Top 100 MLB Prospects for 2018 by Sons of ’84

Acuna, Ronald.jpgIt’s that time of year again where we’re weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting, spring games, and excitement  for new beginnings in the baseball season.  With that excitement comes my annual Top 100 Prospects list, where we focus on young talent in the Minors.  To be clear, my list is about potential and not necessarily about impact on the 2018 season for these players clubs.

For the second year in a row, the Atlanta Braves lead the way with 8 players making the list followed by the Chicago White Sox with 7, the Los Angeles Dodger, New York Yankees, and San Diego Padres, each with 6, and the Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays with 5.

From a position standpoint, we break it down like this: C – 5, 1B – 4, 2B – 3, 3B – 6, SS – 12, OF – 26, RHP – 37, LHP – 7

As for my list, you’ll find the players name, their team/position/and last years ranking.  I’ll also add a little blurb for some of the top players.  I know this list isn’t perfect as I completely missed Rhys Hoskins last year, but do my best to try and capture potential.  I hope you enjoy…

Also, I’ve decided to include Shohei Ohtani and the likes of others who have played in other countries top professional leagues.  I haven’t in the past, but decided with these players being eligible for Rookie of the Year honors, that I would include them from here on out.

  1. Ronald Acuna, ATL/OF/68 – Acuna exploded last year as 19-year old, as he only got better as he progressed through three levels of ball, ending up at Triple-A Gwinnett, where he hit .344 in 54 games, collecting 14 doubles, 9 homers, and 11 steals.  For the season, Acuna hit .325 with 31 doubles, 8 triples, 21 home runs, 82 RBI, with 44 steals
  2. Shohei Ohtani, LAA/RHP-DH/NA – Everyone is well aware of Otani after his exploits in Japan.  What I don’t think a lot people see yet, is how Otani could potentially revolutionize the game as a two-way player.  Watch for a power arm and a power bat.
  3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR/3B/30 – A .450 OBP last year has a lot of scouts excited, not to mention being a teenage who just walked more than he struck out in a season, while collecting 43 extra base hits and hitting .323
  4. Eloy Jimenez, CHW/OF/13 – The key piece in the Jose Quintana trade with the Cubs, Jimenez has the potential to be superstar with is power and hitting attributes.  The 20-year old just hit .312 with 44 extra base hits and a .947 OPS in 2017
  5. Gleyber Torres, NYY/SS/5 – Another player traded away by the Cubs, this time for Aroldis Chapman in 2016.  Torres ran in to an elbow injury last season, that cost him the 2nd half, however he was hitting .287 with 23 extra base hits prior.  Be ready for Torres at some point in 2018
  6. Victor Robles, WAS/OF/8 – Robles made it all the way from High-A last season to tease us in the Majors for a late September call-up.  Robles is complete 5-tool guy, as he hit .300 last year with 55 extra base hits and stole 27 bases.  If he’s not up opening day, he won’t be far behind
  7. Fernando Tatis Jr., SD/SS/NA – Was part of the James Shields trade with the White Sox, Tatis became the first 18-year old 20-20 guy in the Northwest League and jumped to Double-A to finish his season out last year.  Yet another 5-tool kid  who looks to be a year away from the bigs.
  8. Nick Senzel, CIN/3B/16 – The former number 2 pick continues to hit as he made his way from High-A to Double-A in 2017.  Senzel hit .321 on the year, but really prospered in Double-A Pensacola, as he hit .340 with 10 homers and 14 doubles in 57 games
  9. Michael Kopech, CHW/RHP/22 – Along with Yoan Moncada, Kopech was part of the Chris Sale trade with Boston and is a fireball throwing righthander.  Once some mechanics issues were worked out with his landing, Kopech’s control got better and he completed the season with 172 strikeouts in 134.1 innings with 65 walks (only 12 in his last 9 starts)
  10. Francisco Mejia, CLE/C/28 – Mejia just continues to rake as he hit his way up to the Majors last year and will again get Major League at bats, whether it’s as a catcher or potentially as a third baseman.
  11. Brent Honeywell, TB/RHP/32 – Honeywell looks to get a shot at the Rays rotation this year after finishing Triple-A with a 12-8 record and a 3.64 ERA to go with 11.3 K/9 rate
  12. Bo Bichette, TOR/SS/NA – Bichette hit a ridiculous .384 in A-ball before being moved up to Double-A, where he “only” hit .323 as a 19-year old.  The raw power is there with Bichette, as he collected 41 doubles last season and hit 14 homers collectively.
  13. Brendan Rodgers, COL/SS/11 – The former number three draft pick, continues to perform, moving his way up to Double-A last season, where it looks he will pick back up in 2018.  Keep an eye on a position move, potentially to second base as scouts do not believe he can continue on at shortstop and Nolan Arenado blocks him at third
  14. Walker Buehler, LAD/RHP/94 – Buehler progressed so well last year, he started in High-A, made the jump to Double-A, than Triple-A, and eventually to the Majors, where he pitched in relief for eight games.  Buehler throws a top-notch fastball, offset by an above average curve and slider.  Work on the change-up could make the difference however on how well Walker does in the show
  15. Forrest Whitley, HOU/RHP/NA –  Whitley moved through three levels of ball last season, where he started in A-ball and moved up through High-A and eventually making 4 appearances (2 starts) in Double-A, where he dominated over 14.2 innings, with a 1.84 ERA and 26 K’s
  16. Kyle Tucker, HOU/OF/37 – Tucker showed pop in his bat with 33 doubles, 5 triples, and 25 homers
  17. Alex Reyes, STL/RHP/3 – Excitement around the potential of Reyes being in the Cardinals rotation was quickly thwarted when Alex hurt his elbow in spring training and required season ending Tommy John surgery.  Rehab reports sound promising however…
  18. Mitch Keller, PIT/RHP/27 – Keller, the top pitching prospect in the AFL, completed the “regular” season in 2017, with a 3.03 ERA, .202 average against, and striking out 9 per 9
  19. Lewis Brinson, MIA/OF/19 – Brinson, just recently traded to Miami for Christian Yelich, continues to show loads potential with the bat in the field.  Now just needs help translating that to the Majors, as his 2017 call-up didn’t go as planned
  20. Willy Adames, TB/SS/20
  21. Royce Lewis, MIN/SS/NA – The number one pick in 2017, hit well in his debut, advancing up to Cedar Rapids (A), where he hit .296 as an 18-year old
  22. MacKenzie Gore, SD/LHP/NA – The number three overall pick in 2017, dominated rookie ball, with a 1.27 ERA in 7 starts, while striking out 34 in 21.1
  23. J.P. Crawford, PHI/SS/6 – Crawford can flash the leather, but can he hit in the Majors?
  24. Hunter Greene, CIN/RHP/NA – The number two pick in last years draft is a two-way player with a big fastball that will place him down the path a starter.  He’s raw, but was lighting up radar guns to the tune of 101 mph last season
  25. Brendan McKay, TB/1B/NA
  26. Sixto Sanchez, PHI/RHP/NA
  27. Triston McKenzie, CLE/RHP/65
  28. A.J. Puk, OAK/LHP/61
  29. Luis Robert, CHW/OF/NA – Signed out of Cuba’s top league as an 18-year old, scouts like to compare Robert to Yoan Moncada, minus the switch hitting ability
  30. Kyle Wright, ATL/RHP/NA
  31. Alex Verdugo, LAD/OF/51
  32. Austin Hayes, BAL/OF/NA
  33. Scott Kingery, PHI/2B/NA
  34. Luiz Gohara, ATL/LHP/92
  35. Austin Meadows, PIT/OF/9 – Meadows continues to get bit by the injury bug, which seems to be the only thing holding him back
  36. Estevan Florial, NYY/OF/NA
  37. Willie Calhoun, TEX/OF/80 – A lot of power in a small package.  Only 5’8″ (scouts think more like 5’6″), Calhoun jacked 31 homers last season and made his MLB debut
  38. Juan Soto, WAS/OF/NA
  39. Mike Soroka, ATL/RHP/70
  40. Leody Taveras, TEX/OF/48
  41. Michael Baez, SD/RHP/NA
  42. Ryan McMahon, COL/3B/NA
  43. Franklin Perez, DET/RHP/77
  44. Justus Sheffield, NYY/LHP/83
  45. Jo Adell, LAA/OF/NA
  46. Anthony Alford, TOR/OF/58
  47. Taylor Trammell, CIN/OF/NA
  48. Jack Flaherty, STL/RHP/NA
  49. Alec Hansen, CHW/RHP/NA
  50. Kolby Allard, ATL/LHP/39
  51. Yordan Alvarez, HOU/1B/NA
  52. Cal Quantrill, SD/RHP/72
  53. Keston Hiura, MIL/2B/NA
  54. Franklin Barreto, OAK/SS/36
  55. Luis Urias, SD/2B/NA
  56. Alex Faedo, DET/RHP/NA
  57. Kyle Lewis, SEA/OF/38
  58. Nick Gordon, MIN/SS/47
  59. Carson Kelly, STL/C/49
  60. Jay Groome, BOS/RHP/26
  61. Jesus Sanchez, TB/OF/NA
  62. Yadier Alvarez, LAD/RHP/42
  63. Miguel Andujar, NYY/3B/
  64. Jake Bauers, TB/1B/NA
  65. Shane Baz, PIT/RHP/NA
  66. Dylan Cease, CHW/RHP/84
  67. Adrian Morejon, SD/LHP/NA
  68. Keibert Ruiz, LAD/C/NA
  69. Kevin Maitan, LAA/SS/NA
  70. Heliot Ramos, SF/OF/NA
  71. Jorge Mateo, OAK/SS/54
  72. Jesse Winker, CIN/OF/NA
  73. Ian Anderson, ATL/RHP/78
  74. Michael Chavis, BOS/3B/NA
  75. Chance Adams, NYY/RHP/NA
  76. Chance Sisco, BAL/C/75
  77. Jon Duplantier, ARZ/RHP/NA
  78. Ryan Mountcastle, BAL/SS/NA
  79. J.B. Bukauskas, HOU/RHP/NA
  80. Austin Riley, ATL/3B/NA
  81. Jorge Alfaro, PHI/C/50
  82. Corbin Burnes, MIL/RHP/NA
  83. Jahmai Jones, LAA/OF/91
  84. Monte Harrison, MIA/OF/NA
  85. Tyler O’Neill, STL/OF/41
  86. Max Fried, ATL/RHP/NA
  87. Matt Manning, DET/RHP/73
  88. Yusniel Diaz, LAD/OF/NA
  89. Tyler Mahle, CIN/RHP/NA
  90. Brandon Woodruff, MIL/RHP/NA
  91. Albert Abreu, NYY/RHP/NA
  92. Dustin Fowler, OAK/OF/NA
  93. Stephen Gonsalves, MIN/LHP/85
  94. Dane Dunning, CHW/RHP/NA
  95. Riley Pint, COL/RHP/45
  96. Fernando Romero, MIN/RHP/NA
  97. Mitchell White, LAD/RHP/NA
  98. Blake Rutherford, CHW/OF/40
  99. Sandy Alcantara, MIA/RHP/NA
  100. Chris Shaw, SF/1B/NA

Just Missed: Adbert Alzolay CHC/RHP, Carter Kieboom WAS/SS, Wander Javier MIN/SS, Brett Phillips MIL/OF, Mickey Moniak PHI/OF, Erick Fedde WAS/RHP, Pavin Smith ARZ/1B, Harrison Bader STL/OF, Bobby Bradley CLE/OF, Christian Arroyo TB/3B

Biggest Gain: Fernando Tatis Jr. from NA to 7

Biggest Loss: Mickey Moniak from 29 to 105

My best guess for biggest bust: Lewis Brinson

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