The most common question we're getting at MLB Pipeline -- and we're getting it multiple times a day -- is when we'll unveil our new organization Top 30 Prospects lists. I can't give a specific date yet, but I can say it will be in the next couple of weeks.
The most common question we're getting at MLB Pipeline -- and we're getting it multiple times a day -- is when we'll unveil our new organization Top 30 Prospects lists. I can't give a specific date yet, but I can say it will be in the next couple of weeks. We'll reveal them one division at a time, beginning with the American League East.
While I did consider the Angels trio of Top 100 Prospects Jo Adell and Brandon Marsh and 2018 first-rounder Jordyn Adams, they only placed fourth in my estimation. Here's my top seven, with the two players I ranked as the game's best position-prospect duo last month forming two-thirds of my No. 1 outfield:
1) Mariners: Jarred Kelenic, Julio Rodriguez, Kyle Lewis
2) D-backs: Kristian Robinson, Alek Thomas, Corbin Carroll
3) Braves: Cristian Pache, Drew Waters, Michael Harris
4) Angels: Jo Adell, Brandon Marsh, Jordyn Adams
5) Marlins: J.J. Bleday, Jesus Sanchez, Monte Harrison
6) Giants: Heliot Ramos, Hunter Bishop, Alexander Canario
7) Twins: Alex Kirilloff, Trevor Larnach, Gilberto Celestino
For more on this question, including more explanation behind my reasoning, check out the video at the top of this Inbox.
The top three picks from a year ago -- Adley Rutschman (No. 1 to the Orioles), Bobby Witt Jr. (No. 2 to the Royals) and Andrew Vaughn (No. 3 to the White Sox) -- all would be easy choices for the highest ceiling if they were part of the 2020 crop. It's a tough call between Georgia right-hander Emerson Hancock, who could be a No. 1 starter with four plus pitches and control to match; Arizona State first baseman Spencer Torkelson, whose combination of hitting ability and power is similar to Vaughn's; and UCLA outfielder Garrett Mitchell, who has the best all-around tools in the crop.
I'll go with Hancock, because I think his upside profile is the most difficult to find.
Vanderbilt infielder Austin Martin, who is one of the three leading candidates to go No. 1 overall along with Hancock and Torkelson, is the obvious high-floor guy. He's the best pure hitter in this Draft, the rest of his tools are all average or better and he has the versatility to play almost anywhere on the diamond. At worst, he'll make a solid-hitting utilityman.
The Dodgers do a terrific job of scouting (domestically, internationally and professionally) and player development, which is why they perennially have one of the strongest farm systems in baseball. All four of those players will make our upcoming Los Angeles Top 30, with catcher Cartaya and outfielder Rodriguez part of a stacked top 10, outfielder Pages not too far behind in the teens and infielder De Jesus in the early 20s.
MLB Pipeline's top-rated prospect in the 2018 international class, Cartaya has advanced hitting ability, solid raw power and the ingredients to become a quality defender behind the plate. Rodriguez has similar offensive potential to go with solid speed, a high baseball IQ and a good chance to remain in center field.
Pages, who was part of the aborted Joc Pederson trade with the Angels, fits the classic right-field profile with well above-average raw power and arm strength. De Jesus could wind up at third base in the long run but has the bat and defensive ability to become a solid regular there.
A star quarterback who led North Carolina high schoolers with 4,340 passing yards as a junior in 2017, Walston wasn't a regular on the showcase circuit and thus teams didn't have much history with him entering last spring. But he quickly drew a lot of love as one of the most projectable pitchers in the 2019 Draft.
Walston still is just 18 and will need to add strength to his lanky 6-foot-5 frame. But if he develops as the D-backs hope, he could have a pair of plus pitches in a mid-90s fastball and a downer curveball to go with a solid changeup and control. He definitely has the upside for a frontline left-handed starter.
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.