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Inbox: Will Cubs' Alzolay enter Top 100?

Jim Callis answers fans' questions about baseball's future stars
October 19, 2017

I've enjoyed three days of Arizona Fall League action as I write this, and so far the most impressive prospect I've seen is Yankees right-hander Albert Abreu. Acquired from the Astros in the Brian McCann trade last offseason, Abreu displayed three plus pitches -- including a fastball that reached 98

I've enjoyed three days of Arizona Fall League action as I write this, and so far the most impressive prospect I've seen is Yankees right-hander Albert Abreu. Acquired from the Astros in the Brian McCann trade last offseason, Abreu displayed three plus pitches -- including a fastball that reached 98 mph -- in a Tuesday duel with Pirates righty Mitch Keller. More details on that matchup can be found here.
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We won't revamp MLBPipeline.com's Cubs Top 30 until February, but when we do, right-hander Adbert Alzolay likely will rank No. 1. For more on him and Cubs prospects who could make our overall Top 100, check out the video at the top of this story.

In a word, yes. Baez's emergence in Chicago last year helped make Torres expendable, and the Cubs used him as the key piece in their trade package for Albertin Chapman. He currently occupies the No. 1 spot on the MLBPipeline Top 100 despite missing the second half of the season following Tommy John surgery on his non-throwing elbow.

Torres and Baez are different types of middle infielders. Baez has more raw power and defensive ability but Torres has better hitting ability and will be a more consistent offensive performer. I see Baez as a .270/.320/.500 hitter and Torres as a .300/.380/.475 guy in the long run, with the latter more likely to maintain that productivity.

Stolen bases are a product not only of quickness but also of on-base ability. Athletics shortstop Kevin Merrell, a supplemental first-round pick in June, checks both of those boxes.
The fastest college player in the 2017 Draft, Merrell has plus-plus speed and led South Florida in hitting for three straight seasons before batting .320/.362/.424 at short-season Vermont in his pro debut. He might wind up at second base or center field, but he definitely should steal a lot of bases.

Only three high school left-handers ever have gone No. 1 overall: David Clyde (1973), Brien Taylor (1991) and Brady Aiken (2014). All three were more overpowering than Liberatore, who is unlikely to get popped quite that high but could fit somewhere in the first 10 selections.
A product of Mountain Ridge High (Glendale, Ariz.), Liberatore looked terrific when I saw him at the Under Armour All America Game in July. He stands out most for his curveball, but he also has advanced command of a fastball up to 93 mph, feel for a changeup and a lot of savvy on the mound.

Ethan Hankins, a right-hander from Forsyth Central High (Cumming, Ga.), likely will go higher than Liberatore because he can reach the upper 90s with a lot of life on his fastball. But Liberatore has better secondary offerings and pitchability, plus he's left-handed, so he very well could be better in the long run.

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.