After a two-week rollout during which we looked at the Top 10 prospects at each position, MLB Pipeline unveiled its Top 100 Prospects list for 2020 last Saturday in conjunction with a special shown on MLB Network.
While there were many tough omissions from this year’s Top 100, recent history suggests it may not be long until those players become fixtures on the list. Specifically, nine players who just missed last year’s Top 100 now reside in the 2020 Top 100, while another five players graduated to the Major Leagues.
Since fans always want to know more about our Top 100 close calls, MLB Pipeline once again has compiled a list of each team’s top prospect who didn’t crack the list. It also serves as a preview for the team Top 30 lists that we’ll be rolling out in February, with each player representing the next-highest-ranked prospect in their respective organization.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Alek Manoah, RHP
Manoah dominated as a West Virginia junior in 2019 before signing with the Blue Jays for $4,547,500 after they selected him with the No. 11 overall pick. That success carried over into Manoah’s pro debut, as the 6-foot-6 right-hander carved up Class A Short Season Northwest League hitters using a mid-90s heater, plus slider and a changeup that has average potential.
Orioles: Austin Hays, OF
Hays rocketed up the Orioles’ organizational ladder, as well as prospect rankings, when he became the first member of the 2016 Draft class to reach the big leagues, just over a year after being selected. Injuries hampered his ability to replicate that performance, but he looked much more like the earlier version of himself in 2019, which enabled him to get back to Baltimore. All signs point to him graduating off of lists soon after he lands an Opening Day roster spot.
Rays: Shane McClanahan, LHP
The No. 31 overall pick in the 2018 Draft, McClanahan posted a 3.36 ERA, 11.5 K/9 and .223 BAA over 120 2/3 innings in his first full season, climbing from Class A Bowling Green to Double-A Montgomery. The 22-year-old lefty operates with a mid-90s fastball that’s reached triple digits in the past, and he receives high marks for his feel for spinning a plus, swing-and-miss breaking ball. His changeup also came along nicely in 2019, and his control improved as the season progressed.
Red Sox: Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B
A hero on the mound for Arizona at the 2016 College World Series, Dalbec became a full-time slugger after signing for an over-slot $650,000 in the fourth round that June. He has some of the best raw power in the Minors (ranking sixth with 59 homers in the last two seasons) and is a quality defender with a well-above-average arm at third base, though the presence of Rafael Devers will push him to first base in Boston.
Yankees: Oswald Peraza, SS
Peraza has batted .267/.350/.346 in three seasons since signing for $175,000 out of Venezuela, but those modest numbers belie his tools and upside. He has plus speed, generates some of the best exit velocities in New York's system and plays a solid shortstop.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians: Bo Naylor, C
The younger brother of Padres outfielder Josh Naylor, Bo doesn't have the same power but is a better pure hitter with much more defensive value. The Canadian high school prospect has quieted talk that he might not be able to stick behind the plate and offers more offensive upside and athleticism than most catchers.
Royals: Jackson Kowar, RHP
Selected No. 33 overall in a 2018 Draft that saw the Royals select college pitchers with their first five picks, Kowar split his first full season between Class A Advanced Wilmington and Double-A Northwest Arkansas, posting a 3.52 ERA with 144 strikeouts in 148 1/3 frames (26 starts) between the two levels. The 23-year-old’s changeup is the best in Kansas City’s system and one of the better ones in the Minors, and he sets it up with a fastball that averages 94-95 mph. Kowar’s curveball gives him a third average-or-better pitch, albeit one that requires further development.
Tigers: Isaac Paredes, 3B/SS
After reaching Double-A Erie as a 19-year-old in 2018, Paredes returned to the Eastern League last season and produced a .282/.368/.416 line with 13 homers and nearly as many walks (57) as strikeouts (61). A pest at the plate who consistently works deep counts and endlessly fouls off pitches, Paredes makes a ton of contact to all fields and shows power to his pull-side, though some evaluators would like to see him adopt a more selective approach.
Twins: Jhoan Duran, RHP
Duran has always had a big fastball and he maintained it throughout 2019, touching triple digits. He combines it with an absolutely nasty splitter-sinker hybrid pitch and those two offerings alone helped him reach Double-A last year. The addition of a solid curveball gives him an even better chance to remain a starter, one who could climb onto the Top 100 during the 2020 season.
White Sox: Jonathan Stiever, RHP
In his first full pro season, Stiever breezed through two Class A levels and established himself as the best healthy pitching prospect in Chicago's system. A fifth-rounder out of Indiana in 2018, he features a 92-96 mph fastball that tops out at 98 with good angle and unusual feel for an upper-70s spike curveball.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Angels: Jordyn Adams, OF
The top of the Angels Top 30 is full of athletic outfielders, with Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh representing the organization in the Top 100 and Adams right behind that dynamic duo. The former two-sport high school star (football) has a ton of tools, but he’s still a bit raw. How much he can translate those tools and his athleticism into performance will determine how high he can reach on prospect lists.
Astros: Jose Urquidy, RHP
Urquidy has demonstrated the best control and command in Houston's system since getting purchased from the Mexican League's Mexico City Red Devils for $100,000 in 2015, and it was on display when he spun five shutout innings to win Game 4 of the World Series. Slotted into the middle of Houston's 2020 rotation, he works with a plus changeup with fade that he sets up by locating his low-90s fastball and complements with a pair of average breaking pitches.
A’s: Robert Puason, SS
Puason was No. 2 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 30 international prospects list heading into the July 2 signing period in 2019 and got $5.1 million to sign with the A’s. He’s yet to play a competitive inning as a pro, but the A’s love his lean, wiry strength with a frame that should add strength, his ability to hit from both sides of the plate and the skills to stick at shortstop for a very long time.
Mariners: Noelvi Marte, SS
Marte signed for $1.55 million at the start of the 2018-19 international signing period after ranking in the top 10 of our international Top 30 list. He then went out and put up a .309/.371/.511 line in the Dominican Summer League in his pro debut. He has the chance to hit for average with some power and he can really run. Needless to say, the Mariners are very excited to see what he does in his United States debut this season.
Rangers: Leody Taveras, OF
After signing for $2.1 million out of the Dominican Republic as one of the best athletes in the 2015 international class, Taveras raced to Double-A at age 20 thanks to his advanced switch-hitting ability, plus speed and sterling center-field defense. If he can learn to tap into his average to solid raw power, he could be a star.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Bryse Wilson, RHP
It’s weird to think that a pitcher who’ll be 22 for all of 2020 has stalled a little, but Wilson has done all he needs to do in the Minor Leagues. Still, he hasn’t been able to establish himself in the big leagues and doesn’t necessarily have a clear path to a spot. But he’s young and has had success as a starter at every level; he just needs a longer opportunity to show if he can excel in that role as a big leaguer.
Marlins: Monte Harrison, OF
One of baseball's best athletes, Harrison turned down a football scholarship to play wide receiver at Nebraska to sign with the Brewers for $1.8 million as a 2014 second-rounder and since has shown off massive raw power, plus speed and a double-plus arm. He led the Minors with 215 strikeouts in 2018 after the Marlins acquired him in the Christian Yelich trade, and while his swing-and-miss issues may never go away, he did make some adjustments last season.
Mets: Matthew Allan, RHP
The Mets saved enough money with their first two picks in the 2019 Draft that they were able to sign Allan, arguably the top prep arm in the class, for $2.5 million (roughly four times his slot value) after taking him in the third round. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder is the definition of a high-ceiling prospect, as he already features a plus fastball-curveball combo as well as a changeup that should be at least above average.
Phillies: Francisco Morales, RHP
His fastball and slider alone merit him being the next in line for a Top 100 spot in this organization. He’s up to 98 mph regularly and misses a ton of bats with his breaking ball. His changeup is starting to improve, giving the Phillies hope that he can start long-term. Especially if he can refine his command, he looks like a future workhorse.
Nationals: Jackson Rutledge, RHP
Taken with the No. 17 overall pick in last year’s Draft, Rutledge, a 6-foot-8 right-hander, has some of the best pure stuff among college pitchers from his class with an explosive mid-90s fastball and a wipeout slider that front his four-pitch mix. Harnessing his stuff to throw more strikes and developing a better changeup will be developmental keys for the 20-year-old in his first full season, though he’s exactly the type of power pitcher the Nats have successfully developed in the past.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Brice Turang, SS/2B
Milwaukee may have been the only team to not place a player on the 2020 Top 100 list, but it had several candidates in the mix including Turang, its first-round pick in the ’18 Draft. The 20-year-old middle infielder struggled after receiving a late promotion to Class A Advanced Carolina but still enjoyed a solid first full season, batting .256/.367/.340 with 82 runs and 30 steals across two levels. Though he may never offer much in the way of power, Turang is an above-average hitter with an advanced approach and the defensive chops to stick up the middle.
Cardinals: Ivan Herrera, C
Signed out of Panama for $200,000 in July 2016, Herrera was pushed up to full-season ball at age 18 in 2019 and responded to the challenge by slashing .284/.374/.405 with nine home runs in 87 games across two levels, including Class A Advanced Palm Beach. Herrera continued to impress on both sides of the ball after the season as one of the Arizona Fall League’s youngest players, and he will enter 2020 with a big up arrow next to his name.
Cubs: Cole Roederer, OF
Though Roederer drew comparisons to Andrew Benintendi as a California high schooler, he slid to the second round of the 2018 Draft because of an injury to his non-throwing shoulder and his commitment to UCLA. He tried to do too much in his first full pro season, leading to a .224/.319/.365 line in low Class A, but he still can reach his upside as a .300 hitter with 20-25 homers if he lets his power come naturally.
Pirates: Quinn Priester, RHP
The Pirates’ first-round pick from last June, Priester was one of the top-ranked high school arms in the country in 2019. He’s big, strong and athletic with good raw stuff and even though he’s from a cold-weather state (Illinois), he shows a better feel for pitching than you’d expect. A move to full-season ball for this right-hander should be fun to watch and he could be the next 2019 draftee to climb onto the Top 100.
Reds: Tyler Stephenson, C
A strong 2019 season and an equally impressive showing in the Arizona Fall League put Stephenson right on the brink of making the Top 100. Most importantly, he stayed healthy last year, allowing him to show off his excellent approach at the plate and the ability to hit for average with the power starting to come. He’s also improving on his work behind the plate and he’s not far from being ready to help lead a big league staff.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
D-backs: Blake Walston, LHP
The D-backs landed one of the 2019 Draft’s more projectable hurlers in Walston, selecting the North Carolina prep pitcher with their second pick in the first round. The 6-foot-5 southpaw’s velocity ticked up during his pro debut, with his fastball consistently reaching the mid-90s, and scouts expect him to add more velo as he grows into his ultra-athletic frame. He complements his heater with a plus curveball and also shows feel for a slider and changeup.
Dodgers: Tony Gonsolin, RHP
A two-way player at St. Mary's who landed a mere $2,500 bonus as a ninth-round senior sign in 2016, Gonsolin has seen his velocity jump from 88-92 mph as a college reliever to 93-97 mph as a pro starter, and he has hit 100 mph in shorter stints. His upper-80s splitter is a bigger weapon than his fastball, and he also possesses a pair of power breaking pitches, all of which helped him post a 2.93 ERA in 40 innings with Los Angeles last summer.
Giants: Alexander Canario, OF
Canario is set to advance to full-season ball in 2019 after three seasons of batting .291/.377/.505 at the Rookie and short-season levels. Signed for $60,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, he has some of the best bat speed and power in San Francisco's system and his solid arm adds to his right-field profile.
Padres: Adrian Morejon, LHP
Signed out of Cuba for $11 million in 2016, Morejon made the jump from Double-A to the Major Leagues as a 20-year-old last season. He scuffled in his first big league audition, posting a 10.13 ERA across five outings before a left shoulder impingement in early August prematurely ended his season. The fact that Morejon has battled arm injuries in every pro season raises questions about his durability and ultimately role, but when he’s on, the southpaw features a plus fastball-curveball combo along with a splitter-like changeup.
Rockies: Ryan Rolison, LHP
Rolison was on the Top 100 last year and didn’t miss it by much this time around. He has an interesting four-pitch mix and knows how to use it. He’ll also be happy to be out of the launching pad that is Lancaster in the California League, where hitters hit .278 against him in his first full season. He could move quickly with a bump up to Double-A this season.