Top 100 Prospects midseason update
It has been a season of change in the prospect world.
The sheer number of elite-level prospects who have gone on to bigger and better things at the Major League level may seem astounding. But one thing hasn't changed: Twins outfielder Byron Buxton is still our No. 1 prospect.
If it hadn't been for a thumb injury suffered in late June, the multitooled center fielder would have graduated off of the list, making way for Dodgers shortstop Corey Seager to ascend to the prospect throne. But as frustrating as Buxton's injury history has been, he still has the most upside of any prospect in baseball. That ceiling, thanks to off-the-charts grades across the board (his 60 power is his lowest on the 20-80 scouting scale), is why he stays in the top spot he's occupied since taking over at No. 1 in our midseason re-rank back in 2013.
There are lots of changes after Buxton, not only on the Top 100, but in all of the Top 30 lists for all 30 organizations that Jim Callis and I have re-ranked with the MLBPipeline.com staff. As always, Jim and I consult with front-office officials and scouts, and we use performance, tools and potential to help determine the rankings.
This revamping of all of the lists affords us the opportunity to fold new talent acquisitions -- by way of the June Draft and the international signing period -- into the mix. Let's take a closer look at just how much things have changed.
The list of graduates from the preseason Top 100 is an impressive one, with some of the biggest prospects in recent memory not only ascending to the big leagues, but making big-time impacts. Players are replaced on the list once they get past the rookie thresholds of 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched or more than 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club. A total of 22 players have graduated from the preseason Top 100. By comparison, there were 20 graduates when we launched our re-ranked list last year.
The list of graduates in 2015:
Rank, position, name, team
2. Kris Bryant, 3B, Cubs
3. Carlos Correa, SS, Astros
4. Francisco Lindor, SS, Indians
5. Addison Russell, SS/2B, Cubs
11. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, Mets
14. Joc Pederson, OF, Dodgers
15. Carlos Rodon, LHP, White Sox
19. Blake Swihart, C, Red Sox
23. Jorge Soler, OF, Cubs
26. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Angels
36. Eddie Butler, RHP, Rockies
43. Michael Taylor, OF, Nationals
45. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Blue Jays
52. Austin Hedges, C, Padres
56. Maikel Franco, 3B, Phillies
64. Kevin Plawecki, C, Mets
71. JT Realmuto, C, Marlins
76. Brandon Finnegan, LHP, Reds
79. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Braves
81. Jake Lamb, 3B, D-backs
90. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Red sox
94. Christian Bethancourt, C, Braves
The biggest movers
There was a lot more movement than just graduation to the big leagues. Several players who weren't on the preseason list have made very large leaps onto the Top 100. Using 101 as the jumping-off point for all previously unranked players, here are the top five leapers, non-draftee edition (we'll deal with the 2015 Draft guys in a bit):
Name, position, team, jump
Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals, +81 (NR to 20)
Jose DeLeon, RHP, Dodgers, +72 (NR to 29)
Bradley Zimmer, OF, Indians, +69 (NR to 32)
Joe Ross, RHP, Nationals, +68 (NR to 33)
Gleyber Torres, SS, Cubs, +65 (NR to 36)
Big jumps up the list weren't reserved for players who were not ranked. Several who were at the bottom of the Top 100 at the start of the year have moved into the upper-echelon level. The top five movers from preseason Top 100 ranked players:
Name, position, team, jump
Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox, +81 (96 to 15)
Orlando Arcia, SS, Brewers, +74 (88 to 14)
Manuel Margot, OF, Red Sox, +68 (99 to 31)
Michael Conforto, OF, Mets, +63 (82 to 19)
Franklin Barreto, SS, A's, + 62 (85 to 23)
Not all movement, of course, was in a positive direction. Several players took a tumble from high up on the list to the bottom portion. Here are the five biggest falls from players still on the Top 100:
Name, position, team, fall
Nick Gordon, SS, Twins, -58 (33 to 91)
Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles -57 (20 to 77)
Braden Shipley, RHP, D-backs, -53 (39 to 92)
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres, -37 (48 to 85)
Tyler Kolek, RHP, Marlins, -34 (27 to 61)
Not all "fallers" were fortunate enough to stay on the list. Here are the five biggest tumbles off of the Top 100:
Name, position, team, fall
Alex Meyer, RHP, Twins, -71 (30 to NR)
Kohl Stewart, RHP, Twins, -64 (37 to NR)
D.J. Peterson, 1B, Mariners, -50 (51 to NR)
A.J. Cole, RHP, Nationals, -48 (53 to NR)
Sean Manaea, LHP, A's, -44 (57 to NR)
Feeling the Draft
One of the most interesting exercises in putting together the new list is trying to figure out where the latest group of draftees belong. It's mostly an intellectual exercise, because at this point, even the draftees who signed quickly haven't put together much of a professional resume, but there's no question some of the Draft's top talent belongs. A total of 15 players from the 2015 Draft have been added to the Top 100. A year ago, 11 draftees were added.
Rank, name, position, team
11. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies
12. Dansby Swanson, SS, D-backs
27. Alex Bregman, SS, Astros
50. Carson Fulmer, RHP, White Sox
55. Dillon Tate, RHP, Rangers
62. Daz Cameron, OF, Astros
65. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
74. Andrew Benintendi, OF, Red Sox
76. Tyler Jay, LHP, Twins
81. Garrett Whitley, OF, Rays
86. Trent Clark, OF, Brewers
94. Jon Harris, RHP, Blue Jays
97. Ashe Russell, RHP, Royals
98. Mike Nikorak, RHP, Rockies
99. Cornelius Randolph, OF, Phillies
To come up with a method to measure the strength of farm systems, we devised our "prospect points" system. The No. 1 prospect (Buxton) gets 100 points, No. 2 (Seager) gets 99, and on down to one point for No. 100 (Luis Ortiz, Rangers). It may not be scientific, but it's a quick way to see which teams have the most high-end talent.
While the Texas Rangers lead all teams with eight representatives on the Top 100, they are second with 357 prospect points. The Red Sox, with seven prospects on the list, lead the way with 392 points. The Twins (six prospects, 319 points), Astros (seven, 308) and Dodgers (four, 301) round out the top five.
As has been fairly typical, pitchers dominate the list. There were 46 hurlers on the preseason Top 100. That total is actually down to 44 on the re-rank. Thirty-four are right-handers. Outfielders (26), shortstops (19), second basemen (four), third basemen (four), catchers (two) and first basemen (one) round out the breakdown.