We opened 2019 with one of the most highly touted and most hyped phenoms of all time atop MLB Pipeline's Top 100 Prospects rankings. Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finally made his big league debut on April 26 and graduated off the list on June 7.
Another Dominican infielder from a baseball family who possesses precocious offensive skills replaced Guerrero at No. 1. Rays shortstop Wander Franco has posted better numbers than Guerrero did in the same leagues at the same age, and he's also a switch-hitter with a broader base of tools.
Franco represents an infusion of new blood atop our new midseason Top 100. Each of the first seven players on the list turned pro in the last two years, including the No. 1 overall picks in the three most recent Drafts: Twins shortstop Royce Lewis (2017), Tigers right-hander Casey Mize (2018) and Orioles catcher Adley Rutschman (2019).
Here's how the Top 10 stacks up:
1) Wander Franco, SS, Rays
2) Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers
3) MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres
4) Jo Adell, OF, Angels
5) Luis Robert, OF, White Sox
6) Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles
7) Royce Lewis, SS, Twins
8) Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays
9) Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals
10) Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers
Complete list »
We've revamped all of our prospect lists, including our Top 30s for each organization. For the first time this year, we've included draftees and international signees from 2019.
On the move
Several prospects have raced up the Top 100 after ranking low in the preseason. Blue Jays right-hander Nate Pearson, who worked just 1 2/3 regular-season innings in 2018 because of a back injury and a fractured forearm, is the biggest climber as he jumps from No. 76 to No. 14. Here are the prospects with the most upward mobility:
Nate Pearson, RHP, Blue Jays (No. 76 to No. 14, +62)
Gavin Lux, SS, Dodgers (No. 70 to No. 10, +60)
Drew Waters, OF, Braves (No. 86 to No. 27, +59)
Nico Hoerner, SS, Cubs (No. 100 to No. 50, +50)
Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants (No. 92 to No. 55, +37)
Luis Robert, OF, White Sox (No. 40 to No. 5, +35)
Dustin May, RHP, Dodgers (No. 69 to No. 35, +34)
Oneil Cruz, SS, Pirates (No. 96 to No. 62, +34)
Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mariners (No. 56 to No. 24, +32)
Nolan Gorman, 3B, Cardinals (No. 61 to No. 31, +30)
Twenty-five prospects who couldn't crack the preseason Top 100 have forced their way onto the midseason list. Rays second baseman Vidal Brujan, who has become one of the best hitters and basestealers in the Minors, headlines the players who have made the biggest jumps from off to on the list:
Vidal Brujan, 2B, Rays (No. 41)
Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles (No. 47)
Logan Gilbert, RHP, Mariners (No. 51)
Dylan Carlson, OF, Cardinals (No. 52)
Julio Rodriguez, OF, Mariners (No. 54)
Will Smith, C, Dodgers (No. 57)
Alek Thomas, OF, Diamondbacks (No. 63)
Marco Luciano, SS, Giants (No. 65)
Deivi Garcia, RHP, Yankees (No. 66)
Jordan Groshans, SS, Blue Jays (No. 73)
Nineteen preseason Top 100 Prospects have headed in the wrong direction and fallen off our list. Mariners left-hander Justus Sheffield (preseason No. 43) had the highest ranking among that group and dropped after his control and command fell apart in Triple-A. Orioles outfielder Yusniel Diaz (preseason No. 64), Yankees right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga (preseason No. 66), Padres righty Michel Baez (preseason No. 72) and D-backs righty Jon Duplantier (preseason No. 73) were the next-highest prospects to miss out on this edition of the Top 100.
Right-handed pitchers claimed the most spots (25) on the Top 100, followed by 22 outfielders, 16 shortstops, 11 left-handed pitchers, eight catchers, seven third basemen, six second basemen and five first basemen. Seventy-six of the prospects entered pro ball via the Draft, including 57 first-round picks, while 24 arrived via the international market. Eleven Top 100 prospects already have been traded, most notably White Sox right-hander Michael Kopech (No. 18), who was part of the Chris Sale deal with the Red Sox.
A dozen first-round choices from the 2019 Draft make their debuts on the Top 100:
Adley Rutschman, C, Orioles (No. 6, first overall pick)
Bobby Witt Jr., SS, Royals (No. 9, second)
Andrew Vaughn, 1B, White Sox (No. 23, third)
JJ Bleday, OF, Marlins (No. 32, fourth)
C.J. Abrams, SS, Padres (No. 48, sixth)
Riley Greene, OF, Tigers (No. 49, fifth)
Josh Jung, 3B, Rangers (No. 60, eighth)
Nick Lodolo, LHP, Reds (No. 61, seventh)
Shea Langeliers, C, Braves (No. 69, ninth)
Hunter Bishop, OF, Giants (No. 71, 10th)
Brett Baty, 3B, Mets (No. 85, 12th)
Corbin Carroll, OF, D-backs (No. 99, 16th)
And for the first time, we've immediately ranked an international prospect from the current class. Yankees outfielder Jasson Dominguez (No. 72) is just 16 but has drawn comparisons to Bo Jackson, Mickey Mantle and Mike Trout.
Which organizations stand out the most on the Top 100? Two quick if imprecise methods that reflect the strength of farm systems are to count the number of players they have on the list and to tally up what we call Prospect Points (the No. 1 prospect gets 100 points, No. 2 gets 99 and so on until No. 100 gets one).
The Rays prevail in both measures, tying the Padres with seven Top 100 Prospects and edging the White Sox for the Prospect Points lead, 393 to 391. The Braves, Mariners, Twins and White Sox all tie for third with five Top 100 guys, while the Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Giants, Orioles and Reds have four each.
Here are the top 10 systems in terms of Prospect Points:
White Sox, 391
Blue Jays, 208
Led by Guerrero, the first four players on our preseason Top 100 have lost their rookie/prospect status after exceeding either 130 at-bats, 50 innings or 45 days of pre-September service time in the big leagues. A total of 19 have graduated since the season started (preseason rank in parentheses):
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, Blue Jays (No. 1)
Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres (No. 2)
Eloy Jimenez, OF, White Sox (No. 3)
Victor Robles, OF, Nationals (No. 4)
Nick Senzel, OF, Reds (No. 6)
Keston Hiura, 2B, Brewers (No. 20)
Mike Soroka, RHP, Braves (No. 24)
Francisco Mejia, C, Padres (No. 26)
Alex Reyes, RHP, Cardinals (No. 33)
Chris Paddack, RHP, Padres (No. 34)
Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers (No. 35)
Austin Riley, OF, Braves (No. 38)
Yordan Alvarez, OF, Astros (No. 44)
Touki Toussaint, RHP, Braves (No. 50)
Pete Alonso, 1B, Mets (No. 51)
Josh James, RHP, Astros (No. 62)
Griffin Canning, RHP, Angels (No. 63)
Danny Jansen, C, Blue Jays (No. 65)
Michael Chavis, 1B, Red Sox (No. 79)
Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. Listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.