Each team's youngest Top 30 prospect
Several should emerge as blue-chip talents
There are 11 teenagers on MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list, starting at the very top with Rays shortstop Wander Franco. But only one member of the Top 100 is also the youngest prospect on his organization's Top 30 list: Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez.
We detail every system's youngest Top 30 prospect below, where you'll find that most of them were either signed internationally in 2019 or drafted out of high school this June. Several of them should emerge as blue-chip talents in the next few years.
A similar look after the 2017 season would have yielded eight members of the current Top 100: Mariners outfielder Julio Rodriguez (No. 15), Braves outfielder Drew Waters (No. 22), Diamondbacks outfielder Kristian Robinson (No. 39), Reds right-hander Hunter Greene (No. 47), Mets shortstop Ronny Mauricio (No. 57), Giants outfielder Heliot Ramos (No. 60), Marlins righty Edward Cabrera (No. 80) and Rays righty Shane Baz (No. 86).
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Rikelvin de Castro, SS (No. 17)
A Dominican shortstop who earned comparisons to José Reyes as an amateur, De Castro received the top bonus in Toronto’s 2019-2020 international class, signing for $1.2 million on July 2, 2019, at age 16. He’s already viewed as a plus defender and has the bat-to-ball skills needed to become an above-average Major League hitter, albeit with little over-the-fence pop.
Orioles: Luis Ortiz, LHP (No. 29)
Under GM Mike Elias, the Orioles have re-entered the international market for the first time in years, and Ortiz was one of 16 players to get a six-figure bonus ($400,000) during the 2019-20 signing period. The 18-year-old Dominican southpaw is already 6-foot-3 with a strong starting pitcher profile that features a future solid three-pitch mix and an idea of what to do with it.
Rays: Jhon Diaz, OF (No. 26)
Signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in August 2019, Diaz, 18, might be a somewhat undersized player, but he also is exceptionally strong for his size. And while he hasn’t yet appeared in a pro game, the teenage outfielder has still made a strong impression on club officials early in his career, showing a promising left-handed bat as part of a potential five-tool profile.
Red Sox: Blaze Jordan, 3B (No. 15)
Jordan, who reclassified to enter the 2020 Draft and won't turn 18 until six days before Christmas, had some of the best raw power available in his class. His impressive combination of strength and bat speed allowed him to win his first national home run derby at age 11 and earned him an over-slot $1.75 million bonus as a third-rounder.
Yankees: Jasson Dominguez, OF (No. 1/MLB No. 48)
Dominguez received more hype than any international amateur in recent memory, and evaluators say it was deserved because he may have well-above-average tools across the board when fully developed. Signed for $5.1 million out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019, the 17-year-old's explosive athleticism has earned him comparisons to Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians: Petey Halpin, OF (No. 17)
The Indians gave under-slot bonuses to their first three selections in the 2020 Draft, allowing them to pay an over-slot $1.525 million for Halpin in the third round. The 18-year-old's hitting ability, speed, arm and center-field defense all project as at least solid, and he has some sneaky raw power as well.
Royals: Erick Peña, OF (No. 5)
Peña’s left-handed bat and power potential helped earn him the highest bonus ($3,897,500) of any player in Kansas City’s 2019-20 international class. While he hasn’t had an opportunity to showcase those tools in a Minor League game yet, Peña, a 17-year-old from the Dominican Republic, received glowing reviews for his performance during instructional league in back-to-back years and more than held his own this past summer at the Royals’ alternate training site.
Tigers: Roberto Campos, OF (No. 20)
After defecting from Cuba with his brother in 2016, Campos spent nearly three years working out in the Dominican with former Tigers outfielder-turned-trainer Alex Sanchez before finally signing with Detroit for $2.85 million in July 2019. A physical specimen at age 17 with his combination of size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and strength, Campos looks the part of a future middle-of-the-order slugger.
Twins: Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF (No. 26)
Rodriguez, 17, came in at No. 8 on our Top 30 International Prospects for the 2019-20 signing period, and the Twins gave the talented Cuban outfielder $2.5 million to sign. He has solid tools across the board and could end up in a corner outfield spot, though he can play center right now and reminds some of a young Eddie Rosario.
White Sox: Bryan Ramos, 3B (No. 26)
Ramos performed well for two seasons in Cuba's 15-and-under league before defecting and signing for $300,000 in July 2018. The 18-year-old has the power and arm to profile at third base, and the White Sox like his infield actions enough to have given him some time at second base.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Adrian Placencia, SS (No. 27)
The 17-year-old Placencia was one of two middle infielders to get seven figures from the Angels in July 2019 (Arol Vera was the other), earning a $1.1 million bonus upon signing out of the Dominican Republic. He has an advanced feel for hitting, especially given his age, and he should grow into some power as he physical matures. A shortstop now, Placencia might end up at second base long term.
A’s: Robert Puason, SS (No. 2)
Puason was ranked right behind now-Yankees top prospect Jasson Dominguez on the 2019-20 Top 30 International Prospects list and got $5.1 million to sign with the A’s. Lean and wiry, the 18-year-old Dominican can swing the bat from both sides of the plate with plenty of physical projection. He’s a plus runner with plus defensive skills, meaning he’ll be a shortstop for a very long time.
Astros: Dauri Lorenzo, SS (No. 18)
Lorenzo, 18, had one of the more advanced bats among middle infielders in the 2019 international amateur class and signed for $1.8 million out of the Dominican Republic. He's a switch-hitter who flashes plus speed and has the instincts and arm to possibly stick at shortstop.
Mariners: Jose Corniell, RHP (No. 24)
This 17-year-old right-hander has already worked hard to add strength to his 6-foot-3 frame since signing for $630,000 out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019. He has the makings of a very good three-pitch mix, with a fastball touching the mid-90s, and has shown a better feel for pitching than most hurlers of his age and experience.
Rangers: Maximo Acosta, SS (No. 5)
Acosta signed out of Venezuela in July 2019 for $1.65 million, and that could look like a huge bargain if he reaches his lofty ceiling. The 18-year-old has precocious hitting ability, 20-20 potential, all the tools to play a quality shortstop and strong makeup.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Michael Harris, OF (No. 12)
The Braves may have found a third-round steal when they nabbed Harris, a Georgia prepster, in the 2019 Draft. The 19-year-old was a talented two-way player who could have gone on to college to both pitch and hit, and many teams liked his left arm on the mound. The Braves liked his bat, and he made his pro debut in 2019, where he dominated the Gulf Coast League and jumped to full-season ball, making it seem like they were right.
Marlins: Jose Salas, SS (No. 19)
Salas was born in Florida and grew up in Orlando before moving to Venezuela -- where his grandfather, father and uncle all played professionally -- and he signed for $2.8 million in July 2019. Still just 17, he could have average-or-better tools across the board at shortstop, and he also stands out with his instincts.
Mets: Alexander Ramirez, OF (No. 15)
The Mets continued their trend of targeting lean, athletic, up-the-middle players from the international ranks in 2019 when they signed Ramirez out of the Dominican Republic for $2.05 million, the largest bonus given by the team. The 17-year-old outfielder will need considerable time to develop on both sides of the ball -- especially after a lost 2020 season -- but the final product could be that of a five-tool outfielder who contributes in all facets of the game.
Nationals: Roismar Quintana, OF (No. 15)
Quintana, 17, received the third-largest bonus in Washington’s 2019-20 international class, signing for $820,000 at the outset of the period. A right-handed hitter, the Venezuelan has flashed some serious strength and power potential in each of the past two years at instructional camp, impressing club officials with his ability to crush the ball the other way as a teenager.
Phillies: Yhoswar Garcia, OF (No. 22)
Garcia, a center fielder out of Venezuela, couldn’t sign until March of this year, after it was initially thought he could sign at the start of the 2019-20 signing period, because of an age issue. But the Phillies gave the now-19-year-old outfielder $2.5 million to bring his full set of tools, headlined by his plus speed on the basepaths and in center field, into the organization.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Hedbert Perez, OF (No. 9)
The recipient of the second-largest bonus ($700,000) given out by the Brewers during the 2019-20 international period, Perez was a standout during instructional league in 2019, and he opened even more eyes this year as the youngest player (17) at Milwaukee’s alternate site. The Venezuelan has one of the higher ceilings in the system as a true center fielder who projects to hit for both average and power from the left side of the plate.
Cardinals: Tink Hence, RHP (No. 10)
The Cardinals signed Hence for $1.115 million as a supplemental second-round pick this year, drafting him 63rd overall and making him the highest Arkansas prep pitcher taken since 2005. Hence -- one of the younger players in the class, who celebrated his 18th birthday in early August -- is a plus, twitchy athlete who already has shown the ability to throw strikes with each of his three pitches.
Cubs: Ronnier Quintero, C (No. 15)
The top catcher in the 2019 international crop, Quintero signed out of Venezuela for $2.9 million, setting a franchise record for an international amateur by eclipsing the $2.8 million paid to Eloy Jimenez in 2013. Quintero, 18, features big left-handed power, solid arm strength and impressive leadership skills.
Pirates: Alexander Mojica, 3B (No. 27)
After signing for $390,000 in August 2018, Mojica set the Dominican Summer League on fire in 2019, finishing second in OPS (.351/.468/.580) while not turning 17 until Aug. 2. The Dominican has the chance to hit for average and power, but he’ll have to maintain his conditioning to stick at the hot corner.
Reds: Mac Wainwright, OF (No. 30)
Wainwright was a two-sport standout who was a talented enough wide receiver to play football in college, but he had committed to Ohio State to focus on baseball. Now, the 18-year-old will get to do that under the watchful eye of the Reds' player development staff, and he has the chance to evolve an athletic run-producing corner outfield type.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Jeferson Espinal, OF (No. 26)
Signed by Arizona for $200,000 at the beginning of the 2018-19 international period, Espinal is a premium athlete with a big league body and a collection of promising tools. While the 18-year-old Dominican currently stands out for his athleticism and a plus speed-defense combo, the D-backs believe he will eventually do damage at the plate, too.
Dodgers: Luis Rodriguez, OF (No. 6)
The Dodgers signed the top Venezuelan prospects in each of the last two international classes, landing catcher Diego Cartaya for $2.5 million in 2018 and Rodriguez for $2,667,500 in 2019. Rodriguez, 18, has some of the best pure hitting ability in the system, not to mention solid power potential and speed and a chance to stay in center field.
Giants: Aeverson Arteaga, SS (No. 21)
The son of a professional basketball player in Venezuela, Arteaga turned pro for $1 million in July 2019. He's a contact hitter with plus speed and the quickness, arm and instincts to play a quality shortstop.
Padres: Reginald Preciado, SS (No. 11)
The son of former Minor Leaguer Victor Preciado, who played two seasons in the Yankees' system, Reginald Preciado received a record bonus for a Panamanian prospect, signing with the Padres for $1.3 million at the outset of the 2019-20 July 2 period. A lean and athletic shortstop with a large frame and a projectable body, he was the youngest player (17) at San Diego’s alternate training site by the end of the summer and then continued to flash a high offensive ceiling during instructional league.
Rockies: Adael Amador, SS (No. 20)
No. 14 on our Top 30 International Prospects list for the 2019-20 signing period, Amador signed for $1.5 million out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019. He’s a switch-hitter with an approach that belies his age (17), with signs of being an outstanding hitter with some future pop, all while being able to stay at shortstop long term.