MLB Pipeline's two-week list rollout of the Top 10 prospects at each position concluded Thursday with a look at a loaded outfield class. It all leads up to the unveiling of our Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday during a special that airs at 8 p.m. ET on MLB Network
MLB Pipeline's two-week list rollout of the Top 10 prospects at each position concluded Thursday with a look at a loaded outfield class. It all leads up to the unveiling of our Top 100 Prospects list on Saturday during a special that airs at 8 p.m. ET on MLB Network and MLB.com.
Last year's preseason Top 100 Prospects list produced 51 players to the Major Leagues, up from 48 in 2016. The group included seven prospects ranked within the Top 10, while 28 players reached the Majors for the first time.
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Cody Bellinger (No. 13) and Aaron Judge (No. 45) were the class headliners, as the respective National League and American League Rookie of the Year Award winners combined to hit 91 home runs in 2017. Andrew Benintendi (No. 1) was similarly impressive in his first full big league season, and he shows the makings of becoming a franchise cornerstone along with Rafael Devers (No. 17). The same can be said about Yoan Moncada (No. 2), as well as middle infielders Dansby Swanson (No. 4), Amed Rosario (No. 5), J.P. Crawford (No. 7) and Ozzie Albies (No. 11).
In all, 29 players from the 2017 Top 100 exhausted their rookie status, matching the total from the previous year.
The annual preseason ranking of the Top 100 Prospects will be revealed Saturday night, with the Top 50 being unveiled during a one-hour special on MLB Network and MLB.com beginning at 8 p.m. ET, and the entire list on MLB.com. The show, hosted by Greg Amsinger, will feature analysis from MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo and Jim Callis, and from former Colorado Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd of MLB Network.
Which team will have the most prospects in the Top 100? And after so many players from last year's list graduated to the Major Leagues, who will join the rankings? Those are just a few of the questions that will be answered.
Fans can also get questions answered by the players themselves, as several top prospects -- including pitchers Walker Buehler, Triston McKenzie, Mike Soroka and Forrest Whitley, as well as Padres right-hander Michel Baez and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. -- will join @MLBPipeline in live tweeting the show using the hashtag #MLBPipeline.
Prospects tweeting during the broadcast
• Michel Baez, RHP, Padres: @BaezCruz1
• Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers: @buehlersdayoff
• Scott Kingery, 2B, Phillies: @ScottyJetpax25
• Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Rays: @Brendan_mckay38
• Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians: @t_eazy24
• Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves: @Mike_Soroka28
• Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres: @tatis_jr
• Leody Taveras, OF, Rangers: @Leodytaveras
• Taylor Trammell, OF, Reds: @taytram24
• Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros: @ForrestWhitley
How the Top 100 is Determined
The MLB Pipeline team compiled the rankings with input from industry sources, including scouts and scouting directors. The rankings are based on analysis of players' skill sets, upsides, proximity to the Majors and potential immediate impact to their teams. The list, which is one of several prospect rankings on MLB Pipeline's Prospect Watch, only includes players with rookie status in 2018. Prospect Watch also follows the guidelines laid out by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, in terms of who falls under the international pool money rules: Players who are at least 25 years old and played in leagues deemed to be professional (Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Cuba) are not eligible.
Former No. 1 Prospects
Being ranked as baseball's top prospect comes with very high expectations, naturally. Yet quite a few former No. 1-ranked prospects have made good on the hype and have enjoyed successful careers at the highest level.
Over the past 14 years, Joe Mauer (No. 1 in 2004) and Michael Trout (2011) have gone on to win the AL MVP Award, with Trout winning it twice to go along with his three second-place finishes and the '12 AL Rookie of the Year Award. David Price ('09) won the AL Cy Young Award '12. Jay Bruce ('08) is a two-time All-Star with a pair of top-10 NL MVP Award finishes on his resume, while Jason Heyward ('10) helped the Cubs end their World Series drought in 2016 after signing an eight-year, $184 million pact during the offseason.
As for prospects who claimed the No. 1 spot in recent years, it's still yet to be seen what types of careers they might have. Left-hander Matt Moore (2012) showed the makings of a future ace when he first arrived in the big leagues, only to have his progress derailed by Tommy John surgery in '14 before being included in two trades in the past two seasons. The injury bug has also impacted the development of the Rangers' Jurickson Profar ('13), who debuted in the Major Leagues and homered in his first plate appearance in '12 at age 19, but missed the entire '14 season and most of '15 with a major shoulder injury.
Corey Seager ('16), meanwhile, took home the NL Rookie of the Year Award in 2016 and has helped the Dodgers reach the postseason in each of his three seasons. Benintendi ('17) helped the Red Sox reach the playoffs in his first full season while hitting .271 with 20 homers and 20 steals. He finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year Award voting behind Judge.
MLB.com's Preseason No. 1 Prospect Rankings by Year
2004: Joe Mauer
2005: Delmon Young
2006: Delmon Young
2007: Delmon Young
2008: Jay Bruce
2009: David Price
2010: Jason Heyward
2011: Mike Trout
2012: Matt Moore
2013: Jurickson Profar
2014: Byron Buxton
2015: Byron Buxton
2016: Corey Seager
2017: Andrew Benintendi
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.