B/R's Updated Top 50 MLB Prospect Rankings, Post-2019 Draft Edition
With the 2019 MLB draft in the rearview mirror, it's time for an updated look at MLB's top 50 prospects.
For the sake of this exercise, we're assuming all players picked within the first three rounds of the draft will be signed. There are almost always a few exceptions, and that will be addressed in the next update. For now, this provides an overview of the new prospect landscape.
The following factors helped determine where each player fell in these rankings:
- Potential: Potential trumps production a lot of the time, especially in the lower levels of the minors and with recent draft picks. Skill set and overall tools are often a better indication of what kind of player a guy will be.
- Talent: For those in the higher levels of the minors who are close to breaking into the big leagues, production and current talent level are the determining factors, as the players are viewed as more complete products.
- Eligibility: A player must maintain rookie eligibility to be considered for inclusion. That means fewer than 130 big league at-bats for position players, 50 innings pitched for pitchers or 45 days on the active roster prior to roster expansion in September.
Let's start with 50 players who fell just outside the rankings.
The Next 50
RHP: Michel Baez (SD), Hans Crouse (TEX), Justin Dunn (SEA), Deivi Garcia (NYY), Luis Gil (NYY), Logan Gilbert (SEA), Brent Honeywell (TB), Spencer Howard (PHI), Corbin Martin (HOU), Triston McKenzie (CLE), Eric Pardinho (TOR), Luis Patino (SD), Grayson Rodriguez (BAL), Tony Santillan (CIN)
LHP: Logan Allen (SD), DL Hall (BAL), Anthony Kay (NYM), Matthew Liberatore (TB), Adrian Morejon (SD), Kyle Muller (ATL), A.J. Puk (OAK), Ryan Rolison (COL), Justus Sheffield (SEA), Ryan Weathers (SD)
C: William Contreras (ATL), Will Smith (LAD)
1B: Nate Lowe (TB), Ryan Mountcastle (BAL), Andrew Vaughn (CWS)
2B: Cavan Biggio (TOR), Nick Madrigal (CWS)
SS: CJ Abrams (SD), Jazz Chisholm (ARI), Oneil Cruz (PIT), Xavier Edwards (SD), Tyler Freeman (CLE), Luis Garcia (WAS), Jordan Groshans (TOR), Ronny Mauricio (NYM), Brice Turang (MIL)
3B: Colton Welker (COL)
OF: JJ Bleday (MIA), Dylan Carlson (STL), Estevan Florial (NYY), Riley Greene (DET), Trevor Larnach (MIN), Khalil Lee (KC), Josh Naylor (SD), Travis Swaggerty (PIT), Drew Waters (ATL)
Graduated since the last update:
- 1. 3B Vladimir Guerrero Jr., TOR
- 2. SS Fernando Tatis Jr., SD
- 3. OF Eloy Jimenez, CWS
- 10. IF/OF Nick Senzel, CIN
- 39. IF Michael Chavis, BOS
- Next 50: RHP Griffin Canning, LAA
- Next 50: RHP Touki Toussaint, ATL
- Next 50: OF Bryan Reynolds, PIT
50. OF Heliot Ramos, San Francisco Giants (A+)
After a torrid pro debut, Ramos hit a middling .245/.313/.396 with a 25.4 percent strikeout rate in Single-A last year. Despite that, the Giants promoted him to High-A where he has responded with a .295/.389/.553 line and eight home runs in 37 games. The most promising sign is a walk rate that has climbed from 6.5 to 11.5 percent.
49. RHP Brady Singer, Kansas City Royals (AA)
A candidate to go No. 1 overall in the 2018 draft at the start of his junior year, Singer slipped to the No. 18 pick after an inconsistent spring. He didn't make his pro debut until this season, yet he has already reached Double-A. With a polished three-pitch mix, good command and a durable 6'5" frame, he has ace potential.
48. SS Nico Hoerner, Chicago Cubs (AA)
The only thing that has slowed Hoerner's rapid ascent to the majors is a hairline fracture to his left wrist that sidelined him after 18 games this season. The 22-year-old has posted a .312/.419/.532 line in 129 plate appearances since going No. 24 overall last June, and he laid waste to opposing pitching in the Arizona Fall League and spring training. He should continue on the fast track once he returns to action.
47. RHP Kyle Wright, Atlanta Braves (AAA)
Wright began the season as arguably the most promising young arm in an Atlanta system loaded with high-ceiling pitching prospects. The 23-year-old has been hit hard at Triple-A Gwinnett, though, posting a 6.02 ERA and 1.34 WHIP over 10 starts. The four-pitch arsenal and big 6'4" frame are still there for him to be a top-of-the-rotation starter, but his stock has taken a hit.
46. C Keibert Ruiz, Los Angeles Dodgers (AA)
Will Smith beat him to the majors, but Ruiz is still the catcher of the future for the Dodgers. The 20-year-old is in his second go-around at Double-A Tulsa, where he's hitting .260/.338/.352 with more walks (21) than strikeouts (13). Improved defensive skills have solidified his standing as a potential two-way standout behind the plate.
45. OF Kristian Robinson, Arizona Diamondbacks (A-)
One of the most exciting young prospects in baseball, Robinson made his stateside debut as a 17-year-old last year and hit .279/.363/.428 with 19 extra-base hits and 12 steals in 57 games. He's off to a hot start at Low-A, going 6-for-15 with two doubles in his first four games. If he keeps rolling, an early promotion to full-season ball is not out of the question, and his ceiling is as high as any teenager's in the minor league ranks.
44. RHP Hunter Greene, Cincinnati Reds (INJURED)
With a true 80-grade fastball and a pair of offspeed pitches that flash plus, Greene has a chance to be a dynamic pitcher. However, he's currently sidelined after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April for an elbow strain that he suffered last July. The developmental time that he's losing hurts, but he's still only 19 years old, and he has a chance to be a generational talent.
43. OF Jesus Sanchez, Tampa Bay Rays (AA)
Sanchez can flat-out rake with a 60-grade hit tool and budding power as he continues to grow into his 6'3", 230-pound frame. The 21-year-old is hitting .295/.360/.449 with 19 extra-base hits and 43 RBI in 62 games at Double-A, putting him on track to debut in 2020.
42. SS Andres Gimenez, New York Mets (AA)
Gimenez emerged as the top prospect in the Mets system last season when he batted .281/.347/.409 with 40 extra-base hits and 38 steals while reaching Double-A as a teenager. He's back at Double-A this season, and while the numbers don't jump off the page, the tools are there for him to develop into a franchise cornerstone at one of the middle infield spots.
41. RHP Dustin May, Los Angeles Dodgers (AA)
With an athletic 6'6" frame and an electric four-pitch mix that is highlighted by a fastball that touches 97 mph and a hammer curve, May has tremendous upside and a relatively high floor. While he gets a ton of ground balls thanks to his heavy fastball, he also misses a lot of bats with 72 strikeouts in 72.1 innings at Double-A this season. The 21-year-old could see the majors in 2020.
40. SS Bobby Witt Jr., Kansas City Royals (2019 DRAFT)
With five-tool upside at the shortstop position and strong baseball bloodlines, Witt would have gone No. 1 overall in a lot of other drafts. Instead, the Royals happily scooped him up with the No. 2 overall pick, and he immediately becomes the top prospect in a system on the rise. His feel for the game could allow him to move faster than most prep picks.
39. OF Julio Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners (A)
The Mariners gave Rodriguez a $1.75 million bonus as part of the 2017 international crop, and he debuted with a bang last year, hitting .315/.404/.525 with 27 extra-base hits in 255 plate appearances. The 18-year-old is already raking at Single-A, hitting .357/.463/.500 with five doubles and one home run in 16 games.
38. 3B Nolan Jones, Cleveland Indians (A+)
Elite plate discipline has helped make Jones a top-tier prospect, and his budding power gives him a real chance to be a star. The 21-year-old hit .283/.405/.466 with 19 home runs and a 17.1 percent walk rate last season and he is sporting a ridiculous 19.6 percent walk rate and a .431 on-base percentage at High-A this year.
37. RHP Jon Duplantier, Arizona Diamondbacks (MLB)
Duplantier has been nothing short of dominant at the minor league level with a 2.01 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 228 innings. The 24-year-old has four average-or-better pitches and solid command, and he has shown no lingering effects of the arm issues that plagued him in college. He has a 4.32 ERA with a 24-to-9 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 25 innings spanning three starts and five relief appearances in the majors this year.
36. C Sean Murphy, Oakland Athletics (INJURED)
A third-round pick in 2016 on the strength of his strong receiving skills and a rocket arm, Murphy took a major step forward last season when he showed everyday offensive tools. He hit .285/.361/.489 with 37 extra-base hits in 73 games between Double-A and Triple-A. Staying healthy has been the big issue. A broken hamate bone cost him significant time last year, and he played just 19 games this season before a torn left meniscus landed him on the injured list.
35. RHP Brusdar Graterol, Minnesota Twins (AA)
The Twins have brought Graterol along slowly since he missed the 2016 season following Tommy John surgery. He tallied just 40 innings in 2017 before working a career-high 102 innings last season. He showed enough in that limited action to establish himself as one of the game's most exciting young arms, but he's on the shelf once again with a shoulder injury after nine dominant starts at Double-A to open the year. Will he be able to stay healthy long enough to reach his full potential?
34. LHP/DH Brendan McKay, Tampa Bay Rays (AAA)
While the Rays continue to use McKay as a two-way player, it's becoming increasingly clear that his future lies on the pitcher's mound. While he has a .182 average and .583 OPS in 130 plate appearances this season, he has been utterly dominant on the hill, posting a 1.31 ERA and 0.76 WHIP with 83 strikeouts in 61.2 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. He's been as polished as advertised from a pitching standpoint and is already knocking on the door for his MLB debut.
33. 3B Alec Bohm, Philadelphia Phillies (A+)
Bohm turned in a forgettable pro debut after being taken No. 3 overall in the 2018 draft. That now seems like a distant memory, thanks to a .332/.402/.515 line and 27 extra-base hits in 60 games between Single-A and High-A. The 22-year-old is more than just a slugger thanks to his 55-grade hit tool, and he has been better than expected defensively at the hot corner.
32. OF Jarred Kelenic, Seattle Mariners (A+)
The Mets gave up a ton in the Robinson Cano/Edwin Diaz blockbuster, and Kelenic is the prospect who could really make that decision hurt. The 19-year-old posted an .839 OPS with 22 extra-base hits and 15 steals in 56 games after going No. 6 overall in last year's draft. A hot start at Single-A this year earned him a quick promotion to High-A, and he's batting .316/.398/.595 with 15 doubles and 13 home runs in 244 total plate appearances.
31. 2B/SS Luis Urias, San Diego Padres (AAA)
With a 70-grade hit tool and a .309/.400/.433 batting line over six minor league seasons, Urias has little left to prove in the minors. The 22-year-old is hitting .335/.424/.665 with 14 doubles and 16 home runs at Triple-A, and it's only a matter of time before he takes over as the long-term second baseman in San Diego.
30. RHP Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
With three plus pitches, a well-built 6'2" frame and excellent command, Keller entered the season as one of the most polished pitching prospects in baseball. The 23-year-old posted a 3.10 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 58 innings at Triple-A before making his MLB debut on May 27. He's been hit hard in the majors, but all signs point to him being a rotation staple.
29. RHP Sixto Sanchez, Miami Marlins (AA)
Sanchez was the centerpiece of the J.T. Realmuto blockbuster and he immediately became the top prospect in the Marlins system. The undersized right-hander has electric stuff and 60-grade command, and if not for the time he missed to injury last season, he might already be in the majors. The 20-year-old has looked right at home in Double-A and appears to be back on the fast track.
28. SS Carter Kieboom, Washington Nationals (AAA)
With Victor Robles moving on to the majors, Kieboom has taken over as the top guy in the Nationals system. The 21-year-old had a brief cup of coffee earlier this season, slugging two home runs in 39 at-bats but hitting just .128 with 16 strikeouts before he was sent back to Triple-A. With a .294/.414/.556 line and 26 extra-base hits in 51 games at Triple-A, he has nothing left to prove in the minors.
27. 3B Ke'Bryan Hayes, Pittsburgh Pirates (AAA)
The Pirates have promoted Hayes steadily through the minor league ranks since he went No. 32 overall in the 2015 draft. While he has flashed a 60-grade hit tool, he's still growing into his power, which will be key for him to develop into an impact offensive player at third base. He's hitting .241/.333/.388 with 25 extra-base hits at Triple-A this year and could get the call after the All-Star break.
26. 2B/SS Gavin Lux, Los Angeles Dodgers (AA)
After a disappointing full-season debut in 2017 in which Lux hit just .244 with a .693 OPS, he took a huge step forward last year, hitting .324/.399/.514 for a .913 OPS with 50 extra-base hits between High-A and Double-A. He has continued to hit at Double-A this year with a .311/.371/.534 line, and he's showing more pop with 13 home runs in 267 plate appearances. The 21-year-old is looking more and more like the long-term answer at second base.
25. RHP Michael Kopech, Chicago White Sox (INJURED)
Kopech will spend 2019 watching from the sidelines after he underwent Tommy John surgery last September. Assuming he makes a full recovery, his 80-grade fastball and lethal wipeout slider still make him one of the most dynamic pitching prospects in baseball. For now, the 23-year-old slots at No. 25 in these rankings.
24. C Joey Bart, San Francisco Giants (A+)
The No. 2 overall pick in 2018, Bart posted a .952 OPS with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 51 games in rookie ball and Low-A last year. That was enough for the Giants to jump him over Single-A and straight to High-A San Jose for his full-season debut. A broken hand in mid-April cost him six weeks, and he's still shaking off some rust. Still, the two-way talent is set to be the next homegrown star behind the plate in San Francisco.
23. OF Kyle Tucker, Houston Astros (AAA)
Tucker laid an egg in his first taste of MLB action last year, hitting .141 with 13 strikeouts in 72 plate appearances. However, that's done little to impact his stock as one of the top offensive prospects in baseball. The 22-year-old is hitting .286/.361/.643 with 16 doubles and 23 home runs in 65 games at Triple-A, and he'll get another shot in Houston soon.
22. RHP Ian Anderson, Atlanta Braves (AA)
With Kyle Wright taking a step backward and both Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint graduating to the majors, Anderson now looks like the clear No. 1 pitching prospect in the Atlanta system. The 21-year-old has dominated Double-A hitters with a 2.85 ERA, a .201 opponents' batting average and 93 strikeouts in 72.2 innings. There's still work to do in the command department, as evidenced by his 4.8 BB/9 rate, but the front-line upside is clear.
21. C Adley Rutschman, Baltimore Orioles (2019 DRAFT)
Deciding where to slot Rutschman before he even makes his pro debut was tricky. He's arguably the best collegiate catching prospect since Buster Posey, and the new draftee hit .411/.575/.751 with 17 home runs this spring while recording twice as many walks (76) as strikeouts (38). He's also an above-average defender with the intangibles to be a franchise cornerstone. He could crack the top 10 by season's end with a strong debut.
20. 3B Nolan Gorman, St. Louis Cardinals (A)
There were 18 players chosen before Nolan Gorman in the 2018 draft. One year later, only No. 1 overall pick Casey Mize ranks higher on this list. Gorman, 19, has some of the most impressive raw power in all of the minors, and he has responded well to an aggressive promotion to full-season ball. He still has room to add strength to his 6'1", 210-pound frame—a scary proposition given his present plus power.
19. RHP Dylan Cease, Chicago White Sox (AAA)
Cease took a major step forward last year thanks to improved command, a clean bill of health and the further development of his slider and changeup as complementary pitches to his electric fastball-curveball pairing. The 23-year-old is holding his own at Triple-A, and he could see the majors before 2019 ends.
18. OF Taylor Trammell, Cincinnati Reds (AA)
The Reds took Trammell with the No. 35 overall pick in the same draft they chose Nick Senzel at No. 2 overall (2016). Those two could wind up being franchise cornerstones for the next decade. Trammell was viewed as a raw athlete after he starred in baseball and football in high school, but he has shown more polish than expected on the diamond. Case in point, he's walking at a 15.8 percent clip this season as a 21-year-old at Double-A, which speaks to his advanced feel for hitting.
17. RHP Matt Manning, Detroit Tigers (AA)
Another two-sport star in high school, Manning was committed to play baseball and basketball at Loyola Marymount. He, too, has moved faster than expected in the minors after going No. 9 overall in 2016. The 6'6" right-hander has dominated Double-A hitters this year to the tune of a 2.35 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .184 opponents batting average and 91 strikeouts in 76.2 innings.
16. OF Yordan Alvarez, Houston Astros (MLB)
No minor league batter got off to a hotter start this season than Alvarez, who hit .343/.443/.742 with 16 doubles, 23 home runs and 71 RBI in 56 games before he was promoted to the majors. It's been more of the same in Houston, where he's gone 9-for-26 with four home runs in his first seven games. The 21-year-old might be up for good if he keeps hitting like this.
15. OF Alex Kirilloff, Minnesota Twins (AA)
Kirilloff returned last season—after he missed the entire 2017 campaign with Tommy John surgery—and hit .348/.392/.578 with 44 doubles, 20 home runs and 101 RBI in Single-A and High-A. He's off to a markedly slower start in Double-A with a .268 average and .761 OPS, but the 21-year-old still has one of the highest offensive ceilings of any prospect in baseball.
14. RHP Nate Pearson, Toronto Blue Jays (AA)
The Blue Jays rolled the dice on a hard-throwing JUCO right-hander at No. 28 overall in the 2017 draft, and Pearson has wasted little time in making that look like a stroke of genius. The burly 6'6", 245-pound right-hander has a high-octane fastball that touches 104 mph and a filthy slider to headline a four-pitch mix. He has a 1.89 ERA, 66 strikeouts and just eight walks in 47.2 innings in High-A and Double-A, and the strides he's made with his command have made him an elite prospect.
13. 3B/OF Austin Riley, Atlanta Braves (MLB)
Riley will not be on this list for much longer with 124 MLB at-bats to his credit. And what a debut it has been for the 22-year-old. He's hitting .290/.338/.613 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 31 games since making his MLB debut on May 15. He won NL Rookie of the Month in May despite playing just 15 games.
12. OF Luis Robert, Chicago White Sox (AA)
Baseball fans are beginning to see why the White Sox ponied up $26 million and paid a matching tax penalty to sign Robert on May 27, 2017. The 21-year-old outfielder hit a staggering .453/.512/.920 in 19 games at High-A to begin the season, earning a quick call-up to Double-A as a result. His tantalizing five-tool potential has been on full display all season, and he's hitting .353/.403/.630 with 36 extra-base hits and 18 steals in 60 games overall.
11. OF Cristian Pache, Atlanta Braves (AA)
The 20-year-old Pache was already widely regarded as the best defensive outfielder in the minors, and now he's starting to hit. Already playing in Double-A, he has looked right at home with a .291/.348/.506 line that includes 16 doubles, five triples, nine home runs and seven steals. His glove will make him a big leaguer. His bat could make him a star.
10. LHP Jesus Luzardo, Oakland Athletics (A+)
A left shoulder strain ended Luzardo's bid to win a spot on Oakland's Opening Day roster and sidelined him for all of April and a good chunk of May. He's back in action for High-A Stockton, and he has wasted little time in shaking off the rust, posting a 1.29 ERA with 11 strikeouts and zero walks over seven innings in his first two appearances. The A's will be extremely careful with their most promising young asset, but the 21-year-old already looked MLB ready last season.
9. SS Bo Bichette, Toronto Blue Jays (AAA)
After missing time with a broken left hand, Bichette is off to a slow start this season with a .239/.307/.418 line in 18 games at Triple-A. It's important to remember he's still just 21 years old, and he's not Vladimir Guerrero Jr. With a 65-grade hit tool, good pop, solid wheels and an improving glove, he checks all the boxes to be a future star. He just might take a little longer to get there than his famous former teammate.
8. 2B/SS Brendan Rodgers, Colorado Rockies (AAA)
Rodgers is another prospect in the upper levels with nothing left to prove in the minors. He's hitting .360/.423/.640 with 20 extra-base hits in 36 games in Triple-A this season, and he has hit at every level since he went No. 3 overall in 2015. While he hit an uninspired .246/.300/.277 with 22 strikeouts in 65 at-bats in his first MLB promotion, he should get another look soon.
7. RHP Forrest Whitley, Houston Astros (AAA)
Here's a clear case where potential trumps production. Whitley has made just five starts this season, and he allowed 35 hits and nine home runs for a 12.21 ERA in 24.1 innings. Clearly, something was wrong, and he's been on the injured list with "shoulder fatigue" since the end of May. It's an inauspicious start to the season, but not enough to ignore how dominant he was last season and how well he profiles with four plus pitches and an imposing 6'7" frame. For now, he still easily gets the benefit of the doubt.
6. 2B Keston Hiura, Milwaukee Brewers (AAA)
What in the world is Hiura doing in the minors? The Brewers called him up for 17 games earlier this season, and he posted an .865 OPS with five home runs before he was shipped back to Triple-A. Meanwhile, Travis Shaw is hitting .174 with a 53 OPS+ and seeing regular playing time. With a 70-grade hit tool, a 1.053 OPS and 31 extra-base hits at Triple-A this year, Hiura needs to be in Milwaukee.
5. SS Royce Lewis, Minnesota Twins (A+)
The No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, Lewis hit .292/.352/.451 with 46 extra-base hits and 28 steals in Single-A and High-A in his first full pro season. The Twins took a cautious approach by returning him to High-A, and he's stumbled a bit this year with a .226/.281/.325 line and a strikeout rate that has spiked from 15.7 to 22.3 percent. His age (20) and track record earned him the benefit of the doubt this time, but he'll start to slide in the next update if he doesn't right the ship.
4. LHP MacKenzie Gore, San Diego Padres (A+)
Gore has taken a step forward this season into the conversation regarding baseball's best pitching prospect. With a polished four-pitch mix, strong 6'3", 195-pound frame, and a deceptive delivery, he's been a nightmare for minor league hitters. In 12 starts at High-A Lake Elsinore, he's pitched to a 1.21 ERA and 0.69 WHIP while holding opposing hitters to an absurd .137 batting average and racking up 83 strikeouts in 59.2 innings. The 20-year-old is ready for the next challenge.
3. OF Jo Adell, Los Angeles Angels (AA)
After dealing with ankle and hamstring injuries during spring training, Adell is back to 100 percent and has gotten right to work making up for lost time. The 20-year-old is hitting .328/.400/.582 with eight doubles, three home runs and 12 RBI in 18 games between High-A and Double-A. He's a true five-tool standout and a potential superstar in the making who could join Mike Trout in the Angels outfield by 2020.
2. RHP Casey Mize, Detroit Tigers (AA)
After giving up just seven hits in 26 innings at High-A, Mize earned a quick promotion and threw a no-hitter in his Double-A debut. All told, he posted an 0.92 ERA and 0.69 WHIP with 75 strikeouts in 78 innings before he left his most recent start with minor shoulder inflammation. There's no reason for long-term concern, but the Tigers will be extremely careful. After all, he's an ace in the making.
1. SS Wander Franco, Tampa Bay Rays (A)
With Fernando Tatis Jr. joining Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez in exhausting their rookie eligibility, there's a new No. 1 prospect in baseball. Signed for $3.8 million as part of the 2017 international class, Franco hit .351/.418/.587 with 28 extra-base hits in his pro debut as a 17-year-old in the Appalachian League last year. Aggressively sent to Single-A this season, he's responded with a .326/.396/.514 line that includes 15 doubles, four triples, six home runs and 14 steals. Oh, and he won't turn 19 until March 1, 2020. This is the next teenage phenom, folks.