Yes, I'm the guy who ranked Trevor Story No. 11 on MLBPipeline.com's Rockies Top 30 Prospects list. He would have rated higher if he wasn't part of baseball's deepest farm system, and I did note that he had the tools to be an offensive-minded regular. Story's power is real, though
Yes, I'm the guy who ranked Trevor Story No. 11 on MLBPipeline.com's Rockies Top 30 Prospects list. He would have rated higher if he wasn't part of baseball's deepest farm system, and I did note that he had the tools to be an offensive-minded regular. Story's power is real, though more along the lines of 20 per season than this crazy 142-homer pace he's on.
At least I put Story ninth on our preseason list of baseball's best fantasy prospects.
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There's a lot of uncertainty swirling around the 2016 Draft with eight weeks to go before the Phillies make the No. 1 overall pick. Many of the top-rated college pitchers entering the season have regressed, and there are few up-the-middle position players worthy of going in the upper half of the first round. The consensus at this moment -- and a lot can change with two months to go -- is that the two best prospects are Barnegat (N.J.) High left-hander Jason Groome and Riley Pint, a righty from St. Thomas Aquinas High (Overland Park, Kan.).
Groome gets the edge over Pint because he's left-handed and has better command, though Pint has undeniably dominant stuff and is doing a better job of locating his pitches this spring than he has in the past. He's an athletic 6-foot-4, 195-pounder who has been clocked as high as 102 mph with his fastball, and one evaluator who saw his first start this year graded him with an 80 fastball, 70 breaking ball and a 60 or 70 changeup on the 20-80 scouting scale. As of today, I'd rate Groome No. 1, Pint No. 2 and then the best college position players (Tennessee third baseman Nick Senzel, Louisville outfielder Corey Ray, Mercer outfielder Kyle Lewis) Nos. 3-5.
In the first 51 Drafts, only once did prep pitchers go first and second, when the Astros took Brady Aiken first and the Marlins chose Tyler Kolek second in 2014. That hasn't worked out as those teams hoped, with Aiken declining to sign with Houston and both pitchers subsequently having Tommy John surgery.
What do Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb and Brewers outfielder Brett Phillips need to work on in the Minors to get called up?
-- Leroy B., Chicago
Both Newcomb and Phillips are in Double-A and beginning their first full season with new organizations after changing addresses via trades last year. Newcomb was the key prospect the Braves received when they sent Andrelton Simmons to the Angels in November, while Phillips was the best of four talented youngsters the Astros surrendered to the Brewers for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers.
Their to-do lists are pretty simple. Few lefty prospects can match the pure stuff of Newcomb, who pairs a fastball that can sit in the mid-90s with a plus curveball and an improving changeup. But he ranked fifth in the Minors with 76 walks in 136 innings last year, and he needs to improve his control and command before he's ready for the big leagues.
Just 21, Phillips has fine all-around tools and mainly needs more repetitions against advanced pitching. He has to prove he can consistently hit for power against quality opponents after homering just once in 54 Double-A games last year. Phillips did lead the Class A Midwest League with a .521 slugging percentage in 2014 and slugged .580 in part of two seasons at Class A Advanced, and his bat speed and strength should translate into at least average pop.
The Midwest League is usually loaded, with recent classes including Francisco Lindor, Miguel Sano and Noah Syndergaard in 2012 and Byron Buxton, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr. and Corey Seager in '13. But the MWL talent level is down at the start of 2016, with only two Top 100 Prospects on hand: Quad Cities (Astros) outfielders Kyle Tucker (No. 74) and Daz Cameron (No. 75).
Besides Tucker, there are three other 2015 first-rounders in the MWL: Dayton (Reds) catcher Tyler Stephenson, West Michigan (Tigers) right-hander Beau Burrows and Lansing (Blue Jays) righty Jon Harris. Three more -- outfielders Garrett Whitley (Bowling Green/Rays), Trent Clark (Wisconsin/Brewers, No. 83 on the Top 100) and Nick Plummer (Peoria/Cardinals) -- could arrive after spending time in extended spring camp. There are other high-ceiling prospects worth watching, such as Lansing righty Sean Reid-Foley and Peoria outfielder Magneuris Sierra.
Fort Wayne (Padres) has the most impressive MWL roster. The TinCaps have the league's deepest rotation with righties Austin Smith, Jacob Nix and Enyel de los Santos and lefty Logan Allen. Their lineup is promising too, with shortstop Ruddy Giron, tooled-up outfielder Michael Gettys and catcher Austin Allen, who has been as hot as any Minor League hitter in the season's first week.
Wall has the tools to become an All-Star for the Rockies, and by the end of this season, I think he'll rank as the second-best second-base prospect in the game, behind only Yoan Moncada of the Red Sox. Signed for $2 million as a supplemental first-rounder in 2014, Wall combines premium hitting ability with well above-average speed, and he could grow into average power.
The only real knock on Wall is his throwing arm, which hasn't been the same since he had surgery to repair a torn labrum in 2011. Colorado believes it will be playable at second base and the worst-case scenario is that he'd move to center field, where his offensive potential and speed would fit nicely.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter.