The following listing is our ranking of our Top Prospects. It includes some players that are currently in the major leagues, but with short tenures. Many of those players will probably be purged from the list as soon as we become more confident that they're not in danger of being sent back down to the minors. "Rank" is overall MLB rank for that prospect.
Players who have exceeded rookie qualifications (130 at-bats, 50 innings) are not included.
A few things to consider:
1. I tilt more toward fantasy potential than MLB potential (and, yes, there is a difference)
2. I take positional history into play (please refer to last month's column for explanation)
3. I give those who have played in full-season leagues preference over players with only short-season league history and discount recent draftees that have not yet played in the minors.
4. I do not rank import players.
5. I do not consider college players prospects until they are signed with their major league organization and start producing in the minors.
6. I do not consider relievers top 100 prospects because nearly all of them need to fail as starting prospects first.
7. I do not rank anyone that has already hit the majors this year as I am assuming that someone in your league has grabbed them on the waiver wire.
Without further delay, here is my latest Top 100 list. I plan on updating this periodically for the rest of the season but please feel free to use the comments section to ask questions in between updates.
I am pleased to add my commentary to Jason Collette's Top 100 Rankings.
I have commented only on those players I have seen play personally. - Bernie Pleskoff
Matt Moore, LHP
The top pitching prospect in baseball. Great stuff. Misses bats. Command of complete repertoire. Curve may be best pitch. Mixes pitches well and changes eye levels. Fastball at 91-96 with entire repertoire of “out” pitches. Mature beyond age.
Bryce Harper, OF
The top position prospect in baseball. Five-tool player. Natural athlete. Strong arms generate tremendous power. Will hit for average and steal bases. Very good defender with strong, accurate arm. Should be a superstar.
Mike Trout, OF
80 speed, athletic reflexes, upper body strength and baseball instincts make Trout exciting. Power will develop. Makes good in-game adjustments. Looked tired in Fall League. Outstanding defender takes very good routes. Strong and accurate arm. Needs more seasoning.
Manny Machado, SS
Potential batting average and power-hitting shortstop with ability to select pitches he can drive. Big offensive upside. Good eye-hand coordination and reflexes. Makes solid contact with short stroke, quick hands. Plus defender with range and strong arm.
Julio Teheran, RHP
Three above average pitches in 94-96 MPH fastball, curve, change-up. Attacks hitters. Good command of repertoire with an ability to take charge on the mound. Has ability to use any pitch at any count for strikes. Can go deep in games.
Devin Mesoraco, C
Uppercut swing made for Great American Ball Park. Power plays. Could also hit for good average. Should put the bat on the ball and hit consistently after he learns the pitching. Patient hitter. Slow afoot. Defense needs work (especially blocking balls in the dirt).
Jurickson Profar, SS
Switch-hitter plays like Jose Reyes
. Smooth as silk. Very good bat control and emerging power. Excellent hitting mechanics. Should threaten Elvis Andrus
or force a trade. Plus range, arm strength and accuracy, soft hands. Exciting. Young but the sky's the limit.
Danny Hultzen, LHP
Mature lefty with full repertoire of plus pitches. Throws to all four quadrants of plate. Mixes pitches, velocity well. Excellent mound presence and mechanics. Can lose command quickly, but recovers quickly as well. Smart and tough. No. 2 or No. 3 starter.
Wil Myers, OF
Excellent bat control, pitch recognition. Converted catcher learning to play outfield. Plus contact skills. Centers ball well. Power will come. Hits for average. Gap hitter. Has speed to steal bases. Defense needs work and repetition.
Gerrit Cole, RHP
Power arm. Future staff ace. Can throw 100 MPH but loses command as velocity increases. Lacks consistent fastball movement. Plus slider, good change-up. Inconsistent delivery. Tries to blow hitters away with heat. Needs to pitch and not throw.
James Paxton, LHP
Tall but powerfully built. Throws hard with improving command. Induces ground balls with late life on fastball. Change-up needs work as third pitch. Needs to improve delivery consistency. Should be middle of rotation starter.
Martin Perez, LHP
Small but strong frame. Full repertoire that features high velocity fastball and improving curve and change-up. Slider or cutter would help. Smooth mechanics but tends to overthrow at times, impacting his command. Should be No. 2 or No. 3 starter.
Brett Jackson, CF
Not the best contact hitter. Power should improve. Swing is measured and fairly compact. Uses entire field and sprays ball with good plate coverage. Flashes decent speed and good baseball instincts. Plays good defense. No one outstanding tool.
Tim Wheeler, OF
Power outburst in 2011 with 33 homers at Tulsa. Hitting mechanics are questionable with too much arm and head movement prior to contact. Strikes out too much. Runs well. Tall, thin and athletic. Struggles against lefties. Could emerge as corner outfielder with power in Coors.
Jacob Turner, RHP
Average fastball, and improving curve and change-up. Mature on mound. No particularly consistent out pitch. Has good record of keeping fastball down in zone and inducing groundballs. Good mechanics. Should be back of rotation starter.
Anthony Gose, OF
Good defensive center fielder with speed to burn. Has trouble with breaking balls. Strikes out too much. Impatient with poor pitch recognition. Power could emerge when he learns better hitting mechanics. May be late offensive bloomer like Michael Bourn
. Needs repetitions at the plate.
Arodys Vizcaino, RHP
Could start or work out of pen. Limited repertoire. Misses bats with combination of mid-90s fastball and low-to-mid-80s curve that keeps hitters off balance. Needs third pitch to work in rotation. Overthrows at times. Needs work on command. Best chance working out of bullpen.
Taijuan Walker, RHP
High velocity power arm on a 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. Pitches downhill. Uses entire strike zone and changes speeds very well. Curveball moves well and compliments heater. Effortless pitching mechanics and loose, easy arm action. In Seattle with a rotation spot by 2013
Tyler Skaggs, LHP
Increased velocity on sharp curveball has paid dividends. Throws strikes with good command and control. Knows how to pitch. Sets up hitters with average fastball and hammer curve. Good change-up has late life. Rotation starter for Diamondbacks by next season at latest.
Gary Brown, CF
Best tools are 80-speed and solid defense. Struggled in Arizona Fall League. Poor hitting posture with limited plate coverage. Hands get tied up too close to body-no freedom of action. Has to be more patient at plate and induce more walks. Could score runs and steal bases but little else to this point. Needs work on hitting fundamentals.
Nolan Arenado, 3B
Strong, athletic body. Makes solid contact using measured swing that should play well at Coors Field. Emerging power. Uses entire field well. Hits for average with good contact. Pitch recognition improving. Slow runner. Average defender. Has emerged to the fast track in Colorado.
Hak Ju Lee, SS
Line drive, gap hitter with ability to run enough to stretch hits for extra bases. Power may come later, but for now, his approach with a measured swing and good plate coverage translates to good batting average. Can steal bases. Plus defender with good hands and plus range.
Casey Kelly, RHP
Multi-pitch effective repertoire with good movement on a nice, mid-90s fastball and solid secondary pitches. Very hittable pitcher with no particularly dominant offering or out pitch. Mechanics are solid and mound demeanor sound. At best, back of rotation starter for me.
Drew Pomeranz, LHP
Strong multi-pitch repertoire highlighted by mid-90s late moving fastball. High powered curve, excellent slider with change-up a work in progress. Inconsistent command. Needs more development. Future ace. Being rushed by Rockies. Could suffer initially in Coors - then improve.
Robbie Erlin, LHP
More a finesse than high velocity power pitcher. High 80s to low-90s fastball works well. Secondary pitches like change-up really bolster repertoire. Flyball pitcher. Knows how to pitch. Earns outs with control and command. Innings eater. Petco is a great park for him.
Billy Hamilton, SS
80-speed. Stole 103 bases last season. Switch-hitter. Very raw. Poor plate discipline and pitch recognition lead to low on-base percentage. Reaches for pitches. Improving at plate, but needs work. Defense below average. Converted from third base. Speed carries him, but he needs more.
Randall Delgado, RHP
Improving command of superb curveball with extreme movement centerpiece of repertoire. Trying for too much velocity on fastball costs loss of control. Breaking balls his bread and butter. Throws downhill. Adjusts on mound well. Strong rotation potential relatively soon.
Nick Franklin, SS
Hurt last season. Good switch-hitter suited for Safeco's gaps. Has ability to hit for power. Makes good contact. Runs fairly well. Good baseball instincts. Defense average at best. Range issues and only mediocre arm. Projects better as second base for me. Bat will have to play for him to stick.
Jedd Gyorko, 3B
Outstanding offense in Fall League put him on faster track. Very solid line-drive hitter with power to the gaps. Fits very well at Petco. Short, measured swing results in contact and high batting average. Knows how to hit. Mechanically sound. Could be rushed with good start in minors.
Wilin Rosario, C
Has a nice combination of Coors power and good defense behind the plate. If he stays focused on putting the bat on the ball, should continue to hit. At times swing gets long when he looks for homers. Good arm, quick feet, good defense. Waiting in wings for playing time. Ready.
Yonder Alonso, 1B
Surprise, you're a Padre. Bad park for him. Still projects as a power hitter with the ability to hit for average. Nice, easy stroke without too much length. Quick hands and ability to make adjustments. Good overall hitter now gets chance to play. Defense a plus at first base. Now.
Yasmani Grandal, C
Surprise, you're a Padre too. Looks like a catcher. Switch-hitter with ability to hit gaps or knock ball out of the park. Good pitch recognition. Should hit for average. Slow. Defense improving, but footwork needs improvement. Catching upgrade for Padres. Like his upside. Soon.
Matt Adams, 1B
Remember Matt Stairs
? Here he is again. Huge, non-athletic body with very big home-run potential bat. Short, measured swing suits him well. Doesn't always make contact, but knows strike zone and doesn't fish. Not agile at first base. His time will come. Has to keep weight down to stick.
Mike Olt, 3B/1B
There's a lot to like. Power hitter with ability to hit for average. Short, quick hands with smooth swing featuring good plate coverage. Outstanding Arizona Fall League propelled his career. Has a chance to be a good corner infielder both offensively and defensively. Beltre?
Michael Choice, OF/1B
Awesome power that can change games. Making contact and hitting breaking balls with long swing are huge challenges to overcome. Still raw but tools play for team needing offense. Needs work on defense including routes and picking up ball off bat. I like him better at first base.
Neil Ramirez, RHP
Shoulder soreness concern, but has wicked curve that buckles knees. Not a top of rotation starter, but three-pitch repertoire with average fastball and change-up to support curve are solid. Repeats delivery much better than in past. Could work in the bullpen. If healthy, he's worthy.
Jean Segura, 2B
Ability to hit breaking balls. Enough pop in his bat to hit the gaps. Enough offense to compete. Needs to improve patience at plate and walk more. Above average speed, but slow first step. Defense adequate with strong arm. Projects best as 2B. Fits Angels infield mold perfectly.
Mikie Mahtook, OF
Mechanics very sound from crouch at plate. Short, measured swing with good contact that results in gap power. Has quickness on bases and plays with passion. Fireplug type with ability to play all outfield positions. I like him in center field best. Reminds me of young Brian Giles.
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Prototypical third baseman with size and power. Strong, athletic body. Should provide home runs and hit for average as he matures. Has to cut down long swing. Plays agile defense with range to warrant full-time job in the future. Strong work ethic.
Zach Cox, 3B
Solidly built left-handed hitter with good bat control and ability to spray the ball around. Power to come later. Swing is short and compact, but rather flat. Should hit for average and drive in runs. Slow. Plays average defense but lacks agility. Needs repetition and experience.
Leonys Martin, CF
Didn't show much passion or energy in Arizona Fall League. Spray hitter with gap ability. Puts the bat on the ball and knows strike zone. Needs to be more patient at the plate and accept walks. If speed his best tool, needs to learn stealing technique. Being paid to play so he will.
James Darnell, OF/3B
Flashes power from right side of plate but contact is inconsistent. Has struggled with quality pitching and has to prove he can hit high velocity fastballs and breaking pitches. Could hit for average because of good hand action. Sprays balls around well. Slow afoot and not very agile.
Brad Peacock, RHP
Solid arm with impressive repertoire and command. Throws fastball up to 97 with range from 91-95 with good movement and deception. Secondary pitches include solid curveball and change-up. Knows how to pitch. Consistent. Star potential. Move to big park helps his career.
Starling Marte, OF
Good athlete with plus-speed. Still learning to hit quality pitching but has potential for future power and batting average success. Working on plate discipline and pitch selection. Attacks pitches. Stellar defense gets him to big leagues. Bat will play. Needs lots and lots of offensive work.
Matt Szczur, OF
Strong, and athletic with plenty of speed. Short, compact swing allows for good contact. Power potential but pitch selectivity, patience and pitch recognition need work before he takes next step. Exciting to watch. Gamer. Good defensively in center field. Gets his uniform dirty.
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Solidly built offense-first catcher. Has power potential that should play well in Fenway. Aggressive at the plate-needs to recognize pitches. Has potential to hit for average and drive in runs. Defense needs work-especially footwork and blocking. Could attack the Green Monster.
Mike Montgomery, LHP
Struggles achieving consistent command and control. Loses mechanics quickly. No doubt about arm strength and repertoire. Can hit 96 MPH and then throw change-up at 75. Fastball with late life sets up solid curve and change-up. Future rotation starter. Later blooming lefty? Could be.
Grant Green, OF
Converted to outfield when defense lacked at shortstop. Concerns for me about offense as well as raw defense in outfield. Should make contact. Good pitch recognition and overall mechanics. Patient hitter with limited power. Average upside at best. Has heart and plays hard. Could scuffle.