he is developing into a sure-fire future impact major leaguer.
12) Austin Meadows (Pirates) (Preseason Ranked #4)
The Satin Hammer
A blown hammy and an adjustment period has at AAA-Indy this year has delayed his debut with the Pirates but it is still imminent. Hopefully he can come back and get hot for a September call-up. Don’t doubt the Satin Hammer.
13) Triston McKenzie (Indians) (Preseason NR)
Defined by his arm speed and the looseness of his delivery. Body will continue to develop but the strikeout stuff is beautiful. Still only 19 years old and the ceiling is extremely high. Stay healthy. Pile up innings. Will see AA-Akron and be pitching to Francisco Mejia soon.
14) Amed Rosario (Mets) (Preseason Ranked #33)
Don’t care about his defense for fantasy purposes but wow it is beautiful. He really broken out with the bat this year in Vegas and is ready for Showtime. I expect the Mets to make some big changes at the deadline. Would be shocked if we don’t see Rosario come August 1st.
15) Eloy Jimenez (White Sox) (Preseason Ranked #7)
Netted by Rick Hahn in the Quintana deal, Eloy has moved across town to the South Side where he fills a big void in the White Sox system as a power hitting corner outfielder with a hit tool that should allow him to reach that power ceiling. Very exciting time to be a White Sox fan as they continue to make strides to becoming competitive in 2019.
16) Francisco Mejia (Indians) (Preseason Ranked #19)
No No Notorious
Victor Martinez comp still makes a lot of sense to me. Jury is still out on whether the elite hit tool will run him into enough power to be a fantasy star.
17) Nick Senzel (Reds) (Preseason Ranked #14)
Nick Steady. He’s going to fill up the stat sheet in every category once he makes it to Cincy. I think he is better than Bregman and I love his work ethic and passion for the game.
18) Mitch Keller (Pirates) (Preseason Ranked #22)
A back issue has slowed his development this year but he is still a kid with great stuff and very advanced pitchability. The Pirates have no reason to rush him so he might stay down in Bradenton the rest of the season. Health permitting, he should be a fast riser through the system next year.
19) Tyler O’Neill (Mariners) (Preseason Ranked #8)
This years McMahon of last year. Going through an adjustment period but expect him to bounce back in the second half. Power is still there and he has chipped in 9 swipes. Need to curb the strikeouts to get back to where he was last year.
20) Ryan McMahon (Rockies) (Preseason Ranked #73)
Bounced back this year in a big way and is starting to play some 2B to increase his versatility. The power is legitimate. Hopefully he doesn’t get moved at the deadline.
21) Michel Baez (Padres) (Preseason NR)
Shoutout to @CaliKusiolek for turning me on to Baez. “Which of the participants in yesterday’s Futures Game would you take over Michel Baez? Not many for me” – 6’8” monster that has dominated the lower minors so far with a power fastball with devastating plane that he commands very well paired with an above average slider and developing changeup. Look out for this kid to zip through the Padres system. Currently unhittable at Low-A Fort Wayne and not walking anybody.
22) Adrian Morejon (Padres) (Preseason Ranked #48)
One of my favorite players in the minor leagues. He is a bulldog in the mold of my top ranked arm – Kopech. Currently at Short Season A ball in the Pacific Northwest for Tri-City he is looking like a veteran at age 18. He just flat out knows how to pitch and has great stuff to back it up. Promotion to Low-A Full Season Fort Wayne should be on the horizon and he and Baez could fast track to the majors together.
23) Jorge Mateo (Yankees) (Preseason Ranked #26)
Arguably the most dynamic player in the minors. Still think there is power projection to go with his elite speed. Promotion to AA seems to have energized him as he’s been hot ever since. He is definitely a potential trade piece for the Yankees at the deadline as part of a package to go get pitching. I will not fatigue!
24) Sixto Sanchez (Phillies) (Preseason Ranked #64)
Future ace in Philly. Book it. They are handling him with kid gloves and I can’t wait until they cut him loose. Has as much helium as any pitcher in the minors.
25) Royce Lewis (Twins) (2017 Draft)
The intangibles really elevate the potential for this incredible athlete’s skills to translate into becoming something very special down the road. It is going to be very run to watch his ascent through the Twins system and I can’t wait to see him in Minnesota in a few years.
26) Dylan Cease (White Sox) (Preseason Ranked #85)
Power, power arm that just needs to stay healthy and pile up innings to prove he is for real. Bullpen risk due to durability concerns but upside is massive. Second big projectable piece in the Jose Quintana trade. Rick Hahn is 3/4 so far.
27) Fernando Tatis Jr. (Padres) (Preseason NR)
Rick Hahn started out 0/1…
28) Bo Bichette (Blue Jays) (Preseason NR)
Holy XBH. Blue Jays need to sell in the next two weeks to align their goals with the arrival of the bloodline boys. Embrace the coming rebuild Blue Jays fans, I think you will be rewarded with some sustainability.
29) Jordon Adell (Angels) (2017 Draft)
Oh my god the athleticism and bat speed. Obviously, pure projection at this moment but I’m just flat out wowed.
30) Luis Urias (Padres) (Preseason Ranked #57)
I think he can do what Didi Gregorius is doing. He is still my prospect man crush.
31) Rhys Hoskins (Phillies) (Preseason NR)
He hits, hits homers, walks as much as he strikes out….NUFF SAIDDDDD – Bernie Mac in Ocean’s 13.
32) Ozzie Albies (Braves) (Preseason Ranked #34)
Has always been a favorite of mine to watch. Can do a bit of everything on the ball field and will be defined by the amount of power he is able to display on field once he gets to Atlanta.
33) Hunter Greene (Reds) (2017 Draft)
One of the most loose and athletic pitchers to come out of high school since…Doc…Gooden…?
34) Harrison Bader (Cardinals) (Preseason Ranked #47)
He still looks like Mike Trout and plays like Carlos Gomez.
35) Kyle Wright (Braves) (2017 Draft)
Love the athleticism on the mound and the delivery. Another Vandy starter that has the look of a mid-rotation stalwart for years to come.
36) Brandon Marsh (Angels) (Preseason NR)
Had a very fast start at Short Season Orem in the Northwest league this year and has been on the shelf with a sprained thumb for about two weeks. He is very explosive at the plate and on the bases. Wait, the Angels have 2 legitimate prospects?
37) Kevin Maitan (Braves) (Preseason Ranked #49)
It’s all about the power projection. Very intrigued to see how he performs for the GCL Braves over the next couple months.
38) Matt Manning (Tigers) (Preseason NR)
Spent about 2 months down in Lakeland, Florida at extended spring training fine tuning his mechanics and learning how to pitch. He will continue to develop while working towards becoming a pitcher instead of an extremely athletic thrower with an elite arm.
39) Scott Kingery (Phillies) (Preseason NR)
Biggest breakout prospect of 2017. Amazing ascent has been fueled by an unbelievable increase in flyball rate. Get ready Fanatics, he’ll arrive soon.
40) Beau Burrows (Tigers) (Preseason NR)
Hadn’t seen much of him until this season’s breakout. Power fastball and command of his secondary pitches pairs to create a lethal combo. Very impressive in his inning of work at the Futures Game.
41) Dom Smith (Mets) (Preseason Ranked #96)
It’s rake city. It’s time for his Queens debut with Rosario. Has one of the best bat to ball profiles in the minor leagues and the power is developing slowly but surely.
42) Willie Calhoun (Dodgers) (Preseason Ranked #66)
Impact DH for many years to come. I think he will be traded to an AL team and get called up immediately in August. Could be a piece in a Darvish trade?
43) Jay Groome (Red Sox) (Preseason Ranked #62)
6’6” power lefties…who are the comps? Has battled injury this year but I’m hoping for a second half breakout to solidify his status as one of the highest ceiling pitchers in the minor leagues going into 2018.
44) Heliot Ramos (Giants) (2017 Draft)
All I’ve heard since he made his debut in the AZL is that he was drafted too low. Premium athlete, great bat speed – the Giants may have struck gold with Heliot.
45) Luis Robert (White Sox) (2017 International Signing)
Knee injury has halted a hot start in the DSL but he is a phenomenal athlete with serious bat speed. Hopefully he’ll be back soon to begin his ascent through the White Sox now Top 3 system.
46) Keston Hiura (Brewers) (2017 Draft)
Hits the shit out of the ball, plain and simple. Great pick by the Brewers and could come fast.
47) A.J. Puk (Athletics) (Preseason NR)
2 homers allowed all season, 117 ks, 33 bb in 80 innings. Seems he has found some consistency with his mechanics and it has fueled a serious breakout. Could debut as early as opening day 2018.
48) Willy Adames (Rays) (Preseason Ranked #32)
See an above average major league SS but my expectations for stardom have been quelled. Smashed an oppo homer in the AAA All Star game but the power has been down in the first half.
49) Forrest Whitely (Astros) (Preseason NR)
6’7” 240 pound K machine. Francis Martes hype quelled.
50) Nick Gordon (Twins) (Preseason Ranked #78)
Really has star 20/20 potential with 350+ obp. Like Urias, I think he can be a Didi Gregorius type of player.