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Mike Rosenbaum's Top 50 MLB Prospects Ahead of All-Star Futures Game

Mike RosenbaumMLB Prospects Lead WriterJuly 11, 2014

Mike Rosenbaum's Top 50 MLB Prospects Ahead of All-Star Futures Game

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    USA TODAY Sports

    At long last, Prospect Pipeline’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects has arrived.

    If it feels as though it’s been a long time since we published the preseason rankings, well, that’s probably because it has been a long time—a little more than three months to be exact. Since then, many of the previously top-ranked prospects have graduated to the major leagues, while others have simply fallen off the radar.

    Compared to lists published before the start of the season, this ranking is specifically geared toward highlighting the future of baseball. Therefore, any prospect who has exhausted rookie eligibility or even played in the major leagues this season has been excluded.

    As you might have guessed, the midseason update is absolutely loaded with new names and faces.

    With that said, I hope everyone enjoys Prospect Pipeline’s Midseason Top 50 Prospects.

     

    All statistics are current through July 9.

How They're Ranked

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Position Players

    • Body type/athleticism
    • Speed
    • Hitting mechanics; bat speed
    • Injury history
    • Statistical trends
    • Age vs. level: how well a player fared at a certain level relative to his age and that of the competition
    • Tools: number of projectable tools a player possesses in relation to his position, age and competition; present vs. future tool grades
    • Hit tool: In the evolution of the prospect landscape, the hit tool is the most important but also the hardest to project
    • League and park factors
    • On-base skills: approach; strike-zone management; pitch recognition
    • Makeup/character
    • Place on organization's depth chart
    • Positional scarcity; up-the-middle potential 

     

    Pitchers

    • Body type/athleticism/strength
    • Mechanics: delivery; arm speed; release point
    • Age vs. highest level of experience
    • Injury history (durability)
    • Statistical trends
    • Arsenal quality and depth
    • Pitch projections: present vs. future grades
    • Hittability: How tough is he to barrel? Does he keep the ball on the ground/in the park?
    • Control/command: Is he usually around the zone? Does he effectively command his stuff? How much development/refinement is needed?
    • Pitchability: feel (and confidence) for using and sequencing entire arsenal
    • Approach: Does he fearlessly attack and challenge opposing hitters?  
    • Projection: Does he project as a starter? If so, what type? Or is he likely to be relegated to the bullpen? If so, why?

     

    Resources

    • Firsthand scouting
    • Video analysis
    • Industry contacts
    • Statistics

Close Calls

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez, RHP, Texas Rangers

    Sean Manaea, LHP, Kansas City Royals

    Steven Matz, LHP, New York Mets

    A.J. Cole, RHP, Washington Nationals

    Nick Williams, OF, Texas Rangers

    Dalton Pompey, OF, Toronto Blue Jays

    Matt Wisler, RHP, San Diego Padres

50. Hunter Renfroe, OF, San Diego Padres

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    Courtesy of Jen Nevius
    Courtesy of Jen NeviusLenny Ignelzi/Associated Press

    Age: 22

    Current Level: Double-A San Antonio

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+31640165292881.295.370.565
    AA43323056.158.256.342
    Total35943185593387.278.357.538

    Midseason Update: Selected with the No. 13 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Renfroe has excelled this year in his first full professional season while proving to be less raw than expected.

    His approach and pitch recognition both need considerable refinement, as evidenced by his 81-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 games at High-A Lake Elsinore, but the Padres’ decision to promote him to Double-A San Antonio last week suggests they believe in his capacity to make adjustments in a challenging environment.

49. Clint Frazier, OF, Cleveland Indians

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    Tony Dejak/Associated Press

    Age: 19

    Current Level: Low-A Lake County

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A3272272773095.253.324.389

    Midseason Update: Clint Frazier turned in a solid professional debut last summer in the Arizona League, as the 2013 fifth-overall pick batted .297/.362/.506 with 21 extra-base hits in 44 games.

    While he’s still loaded with upside, the 19-year-old’s full-season debut this year at Low-A Lake County hasn’t gone as smoothly, as his .253 batting average and .389 slugging percentage reflects his swing-and-miss tendencies (29.1 percent strikeout rate).

48. D.J. Peterson, 3B, Seattle Mariners

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Age: 22

    Current Level: Double-A Jackson

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+29942187362365.326.381.615
    AA56537038.283.321.491
    Total35547218062673.319.372.595

    Midseason Update: Regarded as the most advanced college hitter in the 2013 draft class, D.J. Peterson’s advanced approach and potential for plus hit and power tools already have him moving quickly through the Mariners’ system.

    The 22-year-old was recently promoted to Double-A Jackson after posting a .997 OPS with 18 home runs and 73 RBI in 65 games at High-A High Desert.

47. Brandon Nimmo, OF, New York Mets

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    Age: 21

    Current Level: Double-A Binghamton

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+2791842595051.322.448.458
    AA8263921415.197.346.379
    Total36124734116466.294.425.440

    Midseason Update: Brandon Nimmo, the No. 13 pick in the 2011 draft, has seen his prospect stock take off this season thanks to a breakout performance at High-A St. Lucie and now Double-A Binghamton.

    He hasn’t begun to tap into his raw power as hoped, but the left-handed batter is still hitting for average and getting on base at a high clip while also holding his own in center field.

46. Nick Kingham, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Age: 22

    Current Level: Triple-A Indianapolis

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    AA123.0471.01.352.2590.43.26.8
    AAA51.9133.00.909.2140.01.47.1
    Total172.68104.01.212.2460.32.66.9

    Midseason Update: Kingham has continued to his quick rise toward the major leagues this season with a strong showing between the Double- and Triple-A levels.

    The right-hander has an advanced three-pitch mix highlighted by a heavy fastball in the low- to-mid-90s, and he made noticeable strides this season both with his control and command.

45. Tim Anderson, SS, Chicago White Sox

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    Age: 21

    Current Level: High-A Winston-Salem

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+3003163110768.297.323.472

    Midseason Update: Selected in the first round of the 2013 draft based on the merit of his loud tools, Tim Anderson has held his own this season following an aggressive Opening Day assignment to High-A Winston Salem.

    Specifically, Anderson has made more consistent contact than expected and has shown good raw power, though his raw approach and pitch recognition will require considerable refinement moving forward. The 21-year-old has the athleticism and tools to stick at shortstop long-term, but he’d also be a clean fit at second base or center field if that projection were to change.

44. Jesse Winker, OF, Cincinnati Reds

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    Age: 20

    Current Level: Double-A Pensacola

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+24928134954046.317.426.580
    AA8572801317.225.341.380
    Total33435155755363.293.404.529

    Midseason Update: One of the more underrated hitters in the minor leagues, Winker possesses an approach that’s mature beyond his years as well as preternatural bat-to-ball skills and emerging power.

    The left-handed batter has the potential for a plus hit tool and above-average pop at maturity, and he was recently promoted to Double-A Pensacola.

43. Michael Taylor, OF, Washington Nationals

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 23

    Current Level: Double-A Harrisburg

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AA3803618542742113.325.405.548

    Midseason Update: After years of flashing his potential in the low minors, Taylor has been one of the more productive hitters in the minors this season, as he’s doing a little bit of everything offensively while offering his usual plus defense in center field.

    Taylor’s game still features too much swing-and-miss, as evidenced by his 113-42 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 380 plate appearances, but his contact rate is still trending up, and he’s already established a new career high with 18 home runs.

42. Luis Severino, RHP, New York Yankees

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    Age: 20

    Current Level: High-A Tampa

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A142.7967.21.138.2420.32.09.3
    A+41.3120.20.823.1510.02.612.2
    Total182.4588.11.064.2220.22.110.0

    Midseason Update: After putting himself on the prospect radar last season by reaching full-season ball in his stateside debut, Severino has seen his stock take off this year thanks to a dominant showing at Low-A Charleston to begin the season—and now High-A Tampa after a recent promotion.

    Though he’s undersized at 6’0”, 195 pounds, the right-hander features an explosive mid-90s fastball that bumps 96 to 97 mph as well as a pair of promising secondary offerings in a sharp slider and quickly improving changeup.

41. Kevin Plawecki, C, New York Mets

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    Chris Trotman/Getty Images

    Age: 23

    Current Level: Triple-A Las Vegas

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AA2492464301627.326.378.487
    AAA45319054.205.311.333
    Total2942775202131.308.367.464

    Midseason Update: Selected with the No. 35 overall pick in the 2012 draft, Plawecki’s ability to make consistent hard contact and use the whole field has him moving quickly through the Mets’ system.

    Not only is the 23-year-old hitting up a storm at Double-A Binghamton this season, but he’s also making noticeable strides defensively with only four passed balls and a 28 percent caught-stealing rate in 67 games behind the plate.

40. Josh Bell, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Age: 21

    Current Level: High-A Bradenton

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+3493295152342.331.377.497

    Midseason Update: Moved up to High-A Bradenton for his 2014 campaign, Bell has made offensive strides in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, as he’s hitting for a high average, showing improved power and handling the strike zone.

    As he continues to add strength and gain experience against quality pitching, it’s easy to envision the switch-hitter becoming a middle-of-the-order threat capable of hitting 20 to 25 home runs at maturity.

39. Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies

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    Age: 20

    Current Level: Low-A Asheville

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A34627654202063.325.378.455

    Midseason Update: 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 is still a very raw and inexperienced prospect and is still several years away from reaching the major leagues, but his ceiling is arguably as high as any position prospect yet to debut at the full-season level.

38. Stephen Piscotty, OF, St. Louis Cardinals

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Age: 23

    Current Level: Triple-A Memphis

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AAA3573165182443.305.361.436

    Midseason Update: Piscotty has continued to rake this season at Triple-A Memphis, but so far he hasn’t shown the in-game power that many were expecting in his second full professional season. However, he did show good pop last season (15 HR, 23 2B) and certainly has the physical strength at 6'3", 210 pounds to be a 15- to 20-home run guy in his prime.

    Piscotty's above-average hit tool should get him to the major leagues at some point this season, though it's important to remember that he's behind Oscar Taveras on the organizational depth chart and isn't on the team’s 40-man roster.

37. Henry Owens, LHP, Boston Red Sox

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 21

    Current Level: Double-A Portland

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    AA172.21105.21.032.1830.43.49.5

    Midseason Update: Despite his impressive numbers at Double-A Portland, Owens, a 6’6” left-hander, has struggled with his command this season and at times has lacked consistency from start to start.

    However, the 21-year-old southpaw still has been difficult to barrel—as is usually the case when his secondary pitches are working. He’s held opposing hitters to a .183 average while registering 111 strikeouts in 105.2 innings.

36. Albert Almora, OF, Chicago Cubs

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    Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

    Age: 20

    Current Level: High-A Daytona

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+3312354261038.275.299.383 

    Midseason Update: Albert Almora’s aggressive approach—10 walks in 331 plate appearances (three percent walk rate)—has caught up to him in the pitcher-friendly Florida State League, though he’s still batting a respectable .275 (especially for a 20-year-old) with 23 extra-base hits on the season.

    However, his strikeout rate (11.5 percent) and career-low .297 BABIP suggests his average will continue to improve.

35. Jose Berrios, RHP, Minnesota Twins

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    Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 20

    Current Level: Double-A New Britain

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A+161.9696.11.048.2180.42.110.2
    AA19.005.01.200.1763.65.47.2
    Total172.31101.11.056.2160.52.310.0

    Midseason Update: Berrios opened eyes last season in his full-season debut for Low-A Cedar Rapids, as he posted a 3.99 ERA and 100-40 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 103.2 innings against hitters two to three years older.

    The 20-year-old has taken a huge step forward this season at High-A Fort Myers in the challenging (not for him, clearly) Florida State League, highlighted by his stellar 109-23 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just 96.1 innings. He was recently promoted to Double-A.

34. Mark Appel, RHP, Houston Astros

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    Bob Levey/Associated Press

    Age: 22

    Current Level: High-A Lancaster

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A+109.5736.2.3762.2 2.57.6 

    Midseason Update: To say that Appel’s performance this season—his first full campaign as a professional—has been disappointing is an understatement. The 22-year-old has struggled mightily in the High-A Lancaster rotation so far and even spent a month trying to figure things out in extended spring training.

    While Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow has taken the blame for assuming the right-hander would fit the organization's tandem rotations in the low minors, Appel’s overwhelming lack of success against young hitters this season is very concerning and reason to believe he won’t reach his projected ceiling as a front-of-the-rotation starter.

33. Kyle Zimmer, RHP, Kansas City Royals

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Age: 22

    Current Level: N/A

    2014 Stats: N/A

    Midseason Update: According to Andy McCullough of The Kansas City Star via Twitter, Kyle Zimmer, who has yet to make his 2014 debut, suffered a lat strain in late May while pitching in extended spring training and was subsequently shut down for the next six to eight weeks.

    Unfortunately, it’s looking like a lost season for the 22-year-old right-hander.

32. Aaron Sanchez, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Age: 22

    Current Level: Triple-A Buffalo

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    AA143.8266.0.2220.35.57.8
    AAA64.1832.1.2691.14.77.0
    Total203.9498.1.2380.65.27.5 

    Midseason Update: Aaron Sanchez hasn't taken the step forward this season that many expected following his impressive showing in last year's Arizona Fall League and then this spring in major league camp.

    In his first taste of Double- and Triple-A levels, the 22-year-old right-hander has seen his strikeout (7.5 K/9) and walk (5.2 BB/9) rates trend in opposite directions, though he's still managed to hold opposing hitters to a .238 average over 98.1 innings.

31. Kohl Stewart, RHP, Minnesota Twins

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    Genevieve Ross/Associated Press

    Age: 19

    Current Level: Low-A Cedar Rapids

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A152.6770.21.160.2280.42.96.4

    Midseason Update: The Minnesota Twins bumped Stewart, the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 draft, up to Low-A Cedar Rapids for his first full professional season, and so far the 19-year-old right-hander has rewarded the organization for its confidence.

    Through his first 15 starts, Stewart has registered a 2.67 ERA in 70.2 innings while striking out 50 batters against 23 walks. More importantly, the promising right-hander, who works on a consistent downhill plane with his low-90s fastball, has held opposing hitters to a .228 average and allowed only three home runs.

30. Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Age: 20

    Current Level: High-A Bradenton

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A+132.0865.01.123.1660.15.110.0

    Midseason Update: Tyler Glasnow's 2014 season has featured plenty of strikeouts (72 in 65 innings) and walks (37), as he's posted a 2.08 ERA in 13 starts, thanks largely to a .166 opponents’ batting average.

    The right-hander has an upper-90s fastball that can touch triple digits to go with a potential above-average curveball and changeup, but his command will need to improve before the Pittsburgh Pirates consider moving him up to Double-A.

29. Jorge Alfaro, C, Texas Rangers

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    Age: 21

    Current Level: High-A Myrtle Beach

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+35730105952186.258.319.422

    Midseason Update: Alfaro continues to drop jaws with his potential on both sides of the ball, but at the same time both areas of his game remain raw and inconsistent.

    The 21-year-old’s offensive campaign is shaping up a lot like last year’s, with a .258 batting average and 30 extra-base hits through 82 games, but he’s also struck out 86 times against just 21 walks. And while he’s thrown out base stealers at a 29 percent clip in 61 games behind the dish, he’s also committed 10 errors to go along with 18 passed balls.

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

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    Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 19

    Current Level: High-A Clearwater

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A26719319143737.295.398.405
    A+854370820.234.306.364 
    Total35223626144557.280.376.395

    Midseason Update: Crawford turned in an impressive professional debut last summer after the Phillies selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the draft, reaching Low-A Lakewood as an 18-year-old.

    This year, Crawford has emerged as one of the game’s better shortstop prospects in his first full professional campaign, as he’s already received a well-deserved promotion to High-A Clearwater.

27. Daniel Norris, LHP, Toronto Blue Jays

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    Age: 21

    Current Level: Double-A New Hampshire

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A+131.2266.11.025.2090.02.410.3
    AA44.2417.01.235.2101.64.213.2
    Total171.8483.11.068.2090.32.810.9

    Midseason Update: Norris has quietly emerged as one the game’s better left-handed pitching prospects this year thanks to a mechanical adjustment he made late last season. The 21-year-old was recently promoted to Double-A New Hampshire after registering a 1.22 ERA and 76-18 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 66.1 innings at High-A Dunedin.

    Norris is a fiery competitor who projects as a No. 2 or No. 3 starter with four average-or-better offerings at maturity, including a plus fastball and changeup, and there’s a realistic chance he gets a look in the major leagues during the second half if the Blue Jays don’t trade for an arm or two. 

26. David Dahl, OF, Colorado Rockies

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    Age: 20

    Current Level: Low-A Asheville

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A369441034162157.298.339.503 

    Midseason Update: Dahl, the No. 10 overall pick in the 2012 draft, is quickly making up for his lost 2013 season with a strong performance this season at Low-A Asheville.

    Though he plays his home games in a notoriously hitter-friendly park, the 20-year-old outfielder is still turning in solid production on the road with a .283/.327/.447 batting line and 14 extra-base hits in 163 plate appearances.

    Dahl's below-average pitch recognition and selection is a product of his time off and overall inexperience, so don't read too much into his 57-21 strikeout-to-walk ratio this season.

25. Jameson Taillon, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Age: 22

    Current Level: N/A

    2014 Stats: N/A (Out of season)

    Midseason Update: Jameson Taillon underwent successful Tommy John surgery in early April, but it's costing him a crucial year of development and will likely delay his arrival in the major leagues until mid-2015 at the earliest.

24. Braden Shipley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Age: 22

    Current Level: High-A Visalia

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A83.7445.21.248.2630.22.28.1
    A+75.1340.11.339.2571.33.610.7
    Total154.4086.01.291.2600.72.89.3

    Midseason Update: Shipley, the No. 15 overall pick in the 2013 draft, has already received a promotion to High-A Visalia after posting a 3.74 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 11 walks in 45.2 innings (eight starts) for Low-A South Bend to begin the season.

    The 22-year-old right-hander should continue to move up the ladder in a hurry thanks to a mid-90s fastball, a plus-plus changeup that already ranks as one of the best in the minor leagues and a hard curveball that projects as another plus offering at maturity.

23. Arismendy Alcantara, IF/OF, Chicago Cubs

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Age: 22

    Current Level: Triple-A Iowa/MLB

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AAA366461041212583.307.353.537

    Midseason Update: After several injury-plagued seasons, Arismendy Alcantara took a huge step forward last year at Double-A Tennessee as he showcased a high-end blend of power (55 extra-base hits) and speed (31 stolen bases) while reaching base at a career-high clip (.352). The 22-year-old has continued to make developmental strides this season at Triple-A Iowa, and it even earned him a promotion to the major leagues earlier this week.

     

    *I ranked Alcantara prior to his call-up and therefore decided to keep him in the midseason top 50. 

22. Hunter Harvey, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Age: 19

    Current Level: Low-A Delmarva

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A+153.0177.21.133.2020.63.710.8

    Midseason Update: Few pitchers in the low minors have been as impressive as Harvey this season, as the 19-year-old has dominated hitters in the South Atlantic League behind advanced command of his 90 to 94 mph fastball and swing-and-miss curveball.

    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.

21. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Age: 18

    Current Level: High-A Wilmington

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+27115113111469.220.263.310

    Midseason Update: Mondes is one of the top up-the-middle prospects in the minor leagues, but the switch-hitter has struggled since the beginning of May with a .182/.204/.256 batting line and 46-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 182 plate appearances.

20. Alex Meyer, RHP, Minnesota Twins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 24

    Current Level: Triple-A Rochester

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    AAA183.4389.11.321.2300.74.310.4

    Midseason Update: Though his performance at Triple-A Rochester this season has been inconsistent at times, Meyer has little left to prove in the minor leagues.

    The right-hander’s command needs to improve if he’s going to work deep into games, but his .230 opponents’ batting average and 10.4 K/9 this season further highlight that his stuff will play against big league hitters.

19. Blake Swihart, C, Boston Red Sox

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    Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 22

    Current Level: Double-A Portland

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AA3002894442347.292.347.471

    Midseason Update: Arguably the most underrated catcher in the minor leagues (not anymore, I guess), Swihart is quietly putting together an outstanding season at Double-A Portland on both sides of the ball.

    At the dish, the 22-year-old switch-hitter has posted an .817 OPS with 28 extra-base hits through 72 games, while also making contact at a 76.7 percent clip. Defensively, Swihart has thrown out 52 percent (25 of 48) of all base stealers this season and is yet to allow a passed ball in 64 games behind the plate.

18. Joc Pederson, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Age: 22

    Current Level: Triple-A Albuquerque 

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AAA332311742205795.319.437.568

    Midseason Update: Pederson continues to fire on all cylinders this season, as he's currently among the league leaders in the Pacific Coast League in on-base percentage and OPS, home runs, slugging and stolen bases.

    The 22-year-old should be the first player called up from the minors once the Dodgers can offer him at least several starts per week, though there’s always a chance the organization uses him as trade bait this summer in order to improve its on-field product at the major league level.

17. Austin Hedges, C, San Diego Padres

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 21

    Current Level: Double-A San Antonio

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+2982453201549.242.287.368

    Midseason Update: Hedges struggled to get things started at the plate this season—his first full campaign at the Double-A level—with a .581 OPS and 13-0 strikeout-to-walk ratio through 18 games. Since then, however, the 21-year-old backstop has picked up the pace a bit offensively, with a .681 OPS, 19 extra-base hits and 24 RBI in his last 56 contests.

    More importantly, Hedges has posted a 37 percent caught-stealing rate this season with only three passed balls in 68 games behind the plate.

16. Julio Urias, LHP, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 17

    Current Level: High-A Rancho Cucamonga

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A133.4452.11.299.2260.54.310.0

    Midseason Update: Urias emerged as a can’t-miss prospect last season as a 16-year-old at Low-A Great Lakes, and he’s established himself as one of the game’s premier pitching prospects this year at High-A Rancho Cucamonga.

    The left-hander possesses a truly special combination of stuff and pitchability—not to mention a repeatable delivery and smooth arm action—as he already sits in the low 90s, bumps 94 to 95 mph with his fastball and adeptly mixes in a plus curveball and promising changeup.

15. Robert Stephenson, RHP, Cincinnati Reds

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Age: 21

    Current Level: Double-A Pensacola

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    AA173.9793.01.312.2161.04.69.0

    Midseason Update: Stephenson has held his own this season at Double-A Pensacola with a respectable 3.97 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 93 innings. However, the right-hander’s inconsistent command has led to an elevated walk rate (4.6 BB/9), while his tendency to pitch up in the zone with his mid-to-upper-90s fastball has allowed hitters to take him deep 10 times.

    That said, Stephenson is still young for the level, so the fact that he’s held opposing hitters to a .216 batting average and has missed exactly one bat per inning speaks volumes about his potential.

14. Corey Seager, SS, Los Angeles Dodgers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 20

    Current Level: High-A Rancho Cucamonga

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+.36153186852974.352.410.633

    Midseason Update: Seager struggled at High-A Rancho Cucamonga during the final month of the 2013 regular season, as he batted just .160 with 31 strikeouts in 27 games following a promotion from Low-A Great Lakes.

    However, Seager has been one of the more impressive hitters in the minor leagues this season back at Rancho, as he’s hit for both average and power while basically mastering the level. He’s learned to turn on the ball more consistently this season and has done so without detracting his innate feel for driving the ball to the opposite field. It shouldn’t be long until the Dodgers move him up to Double-A.

13. Noah Syndergaard, RHP, New York Mets

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    Rob Foldy/Getty Images

    Age: 21

    Current Level: Triple-A Las Vegas

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    AAA165.3179.21.506.3031.02.69.3

    Midseason Update: Syndergaard’s performance at Triple-A Las Vegas this season has been frustrating, as he’s continued to miss bats at a favorable rate and limit free passes but has also been knocked around at times in the Pacific Coast League.

    The 21-year-old gave the baseball world a scare last month when he hit the disabled list with a minor elbow injury, but he’s since returned to the mound and appears to be fully healthy. The Mets have stated that Syndergaard isn't a lock to reach the major leagues this season, though I imagine that could change with a strong second half at Triple-A Las Vegas.

12. Archie Bradley, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

    Age: 21

    Current Level: Double-A Mobile

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    RK14.504.01.500.2780.02.213.5
    AA31.4212.21.579.2620.06.42.8 
    AAA55.1824.11.562.2770.04.48.5
    Total93.9541.01.561.2730.04.87.2

    Midseason Update: Bradley has spent a majority of the season on the disabled list due to a mild flexor strain in his right elbow, but the 21-year-old is now healthy and gradually working his way back from the injury.

    His latest rehab outings have come at Double-A Mobile, and once the organization is confident with his progress Bradley should return to Triple-A Reno and make his case for a late-season call-up.

11. Miguel Sano, 3B, Minnesota Twins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 21

    Current Level: N/A

    2014 Stats: N/A (Out for season)

    Midseason Update: Sano underwent Tommy John surgery early in the spring and isn't expected to return before the end of the regular season.

    Though it's a lost year of development for the 21-year-old, the injury shouldn't affect his power and therefore hasn't negatively impacted his ranking.

10. Jon Gray, RHP, Colorado Rockies

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    Rob Tringali/Getty Images

    Age: 22

    Current Level: Double-A Tulsa

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    AA173.7788.1.2440.92.78.3 

    Midseason Update: Gray has been impressive this year in his first full professional season, as the 22-year-old right-hander has pitched well against advanced competition at Double-A Tulsa.

    That said, he’s also experienced some growing pains here and there, which was expected given his lack of professional experience. It’ll be interesting to see how the Rockies handle Gray’s development during the second half of the season, especially after Eddie Butler’s injury in early June following his big-league debut.

9. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Baltimore Orioles

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 21

    Current Level: High-A Frederick

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    SS30.6015.0.1890.01.813.2 
    A+27.047.2.2900.04.96.1 
    Total52.7822.2.2260.02.810.7 

    Midseason Update: Bundy continues to work his way back from Tommy John surgery last spring and recently reached High-A Frederick after a series of dominant starts for Short Season Aberdeen.

    If all goes as planned in his recovery, Bundy could be ready to rejoin the Baltimore Orioles around the beginning of August.

8. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Washington Nationals

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Age: 19

    Current Level: Low-A Hagerstown

    2014 Stats

    LevelGSERAIPWHIPBAAHR/9BB/9K/9
    A142.4765.21.081.1960.83.39.9

    Midseason Update: Giolito’s workload has been (and will continue to be) limited by the organization as he continues to work back from Tommy John surgery, but it hasn’t prevented the right-hander from absolutely dominating hitters in the South Atlantic League.

    The 19-year-old is simply too good to remain at the Low-A level much longer, though it will be interesting to see how the Nationals handle his development moving forward in his first full season back from the elbow injury.

7. Joey Gallo, 3B, Texas Rangers

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 20

    Current Level: Double-A Frisco

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+24633215055164.323.463.735
    AA11617102301449.277.371.644 
    Total362503183565113.307.434.703

    Midseason Update: Gallo led all minor league hitters last season with 40 home runs (38 of which came while playing for Low-A Hickory), and he’s on pace to shatter that mark with 31 home runs (which ties him with Kris Bryant for the minor league lead) through his first 85 games, including 10 in his first 27 games following a promotion to Double-A Frisco.

    Beyond his legitimate 80-grade power, the 20-year-old slugger has shown better plate discipline and pitch recognition this season, as he’s drastically improved both his strikeout and walk rates and hit for a high average without sacrificing any power.

6. Javier Baez, SS, Chicago Cubs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 21

    Current Level: Triple-A Iowa

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AAA3443414531528109.240.305.448

    Midseason Update: Baez got off to a horrendous start this season at Triple-A Iowa, batting .172 with a .617 OPS and 22 strikeouts in April over 15 games.

    However, the 21-year-old has since improved his OPS in each subsequent month and has also cut some of the swing-and-miss from his game with 20 strikeouts in his last 20 games. Baez still has the ceiling of a future All-Star, but right now his raw approach isn’t ready for the major leagues.

5. Addison Russell, SS, Chicago Cubs

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Age: 20

    Current Level: Double-A Tennessee

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+ (A's)18001126.188.278.188
    AA (A's)57518388.333.439.500 
    AA (Cubs)14000005.143.143.143
    Total8951941019.269.360.372

    Midseason Update: Russell missed most of the first half with a hamstring injury, but he’s been fully healthy now since early June and is playing well against advanced competition in Double-A. Russell’s trade to the Cubs has actually improved his prospect stock, as he’s more likely to stay at shortstop than future teammate Javier Baez and therefore ranked higher.

    He was unlikely to reach the major leagues this season with the A’s on account of the lost time developmentally, and he definitely won’t as a member of the Cubs, with Baez and Starlin Castro now ahead of him on the organizational depth chart.

4. Francisco Lindor, SS, Cleveland Indians

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    Paul Sancya/Associated Press

    Age: 20

    Current Level: Double-A Akron

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AA35921645233858.282.358.399 

    Midseason Update: After getting his first taste of Double-A late last season, Lindor has excelled on both sides of the ball this year despite being one of the youngest everyday players in the Eastern League. In addition to his trademark defensive prowess at shortstop, Lindor is once again hitting for both average and modest power, reaching base at a high rate thanks to plate discipline that exceeds his years and stealing bases with efficiency.

    All signs point to the 20-year-old receiving a second-half call-up before taking over at shortstop for the Tribe in 2015.

3. Kris Bryant, 3B, Chicago Cubs

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 22

    Current Level: Triple-A Iowa

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    AA29742225884377.355.458.702
    AAA961592331030.329.400.718
    Total3935731811153107.348.444.706 

    Midseason Update: Kris Bryant continues to pass every test the organization throws his way and has done nothing but surpass all expectations since the Chicago Cubs selected him second overall in last year’s draft. The 22-year-old slugger has put up remarkable numbers this season between the Double- and Triple-A levels, as he currently ranks among the minor league leaders in every offensive category.

    Bryant will always have some swing-and-miss to his game, though that’s standard among power hitters who work deep counts. However, his on-base skills and feel for hitting make him more than a one-dimensional player. He's already made a strong case for a call-up with the Cubs later this season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the club has him finish the year at Triple-A Iowa.

2. Carlos Correa, SS, Houston Astros

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    Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

    Age: 19

    Current Level: High-A Lancaster

    2014 Stats

    LevelGPARXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+622935028657203645.325.416.510

    Midseason Update: As one of the younger everyday players at the High-A level this season, Correa once again was making impressive developmental strides until suffering a season-ending ankle injury last week while sliding into third base.

    He's already undergone surgery and is expected to make a full recovery, which puts him on track to debut with the Astros at some point next season.

1. Byron Buxton, OF, Minnesota Twins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Age: 20

    Current Level: High-A Fort Myers

    2014 Stats

    LevelPAXBHHRRBISBBBKAVGOBPSLG
    A+292121110.107.138.250 

    Midseason Update: Buxton is still the sport’s top prospect despite missing roughly half of the season with a wrist injury, as there’s still no other player who can match his combination of elite athleticism, legitimate five-tool potential and advanced secondary skills. Thankfully, the 20-year-old is now fully healthy and back in action at High-A Fort Myers, and he should have no problem reaching Double-A, where he was expected to begin the year, by season's end.

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