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Teen phenom leads updated Top 100 list

@JonathanMayo
June 18, 2019

Another month and change has gone by since we last updated our Top 100 Prospects list. We’re just about at the half-way point of the 2019 Minor League season and short-season leagues have just gotten underway, so it’s a perfect time to make some tweaks to the list. This will

Another month and change has gone by since we last updated our Top 100 Prospects list. We’re just about at the half-way point of the 2019 Minor League season and short-season leagues have just gotten underway, so it’s a perfect time to make some tweaks to the list.

This will be our last update before our complete re-rank of the Top 100 and all 30 team Top 30 lists in late July (nestled between the Draft signing deadline and the July 31 trade deadline) and we’ll shuffle things one last time at the end of the season.

Changes at the top

We’ve had some big names graduate off the top of the list, with the top four -- Blue Jays third baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., White Sox outfielder Eloy Jimenez and Nationals outfielder Victor Robles -- all surpassing the threshold to be considered prospects. That means there’s already a new No. 1 in town before this update: Rays shortstop phenom Wander Franco.

Top 5

1. Wander Franco, SS, Rays - Moved into the top spot early in June when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. graduated. Batting .326/.396/.514 for Class A Advanced Bowling Green despite being one of the youngest players in the league at the age of 18.

2. Casey Mize, RHP, Tigers - It might seem strange to say that a No. 1 overall pick has exceeded expectations, but Mize has done just that, sporting an 0.92 ERA, .158 batting average against and 75/12 K/BB ratio while quickly ascending to and dominating in the Double-A Eastern League.

3. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, Padres - A blister issue that hampered him in 2018 appears to be behind him, and he’s making it look easy in the typically hitter-friendly California League, with a 1.21 ERA, .137 BAA and 12.5 K/9 (vs. just 2.1 BB/9).

4. Jo Adell, OF, Angels - The ultra-toolsy outfielder was on the shelf for an extended time after suffering ankle and hamstring injuries during Spring Training, but he’s shown no ill effects since his return in late May, getting back up to Double-A quickly and producing a .328/.400/.582 line over his first 18 games.

5. Luis Robert, OF, White Sox - The tools have shown up, and then some, as he makes the biggest jump into the top 10 after hitting .353/.403/.630 with 12 homers and 18 steals across two levels.
Complete updated Top 100 list »

Beyond everyone moving up a spot with each graduation, the changes in the top 15 are minor. Twins shortstop Royce Lewis moves from No. 3 down to No. 7 while his organization-mate, outfielder Alex Kirilloff, goes from No. 8 to 13. Astros right-hander Forrest Whitley drops a bit, from No. 5 to No. 9.

The only major jump into the top 10 is Robert. He was at No. 14 and now he’s our No. 5 prospect as a result of him doing it all between the Class A Advanced Carolina League and Double-A Southern League. Astros outfielder Yordan Alvarez makes another jump, this time from No. 22 up to No. 11, as he makes a very strong impression during his big league debut.

Risers

Austin Riley, 3B/OF, Braves (No. 30 to 20) - He’s graduating soon, but he definitely deserved a tip of the cap for showing his power will definitely work in the big leagues.

Jarred Kelenic, OF, Mariners (No. 38 to 25) - The 2018 first-round pick has already earned a promotion up a level as a teenager and has hit a combined .316/.398/.595 with 13 homers and 10 stolen bases to boot.

Matt Manning, RHP, Tigers (No. 43 to 33) - The big right-hander also moves onto the Top 10 RHP list as he’s dominated the Double-A Eastern League, missing bats (10.7 K/9) while cutting his walk rate (2.6).

Alec Bohm, 3B, Phillies (No. 49 to No. 39) - The No. 3 overall pick in the 2018 Draft moves ahead of some of the other college bats in the class based on his .332/.402/.515 across two levels of A ball.

Nolan Jones, 3B, Indians (No. 54 to 44) - Jones continues to be one of the most exciting third-base prospects in baseball, named a starter for the Carolina League All-Star Classic and showing an advanced approach at the plate.

Drew Waters, OF, Braves (No. 59 to 47) - The 20-year-old is now hitting .338/.382/.535 in the Double-A Southern League and has been red-hot of late, with a .460/.507/.794 line over his first 17 games in June.

Heliot Ramos, OF, Giants (No. 70 to No. 57) - After a rough 2018, Ramos looks more like the guy who raked during his pro debut in 2017, with a .295/.389/.553 line as a 19-year-old in the Class A Advanced California League, hitting extremely well since returning from a month-long absence due to a knee injury.

Colton Welker, 3B, Rockies (No. 75 to 58) - A slow start to June (8-for-46 in 13 games) does little to diminish the smooth transition to Double-A the 21-year-old has made, with a .281/.336/.463 line for Hartford.

Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, Orioles (No. 90 to 54) - The biggest jumper in this update, Rodriguez has absolutely dominated the South Atlantic League in his first full season with a 12.6 K/9 rate (vs. just 2.6 BB/9) and a .177 batting average against.

Ryan Rolison, LHP, Rockies (No. 92 to 70) - The Rockies started their 2018 first-rounder slowly, but he moved on from the South Atlantic League (0.61, .157 BAA in three starts) quickly and has more than held his own in hitter-friendly Lancaster and the California League.

Logan Gilbert, RHP, Mariners (No. 93 to 69) - He’s made a similar move to Rolison, but has been even better in the California League, leading to a combined 2.11 ERA, .208 BAA and 88 K’s (vs. just 13 BB) in 64 total innings in his first full season.

Daniel Lynch, LHP, Royals (No. 94 to 71) - The lefty out of Virginia is currently out with some mild arm discomfort, but he’s been very good in the Carolina League, currently standing fifth in ERA, and he had reeled off 20 scoreless innings over three starts in late May.

Fallers

Taylor Trammell, OF, Reds (No. 15 to 28) - Currently out with a hamstring issue, Trammell has just been so-so in his first taste of Double-A (.245/.366/.333), particularly scuffling in May with a .200/.352/.284 line.

Brent Honeywell, RHP, Rays (No. 24 to 55) - We try not to knock guys down too much based on injuries, but Honeywell hasn’t pitched since 2017 and won’t again until 2020 because of an elbow fracture, at which point he’ll be 25.

Justus Sheffield, LHP, Mariners (No. 35 to 74) - It looked like the lefty was on the cusp of really impacting the M’s rotation, but he’s had a hard time in Triple-A, particularly with his command (6.7 BB/9).

Andres Gimenez, SS, Mets (No. 48 to 59) - While he is just 20 and playing in the Double-A Eastern League, the lack of offensive impact is a bit concerning as he’s posted a .646 OPS and has hit just .232, well below his .281 career average.

Jazz Chisholm, SS, D-backs (No. 50 to 60) - The power is still showing up (13 homers) at age 21 in Double-A, but the strikeout rate (34.6 percent) is getting the best of him, as he’s hit just .173 this season.

Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP, Yankees (No. 53 to 98) - Loaisiga took the biggest tumble of anyone on the list and he still has great stuff, but this is an instance where a continued inability to stay on the mound impacts where he belongs on the list.

Logan Allen, LHP, Padres (No. 61 to No. 76) - Sure he got called up to make his Major League debut, and he did pitch better in May (3.14 ERA), but he’s been a bit too hittable (.269 BAA), leading to a Triple-A inflated 5.15 ERA.

Adonis Medina, RHP, Phillies (No. 63 to No. 78) - His last three starts in June have been much better, but given his electric stuff, Medina hasn’t been missing nearly as many bats (6.5 K/9 this year) while walking a few more (3.5/9).

Yusniel Diaz, OF, Orioles (No. 76 to 98) - He’s missed a month of the season and when he’s been on the field, he hasn’t performed all that well, with a .735 OPS, though he has started to show some power since he got back from injury.

J.B. Bukauskas, RHP, Astros (No. 78 to 99) - On the one hand, Bukauskas has missed bats (10.8 K/9), but he’s also walked six per nine and been more hittable this year than last, leading to a 5.65 ERA.

Eric Pardinho, RHP, Blue Jays (No. 79 to 100) - We were excited about seeing what Pardinho would do in his full-season debut in 2019 but an elbow injury has kept him from the mound to date, so we’ll want to see the teenager return to form before moving him back up the list.

Victor Victor Mesa, OF, Marlins (No. 80 to unranked) - There was considerable excitement when the Marlins signed the Cuban outfielder for $5.25 million last October, but he’s hit just .220/.272/.254 with just four extra-base hits in his first 52 games.

Corey Ray, OF, Brewers (No. 84 to unranked) - There was hope Ray was figuring things out after his 20-30 season in 2018, but he’s hit just .179 with a .546 OPS in the 25 games he’s played this year.

Additions

Anthony Kay, LHP, Mets (Unranked to No. 99) - The lefty has put Tommy John surgery firmly in his rear-view mirror, recently earning a bump up to Triple-A after posting a 1.49 ERA with a .165 BAA in 12 Double-A starts.

Triston Casas, 1B, Red Sox (Unranked to No. 100) - Boston’s first-round pick last year is second in the South Atlantic League in RBIs (53) and tied for fifth in homers (12) as of Tuesday, proving his power potential is already translating.

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.