The 2018 season started with a phenom like we've never seen atop MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects list. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani was ranked No. 1 on the list, but everyone knew it wouldn't last long.
Ohtani, of course, began the year in the big leagues and stayed there, graduating off the list somewhat rapidly. That allowed Braves top prospect Ronald Acuna Jr. to take over, but that proved to be short-lived as well. The 20-year-old outfielder was called up to join Atlanta in late April, so his time atop the list was limited. When he graduated, it was Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s turn to be No. 1.
And he's still there. The Blue Jays third-base prospect is one of two 19-year-old MLB legacies -- along with San Diego's Fernando Tatis Jr. -- sitting atop a fully re-ranked Top 100 that features many changes, risers and fallers, and new faces. There are five others with Guerrero Jr. who were in the top 10 of the preseason Top 100 and are still rated that highly: Tatis (No. 2), White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez (No. 3), Reds infielder Nick Senzel (No. 4), Nationals outfielder Victor Robles (No. 5) and Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 7).
The list remains very young at the top. In addition to Guerrero and Tatis, No. 10 Royce Lewis of the Twins is also 19. Bo Bichette (No. 9) of the Blue Jays and Whitley are just 20, while Jimenez, Robles, Rockies infielder Brendan Rodgers (No. 6) and Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker (No. 8) are 21. Senzel (No. 4) is the oldest player in top 10, at age 23.
1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays
2. Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres
3. Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox
4. Nick Senzel, 3B/2B, Reds
5. Victor Robles, OF, Nationals
6. Brendan Rodgers, SS/2B, Rockies
7. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros
8. Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros
9. Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays
10. Royce Lewis, SS, Twins
Complete list »
That's a lot of offensive firepower atop the list, with nine of the top 10 being position players. Five of those nine could end up playing the middle infield once they reach the big leagues (with Senzel at second base). There is a run of pitchers after that, with eight arms in the next group of 10, ranked 11-20.
There's a lot to look over and take in on this list and on all of the team Top 30 and Top 10 by position lists, all fully re-ranked. All of the lists include 2017 draftees and 2018-19 international signees for the first time.
Top farm systems
Our Prospect Points system might be an imperfect way to determine which organizations have the best overall farm systems (an updated Top 10 organizations rankings are coming soon after the Trade Deadline passes and prospects change teams in deals), but it does give an idea of who has the potential to have the most impact talent. Here's how it works: Give 100 points to the No. 1 prospect (Guerrero Jr.), 99 to the No. 2 (Tatis Jr.) and so on down the line, to one point for the No. 100 prospect (Mets pitcher Justin Dunn).
The Padres lead all 30 organizations with 496 Prospect Points and are tied with the Braves with eight representatives in the Top 100. The White Sox, with seven Top 100 prospects, actually come in second points-wise with 431, while the Braves are third with 393. The Rays (389) and Reds (308) finish out the top five.
After the Braves, Padres and White Sox, the Rays are next with six Top 100 prospects. The Tigers and Blue Jays each have five and there are seven teams with four Top 100 guys each. There is just one team, the Red Sox, with no one on the list in this re-rank.
On the move
A number of prospects have taken a huge step forward in 2018 and that's reflected by their better standing on this re-ranked list. No one has moved more than Twins outfield prospect Alex Kirilloff. The 2016 first-round pick missed the 2017 season following Tommy John surgery, so he wasn't on the preseason Top 100 heading into this year. He was a fairly early addition as guys graduated off and now he's all the way up to No. 31. In terms of others debuting on this list, meaning they weren't on the preseason Top 100, here are the top five:
1. Wander Franco, SS, Rays
2. Yordan Alvarez, OF, Astros
3. Chris Paddack, RHP, Padres
4. Sean Murphy, C, A's
5. Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates
There were also players who were on the preseason list who made large leaps in the re-rank. Here's that top five:
1. Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals (+55)
2. Austin Riley, 3B, Braves (+53)
3. Jo Adell, OF, Angels (+47)
4. Tyler O'Neill, OF, Cardinals (+46)
5. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, A's (+42)
A total of 16 eligible prospects who were on the preseason Top 100 have fallen off the list. Orioles outfielder Austin Hays was No. 23 on the list to start the year and didn't make the cut this time around. Padres right-hander Cal Quantrill (No. 40), White Sox right-hander Alec Hansen (No. 54), A's shortstop Jorge Mateo (No. 72) and Yankees right-hander Chance Adams (No. 75) round out the top five highest-ranked players to fall off the list.
The five biggest fallers still on the Top 100 are:
1. Anthony Alford, OF, Blue Jays (-47)
2. Kolby Allard, LHP, Braves (-35)
3. Shane Baz, RHP, Pirates (-31)
4. Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants (-24)
5. Michael Baez, RHP, Padres (-22)
Starting with our top two prospects on the preseason list (Ohtani and Acuna), there have been a number of graduates off the list. MLB Pipeline uses rookie status as the determining factor, so if a prospect surpasses 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched or more than 45 days on the active Major League roster during the 25-player limit period, he comes off.
To date, 20 members of the preseason Top 100 have graduated:
1. Shohei Ohtani, RHP/DH, Angels
2. Ronald Acuna Jr., OF, Braves
3. Gleyber Torres, INF, Yankees
4. Walker Buehler, RHP, Dodgers
5. Lewis Brinson, OF, Marlins
6. Juan Soto, OF, Nationals
7. Scott Kingery, UTIL, Phillies
8. J.P. Crawford, SS, Phillies
9. Jack Flaherty, RHP, Cardinals
10. Ryan McMahon, 1B, Rockies
11. Austin Meadows, OF, Pirates
12. Carson Kelly, C, Cardinals
13. Jake Bauers, OF, Rays
14. Miguel Andujar, 3B, Yankees
15. Franklin Barreto, SS, A's
16. Fernando Romero, RHP, Twins
17. Christian Arroyo, 3B, Rays
18 Jesse Winker, OF, Reds
19. Tyler Mahle, RHP, Reds
20. Brandon Woodruff, RHP, Brewers
Feeling the Draft
It's always a challenge trying to figure out where members of the most recent Draft class fit into the Top 100 given that they are just getting their pro careers started. We've added 10 from the 2018 Draft's first round.
1. Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers (No. 1 overall pick)
2. Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox (No. 4)
3. Joey Bart, C, Giants (No. 2)
4. Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies (No. 3)
5. Jonathan India, 3B, Reds (No. 5)
6. Brady Singer, RHP, Royals (No. 18)
7. Matt Liberatore, LHP, Rays (No. 16)
8. Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mets (No. 6)
9. Travis Swaggerty, OF, Pirates (No. 10)
10. Cole Winn, RHP, Rangers (No. 15)
Position players have a slight edge in this re-rank, with 53 making the list compared to 47 pitchers. More specifically, there are more right-handed arms on the list than any one position, which is typically the case. There are 37 right-handers and 10 lefties, while among the hitters, outfielders are the clear leaders with 25. They are followed by the shortstops, with 10 representatives. There are seven catchers as well as seven third basemen, three second basemen and one first baseman (two if you want to count Brendan McKay as both a left-handed pitcher and a first baseman).