It's day three of positional Top 10 Prospects lists at MLB Pipeline. Today we spotlight catching phenoms and I'll discuss them on MLB Network's "MLB Tonight" at 6:30 p.m. ET.We'll continue with the Top 10 First Base Prospects tomorrow and unveil with a new position each weekday through next Thursday.
It's day three of positional Top 10 Prospects lists at MLB Pipeline. Today we spotlight catching phenoms and I'll discuss them on MLB Network's "MLB Tonight" at 6:30 p.m. ET.
We'll continue with the Top 10 First Base Prospects tomorrow and unveil with a new position each weekday through next Thursday. It's all leading up to the reveal of our overall Top 100 Prospects, which will happen on a MLB Network special (simulcast on MLB.com) at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 27.
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I love this type of question. Which teams have the best 1-2 punch of hitting and pitching prospects? Here's my top 15, using each player just once but nevertheless including two Padres combos:
1. White Sox: OF Eloy Jimenez & RHP Michael Kopech
- Padres: SS Fernando Tatis Jr. & LHP MacKenzie Gore
- Astros: RHP Forrest Whitley & OF Kyle Tucker
- Braves: OF Ronald Acuna & RHP Kyle Wright
- Reds: 3B Nick Senzel & RHP Hunter Greene
- Rays: RHP Brent Honeywell & SS Willy Adames
- Indians: C Francisco Mejia & RHP Triston McKenzie
- Yankees: INF Gleyber Torres & LHP Justus Sheffield
- Dodgers: RHP Walker Buehler & OF Alex Verdugo
- Cardinals: RHP Alex Reyes & C Carson Kelly
- Pirates: RHP Mitch Keller & OF Austin Meadows
- Angels: RHP Shohei Ohtani & OF Jo Adell
- Blue Jays: 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr. & RHP Nate Pearson
- Phillies: RHP Sixto Sanchez & 2B Scott Kingery
- Padres: 2B/SS Luis Urias & RHP Michel Baez
Dunning, Faedo, Puk and Shore were all part of Florida's ridiculously loaded 2016 pitching staff, which could produce five first-round picks and eight big league starters when all is said and done. I tackle this question in the video at the top of this story.
Both Baddoo and Graterol intrigue me and I expect both to soar up prospect lists in 2018. Baddoo had some of the best power/speed potential in the 2016 Draft but he also was fairly raw, which is why the Twins were able to get him in the supplemental second round. After a rough pro debut, the center fielder bounced back and hit .323/.436/.527 with four homers, nine steals and more walks (36) than strikeouts (32) in 53 games in Rookie ball last year.
Graterol has gained about 10 mph on his fastball since signing for $150,000 out of Venezuela in 2014, now working in the mid-90s and topping triple digits while backing up his heat with a power slider. The right-hander missed all of 2016 following Tommy John surgery before recording a 2.70 ERA and striking out 45 in 40 Rookie ball innings last year.
Besides being talented, Baddoo and Graterol are also extremely young. Born 10 days apart in August 1998, they'll play almost all of this season as 19-year-olds.
As for other Twins breakout candidates, keep an eye on projectable right-hander Blayne Enlow, who already touches 94 mph with his fastball and had one of the best curveballs in the 2017 Draft. He lasted until the third round because of signability and commanded a $2 million bonus.
Besides Baddoo, Graterol and Enlow, Minnesota has several more quality prospects who have yet to play above Rookie ball: shortstop Wander Javier, outfielders Alex Kirilloff and Jacob Pearson, right-hander Landon Leach, third baseman Andrew Bechtold and second basemen Yunior Severino and Jose Miranda. This farm system has a lot of upward mobility -- 2017 No. 1 overall pick Royce Lewis looks great and supplemental first-rounder Brent Rooker slammed 18 homers in his 10-week pro debut -- and could rank as one of baseball's best by the end of the year.
When I took my first (way-too-early) crack at projecting the first 10 selections in the 2018 Draft just after the 2017 Draft ended, I had Brice Turang going No. 1 overall and Kumar Rocker going No. 4 as the first high school pitcher selected. Six months later, when MLB Pipeline released its Top 50 Draft Prospects list, we put Turang at No. 7 and Rocker at No. 17.
Turang, a shortstop form Santiago High (Corona, Calif.), had a so-so summer on the showcase circuit, leading to some questions about his hitting ability (merely solid or better than that?) and power (below average or is there more in there?). The son of former big leaguer Brian Turang still projects as an early first-rounder and arguably the best shortstop available, and he'll jump back up toward the top of the Draft if he performs better at the plate this spring.
A right-hander from North Oconee High (Bogart, Ga.), Rocker also has athletic bloodlines as the son of former NFL defensive lineman Tracy Rocker. He can hit 98 mph with his fastball and wipe out hitters with his slider, though the former pitch lacked command and the latter lacked consistency during the summer. If he can do a better job of harnessing his stuff as a senior, he'll rise back up Draft boards.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.