As the All-Star break approaches, the time is right to check in on the children of summer. I love baseball prospects and not just because of my loser dynasty league that I spend more of my time on than actual work or real human relationships or anything else that could be considered part of a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Top 20 Prospects
Let’s start with MY top 20 prospects. I take many things into account here. Potential being the biggest factor but proximity to the show is also considered heavily. A side note: Every list takes major league at-bats as a way to measure prospect eligibility. I will not be doing that. If you are currently in the majors, like Yordan Alvarez, you are not on my list. I don’t care that he hasn’t accumulated the requisite amount, he’s a big leaguer and I will not be wasting a spot for him. Yordan is a stud and isn’t going anywhere. I also do not care that some of these youngsters have had a taste of the bigs. They are currently farmhands and I will be ranking them as such.
- Jo Adell – OF, Los Angeles Angels – Double A
- Wander Franco – SS – Tampa Bay Rays – Low A
- Kyle Tucker – OF – Houston Astros – Triple A
- Bo Bichette – SS – Toronto Blue Jays – Triple A
- Alex Kirilloff – OF/1B – Minnesota Twins – Double A
- Keston Hiura – 2B – Milwaukee Brewers – Triple A
- Forrest Whitley – SP – Houston Astros – Triple A
- Royce Lewis – SS – Minnesota Twins – High A
- Drew Waters – OF – Atlanta Braves – Double A
- Jesus Luzardo – SP – Oakland Athletics – Triple A
- Casey Mize – SP – Detroit Tigers – Double A
- Luis Robert – OF – Chicago White Sox – Double A
- MacKenzie Gore – SP – San Diego Padres – High A
- Luis Urias – 2B – San Diego Padres – Triple A
- Brendan McKay – SP – Tampa Bay Rays – Triple A
- Nate Lowe – 1B – Tampa Bay Rays – Triple A
- Gavin Lux – SS – Los Angles Dodgers – Double A
- Michael Kopech – SP – Chicago White Sox – Triple A
- Jarred Kelenic – OF – Seattle Mariners – High A
- Dylan Cease – SP – Chicago White Sox – Triple A
The Top 5
Jo Adell – OF – Los Angeles Angels
We start at the top. My highest rated teenager is the one and only Jo Adell. This kid tore up the minors in his full-season debut last season after being drafted 10th overall in the 2017 MLB Draft. He fell this far because he was a High School player with tons of speed and even more power but questions remained about his hit tool. This was clearly misguided. The power and speed were real but the dude can hit.
As a 19-year-old in his first taste of full-season ball, he started the season in Low A and finished in Double A. That’s three levels he advanced as a teenager. He amassed 20 home runs and 15 steals over this time all while hitting at a respectable rate. A freak injury in spring training this year put him on the shelf for most of 2019 but he recently returned to Double-A and has not missed a beat. My man has already tallied 5 homers and 4 steals in his first 20 games back. He’s also hitting .389 in his return to Double-A which lol ok. With the way teams manipulate service time, the smart money would say we do not see him until early next year.
I have never been mistaken for smart. I say we see him this year and maybe soon. Honestly, I think we see him up sometime after the All-Star break. The Angels just signed Trout to a big old extension and my gut tells me money was not the only thing driving his decision to resign. The best player in baseball wants to win. The best prospect in baseball coming up to be his outfield running mate makes that winning goal all the more realistic. If he stays healthy, this happens.
Wander Franco – SS – Tampa Bay Rays
Every prospect list has Wander Franco number one. Except mine. This is not a knock on Mr. Franco. He is supremely talented. His ability to hit in his young career has been fairly unbelievable. My only reason for putting him second would be twofold. He is currently in Low A and plays for the Rays. A team that is notorious for taking its sweet time with advancing prospects. He is also about 12 years old (he’s 18). If he played for an organization like the Nationals, who clearly have no issue promoting players when they deem them ready (see Soto, Juan), things would be different. He doesn’t. So it’s not. He’s two.
Kyle Tucker – OF – Houston Astros
I love Kyle Tucker. He came up last year shortly after I traded an ancient Edwin Encarnacion for him and I was insufferable. I let everyone know how smart I was and conversely how dumb they were. I was riding high. Then he played baseball and things changed. In 72 plate appearances, he hit an anemic .141 with zero home runs and 1 stolen base. He was unceremoniously sent back down where he continued to mash at an infuriating rate. This year is no different. He has been overshadowed by Yordan da Gawd but he has quietly been one of the best players in the minors. He had a slow start to the year but has really turned it around. Tucker currently owns a .285 average with 23 home runs and 17 steals (he’s been caught once, once!).
The only reason Tucker has not been contributing to the big league club for the last month is that he plays for an organization that is flush with talent. There is just nowhere to put him that he would get every day at bats. One could make the argument that he is much better than Josh Reddick, I would be one of those people, but the veteran has done enough to keep the future star at bay. The next time Kyle Tucker comes up will be his last. 2018 was a fluke. Driven by a combination of adjusting to major league pitching and a crazy low .176 BABIP. Michael Brantley cannot stay healthy forever, right?
Bo Bichette – SS – Toronto Blue Jays
The son of former Rockies great Dante Bichette, Bo has the potential to eclipse his pops. He is only 21 years old and currently at triple-A, which is no small feat. A wrist injury has limited his playing time this year but since returning he has been on fire. In the previous 10 games since recuperating, he has a gaudy slash line of .417/.440/.667. The kid is ready to contribute in meaningful games but he plays for the Blue Jays and it could be quite some time before they do anything meaningful. That is the only issue with Bichette right now.
I think he is ready but the much-maligned service time has to be factored in. Toronto stinks and has nothing to play for. Sure, he could help the team now but to what end? I still believe Bo will force the issue by obliterating triple-A over the next month. This probably needs to happen sooner rather than later though because if we get too close to the end of the season the Blue Jays will surely come up with some bogus reason why they need to keep him down until the third week of the 2020 season to get that extra year.
When he does make his inevitable debut you can look forward to immediate batting average and base stealing with power to come. Everything you could want.
Alex Kirilloff – OF/1B – Minnesota Twins
Rounding out my top 5 spotlight is the Twins OF/1B of the future, Alex Kirilloff. He seemingly burst onto the scene last year where he dominated the lower minors totaling 20 home runs and hitting .347 over his time at Low and High A. The kid can just hit. He was drafted in the first round in 2017 and immediately required Tommy John surgery. Not very common for a position player but this caused him to fall off the prospect map a little bit.
His return from the injury in 2018 was more than worth the wait. He started the year on the injured list again this year and has bounced back and forth on said list for much of the season which is disappointing for his development. Especially because the Twins are competing this year and a start to the year like last season could have had the young man looking at a call up this year. That seems more unlikely now but do not forget about him again. He could even be a good buy-low candidate right now for an impatient owner who thinks they may have a Fragile Frankie on their hands. I am not worried about that at all. Even with all of this, I have him as my number 5 prospect. He’s just that good.
Next To Get The Call
There are a few guys that should be up very soon. Luis Urias, Keston Hiura and Nate Lowe should all be up this season on the hitter side. Dylan Cease, Brendan McKay, Jesus Luzardo and Forrest Whitley on the pitcher side. Forrest Whitley is probably the best of this group and the most unclear because of course. He is currently on the shelf with ‘shoulder fatigue’ whatever that means. He was down right awful before this IL stint but I still have all the confidence in the world that he will be a dominant major leaguer. Just need to keep our fingers crossed this isn’t a precursor to the dreaded TJ. As far as hitters go, all three of the above have had a taste of the majors this year. They will all be back up and contributing soon, so stay patient.
I cannot get enough of prospects. They are hope for the hopeless. A chance for something special. Endless possibilities. Everything I am not. I live vicariously through them and have no plans on stopping. If you are in a dynasty league I have surely told you nothing new. Unless you are terrible and then it’s too late but hope you enjoyed it anyway (or just go here and learn). In a redraft, late-season prospect call ups can be the difference between finishing in the money and missing out. Don’t sleep on the kids.