Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

MLB's 30 fastest prospects -- one from each team

January 3, 2019

When MLB Pipeline identified each farm system's top power-hitting prospect in November, 28 of the 30 sluggers were featured on our organization Top 30 Prospects lists. That came as no surprise, as power is a highly valued commodity.Today we look at the fastest players in each system, and only 16

When MLB Pipeline identified each farm system's top power-hitting prospect in November, 28 of the 30 sluggers were featured on our organization Top 30 Prospects lists. That came as no surprise, as power is a highly valued commodity.
Today we look at the fastest players in each system, and only 16 of them currently reside on our various team Top 30s. Why? That's because pure speedsters can be lacking in offensive upside because they don't have much power or consistency with their hitting ability.
There are exceptions, of course. Blazing-fast outfielders Victor Robles (Nationals), Luis Robert (White Sox) and Cristian Pache (Braves) all made MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list because of their ability to impact a game in a variety of ways. 
Even if they don't possess all-around talent, the players below still could make their presence felt at the big league level. Dave Roberts helped end an 86-year World Series championship drought in Boston with a timely stolen base, and Terrance Gore scored the winning run in the 2015 Fall Classic.
American League East
Blue Jays: Roemon Fields, OF
Fields, 28, set a Vancouver Canadians' club record with 48 stolen bases in the Class A Short Season Northwest League back in 2014 and swiped 46, 44 and 50 bags in each of the next three years, respectively. He struggled offensively in 2018, resulting in a career-low 25 steals, but he can absolutely fly on both sides of the ball, consistently putting pressure on opposing defenses and pitchers while holding down center field defensively.
Likely 2019 level: Triple-A Buffalo
Orioles: Kirvin Moesquit, 2B
A year after finishing second in the organization with 29 stolen bases, Moesquit, a 24th-round pick from the 2015 Draft, swiped a system-best 49 bags over 112 games at Class A Delmarva in 2018. That total topped the South Atlantic League and was good for a shared fourth place on the Minor League leaderboard. Overall, Moesquit has stolen 100 bases in 130 attempts in 256 games as a professional.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Frederick
Rays: Vidal Brujan, 2B, (TB No. 12)
The 20-year-old switch-hitter's plus-plus speed was on full display during his breakout 2018 campaign, as he slashed .320/.403/.459 with 112 runs scored and 55 stolen bases, the first- and second-highest totals in the Minors, respectively. With a combination of game-changing speed, pure hitting ability and on-base skills, Brujan has all the ingredients needed to one day hit atop a big league lineup.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Charlotte
Red Sox: Jarren Duran, OF/2B
A plus-plus runner who flashes some top-of-the-scale times to first base, Duran had a spectacular pro debut after signing as a seventh-rounder out of Long Beach State in June. He hit .357/.396/.516 with 24 steals (albeit getting caught 10 times) in 67 games while advancing to low Class A.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Greenville
Yankees: Isaiah Pasteur, OF
Pasteur, who was the 2018 Atlantic 10 Conference player of the year in his first season at George Washington after transferring from Indiana, ran a 6.2-second 60-yard dash before the Draft and routinely clocked 3.9-second times to first base from the right side of the plate. A 13th-round pick, he stole 31 bases in 34 attempts as a redshirt junior before swiping six in 28 pro games.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Charleston
American League Central
Indians: Quentin Holmes, OF
The Tribe's second-round pick from the 2017 Draft hasn't produced much during first two pro seasons, and was sidelined by a hamstring injury for much of 2018, but he remains the fastest player in the organization with his elite, top-of-the-scale speed. Prior to being drafted, Holmes famously ran a 6.15-second 60-yard dash at Perfect Game National in 2016.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Lake County
Royals: Tyler James, OF
The Royals try to find at least one 80 runner on the 20-80 scouting scale in every Draft, and they landed James in the 25th round out of William Carey (Miss.) in 2017. He led the Rookie-level Arizona League with 31 steals in his pro debut and the Rookie-level Pioneer League with 38 last summer.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Lexington
Tigers: Derek Hill, OF, (DET No. 28)
Hill has finished first or second in the organization in steals three years in a row, and was third back in 2015. In all four seasons, he's swiped 25 or more bases, including the 35 he collected in 2018. His speed helps him be a plus defender as well.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Lakeland
Twins: Aaron Whitefield, OF
The Australian speedster burst on the scene by stealing 31 bases in 51 Gulf Coast League games in 2016, then followed it up with 33 more in his full-season debut in 2017 and 20 in just 65 Florida State League games a year ago.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Fort Myers
White Sox: Luis Robert, OF, (CWS No. 4; MLB No. 44)
Robert has well above-average speed and raw power to match, which is why he commanded the second-largest bonus for an amateur ever ($26 million) when he signed as a Cuban defector in May 2017. A series of injuries has limited him to 78 Minor League games in his first two seasons, though his 30-30 upside was evident in the Arizona Fall League.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Winston-Salem
Video: Luis Robert wins Fall League Hitter of the Week
American League West
Athletics: Jorge Mateo, SS, (OAK No. 7)
Long considered to be one of the fastest players in the Minors with 80-grade speed, Mateo has amassed 259 steals in 326 attempts (80 percent) in 583 career games. He led the Minors with 82 steals in 2015, added 36 the following year and then tied for third with 52 in '17. He didn't fare as well in Triple-A this past season, going 25 for 35 on the basepaths, though much of that was a result of his worst offensive campaign to date (.230/.280/.353 in 131 games).
Likely 2019 level: Triple-A Las Vegas
Angels: Jordyn Adams, OF, (LAA No. 6)
The Angels signed Adams away from playing football and baseball at the University of North Carolina last June, and while it might take some time for his raw tools to get sharpened, there's no question about his speed. Some amateur scouts gave him an 80 on the scouting scale, and he should be a base-stealing threat and an outstanding defender as a result.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Burlington
Astros: Myles Straw, OF, (HOU No. 15)
Straw parlayed his double-plus speed into the Minor League stolen base title (70 in just 79 attempts) and a spot on the Astros' playoff roster in 2018. A 12th-rounder in 2015 from St. John's River (Fla.) CC, he also used his quickness to beat out hits -- he led the Minors with a .358 average in 2016 -- and cover a lot of ground in center field.
Likely 2019 level: Triple-A Round Rock
Mariners: Ian Miller, OF, (SEA No. 26)
Miller's speed is his carrying tool, receiving plus-plus grades from scouts, and he has a lengthy track record of applying it on the basepaths. Since the start of the 2015 season, he's posted annual stolen-base totals of 50, 49, 43 and 33, respectively. The latter total ranked second in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2018.
Likely 2019 level: Triple-A Tacoma
Rangers: Bubba Thompson, OF, (TEX No. 10)
Thompson's plus-plus speed also served him well in football, where he drew Southeastern Conference scholarship offers and quarterbacked McGill-Toolen High to the 2016 Alabama state 7-A championship game with 3,860 all-purpose yards and 43 touchdowns. The 26th overall choice in the 2017 Draft, he placed third in the low Class A South Atlantic League with 32 steals this season despite playing in just 84 games.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Down East
Video: Top Prospects: Bubba Thompson, OF, Rangers
National League East
Braves: Cristian Pache, OF, (ATL No. 6; MLB No. 68)
Pache still hasn't learned to use his outstanding speed on the basepaths consistently as he stole just seven bases in 2018 and has been thrown out trying to steal 35 percent of the time, leading some to prefer Ray Patrick-Didder and his 27 steals in 2018. But Pache will learn to use his wheels offensively, and he already uses them to be perhaps the best defensive outfield prospect in baseball.
Likely 2019 level: Double-A Mississippi
Marlins: Connor Scott, OF, (MIA No. 5)
The 2018 first-round pick (No. 18 overall) has five-tool potential, but right now it's his wheels which represent his loudest present tool. The 6-foot-4, 180-pounder is a plus-plus runner who gets down the line in a hurry and covers large expanses in the outfield, though his base-stealing technique is a work in progress. Marlins No. 12 prospect Brian Miller is also a plus-plus runner and posted a system-best 40 steals in 2018.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Clinton
Mets: L.A. Woodard, SS/2B
Woodard gets an 80 on the scouting scale for his speed and he's shown he can use it. He stole 23 bases at Middle Tennesse State as a junior last year (after swiping 25 in junior college in 2017), then went 8-for-9 in attempts during his pro debut after the Mets took him in the 16th round of the 2018 Draft.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Columbia
Nationals: Victor Robles, OF, (WSH No. 1; MLB No. 4)
Robles' near elite sprint speed of 29.3 feet per second was the second-best Statcast™ among Nats big leaguers last season, trailing only Trea Turner (30.1). Those wheels make the 21-year-old a true burner out of the right-handed batter's box as well as in center field, where he has range for days. On the basepaths, Robles is an aggressive but unrefined basestealer with a 74 percent success rate (129 steals in 174 attempts) in five Minor League seasons.
Likely 2019 level: Washington Nationals
Video: CHC@WSH: Robles lays out to rob Rizzo in the 5th
Phillies: Corbin Williams, OF
The Phillies took Williams out of the College of the Canyons, a junior college in California, in the 24th round of the 2018 Draft. While he stole just eight bases in his collegiate season, he swiped 12 more during his pro debut in the GCL and has reportedly recorded some ridiculous 60-yard dash times.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Lakewood
National League Central
Brewers: Korry Howell, SS
Howell swiped 83 bases in 99 attempts (84 percent success rate) during his two years at Kirkwood (Iowa) JC before going to Milwaukee in the 12th round of 2018. After signing, Howell batted .311 and went 12-for-16 on the basepaths in Rookie-level Arizona League. He's been known to post sub-4.0-second home-to-first run times, which is elite for a right-handed hitter.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Wisconsin
Cardinals: Jonatan Machado, OF, (STL No. 17)
There are others in the system who use what speed they have more effectively on the basepaths (Tommy Edman and his 30 steals in 2018, for example), but in terms of straight speed, Machado might have them beat (He's a 70 on the scouting scale). He did steal 12 bags in 2018, but he will need to hit more to get on base and become more efficient (seven caught stealing) moving forward.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Peoria
Cubs: Zach Davis, OF
Davis started just 56 games in four seasons at Texas Tech, but his top-of-the-scale speed and 91 percent basestealing success rate enticed the Cubs enough to draft him in the 32nd round. While he may not project as more than a pinch-runner at the big league level, he does have 62 steals in 183 pro games.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach
Pirates: Cole Tucker, OF, (PIT No. 5)
There is some debate over who might be faster in a straight-up race -- Tucker or fellow shortstop prospect Oniel Cruz. But given that Cruz is likely to slow down some as he fills out and that Tucker has stolen 82 bases in the last two years, he gets the nod.
Likely 2019 level: Triple-A Indianapolis
Video: Top Prospects: Cole Tucker, SS, Pirates
Reds: Jose Siri, OF, (CIN No. 15)
The ultra-toolsy Siri still needs to prove he can hit at the higher levels of the Reds system, but there's no question he can flat out fly. The outfielder stole 46 bases in 2017, then stole 23 a year ago, his third straight season of 20 or more steals.
Likely 2019 level: Double-A Chattanooga
National League West
D-backs: Jeferson Espinal, OF
The D-backs were very active this past July on the international free agent market, handing out 11 bonuses of six figures or more. Espinal got $200,000 to sign and while he's yet to play an official game, the D-backs say his 80-grade speed makes him the fastest guy in the system.
Likely 2019 level: Rookie-level Dominican Summer League
Dodgers: Brayan Morales, OF
A Puerto Rican drafted in the 15th round out of Hillsborough (Fla.) CC, Morales has plus-plus speed and topped the Rookie-level Pioneer League with 29 steals in just 41 games in 2017. He finished second in the low Class A Midwest League this season, swiping 46 bags in 86 contests.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga
Giants: Malique Ziegler, OF
A four-sport star as an Iowa high schooler, Ziegler went in the 22nd round of the 2016 Draft after posting 22 homers and 31 steals as a North Iowa Area CC sophomore. A consistent plus-plus runner who can flash even faster times, he's still raw and missed half of the 2018 season with a core muscle strain.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Augusta
Padres: Xavier Edwards, SS, (SD No. 18)
The Padres' system is loaded with burners (Buddy Reed, Esteury Ruiz, Robbie Podorsky and Juwuan Harris all come to mind), though those within the organization pegged Edwards, the club's Competitive Balance Round A (No. 38 overall) pick last June, as the fastest. His speed is an easy plus-plus tool, one that allows him to get down the line in a hurry from both sides of the plate -- he posts 80-grade home-to-first times as a LHH -- and impacts the game on the basepaths. During his 45-game pro debut across two levels, Edwards stole successfully in all but one of his 23 attempts.
Likely 2019 level: Class A Fort Wayne
Rockies: Garrett Hampson, 2B/SS, (COL No. 4)
Part of the Long Beach State shortstop pipeline that also has sent Bobby Crosby, Troy Tulowitzki, Danny Espinosa and Matt Duffy to the Majors, Hampson got there in July. The 2016 third-rounder has double-plus speed and has used it to bat .315 with 237 runs and 123 steals in 305 Minor League games.
Likely 2019 level: Triple-A Albuquerque

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.

Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.