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Padres or Braves? Who has better pitching prospects?

October 25, 2018

Most eyes, baseball-wise, are obviously on the World Series right now. MLB Pipeline isn't immune to that as we've been taking a look at the Fall Classic through a prospecty lens of late. We examined how the rosters were built and we ranked all the former top prospects playing in the

Most eyes, baseball-wise, are obviously on the World Series right now. MLB Pipeline isn't immune to that as we've been taking a look at the Fall Classic through a prospecty lens of late. We examined how the rosters were built and we ranked all the former top prospects playing in the Series (There's a lot!). We have stories coming on how both the 2010 and 2011 Drafts have impacted the Red Sox and Dodgers and we broke it all down on this week's Pipeline Podcast.
Meanwhile, we certainly haven't taken our eyes off of the Arizona Fall League. It's a good thing we can multi-task. We've been all over the AFL with organizational overviews and stories on top performers from day 1 of the league. This week's inbox reflects that work, taking a look at a couple of Fall League participants, as well as looking at a recent big international signing and a comparison of two of the best farm systems in baseball.

I honestly think you can't go wrong here and if this were a Draft, you wouldn't mind picking second and taking whichever stable of pitching prospects was still on the board.
Let's look at each system's top pitching prospects, with Top 100 ranking:
SD: MacKenzie Gore (13)
ATL: Mike Soroka (20)
ATL: Kyle Wright (29)
ATL: Ian Anderson (34)
SD: Chris Paddack (35)
ATL: Touki Toussaint (40)
SD: Adrian Morejon (46)
SD: Michel Baez (57)
SD: Logan Allen (76)
ATL: Luiz Gohara (78)
SD: Luis Patino (83)
SD: Ryan Weathers (92)
ATL: Bryse Wilson (96)
ATL: Kolby Allard (100)
Aside from the serendipity that there are exactly the same amount of Top 100 pitching prospects in each organization, it shows that there is a lot of high-end mound talent in both systems. And this doesn't include graduated arms like the Padres' Joey Lucchesi or the Braves' Max Fried or non-top 100, but nonetheless talented, prospects such as Joey Wentz with Atlanta and Cal Quantrill with San Diego.
End of the day, I don't think you could go wrong picking either team to build a staff from scratch. I think I would lean toward the Braves solely because they have more arms at the upper levels who are closer to being ready to contribute to a big league staff. Six of the Top 100 guys above have already spent time in the big leagues. Maybe long-term, the Padres will be the better option as some of those arms in A-ball develop, so this could be a good question to revisit in a couple of years.

Two questions about the Cubs' first-round pick! He's the only hitter from the 2018 Draft in the Arizona Fall League (and was the focus of our Cubs AFL overview). I don't think there's any question that Hoerner can move quickly. He's the type of college performer at the plate where his bat should allow him to advance rapidly. Even though he got hurt to greatly curtail his summer pro debut, he had already reached full-season ball.
The missed time won't help in terms of that timetable, but the fact the Cubs sent him to the AFL shows just what they think of his ability to handle a challenging assignment. Looking at previous college bats they've drafted can help. Kyle Schwarber began his first full season in Double-A, albeit after 72 games in his first summer. So did Kristopher Bryant and both he and Schwarber ended in Triple-A. Ian Happ started in the Class A Advanced Carolina League and earned a midseason promotion to Double-A.
I don't think Hoerner is quite as advanced as those guys were. If I had to guess, he'll start the year in Myrtle Beach (where Happ started) and I could see him advancing to Double-A at some point. Primarily a shortstop, he'll also likely be working on other positions -- he's started one game at second this fall -- and the Cubs will want to make sure he can handle things defensively as well as offensively as he moves up the ladder quickly.

Count me among the Evan White fan club. I'll even take a shift as the vice president or treasurer. Assuming the coach you heard was talking about his defense, yes, he is outstanding there. There's a reason why we gave him a 70 fielding grade on the Mariners' Top 30, where he's currently No. 2. That's also a reason why there's been no talk of giving him a look in the outfield, where his speed and athleticism would play very well and there'd potentially be a bit less pressure on him to be a power-hitting run-producer type. He plays first like a third baseman and that could be a tremendous asset. He also can flat-out hit and has a pretty left-handed swing. There is extra-base thump in there, but he's definitely hit over power. That could be fine at first if a big league lineup makes up for the power at other positions. I see White as a Cody Bellinger type, but with less power, or maybe a John Olerud type, but with more speed.

I will only accept questions about Victor Victor in pairs…
We discussed where Mesa might belong on the Top 100 when he signed and there was general consensus that he belonged atop the Marlins' Top 30 for the time being, just edging Monte Harrison. But he wasn't a slam-dunk Top 100 guy for us. He's obviously talented and he has tools, but he's not the biggest guy in the world and there are some questions about his hit and power tool. We will dig into it more deeply when we do our full re-rank of the Top 100 and all 30 Top 30 team lists in 2019. Regardless of where he's ranked, he is the type most expect to move quickly up to Miami and impact the big league team sooner rather than later.

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