Zach Volland’s Opening Day Top 50 MLB Prospects

Written by: Zach Volland (@NotBrianKenny)

How about one more prospect list? New Prospects 365 staff writer Zach Volland offers his top 50 MLB prospects for your viewing pleasure:

  1. Ronald Acuna Jr. OF, ATL Braves: Not much to say here. Guy has destroyed the minor leagues… he’ll get the call soon.
  2. Eloy Jimenez OF, CHI White Sox: Eloy is a good fit for the next top dog, and when Acuna finally gets the call he’s next for me. He can do it all, and I can’t see anything stopping him.
  3. Vlad Guerrero Jr. 3B, TOR Blue Jays: I love Vlad. Guy swings it with the best of ‘em. If Eloy was going to get a call up with Acuna… Guerrero would be my #1. I expect to see him late for a September showing.
  4. Victor Robles OF, WAS Nationals: I think this dude’s defense is elite and the bat isn’t far behind. He’s found some power and looks to be a 20/20 guy relatively easy.
  5. Gleyber Torres SS/2B, NY Yankees: He should be in the pros…what are the Yanks waiting for?
  6. Fernando Tatis Jr. SS, SD Padres: Drives the ball with authority, superb defense to say the least.
  7. Alex Reyes RHP, STL Cardinals: I love his stuff, it’s absolutely electric. He’s a front end starter in the making.
  8. Forrest Whitley RHP, HOU Astros: Even with the 50 game suspension he has top level stuff. Ceiling is Top 20 arm, floor is Top 40 arm.
  9. Michael Kopech RHP, CHI White Sox: I think his time in the minors helps him find his command, then he’ll wow at the major league level.
  10. Kyle Tucker OF, HOU Astros: Nicknamed Ted Williams; Tucker gets the bat head in the zone and drives the baseball with authority. Should hit for power with high contact rates. Patient hitter and should have a high OBP.
  11. Bo Bichette SS, TOR Blue Jays: At #11, I think this is an aggressive ranking. It’s hard to question his ability based on the numbers. I question how long his swing gets at times and wonder if he runs into trouble as he progresses through the minors. Think he’s a solid major leaguer when the time comes.
  12. Nick Senzel SS/2B CIN Reds: Reds made a good decision moving him over to SS, though I wonder if that’s his forever-home. Sky is the limit for Senzel who absolutely rakes.
  13. Walker Buehler RHP, LA Dodgers: Fireballer with three solid offerings. I expect him to get his MLB looks out of the pen this season, but plan on him being a high end rotation arm when it’s all said and done.
  14. Francisco Mejia C, CLE Indians: This guy can absolutely mash. I expect the Indians to find a place to play him at the big league level…might not be behind the dish early on but he should get looks this season.
  15. MacKenzie Gore LHP, SD Padres: Best left hander in the minors at the moment. Think his stuff will just get better with time. He could be the top pitching prospect in baseball if he keeps performing at the level we’ve seen from him so far.
  16. Mitch Keller RHP, PIT Pirates: He wore down late last year. I think he has the best stuff when compared to fellow-Pirates Taillon and Glasnow.
  17. Brent Honeywell RHP, TB Rays: Don’t understand why the Rays didn’t call him up last season. Recent TJ sucks but I expect him to bounce back with ease.
  18. Hunter Greene RHP, CIN Reds: He is an absolute athlete. I think he is more valuable as a starter than hypothetically letting him find his footing as a position player. Like most young arms out of high school he needs seasoning. Might be the top guy in 2020.
  19. Sixto Sanchez RHP, PHI Phillies: Has elite level stuff. Needs to learn how to harness it. Top 20 potential.
  20. Brendan Rodgers SS/2B, COL Rockies: Kid can absolutely swing it. Plays solid D, but I think he’s better suited as a second baseman. I love his aggressive approach at the plate.
  21. Triston McKenzie RHP, CLE Indians: Tall lanky kid with good stuff and solid command to round it all out. Not sure if he can headline a rotation; I think a polished changeup could open that door.
  22. Kyle Wright RHP, ATL Braves: This kid can zip it. He’s got excellent stuff and solid command as well. Think he is the future in Atlanta. It’s ambitious, but I could see ATL giving him a shot midseason.
  23. Ryan McMahon 1B, COL Rockies: Big bat from the left side. Coors Field won’t hold him ever… let alone any stadium. I don’t like comps whatsoever but I see a better version of Jake Lamb here.
  24. Willy Adames SS/2B, TB Rays: Super talented kid that should crack the lineup at either SS or 2nd. Lackluster stretches last season in AAA slowed his arrival. Give him a month or two to show he belongs.
  25. Justus Sheffield LHP, NY Yankees: Lots of young arms in The Bronx. Like his stuff, and a recent change in the repertoire from a curveball to a slider makes him an increasingly interesting arm from the left side. The slider gives him a chance to really attack right handed hitters on the back shoe (not to mention he works an above average changeup away as well).
  26. AJ Puk LHP, OAK Athletics: Recent elbow news really sucks for him. Stuff looks great and think he is a very successful pitcher in the majors. Could be the best left handed arm in the minors with time… Dr. Andrews said the elbow needs surgery; 2020 is his year?
  27. Brendan McKay 1B/LHP TB Rays: Rays took him 4th overall last summer. He is a very interesting player because he can swing it… but… his mound presence is just as interesting. I think he has a better career on the mound and call him a #4 starting pitcher right now.
  28. Luis Robert OF, CHI White Sox: I really like this kid. He’s got some serious ability, and if he can develop some in-game power, he’s got star potential. Very athletic in the outfield and should have a very successful career.
  29. Juan Soto OF, WAS Nationals: This one is an aggressive ranking. Soto was sidelined for most of last season, but this kid can play. He’s got star potential and could be on the rise in an “Ronald Acuna like” trajectory. Could be top 10 by the end of the season.
  30. Royce Lewis SS, MIN Twins: I love the way he plays the game. Right now his best tool is his speed, but he has some power and can really drive the ball into gaps. I’d love to see how he plays in an advanced setting such as AA to really get a feel for his plate discipline against better pitching.
  31. Jay Groome LHP, BOS Red Sox: Needs to find some command on all of his pitches to really unlock his true potential. Could be a front end arm but hasn’t turned the corner just yet. Potential top pitching prospect in 2020.
  32. Keston Hiura 2B, MIL Brewers: Very short, compact swing with some power. Solid prospect. Could be a 20 homer guy at 2nd base.
  33. Alex Verdugo OF, LA Dodgers: Unfortunately, Verdugo plays in one of the most loaded OF systems in baseball. He’s an advanced hitter and his hit tool will be his best weapon. A true defensive asset with an 80 grade arm…a call up should be in order.
  34. Jesus Sanchez OF, TB Rays: He has great athleticism. He has very quick hands to go along with a smooth, easy swing. He could play anywhere in the OF but I expect him in a corner when it’s all said and done. He has 30-homer potential but he needs time to develop.
  35. Corbin Burnes RHP, MIL Brewers: He’s major league ready with a solid repertoire of pitches. He can really pound the zone, and he flashes a plus curveball. I think he is a 4-5 right now but could be a 2-3 at the height of his development.
  36. Miguel Andujar 3B, NY Yankees: He’s MLB ready as a hitter and sort of in the same boat as Gleyber. Andujar puts the ball in the air with authority. He has made adjustments with his approach at the plate which cut down on his swing-and-miss tendencies. Andujar will almost certainly factor into the Yankees lineup at some point this season.
  37. Nick Gordon SS/2B, MIN Twins: He has skills to play shorstop, but I think he is better suited as a second baseman. I think he has the ability to be a .280-.300 hitter with time and maturity.
  38. J.P. Crawford SS, PHI Phillies: He plays great D with very good hands. Has an advanced eye at the plate and sees a ton of pitches. I don’t think he is going to be a big power guy in his MLB career; Should get on-base enough to be a relevant SS.
  39. Luis Urias SS/2B, SD Padres: Urias is a little guy. He has excellent contact rates and should be able to hit at all levels. Doesn’t strikeout much and sees pitches, so his OBP should be a strong point. Could play SS or 2B with relative ease, but I think he’s better suited as a 2B.
  40. Ian Anderson RHP, ATL Braves: Drafted out of HS, Anderson has three pitches that grade well early in his professional career. His above-average changeup will be his building block, and if he can continue to develop his deuce, he could be a #2. I really like Anderson’s potential.
  41. Alec Hansen RHP, CHI White Sox: Hansen is massive, standing at 6’7 240 lbs. He has a great, downhill plane with a big fastball and secondary offerings that are above average. Hansen needs some refinement with his command, but I expect big things out of him.
  42. Anthony Alford OF, TOR Blue Jays: A former college football player with tremendous physical ability. He has had limited time on a baseball field due to a spotty injury history, but I think he’ll be a fine player. He has some power, speed and patience at the plate.
  43. Yordan Alvarez OF/1B, HOU Astros: Alvarez is a massive man to only be 20 years old. A natural athlete with solid, raw skills that could use some refinement. Some solid coaching should help him unlock the power we all know is there.
  44. Michel Baez RHP, SD Padres: This dude is absolutely gigantic. Wish I could say more, but he is freakishly big and brings a heavy fastball. Hopefully he can refine some secondary offerings. The potential is limitless for a big guy like Baez.
  45. Jesus Luzardo LHP, OAK Athletics: I really like Luzardo. He’s got an above average changeup and an above average curveball. After he went down with an elbow injury that resulted in TJ, Luzardo came back with some fire, finding a mid 90’s fastball. He should move through the minors with ease if he develops as projected.
  46. Leody Taveras OF, TEX Rangers: Had a pretty unmemorable 2017, but he projects well because of his premium defense and ability to see pitches. He should grow and develop some power, but I think he finds his way into the majors via his defense.
  47. Luiz Gohara LHP, ATL Braves: Gohara is a big boy that has had comps (I hate comps) to C.C. Sabathia. With a plus fastball and plus slider, I can see the resemblance. Gohara needs to find the strike zone on a more consistent basis. In his MLB debut last year, he struck out a ton of batters despite command issues.
  48. Yadier Alvarez RHP, LA Dodgers: Alvarez can absolutely bring it and bring it with life. He had some trouble finding the strike zone, and there are some questions as to whether he will be moved to the pen to better utilize his tools.
  49. Shane Baz RHP, PIT Pirates: This might be a reach, but I really like what Baz has to offer. He’s a big, strong kid with what seems like 17 pitches in his arsenal. He can comfortably sit at 93-95 MPH with life throughout his arsenal. Baz has a chance to be the top pitching prospect in 2021-2022.
  50. Jo Adell OF, LA Angels: Rounding out the top 50 is Jo Adell. This dude has massive power for only being 19 years old. He can literally drive the ball all over the park with authority. He needs refinement with his approach at the plate, but most young hitters do. He should destroy lower-level pitching because of his athletic ability, but the true test will be his progression through upper levels such as AA and AAA.


Follow us on Twitter! @Prospects365

Featured image courtesy of The Athletic

Leave a Reply