Think fast! That’s what we’re doing this week at MLB Pipeline. We assure this will be a quick read.
That’s because we’re looking at the fastest players in each organization. This isn’t just a list of top prospects, as many organizations have speedsters who might not have other tools that have shown up as consistently. But there’s no question the 30 players below can all run, with high grades in that category on the 20-to-80 scouting scale.
AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST
Blue Jays: Dasan Brown, OF
Toronto’s third-round pick in the 2019 Draft, Brown was viewed by many evaluators as the premier athlete in his class. The Ontario native has close to, if not elite speed that enables him to run down anything and everything in center field, where he projects as at least a plus defender. But as one of the youngest players in his class -- he turned 18 in late September -- Brown’s bat, as well as his all-around game, will require time for development.
Rays: Vidal Brujan, 2B/SS
A plus-plus runner as well as one of the Minors’ more prolific basestealers, Brujan has racked up 108 stolen bases in the past two years. He swiped 55 bags in 2018 to finish third in the Minors and followed it with a 48-steal campaign in ’19, tying for fourth in MiLB. He’s still learning how to be an effective basestealer, though, and he owns a 72.6 percent success rate (151 of 208) across his first five seasons.
Orioles: Mason Janvrin, OF
Janvrin stole 68 bases between his sophomore and junior years at Central Missouri. That, along with his .418/.462/.553 line as a junior, led to him being drafted by the Orioles in the 14th round of the 2019 Draft. He then stole 17 bases in 42 games of his pro debut, including going 14-for-15 in 26 Gulf Coast League games.
Red Sox: Gilberto Jimenez, OF
There's debate as to whether Jimenez or 2019 Futures Gamer Jarren Duran is the fastest Red Sox farmhand, but more scouts side with Jimenez and some grade him with 80 speed on the 20-80 scale. Signed for just $10,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2017, he used his wheels to win the New York-Penn League batting title (.359) in his U.S. debut last summer and stole 14 bases in 59 games.
Yankees: Isaiah Pasteur, OF
After transferring from Indiana to George Washington, Pasteur won Atlantic-10 Conference player of the year honors in 2018, clocking a 6.2-second 60-yard dash and routinely getting from the right side of the plate to first base in less than four seconds. A 13th-round pick that June, he has 21 steals in 78 pro games despite batting just .228.
AMERICAN LEAGUE CENTRAL
Indians: Quentin Holmes, OF
The fastest player in the 2017 Draft, Holmes went in the second round as a New York prepster but has had little pro success. His top-of-the-scale speed has translated into just 30 steals in 44 attempts and has been mitigated by a .176/.242/.275 batting line and 35 percent strikeout rate in 160 games.
Royals: Isaiah Henry, OF
Henry was a multisport standout at North Shore (Texas) High before he signed with the Royals as a 14th-round pick in 2017. The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder is a physical specimen with loud tools, including a cannon arm – he hit the mid 90s off the mound as a prep – and blazing speed that enables him to impact games both on the basepaths and in center field. The 20-year-old may be the definition of a projection project but the upside is substantial. Nick Heath and Khalil Lee, who collectively stole 103 bags last season at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, were also considered.
Tigers: Derek Hill, OF
Added to the Tigers’ 40-man roster in November, Hill, Detroit’s first-round pick in the 2014 Draft, is one of the best defensive outfielders in the Minors. Scouts have long praised Hill’s closing speed in center field, noting that his combination of quickness and well above average wheels allow him to run down every ball in every direction. On the bases, Hill has swiped at least 21 bags in five straight seasons and has a pair of 35-steal campaigns in the last three years.
Twins: Royce Lewis, SS
It’s possible outfielder Aaron Whitefield might beat Lewis in a 60-yard dash, but Lewis got several votes from our Pipeline Poll as the fastest prospect in baseball. It’s the combination of pure speed and instincts on the bases that has allowed him to be successful in 76.4 percent of his stolen base attempts in his career. He uses that speed well defensively as well, and he showed that the speed will play in center field in the Arizona Fall League.
White Sox: James Beard, OF
As the fastest player in the 2019 Draft and a Mississippi prep outfielder, Beard drew obvious comparisons to Billy Hamilton. After running a 6.21-second 60-yard dash and wreaking havoc on the bases on the high school showcase circuit, the fourth-round pick batted .213 with nine steals in his 31-game pro debut.
AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST
Astros: Jordan Brewer, OF
A legitimate wide receiver prospect who drew interest from Big Ten Conference football powers before dislocating his shoulder as a high school senior, Brewer spent two years at Lincoln Trail (Ill.) CC before breaking out at Michigan last spring and helping the Wolverines place second at the College World Series. He has well above-average speed and plus raw power, though a toe injury limited him in his pro debut after Houston selected him in the second round.
Angels: Jordyn Adams, OF
Adams could be playing wide receiver at the University of North Carolina right now but opted to stick to baseball only when he signed with the Angels as their first-round pick in 2018. He’s still learning to use his 80 speed effectively on the basepaths and in the outfield, but he has the tools to be a premium base stealer and defender in center field.
A’s: Jorge Mateo, SS/2B
Mateo hasn’t run as much as he did in his early days with the Yankees -- he swiped 82 bags back in 2015 and 52 in 2017 -- but he does have 49 steals over the last two years and still grades out with 80 speed. Getting on base more consistently would certainly allow him to use his legs more to wreak havoc and his speed helps him have considerable range up the middle defensively.
Mariners: Jonatan Clase, OF
The Mariners signed Clase for just $35,000 out of the Dominican Republic back in July 2018. He’s just getting started, having made his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League last summer, when he stole 31 bases in 63 games while finishing with a .300/.434/.444 line and covering a lot of ground in center field. He’ll unleash his legs on the United States this season.
Rangers: Zion Bannister, OF
The Bahamas have produced a number of speedsters in recent years, and Bannister is one of the latest after signing for $836,000 in July. He runs the 60-yard dash in 6.3 seconds and also has plenty of projectable raw power, making him quite intriguing. Outfielders Angel Aponte and Bubba Thompson and middle infielder Jake Hoover have similar speed.
NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST
Braves: Justin Dean, OF
While Cristian Pache did get some love in the Pipeline Poll, Dean has him beat in terms of using that speed in games. After going 34-for-40 as a basestealer in his college career at Lenoir-Rhyne, Dean stole 16 more during his pro debut after the Braves took him in the 17th round of the 2018 Draft. Then he went off, with his 47 steals in 2019 easily leading the South Atlantic League.
Marlins: J.D. Orr, OF
Orr parlayed his 80-grade speed into leading NCAA Division I with 60 steals and ranking third with 83 runs at Wright State last spring, prompting Miami to make him a $2,500 senior sign in the 10th round. He topped the short-season New York-Penn League in runs (57) and on-base percentage (.469) in his first pro summer while also ranking second in hitting (.352) and steals (29, albeit in 46 attempts).
Mets: Ranfy Adon, OF
Though his game has come together slowly since signing with the Mets out of the Dominican Republic in October 2014, Adon continues to showcase some of the best tools in the organization. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound outfielder can fly on both sides of the ball, with long, graceful strides that help him cover large swaths of territory and get down the line from the right side of the plate in a hurry. Adon has recorded double-digit steals in back-to-back seasons and stands to build upon those totals as his hitting ability and on-base skills improve.
Nationals: Cole Freeman, OF/2B
The 2017 fourth-rounder’s line-drive, hit-to-all fields approach and strong on-base skills help him to get the most out of his plus-plus speed. He’s been successful in more than 80 percent of his steal attempts in two pro seasons and posted the second-most steals (31) last year in the Carolina League. The Nationals moved Freeman from second base to center field along the way, and he impressed by making a smooth transition to the new position, showing the necessary range and closing speed to profile there long term.
Phillies: Corbin Williams, OF
The Phillies got Williams from the junior college ranks, a 24th-round pick in 2018 out of the College of the Canyons in California. He’ll hit full-season ball for the first time in 2020, as his bat has been a little slow to develop. But there’s no question about his speed, which gets at least a 70 on the scouting scale. He led the New York-Penn League with 30 steals in just 58 games in 2019 and his 42-for-52 in his brief pro career to date.
NATIONAL LEAGUE CENTRAL
Brewers: Korry Howell, OF
The 2018 12th-round pick handles the bat well enough to let his plus-plus speed play and swiped 19 bags in his first full season, but the fact that he has been successful 72 percent of the time on the basepaths as a pro underscores that Howell is still learning how to read pitchers and pick his spots. After spending most of his pro debut in the infield, Howell played the outfield exclusively in 2019 and showed the requisite range and quickness needed to stick in center.
Cardinals: Trejyn Fletcher, OF
Scouts viewed Fletcher as one of the premier athletes in 2019 class before the Cardinals made him the highest-drafted position player ever drafted out of a Maine high school by selecting him in the second round. He has a trio of plus tools in his raw power, arm strength and speed, and he showcases the latter effortlessly on both sides of the ball. Fletcher’s below-average hitting ability and on-base skills could ultimately detract from his impact potential on the bases, but he possesses the raw speed needed to swipe 20-plus bags annually.
Cubs: Zach Davis, OF
Though he started just 56 games in four seasons at Texas Tech, his top-of-the-scale speed and 91 percent basestealing success rate led Chicago to draft Davis in the 32nd round in 2016. He has played his way to Double-A with 102 steals in 268 pro games.
Pirates: Ji-Hwan Bae, 2B/SS
He’s No. 9 on our Top 10 second base prospects list this year, and he has the skills to play shortstop, with his 70 speed certainly helping his range. He also stole 31 bases in 2019, good enough to tie him four fourth in the South Atlantic League. He has the wheels to be even more effective on the basepaths once he learns the craft more.
Reds: Andy Sugilio, OF
Originally signed as a shortstop for $125,000 out of the Dominican in October 2013, the only thing slow about Sugilio has been his progress up the organizational ladder. Now an outfielder, where his speed helps give him excellent range, Sugilio turned in his second 20-plus steal season in the Florida State League, and he’s still learning to use his speed more efficiently on the basebaths.
NATIONAL LEAGUE WEST
Dodgers: Brayan Morales, OF
Morales possesses plus-plus speed and has used it to challenge for stolen base titles in each of his three full pro seasons since Los Angeles took him in the 15th round out of Hillsborough (Fla.) CC in 2016. He led the Rookie-level Pioneer League with 29 swipes in just 41 games in 2017, then finished second in the low Class A Midwest League with 46 in 86 contests in 2018 and second in the Class A Advanced California League with 35 in 106 games last year.
Giants: P.J. Hilson, OF
Hilson has plus-plus speed and more raw power than most players on this list, though he's extremely raw at the plate. A sixth-round pick as an Arkansas high schooler in 2018, he has hit .201/.294/.340 with 18 steals in 80 games as a pro.
D-backs: Corbin Carroll, OF
The No. 15 overall pick in last year’s Draft, Carroll went 19-for-20 on the bases during his pro debut after Arizona selected him with the first of its seven picks on Day 1 of the Draft. The 19-year-old outfielder’s loudest tool is the plus-plus speed that makes him a threat to steal when he's on base as well as a rangy, plus defender in center, where he's expected to stay long term.
Padres: CJ Abrams, SS
The No. 6 overall pick in last year’s Draft truly has game-changing speed, with 80-grade wheels that enable him to make an impact in all facets of the game. That speed gives Abrams outstanding range as a shortstop and could allow him to play just about anywhere on the diamond if he’s forced off the position. More than just a speedster, Abrams garnered Rookie Arizona League MVP honors in his pro debut -- batting .401 with 23 extra-base hits and 14 steals in 32 games -- before a late-summer promotion to Class A Fort Wayne.
Rockies: Bladimir Restituyo, 2B/OF
The Rockies signed Restituyo for $200,000 in July 2017 as a shortstop. He played there during his pro debut in the Dominican Summer League in 2018, along with second and the outfield (with a little third mixed in). His United States debut in 2019 was a success, as he played across two levels and stole 22 bases in 75 games. His 70 speed also allowed him to roam around center field well, the spot he played the most (along with second base).