MLB Next: B/R's Top 100 Prospect Rankings at the Three-Quarter Mark

Joel Reuter@JoelReuterBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 18, 2017

Boston Red Sox's Rafael Devers follows through after hitting a solo home run, his first major-league hit, in the third inning of a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners, Wednesday, July 26, 2017, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

The MLB non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and the MiLB season is rapidly winding down, so it seems like the perfect time to update the top 100 prospects list.

When we last updated these rankings, on June 23, it was more about slotting in the latest wave of June draft picks than a full-scale reshuffling of the list.

This time around, there was plenty of movement from top to bottom for a fresh take on the prospect landscape.

Let's dive right into our updated list:

 Top 100 Prospects 
1img 2B Yoan Moncada(1)
2img SS Amed Rosario(3)
3img RF Eloy Jimenez(4)
4img SS Gleyber Torres(2)
5img 3B Rafael Devers(6)
6img OF Ronald Acunaimg(33)
7img 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr.(8)
8img CF Victor Robles(5)
9img 2B/SS Brendan Rodgers(7)
10img RHP Michael Kopech(13)
11img OF Kyle Tucker(14)
12img RHP Walker Buehlerimg(27)
13img 3B Nick Senzel(11)
14img RHP Brent Honeywell(20)
15img RHP Alex Reyes(9)
16img RHP Hunter Greene(10)
17img CF Lewis Brinson(12)
18img C Francisco Mejia(30)
19imgRHP Mitch Keller(16)
20img 2B Ozzie Albies(17)
21img RHP Triston McKenzie(19)
22img OF Clint Frazier(25)
23img LHP Kolby Allard(21)
24img SS Willy Adames(22)
25img CF Mickey Moniak(18)
26img 1B/LHP Brendan McKay(26)
27img OF Luis Robert(36)
28img LHP MacKenzie Gore(28)
29img OF Blake Rutherford(29)
30img SS Bo Bichetteimg(57)
31img OF Alex Verdugoimg(55)
32img RHP Mike Soroka(31)
33img RHP Cal Quantrill
34img RHP Forrest Whitleyimg(80)
35imgCF Austin Meadows(34)
36img C Carson Kelly(37)
37img RHP Dylan Cease(38)
38img CF Leody Taveras(39)
39img SS Nick Gordon(43)
40img OF Juan Soto(46)
41img RHP Franklin Perez(47)
42img 1B Dominic Smith(44)
43img SS/CF Royce Lewis
44img 2B/SS Franklin Barreto(45)
45img LHP Jay Groomeimg(35)
46img RHP Chance Adams(58)
47img RHP Kyle Wright(50)
48img OF Jesus Sanchezimg(70)
49img RHP Sixto Sanchezimg(72)
50img SS Carter Kieboomimg(67)
51img OF Kyle Lewis(61)
52img LHP A.J. Puk(62)
53img OF Anthony Alfordimg(42)
54img RHP Anderson Espinozaimg(23)
55img 1B Pavin Smith(52)
56img RHP Jack Flahertyimg(75)
57img SS Kevin Maitan(49)
58img RHP Erick Fedde(69)
59img SS Fernando Tatis Jr.img(NR)
60img RHP Shane Baz(68)
61img RHP Ian Andersonimg(77)
62img 3B Ryan McMahonimg(89)
63img RHP Yadier Alvarezimg(51)
64img RHP Reynaldo Lopezimg(91)
65img 2B/SS Luis Uriasimg(48)
66img IF Christian Arroyo(59)
67img RHP Lucas Giolito
68img OF Adam Haseley(73)
69img LHP Stephen Gonsalves(71)
70img RHP Alec Hansenimg(86)
71img 2B Scott Kingeryimg(NR)
72img RHP J.B. Bukauskas(78)
73img RHP Riley Pintimg(54)
74img OF Derek Fisher(82)
75img 2B Willie Calhoun(84)
76img C Chance Sisco(85)
77img OF Estevan Florialimg(NR)
78img RHP Fernando Romero(74)
79img OF Corey Rayimg(53)
80img LHP Adrian Morejonimg(NR)
81img 1B/OF Jake Bauers(81)
82img OF Taylor Trammell(94)
83img RHP Matt Manningimg(NR)
84img 1B Rhys Hoskins(98)
85img LHP Justus Sheffield(83)
86img OF Austin Haysimg(NR)
87img SS J.P. Crawfordimg(64)
88img RHP Tyler Mahle(92)
89img 3B Miguel Andujarimg(NR)
90img 2B/OF Keston Hiura(95)
91img OF Austin Beckimg(65)
92img RHP Jose De Leonimg(60)
93img OF Tyler O'Neill(96)
94img RHP Luis Ortiz(97)
95img LHP Luiz Goharaimg(NR)
96img 3B Michael Chavis(99)
97img OF Yusniel Diazimg(NR)
98img RHP Michel Baezimg(NR)
99img IF Isan Diaz(93)
100img LHP Braxton Garrett(100)

Graduated since previous update: 15. Francis Martes, HOU, 24. Ian Happ, CHC, 32. Bradley Zimmer, CLE, 40. Luke Weaver, STL, 79. Sean Newcomb, LAA, 87. Jacob Faria, TB, 88. Josh Hader, MIL, 90. Raimel Tapia, COL


Stock Rising

6. OF Ronald Acuna, Atlanta Braves

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Ronald Acuna is the youngest prospect in the Triple-A International League, but that hasn't stopped him from hitting .338/.403/.619 with 11 doubles, eight home runs and 21 RBI in 34 games since being promoted.

All told, he's hitting .320/.374/.539 with 28 doubles, 20 home runs, 70 RBI and 37 stolen bases over three minor league levels this season. He won't celebrate his 20th birthday until December.

It's been a meteoric rise for a prospect who had just 40 games above rookie ball under his belt when the season began.

With Yoan Moncada, Amed Rosario and Rafael Devers all likely to exhaust their rookie eligibility before the season is over, Acuna will be squarely in the conversation for the title of baseball's No. 1 prospect heading into next year.


34. RHP Forrest Whitley, Houston Astros

With a projectable 6'7" frame and a mid-90s fastball, it's not hard to see what the Houston Astros liked about Forrest Whitley when they took him with the No. 17 pick in the 2016 draft.

The 19-year-old was aggressively assigned to Single-A to begin his first full pro season, and he's responded better than anyone could have hoped, going 5-4 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 128 strikeouts in 83.2 innings.

That performance included a midseason promotion to High-A and a recent bump up to Double-A, where he struck out 11 over six scoreless innings in his debut on Thursday.

"I had a very relaxed mentality throughout the whole game," Whitley told Gerard Gilberto of "I felt like I didn't really have my best stuff, but I was making pitches when I needed to make pitches, hitting the right spots and I got away with a couple mistakes. So things just kind of went my way tonight."

A modest assessment, to say the least, from a teenager on the fast track.


59. SS Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres

Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has done a tremendous job building up the farm system since the club committed to rebuilding.

However, the decision to trade Fernando Tatis Jr. to the San Diego Padres last season in exchange for an aging James Shields is one that could haunt him for a long time.

Tatis, who won't turn 19 until January, has spent the entire season with Single-A Fort Wayne, with whom he's been one of the most productive hitters in the Midwest League.

He ranks among the league leaders in OPS (.900, eighth), hits (118, fourth), home runs (21, first), RBI (67, second), runs scored (75, fourth), walks (70, first) and total bases (220, second).

With a rocket arm and good instincts, he should be able to stick at shortstop, though it looks like he could play at third base too if he were to shift over.


77. OF Estevan Florial, New York Yankees

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Estevan Florial #8 of the New York Yankees and the World Team catches a ball hits a by Bo Bichette #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays and the U.S. Team for an out in the fifth inning during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Par
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Estevan Florial might be the biggest breakout prospect of 2017.

The Haiti native opened the season as the No. 14 prospect in the New York Yankees system with Baseball America, but he's far exceeded expectations to emerge as one of the game's most exciting teenage prospects.

The 19-year-old only cost the Yankees a $200,000 bonus as part of the 2015 international crop after some birth-certificate controversy took a significant bite out of his earning power.

He's hitting .298/.374/.476 with 40 extra-base hits and 22 stolen bases while splitting the year between Single-A and High-A in his full-season debut. He has the arm to play right field and the range to stick in center, so defense should be a chip in his favor as well.


86. OF Austin Hays, Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles opened the 2016 draft by selecting Cody Sedlock (6.05 ERA in High-A) in the first round and Matthias Dietz (4.71 ERA in Single-A) in the second—and they are both off to inauspicious starts to their pro careers.

Luckily, it appears they hit big on third-round pick Austin Hays.

A standout at Jacksonville University who came with obvious questions about how he'd fare against higher-level competition, Hays hit .336 with a .900 OPS in 153 plate appearances at the Low-A level after signing last year.

He's backed that up with a .331/.365/.607 line that includes 28 doubles, 29 home runs and 85 RBI between High-A and Double-A, catapulting himself into the top-prospect conversation in the process.


Stock Falling

NR. C Jorge Alfaro, Philadephia Phillies (Previous: 63)

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Jorge Alfaro looked poised to seize the starting catching job for the rebuilding Philadelphia Phillies this season after posting a .783 OPS with 21 doubles, 15 home runs and 67 RBI while throwing out 44 percent of base stealers for Double-A Reading.

But he scuffled to a .241/.291/.358 line with a 113-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in Triple-A, and he's been steadily sliding down our rankings as a result.

On a positive note, the 24-year-old has gone 6-for-16 with a home run since being called up to the majors. He also still has intriguing raw power and a cannon for an arm. 


NR. RHP David Paulino, Houston Astros (Previous: 76)

There's plenty to like about a 6'7" pitcher with power stuff and a strong minor league track record.

However, in the case of David Paulino, his stock has fallen considerably this season after he was slapped with an 80-game suspension for a positive PED test.

The 23-year-old didn't show particularly well over six starts at the MLB level prior to that suspension, either, posting a 6.52 ERA and 1.48 WHIP. That's enough for him to fall out of the top 100, at least for the time being.


79. OF Corey Ray, Milwaukee Brewers

Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

It doesn't look like the No. 5 overall pick in the 2016 draft is going to move as quickly as some people thought.

Corey Ray was one of the top bats in his class after a standout junior season at Louisville, but he's hit a pedestrian .241/.312/.373 with 195 strikeouts in 157 games as a pro.

He suffered a torn meniscus during instructional league last season, and his recovery resulted in a late start to the 2017 season. With a full offseason of rest and a normal spring of preparation, perhaps he'll come back strong next season and reclaim his top-prospect status.


54. RHP Anderson Espinoza, San Diego Padres

Anderson Espinoza hit the disabled list with forearm tightness in April, and that led to Tommy John surgery in late July before he threw a pitch in 2017.

The good news is the 19-year-old was so far ahead of the developmental curve prior to the injury that a lost season doesn't derail his development like it might for an older prospect.

Espinoza has 111.2 innings at the Single-A level under his belt, and he won't turn 20 until March.

That doesn't stop him from sliding down the rankings, though.


45. LHP Jay Groome, Boston Red Sox

Jay Groome is still the top pitching prospect in the Boston Red Sox system and has the potential to be "the best pitcher signed and developed by the Red Sox since Roger Clemens," as put it.

However, the jump to full-season ball has not gone smoothly.

A brutal July saw him post a 6.75 ERA and 1.60 WHIP while allowing 21 hits, 11 walks and 15 earned runs in 20 innings of work.

He's looked much better since the calendar turned to August, but his up-and-down performance this year is enough for other pitching prospects who are further along in their respective developments to pass him by in these rankings.


5 To Watch

RHP Jon Duplantier, Arizona Diamondbacks

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Jon Duplantier #29 of the Arizona Diamondbacks and the U.S. Team pitches against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Rob Carr/Getty Images

Despite the sketchy track record of pitchers out of Rice University and a shoulder injury that cost him his sophomore season, Jon Duplantier was still taken in the third round of the 2016 draft.

That's already looking like one of that year's biggest steals.

After pitching just one inning in his pro debut, the 23-year-old has gone 10-3 with a 1.47 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 130 strikeouts in 116 innings this season between Single-A and High-A.

Other teams have taken notice too, as Duplantier was generating interest leading up to the trade deadline, per David Laurila of FanGraphs. If the D-backs are smart, he won't be changing teams anytime soon. 


RHP Corbin Burnes, Milwaukee Brewers

An impressive junior season at St. Mary's gave Corbin Burnes as much helium as any college pitcher in the 2016 draft class, and the Milwaukee Brewers scooped him up with their fourth-round selection.

After a strong showing in his pro debut, he appears to be on the fast track.

The 22-year-old dominated High-A hitters to the tune of a 1.05 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 10 starts to open the 2017 season, and he hasn't missed a beat since making the midseason jump to Double-A.

A polished four-pitch mix and durable 6'3", 205-pound frame give him the look of a future big league starter, even if he doesn't have overpowering stuff.


1B Ronald Guzman, Texas Rangers

Mike Napoli's impending free agency could open up a spot in the Texas Rangers lineup for Ronald Guzman next season.

While he might never be more than a 20-25 homer guy in the majors, he should be able to make up for that with his advanced approach and plus-hit tool.

The 22-year-old is batting .316/.384/.469 with 21 doubles and 12 home runs for Triple-A Round Rock this season, and his strikeout rate (15.8 percent) and walk rate (8.8 percent) both demonstrate hitter who's ready for the next level.

Young players with a first-base-only profile are often overlooked when it comes to top-prospect lists, but Guzman is worthy of attention.


LHP Tanner Scott, Baltimore Orioles

MIAMI, FL - JULY 09:  Tanner Scott #57 of the Baltimore Orioles and the U.S. Team delivers the pitch against the World Team during the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Marlins Park on July 9, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images described Tanner Scott perfectly: "Scott's elite fastball gives him closer potential, as he'll routinely hit 100 mph (or higher) while sitting comfortably at 95-99. Beyond that, however, Scott remains very raw."

The good: He's pitched to a 1.83 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 59 innings of work for Double-A Bowie this season.

The bad: Command remains a significant issue, as he's pitching around 6.1 BB/9, leaving him with a 1.27 WHIP despite a sterling .174 opponents' batting average.

The 23-year-old posted an 8.0 BB/9 rate last season, so his command is moving in the right direction. Another step forward there and a bit more consistency from his slider, and he could be the game's next elite southpaw reliever.


SS Garrett Hampson, Colorado Rockies

Garrett Hampson has quietly raked since going in the third round of the 2016 draft.

The 22-year-old sports a .318/.378/.450 line with 39 extra-base hits for High-A Lancaster and ranks among the California League leaders in OPS (.828, ninth), runs scored (100, first), total bases (215, third) and stolen bases (46, second).

He's split his time between second base and shortstop this season, and his long-term future might be at the keystone, with Trevor Story and fellow prospect Brendan Rodgers also in the mix at shortstop going forward.

Regardless of where he lines up defensively, he has the offensive tools to make an impact once he arrives in Colorado.


All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs and accurate through Thursday's games.


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