Is Braves' Anderson a top 20 prospect?

October 29th, 2020

Let's start by discussing a prospect who performed spectacular in the postseason and how far that should drive him up MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list ... and no, it's not Randy Arozarena.

Anderson was one of the few prospects who got the chance to play in actual games this summer while retaining his rookie/prospect eligibility. He already ranks No. 34 on the Top 100, but based on his performance I'd move him up a few more notches. He logged a 1.59 ERA, .169 opponent average and 65 strikeouts in 51 innings between the regular season and playoffs for the Braves.

Anderson showed he could miss big league bats with his fastball and changeup, and his curveball shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch too. He needs to throw more strikes, but the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 Draft is still just 22 and has plenty of time to figure things out.

Comparing him to the other right-handers immediately ahead of him on the Top 100, I'd give Anderson the nod over Max Meyer (Marlins, No. 33), Grayson Rodriguez (Orioles, No. 31), Emerson Hancock (Mariners, No. 30) and Spencer Howard (Phillies, No. 28). I have a tougher time moving Anderson ahead of Luis Patiño (Padres, No. 23) and Matt Manning (Tigers, No. 20) and I still prefer Sixto Sánchez (Marlins, No. 19). But I'd also take Anderson over Michael Kopech (White Sox, No. 18) and Forrest Whitley (Astros, No. 17).

We won't revamp the Top 100 until January, but when we do, I suspect Anderson will move up 10-15 spots from his current ranking.

This wasn't submitted as an Inbox question, but Mike Rosenbaum noticed the tweet and I reached out to Chase and he said we could use it. I hadn't made the connection between the top of our Top 100 Prospects list and the World Series participants, but it immediately made me wonder if it had happened before. started doing an overall Top 50 in 2004 and expanded to a Top 100 in 2012. This was the first instance of the two best prospects playing for World Series opponents, but I did find three other lists that featured prospects in the top 10 whose organizations met in the Fall Classic.

Our 2010 preseason Top 100 had not one but two duos in Giants catcher Buster Posey (No. 4) and Rangers right-hander Neftalí Feliz (No. 7) as well as Texas first baseman Justin Smoak (No. 9) and San Francisco left-hander Madison Bumgarner (No. 10). The highest-ranked combo came in mid-2013, when Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras ranked No. 2 and Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts sat at No. 6. And just last year, our preseason list included Nationals outfielder Victor Robles (No. 4) and Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 7).

Baseball America has rated Top 100 Prospects for the last 30 years, so I checked their lists from 1990-2003. That yielded just one additional pair of top 10 guys from World Series adversaries, and it just missed being a 1-2 combo: Braves outfielder Andruw Jones (No. 1) and Yankees outfielder Ruben Rivera (No. 3) in 1996.

There are times when I think that the hype around Dominguez is a bit much for a 17-year-old outfielder who has yet to make his pro debut. And then I remember that in our scouting report, I wrote "he already has earned comparisons to some of the best athletes in baseball history, such as Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout," and I start dreaming about his five-tool potential.

Though Dominguez didn't get a chance to play in the Minors or participate in the Yankees' alternate camp in 2020, it's possible that he could reach Class A at some point in 2021 -- if we have some semblance of a normal season, which isn't a given. The absolute earliest he could possibly surface in New York would be in the latter half of 2022, though 2023 is much more realistic and 2024 (when he'll be just 21) would be a safer bet.

I'm going to stretch the definition of "those already in the organization" and assume the Pirates will use the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 Draft on the current favorite, Vanderbilt right-hander Kumar Rocker. If that happens, I envision he'll headline Pittsburgh's rotation in the middle of this decade.

Behind Rocker, I'd line up the rest of the Pirates' future starters like this: Quinn Priester, Mitch Keller, Carmen Mlodzinski and Brennan Malone. I expect Priester to break out and land on our Top 100 Prospects list in 2021. I like Joe Musgrove too, but I figure Pittsburgh will deal him for longer-term help or lose him as a free agent before 2024.