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Redrafting the 2018 class -- Who's the new Top 10?

September 12, 2018

The Minor League season is winding down with playoffs in full swing. A number of top prospects are continuing to show what they can do under the postseason spotlight. Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette is hitting .353 for New Hampshire in the Eastern League playoffs, helping his team reach the

The Minor League season is winding down with playoffs in full swing. A number of top prospects are continuing to show what they can do under the postseason spotlight. Blue Jays prospect Bo Bichette is hitting .353 for New Hampshire in the Eastern League playoffs, helping his team reach the finals. Astros outfielder Kyle Tucker is in the PCL finals with Fresno, and top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley (also with the Astros) came off the disabled list to fan six in 2 1/3 innings in the Texas League playoffs. The list goes on and on.

MILB Video - Title: Watch: Bichette rips 3rd hit - Url: http://www.milb.com/r/video?content_id=2472589583

Soon enough, though, there will be a lag in baseball action for prospects who weren't, and won't be, called up to the big leagues. But we'll still have plenty of questions to answer for Inbox. So keep 'em coming.

My first instinct when I saw this question was that it was way too early. Yes, hindsight is the prospect world's version of lasik surgery, but there hasn't been enough time to evaluate draftees to have a re-do, right? So it would be easy to just say that I wouldn't change a thing, except for maybe the Braves taking Carter Stewart at No. 8 overall (again, easy to say in retrospect, since he didn't sign).
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But I'm all for a fun exercise, so we'll give it a go. Since nothing has changed really in terms of our thoughts on long-term potential, this has to be done largely based on what the 2018 draftee did, or didn't do, during a summer debut. That gets tricky since some didn't play much at all, but here's my best shot, limiting myself only to first-round selections and trying to stick to organizational tendencies if I could.
1. Tigers: Casey Mize. He threw only 111/3 total innings after a long college season, but he competed in the Florida State League, so why make a change?
2. Giants: Joey Bart. Statistically, he had among the best pro debuts for first-rounders (.294/.364/.588 with 13 homers).
3. Phillies: Nolan Gorman. The Phillies went the college route with Alec Bohm, who had a so-so debut. Meanwhile Gorman, a high schooler who went No. 19 overall, mashed his way to full-season ball and hit a combined .291/.380/.570 with 17 homers.
4. White Sox: Nick Madrigal. Thought to be the top pure college hitter in the class, Madrigal hit .303, made his way all the way to the Carolina League playoffs, and struck out just five times in 173 plate appearances.
5. Reds: Matthew Liberatore. The Reds went college bat with Jonathan India, who did have an .813 OPS, but Liberatore, the prep lefty who slid to No. 16, was outstanding with a 1.38 ERA and 1.04 WHIP in 32 2/3 IP.
6. Mets: Jarred Kelenic. Seen as a "deal" pick, Kelenic hit like a top 10 pick, posting an .839 OPS with six homers and 15 steals.
7. Padres: Grayson Rodriguez. Nothing wrong with who they took (Ryan Weathers), but Rodriguez who went No. 11 overall, had a 1.40 ERA in 19 1/3 IP.
8. Braves: Ryan Weathers. Could've gone with Bohm here, or India, but I figure since they went prep arm the first time, they can have the high school lefty who is fairly advanced and held his own in full-season ball during his debut.
9. A's: Seth Beer. For the record, I love the Kyler Murray pick, but he didn't play. But Beer made it all the way to the Carolina League and hit a combined .304/.389/.496 with 12 homers.
10. Pirates: Trevor Larnach. Looking past Bohm, India and the college bat the Pirates took in Travis Swaggerty, Larnach made it to full-season ball and hit a combined .303/.390/.500.

Two questions about one of my favorite D-backs prospects (and I do Arizona's Top 30 list), so I couldn't pass this up. Aside from having one of the best names in baseball, Jazz Chisholm has some serious upside.
Signed for $200,000 back during the 2015 international signing period out of the Bahamas (now a bit of a hotbed -- the D-backs signed another Bahamania, Kristian Robinson, for $2.5 million in 2017), Chisholm is No. 2 on the team's Top 30 list. He's been on our "watch list," so to speak, pretty much all season. And I think a strong argument can be made that he belongs given his very high ceiling, finishing the year with 25 homers and 17 steals as a 20-year-old in the California League.
The only thing that makes one pause, I think, is that Chisholm didn't hit a ton (although he did show power) in the Midwest League, with a high strikeout rate there. He took off up a level, but because the Cal League is such a hitter-friendly circuit, seeing him replicate results in Double-A in 2019 will go a long way to convincing any doubters. My prediction is that even if Chisholm is not on the Top 100 to start 2019, he works his way on there soon thereafter.

If I had to pick just one player, it would have to be Cavan Biggio of the Blue Jays. Yes, that's Craig's kid, and he began the year outside Toronto's Top 30. Now Biggio stands at No. 9 after finishing the year with 26 homers, 99 RBIs and 20 stolen bases. He led the Double-A Eastern League in homers, slugging and OPS and was one of a handful of 20-20 players in the Minors. Yes, Biggio struck out 148 times, but he also drew 100 walks. This came after a very pedestrian first full season in the Florida State League, so the huge step forward is one of the nicest surprises of the 2018 season, and Biggio is looking more and more like a run-producing full-time second baseman in the future.

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