Inbox: How will prospect logjams shake out?

August 11th, 2022

To answer the most-asked question: Our major summer overhauls of the Top 100 Prospects and organization Top 30 lists will go live next week. Now on to your other queries . . .

What do the Mets do with Francisco Álvarez now that Kevin Parada is in the Mets farm system? -- @StevieDAles97

The beauty of having the best catching prospect in baseball (Álvarez, who's also No. 1 on our current Top 100) and the best catching prospect from the 2022 Draft (Parada, the 11th overall pick) is that the Mets have time to figure out what to do with both of them. Alvarez is already in Triple-A at age 20 and Parada likely will break into pro ball at least two levels behind him.

Both backstops are equipped to hit for power and average, and both need time to polish their defense. Álvarez will get to the Majors first, and by the time Parada arrives 18-24 months later, New York should have an idea of which guy is better behind the plate. If they both reach their high offensive ceilings, the Mets can either have them timeshare catcher and DH or use one of them as a very valuable trade chip.

With all of the highly regarded shortstops in the Reds organization, which one do you see as their future shortstop and what position do you think some of the other players get moved to? -- @zrieman09

I'll give you a slight sneak preview of the upcoming Top 100 and tell you that it will include four Reds shortstops ranked in this order: Elly De La Cruz, Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo and Matt McLain. Cincinnati also has several other shortstop prospects worth monitoring, including Victor Acosta, Leonardo Balcazar, Ricardo Cabrera, Carlos Jorge and Jose Torres.

We tackled this question on the latest Pipeline Podcast, and Jonathan Mayo and I agreed that Arroyo is the top defender among the Top 100 group and the best bet to become the Reds' shortstop of the future. Assuming that happens, I could see De La Cruz moving to center field -- his upside sort of reminds me of Eric Davis -- with Marte at third base and McLain at second. In that scenario, 2022 first-rounder Cam Collier would move from his present position of third base across the diamond to first.

Kyle Manzardo's hit at an elite level all season long and was just promoted to AA. Is there a chance he'll be among top 2-3 first base prospects heading into 2023? -- @Mat_Germain_

There's a chance. I don't think he'll leap the three first basemen on our current Top 100 -- Triston Casas (Red Sox), Tyler Soderstrom (Athletics) and Nick Pratto (Royals) -- but Pratto is on course to graduate by season's end and Manzardo could be next in line.

A second-round pick out of Washington State a year ago, Manzardo was leading the High-A South Atlantic League in all three slash categories at .329/.436/.636 when he was promoted to Double-A earlier this week. His hitting ability and plate discipline stand out more than his power, but he has at least 20-homer potential. While he's not much of an athlete or a defender, his bat could make him a big league regular.

What HS pitcher drafted in the 3rd round or later, outside of Porter, has the best chance to be a starter at the major league level? -- @parkerjb_1

It makes sense to exclude Brock Porter, a first-round talent whom the Rangers floated down to the fourth round and paid $3.7 million. Among the high school arms whose talent landed them in the third round or later, Marlins right-hander Karson Milbrandt stands out the most.

An athletic 6-foot-2, 190-pounder from Liberty (Mo.) HS, Milbrandt gave up a Vanderbilt commitment to sign for $1,497,500. He generates high spin rates on a fastball that sits in the low 90s and reaches 96 mph, improved his curveball and slider this spring and also has some promising fade on his changeup. Gatorade's Missouri state baseball player of the year, he also starred in basketball and could take off now that he's focusing on pitching.

Two more prep right-handers to watch: Caden Dana (Don Bosco Prep, Ramsey, N.J.), who signed with the Angels for $1,497,500 in the 11th round; and Ashton Izzi (Oswego, Ill., East HS), who turned pro with the Mariners for $1.1 million in the fourth round.