Inbox: Top five prospects after '25 midseason re-rank

August 25th, 2023

In case you haven’t noticed, we like lists and rankings at MLB Pipeline. So this week’s Inbox is right in our wheelhouse.

Below you’ll find some rankings of 2025 midseason prospects, 2024 Draft prospects and a list of organizations loosely ranked by left-handed pitching prowess.

It’s the week after the mid-season rankings in 2025, who are your top 5 prospects? -- @antman_92

One thing that makes this difficult, of course, is not having any idea what the 2025 Draft Class will look like and if any of that new crop of prospects will be top five worthy. Since it’s rare for that to happen, with Paul Skenes and Dylan Crews the first Draft duo to land that high (joining Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper) as the only draftees to debut in the top five, let’s work under the assumption that there won’t be someone to put there.

I’m also going to pretend that none of the 2024 Draft class will be a top five guy, though if you told me one of the college bats (more on that below) from that group float up to the top during what would be their first full season of pro ball, I might believe you.

I’m going to use our recent story on who we think the No. 1 prospect in each organization at the start of the 2025 season will be as a guide while trying to guess who will still be a prospect in August 2025. Here’s the Top 5 I come up with:

1. Ethan Salas, C, Padres
2. Max Clark, OF, Tigers
3. Walker Jenkins, OF, Twins
4. Emmanuel Rodriguez, OF, Twins
5. Samuel Basallo, C, Orioles

I’ll give you two honorable mentions because I do want to mention two pitchers I think could be in that mix at that point. One is the Phillies’ Andrew Painter, figuring he’s likely to be using the first half of the 2025 season to build back up after missing a year because of his Tommy John surgery. The other is 2023 draftee Noble Meyer, who I think has the chance to be Painter-ish in his development.

Who are your early top 10 picks for next year's Draft? -- @StevieDAles97

I did a top 20 mock soon after the 2023 Draft, but that was before scouts had really gotten the chance to see a lot of players on the summer showcase circuit and college summer leagues. So I reached out to some scouting directors to get a feel of what the landscape looked like if the Draft was today, knowing it obviously can and will change a lot over the next year. Here’s a working top 10:

1. JJ Wetherholt, 2B/3B, West Virginia
2. Chase Burns, RHP, Wake Forest
3. Jac Caglianone, LHP/1B, Florida
4. Nick Kurtz, 1B, Wake Forest
5. Travis Bazzana, 2B, Oregon State
6. Konnor Griffin, OF/RHP, Jackson Prep (Florence, Miss.)
7. Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa
8. PJ Morlando, OF, Summerville HS (Summerville, S.C.)
9. Braden Montgomery, OF, Texas A&M
10. Bryce Rainer, 3B/RHP, Harvard Westlake HS (Simi Valley, Calif.)

Other names mentioned: Cam Caminiti, LHP/OF, Saguaro HS (Scottsdale, Ariz.); Charlie Condon, 1B/OF, Georgia; Noah Franco, OF/LHP, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.); Vance Honeycutt, OF, North Carolina; Hagen Smith, LHP, Arkansas

It’s a college-heavy group at the top, for sure, with seven of the 10 coming from that group. Among the 15 players mentioned at all, only five are prepsters.

True or false - Pirates have best left-handed pitching in the Minors? -- @ballsandgutters

This is obviously impossible to quantify, but it made me want to try, looking at lefties on Top 30 lists as  a guide. As of Thursday, there were 86 southpaws total on team lists. The Guardians lead the way with six left-handers among that group. There are four teams with five lefties (Giants, Royals, Blue Jays, Rockies) and then there are seven teams with four, the Pirates being one of them.

That isn’t the only way to measure, so I used our old imperfect friend, the “prospect points” to weight it a bit. We’ve done this with our Top 100 to give an idea of how much elite-level talent a given system has. In this case, I gave 30 points to any No. 1 prospect in a system, on down to one point for a No. 30 guy, knowing that every system is different, so a No. 4 in one organization isn’t exactly the same in another. But here’s how that Top 10 worked out:

**Team, No. of LHP, Prospect Points
**Giants, 5, 99
Royals, 5, 85
Blue Jays, 5, 81
White Sox, 4, 81
Pirates, 4, 77
Guardians, 6, 74
Marlins, 4, 67
Cubs, 4, 66
Rockies, 5, 58
D-backs, 4, 54

Far from a be-all, end-all analysis here, but I’ll have to answer your question with a “False.” The Pirates are among the better systems in terms of lefties, but I think I’d give the nod to the Giants. They have two of our Top 10 LHP prospects, the only organization who can boast that, with both Kyle Harrison and Carson Whisenhunt actually in the top five, and in our overall Top 100. Four of the five lefties they have on their Top 30 are within their top 14, so the potential impact seems to be better than the Pirates or the other systems in the neighborhood.