A great year keeps getting better and better for Astros rookie Alex Bregman.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 Draft opened the season at Double-A Corpus Christi, where he hit .297 with 14 homers in 62 games, and was leading the Texas League in on-base percentage (.415) and slugging (.559) before he was promoted to Triple-A Fresno in late June. He homered five times in his first eight Triple-A games before taking a weekend off to go collect three hits -- two for extra bases -- at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.
Bregman returned to Triple-A and ran his numbers to .333/.373/.641 in 18 games before getting the call to Houston on Monday, making him the first position player and the third member from last year's Draft class to advance to the Majors. He made his big league debut Monday night, going 0-for-4 against the Yankees.
And now, Bregman ascends to the No. 1 spot on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list. Sure, that may not mean as much as playing in his first Major League game, but it's still an honor to follow in the footsteps of past top prospects such as Joe Mauer, David Price, Mike Trout and Corey Seager.
Eligibility guidelines for Top Prospect lists
Bregman, like a few other players on the list who are in the Majors, is still included in our rankings because he has not exhausted his rookie eligibility.
A natural shortstop who needs a new position because the Astros already have Carlos Correa, Bregman headlines a Top 100 that's dominated by middle infielders at the very peak. Red Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada (No. 2), Phillies shortstop J.P. Crawford (No. 3) and Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson (No. 5) also rated highly, with Nationals right-hander Lucas Giolito (No. 4) the only non-infielder to crash the top five.
The other players all ranked in the top 10 in our preseason Top 100, but Bregman has jumped from No. 22 to No. 1. His ascension is just one of many significant developments in the first four months of the 2016 season, which is why we've totally revamped our ranking of the game's best prospects and all of our team Top 30 lists after consulting with front-office officials and scouts. For the first time, we're including players from the 2016 Draft and the 2016-17 international signing period.
Top farm systems
Which teams have the best farm system? One way to measure that -- it's more quick than scientific -- is our Prospect Points system. Assign 100 points to the No. 1 prospect (Bregman), 99 to the No. 2 (Moncada) and so on down the line to one point for the No. 100 prospect (Cardinals outfielder Harrison Bader).
The Pirates lead all organizations with 383 Prospect Points, largely the result of having the highest-rated foursome in right-handers Tyler Glasnow (No. 10) and Jameson Taillon (No. 30), outfielder Austin Meadows (No. 12) and first baseman Josh Bell (No. 29). The Red Sox -- who have the most dynamic duo with Moncada and outfielder Andrew Benintendi (No. 7) -- come in second with 346. The Nationals -- who can claim the top trio in Giolito, shortstop Trea Turner (No. 11) and outfielder Victor Robles (No. 17) -- place third with 332.
In terms of sheer numbers, the Astros led all clubs with seven Top 100 Prospects: Bregman; first baseman A.J. Reed (No. 38); right-handers Francis Martes (No. 41), Forrest Whitley (No. 85), David Paulino (No. 86) and Joe Musgrove (No. 87); and outfielder Kyle Tucker (No. 63). The Pirates placed second with six, and nine clubs (including the Red Sox and Nationals) had five each. The Angels and Orioles are the only organizations not represented on the Top 100.
On the move
While Bregman's 21-spot climb from our preseason Top 100 is impressive, it didn't come close to cracking the list of the 10 highest risers. Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez made the biggest move up the charts, from unranked on our original list to No. 33 at midseason, thanks to a breakout season in low Class A and a star turn in the Futures Game. Mets shortstop Amed Rosario, who is showing signs of four plus tools, jumped from No. 79 in the preseason to No. 18 now.
The prospects with the biggest surges up the Top 100:
Eloy Jimenez, OF, Cubs, +68 (NR to 33)
Amed Rosario, SS, Mets, +61 (79 to 18)
Cody Bellinger, 1B/OF, Dodgers, +58 (NR to 43)
Willy Adames, SS, Rays, +53 (81 to 28)
Reynaldo López, RHP, Nationals, +52 (NR to 49)
Kevin Newman, SS, Pirates, +48 (NR to 53)
Victor Robles, OF, Nationals, +46 (63 to 17)
Ian Happ, 2B, Cubs, +45 (76 to 31)
Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers, +43 (NR to 58)
Hunter Renfroe, OF, Padres, +40 (92 to 52)
Twenty players who made January's Top 100 and still qualify as prospects fell completely off the midseason list. Rangers right-hander Dillon Tate, the first pitcher drafted (fourth overall) in 2015, dropped from No. 36 to out of the list because his velocity and stuff have fluctuated significantly this summer. Among prospects who remained on the Top 100, Brewers outfielder Brett Phillips plunged the most (46 spots from No. 32 to No. 78) after suddenly developing some swing-and-miss issues.
The prospects who have slipped the most since the start of the season:
Dillon Tate, RHP, Rangers, -65 (36 to NR)
Anthony Alford, OF, Blue Jays, -59 (42 to NR)
Ryan McMahon, 3B/1B, Rockies, -53 (48 to NR)
Brett Phillips, OF, Brewers, -46 (32 to 78)
Jorge López, RHP, Brewers, -44 (57 to NR)
Javier Guerra, SS, Padres, -43 (58 to MR)
Sean Newcomb, LHP, Braves, -39 (21 to 60)
Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Royals, -36 (65 to NR)
Robert Stephenson, RHP, Reds, -35 (35 to 70)
Carson Fulmer, RHP, White Sox -33 (38 to 71)
Team Top 30 Prospects lists
Though this year's rookie class isn't as loaded as the two that preceded it, it does feature several future stars who graduated from prospect status. Seager and Twins outfielder Byron Buxton ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the preseason Top 100 before exceeding the rookie limits in April. Rangers outfielder Nomar Mazara (No. 18 in January) and Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer (No. 53) made immediate impacts on playoff contenders.
At this point, 13 preseason Top 100 Prospects have transitioned into full-fledged big leaguers:
Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers (1)
Byron Buxton, OF, Twins (2)
Steven Matz, LHP, Mets (15)
Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers (18)
Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies (33)
Max Kepler, OF, Twins (44)
Tim Anderson, SS, White Sox (47)
Michael Fulmer, RHP, Tigers (53)
Aaron Blair, RHP, Braves (56)
Sean Manaea, LHP, Athletics (68)
José Peraza, OF/2B, Reds (71)
Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks (72)
Albert Almora Jr., OF, Cubs (86)
Feeling the Draft
Bregman was one of 15 recent draftees added to the midseason Top 100 a year ago, coming in third behind fellow shortstops Brendan Rodgers and Swanson. This summer, 13 new draftees made the cut, starting with three outfielders:
Mickey Moniak, OF, Phillies (34, first overall)
Corey Ray, OF, Brewers (37, fifth overall)
Kyle Lewis, OF, Mariners (40, 11th overall)
Jason Groome, LHP, Red Sox (42, 12th overall)
Braxton Garrett, LHP, Marlins (48, seventh overall)
Riley Pint, RHP, Rockies (50, fourth overall)
Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds (56, second overall)
Blake Rutherford, OF, Yankees (64, 18th overall)
A.J. Puk, LHP, Athletics (80, sixth overall)
Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers (81, ninth overall)
Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros (85, 17th overall)
Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves (94, third overall)
Zack Collins, C, White Sox (97, 10th overall)
Hitters had the edge on the Top 100, with 57 making it versus 43 pitchers. As for specific positions, right-handed pitchers led as usual, this time with 29. Outfielders were next with 24, followed by shortstops (18), left-handed pitchers (14), first basemen (six), catchers (four), third basemen (three) and second basemen (two).