Prospect Season is in full swing at MLB Pipeline. We unveiled our new Top 100 Prospects list last Saturday, with Rays shortstop Wander Franco holding the top spot just as he did in our previous edition last July. Click here for a team-by-team breakdown, which also contains links to a
Prospect Season is in full swing at MLB Pipeline. We unveiled our new Top 100 Prospects list last Saturday, with Rays shortstop Wander Franco holding the top spot just as he did in our previous edition last July. Click here for a team-by-team breakdown, which also contains links to a number of additional Top 100-related features.
So it's no surprise that this week's MLB Pipeline Inbox has a heavy Top 100 flavor ...
I'll give you one prospect each quartile on the Top 100. I'm also bullish on Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez (No. 54), though he'll barely have begun his pro career by midseason and thus probably won't fly up the list.
Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners (No. 18): He could rival Franco as the best hitter in the Minors by the end of 2020.
Marco Luciano, SS, Giants (No. 35): Just 18, he offers more power potential than any middle infielder in the Minors.
Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates (No. 64): He plays shortstop better than you'd imagine someone 6-foot-6 could, but he's destined to become a 35-40 homer right fielder.
Shane Baz, RHP, Rays (No. 90): If he learns to harness his overpowering fastball and slider, he'll be one of the very best pitching prospects in the Minors.
There's never enough room to fit every deserving prospect on a Top 100, and in reality, we're splitting hairs lining up guys in order from 80-120. The biggest difference is that Nos. 81-100 are designated as Top 100 Prospects, while Nos. 101-120 don't even get identified.
Based solely on my personal preference, these would be the next few prospects I'd add to the list (in this order) if we went beyond 100:
Ryan Rolison, LHP, Rockies
Greg Jones, SS, Rays
Gabriel Arias, SS/3B, Padres
Shane McClanahan, LHP, Rays
Alek Manoah, RHP, Blue Jays
Jackson Rutledge, RHP, Nationals
Bobby Dalbec, 3B/1B, Red Sox
Tyler Stephenson, C, Reds
Matt Allan, RHP, Mets
Quinn Priester, RHP, Pirates
If we were to take the consensus of Jonathan Mayo, Mike Rosenbaum and me -- the architects of MLB Pipeline's lists -- other prospects who could mix in with that group would include D-backs first baseman/outfielder Seth Beer, Marlins outfielder Monte Harrison, Mariners right-hander Justin Dunn and Brewers shortstop/second baseman Brice Turang.
Georgia right-hander Hancock, Arizona State first baseman Torkelson and Vanderbilt shortstop Martin open 2020 as the top three prospects on our Draft Top 100. Not much separates the three front-runners to go No. 1 overall to Detroit.
Hancock shares much in common with Tigers right-hander Casey Mize (No. 7), though he hasn't had the spectacular junior season that Mize did en route to becoming the top choice in the 2018 Draft. Giving the edge to right-handers who have proven themselves against better competition in pro ball, I'd slot Hancock somewhere close behind the group of Sixto Sanchez (Marlins), Dustin May (Dodgers) and Matt Manning (Tigers) that sits at Nos. 22-24.
Torkelson has the best power in this Draft and is similar to White Sox first baseman Andrew Vaughn (No. 16) with perhaps a little more pop and a bit less hitting ability. I'd place him right behind Hancock.
The best pure hitter in the 2020 Draft, Martin is comparable to former Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson, the No. 1 overall choice in 2015, with maybe less natural shortstop ability but more twitchy athleticism. He has a higher floor and lower ceiling than Padres shortstop CJ Abrams (No. 25), and Martin could go right ahead of or behind him depending on your taste.
The Pirates finally traded Starling Marte, shipping him to the D-backs in exchange for a pair of prospects with a ton of upside in shortstop Peguero and right-hander Malone. Peguero has a chance for solid tools across the board and batted .326/.382/.485 as an 18-year-old in the Rookie-level Pioneer and Short Season Northwest leagues last summer. The 33rd overall pick in the 2019 Draft, Malone generates mid-90s fastballs and plus sliders with little effort in his delivery.
We'll start unveiling our new organization Top 30 Prospects list toward the end of February. Had they remained with Arizona, Peguero likely would have been the highest-ranked non-Top 100 Diamondback (making him No. 6 on that list) and Malone would have ranked toward the bottom of the Top 10. They'll probably fit at Nos. 6 and 7 on our new Pittsburgh list.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.