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Top 100 Prospects

by Mike Rosenbaum
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Mike Rosenbaum is bleacherreport.com's Lead MLB Prospects Writer.


*Ages reflect player’s age for 2015 season, not DOB

 

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

Age: 20 | ETA: Late-2014

 

Byron Buxton entered 2014 as the top prospect in baseball, and all signs pointed to him reaching the major leagues before the end of the season. Unfortunately, he wound up missing the first half of the season with a wrist injury and then most of the second half after suffering a concussion in a terrifying outfield collision. His chance to get back on track in the Arizona Fall League was also derailed when he dislocated and fractured his middle finger in late October and subsequently underwent surgery.

 

Still, there’s no other player who can match Buxton’s combination of elite athleticism, legitimate five-tool potential and advanced secondary skills. He is a supremely gifted athlete with 80-grade speed and the potential to be an elite defender in center field. At the plate, the right-handed hitter showcases outstanding bat speed and hand-eye coordination, while his mature approach and pitch recognition could make him one of the game’s top hitters. And while he’s already an extra-base machine, thanks to his wheels and whole-field approach, Buxton also has the raw power to produce 20-plus home runs at maturity.

 

Buxton has the ceiling of an MVP-caliber player in his prime, with five potentially plus tools and a feel for making in-game adjustments. However, after losing nearly all of 2014 due to injuries, the 21-year-old now faces at least some pressure to make up for the lost time.

 

2. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Correa continued to blow past expectations last season with a strong performance in the High-A California League, and he seemed bound for a promotion to Double-A before suffering a season-ending fibula injury in late June while sliding into third base. The 20-year-old right-handed hitter has a simple, direct swing that allows him to stay inside the ball and utilize the entire field, while his advanced plate discipline and pitch recognition will lead to consistently high on-base percentages.

 

At 6’4”, 205 pounds, Correa possesses plus raw power but doesn’t swing for the fences, instead employing an approach that’s geared toward consistent hard contact and getting on base. Considering his age, it’s safe to assume that he’ll show more pop as he fills out, with the potential to hit upwards of 22-25 home runs in his prime. Despite his large frame, Correa is an excellent athlete with the talent to stick at shortstop long term, including soft hands, good range and plus-plus arm strength that produces lasers in the mid- to upper-90s across the infield.

 

Correa is a physically blessed player with present plus makeup and the potential for five average-or-better tools at maturity, and he’s still on the fast track to the major leagues despite the ankle injury. In general, the 20-year-old has one of the highest ceilings in the minors, with the potential to be a perennial All-Star and possibly even an MVP candidate in his prime.

 

3. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs

Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

 

Kris Bryant’s first full professional season was one for the ages, as the 23-year-old slugger posted up video-game numbers between Double- and Triple-A, but was denied a call-up in September. Bryant led all qualified hitters in the minors with 43 home runs, ranked second in runs and fourth in RBI—and he batted .325 with a .438 on-base percentage in 594 plate appearances.

 

While known for his robust, light-tower power to all fields, Bryant actually has a good feel for hitting. His lack of stride and purely rotational swing will always result in a high strikeout total, but he’s still a smart enough hitter and controls the zone well enough to be a .270-plus hitter in the major leagues. At 6’5”, 215 pounds, Bryant possesses effortless 80-grade raw power that has translated in a big way at each professional stop. The right-handed hitter does an excellent job of using his height and size to his advantage, achieving huge extension through the ball to generate towering drives with backspin carry to all fields. At maturity, it’s easy to see him leading the league with 35-plus home runs in a given season.

 

Defensively, Bryant moves well for his size, showing range and agility at the hot corner that’s a tick above average. His plus arm strength is a clean fit at the position and could allow him to move to a corner outfield position down the road if necessary. No hitter in the minor leagues can match Bryant’s power ceiling, as he projects as a perennial 35-plus home run threat capable of hitting for some average while holding down a corner position.

 

4. Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Russell missed most of the first half of 2014 with a hamstring injury and then was traded to the Cubs in early July, but the 20-year-old finished the season with a strong performance at Double-A Tennessee.

 

Russell makes lots of hard contact thanks to his plus bat speed and innate bat-to-ball skills, and he’s really started driving the ball to all fields over the last year.

 

The right-handed hitter’s combination of plus bat speed and a deep point of contact should generate upwards of 20 home runs at the highest level, possibly more depending on his physical development in the coming years. And given his ability to use the entire field, Russell should always tally a high number of doubles and triples.

 

Russell is an above-average runner with the athleticism and instincts to steal 15-20 bags annually but was significantly less aggressive this season after his injury. Defensively, he already possesses incredible range to both sides and is especially slick when charging the ball, while his plus arm strength allows him to make throws from virtually anywhere on the infield.

 

Russell has the makings of an All-Star-caliber shortstop capable of hitting in the middle of a lineup, and he should be ready at some point next season to make his debut in the major leagues. First, however, the Cubs first will have to determine where he’ll play given their impressive depth up the middle.

 

5. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

Age: 21 | ETA: 2015

 

The switch-hitting Lindor's offensive skills have steadily improved over the last four years, as he's developed an outstanding hitting eye and aptitude from both sides. He's also refined his ability to read pitchers and stay within his zone, which in turn has led to him working deeper counts and chasing fewer pitches. Lindor never will offer much power, but he has enough strength and bat speed, especially from the left side, to hit 10-12 homers at maturity. He's more likely to be a line-drive machine that accrues roughly 20-25 doubles and a handful of triples over a full season in the major leagues.

 

Lindor's above-average speed fuels his extra-base hits total and should allow him to steal 15-20 stolen bases annually. Meanwhile, he’s an absolute wizard with the glove and profiles as an elite defensive shortstop at the highest level. Lindor’s phenomenal instincts always have him in the right spot to make plays, while his plus arm strength is ideal for the position.

 

Even if Lindor's bat doesn't develop as hoped, he still has the potential to enjoy a long, successful career in the major leagues based on his defensive prowess, superb makeup and ability to control the speed of the game. Lindor will likely begin the season in Triple-A, and it would be surprising if he weren’t the Tribe’s everyday shortstop by late July.

 

6. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

 

Corey Seager posted gaudy numbers last season in the High-A California League, and then continued his torrid production after a promotion to Double-A. Overall, Seager amassed 75 extra-base hits and led all minor leaguers with 50 doubles. A 6’4’, 215-pound left-handed hitter, Seager has the potential for above-average hit and power tools at maturity, with an easy, direct swing that allows him to sting the ball from line to line. Plus, there aren’t enough positive things to say about his ability to pick apart pitchers and hit in all counts. Seager always had shown impressive power to the opposite field, but last season he learned to turn on the ball more consistently and saw his power numbers spike as a result. He’ll only get stronger moving forward, so it’s not crazy to think Seager, like his older brother, will be a consistent 20-homer threat at maturity.

 

There are questions about whether he’ll stick at shortstop or need to move to third base long term, which could potentially hurt his value. However, he’s continually surpassed expectations at his natural position, and he should be able to remain there well into his major league career. Regardless of where he ends up defensively, Seager’s bat will have him hitting in the middle of a big league lineup sooner rather than later. He is one of best pure hitters in the minor leagues, with the potential to hit .280-plus and 20 home runs annually while driving in plenty of runs.

 

The Dodgers’ acquisition of Jimmy Rollins over the winter gives Seager, who is expected to return to Double-A next season, another full year to develop in the high minors. At the same time, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Dodgers were to offer him a taste of the major leagues late in the season.

 

7. Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Joey Gallo led all minor league hitters with 40 home runs in 2013 and then improved that total to 42 last season, finishing one longball shy of Kris Bryant’s minor-league lead. His impressive campaign began at High-A Myrtle Beach and concluded at Double-A Frisco, where his approach was exploited by Texas League pitchers and resulted in a dangerously high strikeout rate. At 6’5”, 205 pounds, Gallo is a physical specimen with enormous, 80-grade raw power. The combination of his quick wrists, explosive bat speed and lofty swing give him effortless in-game power to all fields, making it easy to envision him being a true 35-home run threat at the highest level.

 

Gallo’s simplified swing played a major role in his improved consistency last season, as he reduced his pre-pitch load so as to be shorter to the ball, which allowed him to better control the zone and get to many of the pitches he missed the previous year. He will always be a streaky hitter and have a considerable amount of swing-and-miss to his game, but he’s learning to work counts and take walks, allowing him to see more hittable pitches.

 

Gallo has worked to become a quality defender at third base, but his present average range is likely to worsen as he ages due to his 6’5” frame. His athleticism and plus-plus arm strength would also play in the outfield, which is where the Rangers began giving him reps last fall in instructional ball. Gallo likely will return to Double-A next season to continue refining his swing and approach, and a late-season call-up could be a possibility if he’s able to make more consistent contact in his second tour of the Texas League.

 

8. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2016

 

In his first full season back from Tommy John surgery, Lucas Giolito led the South Atlantic League (among pitchers with 90 innings) in ERA, strikeout percentage and opponents’ batting average. The right-hander throws both a two- and four-seam fastball, with the latter consistently registering in the 94 to 96 mph range and the two-seamer at 91 to 93. However, everything about Giolito—his size, mechanics, arm action, prior workload—suggests that more velocity will come with development, and it doesn’t take much to envision him sitting in the upper 90s by the time he reaches the major leagues.

 

Giolito’s curveball is about as good as you’ll see; it’s already a plus offering that realistically has the potential to be plus-plus with improved consistency. Working from the same over-the-top arm angle as his fastball, he throws the pitch in the 76 to 83 mph range with legitimate 12-to-6 break and sharp, downer bite. The right-hander’s changeup is his least advanced pitch—which for him means it still projects as at least above average. Giolito is still a few years away from reaching the major leagues, but if he stays healthy and continues down his current developmental path, the right-hander should have a real chance to be a legitimate No. 1 starter for the Nationals.

 

9. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

Age: 22 | ETA: 2015

 

Syndergaard went through an up-and-down 2014 season in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, as his command and feel for sequencing his four-pitch mix were challenged against older, more experienced hitters. The 6'6" right-hander has a physical presence on the mound, throwing everything on a steep downhill plane and pounding the lower portion of the strike zone. Syndergaard’s plus-plus heater sits in the mid-to-upper 90s with late, arm-side life, and he frequently flirts with triple digits.

 

His curveball also has plus-plus potential, and his command of the pitch improved last season after adding a slider to his already impressive arsenal. He throws his changeup with good arm speed and confidence, and it could serve as a third plus-or-better offering at maturity. Syndergaard has one of the highest ceilings among all pitching prospects, with the pure stuff and command to pitch at the front of a rotation. Assuming he opens the 2015 season back at Triple-A, the right-hander could be ready to debut around midseason just as Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Jacob deGrom did in previous seasons.

 

10. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 22 | ETA: 2015

 

Bradley seemed destined to make an impact in the major leagues last season before suffering a mild flexor strain in his right elbow in late April during a Triple-A game. The injury led to a two-month stint on the disabled list for the 22-year-old right-hander, and he was then sent back to Double-A upon receiving a clean bill of health. At 6’4”, 225 pounds, Bradley is an excellent athlete with a durable and projectable frame, and he boasts one of the better two-pitch combinations among minor league pitchers in a heavy, mid-90s fastball and a power curveball with 12-to-6 shape and sharp downer bite.

 

Bradley’s feel for a changeup lags behind that of his other offerings, but it flashes average potential and could play up with improved command of his fastball. He also added a slider to his arsenal during the Arizona Fall League and quickly developed a feel for the pitch, throwing it with cutter-like velocity in the upper 80s with late bite. The right-hander didn’t miss as many bats in 2014 compared to previous years, but he still projects as a strikeout pitcher capable of missing a bat per inning.

 

Bradley’s performance last season made it clear that his command, particularly his fastball command, requires further refinement; his inability to locate his fastball in turn limited the effectiveness of his secondary pitches, as Bradley struggled execute his curveball like he did in 2013 and fewer opportunities to utilize his changeup. Somewhere in Bradley there’s still a No. 2 starter. However, the 22-year-old didn’t progress from a developmental standpoint last season as he should have, and he’ll now have to take another run at the Double- and Triple-A levels in 2015.

 

11. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 18 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Urias solidified his status as one of the game’s top prospects in 2014, as the precocious left-hander dominated older hitters in the hitter-friendly High-A California League in his age-17 season. Urias’ stuff and feel for his craft are truly special, and not just in context of his age. The 5’11”, 160-pound left-hander’s mechanics are smooth and repeatable, which allows for him to find a consistent release point from a three-quarters slot. His fastball already sits in the low-90s and bumps 94-95 mph, and he’s adept at manipulating the pitch so as to generate both sinking and cutting action.

 

The southpaw’s curveball shows plus potential in the 78-82 mph range, and he has a distinct feel for changing the shape and pace via adding/subtracting. Urias also throws a changeup in the low-80s with late fading action, though his feel for the pitch lags behind his other two offerings.

 

Urias isn’t your average pitching prospect, and, so far, the Dodgers haven’t treated him as such, challenging the teenager with aggressive full-season assignments. The 18-year-old is a safe bet to reach the major leagues as a teenager, possibly as early as 2016, though it may take him several years to work his way to the front of the rotation.

 

12. Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies

Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

 

Jon Gray’s arm strength is among the best in the minor leagues, but he dialed it back a bit last season at Double-A in favor of command. While some of the results weren’t spectacular, his overall feel for locating his fastball, slider and changeup was better than expected in his first full season. It’s worth noting that the Rockies shut down Gray on Sept. 2 due to right shoulder fatigue, though it was more precautionary than a response to a potentially serious injury.

 

At 6’4”, 255 pounds, Gray works on a consistent downhill plane with his plus-plus fastball, sitting in the 94-98 mph range while flirting with triple digits early in his starts. The right-hander also features a slider that will flash plus-plus, sitting consistently between 85-88 mph with late, wipeout break, sharp tilt and excellent pace, while his above-average changeup still represents his weakest offering despite the strides he made last season developing the pitch.

 

The Rockies had Gray working on different things in 2014, such as his fastball command and ability to expand the zone with his secondary pitches, so the numbers weren’t as impressive as expected. Regardless, his season-long success in Double-A was very encouraging and has him poised to make a midseason debut in 2015.

 

13. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Age: 22 | ETA: Debuted in 2012

 

Bundy flew through the Orioles system in 2012, his first professional season, pitching at three full-season levels before making two appearances out of the big league bullpen as a September call-up. However, his career was put on hold the following spring when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery. Bundy, 22, finally returned last summer to make six starts at High-A Frederick after a series of dominant outings with short-season Class A Aberdeen.

 

The 6’1” right-hander boasts an advanced four-pitch mix highlighted by a dynamic fastball; he throws a mid-90s two-seam fastball with exceptional run as well as a four-seamer that reaches the upper 90s. He also has an outstanding cutter, a potential grade-70 to -75 offering, with late slicing action to his glove side. Bundy’s curveball is a hammer and another plus pitch, thrown with tight rotation and late biting action, but he’s still developing command of the pitch and occasionally leaves it up in the zone. His changeup has good fading action, and he sells it with a fastball-like arm action, making it another potential plus offering at maturity.

 

The Orioles will proceed cautiously with Bundy, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he spent most of 2015 in the high minors, with a late-season call-up to the major leagues. But as long as he stays healthy, it shouldn’t be long until the right-hander is once again viewed as a future ace.

 

14. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Pederson enjoyed one of the better seasons in minor league history in 2014, as he was named MVP of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League after leading the league in home runs, OPS, on-base percentage, runs scored, walks and total bases. He also became the first PCL player to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season since in 1934. Unfortunately, Pederson didn’t fare as well in his first taste of the major leagues.

 

At 6'1", 185 pounds, Pederson is an impressive athlete with quiet strength, showcasing five average-or-better tools and good secondary skills. He projects to be a slightly above-average hitter at the highest level, with a mature approach and line-drive-oriented swing, and he already demonstrates a feel for working counts and getting on base. The left-handed hitter has shown at least above-average power at every minor league stop, and he set a career high in 2014 with 33 bombs. Pederson’s consistency on the base paths rivals his power frequency, as he’s has now swiped at least 26 bases in each of the last four seasons.

 

Pederson is a natural in center field, with plus range, excellent instincts and above-average arm strength. And after the Dodgers offseason trade of Matt Kemp to San Diego, the position should be his to lose in spring training.

 

15. Jorge Soler, OF, Chicago Cubs

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Soler was sidelined with a hamstring injury for a majority of the first half, but the Cuban outfielder quickly made up for the lost time after returning and finished the season with an eye-opening performance in the major leagues. At 6’4”, 215 pounds, Soler is a physically strong right-handed hitter with a mature frame that requires little projection. With blinding bat speed and an explosive swing, the ball absolutely jumps off Soler’s bat, and his extension and lift after contact generates exceptional backspin carry and suggests the potential for 25-plus home runs in his prime.

 

Soler is an average runner who moves well on both sides of the ball, while his average range and plus arm strength give him a clean profile as a big-league right fielder. He’s going to lose a step or two with physical development, but it’s hard to see him ever moving off the position. Soler claimed the Cubs’ right field gig following his call-up last summer, showcasing all five tools and an impressive overall feel for the game. If he comes close to reaching his offensive ceiling, Soler should offer All-Star-caliber production in his prime seasons, batting .270-plus with roughly 25 home runs and double-digit stolen bases from the heart of the Cubs’ lineup.

 

16. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins

Age: 22 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Miguel Sano’s highly anticipated 2014 season was over before it began, as he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery early in the spring and sit out his age-21 campaign. Though it was a lost year of development for Sano, the injury shouldn't affect his power and or impact his overall ceiling as a potential All-Star third baseman.

 

Few prospects in the minor leagues have as much usable in-game power as Sano. A physically strong right-handed hitter with a linebacker build, Sano showcases elite power to all fields, easily lofting the ball out of the park with big-time backspin carry. With legitimate 80-grade power, Sano has the potential to be one of baseball’s premier sluggers upon arriving in the major leagues, which likely will happen in late 2015, and he is more than capable of hitting 35-plus home runs in his prime.

17. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Stephenson was challenged over a full season in Double-A, as the right-hander’s inconsistent fastball command and tendency to pitch up in the zone led to an elevated walk rate and high home run total. However, Stephenson was still young for the level, so the fact that he held opposing hitters to a low batting average and fanned more than a batter per inning was encouraging.

 

The 6’2”, 190-pound right-hander boasts a plus-plus fastball in the 94 to 98 mph range and occasionally bumps triple digits. Stephenson’s secondary arsenal is headlined by a potential plus-plus curveball that’s an absolute hammer with sharp downer action. He also throws a changeup in the high-80s that’s still a bit on the firm side, but his feel for the pitch has noticeably improved in the last year, as he’s been forced to develop it against Double-A hitters.

 

Stephenson’s athleticism and arm strength suggest front-of-the-rotation potential, but he’ll need to improve his command and refine his changeup to remain a long-term starter. It wouldn’t be surprising if he returned to Double-A to open the 2015 season; the Reds have no need to rush Stephenson’s development, and he’d probably be better off spending another full season in the minors.

18. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2016

 

David Dahl, the number 10 overall pick in the 2012 draft, made up for his lost 2013 season with a strong performance last season between Low-A Asheville and High-A Modesto. A left-handed batter, Dahl has the potential for a true plus hit tool thanks to tremendous hand-eye coordination, preternatural barrel-to-ball ability and plus bat speed. He shows advanced barrel control and feel for the strike zone, using a balanced setup and a swing that allows him to use the entire field.

 

Dahl’s power should at least be average at maturity, but there’s also a very real chance he surpasses that modest projection as he continues to develop physically and refines his approach. Regardless, his above-average speed should make him a consistent source of doubles and triples. His above-average speed translates better in center field than it does on the base paths, as he has plus range with excellent closing speed and more than enough arm strength for the position. Dahl will likely return to the California League next season, where he’ll inevitably put up monster numbers before moving up to Double-A.

 

19. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

 

Glasnow continued to put up mind-blowing numbers last season at High-A Bradenton, pacing the Florida State League in ERA, WHIP and opponents’ batting average, while ranking second in strikeouts and strikeouts per nine innings. A 6’7” right-hander, Glasnow uses his size to create excellent downhill plane, which in turn allows him to dominate hitters with basically two pitches: an explosive fastball in the mid- to upper 90s and a swing-and-miss curveball that flashes plus potential. Glasnow’s changeup tends to play a bit firm given his huge reach toward the plate, but his feel for the pitch should continue to improve, making it at least solid-average at maturity.

Glasnow will occasionally struggle to keep his lanky frame and long limbs in sync during his delivery, but he has definitely become more consistent on that front over the last year and a half. An Opening Day assignment to Double-A should be a healthy challenge for the 21-year-old—a challenge that, if passed, could have him in the major leagues by the end of the season.

 

20. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox

Age: 23 | ETA: Late 2015

 

The switch-hitting Swihart’s approach is advanced from both sides of the plate, allowing him to track the ball deep in the zone and utilize the entire field. His power emerged in 2014 at the Double- and Triple-A levels, as he reached double-digit home runs for the first time in his career while tallying his usual 20-plus doubles. One of better defensive catchers in the minor leagues, Swihart threw out more than 46 percent of attempted basestealers last season, while his athleticism and agility make him an adept blocker.

 

Swihart’s impact talent on both sides of the ball should give him the opportunity to become an above-average defensive catcher who hits for both average and power. There’s always an inherent high risk with catching prospects, but Swihart has proven to be durable in his young career, which in turn has helped his bat develop quicker than other backstops of similar age.

 

Unfortunately, the presence of defensive beast Christian Vazquez means Swihart likely will spend most of the 2015 season in Triple-A. However, he’ll still probably see some time in the major leagues during the second half of the season, perhaps even earlier in the event of an injury.

 

21. Carlos Rodon, LHP, Chicago White Sox

Age: 22 | ETA: 2015

 

The White Sox promoted Carlos Rodon, the number three overall pick in the 2014 draft, to Triple-A in mid-August, less than a month after he made his professional debut in the rookie-level Arizona League, where left-hander nearly pitched his way to a September call-up.

 

Rodon has everything one looks for in a potential front-end starter with a durable frame, three offerings with plus-or-better potential, highlighted by a low-to-mid 90s heater and a 70-grade slider, and the type of competitive mound presence that can’t be taught. Rodon should compete during spring training for a spot in the South Siders’ Opening Day rotation, and as long as he stays healthy, it shouldn’t take him long to emerge as one of baseball’s premier left-handed pitchers.

 

22. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2016

 

J.P. Crawford emerged as one of the game’s better shortstop prospects last year in his first full season, showcasing an impressive blend of talent and baseball skills while splitting the season between both Class-A levels. A left-handed batter, Crawford has the potential for a slightly above-average hit tool thanks to his loose wrists, quick-twitch forearm muscles and above-average bat speed. He currently shows a contact-oriented approach and solid bat-to-ball skills, though his swing can get long at times and the barrel will drag. Crawford projects for fringe-average over-the-fence pop at maturity, though he should always be a consistent source of doubles and triples.

 

Crawford is a good athlete with the above-average speed, range and arm strength to remain at shortstop long term, but he needs to work on his body control as well as some other nuances of the position. He’ll require a few more years in the minor leagues, but the 2013 first-rounder has the makings of an above-average player.

 

23. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Austin Hedges struggled at the plate last year in his first full season of Double-A baseball, as he posted the second-lowest OPS among everyday players in the Southern League. Power has never been Hedges’ calling card—and probably never will be—though he does have the consistent gap pop to be a doubles machine. His approach was challenged in Double-A in 2014 and led to a career-worst strikeout rate, so it’ll be interesting to see what adjustments he makes next season.

 

On the other side of the ball, Hedges' defense could make him an everyday player in the major leagues right now; his quickness and footwork efficiency are unparalleled among his peers, while his top-end catch-and-throw skills, insanely quick transfer and plus arm strength allow him to essentially shut down the running game. Yet, the right-handed hitter’s bat will ultimately determine whether he reaches his ceiling of an All-Star-caliber catcher, or settles in as a glove-first regular.

 

24. Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Selected in the first round of the 2013 draft, Anderson impressed last year in his first full professional campaign, opening the season at High-A Winston-Salem and finishing it at Double-A Birmingham. Anderson’s best talent is plus speed, and it plays on all sides of the ball. At the plate, the right-handed hitter shows excellent bat speed and barrel awareness, but the approach is super aggressive and has the potential to be exploited by upper-level arms. His in-game power comes mostly in the form of doubles at triples at the moment, but his above-average raw pop should translate to average over-the-fence power at maturity.

 

His defense is still raw and too aggressive, like any young shortstop, but Anderson has the talent to be a first-division shortstop. If all goes as planned with his future development, Anderson should be ready to debut at some point during the 2016 season.

 

25. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Few pitchers in the low minors were as impressive as Harvey last season, as the then-teenager dominated hitters in the South Atlantic League with his fastball-curveball combination. Unfortunately, Harvey was shut down in late July, not long after his eye-opening appearing in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, after suffering a right elbow strain. At 6’3”, 175 pounds, Harvey’s frame is incredibly projectable and should allow him to add considerable strength with physical maturation. The right-hander works from a high-three-quarter arm slot to create good plane toward the plate on his fastball, which currently sits in the 90 to 94 mph range with more velocity to come. His curveball is currently his best offering, as it’s a potential plus-plus out pitch with tight rotation and late bite. He does have a changeup, albeit rarely used, which will be vital toward his development at more advanced levels.

 

Assuming he’s healthy, the right-hander should open the 2015 season in High-A, with the potential to reach Double-A before the halfway point. Like many of the Orioles’ other top draft picks in recent years, Harvey should be able to move quickly through the minor leagues compared to his peers.

 

26. Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

 

Shipley, the number 15 overall pick in the 2013 draft, cruised through three levels last year in his first full pro campaign, beginning at Low-A South Bend before moving up to High-A Visalia and then Double-A Mobile. The right-hander should continue to move up the ladder in a hurry behind a mid-90s fastball, plus-plus changeup and hard curveball that projects as another plus offering at maturity. More importantly, Shipley demonstrates present command of all three pitches.

 

Shipley flat-out dominates when working at the knees with is fastball, but he also has a tendency to leave the pitch up in the zone and surrender some extra-base hits. However, he’s likely to always post solid groundball rates by keeping hitters off balance with his devastating changeup. The polish Shipley showed in 2014 was a pleasant surprise, especially considering his overall lack of experience on the bump. He still requires considerable projection for that same reason, but it isn’t difficult to envision him developing into a No. 2 or high-end No. 3 starter.

 

27. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals

Age: 19 | ETA: 2017

 

Mondesi's 2013 full-season debut convinced the Royals to move him up to High-A Carolina League to begin 2014, where he was the youngest everyday player in his league on Opening Day for the second straight year. However, the 19-year-old didn’t progress offensively as most expected he would, finishing the season with a low batting average and on-base percentage.

 

The switch-hitter has a clean swing from both sides of the plate, with bat speed and barrel awareness that suggest a future above-average hit tool. It’s hard to get a read on Mondesi’s true power potential at the moment, as he’s still figuring out his identity as a hitter, but he definitely showed more raw power in 2014, especially from the left side of the plate. Defensively, Mondesi’s athleticism and talent are always on display at shortstop, and he has the instincts to develop into an impact player at the position. The youngster will need a few more years in the minors to refine his skills on both sides of the ball, but his ceiling of an All-Star shortstop should make it worth the wait.

 

28. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 23 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Jameson Taillon had Tommy John surgery last April and missed the entire 2014 season, costing him a crucial developmental year and likely delaying his arrival in the major leagues until late 2015 at the earliest. The right-hander is a true power pitcher with a durable, 6’5”, 245-pound frame and big-time arm strength. His fastball sits in the mid- to upper 90s with late movement to the arm side, and his velocity tends to play up due to the extension generated by his long arms. His curveball is a potential plus-plus pitch with tight spin and sharp, two-plane break, and he also throws an average changeup with decent fading action out of the zone.

 

Taillon likely will be kept on a short leash in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, but it goes without saying that the right-hander, provided he receives a clean bill of health, could give the Pirates rotation or bullpen a boost sometime after the All-Star break.

 

29. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 22 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

In Aaron Sanchez’s first taste of Double- and Triple-A levels last season, the right-hander saw his strikeout and walk rates trend in opposite directions, though he still proved to be difficult to barrel for opposing hitters. Still, the Blue Jays decided to promote Sanchez to the major leagues in late July and put him in the bullpen, where the right-hander emerged as a late-inning force down the stretch.

 

Sanchez is one of the more projectable right-handed pitching prospects, with a ridiculously athletic frame and effortless, drool-worthy arm action. His fastball is a plus-plus offering in the mid- to upper-90s that seemingly jumps on opposing hitters with exceptional late life. His curveball is flat-out nasty, with tight spin and knee-buckling bite, while his changeup will flash plus and features fastball-like arm speed.

 

The Blue Jays still view Sanchez as a starter long term despite his lights-out performance out of the bullpen, meaning there’s a decent chance he’ll return to Triple-A next season to continue developing in that role. However, Casey Janssen’s departure and the fact that Toronto didn’t target one of the few available closers on the market makes Sanchez a legitimate candidate to take over ninth-inning duties next year.

 

30. Josh Bell, OF/1B, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 22 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Bell moved up to the High-A Florida State League last past season, where he continued to make offensive strides before moving up to the Double-A Eastern League for the final month of the season. Bell has hit nearly three times as many doubles as home runs as a professional, and it’s only a matter of time until some of those two-baggers start clearing fences. In his prime, Bell could be good for 20-25 bombs annually. However, given his solid strikeout and walk rates throughout his young career, he also is a relatively safe bet to hit for average.

 

It’s also worth noting that Bell, a corner outfielder for his entire professional career, played first base in this year's Arizona Fall League. The Pirates will have one of baseball’s best outfields for years to come, so it’s possible the organization is beginning to explore other ways to get his bat in the lineup.

 

31. Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 22 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Daniel Norris struggled to find the zone early in his career, but he turned things around in a hurry after making a mechanical adjustment in late 2013 while at Low-A Lansing. The adjustment allowed him to execute his full arsenal both inside and outside of the strike zone in 2014, as the left-hander pitched at three minor league levels and finished the year in the major leagues. With four pitches that range from average to plus, including a trio of future grade-60 offerings in a low- to mid-90s fastball, sharp slider and sinking changeup, it’s hard not to think that Norris is merely tapping the surface of his bat-missing potential.

 

Yet, Norris still has a ways to go in terms of refining his control and command, especially when pitching with runners on base or when he’s behind in the count. Plus, the left-hander underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow following the season, meaning there might be some limitations to his workload in 2015. Norris is one of the game’s premier left-handed pitching prospects, both in terms of present ability and overall potential. However, he’ll need to thoroughly develop his curveball and changeup and continue to make strides with his command to become an impact mid-rotation starter in the major leagues.

 

32. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

 

Kohl Stewart had an excellent first full season in the Low-A Midwest League, showcasing a combination of stuff and pitchability despite being slowed by injuries during the second half. At 6’3”, 195 pounds, Stewart is an excellent athlete with present physicality and room to add strength. The right-hander features a plus fastball that consistently registers in the 91-95 mph range on a downhill plane, and there's a realistic chance Stewart could sit in the mid-90s at maturity.

 

His slider flashes plus-plus potential, thrown with velocity in the low to mid-80s with good depth and tilt; it’s a swing-and-miss offering that will serve as a legitimate out pitch at the next level. His changeup flashes slightly above-average potential in the low-80s, though it’s an undeveloped offering due to lack of necessity at the high school level. Stewart’s ability to command his three-pitch mix throughout the strike zone is tied to the repetition of his delivery and release point. Because he showcases a feel for putting away hitters when ahead in the count and tends to work according to his strengths, he has the potential to move up the ladder faster than expected.

 

33. Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets

Age: 24 | ETA: 2015

 

The Mets selected Matz in the second round of the 2009 draft, but the left-hander underwent Tommy John surgery after signing and didn’t make his professional debut until 2012. Since then, however, he has made up for the lost time with a quick ascent through the Mets system, highlighted by a dominant showing in the Double-A Eastern League in late 2014.

 

The 6’2”, 200-pound left-hander uses a heavy, low- to mid-90s fastball to miss bats and generate ground balls, while his curveball and changeup each have the potential to become an above-average pitch with refinement. Matz, who is already on the 40-man roster, should receive plenty of opportunities in the major leagues in 2015.

 

34. Alex Jackson, OF, Seattle Mariners

Age: 19 | ETA: Late 2017

 

Alex Jackson, the number six overall pick in the 2014 draft, was viewed by many as the top prep hitter in the 2014 draft class, projecting as a middle-of-the-order hitter thanks to his plus bat speed, natural hitting ability and big-time raw power. His swing can get long and prevent him from getting to hittable pitches like he should out over the plate; however, that’s a fairly common issue with young power hitters, and one that is often resolved naturally as they adapt to quality professional arms. Jackson’s projection for plus power stems from the combination of his explosive bat speed and the extension he achieves through contact, as he drives the ball with backspin carry to all fields.

 

After spending most of his amateur career behind the dish, the 6’2”, 200-pounder was moved to right field upon turning pro. His athleticism gives him average range, while his plus arm is a clean fit at the position. Meanwhile, Jackson’s move to the outfield should get him to the major leagues faster than he would have as a catcher, as it allows him to focus on his offensive development instead of that and refining his skills behind the plate.
Despite playing in only 24 games last summer, Jackson should receive a full-season assignment to the Low-A Midwest League to begin 2015.

 

35. Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies

Age: 21 | ETA: 2017

 

Raimel Tapia showcased an assortment of loud talent and advanced secondary skills this past season at Low-A Asheville, as he finished third in the South Atlantic League in batting average and hits and fourth in on-base percentage and stolen bases.

 

Tapia is a plus athlete with potential for five impact tools at maturity. The left-handed batter’s swing mechanics are somewhat unusual but don’t hinder his feel for hitting. Meanwhile, his hit tool could ultimately be plus or better, thanks to his plus bat speed, preternatural bat-to-ball ability and outstanding barrel control. Tapia’s above-average speed translates to similar range in right field, while his strong arm is ideal for position. He is still a very raw and inexperienced prospect who is several years away from reaching the major leagues, but his ceiling is arguably as high as any position prospect yet to achieve the High-A level.

 

36. Andrew Heaney, LHP, Los Angeles Angels

Age: 24 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Andrew Heaney opened 2014 with a dominant showing between the Double-A and Triple-A levels, but generally struggled during his time in the major leagues with Miami. During the offseason, Heaney was dealt to the Dodgers in December as part of the Dee Gordon trade, only to be traded to the Angels in return for Howie Kendrick.

 

At 6’2”, Heaney’s frame is both wiry and athletic with room to add strength. As for his stuff, the left-hander features an above-average fastball that sits in the low-90s and touches 95 with late life. His go-to secondary pitch is an above-average slider that he can throw for a strike early in the count, and then use it to put away hitters out of the zone when ahead. The left-hander made significant progress developing his changeup last season, partially in response to facing more advanced right-handed hitters, and it should at least be a solid-to-average offering at maturity. Heaney should have the opportunity to crack the Angels’ Opening Day rotation, though that might depend on Garrett Richards’ recovery.

 

37. D.J. Peterson, 3B/1B, Seattle Mariners

Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

 

Peterson split the 2014 season between the High-A California League and Double-A Southern League, hitting a combined 31 home runs between both stops. Peterson was viewed as the most advanced college hitter—arguably the top overall hitter—in the 2013 draft class due to his potential for plus-hitting and power, both of which were showcased last year in his first full professional season. In general, Peterson has an advanced feel for hitting with excellent bat-to-ball skills, a patient approach and good pitch recognition.

 

There’s uncertainty regarding Peterson’s long-term defensive home; he’s currently a third baseman, but his lack of range, quickness and athleticism means he’ll likely shift to first base. Either way, Peterson’s offensive profile should be a clean fit at either infield corner, and the Mariners will find a way to get his bat in the lineup, probably at some point in 2015.

 

38. Aaron Blair, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

 

Blair started the season in the Low-A Midwest League, pitched well in the High-A California League and performed even better after moving up to Double-A Mobile in the Southern League. The right-hander is going to surprise folks with his ability to miss bats, as his feel for locating each of his four pitches—especially his low-90s fastball and plus changeup—helped him strike out more than a batter per inning in his first full professional season. Meanwhile, his pitchability has been better than expected as a professional and will only improve moving forward.

 

Blair profiles as a durable No. 3 starter capable of missing some bats, though he doesn’t come with the huge upside like fellow D-Backs right-handers Archie Bradley and Braden Shipley. Nevertheless, there’s a strong chance he will realize his potential and carve out a solid career as a mid-rotation starter as soon as mid-2015.

 

39. Eddie Butler, RHP, Colorado Rockies

Age: 24 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Eddie Butler had a forgettable big league debut in early June, and to make matters worse, the Rockies placed him on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation following the game. Butler was able to return to the major leagues for two more starts in late September, but was shut down once again during the Arizona Fall League due to shoulder/back issues. Butler posted impressive strikeout numbers in 2012 and 2013, but he suffered a significant regression in that department in 2014 between the Double- and Triple-A levels.

 

The right-hander’s three plus pitches (fastball/slider/changeup) suggests that he will return to his bat-missing ways in the future. The right-hander’s fastball sits in the mid-90s with exceptional sink and run to the arm side, and he complements it with a swing-and-miss, wipeout slider in the upper 80s. Butler also possesses a filthy changeup in the same velocity range that falls off the table and evades barrels. He still has the ceiling of a No. 3 starter at maturity, but he’ll now have to answer questions about his durability and ability to miss bats next season.

 

40. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals

Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

 

Shoulder tightness and a lat injury delayed Zimmer's season debut until mid-August, but the right-hander was able to work his way up to Triple-A Omaha in early September and ultimately pitched out of the bullpen in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Zimmer went to the Arizona Fall League to make up for the lost time and looked sharp in his first two AFL starts, but he re-injured his right shoulder in October subsequently underwent a procedure to repair his labrum and rotator cuff.

 

Employing a clean and repeatable delivery, Zimmer’s fastball works comfortably in the mid-90s with late life, and he has the ability to reach back for something in the 96-98 mph range as needed. His curveball is a second plus pitch with excellent pace and a sharp downer break, and it should work nicely as his out pitch in the major leagues. He’ll also mix in an average slider with tight spin and decent depth, as well as a changeup with late fading action out of the zone.

 

Zimmer’s impact with the Royals will come down to whether he can stay healthy for an extended period of time. The right-hander’s combination of stuff and command gives him front-of-the-rotation potential, and he could also be a weapon out of the bullpen should his injuries persist.

 

41. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Age: 25 | ETA: 2015

 

Alex Meyer continued his ascent toward the major leagues in 2014 at Triple-A and was a strong candidate to finish the season with the Twins before experiencing shoulder stiffness in late August. One of the tallest pitching prospects (6’9”) in the minor leagues, the right-hander has a massive frame with long limbs but demonstrates a better feel for his mechanics than most pitchers of that size. Working on a steep downhill plane toward the plate, Meyer’s fastball registers between 93-97 mph and flirts with triple digits in shorter bursts.

 

He features a filthy plus slider in the 84-87 mph range with sharp, wipeout break, and he also improved his changeup last season to the point where it projects as another solid-average or better offering.

 

The right-hander’s impact arm strength and ability to miss bats will get him to the major leagues in 2015, where the Twins will give him every opportunity to stick in the starting rotation. Even if his mechanics and command don’t translate at the MLB level (or if he’s unable to stay healthy) Meyer still has enormous upside as a top-tier closer.

 

42. Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros

Age: 23 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Appel struggled mightily in the High-A California League to begin the season, even spending a month trying to straighten things out in extended spring training. Yet, the Astros weren’t as concerned as the rest of the baseball world and promoted Appel to the Double-A Texas League for the final month of the regular season—a decision that potentially saved his campaign.

 

As a 6’5”, 225-pound right-hander, Appel’s fastball sits consistently in the 93-96 mph range with some sink and arm-side run. His slider registers around 84-88 mph with a good pace late break, but he can also get around the pitch at times and generate slurve-like spin, causing it to flatten out and catch too much of the plate. His changeup has come a long way over the last year and shows plus potential in the 83-85 mph range, thrown with fastball-like arm speed and late fade.

 

Despite his potential for three plus offerings, Appel still has a ways to go in terms of his approach and feel for sequencing. His success after the late-season promotion to Double-A suggests that he might perform better when challenged, which, if true, means we’ll likely see him in the major leagues before the end of the 2015 season.

 

43. Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox

Age: 22 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Owens doesn’t have an overpowering arsenal, but his combination of an aggressive approach, deceptive delivery and feel for changing hitters’ eye levels with three pitches has made him one of the more proficient strikeout artists in the minor leagues. The 6’6” left-hander’s fastball sits in the 88-92 mph range with sink, and his changeup is a future plus offering thrown in the upper-70s with late sink and fade to the arm side. His curveball flashes solid-average potential when he’s around the plate, and he’s comfortable adding and subtracting with the pitch, but it’s still his least consistent offering.

 

Owens still projects as more of a mid-rotation starter than staff ace due to his lack of a dominant pitch and slightly below-average command, but there’s still something to be said for his ability to miss bats in what’s been an accelerated rise though the minor leagues. He will return to the Triple-A International League to open the 2015 season, where he’ll continue to refine his breaking ball and control. If all goes as planned, Owens will be ready to make his Red Sox debut at some point during the second half.

 

44. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2016

 

The sixth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Almora is a premium athlete with a frame that leaves room for projection and the potential for five average-or-better tools at maturity. The right-handed hitter has a compact swing with preternatural barrel control and a knack for consistently staying inside the ball. His power should develop as he matures, with the potential to be average by the time he reaches the major leagues.

 

Defensively, Almora has only average speed but demonstrates excellent instincts in center field through his reads, jumps and positioning. In general, Almora is an incredibly well-rounded player for his age with sneaky All-Star potential, although I’m curious to see how his aggressive approach translates next season back in Double-A.

 

45. Rusney Castillo, OF, Boston Red Sox

Age: 27 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

The Red Sox made Castillo the highest-paid Cuban player in baseball history last summer, signing the 27-year-old outfielder to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract through the 2020 season. Despite the fact that Castillo hadn’t played organized baseball in over a year at the time of his signing, the Red Sox decided to call him up in mid-September to offer him as much professional experience as possible before the season’s end.

 

Suffice it to say he made the most of the opportunity, as Castillo flashed his offensive potential and showcased his range in the outfield. Normally it might be wise to temper expectations with Cuban players thrust into the spotlight in the major leagues. But after the recent successes of Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu, it’s probably safe to expect big things from Castillo in 2015.

 

46. Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians

Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

 

After scuffling through the first three months of his full-season debut in the Low-A Midwest League, Frazier ultimately settled in to hit for average and consistent power during the second half. The right-handed hitting Frazier's wrists and forearms are loaded with strong, quick-twitch muscles that help generate off-the-chart bat speed and one of the more explosive swings in the minor leagues. Granted his pitch recognition is raw and could result in too much swing-and-miss, but he still should have the potential for an above-average or better hitting talent and plus in-game power.

 

Frazier's offensive ceiling is especially valuable should he remain in center field long term; however, his projection as a .275-plus hitter with 25-plus home runs at maturity will more than suffice at a corner spot.

 

47. Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals

Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

 

There was an argument that Sean Manaea was the top college pitcher in the 2013 draft before a hip injury caused him to drop to the 34th overall pick. The Royals showed faith in the left-hander with a $3.55 million bonus, and he rewarded them with an outstanding professional debut in the High-A Carolina League.

 

Manaea’s fastball works comfortably in the low-90s, occasionally reaching 94-95 mph, and he uses his height and long arms to create plane. The southpaw’s slider is potentially an above-average pitch, thrown with tilt and late biting action, while his changeup should settle in around average but with a chance to play up with improved fastball command. His overall command profile is fringy due to some of the effort in his delivery, but at the same time, that effort is also why he’s so deceptive. Manaea will move up to Double-A in 2015, likely putting him on pace to join the Royals’ rotation the following year.

 

48. Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres

Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

 

Renfroe made the most of his assignment to the California League last season, as the 2013 first-round pick hit for both average and power. However, his aggressive approach and swing-and-miss tendencies hurt his power frequency after a midseason promotion to Double-A, as he hit just five home runs in 60 Texas League games.

 

Renfroe stands out for his enormous raw power as well as his ability to punish mistakes. However, he also likes to swing (a lot), and therefore is always going to strike out more than desired. But while his approach needs refinement, the right-handed hitter has a true knack for getting the barrel to the ball, and he’s just missing a lot of pitches at this point in his career that he won’t in the future.

 

While the Padres' acquisitions of Wil Myers, Matt Kemp and Justin Upton during the offseason seemingly hurt Renfroe's chances of reaching the major leagues anytime soon, it also gives the club the freedom to develop him more thoroughly in the upper minors over the next year-plus.

 

49. Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds

Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

 

Winker put up big numbers in the High-A California League to open the season, but his production fell off after moving up to Double-A Pensacola (.677 OPS in 21 games), likely due to the partially torn tendon in his right wrist that ultimately ended his season in late July. The 21-year-old made up for the lost time in the Arizona Fall League, where he led all qualified hitters in batting average.

 

Winker is one of the best pure hitters in the minor leagues, as he features a smooth, compact stroke from the left side of the plate and is adept at using the entire field. The 6’2”, 210-pound left-handed batter has hit at least 15 home runs in each of his first two years in full-season ball, and his frame and line-to-line approach suggest more will come. More importantly, Winker possesses plate discipline and pitch recognition well beyond his years, which is reflected through his impressive strikeout and walk rates during his career.

 

On the other side of the ball, Winker’s defense has steadily improved over the last two seasons, but he’s still limited to left field due to his lack of speed and arm strength. Winker will probably begin 2015 back at Double-A, as he’s likely looking at another full season in the minor leagues following Cincinnati’s acquisition of Marlon Byrd.

 

50. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 24 | ETA: 2015

 

Piscotty continued to hit last season in the Triple-A International League, but never showed the in-game power that many were expecting to see in his second full professional season. Piscotty is a smart hitter with a mature approach and consistently uses the whole field, stinging the ball from line to line. He has plenty of gap power, but he lacks the power frequency commonly associated with a first-division corner outfielder.

 

Piscotty's speed may be only average, but it plays up on both sides of the ball thanks to his impressive athleticism. A third baseman in college, Piscotty’s athleticism and high baseball IQ helped him make a smooth transition to the outfield in 2013. He profiles as an above-average defender in right field with plus arm strength, and he gets consistently good reads off the bat and takes direct routes. Piscotty’s hitting talent and solid defense will get him to the major leagues in 2015, but it’s the ongoing development of his in-game power that will determine whether he reaches achieves his projected ceiling of an above-average player.

 

51. Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez, RHP, Texas Rangers

Age: 23 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Chi Chi Gonzalez’s command was on the raw side coming out of college, but a full season facing quality hitters between the High- and Double-A levels last year improved his execution within the strike zone. The right-hander’s fastball registers in the 91-95 mph range, at times touching a tick or two more, and he’s adept at cutting it to create slicing action to the glove side. Gonzalez’s slider is his best secondary offering, as he throws it with velocity at 84-87 mph and generates good tilt and late break. It’s a plus offering and will serve as his out pitch at the highest level, though he still has room to improve in terms of chasing whiffs outside the zone. Gonzalez is still developing feel for his changeup, but it projects as a potential solid-average offering that helps keep opposing hitters off his fastball-slider combo.

 

Gonzalez doesn’t have an especially high ceiling, but I also wouldn’t put it past him to blow past projections given his overwhelming success last year in his first full season. He should have a spot waiting for him in the Rangers’ rotation once he’s ready.

 

52. Aaron Nola, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

Age: 22 | ETA: 2015

 

Following his selection by the Phillies in the first round of the 2014 draft, Nola showcased excellent command in his brief professional debut between the High- and Double-A levels. Working from a low-three-quarter arm slot, Nola sits in the low-90s with a heavy fastball that induces both whiffs and weak contact, while his slider is an above-average pitch thrown with tight spin and depth on a fastball plane. Nola also does a nice job of keeping hitters off-balance with his changeup, which registers in the 83-85 mph range, and his entire arsenal should always play up thanks to his plus command profile.

 

The Phillies have Nola on the fast track to the major leagues, and if all goes as planned with the right-hander’s development, he should spend most of 2015 in the team’s starting rotation. There may be some bumps in the road along the way, but Nola has a high probability of reaching his potential—and soon.

 

53. Jose Peraza, 2B, Atlanta Braves

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2015

 

What he lacks in physicality at 6’0” and 165 pounds, Jose Peraza makes up for with speed and quickness in all facets of the game. He has the foundation of an above-average hitter but will need to add strength over the course of his development. He struggles to drive the ball at times, with a majority of his contact staying on the infield. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though; Peraza is a plus-plus runner who can burn down the line, not to mention an advanced base stealer who’s already skilled at reading pitchers and picking his spots.

 

The Braves shifted Peraza from shortstop to second base last season in deference to Andrelton Simmons, which could give the team one of the best double-play combinations in baseball for years to come. As of now, the Braves seem prepared to begin next season with a combination of Philip Gosselin and the recently signed Alberto Callaspo at the keystone. However, they’ll only be keeping the seat warm for Peraza, who should arrive at some point during the second half.

 

54. Jorge Alfaro, C/1B, Texas Rangers

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Alfaro turned in another strong offensive campaign in 2014, spending most of the season in the High-A Carolina League before moving up to Double-A Frisco in August. Alfaro has as much upside as any catcher in the minor leagues, as he’s incredibly agile and aggressive behind the plate with legitimate 70-grade arm strength. However, his blocking and receiving are inconsistent and even sloppy at times, which is why Alfaro also saw time at first base last season.

 

At the plate, the right-handed hitter has the bat speed to turn around velocity but struggles to recognize spin and keep weight on his backside. Alfaro’s above-average speed is a weapon and makes him a rare dual-threat catching prospect, with the potential for 20-plus home runs and double-digit stolen bases in his prime. While his long-term projection as first-division backstop still involves considerable risk, Alfaro should continue to make significant developmental strides next year after getting his feet wet in Texas League.

 

55. Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

After years of flashing his potential at lower levels, Taylor finally put things together last season in the high minors, doing a little bit of everything offensively while offering his usual plus defense in center field. The breakthrough performance resulted in a trip to the major leagues, where he continued to showcase loud talent on both sides of the ball.

 

Taylor is a physical specimen with an athletic, 6’3”, 210-pound frame that's loaded with quick-twitch muscles. Speed and defense are carrying talent, as he’s a plus runner with outstanding range in center field. At the dish, Taylor’s game still features too much swing-and-miss, but his contact rate is still trending up and helped him established career highs in both batting average and home runs.

 

Taylor has all the talent to be an impact everyday center fielder in the major leagues. However, at 23, he’s still a very unrefined player who has more natural ability than usable baseball skills. That said, he’s still very young and received his first taste of The Show this summer, so it’ll be interesting to see whether he continues to make developmental strides in 2015.

 

56. Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees

Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

 

Judge improved his prospect stock in a big way in 2014 thanks to an impressive first full season between both Class-A levels. At 6’7”, 230 pounds, Judge is not the poorly coordinated ogre you’d expect him to be. Rather, he’s an impressive athlete with loud talent and promising secondary skills on both sides of the ball.

 

The right-handed hitter doesn’t have a typical big-man’s swing; instead, he features a surprisingly compact stroke, keeping his hands close to his body throughout, and his barrel stays in the hitting zone for an extended period of time. Judge’s swing lacks lift, but with tremendous physical strength, above-average bat speed and extension after contact, he can still effortlessly rope line drives over fences to the deepest part of any park. Both his hitting-talent ceiling and long-term durability are question marks, but as long as he stays healthy, Judge has the potential for 20-plus home runs with a high on-base percentage while playing a solid right field in the major leagues.

 

57. Maikel Franco, 3B/1B, Philadelphia Phillies

Age: 22 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Franco struggled last season in Triple-A but righted the ship in time to earn a September call-up with the Phillies, though he ultimately failed to make an impact during his first taste of the major leagues. A right-handed hitter, Franco's strong wrists and plus bat speed fuel his plus power projection, which could manifest in the form of 25-plus home runs at maturity. While he doesn’t miss many fastballs, Franco’s recognition of secondary pitches is fringy and prevents him from consistently barreling such offerings. However, even if Franco’s hitting talent doesn’t pan out in the major leagues, there’s a good chance he’ll still meet expectations in the power department.

 

Defensively, Franco is a below-average runner but has a good first step and decent lateral range at third base, where his above-average arm strength is also a clean fit. However, he’s likely to lose some of that quickness with physical maturation, which would prompt a full-time move across the infield to first base. Third base likely will be Franco’s to lose next spring, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the Phillies broke camp with a platoon of Franco and Cody Asche.

 

58. Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Berrios, a 2012 first-round draftee, continued to impress last year, turning in a dominant showing in the High-A Florida State League before moving up to Double- and then Triple-A. The right-hander is a big-time strike-thrower with an above-average control profile, and while he may be just 6’0”, 187 pounds, Berrios is loaded with some serious arm strength. For that same reason, however, there have been and will always be concerns about his long-term durability.

 

Berrios made strides developing his secondary arsenal last season; his changeup projects to be another plus offering, thrown with deception and good arm-side fade, and he snaps off his above-average breaking ball with consistent downer action. Berrios’ lack of downhill plane and ability to pound the bottom of the strike zone are likely to be challenged, but his feel for changing speeds with both secondaries should give him a slightly greater margin for error.

 

59. Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 22 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Dalton Pompey emerged as one the game’s more intriguing power-speed prospects in 2014, as his promotion to the major leagues in September marked his fourth level of the season. The 22-year-old is an exceptional athlete with a wiry-strong, 6’2”, 195-pound frame that’s ideal for adding more strength moving forward. The switch-hitter’s strong hands and quick wrists translate to plus bat speed from both sides of the plate, and he’s added some lift from both sides over the past year and begun to tap into his average raw power.

 

Though he’s young and relatively inexperienced, Pompey already has a good feel for the strike zone and demonstrates pitch recognition, while his on-base skills and plus speed should allow him to swipe upward of 30 bags annually. Defensively, Pompey profiles as a long-term center fielder thanks to his consistently strong jumps, plus range and closing speed, and his solid-average arm strength is likely to play up at the position. Toronto’s decision to trade Anthony Gose during the offseason suggests that they believe Pompey is ready to take over in center field in 2015.

 

60. Nick Gordon, SS, Minnesota Twins

Age: 19 | ETA: 2018

 

After being selected in the first round of the 2014 draft, Gordon enjoyed a strong professional debut at Rookie-level Elizabethton before a broken finger suffered during the Appalachian League playoffs ended his season. The son of former MLB closer Tom “Flash” Gordon and brother of the Miami Marlins’ Dee Gordon, Nick generates above-average bat speed from the left side with strong, loose wrists. He keeps his hands inside the ball, with the barrel staying in the hitting zone for an extended period of time, and has a line-drive approach from left-center back up the middle.

 

Gordon’s plus-plus arm strength was the best among middle-of-the-diamond players in this year’s class, and he’s also a plus athlete with quick but smooth actions. In general, the 19-year-old is a sure-handed defender who stands out for his instincts and creativity at shortstop, leaving little doubt about whether he can stay at the position long term.

 

61. Reese McGuire, C, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

 

McGuire flew under the radar with his 2014 full-season debut because he didn’t post eye-popping stats in the Low-A South Atlantic League, but the 2013 first-rounder continued to shine behind the plate by controlling the running game. The left-handed-hitting McGuire works the ball from line to line with a compact swing and good barrel control. He has average power potential, generating lots of strength from his core and lower half, but right now, most of his thump is to the gaps.

 

More significantly, McGuire is a plus, almost plus-plus, defensive catcher, with an outstanding combination of athleticism, talent and baseball savvy that will allow him to remain at the position. His catch-and-throw skills and near-elite arm strength produce excellent pop times, while his feel for sequencing and calling games can’t be understated.

 

62. Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Nimmo enjoyed a breakout 2014 campaign, splitting the season between the High-A Florida State League and Double-A Eastern League. With a physically strong and projectable 6’3”, 205-pound frame, the left-handed hitter demonstrates a solid approach and makes hard contact. Nimmo’s plate discipline enables him to work deep counts and coax walks, and it should lead to solid on-base rates throughout his career. He hasn’t begun to fully tap into his raw power as hoped, but he continues to hit for average and get on base at a high clip while also holding his own in center field. Nimmo will likely return to Double-A next season for further seasoning against upper-level pitching.

 

63. Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians

Age: 19 | ETA: 2018

 

The switch-hitting Mejia quietly put together an impressive campaign last year in the Short Season New York-Penn League, with the teenager hitting for both average and power against older arms. Rarely do you find a legitimate catching prospect with Mejia's kind of offensive potential, as he possesses excellent bat speed and power potential from both sides of the plate.

 

Defensively, Mejia has an athletic build and boasts elite arm strength behind the plate, but his game-calling, receiving and blocking all have considerable gaps between present and future. Mejia has one of the highest ceilings among all catching prospects, but he's still very raw defensively and several years away from being ready for the major leagues.

 

64. A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals

Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

 

A.J. Cole continued his ascent toward the major leagues in 2014, logging over 130 innings for the third consecutive year while splitting the season between Double- and Triple-A. The right-hander’s fastball sits at 93-97 mph with natural sink and decent arm-side run, and he demonstrates good command of the pitch, especially when challenging right-handed batters on the inner portion of the plate. Cole’s curveball is thrown with power but is largely inconsistent, as he possesses the arm speed to throw a hammer but struggles with his release point. His changeup noticeably improved last season and projects as an average offering.

 

The development and consistency of Cole’s secondary arsenal will determine whether he comes close to reaching his ceiling as a starting pitcher. However, given his big-time arm strength and strike-throwing ability, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Nationals considered breaking him in to the major leagues with a bullpen role.

 

65. Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres

Age: 22 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Wisler dominated in the Double-A Texas League during the first month of the season, but then struggled during his time in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. An athletic and projectable right-hander, Wisler pounds both sides of the plate with a plus fastball in the low to mid-90s and will run it as high as 95-96 mph with lots of late life. His slider is another plus offering and utterly devastating against same-side hitters, thrown with excellent depth and a two-plane break in the 82-87 mph range, and he’ll also mix in a changeup that flashes plus with late dropping action.

 

While his fly-ball and home run tendencies will be less of an issue in the pitcher-friendly confines of Petco Park, Wisler still hasn’t figured out how to retire left-handed batters. He will probably begin next season back in Triple-A, but he’s a safe bet to crack the Padres’ rotation at some point and log meaningful innings in the major leagues.

 

66. Luis Severino, RHP, New York Yankees

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Severino was one of the top breakout prospects of the 2014 season, as the young right-hander dominated across both Class-A levels as well as Double-A. He may be undersized at 6’0”, 195 pounds, but the right-hander’s electric arm speed generates an explosive mid-90s fastball that reaches 97-98 mph. He employs a shorter stride that drives his lightning-quick arm action, but it also prevents him from using his lower half. Severino’s changeup flashes plus in the low- to mid-80s with late sink, while his breaking ball works in the 83-84 mph range with some depth, though he tends to sling the pitch across his body rather than working from fastball/changeup slot.

 

Severino has the highest ceiling among Yankees' pitching prospects, projecting to be a power pitcher in the same mold as Yordano Ventura. The right-hander's breaking ball needs to be cleaned up, but the fastball and changeup are both dynamic offerings, and his strong control should continue to aid his transition at higher levels. However, Severino's ability to remain a starter will likely be determined by his health and durability. If that doesn't work out, it's easy to envision his electric arm at the back end of the Yankees bullpen.

 

67. Manuel Margot, OF, Boston Red Sox

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2011, Margot showcased a promising blend of power, speed and defense last year across both Class-A levels in his full-season debut. Margot is an outstanding athlete with natural strength to his wiry frame. The right-handed hitter features a quick but explosive swing, as his bat-to-ball skills and aggressive approach produce consistently hard contact across the whole field, especially from gap to gap. Margot’s swing does have some holes that prevent him from driving the ball with authority the other way, but the pull-side power is legit and should continue to play within games against better pitching.

 

Margot’s top talent is speed, as he’s a grade-70 runner who wreaks havoc on the bases and runs down everything in center field. He shouldn’t have any problems remaining at the position either, as his secondary skills in center (instincts, jumps, routes, positioning) are advanced for his age and experience. In general, Margot is one of the more intriguing position prospects below the Double-A level, but there’s still a large gap between his present ability and overall potential. He has the makings of an everyday center fielder in the major leagues based on the merits of his defense and speed, and considering his impressive 2014 full-season debut, it looks as though Margot is going to do some hitting, too. He’s at least a few years away, but the final product could be a special player.

 

68. Kevin Plawecki, C, New York Mets

Age: 24 | ETA: 2015

 

Selected with the number 35 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Plawecki’s ability to make consistent hard contact and use the whole field has helped him move quickly through the Mets’ system. He’s a physically mature right-handed hitter who makes lots of hard contact thanks to excellent hand-eye coordination and bat-to-ball skills. Plawecki will never be a home run threat but could amass 10 home runs and 25-plus doubles in a given season, especially if his advanced approach should continue to yield favorable strikeout-to-walk rates.

 

Plawecki’s 6’2”, 225-pound frame limits his mobility behind the plate, but he moves well enough to handle the position at the highest level. Blocking and receiving are his greatest strengths, as he consistently stays low to angle the ball back toward the field. Plawecki may not be the best catcher in the minor leagues on either side of the ball, but he’s a well-rounded player with sound talent and secondary skills that project at the major league level. His defense requires further refinement and may never be more than league-average, but his knack for making consistent contact should always help to outweigh some of those specific concerns.

 

69. Michael Lorenzen, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

 

Lorenzen's success as a starting pitcher last season was a pleasant surprise, as the right-hander had served as Cal State Fullerton's closer and center fielder prior to his selection by the Cincinnati Reds (number 38 overall) in the 2013 draft. Lorenzen blew past expectations in his first full season as a starter (and at the Double-A level nonetheless), as his improved command and feel for multiple pitches allowed him to turn over Southern League lineups and work relatively deep into starts.

 

Lorenzen is an outstanding athlete with a wiry 6’3”, 180-pound frame and little mileage on his arm. The right-hander sits comfortably in the low to mid-90s with his fastball, throwing it with late sink when working down in the zone. He’ll flash plus with a swing-and-miss slider and made strides developing his changeup last season, and he’ll also mix in a loopy curveball to keep hitters honest. Lorenzen’s lack of durability and need for refinement means he’s likely spend all of 2015 in the minor leagues, but the right-hander’s combination of stuff and pitchability gives him the potential to be a No. 3 starter at maturity.

 

70. Jake Thompson, RHP, Texas Rangers

Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

 

Thompson was acquired from the Tigers along with Corey Knebel last July as part of the Joakim Soria trade. The right-hander was very impressive in the High-A Florida State League as a member of both organizations, and he capped his season with a strong showing in Double-A. Thompson’s stuff steadily improved over the course of the season, as his fastball gained a few ticks to sit in the 93-96 mph range consistently, making his baseline 60-grade slider all the more effective.

 

His changeup isn’t anything special but should be average at maturity, giving Thompson a three-pitch mix that suggests No. 3 starter potential. However, the right-hander also has some effort to his delivery as well as command that requires further refinement, portending that his realistic long-term role might be that of a late-inning reliever, possibly even a closer.

 

71. Kyle Schwarber, C/OF, Chicago Cubs

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Kyle Schwarber launched an assault on minor league pitching after signing with the Cubs (number four overall pick) last summer, making stops at the short season and Low-A levels en route to putting up monster numbers at High-A Daytona. While Schwarber’s bat looks as though it might be ready sooner rather than later, as he projects as a 60 hitter with potential 65 power, it will be his development on the other side of the ball that determines when he arrives in the major leagues.

 

Schwarber appeared in only 20 games behind the plate compared to 36 in left field during his professional debut, but he worked hard on refining his defensive chops during the fall instructional league and convinced the Cubs he’s ready to catch on a near-everyday basis next season, which he’ll likely begin in Double-A.

 

72. Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

 

Reyes was all over the place in 2014 during the first half of his full-season debut, as his stuff and performance varied from start to start. However, the right-hander eventually settled in and flashed his enormous upside down the stretch, finishing the year ranked fifth in strikeouts in the Low-A Midwest League.

 

When he’s at his best, the 6’3”, 185-pound Reyes works comfortably in the 92-95 mph range with his fastball and will run it up to 97-98 with ease. Reyes’ long arms allow him to create a sharp downhill plane and achieve serious extension toward the plate, in turn making his fastball difficult to lift. His curveball is filthy and only going to get better, as he throws it with power from the same release point, creating tight spin and devastating two-plane break. Reyes’ changeup lags behind his fastball-curveball, as expected, though his feel for the pitch steadily improved over the course of the 2014 season. The sky is the limit for Reyes, whose pure staff ranks among the best in the minor leagues. However, given his inconsistent full-season debut, there’s clearly a lot of work that will need to be done for the right-hander to approach his lofty ceiling.

 

73. Nomar Mazara, OF, Texas Rangers

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Mazara made the jump from Low-A Hickory to Double-A Frisco late last season as a teenager, with the then-teenager impressing during his first taste of the Texas League. The 6'4", 205-pound, left-handed hitter features plus bat speed, whipping the barrel through the zone with controlled force to generate effortless plus raw power. Meanwhile, the fact that it’s already showing in games at such a young age is very encouraging. Mazara’s hitting talent has the potential to be average, although his swing does have some unnecessary movement and he’s generally struggled against same-side pitching.

 

Mazara’s combination of decent range, plus arm strength and huge raw power make him a clean fit in right field at the highest level, and he’d still have considerable upside in a platoon as a corner outfielder given his ability to mash right-handers. Mazara will return to Double-A in 2015 and spend a majority, if not all, of the season there, putting him on track for a potential debut sometime in mid- to late-2016.

 

74. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 20 | ETA: 2017

 

Meadows, the number nine overall pick in the 2013 draft, missed the first three months of the season with a hamstring injury, but he returned during the second half to hit for both average and power in the Low-A South Atlantic League. Meadows stands out for his smooth, balanced left-handed swing and mature approach, both of which fuel his projection for above-average hitting talent. His bat still requires the most projection of all his talent, as Meadows will need to add strength to his athletic frame. Additionally, the talented outfielder might tap into more power by adding leverage to his relatively flat bat path, while an uptick in his power frequency is likely as he learns to pull more balls.

 

Meadows is presently an above-average runner but could lose a step if he adds significant strength to his lower half. Provided he doesn’t outgrow the position, he has all the makings of a major league center fielder at maturity. Based on his impressive second half at West Virginia, it’s plausible that Meadows will open 2015 in the High-A Florida State League. He’s unlikely to reach the major leagues until 2017, but he carries the upside of a .300 hitter with 15-homer power and a decent chance of remaining in center field.

 

75. Marco Gonzales, LHP, St. Louis Cardinals

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Gonzales, the Cardinals' first-round pick from 2013, scuffled during his initial call-up in June, but the left-hander looked sharp in his return to the major leagues in September, and his success extended well into the postseason. Gonzales may be undersized at 6’1”, 195 pounds, but he’s an outstanding athlete with a clean and consistent delivery as well as superb command and pitchability. The left-hander’s fastball sits comfortably in the 88-92 mph range, while his advanced command and smooth delivery allow him to sneak up on opposing hitters.

 

Gonzales throws a curveball and slider, and he has a feel for when to add/subtract with both pitches. The southpaw’s changeup is easily his best offering, as he’s comfortable throwing it for a strike in any count but also understands how to use it to expand the zone. It’s a plus-plus pitch that he turns over nicely at 75-78 mph with significant arm-side fade. Expect Gonzales to compete during spring training for a spot in the Cardinals’ Opening Day starting rotation.

 

76. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Selected by the Blue Jays with the number nine overall pick in the 2014 draft, Hoffman was viewed as a potential number one overall pick headed into the spring before undergoing Tommy John surgery in May. When healthy, the 6’4”, 185-pound right-hander sat in the 92-97 mph range with his fastball, and more toward the high end of that range when at his best. In terms of his secondary arsenal, Hoffman employs a plus curveball that has plus-plus potential at maturity, as well as a changeup with average fading action that should develop into another weapon during his rise to the major leagues.

 

Given the success rate of Tommy John surgery these days, there’s no reason to believe Hoffman won’t bounce back from the surgery. Though he’ll have fallen behind the developmental curve by the time he returns to the mound in 2015, Hoffman’s athleticism and pure stuff should help make up for the lost time and put him back on course for a highly successful career in the major leagues.

 

77. Max Fried, LHP, Atlanta Braves

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2017

 

Max Fried missed the first three months of the season due to forearm tightness before returning in early July. However, he’d make just five starts between the Arizona League and Low-A Midwest League before his ulnar collateral ligament gave out and required Tommy John surgery. The Padres dealt the 2012 first-round pick to the Braves this offseason as part of the Justin Upton trade.

 

Fried has one of the higher ceilings of all left-handed pitching prospects, with a durable build, repeatable mechanics and a potential front-of-the-rotation arsenal. Prior the injury, the 6’4” left-hander worked in the low-90s with his fastball and touched 94-95 mph, while his projectable frame suggests there’s more velocity to come. Fried shows two curveball variations, both unique and impressive in their own right, and the overall pitch could grade as a plus-plus offering at maturity. His changeup is his least advanced offering, but he already demonstrates a feel for turning it over to create late fade.

 

78. Lucas Sims, RHP, Atlanta Braves

Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

 

Coming off a breakout 2013 season in the South Atlantic League, Sims seemed poised to further his success last year in the High-A Carolina League. He had a rough first half at the more advanced level, but, just as he did in 2013, the right-hander settled in during the second half and turned in a strong finish to his season.

 

Sims has the makings of an advanced three-pitch mix, with a low to mid-90s fastball, a swing-and-miss breaking ball that has a big shape and heavy downer action, and a changeup that flashes average. He struggled with some mechanical issues throughout the year, but late-season reports from the right-hander’s starts noted that his stuff was as crisp and promising as it was last year. He’s likely to split the 2015 season between High- and Double-A.

 

79. Trea Turner, SS, San Diego Padres/Washington Nationals

Age: 22 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Turner, the number 13 overall pick in the 2014 draft, got off to a slow start last summer, but a promotion to the Low-A Midwest League in mid-July jumpstarted his bat and led to an excellent finish to his pro debut. Turner will enter 2015 in an interesting position, as he was traded to the Nationals in December as the "player to be named later" in the three-team deal with the Rays for Wil Myers. However, because he only began his career last June, Turner isn’t eligible to be traded until next June—hence the PTBNL tag.

 

At 6’1”, 175 pounds, Turner is an excellent athlete with legitimate plus-plus speed and the defensive chops to stick at shortstop long term. At the plate, the right-handed hitter shows above-average bat speed, but he lacks consistent swing mechanics and at times struggles to make consistent hard contact. While Turner’s plate discipline and approach are both highly advanced for his age, the adjustments he makes to his swing in the coming years will ultimately determine whether he reaches his hitting-talent ceiling.

 

80. Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Williams continued to hit up a storm last season in the High-A Carolina League, but he didn’t fare nearly as well during a 15-game stint at Double-A Frisco to end the season. Williams is an aggressive left-handed hitter, with a lightning-quick bat, outstanding barrel control and above-average raw power. Unfortunately, there’s still reason to worry whether his free-swinging approach will allow his hitting talent to translate against advanced sequencing at higher levels.

 

Williams has the potential for legitimate plus hitting and power talent at maturity, as his plus bat speed allows him to turn around high-end velocity with ease. At the same time, he’s also an overaggressive hitter who attacks the ball and doesn’t even attempt to coax walks. At 6’3”, 195 pounds, Williams is a 60-grade runner with long strides that cater to his overall range, whether it is in center, right or left field. 2015 will be a telling year for Williams, as he’ll be forced to make significant adjustments in his return to the Texas League. There's no questioning that he has the talent and athleticism to be an impact player; however, whether he'll develop the capacity to make the necessary adjustments to move through the high minors is a different story.

 

81. Daniel Robertson, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

 

Selected by the A’s in the first round of the 2012 draft, Robertson had a huge 2014 season in the hitter-friendly High-A California League, as he hit for average as well as power while earning rave reviews for his play at shortstop. During the offseason, the Rays acquired Robertson in the Ben Zobrist/Yunel Escobar trade.

 

As a 6’0”, 190-pound right-handed hitter, Robertson’s calling card is his bat, as he employs a short, compact stroke with little wasted movement to go along with an approach geared toward hard contact across the whole field. His power numbers spiked last year in the Cal League, though he’s unlikely to offer more than average in-game power at maturity. Robertson doesn’t have the speed typically associated with a pro shortstop, but his range is above-average thanks to an outstanding first step and great instincts. He’ll likely move up to Double-A next season, putting him on track for a big league debut at some point in 2016.

 

82. Mike Foltynewicz, RHP, Atlanta Braves

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

Foltynewicz reached the major leagues last season with the Astros, where he showcased his outstanding arm strength and pure stuff in a relief role. During the offseason, the right-hander was dealt to the Braves as part of the Evan Gattis deal.

 

The 6’4”, 220-pound right-hander consistently works in the high-90s with his fastball and eclipses triple digits almost every time he takes the mound. His breaking ball has the potential to be a weapon, flashes plus potential with hard, downer break, but still inconsistent overall. Meanwhile, Foltynewicz’s changeup has improved in the last year, as he’s learned to better replicate his fastball arm speed and avoid pushing it toward the plate. As a member of the Braves, Foltynewicz is probably headed back to Triple-A to resume his development as a starter, though he should still see significant time in the major leagues in 2015.

 

83. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Washington Nationals

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Reynaldo Lopez was one of the biggest breakout prospects of the 2014 season, as the right-hander posted a minuscule ERA and proved to be incredibly difficult to barrel during his time between the Short Season and Low-A levels. Lopez is undersized at 6’0”, 185 pounds, but the right-hander has a huge arm that consistently produces fastballs in the 94-98 mph range. The rest of his arsenal isn’t as dynamic, however, as only his curveball currently flashes above-average potential. His two other offerings, a slider and changeup, will require refinement in the coming years, but he already demonstrates a good feel for sequencing with both pitches and knows how to keep opposing hitters off-balance.

 

Lopez could be a fast riser next year given the Nats’ lack of upper-level pitching talent, so it’ll be interesting to see whether he opens the season back in Low-A or moves up to High-A. Regardless, Lopez probably won’t be challenged until he reaches Double-A, which could happen at some point during the second half of the 2015 season.

 

84. Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets

Age: 19 | ETA: 2018

 

The Mets gave Amed Rosario the highest international signing bonus in franchise history back in 2012, signing him for $1.75 million, and he’s since emerged as a one of the more interesting shortstop prospects in the low minors. The teenager has above-average bat speed and good barrel control, but his overall hitting mechanics can be inconsistent and result in a lengthy swing at times—like when he doesn’t get his front foot down. The ball absolutely jumps off Rosario’s barrel when squared up, and he should be able offer some power once he’s comfortable turning on the ball.

 

At 6’2”, 170 pounds, Rosario has the potential to stick at shortstop long term, as he’s an impressive athlete with slick actions, solid-average speed and a good arm. He’ll likely head to the Low-A South Atlantic League in 2015 for his first full season as a professional.

 

85. Vince Velasquez, RHP, Houston Astros

Age: 23 | ETA: 2016

 

Velasquez’s progression up the minor league ladder has been delayed by a slew of injuries, and 2014 was no different. The right-hander appeared in only 15 games at High-A Lancaster, but as usual, he was dominant when healthy.

 

When Velasquez is at his best, the athletic, 6’3”, 200-pound right-hander works in the 93-96 mph range with his fastball. The pitch explodes out of his hand but he also has a tendency to overthrow it, missing the zone both vertically and horizontally. His curveball is inconsistent but has average to solid-average potential, while his changeup is a plus offering with late dropping action and arm-side fade.

 

The key for Velasquez is staying on the field. Should he be able to, the right-hander has the athleticism and stuff to be a solid No. 3 starter. If he doesn’t, Velasquez’s enhanced stuff while working in short bursts gives him clear upside as a late-inning reliever, possibly even a closer.

 

86. Rymer Liriano, OF, San Diego Padres

Age: 23 | ETA: Debuted in 2014

 

After missing the 2013 season due to Tommy John surgery, Liriano quickly reminded everyone why he’d been one of the Padres’ top prospects for the last several years with an eye-opening performance between the Double-A and Triple-A levels. The Padres called up Liriano in early August and gave him regular playing time in right field down the stretch, but the 23-year-old was overmatched against big league pitching.

 

Liriano’s plus bat speed and raw power suggest plenty of untapped potential at the plate, although his hitting talent is likely to be only average at best. The right-handed hitter keeps his hands inside the ball and has extensive plate coverage, which can work against him at times by generating too many weakly-hit outs. With plus speed and a strong, accurate arm, Liriano has a clean projection as a right fielder in the major leagues. Unfortunately, his future role with the club is now up in the air after the acquisitions of Matt Kemp, Justin Upton and Wil Myers, as he’ll likely head back to Triple-A next season for further seasoning.

 

87. Matt Olson, 1B, Oakland Athletics

Age: 21 | ETA: 2016

 

Olson, the number 47 overall pick in the 2012 draft, led the California League with 37 home runs in 2014, and he also paced the league in runs scored, total bases and walks. Olson projects for an average hitting talent, as he already displays good feel for hitting with a patient approach and a willingness to work deep counts. His 6’4”, 236-pound frame and long limbs leave holes in his swing and leads to a fair amount of swing-and-miss; however, it also generates the booming, plus power.

 

A third baseman in high school, Olson is an underrated athlete at first base with fluid actions and good footwork around the bag, while his solid-average arm serves him well at the position. But while he may be better defensively than the average first baseman, Olson’s future will always be tied to his offensive profile. Luckily, his approach and massive power should give him an opportunity to make an impact at the highest level, possibly even earlier than expected.

 

88. Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 23 | ETA: 2015

 

Nick Kingham continued his quick rise toward the major leagues last season with a strong showing between the Double- and Triple-A levels. With an ideal pitcher’s frame at 6’5”, 220 pounds, Kingham works from a consistently high three-quarter arm slot, employing a delivery that involves minimal effort and is easy to repeat. The right-hander's fastball is presently his biggest offering, with plus velocity in the 91-94 mph range that he holds deep into starts. His changeup is presently a fringe-average offering, though the pitch has potential, with decent depth and late sinking action. Kingham’s curveball is a future solid-average offering with plenty of room to improve, and he throws it consistently with tight spin and late downer bite.

 

Kingham isn’t a strikeout artist, but he does miss enough bats to consider it a part of his game. He fanned nearly two fewer batters per nine innings last season than he did the two previous years, though that might have been a product of him being a younger pitcher at the minor’s highest levels. He doesn’t have the ceiling of fellow right-handers Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, but Kingham’s deep arsenal and ability to eat innings should make him a solid No. 3 or 4 starter, possibly as early as mid-2015.

 

89. Eduardo Rodriguez, LHP, Boston Red Sox

Age: 22 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Eduardo Rodriguez turned his season around in a big way after coming over from the Orioles at the July trade deadline, as the left-hander finished the year with six outstanding starts at Double-A Portland. Rodriguez normally works in the low-90s with his fastball, but he sat in the 92-96 mph range more frequently last season. His slider has improved considerably since the beginning of the 2013 season, as it’s now more of a power offering in the mid-80s with tight spin and swing-and-miss bite. Rodriguez’s changeup has the potential to be solid average, registering in the low-80s with good sinking action, but his feel for the pitch varies from start to start.

 

Rodriguez’s stuff has taken off in the past year, but the southpaw hasn’t fully adopted a power pitcher’s mentality. His command may never be great, but Rodriguez’s ability to miss bats with three pitches inside and outside of the zone could make him a high-end No. 3 starter at maturity. Rodriguez will likely open the year in Triple-A, but a continuation of his 2014 post-trade dominance could have the young left-hander in the major leagues ahead of schedule.

 

90. Grant Holmes, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

Age: 19 | ETA: Late 2017

 

After the Dodgers selected him with the number 22 overall pick last June, Holmes spent his professional debut between the Arizona and Pioneer Leagues, where the hard-throwing right-hander struck out more than a batter per inning. At 6’2”, 215 pounds, Holmes has a thick, durable build with broad shoulders and a strong lower half. The teenager features two plus pitches in a 93-96 mph fastball (which has scraped triple digits in the past) with late life, and a wipeout curveball with sharp break in the low- to mid-80s. He also has a very underrated changeup, a pitch that he’ll begin to develop thoroughly in 2015.

 

As is the case with all undersized right-handers with big-time velocity, the concern with Holmes is whether he can handle the rigors of a full professional season. He has the potential to move relatively quickly through the Dodgers’ farm system so long as he stays healthy, as he requires less projection than most pitchers his age due to his build and present stuff. If everything goes as planned with his development, Holmes should have the chance to reach his ceiling as a No. 2 starter.

 

91. Kyle Crick, RHP, San Francisco Giants

Age: 22 | ETA: Late 2015

 

Crick’s success last season in the Double-A Eastern League was directly tied to his ability to miss bats and limit hard contact. Beyond that, however, the right-hander was consistently inefficient, as he issued far too many walks and averaged fewer than 4.1 innings in his 22 starts. At 6’4”, 220 pounds, Crick’s fastball explodes out of his hand at 93-96 mph with late life, and he’ll reach back for plus-plus velocity as needed. Unfortunately, he’s yet to figure out how to execute his heater within the zone, which has led to entirely too many deep counts and, you guessed it, walks.

 

Crick’s changeup is a second plus pitch, thrown with excellent arm speed and considerable fade, and he also throws a pair of breaking balls: an inconsistent curveball that flashes above-average potential, and a hard slider in the high-80s that should help him miss even more bats once refined. Crick projects as a No. 3 starter given his age, durability and electric stuff, but his fringy control and well-below-average command continues to hold him back. If that doesn’t work out, Crick’s combination of power and filth will make him a late-inning force out of the bullpen, possibly even an impact closer.

 

92.  Brandon Drury, 3B/2B, Arizona Diamondbacks

Age: 22 | ETA: 2016

 

Drury was considered a throw-in from the Braves as part of the Justin Upton trade, but he’s done nothing but hit since joining the Diamondbacks, highlighted by his strong performance in 2014 between High-A Visalia and Double-A Mobile. The right-handed hitter has a short but powerful swing, as he laces sharp line drives to the deepest parts of park—the kind of line drives that make it easy to envision many of his doubles clearing more fences as he develops.

 

On the other side of the ball, Drury’s improved defense—a product of endless on-field reps—and mobility at third base last season boosted his projection to that of at least a league-average defender. Meanwhile, the Diamondbacks had him begin working out at second base in the fall to potentially increase his versatility. Overall, Drury profiles as a solid defensive third baseman who hits .270 with 15-20 homers and 30-plus doubles. The Arizona Diamondbacks will want to see what they have in Yasmany Tomas and Jake Lamb next season, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Drury in the major leagues by the end of 2015.

 

93. Tyrone Taylor, OF, Milwaukee Brewers

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Taylor’s production last season in the High-A Florida State League mirrored his full-season debut at Low-A Wisconsin from the previous year, and he moved up to Double-A for the final week of the regular season. The 6’0”, 185-pound outfielder does a good job staying inside the baseball, and he uses the entire field, with a majority of his power going to the gaps. Taylor has the potential for average power at maturity, but he’s still figuring out how to apply it in games.

 

Taylor’s plus athleticism stands out in center field, as he possesses excellent closing speed and can flat-out go get the ball. Furthermore, he has an instinctual first step and takes direct routes, and he’s especially adept at going back and tracking the ball. Taylor likely won’t be ready for the major leagues for another two years, but the 20-year-old has the makings of a first-division center fielder with 20-20 potential in his prime.

 

94. Alen Hanson, 2B, Pittsburgh Pirates

Age: 22 | ETA: 2015

 

Gregory Polanco’s rise through Pittsburgh’s system last season overshadowed Alen Hanson’s strong year in the Double-A Eastern League, where he hit for average and decent power and continued to make an impact on the base paths. As a switch-hitter, Hanson has the potential for solid-average hitting talent thanks to his quick bat from both sides of the plate and an approach that enables the use of the whole field. He’s an extra-base machine with average power potential, showcasing more consistent over-the-fence pop from the left side.

 

Hanson is a plus runner, but he’s also a raw base stealer who relies on his straight-line speed rather than instincts. Defensively, Hanson has spent most of his professional career at shortstop before shifting over to second base last August. He exhibits smooth actions at both positions, with a sound glove and smooth transfer, but his range and average arm strength are likely better suited for second base. Hanson should get is first taste of the major leagues in 2015, though it might not happen until September.

 

95. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays

Age: 19 | ETA: 2018

 

Originally signed by the Tigers in 2012 out of the Dominican Republic, Adames put himself on the prospect radar last season with an impressive full-season debut at the Low-A level. The 19-year-old was traded to Tampa Bay at the July deadline as part of the David Price deal.

 

Adames started to come into his own in 2014, as his fluid swing, bat speed and barrel control produced more consistent hard contact as well as in-game power. And given his projectable 6’1”, 180-pound frame, it’s easy to envision Adames adding more power in the coming years, possibly to the point where it’s an above-average talent at maturity. At shortstop, he has the footwork, hands and arm strength to remain at the position long term, but his average range and his likelihood of losing a step or two with physical maturation could potentially force him to the hot corner. With one year of full-season ball under his belt, it goes without saying that there’s a huge gap between Adames’ present ability and overall potential. He’ll likely open 2015 in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, which should be a healthy challenge for his promising bat.

 

96. Franklin Barreto, SS/2B, Oakland Athletics

Age: 19 | ETA: 2018

 

Barreto shined at the plate last season in the Short Season Northwest League, as the teenage shortstop showcased a promising combination of hitting-talent potential and speed. Once viewed as the potential heir to Jose Reyes in Toronto, Barreto was dealt to the A’s in November in the Josh Donaldson deal.

 

Barreto is undersized at 5’9”, 175 pounds, but he’s an excellent athlete with plus speed and the potential for four average-or-better tools at maturity. The right-handed batter showcases advanced bat-to-ball skills and a knack for making hard contact. It’s hard to gauge his power potential due to age and lack of experience against quality arms, but his approach and bat speed suggests it will be at least fringe-average. Barreto is raw at shortstop with an inconsistent glove and overaggressive actions but also plus arm strength, while his overall defensive profile could also be a clean fit at second base.

 

97. Ryan McMahon, 3B, Colorado Rockies

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2017

 

Ryan McMahon made a name for himself in his 2014 full-season debut, as the 20-year-old third baseman ranked second in the Low-A South Atlantic League in runs, doubles, OPS and RBI. At 6’3”, 185 pounds, McMahon is already loaded with strength and should have room to add even more without sacrificing athleticism. The left-handed batter has the potential for a solid-average hitting talent, with plus bat speed, good barrel control and a swing that is effortless and pretty and generates consistently hard contact. McMahon’s raw power already shows in games, obviously, but it will be difficult to gauge his true power frequency until he reaches Double-A.

 

Also a decorated high school quarterback, McMahon is an athletic third baseman for his size and generally has a good feel for the position. However, his defense at the hot corner will require considerable refinement in the coming years to reach his projection of solid-average.

 

98. Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox

Age: 18 | ETA: 2018

 

Devers didn’t disappoint in his highly anticipated professional debut last summer, as the then-17-year-old posted gaudy numbers in the Dominican Summer League and followed it with an equally strong showing in the complex-level Gulf Coast League. Though he’s only 18, Devers is already a physically strong left-handed hitter. His explosive bat speed and huge extension through contact produces plus-plus raw power to all fields—the kind of power that could potentially translate to 25-plus home runs in the major leagues.

 

Defensively, there’s already doubt about whether Devers will be able to stick at third base. At 6’0” and 195 pounds, his range and overall agility will likely suffer due to added strength (which is inevitable), and could ultimately force him across the infield to first base. Granted, he’s still years away from being relegated to such a limited role, but Devers will have to work hard on his defense. He’s still young and has a long road ahead of him toward the major leagues, but a strong case can be made that Devers already possesses the highest ceiling in Boston’s system.

 

99. Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers

Age: 20 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Arcia, the younger brother of Twins outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, enjoyed a breakout performance last season in the pitcher-friendly High-A Florida State League.

 

Arcia has always stood out for his impressive defense at shortstop, leaving little doubt about whether he’ll be able to stick at the position long term. More specifically, the 20-year-old projects as a plus defender at the highest level, as he displays a genuine feel for the position along with advanced footwork, above-average range, soft hands and plenty of arm strength. Arcia’s strong defensive profile gives him a high floor as a big-league regular, whereas his ongoing development at the dish could turn him into an impact, first-division shortstop.

 

100. Brett Phillips, OF, Houston Astros

Age: 21 | ETA: Late 2016

 

Phillips seemingly came from nowhere in 2014 to claim the Astros’ Minor League Player of the Year award behind a stellar performance between both Class-A levels. Phillips muscled up last offseason after failing to jump the yard in his first between 2012-13, and his newfound strength, combined with an improved feel for turning on the ball, resulted in 17 longballs. The 6’0”, 175-pound left-handed hitter has a short, compact swing that produces hard contact across the whole field, though most of his power is to his pull side. Meanwhile, Phillips’ above-average speed translates well on the base paths, making him a threat to steal 15 to 20 bases and pile up extra-base hits.

 

Phillips’ defensive profile is a clean fit in center and right field, and he split time between both positions last season. He has solid-average range and gets good jumps, while his incredibly accurate, plus-plus arm strength will serve as a weapon throughout his career. Phillips is likely to open 2015 back in the hitter-friendly California League, but it shouldn’t take him long to graduate to Double-A.