Inbox: Where does duo of Vlad Jr., Bichette rank?

Jim Callis answers fans' questions about baseball's future stars

July 6th, 2017

To answer two questions that I'm getting bombared with, the Draft signing deadline is Friday at 5 p.m. ET and will totally revamp the overall Top 100 Prospects list and all of the organization Top 30s in Prospect Watch about a week before the July 31 trade deadline.
Now on to some longer questions and answers …
:: Submit a question to the Pipeline Inbox ::

Low Class A Lansing teammates Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette have been two of the most exciting hitters in the lower Minors this season. Guerrero, the son of future Hall of Famer Vladimir Sr., is batting .317/.411/.472 with six homers in 70 games and more walks (40) than strikeouts (34) as an 18-year-old. Bichette, the son of four-time All-Star Dante, has a .383/.444/.624 slash line with 10 homers and 12 steals in 69 games and leads the Minors in hitting and on-base percentage as a 19-year-old.
A case could be made that outfielder belongs in the discussion of the Blue Jays' two best position prospects, but we'll go with Guerrero and Bichette for the purposes of this question. Here's how I'd stack up the game's top 10 position-prospect combos:
1. Yankees: SS , OF
2. White Sox: 2B , OF Luis Robert
3. Nationals: OF Victor Robles, OF Juan Soto
4. Rays: SS , 1B/LHP Brendan McKay
5. Braves: OF Ronald Acuna, 2B Ozzie Albies
6. Mets: SS , 1B Dominic Smith
7. Blue Jays: 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., SS/2B Bo Bichette
8. Brewers: OF , OF Corey Ray
9. Phillies: OF Mickey Moniak, SS J.P. Crawford
10. Twins: SS/OF Royce Lewis, SS Nick Gordon

Scouts rated Adrian Rondon the top player on the international amateur market in 2014, when the Rays signed him for $2,950,000. Likewise, fellow Dominican shortstop Wander Franco was the consensus best talent available this summer, when Tampa Bay landed him for $3,825,000.

In addition to their position and their nationality, Rondon and Franco were quite similar at the same stage. Both were advanced hitters, arguably the best in their international talent pools. Rondon who was four inches taller and 20 pounds heavier at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds, had more projectable power while Franco, who projects as an average runner, was a little quicker.
Though both players showed the potential to stick at shortstop, Rondon may slide over to third base as he fills out and Franco could fit better at second base. Rondon's strong arm was at least a half-grade better than Franco's.

The Brewers do have crazy outfield depth. and are helping fuel the big league club's surprising lead in the National League Central while is getting the job done in center field. They have an all-prospect outfield at Triple-A Colorado Springs with Lewis Brinson, and , plus Corey Ray, Trent Clark, Monte Harrison and Demi Orimoloye at lower levels.
In this year's Draft, Milwaukee took Keston Hiura ninth overall, and there's a chance he could wind up in the outfield rather than at second base. Supplemental first-rounder Tristen Lutz, yet another outfielder, offered some of the best right-handed power in the 2017 class.
With all of those outfielders on hand, the Brewers should consider dealing some of their surplus to improve at other positions. They do have a surprising and relatively young Major League club as well as one of the game's best farm systems, so it's not like they have a bunch of obvious holes to plug, however.
Milwaukee's future lineup is intriguing because of all the various options it has. Here's what the Brewers could look like on Opening Day 2020:
2B: Keston Hiura
LF: Corey Ray
CF: Lewis Brinson
RF: Domingo Santana
SP: Jimmy Nelson
SP: Chase Anderson

Rogers was the best defensive catcher in the 2016 Draft and maybe the best defender at any position. He's a quality receiver with a strong arm and a quick transfer, but he also hit .233/.333/.309 in three years at Tulane and questions about his bat dropped him to the third round.
After posting a .718 OPS in his pro debut last summer, Rogers has batted .278/.367/.502 with 11 homers in 64 games between two Class A stops in his first full season. He has cleaned up some timing issues he had in college and is doing a better job of using the entire field.
Currently ranked No. 21 on MLBPipeline's Astros Top 30, Rogers will move up when we update the list in a few weeks. A half-season of success doesn't mean his bat is for real, but he's so good behind the plate that he'll be a big league regular if he's passable offensively.