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2 prospects who have made the largest leaps

May 10, 2018

While the Draft is now less than a month away and we're all hyper-focused on it, I wanted to take a quick break from that world and focus on the Minor League prospect side of MLB Pipeline.It might seem an odd decision given the time of year, but we have

While the Draft is now less than a month away and we're all hyper-focused on it, I wanted to take a quick break from that world and focus on the Minor League prospect side of MLB Pipeline.
It might seem an odd decision given the time of year, but we have plenty of time to get full-on Draft fever (New mock from Jim Callis coming Friday!). And there have been a couple of things to make us, and me in particular, shift focus at least briefly.
:: Complete prospect coverage ::
On the personal front, I just got back from a quick sojourn to Manchester, N.H. where I got to sit and break down video with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichettte (story coming soon!). I also witnessed, in person, Vlad Jr. hitting a home run to the opposite field, off a tee. Which is just insane.
On the more macro side of things, we just had a story, courtesy of Mr. Callis, laying out a dozen changes to our Top 100 list, market corrections, if you will. We'll be doing that again before our major summer re-rank, and it's elicited a lot of discussion about who should be moving up and down the list.
I let that inform my choices in which questions to answer for this week's Inbox. Most are about one individual prospect, with names that have come up, either internally or externally, in the discussion about our Top 100 updates.

This one ties directly to the Top 100 updates we made. I discussed one pitcher who has made the largest leap, as well as a hitter who is moving himself to the top of offensive prospect lists, in the video above.

Marsh, the toolsy outfielder who is currently No. 5 on the Angels' Top 30 Prospects list, is indeed off to a very good start in his first taste of full-season ball, with a .327/.423/.538 line over his first 104 Midwest League at-bats. The Angels love his raw tools; it just took him some time to get on the field to show them off.
Marsh was a two-sport standout in high school and signed with the Angels as their second-round pick in 2016, but didn't play that summer because of a back issue that popped up in his post-Draft physical. The organization was understandably cautious and didn't send him out until the rookie-level Pioneer League started last summer. Marsh promptly went out and posted a .944 OPS with 10 steals in 39 games and he's picked up where he left off.
While we didn't move Marsh into the Top 100 with these updates, he's now much more firmly on the Top 100 radar. His feel to hit, combined with his athleticism and raw power still gives him tremendous upside. Don't be surprised to see him climb onto the big list in the near future. Boy, that outfield in Burlington with him and Jo Adell in it, sure is fun to watch!

He's so legit, you probably should know his name is Alonso, with an 's,' but I digress.
There are some folks in the Twitterverse who very much would've liked to see the Mets first-base prospect, No. 4 on their Top 30 and No. 7 on the Top 10 1B list, get moved onto the Top 100 with this update. While we didn't make that move, it's hard to argue with how he has swung the bat. As of Wednesday, he led the Double-A Eastern League in OPS, just ahead of Guerrero. He's also tied for the league lead with eight homers.
This isn't an aberration, it seems. The 2016 second-round pick out of Florida hit .289/.359/.524 in his first full season across the Florida State and Eastern Leagues. Back in Double-A, he's now at .373/.488/.686 this season to give him a gaudy .310/.389/.566 career line. The main reason why I see him as "legit" is his approach at the plate. This year, he's striking out at an 18.7 percent rate, while walking in 16.3 percent of his plate appearances. That trend continues with his raw power and he's an everyday first baseman in the near future. Whether he makes it up this year will largely be based on need, keeping in mind he's a first baseman only and the options they have in the big leagues (even if they are uninspiring), with Dominic Smith in Triple-A. I'll say maybe a September callup, even if his performance says he should get a shot earlier.

OK, so Rogers' name didn't come up in Top 100 update conversation, but if we were going to do updates to team Top 30s, perhaps we'd look at the Marlins' list, where Rogers is currently No. 5.
Since being taken No. 13 overall in last June's Draft, the lefty from the New Mexico high school ranks has yet to throw an official professional pitch. The Marlins gave him extra rest last summer rather than rush him out, then his instructs were washed out by Hurricane Irma.
The good news is that there's nothing wrong with the 20-year-old southpaw physically. Because of his lack of time on the mound, the Marlins are just erring on the side of caution, keeping him back in extended spring camp and letting him slowly build up so he's ready to join a rotation later this summer. He's getting his innings up and has reportedly been up to 95 mph with his fastball with an eye on an assignment, possibly to a short-season club.

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