Ray Butler’s 2018 Midseason Top 200 Prospects: #121-140

Written by: Ray Butler

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140. Everson Pereira, OF, NYY, Age: 17

Breathe it in. Pereira is currently getting his first taste of professional baseball in Rookie League Pulaski, but there’s already a lot of hype surrounding the seventeen year old. Obviously there’s no such thing as a definitive statement when it comes to the swing of someone so young, but for now, Pereira is a player who should hit for average with developing power. He’s a plus runner, and early reports suggest there’s a good chance he remains in center field throughout his professional career. There’s risk, of course, but despite the distant ETA, Pereira possesses an uberly-exciting skillset. Remain patient as he develops.

139. Hunter Harvey, SP, BAL, Age: 23

This is Harvey’s first real minor league experience after undergoing Tommy John surgery early in 2016, and if you take away an unlucky ERA, the numbers aren’t all that bad. The problem, from what I’ve been hearing, is the lack of a third pitch in Harvey’s arsenal. The fastball is plus, the curveball has potential to be plus (he’s struggled to command it versus Double-A hitters), but the changeup reportedly has a ways to go.Just a few weeks ago, Harvey alluded to the fact he’s not quite ‘there’ yet, so the numbers should be interesting if he continues to progress this season.

138. Sandy Alcantara, SP, MIA, Age: 22

Let’s call a spade a spade: Yes, Alcantara throws a 70-grade fastball. It’s also flat, and the right-hander hasn’t really shown the secondary offerings that allow the premium-velocity-fastball to play to its potential. Alcantara hasn’t posted a K/9 greater than 9 since he was in High-A (in 2016, and no, his 8.1 IP stint with the Cardinals last season doesn’t count). In many organizations, Alcantara would have already been transitioned to the bullpen and would likely be in the big leagues pitching in a high-leverage role. Thankfully, the Marlins have an absolute ton of time to exhaust every option with Alcantara as a starting pitcher.

137. Dennis Santana, SP, LAD, Age: 22

Santana was on the cusp of being rosterable in redraft leagues this summer, then a lat tear landed him on the 60-day DL with the Dodgers. His numbers in Los Angeles were sneaky-good leading up to the injury (don’t you dare mention the ERA), but I’m more interested in the overall outlook. The development of Santana’s changeup could mean he really is destined to be a big league starting pitcher, which means we’re looking at a 22 year old who’s capable of striking out more than a batter per inning. If you’re looking for additional reading, I discussed Santana’s outlook in the Ramblings in May.

136. Kyle Lewis, OF, SEA, Age: 22

Hey, he’s healthy again! Lewis has hit 5 HR in 135 plate appearances this season, but his walk rate has crumbled to a lowly 4.4%. That hasn’t helped his slash, which currently sits at .272/.311/.472 thru 31 games. The first round pedigree is there, but so is the long, disappointing history of top-notch Mariners prospects. The bottom line is this: The outfielder simply needs to get on base more to hold value in the fantasy world. As a 22 year old in High-A, I’m hoping to see some strides made sooner rather than later.

135. Jay Groome, SP, BOS, Age: 19

I’ll say it: what a horrific, unfortunate start to a career. A first round pick in 2016, Groome has thrown all of 62 IP in his professional career due to various ailments and injuries. The latest setback is also the most severe: The southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery last month, and won’t return to game action until the later stages of the 2019 season at the earliest. Thankfully, Groome will only be 20 years old when he returns to competition, so the massive upside remains intact despite the injuries early in his career.

134. George Valera, OF, CLE, Age: 17

Boy oh boy, we may have something special on our hands. The sample is minuscule (19 plate appearances), but Valera has been fantastic in Rookie Ball so far this season. As a 17 year old. A certain industry site really pedaled the idea that Valera’s swing resembles that of Juan Soto. Others (whom I agree with) have compared the swing to Robinson Cano’s. It’s obviously tough to bank on a prospect who’s ETA is likely five years away, but Valera certainly appears to be a 17 year old worth rostering in deep keeper leagues. I wrote about Valera in the Ramblings last month.

133. Evan White, 1B, SEA, Age: 22

We all got super-excited a few weeks ago when White was promoted from High-A Modesto to Triple-A Tacoma, but it was short-lived thanks to the revolving door that’s been Dan Vogelbach’s 2018 season. Now back in Modesto, the development of the first baseman’s power will always be the big question pertaining to White’s prospect status. He has just 4 HR in 285 plate appearances so far this season, so there’s some reason to doubt. The 22 year old will always be a valuable player in real life, but how enticing is a .300 AVG/15 HR first baseman in the fantasy world?

132. David Peterson, SP, NYM, Age: 22

I’m not in love with the fact that Peterson is a 22 year old who was recently promoted to High-A St. Lucie for the first time, but I’m ranking the southpaw here based on the stuff and the stature. Peterson’s arsenal consists of three above-average (or better) pitches; at 6’6 240 lbs., there’s little doubt he’ll someday be able to sustain a full season of innings at the big league level. A first round pick in 2017, I expect Peterson to be pitching in Double-A to begin next season.

131. Sean Reid-Foley, SP, TOR, Age: 22

There’s something to be said for a pitching prospect who’s on the cusp of a big league debut, and Reid-Foley is just about to that point. Don’t pay any attention to the ERA in Triple-A: the xFIP is more than two runs better, and SRF’s ERA for the season is 3.41 (with 88 K in 74 IP). It wouldn’t surprise me Reid-Foley gets a cup of coffee sometime this summer or in the final month of the regular season, but he should be up for good regardless at some point next season.

130. William Contreras, C, ATL, Age: 20

It’s always risky to include young catchers in a prospect list, but there’s a ton to love with Contreras’ skillset. Slashing .298/.368/.424 with 6 HR for Low-A Rome, evaluators who have seen Contreras in person this season think the backstop could eventually evolve into a .280 AVG/20 HR big league catcher with above average defensive skills. In my mind, I visualize Contreras being one of the final pieces of the puzzle who’s called up to Atlanta before they win a World Series. I wrote about Contreras in the Ramblings less than a month ago.

129. DJ Peters, OF, LAD, Age: 22

70-grade raw power is the obvious calling card for Peters, but that’s about the only thing that’s been encouraging in the offensive profile so far this season. The outfielder has 14 HR, but he’s slashed .236/.325/.443 with a 31.5 K%. Despite the power, Peters’ wRC+ is only 104 in Double-A. The Quad-A risk seems to be growing, but Peters is far from a finished product and he possesses some of the most eye-opening raw power in the minor leagues.

128. Blake Rutherford, OF, CHW, Age: 21

Speaking of the second wave of White Sox position player prospects, Rutherford (like Basabe) is also experiencing a nice bounceback campaign this season. The 21 year old now has 6 HR and 9 SB (tehe) to go along with a .290/.329/.463 slash in High-A Winston Salem. I’d love to see the walk rate improve some to really complete the above-average hit tool, and I think the outfielder might be a level-per-season prospect in 2018 and 2019.

127. Luis Alexander Basabe, OF, CHW, Age: 21

The outfielder received a well-deserved promotion to Double-A Birmingham after slashing .266/.370/.502 with 9 HR and 7 SB in High-A. The five-tool 21 year old will now be faced with his toughest test yet in Double-A, but he should easily surpass his home run output from last season (he admittedly played most of last season injured). From a timeline standpoint, Basabe should eventually usher in a second wave of position player prospects to the big leagues.

126. Adonis Medina, SP, PHI, Age: 21

The 21 year old had a rough start to the regular season and an 8 ER outing a little more than a month ago, but in his last five starts? 29 IP, 17 H, 32 K, 1.24 ERA. As a matter of fact, Medina has allowed fewer than 3 earned runs in nine of his twelve outings so far this season. I expect his season-long ERA to remain under 4, and I think he’ll get his K/9 to 9 before it’s all said and done.

125. Michael Chavis, 3B, BOS, Age: 22

The third baseman is reportedly around two weeks away from returning from his 80 game suspension (he tested positive for a PED). Most simply assume he’ll start in Triple-A, and he might; but Chavis only slashed .250/.310/.492 in 274 plate appearances last season in Double-A. In my eyes, the suspension pushed Chavis’s ETA to next season, though he’ll also be a prime candidate to be traded if (when) the Red Sox look to add pieces for their postseason push.

124. Jose Suarez, SP, LAA, Age: 20

I’ll admit I was late to this hype-party (I mean, he is 5’10), but consider this ranking of Suarez a nod of approval. The numbers have backed up a little bit so far in Triple-A (the southpaw’s third level of the season), but it’s hard to poke holes at the numbers he’s posted when you look at them holistically, especially when you consider he’s only 20 years old. A bump in velocity with his fastball (I’m interested to see if it sticks as the season hits the homestretch) has allowed his plus changeup to be even more effective, and it certainly seems as though Suarez is destined for a big league rotation.

123. Corey Ray, OF, MIL, Age: 23

It’s impossible to not love what Ray has done so far this season. His walk rate is up. His strikeout rate is down. He’s already surpassed his home run total from last season, and he’s well on his way to doing the same with stolen bases as well. He’s an AVG/OBP variance guy, and he’ll strike out his fair share too. Despite that, Ray is undoubtedly trending in the right direction once again.  

122. Aramis Ademan, SS, CHC, Age: 19

After a disappointing start to the 2018 season, I imagine I’ll be the high man on Ademan. That’s fine. I’ve read nothing but gushing reports from folks who have seen the shortstop play in person this season, but the numbers simply don’t match the tools (the sharp decline in FB% is probably a good place to start when attempting to figure out why). As a teenager playing a premium defensive position, I’m willing to be perhaps overly-patient with Ademan (a prospect obsession for me this preseason) and reevaluate again at the end of the regular season.

121. Sean Murphy, C, OAK, Age: 23

Murphy’s the most underrated catching prospect in baseball, right? Borderline plus hit tool, borderline plus power. There’s a real chance he’s a .300 AVG/20 HR big league catcher someday. I know owning a 23-year-old catcher in Double-A isn’t the most exhilarating endeavor ever, but Murphy is a safe proposition who should be rosterable in 12 team redraft leagues someday.

Next up: My #101-120 midseason prospects…..

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Featured image courtesy of Minor League Baseball

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