Grading MLB's Top 50 Prospects in April

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Grading MLB's Top 50 Prospects in April

With the first month of the minor league season nearly in the books, it's time to reflect on the early-season performances of Prospect Pipeline's Top 50 prospects.

While there are plenty of top prospects off to a hot start at their respective levels, there are countless others who have struggled in the early going. As you will see, injuries have impacted numerous prospects in the Top 50.

While prospects such as Dylan Bundy and Adam Eaton are yet to appear in a game this season, prospects such as Christian Yelich and Jake Marisnick, who both opened the season on the disabled list, have finally returned to the field.

Meanwhile, top-catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud, who was acquired by the Mets in the offseason R.A. Dickey deal, may have to wait until after the All-Star break to make his big league debut, as a non-displaced foot fracture has him sidelined until at least the end of May.

Overall, the Top 50 is littered with standout performances by both pitching and position prospects. Here's a look at how baseball's top prospects have fared through the first month of the 2013 season.

Rank Player Position Team Stats Grade
1 Jurickson Profar SS/2B TEX (AAA) .230/.360/.419, 8 XBH, 15/15 K/BB (20 G) B-
Profar battled a few minor injuries to start the season, but has noticeably begun to come around with a .313 average and four extra-base hits during a current four-game hitting streak.
2 Oscar Taveras OF STL (AAA) .296/.333/.423, 2 HR, 3 SB, 8/4 K/BB (19 G) B
He hasn't caught fire yet, but Taveras is starting to pick things up at the plate with a .297 batting average over his last 10 games.
3 Dylan Bundy RHP BAL (AA) N/A N/A
Bundy was sent to Dr. James Andrews on Monday, who administered a platelet-rich plasma injection. He will be shut down for the next six weeks.
4 Wil Myers OF TB (AAA) .291/.382/.430, 2 HR, 16 RBI, 28/13 K/BB (22 G) B+
Even though he's fanned 28 times in 22 games, Myers has settled in at the dish and is seemingly nearing a promotion to the majors.
5 Taijuan Walker RHP SEA (AA) 29 IP, 1.55 ERA, .150 BAA, 32/18 K/BB (5 GS) B+
Although his command has left something to be desired, Walker has allowed one earned run over his last four starts while amassing 24 strikeouts.
6 Gerrit Cole RHP PIT (AAA) 23.1 IP, 2.31 ERA, .205 BAA, 19/15 K/BB (5 GS) C
Cole's stats may suggest dominance on paper, but he's struggled to work deep into games and execute pitches in each of his starts.
7 Zack Wheeler RHP NYM (AAA) 23.1 IP, 5.79 ERA, .283 BAA, 28/15 K/BB (5 GS) B-
Wheeler has shown impressive stuff with a 10.8 K/9, but has also allowed 26 hits and 15 walks in 23.1 innings in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.
8 Jose Fernandez RHP MIA (MLB) 24 IP, 4.50 ERA, .225 BAA, 23/11 K/BB (5 GS) B+
After dazzling in his first two big league starts, Fernandez has labored as of late and will need to make ongoing adjustments in the majors.
9 Xander Bogaerts SS BOS (AA) .301/.370/.410, 6 XBH, 24/9 K/BB (19 G) B
Bogaerts was whiffing a ton to begin the season, but has settled in at Double-A in a big way with a 1.143 OPS over his last 10 games.
10 Christian Yelich OF MIA (AA) .267/.313/.422, 6 XBH, 16/3 K/BB (11 G) B
After a heel injury delayed his start to the season, Yelich has been on fire and is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak.
11 Travis d'Arnaud C NYM (AAA) .250/.429/.472, HR, 12/8 K/BB (12 G) B
D'Arnaud was on pace for a first-half call-up until suffering a non-displaced fracture of his left foot on 4/17. Out four-eight weeks.
12 Francisco Lindor SS CLE (A+) .326/.389/.453, 8 XBH, 7 SB, 12/9 K/BB (22 G) A-
Lindor is off to an impressive start from both sides of the plate, while his plus-plus defense is as impressive as ever.
13 Shelby Miller RHP STL (MLB) 30.2 IP, 2.05 ERA, .189 BAA, 33/10 K/BB (5 GS) A-
Miller has been arguably the top rookie pitcher in the game over the first month, as his .189 BAA ranks as the 10th-best in the majors.
14 Javier Baez SS CHC (A+) .265/.299/.520, 5 HR, 15 RBI, 29/4 K/BB (24 G) B
Baez's inability to recognize spin led to a slow start, but he's finally heating up with a .958 OPS with five extra-base hits over his last 10 games.
15 Miguel Sano 3B MIN (A+) .366/.423/.753, 9 HR, 24 RBI, 27/9 K/BB (24 G) A
Sano is tearing the cover off the ball in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, hitting for both power and average.
16 Jameson Taillon RHP PIT (AA) 29.2 IP, 3.03 ERA, .211 BAA, 30/11 K/BB (5 GS) B+
Taillon has struggled with his command at times at Double-A Altoona, but is still missing bats at a favorable rate with a 9.1 K/9.
17 Anthony Rendon 3B WSH (MLB) 4-for-20, 2B, 6/3 K/BB (6 G) B
Rendon was promoted from Double-A to the major leagues when Ryan Zimmerman hit the DL and has held his own through six games.
18 Billy Hamilton OF CIN (AAA) .205/.278/.307, 7 XBH, 15 SB, 16/9 K/BB (23 G) C
The fastest man in baseball is 15-for-16 on the basepaths, but struggling from both sides of the plate at the top of the order.
19 Tyler Skaggs LHP ARI (AAA) 26.1 IP, 6.15 ERA, .269 BAA, 24/12 K/BB (5 GS) C
After missing out on the big league starting rotation, Skaggs has struggled thus far in his second tour of the Triple-A level.
20 Mike Zunino C SEA (AAA) .235/.349/.574, 5 HR, 26 RBI, 23/10 K/BB (18 G) B+
Zunino has battled through his first slump as a professional, but continues to post impressive power numbers in the Pacific Coast League.
21 Nick Castellanos OF DET (AAA) .260/.313/.442, 12 XBH (3 HR), 22/9 K/BB (26 G) B
After shaking off a sluggish start, Castellanos has picked up the pace at the dish with a .919 OPS and three home runs over his last 10 games.
22 Carlos Correa SS HOU (A-) .200/.358/.385, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 23/14 K/BB (17 G) B+
Don't read too far into the numbers, as he's an 18-year-old in Low-A. So far, Correa has shown an impressive blend of on-base skills and power.
23 Trevor Bauer RHP CLE (AAA) 18 IP, 2.50 ERA, .242 BAA, 24/6 K/BB (3 GS) B
Bouncing between the majors and Triple-A, Bauer has exhibited more confidence and command in his three starts at Triple-A.
24 Mike Olt 3B TEX (AAA) .139/.235/.236, 32/9 K/BB (20 G) D
Olt has turned in a dismal start to the season at Triple-A Round Rock with a 39.5 percent strikeout rate and .097 ISO.
25 Archie Bradley RHP ARI (A+) 28.2 IP, 1.26 ERA, .218 BAA, 43/10 K/BB (5 GS) A
Bradley has been the top pitcher in the minor leagues thus far, as his vastly improved command has led to a 13.5 K/9.
26 Aaron Sanchez RHP TOR (A+) 25.2 IP, 3.16 ERA, .170 BAA, 22/8 K/BB (5 GS) B+
Sanchez has been incredibly tough to barrel as usual, while his command has already noticeably improved.
27 Byron Buxton OF MIN (A-) .382/.505/.645, 24 R, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 9 SB, 17/19 K/BB (21 G) A
Making his full-season debut, Buxton has already surpassed all expectations with an outstanding start for Low-A Cedar Rapids.
28 Jackie Bradley OF BOS (AAA) .226/.333/.258, 10/5 K/BB (8 G) C+
After an up-and-down three weeks in the majors, Bradley is now getting his first taste of the Triple-A level.
29 Trevor Story SS COL (A+) .158/.264/.263, HR, 4 RBI, 33/9 K/BB (21 G) C-
Story has really struggled in the early going, as he's now fanned in 37.9 percent of his at-bats for High-A Modesto.
30 Julio Teheran RHP ATL (MLB) 28.1 IP, 5.08 ERA, .333 BAA, 20/8 K/BB (5 GS) B
They haven't been the prettiest, but Teheran has battled his way through five starts for the Braves.
31 Jonathan Singleton 1B HOU (AAA) N/A N/A
Singleton is still serving a 50-game suspension for a second positive test for a drug of abuse.
32 Danny Hultzen LHP SEA (AAA) 22.2 IP, 2.78 ERA, .198 BAA, 25/6 K/BB (4 GS) B
Hultzen's control issues from 2012 are seemingly behind him, though he missed his last start with a mild rotator cuff strain.
33 Kyle Zimmer RHP KC (A+) 22.2 IP, 4.76 ERA, .216 BAA, .200 GO/AO, 34/9 K/BB (5 GS) B+
Zimmer has been touched up at times, but his deep arsenal and ability to miss bats (13.5 K/9) should earn him a quick promotion.
34 Addison Russell SS OAK (A+) .200/.353/.327, HR, 3 SB, 22/13 K/BB (14 G) B-
After a few small injuries delayed his start, Russell is heating up with a double, home run and three walks in his last two games.
35 Gregory Polanco OF PIT (A+) .318/.380/.455, 2 HR, 12 RBI, 9 SB, 8/8 K/BB (23 G) A-
Arguably the pop-up prospect of the year in 2012, Polanco has shown no signs of slowing down this season in the Florida State League.
36 Kevin Gausman RHP BAL (AA) 28.2 IP, 3.77 ERA, .270 BAA, 29/1 K/BB (5 GS) B
His plus fastball-changeup combo is nearly big league ready, while his advanced command has led to a sterling 29/1 K/BB thus far.
37 Taylor Guerrieri RHP TB (A-) 17 IP, 2.12 ERA, .197 BAA, 3.75 GO/AO, 11/4 K/BB (4 GS) B+
Owning one of the best command profiles in the minors, Guerrieri's feel for pitching and his arsenal are mature well beyond his years.
38 Alen Hanson SS/2B PIT (A+) .247/.309/.337, 12 R, 5 SB, 20/8 K/BB (21 G) B-
After a breakout campaign at Low-A last season, Hanson has struggled to find his rhythm in the Florida State League.
39 Noah Syndergaard RHP NYM (A+) 25 IP, 3.24 ERA, .256 BAA, 26/10 K/BB (5 GS) B
It took him a few starts to settle in, but the right-hander has looked sharp over his last two outings: 13 IP, 8 H, 0 ER, 11/3 K/BB.
40 Carlos Martinez RHP STL (AA) 11.2 IP, 2.31 ERA, .239 BAA, 9/1 K/BB (3 GS) B
Visa kept him in the Dominican Republic for most of the spring, but Martinez has pitched well since rejoining the Double-A rotation.
41 Albert Almora OF CHC (A-) N/A N/A
Surgery to remove a broken hamate bone has delayed the start to Almora's season, though he's due to return in the next few weeks.
42 Yasiel Puig OF LAD (AA) .333/.379/.648, 4 HR, 11 RBI, 12/4 K/BB (14 G) B
Puig's production has been great, but his on-field carelessness and overall recklessness have raised serious questions about his makeup.
43 Matt Barnes RHP BOS (AA) 14 IP, 9.00 ERA, .387 BAA, 17/6 K/BB (4 GS) C
Barnes is off to a shaky start for Portland, as he's been hit around and exited early due to pitch count concerns in three of four starts.
44 Jake Marisnick OF MIA (A+) .222, 2B, K (2 G) N/A
After an errant pitch fractured his hand this spring, Marisnick finally returned to the field this weekend for High-A Jupiter.
45 Adam Eaton OF ARI (MLB) N/A N/A
Eaton is still on the disabled list recovering from a left UCL strain. He's due back in late May, but I think he returns earlier.
46 Jorge Soler OF CHC (A+) .274/.348/.419, 2 HR, 10/7 K/BB (16 G) B
Besides the barbaric bat-wielding incident and recent benching, Soler has been streaky but solid to open his first full professional season.
47 Mason Williams OF NYY (A+) .241/.365/.322, 12 R, 17/17 K/BB (22 G) B
Williams has shown impressive on-base skills and the pop will come, but the recent DUI is an ugly mark on his record.
48 Jake Odorizzi RHP TB (AAA) 27 IP, 3.33 ERA, .214 BAA, 36/9 K/BB (5 GS) B
Odorizzi's consistency has varied between starts, though he continues to miss plenty of bats with a 12.0 K/9.
49 David Dahl OF COL (A-) .182/.250/.273, 5/1 K/BB (3 G) C
Dahl played in his first game since April 4 on Monday after missing a team flight and being sent to extended spring training.
50 Kaleb Cowart 3B LAA (AA) .188/.266/.282, HR, 3 SB, 25/8 K/BB (24 G) C+
Cowart has struggled mightily in his first taste of Double-A, but is showing signs of life with three extra-base hits in his last four games.
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