With the Minor League season beginning Thursday, it's time for our annual look at the starting assignments for MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects.
Eleven Top 100 Prospects made big league Opening Day rosters, headlined by three of the game's four best young talents: Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. (No. 2), White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez (No. 3) and Nationals outfielder Victor Robles (No. 4). Other prospects who started the season in the Majors included Padres catcher/outfielder Francisco Mejia (No. 26), Braves right-hander Kyle Wright (No. 30), Padres righty Chris Paddack (No. 32), Dodgers outfielder Alex Verdugo (No. 33), Mets first baseman Pete Alonso (No. 50), Astros righty Josh James (No. 61), Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen (No. 64) and Braves righty Bryse Wilson (No. 80).
Yankees right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga (No. 65) and D-backs righty Jon Duplantier (No. 72) both have been promoted to the Majors before the start of the Minor League season. Cardinals righty Alex Reyes began in St. Louis and at No. 33 on the Top 100, then graduated off the list as soon as he retired his first big league hitter of the season.
Of the other 87 Top 100 Prospects not currently in the Majors, 70 are on Minor League Opening Day rosters: 23 in Triple-A, 21 in Double-A, 19 in high Class A and seven in low Class A. Three others are in extended spring training, and 14 are dealing with injuries. We present the complete list of Top 100 Prospect starting assignments at the bottom of this story.
Teams to watch
The Round Rock Express, Triple-A affiliate of the Astros, is the lone Minor League club with four Top 100 Prospects on its roster. Right-hander Forrest Whitley (No. 7) is baseball's best pitching prospect and he's joined by outfielders Kyle Tucker (No. 8) and Yordan Alvarez (No. 43) plus righty Corbin Martin (No. 79). Tucker returns to the Pacific Coast League after leading the circuit in slugging (.590) and OPS (.989) in 2018.
Three Minor League teams can boast of three Top 100 Prospects, including the Braves' top two affiliates. The Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers feature right-handers Mike Soroka (No. 24) and Touki Toussaint (No. 49) along with third baseman Austin Riley (No. 37). The Double-A Mississippi Braves have righty Ian Anderson (No. 31) and outfielders Cristian Pache (No. 35) and Drew Waters (No. 84).
Catcher Keibert Ruiz (No. 34), right-hander Dustin May (No. 68) and shortstop/second baseman Gavin Lux (No. 69) rejoin the Double-A Tulsa Drillers, a Dodgers affiliate, after helping them win the Texas League championship last September.
As noted above, the Padres have three Top 100 Prospects in the big leagues with Tatis, Mejia and Paddack.
Four Top 100 Prospects will play their first games with new organizations after getting traded in the offseason. The Marlins are taking it easy with right-hander Sixto Sanchez (No. 27), the prize of the J.T. Realmuto trade with the Phillies, because he missed time in 2018 with elbow and collarbone issues. He's currently in extended spring training but likely will report to the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp before too long.
The Mariners acquired three Top 100 talents, left-hander Justus Sheffield (No. 42) from the Yankees as part of a package for James Paxton, and outfielder Jarred Kelenic (No. 55) and right-hander Justin Dunn (No. 89) in the swap that sent Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz to the Mets. Sheffield opens the season with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, Kelenic with the low Class A West Virginia Power and Dunn with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers.
Two Top 100 Prospects, both right-handers selected in the first round of the 2018 Draft, have yet to make their pro debut. The Royals have sent Brady Singer (No. 53) to the high Class A Wilmington Blue Rocks, while the Rangers are keeping Cole Winn (No. 87) in extended spring to begin the season.
On the shelf
Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (No. 1), the game's best prospect, is starting the season on a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Dunedin after straining his left oblique in mid-March. Guerrero Jr. probably will get some brief time in Triple-A before making his highly anticipated big league debut.
Thirteen other Top 100 Prospects are dealing with injuries and have yet to be assigned to Minor League rosters. Besides Guerrero, three other position players ranked in the Top 15 are out: Reds infielder/outfielder Nick Senzel (No. 6, right ankle sprain), Twins outfielder Alex Kirilloff (No. 9, minor wrist injury) and Angels outfielder Jo Adell (No. 14, left ankle and right hamstring). Yankees outfielder Estevan Florial (No. 56) broke his right wrist crashing into a center-field wall during Spring Training.
Right-handers Michael Kopech (No. 18, White Sox) and Hunter Greene (No. 36, Reds) will miss the entire season after having Tommy John surgery. Other pitchers on the sidelines include Athletics left-hander Jesus Luzardo (No. 12, rotator cuff strain), Rays righty Brent Honeywell (No. 28, rehabbing after Tommy John surgery), Indians righty Triston McKenzie (No. 40, upper back strain), A's lefty A.J. Puk (No. 41, rehabbing after Tommy John surgery), Padres righty Michel Baez (No. 71, shoulder inflammation), Tigers righty Franklin Perez (No. 77, shoulder tendinitis) and Blue Jays righty Eric Pardinho (No. 96, elbow soreness).
When healthy, Senzel and Honeywell are expected to report to Triple-A; Kirilloff, Adell, McKenzie and Baez to Double-A; Florial and Perez to high Class A; and Pardinho to low Class A. It's unclear where Luzardo or Puk will start their 2019 seasons.
The complete list
- Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays -- Dunedin Blue Jays (rehab)
- Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres -- San Diego Padres (MLB)
- Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox -- Chicago White Sox (MLB)
- Victor Robles, OF, Nationals -- Washington Nationals (MLB)
- Royce Lewis, SS, Twins -- Fort Myers Miracle (A Adv)
- Nick Senzel, 3B, Reds -- Louisville Bats (AAA) - IL
- Forrest Whitley, RHP, Astros -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
- Kyle Tucker, OF, Astros -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
- Alex Kirilloff, OF, Twins -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA) - IL
- Brendan Rodgers, SS, Rockies -- Albuquerque Isotopes (AAA)
- Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays -- Buffalo Bisons (AAA)
- Jesus Luzardo, LHP, A's -- Extended spring training - rehab
- Wander Franco, SS, Rays -- Bowling Green Hot Rods (A)
- Jo Adell, OF, Angels -- Mobile BayBears (AA) - IL
- MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres -- Lake Elsinore Storm (A Adv)
- Taylor Trammell, OF, Reds -- Chattanooga Lookouts (AA)
- Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers -- Lakeland Tigers (A Adv)
- Michael Kopech, RHP, White Sox -- Chicago White Sox (MLB) - IL
- Mitch Keller, RHP, Pirates -- Indianapolis Indians (AAA)
- Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers -- San Antonio Missions (AAA)
- Dylan Cease, RHP, White Sox -- Charlotte Knights (AAA)
- Joey Bart, C, Giants -- San Jose Giants (A Adv)
- Luis Urias, INF, Padres -- El Paso Chichuahuas (AAA)
- Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves -- Gwinnett Stripers (AAA)
- Carter Kieboom, SS, Nationals -- Fresno Grizzlies (AAA)
- Francisco Mejia, C, Padres -- San Diego Padres (MLB)
- Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Marlins -- Extended spring training
- Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays -- Durham Bulls (AAA) - IL
- Brendan McKay, LHP, Rays -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
- Kyle Wright, RHP, Braves -- Atlanta Braves (MLB)
- Hunter Greene, RHP, Reds -- Out for season - Tommy John surgery
- Ian Anderson, RHP, Braves -- Mississippi Braves (AA)
- Chris Paddack, RHP, Padres -- San Diego Padres (MLB)
- Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers -- Los Angeles Dodgers (MLB)
- Keibert Ruiz, C, Dodgers -- Tulsa Drillers (AA)
- Cristian Pache, OF, Braves -- Mississippi Braves (AA)
- Austin Riley, 3B, Braves -- Gwinnett Stripers (AAA)
- Jesus Sanchez, OF, Rays -- Montgomery Biscuits (AA)
- Luis Robert, OF, White Sox -- Winston-Salem Dash (A Adv)
- Triston McKenzie, RHP, Indians -- Extended spring training - rehab
- A.J. Puk, LHP, A's -- Extended spring training - rehab
- Justus Sheffield, LHP, Mariners -- Tacoma Rainiers (AAA)
- Yordan Alvarez, OF, Astros -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
- Sean Murphy, C, A's -- Las Vegas Aviators (AAA)
- Ke'Bryan Hayes, 3B, Pirates -- Indianapolis Indians (AAA)
- Nick Madrigal, 2B, White Sox -- Winston-Salem Dash (A Adv)
- Luis Patino, RHP, Padres -- Lake Elsinore Storm (A Adv)
- Adrian Morejon, LHP, Padres -- Amarillo Sod Poodles (AA)
- Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves -- Gwinnett Stripers (AAA)
- Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets -- New York Mets (MLB)
- Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers -- Erie SeaWolves (AA)
- Jonathan India, 3B, Reds -- Daytona Tortugas (A Adv)
- Brady Singer, RHP, Royals -- Wilmington Blue Rocks (A Adv)
- Matthew Liberatore, LHP, Rays -- Extended spring training
- Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mariners -- West Virginia Power (A)
- Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees -- Tampa Tarpons (A Adv) - IL
- Andres Gimenez, SS, Mets -- BInghamton Rumble Ponies (AA)
- Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies -- Lakewood BlueClaws (A)
- Jazz Chisholm, SS, D-backs -- Jackson Generals (AA)
- Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals -- Peoria Chiefs (A)
- Josh James, RHP, Astros -- Houston Astros (MLB)
- Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels -- Salt Lake Bees (AAA)
- Yusniel Diaz, OF, Orioles -- Bowie Baysox (AA)
- Danny Jansen, C, Blue Jays -- Toronto Blue Jays (MLB)
- Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP, Yankees -- New York Yankees (MLB)
- Nolan Jones, 3B, Indians -- Lynchburg Hillcats (A Adv)
- Brusdar Graterol, RHP, Twins -- Pensacola Blue Wahoos (AA)
- Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers -- Tulsa Drillers (AA)
- Gavin Lux, SS/2B, Dodgers -- Tulsa Drillers (AA)
- Ryan Mountcastle, 3B, Orioles -- Norfolk Tides (AAA)
- Michel Baez, RHP, Padres -- Extended spring training - rehab
- Jon Duplantier, RHP, D-backs -- Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
- Logan Allen, LHP, Padres -- El Paso Chichuahuas (AAA)
- Luis Garcia, INF, Nationals -- Harrisburg Senators (AA)
- Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays -- Dunedin Blue Jays (A Adv)
- Adonis Medina, RHP, Phillies -- Reading Fightin Phils (AA)
- Franklin Perez, RHP, Tigers -- Lakeland Tigers (A Adv) - IL
- Michael Chavis, 3B/1B, Red Sox -- Pawtucket Red Sox (AAA)
- Corbin Martin, RHP, Astros -- Round Rock Express (AAA)
- Bryse Wilson, RHP, Braves -- Atlanta Braves (MLB)
- Taylor Widener, RHP, D-backs -- Reno Aces (AAA)
- Ronaldo Hernandez, C, Rays -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
- Hans Crouse, RHP, Rangers -- Hickory Crawdads (A)
- Drew Waters, OF, Braves -- Mississippi Braves (AA)
- Travis Swaggerty, OF, Pirates -- Bradenton Marauders (A Adv)
- Julio Pablo Martinez, OF, Rangers -- Hickory Crawdads (A)
- Cole Winn, RHP, Rangers -- Extended spring training
- D.L. Hall, LHP, Orioles -- Frederick Keys (A Adv)
- Justin Dunn, RHP, Mariners -- Arkansas Travelers (AA)
- Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants -- San Jose Giants (A Adv)
- Ryan Weathers, LHP, Padres -- Fort Wayne TinCaps (A)
- Miguel Amaya, C, Cubs -- Myrtle Beach Pelicans (A Adv)
- Colton Welker, 3B, Rockies -- Hartford Yard Goats (AA)
- Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates -- Bradenton Marauders (A Adv)
- J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, Astros -- Corpus Christi Hooks (AA)
- Eric Pardinho, RHP, Blue Jays -- Lansing Lugnuts (A) - IL
- Victor Victor Mesa, OF, Marlins -- Jupiter Hammerheads (A Adv)
- Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs -- Tennessee Smokies (AA)
- Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays -- Charlotte Stone Crabs (A Adv)
- Corey Ray, OF, Brewers -- San Antonio Missions (AAA)