Each MLB Team's Untouchable Top Prospect Entering 2016

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2016

Each MLB Team's Untouchable Top Prospect Entering 2016

0 of 25

    Dodgers prospect Julio Urias
    Dodgers prospect Julio UriasHannah Foslien/Getty Images

    It's risky these days to call any prospect untouchable, as we've seen too many blockbuster deals in recent years to truly believe anyone is 100 percent safe from being moved in the right deal.

    That said, a handful of prospects around the league come awfully close to being untouchable, as their future upside and expected long-term role with their teams make trading them highly unlikely.

    Ahead is a look at each MLB team's most untouchable prospect, though a few teams didn't necessarily qualify for this exercise, as you'll see in the first two slides.

    Is this a 100 percent guarantee that none of these players will be traded in 2016? Definitely not, but it would be a shock if any of them were moved.

    Note: Players who still have rookie eligibility but are expected to begin the 2016 season on the major league roster were not considered for this article. That notably includes Jon Gray (COL), Corey Seager (LAD), Byron Buxton (MIN) and Steven Matz (NYM).

Rebuilding Teams That Won't Be Trading Any Top Prospects

1 of 25

    Phillies SS J.P. Crawford
    Phillies SS J.P. CrawfordBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    Atlanta Braves

    As they continue their rebuilding efforts, the Atlanta Braves have quickly assembled one of the deepest and most talented farm systems in baseball.

    In the past calendar year, they have acquired the likes of Dansby Swanson, Sean Newcomb, Aaron Blair, Touki Toussaint, Manny Banuelos, Tyrell Jenkins, Max Fried, Chris Ellis, Zachary Bird, Mallex Smith and Dustin Peterson.

    At this point, they won't be trading any of them or any other top prospects for that matter, as they remain several years from contention.

    Cincinnati Reds

    After moving Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake at the trade deadline, the Cincinnati Reds have continued their aggressive approach to rebuilding by shipping Todd Frazier to the Chicago White Sox in a three-team deal.

    That trade has added Jose Peraza and Scott Schebler to a farm system that also includes high-end prospects like Jesse Winker, Robert Stephenson, Amir Garrett and a number of other high-ceiling prospects.

    Similar to the Braves, the Reds won't be trading any of their marquee prospects anytime soon.

    Milwaukee Brewers

    The Milwaukee Brewers farm system is among the most improved in baseball over the past year, and the trade that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Houston Astros had a lot to do with that.

    That said, their top prospect by a wide margin is still homegrown shortstop Orlando Arcia, and he is one of a handful of players who could make the jump to the majors this year.

    The Reds and Brewers have clearly fallen back in the NL Central standings, so they should continue to look for ways to add young talent in the years to come.

    Philadelphia Phillies

    All that remains of the 2011 Philadelphia Phillies, the last Phillies team to make the postseason, are veterans Carlos Ruiz and Ryan Howard.

    Philly traded the final big piece of those glory days at the deadline last year when it shipped ace Cole Hamels to the Texas Rangers, and in the process the team earned a wealth of prospect talent to bolster a farm system that was already on the rise.

    Nick Williams, Jorge Alfaro, Jake Thompson, Mark Appel, Zach Eflin, Darnell Sweeney, Thomas Eshelman, Ben Lively, Alberto Tirado, Tom Windle and Rule 5 pick Tyler Goeddel have all joined the farm system, and the Phillies will continue to look for more pieces to build around going forward.

Weak Farm Systems That Don't Have Any Untouchable Prospects

2 of 25

    Padres OF Hunter Renfroe
    Padres OF Hunter RenfroeMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    Detroit Tigers

    The Detroit Tigers' farm system received a bit of a boost last year when David Price, Yoenis Cespedes and Joakim Soria were traded at the deadline, but they're still thin on front-line prospects.

    Right-handers Michael Fulmer and outfielders Derek Hill and Steven Moya represent the cream of the crop among their prospect talent, and if the real deal came along, it's hard to see any of those three or anyone else in the organization being deemed untouchable.

    Los Angeles Angels

    Left-hander Sean Newcomb and right-hander Chris Ellis were the consensus top prospects in the Los Angeles Angels organization entering the offseason, and L.A. sent both to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for shortstop Andrelton Simmons this winter.

    The team does still have a trio of solid pitching prospects atop its organizational ladder in Victor Alcantara, Joe Gatto and Nate Smith, but none is even a top-100 prospect at this point.

    San Diego Padres

    The San Diego Padres added a pair of top prospects to the mix this offseason when they acquired outfielder Manuel Margot and shortstop Javier Guerra from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for closer Craig Kimbrel.

    Those two join outfielder Hunter Renfroe as the marquee prospects in the organization, but none of them is completely off the table in trade talks as general manager A.J. Preller continues to shape the organization and try to build a winner.

Arizona Diamondbacks: 2B/SS Isan Diaz

3 of 25

    2015 Stats (ROK)



    A second-round pick in the 2014 draft who was signed away from a commitment to Vanderbilt, infielder Isan Diaz hit .187/.289/.330 over 212 plate appearances in his pro debut.

    According to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook, that inauspicious start left him ranked as the No. 27 prospect in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization entering last season, but the native of Puerto Rico saw his stock skyrocket in 2015.

    The 19-year-old annihilated Pioneer League pitching, winning MVP honors and leading the league in slugging (.640), doubles (25) and extra-base hits (44).

    "A left-handed hitter, Diaz's combination of plus bat speed and strong bat-to-ball skills enables him to make hard contact and drive the ball with authority across the whole field," wrote MLB.com.

    He profiles better as a second baseman over the long term, but he has tremendous upside, and given his age and ceiling, there's no reason the Diamondbacks would consider moving him at this point.

Baltimore Orioles: RHP Hunter Harvey

4 of 25

    Hunter Harvey
    Hunter HarveyReinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

    2015 Stats

    Injured, did not play


    The son of former All-Star closer Bryan Harvey, right-hander Hunter Harvey was taken with the No. 22 pick in the 2013 draft and quickly became one of the game's fastest-rising pitching prospects.

    He made his full-season debut for Single-A Delmarva in 2014 and finished the season 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA, 1.129 WHIP and 106 strikeouts in 87.2 innings while earning a spot on the Team USA roster for the Futures Game.

    However, his breakout season ended in July when he suffered a strained flexor mass in his throwing elbow. That was followed by a fractured fibula and then a recurrence of that same flexor mass issue, which kept him sidelined for the entire 2015 campaign.

    Despite those injury issues, he remains the top prospect in the Orioles system, and at 21 years old, he still has plenty of time to get things back on track.

    According to Roch Kubatko of MASN Sports, Harvey is participating in a minicamp with fellow prospect Dylan Bundy, and his elbow is said to once again be 100 percent.

Boston Red Sox: RHP Anderson Espinoza

5 of 25

    2015 Stats (ROK/A)



    Considering it cost the Boston Red Sox a whopping $31.5 million in penalty money alone to sign Cuban phenom Yoan Moncada, it wouldn't be a stretch by any means to call him the team's most untouchable prospect.

    However, another prospect from that same 2014 international signing class is quickly rising up the ranks in his own right: pitcher Anderson Espinoza.

    Boston signed the right-hander out of Venezuela for a $1.8 million bonus, and he made his way stateside this past season where he dominated the Gulf Coast League to the tune of a 0.68 ERA, 0.825 WHIP and 40 strikeouts in 40 innings of work.

    All signs point to him opening the season in Single-A at the age of 18, and while the Red Sox have no reason to rush him, he could move quicker than the average teenager.

    MLB.com's Prospect Watch had the following to say:

    Espinoza may stand just 6 feet and 165 pounds, but his small stature belies big-time stuff. He already can reach the upper 90s with his fastball and shows the ability to spin a tight curveball. He displays feel for a sinking changeup as well, giving him the three pitches needed to start.

    Espinoza has advanced pitchability, too, repeating his delivery and throwing strikes much more easily than a typical 17-year-old.

    With comparisons already being made to a young Pedro Martinez, it's fair to say the Red Sox have zero interest in parting with Espinoza.

Chicago Cubs: C Willson Contreras

6 of 25

    2015 Stats (AA)



    With Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Kyle Schwarber, Jorge Soler and Javier Baez all graduating to the major league ranks, shortstop prospect Gleyber Torres has taken over as the consensus top prospect in the Chicago Cubs system.

    However, if one prospect could be deemed untouchable at this point, it's catcher Willson Contreras.

    After first spending two years in the Dominican Summer League and then two more years with Low-A Boise, Contreras has steadily climbed through the Cubs system in recent years, and that all culminated in a breakout season in 2015.

    His .333 average captured the Double-A Southern League batting title, and his ratio of 57 walks to 62 strikeouts was indicative of his improving overall approach at the plate.

    Originally signed as a third baseman, Contreras is still refining his receiving skills, but he's already come a long way.

    Assuming Schwarber stays in a corner outfield spot long-term, it's Contreras who profiles as the catcher of the future for the Cubs. Given how hard it is to find a true franchise catcher these days, the Cubs won't be trading him anytime soon.

Chicago White Sox: SS Tim Anderson

7 of 25

    Tim Anderson
    Tim AndersonMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    2015 Stats (AA)



    The No. 17 pick in the 2013 draft, shortstop Tim Anderson jumped right to Single-A to begin his pro career, and his bat has continued to move him quickly up the organizational ladder.

    In his first three seasons, he's hit .301/.343/.429 and showed some added pop this past season with 38 extra-base hits to go along with 49 stolen bases.

    From an offensive standpoint, the 22-year-old should be ready to make the leap to the majors at some point in 2016, but his defense is still a work in progress.

    "Though Anderson has the athleticism, actions and arm strength needed at shortstop, it's not a given that he'll remain at the position. He lacks soft hands and still is figuring out his footwork after making 34 errors in 81 games last season," wrote MLB.com.

    However, MLB.com goes on to say that if he "can't cut it as an infielder" he has the skill set to make the move to center field, should that need arise.

    Either way, his all-around offensive game and superior athleticism make him a long-term piece of the puzzle for the South Siders.

Cleveland Indians: CF Clint Frazier

8 of 25

    Clint Frazier
    Clint FrazierMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    2015 Stats (A+)



    The Cleveland Indians are in desperate need of a shot in the arm offensively at the major league level, and they figure to get one in the near future from a farm system that quietly ranks as one of the best in baseball.

    They are particularly stacked with outfield talent, and while guys like Bradley Zimmer, Tyler Naquin and James Ramsey may be closer to reaching the majors, it's Clint Frazier who has arguably the highest ceiling in the entire system.

    The No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 draft, Frazier has tremendous raw power, and he has already begun to flash it. He tallied 36 doubles and 16 home runs in 501 at-bats in a full season with High-A Lynchburg.

    There is still a good deal of swing-and-miss to his game, but he made notable strides last season in both his strikeout rate (27.6 to 21.3 percent) and walk rate (7.1 to 11.6 percent). There's no reason he can't also hit for a solid average down the road.

    Given their glaring need for bats and their status as a small-market team, it's hard to see the Indians parting with any of their young bats at this point. Frazier in particular will be off-limits in any trade talks.

Colorado Rockies: SS Brendan Rodgers

9 of 25

    Brendan Rodgers
    Brendan RodgersAssociated Press

    2015 Stats (ROK)



    One would think that any pitcher with a pulse would rank as the most untouchable commodity for the Colorado Rockies, but it's actually a shortstop with a high ceiling who gets the nod here.

    Brendan Rodgers was the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft, but he was the No. 1 overall talent on the board, according to both Baseball America and MLB.com's Prospect Watch.

    His selection in June was followed shortly thereafter by the team's decision to finally pull the trigger on dealing franchise shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who was under contract through the 2020 season.

    It will take a few years for Rodgers to reach the majors, even as one of the more polished high school players to come along in recent years, but all signs point to his joining Nolan Arenado on the left side of the Rockies infield for years to come.

    He generates good power with his plus bat speed without sacrificing his hit tool, and he has the tools to not only stick at shortstop but also be a plus defender.

    Don't expect to see the 19-year-old in Coors Field anytime soon, but he's a franchise-caliber player in the making for the Rockies.

Houston Astros: RHP Francis Martes

10 of 25

    2015 Stats (A/A+/AA)



    After graduating Carlos Correa and Lance McCullers to the majors and trading away both Mark Appel and Vincent Velasquez, the top of the Houston Astros' prospect rankings has a decidedly different look heading into 2016.

    A trio of first-round picks from the 2015 draft now headlines the minor league ranks, as shortstop Alex Bregman and outfielders Kyle Tucker and Daz Cameron all have legitimate star potential.

    However, it's pitching prospect Francis Martes who has quietly climbed through the ranks and taken over as the team's most untouchable prospect.

    Acquired from the Marlins as part of the deal that sent Jarred Cosart to Miami, the 20-year-old began 2015 as the No. 17 prospect in the organization, according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.

    He made his full-season debut for Single-A Quad Cities to begin the year and posted a 1.04 ERA and 0.885 ERA in 52 innings of work to receive a quick promotion to High-A, before finishing out the year with three starts at the Double-A level.

    He'll likely be back in Double-A to open 2016, but he'll play the entire season at the age of 20, so he's well ahead of the developmental curve.

    His secondary stuff is still developing, but he has the potential to be a legitimate front-line starter once he reaches the majors.

Kansas City Royals: SS Raul Adalberto Mondesi

11 of 25

    Raul A. Mondesi
    Raul A. MondesiMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    2015 Stats (AA)



    The Kansas City Royals mortgaged a good deal of their high-end prospect talent at the deadline last year to acquire Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist. Considering the result was a World Series title, it appears they made the right decision.

    While their prospect pool has thinned as a result, Raul A. Mondesi is still the headliner and one of the most promising middle-infield prospects in the league.

    The 20-year-old has been promoted aggressively every step of the way, spending the entire 2015 season in Double-A before receiving a surprise call-up to the World Series roster.

    His offensive game is still a work in progress, but the switch-hitter has a chance to develop some solid gap power, and he's already a plus defender with legitimate Gold Glove potential at shortstop.

    With incumbent shortstop Alcides Escobar headed for free agency after the 2017 season, assuming his option is exercised, the Royals figure to transition to Mondesi as their shortstop of the future.

Los Angeles Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias

12 of 25

    Julio Urias
    Julio UriasChris Carlson/Associated Press

    2015 Stats (ROK/A+/AA/AAA)



    Since we're not considering Corey Seager for this exercise with him all but locked into the starting shortstop job to begin the 2016 season, left-hander Julio Urias is an easy choice for the Los Angeles Dodgers' most untouchable prospect.

    Urias dominated the High-A level in 2014 to the tune of a 2.36 ERA, 1.106 WHIP and 11.2 strikeouts per nine innings in 87.2 innings, and he did it as the youngest player in full-season ball at the age of 17.

    Elective eye surgery kept Urias on the sidelines for a month last year, but with the Dodgers keeping him on a strict innings limit, it really didn't cost him any innings or development time in the grand scheme of things.

    He'll likely begin 2016 back in Double-A, but don't be surprised if he's in the majors before his 20th birthday on Aug. 12.

    Guys like Lucas Giolito and Tyler Glasnow may be better prospects at this very moment, but no pitching prospect in the game has a higher ceiling than Urias.

    The Dodgers won't rush him or risk injuring him because his future is too bright, but he could force their hand with a strong start to 2016.

Miami Marlins: RHP Tyler Kolek

13 of 25

    2015 Stats (A)



    The No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft and the top pick to sign after Brady Aiken failed to come to terms with the Houston Astros, Tyler Kolek is the prototypical burly, hard-throwing Texas high schooler.

    With a fastball that can touch triple digits and the makings of a plus curveball, Kolek dominated high school hitters during his senior year, posting a 0.36 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 60.1 innings of work, per MLB.com.

    However, command has been a serious issue in the early stages of his pro career, as he's walked 74 batters in 130.2 innings for a 5.1 BB/9 rate.

    To put it simply, if the Marlins were to include him in any sort of trade right now, they would almost certainly be selling low based on the early returns.

    On potential alone he's the team's top prospect, and continuing to work toward molding him into a future front-line starter seems like the only logical option for the Marlins at this point.

Minnesota Twins: RHP Jose Berrios

14 of 25

    Jose Berrios
    Jose BerriosJerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

    2015 Stats (AA/AAA)



    Once squarely behind the likes of Alex Meyer, Trevor May and Kyle Gibson among Minnesota Twins pitching prospects, it now seems likely that Jose Berrios winds up being the best of the bunch.

    A breakout 2014 campaign put the right-hander on the top prospect map, as he checked in at No. 36 on the list heading into last season.

    He followed that up with an even better season in 2015, firmly establishing himself as one of the best pitching prospects in the game and causing more than a few raised eyebrows when he was not among the contending Twins' late-season call-ups.

    Still just 21 years old, Berrios likely won't break camp with a rotation spot, but he'll reach the big leagues at some point in 2016 and could quickly become the team's best pitcher.

    The Twins already have a terrific young core of position players to build around, so Berrios represents exactly the type of player they need to push them over the top moving forward.

New York Mets: SS Amed Rosario

15 of 25

    Amed Rosario
    Amed RosarioMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    2015 Stats (A+/AA)



    Despite a constant stream of people saying the New York Mets needed to find an upgrade at the shortstop position, the team stuck with Wilmer Flores, who wound up posting decent offensive numbers with a .703 OPS, 22 doubles and 16 home runs.

    That apparently was not enough to convince the team he deserved to be the long-term answer at the position, though, as it went out and signed a remarkably similar player this offseason when it gave Asdrubal Cabrera a two-year, $18.5 million deal.

    So what does all of that have to do with the Mets' most untouchable prospect?

    According to Baseball America, four of the team's top 10 prospects are shortstops, as Amed Rosario (No. 2), Gavin Cecchini (No. 4), Luis Carpio (No. 7) and Matt Reynolds (No. 9) all man the position.

    Cecchini is the closest to being big league-ready after hitting .317/.377/.442 in a full season at the Double-A level, but it's Rosario who has the highest ceiling. With the position now locked up for the next two seasons, he's the more important long-term piece.

    The 20-year-old has been pushed aggressively to this point, as he made the leap to High-A to open last season and still held his own against significantly older competition.

    He's still at least a couple of years away, but Rosario could finally be the long-term answer to a position that has been a revolving door since Jose Reyes walked.

New York Yankees: RF Aaron Judge

16 of 25

    Aaron Judge
    Aaron JudgeMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

    2015 Stats (AA/AAA)



    The 20 home runs in 478 at-bats may not leap off the page, but few prospects in baseball have as much raw power as New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge.

    An imposing figure in the batter's box at 6'7" and 275 pounds, Judge profiles as the prototypical power-hitting right fielder, though he is still working on turning that power potential into game power.

    MLB.com's Prospect Watch explained:

    Few players can match the strength and leverage Judge creates with his 6-foot-7, 275-pound frame. He has huge raw power, though he's content for now to use a shorter stroke and the entire field, working counts and producing line drives.

    A more advanced hitter than expected, he currently projects to bat .275 with 20-25 homers per season but could produce more power (and hit for less average) if he becomes more aggressive and turns on more pitches.

    The Yankees have shown a newfound dedication to developing in-house talent, and it was Luis Severino and Judge who have appeared to be untouchable every step of the way. Now that Severino has used up his rookie eligibility, Judge is an easy choice here.

    With veteran right fielder Carlos Beltran set to hit free agency next offseason, Judge figures to be in line for an everyday job in 2017.

Oakland Athletics: SS Franklin Barreto

17 of 25

    2015 Stats (A+)



    For those of you who forgot, or simply blocked it out of your memories, here's a quick recap of what the Oakland Athletics received for eventual AL MVP Josh Donaldson when they traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays last offseason:

    • 2B/3B Brett Lawrie
    • LHP Sean Nolin
    • RHP Kendall Graveman
    • SS Franklin Barreto

    Lawrie has since been traded to the Chicago White Sox, while Nolan and Graveman both profile as back-of-the-rotation starters long-term and will be among a handful of pitchers battling for the No. 5 starter job this spring.

    Then there's Barreto, the one player who has a chance to turn what has looked like a disaster of a trade in the short term into a move that could actually benefit the A's.

    Young shortstop talent remains one of the most valuable commodities in the game, and Barreto built on a strong first two seasons in the minors with terrific numbers in a full season with High-A Stockton.

    There's a surprising amount of power packed into his 5'9" frame, and while his defense is still a work in progress (34 errors in 2015), the 19-year-old has as much upside as any middle infield prospect in the game.

Pittsburgh Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow

18 of 25

    Tyler Glasnow
    Tyler GlasnowGene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    2015 Stats (A-/AA/AAA)



    "Dominant" doesn't quite do it justice when talking about Pittsburgh Pirates prospect Tyler Glasnow during his rapid ascent through the minor league ranks.

    A fifth-round pick in 2011, Glasnow climbed three levels last season to reach Triple-A, and in parts of four minor league seasons he's posted a 2.07 ERA, 1.059 WHIP and 501 strikeouts in 383.1 innings of work.

    He's an imposing figure on the mound at 6'8", and he hasn't dealt with the mechanical problems that often plague pitchers his size.

    The 22-year-old has succeeded every step of the way to this point, including notching a 2.20 ERA in eight starts at the Triple-A level to close out last season. It's only a matter of time before he joins Gerrit Cole atop the Pittsburgh rotation.

    Lucas Giolito and Julio Urias are the only pitching prospects who are held in higher regard than Glasnow, and he has all the tools to be just as good as, or even better than, those two. For a small-market team like the Pirates, a controllable young arm like Glasnow is exactly what they need to continue succeeding.

San Francisco Giants: RHP Tyler Beede

19 of 25

    Tyler Beede
    Tyler BeedeBrace Hemmelgarn/Getty Images

    2015 Stats (A+/AA)



    Since drafting and developing the trio of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants have had some trouble turning their early-round pitching selections into big league contributors.

    Kyle Crick and Chris Stratton have both fallen short of their first-round pedigrees, while guys like Martin Acosta, Ty Blach, Seth Rosin, Jason Stoffel, Bryce Bandilla and Chris Marlowe all went in the first five rounds between 2009 and 2012 but have come up short in their development.

    However, there's a good chance Tyler Beede helps reverse that trend.

    Drafted in the first round out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays, Beede instead honored his commitment to Vanderbilt and wound up going No. 14 overall to the Giants in 2014.

    He dominated High-A hitters to begin the 2015 season, pitching to a 2.24 ERA and 1.146 WHIP over nine starts, but he struggled to make the jump to Double-A, where he showed some command problems with a 4.4 BB/9 mark.

    Despite that bump in the road, Beede still has all the makings of a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter, with potential for more if his feel for the curveball improves and he refines his control a bit.

Seattle Mariners: RF Alex Jackson

20 of 25

    2015 Stats (A-/A)



    Similar to the Miami Marlins and right-hander Tyler Kolek, the Seattle Mariners would be selling low if they even considered trading outfielder Alex Jackson at this point.

    Viewed by most as the top high school bat in the 2014 draft, Jackson was taken No. 6 overall by the Mariners, who quickly moved him from behind the plate to a corner outfield spot where his offensive game should still play.

    "Jackson has an enormous amount of bat speed and strength from the right side of the plate that allows him to generate a lot of power. He's far from an all-or-nothing hitter, though, and should eventually hit for average as well along the way once he learns to tone down his swing," wrote MLB.com.

    Despite his huge upside and impressive raw tools, his 2015 season was nothing short of a disaster.

    After posting mediocre numbers at the Low-A level, he was completely overmatched in Single-A, hitting .157 with a .453 OPS and striking out 35 times in 121 plate appearances.

    The Mariners have no reason to rush the 20-year-old, and while the early returns have been poor, the middle-of-the-order potential is still enough to make him the team's top prospect.

St. Louis Cardinals: RHP Alex Reyes

21 of 25

    2015 Stats (ROK/A+/AA)



    The No. 2 prospect in the St. Louis Cardinals organization and No. 51 prospect in baseball heading into the 2015 season, Alex Reyes firmly established himself as one of the game's elite starting pitching options while reaching the Double-A level.

    His 151 strikeouts in just 101.1 innings of work speak to how overpowering his three-pitch repertoire can be, and despite the fact that he's still relatively raw, he looks to have all the makings of a future front-line starter.

    The 21-year-old was hit with a 50-game suspension for a second positive marijuana test in November, according to Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com, so that could delay his arrival in the majors a bit after some had him pegged as a potential late-season call-up this coming season.

    Despite that setback, the Cardinals would no doubt look to trade from the minor league pool of Jack Flaherty, Marco Gonzales, Tim Cooney and Luke Weaver before they ever considered moving Reyes.

Tampa Bay Rays: SS Willy Adames

22 of 25

    2015 Stats (A+)



    Similar to Franklin Barreto in Oakland, it's shortstop prospect Willy Adames who will eventually determine how well the Tampa Bay Rays fared in the trade that sent David Price to the Detroit Tigers ahead of the 2014 trade deadline.

    Adames spent the entire 2014 season at the Single-A level, where he hit .271/.353/.429 with 41 extra-base hits as an 18-year-old.

    His numbers weren't quite as good at the High-A level, but he continued to show advanced plate discipline (11.8 percent walk rate) and solid gap power that could develop into more down the road.

    The next step in his development will be to improve his contact rate, as he struck out at a 27 percent clip last season, but expect the Rays to continue to promote him aggressively.

    It's also hard to see the Rays trading Minor League Player of the Year Blake Snell after his breakout season on the mound, but given their abundance of controllable pitching, Adames seems like the right choice here.

Texas Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara

23 of 25

    Nomar Mazara
    Nomar MazaraElsa/Getty Images

    2015 Stats (AA/AAA)



    Nomar Mazara entered the Texas Rangers organization with plenty of hype after signing for a then-record $4.95 million bonus as part of the 2011 international free-agent crop.

    He's quickly proved worth that significant investment, posting an .840 OPS with 22 home runs and 89 RBI while reaching Double-A in 2014 and more than holding his own in a full season in the high minors this past season.

    His 9.3 percent walk rate and 18.3 percent strikeout rate both speak to a hitter with an advanced approach and one who should have no problem turning his raw power into game power at the highest level.

    He also has a cannon for an arm in right field, racking up 29 outfield assists the past two seasons, so he should allow Shin-Soo Choo to slide over to left field once he reaches the majors.

    It's not out of the question to think the Rangers could sell high on Lewis Brinson after his breakout 2015 performance, but Mazara won't be going anywhere.

Toronto Blue Jays: CF Anthony Alford

24 of 25

    Anthony Alford (center)
    Anthony Alford (center)Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    2015 Stats (A/A+)



    It was tempting to put the Toronto Blue Jays in the category of teams where no prospect is untouchable, not necessarily because they are lacking in high-end prospect talent, but because they've dealt aggressively from their farm system in recent years to improve the big league roster.

    Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, Adeiny Hechavarria, Jake Marisnick, Daniel Norris, Justin Nicolino, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman, Franklin Barreto, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Alberto Tirado are among the top prospects the team has traded in recent years, so there's precedent to call no one untouchable.

    However, if anyone is close, it's outfielder Anthony Alford.

    An elite athlete who played football at Southern Mississippi, Alford only began focusing all of his attention on baseball in 2014, and he's already made significant strides.

    The potential is there for him to be a true five-tool talent, as MLB.com's Prospect Watch explains:

    Alford is an exceptional athlete, and his tools haven't been nearly as unrefined as feared. Though he'll need to cut down on his strikeouts, he has made a lot of hard contact and has considerable raw power he has yet to tap into.

    His plus-plus speed is a weapon on the bases and gives him a chance to remain in center field, while his strong arm makes right field a viable fallback position.

    With Jose Bautista closing in on free agency and Dalton Pompey failing to seize an everyday job last year, Alford is looking more and more important to the team's long-term plans.

Washington Nationals: RHP Lucas Giolito

25 of 25

    Lucas Giolito
    Lucas GiolitoMark Cunningham/Getty Images

    2015 Stats (A+/AA)



    Lucas Giolito was squarely in the running to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft; however, he slid to the Washington Nationals at No. 16 overall when he suffered a sprained UCL during his senior season.

    The injury eventually required Tommy John surgery, and the Nationals have brought him along slowly as a result, but they may not be able to hold him back for much longer.

    After going 10-2 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.000 WHIP and 10.1 K/9 in 98 innings of work at the Single-A level in 2014, he continued to impress last season while splitting his time between High-A and Double-A.

    As it stands, Joe Ross and Tanner Roark are set to replace Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister in the big league rotation, but Giolito could arrive for good and seize one of those spots at some point in the second half.

    He has electric stuff and legitimate No. 1 starter potential.

    All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted.