Ray Butler’s 2020 Top 200 Prospects: #141-200 (For P365FBP)

Written by: Ray Butler

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Mike and I will be recording the third episode of the Prospects 365 Fantasy Baseball Podcast this weekend, and we want to spend time focusing on the #141-200 prospects from my 2020 top-200 prospect list.

In my opinion, the best way to focus on these prospects is to tackle the questions you might have about an individual player or the methodology behind a certain ranking. So if you have any question whatsoever about any of the prospects ranked #141-200 on my 2020 list, please tweet @Prospects365 ASAP!

Yes, there are more than 13,000 words worth of write-ups below, but that’s why a higher being created the Control-F shortcut. Dive in and hit us up with your questions!

200. Thomas Szapucki, SP, NYM. Age: 23

When he’s not healthy, we call him Thomas Szayucki. Yikes. Anyways, the 23-year-old was able to make it through… most… of the 2019 season unscathed, posting a 2.63 ERA and a 27.3 K% in 61.2 IP scattered throughout three different levels. If you noted the low innings pitched total, that’s fair. The Mets intentionally limited Szapucki’s workload as he worked back to full form from Tommy John surgery. It’s also worth noting the southpaw ended the season on the Double-A injured list, which subsequently led to him being scratched from participating in the Arizona Fall League. It’s unknown whether there was an actual injury or if the Mets opted to simply rest the 23-year-old, but a Mets’ source told me in November there was no reason to believe Szapucki would enter the 2020 campaign ‘at anything other than 100 percent.’ Having been pushed all the way to Double-A after beginning the season in the South Atlantic League, there’s no reason to think the Mets won’t again be aggressive with Szapucki this season. There’s plenty of starting pitcher depth in Flushing, but depending on injuries (or the Mets selling at the deadline) Szapucki could be ready to make his big league debut by July or so. Just stay healthy, sweet prince. Mets Rank: 6th

199. Austin Beck, OF, OAK. Age: 21

Another season has passed, and prospect rankers find themselves still searching for legitimate reasons to include Beck on their lists. Reports were excellent last offseason: it was beginning to sound like the outfielder had become comfortable with a retooled swing. The California League placement seemed inevitable, so it was easy to draw the conclusion Beck would improve his stock in 2019 while making a mockery of a hitter friendly league. That simply didn’t happen. The 21-year-old slashed .251/.302/.411 with 8 home runs and 2 stolen bases in 85 games and 367 plate appearances. If you were quick to notice the lack of games played or plate appearances, Beck missed considerable time in June and July with a quadriceps injury. The power output ticked up a bit (if you distribute the eight home runs to the amount of plate appearances Beck accumulated in 2018, he likely hits double digits), but the strikeout rate drastically increased (from 21.9% in 2018 to 34.3% last season). The speed output for an above average runner also decreased (8 SB in 2018, 2 SB in 2019). One could surmise the quadriceps ailment played a role in the decrease in stolen bases, but sooner or later we simply need to see Beck connect more of the dots both in written reports by evaluators and in the box score. At this point, the pedigree, raw power and defensive skills are enough to keep the 21-year-old on a list as deep as this one. Here’s to hoping he can put together a full, productive (and healthy) 2020 campaign. Athletics Rank: 7th

198. Esteury Ruiz, 2B, SD. Age: 21

2019 was not kind for Ruiz. The 21-year-old continued to sell out for power, posting a 51.4 Pull% and 45.0 FB%. The strikeout rate dropped two percent (28.6% to 26.6%), but the walk rate decreased as well (7.7% to 6.8%). The slash numbers dipped, but it was more of a BABIP normalization for a pull-heavy player than Ruiz being struck by batted ball misfortune. There were no reports of notably better defense at second base, and perhaps in a foreshadowing development, Ruiz played twelve games in left field. In the fantasy realm, the worst trend in the 21-year-old’s 2019 campaign was the power output, which was slashed in half from Ruiz’s season in the Midwest League (12 home runs in 2018, 6 home runs in 2019). The second baseman played in the hitter friendly California League in 2019, so the drop is quite condemning. And perhaps even worse: Ruiz’s 17.1 Hard% ranked near the bottom of all minor leaguers with batted ball date in 2019. When you sell out for power and are only able to muster a sub-20% hard hit rate with minimal power output, it’s pretty damning. The 21-year-old was left unprotected leading up to the 2019 Rule 5 Draft; of course, that was partly because the Padres have an embarrassment of riches within their farm system, but it also probably doesn’t speak too highly on how San Diego values Ruiz. As things currently stand, there’s a non-zero chance the second baseman is traded for a second time within the next calendar year. As the advanced pitching in either the California League or Texas League continues to seep into Ruiz’s on base ability with his current approach, I’m fearful this might be the final time Ruiz appears on a preseason prospect list of mine. Padres Rank: 10th

197. Omar Estevez, INF, LAD. Age: 22

Estevez had an interesting 2019 campaign; his season can be split into two different parts. From MiLB Opening Day to May 14th, the 22-year-old slashed .333/.412/.456 with 2 home runs and a 12.1 BB% (18.2 K%). Then, the infielder suffered a left leg injury that sidelined him for more than a month. Upon returning, the slash numbers dipped (.268/.319/.415) and eyewitness reports suggest Estevez was pressing to make up for lost time. Despite the lackluster numbers in 59 games post-activation, the 22-year-old still managed to post a career-high 119 wRC+ and later supplemented his regular season with 20 games in the AFL. Generally speaking, Estevez’s carrying offensive skill is his ability to get on base. However, it’s the thought of eventually possessing above average in-game power that makes the infielder so intriguing to evaluators and scouts. The 22-year-old’s upper and lower halves work in tandem on a swing that generates natural loft. Estevez has a thick lower half, and the consensus within the industry is more power should be on the way. The Dodgers being loaded in the middle infield (and everywhere else around the diamond) clouds Estevez’s path to big league playing time a great deal, but at this point on a fantasy prospect list, it’s easy to buy the tools. The hope here is Estevez eventually establishes himself as a 55-hit, 55-power middle infielder with sufficient defensive prowess. Not quite reaching that power ceiling would still make the 22-year-old a low-end regular for second division teams. Dodgers Rank: 11th

196. Quinn Priester, SP, PIT. Age: 19

Highly scientific opener here: there’s just something about Priester that I really, really like. The pedigree and arsenal are apparent: the 19-year-old was selected with the 18th overall pick in last summer’s draft. The four-pitch arsenal is dynamic and deadly, featuring a mid-90s four-seam (with ride) that’s touched 97, a two-seam that runs into the hands of right-handed hitters, an 11-to-5 curveball and a changeup that should eventually be a weapon versus lefties. He’s athletic and projectable, and his 6-foot-3, 195 lb. frame should add positive mass once he experiences organizational weight training programs in the offseason. Cold weather prep arms aren’t exactly a favorite of many throughout the industry, and often with good reason. But Priester has the upside of a SP3 who should continue to make strides as he ascends the levels of the minors. The upcoming (or perhaps already ongoing) philosophical shift within the Pirates organization should help, too. FYPD Rank: 29th, Pirates Rank: 8th

195. Tahnaj Thomas, SP, PIT. Age: 20

Thomas was a prospect obsession of mine last season. Then, in his first two Appalachian League starts, Thomas posted a line of 1.2 IP, 4 H, 5 ER, 5 BB, 1 K. That’s a 27.00 ERA for those of you keeping score at home. I won’t lie to you: I stopped paying attention until his season was nearly over. The 20-year-old bounced back nicely, finishing the season with a 3.17 ERA (3.49 xFIP) and 29.5 K% (7.0 BB%) in 48.1 IP, which I certainly would have enjoyed tracking while it was happening instead of catching up retroactively. Thomas’ current arsenal consists of an explosive fastball that can touch triple digits, a high-80s slider and a changeup. As you’d expect with a pitching prospect who’s so raw, the latter two offerings are inconsistent and currently only flash above average qualities. Thomas is extremely athletic and projects well physically; if everything clicks, we’re probably looking at a strikeout heavy SP3 at the big league level. Of course, there’s also an extreme amount of risk that’s inherent with any unrefined pitching prospect who is yet to sniff full season ball. Because of this, there’s certainly a non-zero chance the 20-year-old eventually becomes a dynamic reliever. There’s also a chance enough facets click and Thomas becomes one of the more electric starting pitchers in the big leagues. Regardless, the right-hander certainly needs to be on your radar as we enter a new season. A solid 2020 campaign would likely mean Thomas slots similarly to Francisco Morales’ current ranking a year from now. Pirates Rank: 7th

194. Luis Rodriguez, OF, LAD. Age: 17

Not going to lie: out of the 250 prospects on this list, Rodriguez is the biggest unknown. There’s just very, very little information available on him so far. The outfielder signed with the Dodgers for $2.67 million in July. That’s basically the last we’ve heard from him. From what I’m able to gauge, the raw power is a bit better than what was projected prior to his signing in July. In general, I keep hearing that the 17-year-old was generally underrated from an offensive standpoint throughout the ‘recruiting’ process. As it stands today, Rodriguez’s proponents consider him a 50-hit, 55-raw, 55-run, 55-arm, 50-field prospect. He’ll probably play quite a bit of centerfield early in his career, but standing at a projectable 6-foot-2, he’s a decent candidate to move to right field as he fills out physically. My main (read: only) Dodgers source says it’s likely the outfielder never plays in the Dominican Summer League and instead debuts in the Arizona League next summer. He’ll be 17 years old when that happens. Do your thing, Dodgers Developmental Machine. FYPD Rank: 28th, Dodgers Rank: 10th

Have you weaponized your Twitter account for the 2020 season? 

193. Johan Rojas, OF, PHI. Age: 19

Love me some Johan Rojas. After torturing the Gulf Coast League for 18 games (159 wRC+ in 84 plate appearances) to begin the summer, the outfielder was promoted to the NYPL. Viewed as an aggressive placement in the middle of the summer, Rojas posted respectable albeit unspectacular numbers–.244/.273/.384 with 2 home runs and 11 stolen bases (96 wRC+)—in 42 games and 172 plate appearances. The reports on the tools are what you hope to read about any teenage prospect: 70-grade speed, emerging power that could potentially ascend to 55 raw, and solid defense at a premium position (center field). The swing is a little funky (there’s quite a bit of movement with his front foot pre-pitch and a bit of a bat wrap), but any flaws have not yet manifested in strikeout rate (16.0 K% in 60 total games in 2019). I feel like the bigger challenge for the 19-year-old will be the development of patience (5.5 BB% last season) and quality of contact. The South Atlantic League should be in the cards for Rojas in 2020, and he’ll be a prospect whose stat line I glance at on a daily basis. Phillies Rank: 5th

192. Jake Cronenworth, INF/RP, SD. Age: 26

A Jared Walsh we can actually believe in. Cronenworth is going to be a really fun story at the big league level in 2020. A 26-year-old who was added to the Rays’ 40-man roster then traded to the Padres along with Tommy Pham, Cronenworth is capable of playing every infield position and effectively pitching in relief. A hamstring injury cost the utility player more than a month of his 2019 campaign, and when he was activated from the Triple-A injured list, he was used exclusively as a position player in order for the Durham Bulls to secure a playoff spot. That means the recent offensive sample is much more extensive than the pitching sample, but both are quite intriguing. In 406 plate appearances last season, Cronenworth slashed .334/.429/.520 with 10 home runs and 12 stolen bases (12.1 BB%, 15.3 K%). That’s good for a 147 wRC+. He also pitched in seven games last season; he didn’t allow a single run and struck out 26.5% of the batters he faced (with a .154 BAA). He also walked 23.5% of the batters he faced, and it’s hard to see the 0.00 ERA without also noticing the 4.44 FIP. Of course, the 7.1 IP sample is far from reliable or predictive of future outcome. Cronenworth has proven his offensive viability and is certainly capable of being at least a role player from a utility standpoint at the big league level. For this experiment to work, we also have to be able to believe in his stuff on the mound. Luckily, the 26-year-old’s fastball topped out at 96 mph in Triple-A last season. He also flashed a curveball that missed bats with relative ease. It. Is. On. Now a member of the Padres and with an extra MLB roster spot being implemented in 2020, it’s very likely Cronenworth will be unleashed in the NL West early and often this season. If you’re a daily league player, the 26-year-old is the perfect late round target. I’d bet he becomes a fun topic of conversation around the Twittersphere and on MLB Network in 2020. Cronenworth was included in my recently-published article about non-elite prospects with sneaky 2020 redraft valuePadres Rank: 9th

191. Dane Dunning, SP, CHW. Age: 25

Hello there, old friend. Dunning ranked 65th on my 2019 preseason top-200 list. Here’s the start of that write-up: Did we or didn’t we escape a serious elbow injury with Dunning last season? Time will ultimately tell, but at this point there’s no reason to assume the right-hander is anything but healthy.” Unfortunately, the worst happened for the 25-year-old last season, opting for Tommy John surgery in March. The operation sidelined Dunning for the entirety of the 2019 season and will likely keep him away from competition for the majority of 2020. The right-hander was one of my toughest evaluations of the offseason. A lot of the hype surrounding the 25-year-old pre-surgery was the ETA. If healthy, it was a foregone conclusion he would play a role for the White Sox staff at some point in 2019. Now, we’re faced with the realization Dunning likely won’t debut in the big leagues until his Age 26 season—and that’s without any significant hiccups throughout his rehab. I’m extremely interested to see what the fastball looks like fully recovered versus where it was pre-injury; that pitch will play a large role in determining Dunning’s real-life and fantasy value once he returns to full health without restriction. If the stuff comes back fully functional and the command eventually returns to its above-average self, a case can be made the right-hander becomes a low-end SP3. At this point (and based on reports I’ve seen and people I’ve talked to), I think it’s more likely the right-hander slots as a SP4 who leans on his secondary pitches throughout his big league career. With infinitely more resources at my disposal now compared to a year ago, I will admit my ranking of Dunning last preseason (65th overall) was too aggressive. White Sox Rank: 5th

190. Edward Olivares, OF, SD. Age: 23

Olivares has always been a “if only the hit tool would develop” type of prospect. However, the 23-year-old just faced his toughest challenge in the minor leagues (advancing from High-A pitching to Double-A pitching) and slashed .283/.349/.453 with 18 home runs and 35 stolen bases. The 123 wRC+ was Olivares’ highest mark since 2014, when he played in the DSL as a member of the Blue Jays’ organization. The outfielder distributed the ball to all fields a little more in 2019 than in 2018 (and he did it with a stronger frame than in past seasons), but the 41.9 Pull% means the BABIP will always remain modest despite the 23-year-old possessing above average speed. To fully buy-in, I’d love to see a continuation of an increased walk rate (5.0% in 2018, 7.8% in 2019) to pair with future reports of improved patience at the plate. It’s true that he’s likely blocked (perhaps even mega-blocked) in the Padres’ system, but I do feel as though he gets penalized too harshly for it on fantasy lists. He’s already on San Diego’s 40-man roster, so it’s likely he’ll perhaps receive an opportunity more easily than we assume or he’ll be traded to an organization with less gridlock in the outfield than the Padres (a trade would subsequently open a spot on their 40-man for someone like Taylor Trammell). It’s easy for me to continue buying Olivares’ tools, especially in this tier of a prospect list. Padres Rank: 8th

189. Tyler Ivey, SP, HOU. Age: 23

You hear ‘dynamic fastball/curveball combo’ and ‘pitcher in the Astros organization’, check out Ivey’s FanGraphs page and you might be led to believe we have a future big time, big league arm on our hands. I was once convinced of this as well. Ivey still has MLB stuff, but I’m a lot more skeptical after learning the fastball is a low spin pitch that would sit around the 35th percentile amongst big league pitchers. Ivey is long-limbed and has good extension—and that definitely increases the viability of the offering—but I worry how well the pitch will play up in the zone against big league hitters at its current velocity (90-94 T96) and RPMs. In a sense, this issue is similar to the one A.J. Puk will face as a big league pitcher (you’ll read about him later this month), but Ivey has more working against him than the southpaw (velocity, handedness, mechanics, etc). Ivey’s curveball is going to be an impact big league pitch from Day One and it will likely carry the profile. The 23-year-old is going to pitch in the big leagues, and there are enough tools for him to be successful at the highest level. I’m just more conservative on the profile than I was six months ago. Astros Rank: 5th

188. Adam Hall, SS, BAL. Age: 20

Adam Hall is going to be eternally underrated on prospect lists. The infielder debuted at full season Delmarva as a teenager last season, slashing .298/.385/.395 with 5 home runs and 33 stolen bases (78.6% success rate) in 122 games and 534 plate appearances. If you’re keeping score, that’s a 133 wRC+ for a player 1.5 years younger than his league’s average competition. Hall currently struggles to incorporate his lower half in his swing, so it’s hard to project much power growth with his current mechanics. With the assumption the Orioles use their emerging R&D department to help Hall reach his potential, a safe projection is something like .270/.350/.400 with 10 home runs and 25 stolen bases. With defensive skills that will likely keep Hall in the middle of the infield, we’re suddenly discussing a really intriguing big league player. Statistically speaking, that’s pretty dang close to what we just witnessed from Kolten Wong, who is currently a top-250 player in redrafts for the upcoming season. Orioles Rank: 8th

187. Luis Garcia, INF, PHI. Age: 19

If you remember, one of my prospect bold predictions last year was that Garcia and Ronny Mauricio would both be top-25 prospects by the end of 2019. After beginning any subsequent conversation with the fact the prediction was wrong, it’s always Mauricio who’s discussed afterwards. The forgotten member of that duo, it’s fairly obvious Garcia was pushed too aggressively into full season ball in 2019. In 127 games and 524 plate appearances, the teenager slashed .186/.261/.255 with 4 home runs and 9 stolen bases (8.4 BB%, 25.2 K%, 55 wRC+). I’d imagine those are the worst offensive numbers from any prospect you’ll read about on this list. I don’t have any magical reports to renew your faith in the infielder. To my knowledge, there was no secret injury that hampered Garcia throughout his full season debut. He was just bad. But while he’s been largely discarded from a fantasy sense, I’m quietly gobbling-up ground floor shares and betting on a bit of a bounce back in 2020. It’s true I overestimated Garcia’s fantasy potential a bit when I ranked 110th last preseason before he debuted in the South Atlantic League, but I wasn’t wrong about the potential for an above average hit tool and above average speed. I’m buying those tools with the idea repeating the Sally this season will help him recuperate his stock. Phillies Rank: 4th

186. Kevin Alcantara, OF, NYY. Age: 17

Perhaps the most projectable of the prospects who were promoted from the Dominican Summer League mid-season, Alcantara is a projectable string-bean (6-foot-6, 190 lbs.) whose swing shouldn’t look as beautiful as it does so early in his development. Relying on a quick glance at the DSL or GCL numbers would likely mean the outfielder would be passed over on a list like this, but there’s so much more here than meets the eye of the stat line scout. Those who have seen the 17-year-old play see aggression that is typical of such a raw prospect at such a young age. Playing in the GCL before he can legally buy cigarettes, aggression mostly leads to poor quality of contact and pedestrian box scores. But evaluators also see a prospect with eye-opening coordination for someone with Alcantara’s frame. They see the potential for plus raw power, above average speed and a defensive skillset that lends itself to center or right field. It may take a while for the in-game numbers to catch up to the 17-year-old’s raw skillset, but Alcantara is certainly one of the most intriguing Rookie-level prospects in the sport. The development here is likely to be slow but worthwhile in the long run. Yankees Rank: 10th

Interested in minor league batted ball data and isolated power? Our Tyler Spicer recently made some observations on prospects and leagues that really made their presence felt in that realm last season

185. Dean Kremer, SP, BAL. Age: 24

Kremer was actually the last player added to my 2020 prospect list after a few industry sources suggested I was placing far too much weight on the right-hander’s hypothetical big league situation in the near future. I already included the 24-year-old in an article discussing non-elite prospects who could provide solid value in redraft leagues this season. Kremer is by no means a superstar-pitching prospect, but there are enough tools within this sum-of-the-parts skillset to profile nicely from the back of the Orioles’ rotation beginning sometime in 2020. The right-hander’s arsenal consists of four pitches—a fastball, curveball, changeup and slider—that, in a perfect world, should protect him from split concerns at the big league level. The slider is the only pitch in the repertoire that is firmly below average, so the fastball’s viability against right-handed hitters will be key. I don’t have to tell you how terrifying of a gauntlet the AL East is, but Kremer has the upside of an SP4 who flirts with a strikeout per inning pitched throughout the prime of his big league career. Orioles Rank: 7th

184. Miguel Vargas, INF, LAD. Age: 20

You look at Vargas’ 6-foot-3, 205 lb. frame and it becomes hard to build an argument against him eventually developing above average or better raw power. Then you consider the fact he’s in the Dodgers’ organization, and you just assume it’ll happen in due time. After a full season’s worth of at-bats in the Midwest and California Leagues, I’ve become unconvinced. The lower half screams power, but the bat speed is really forgettable. The wrists are stiff, and the lack of punch was evident in Vargas’ pedestrian 19.4 Hard%. Regardless of whether Vargas takes most of his long-term defensive reps from third base or eventually shifts across the diamond to first, it appears unlocking more bat speed (and more power) will be absolutely paramount. There are solid foundational tools in place here, including solid plate discipline and above average bat-to-ball skills. If the Dodgers are able to work their magic and Vargas evolves into the prospect his body says he should be, he’ll become one of the better infield prospects in all of baseball. Dodgers Rank: 9th

183. Kris Bubic, SP, KC. Age: 22

There will be a few prospects on this list whose outlook can better be described from a blurb in the Ramblings than anything I could write here. Bubic is one of those prospects. The reasoning behind the drop in Bubic’s ranking from my end-of-season list to now is quite simple: remove the statistics, evaluate the stuff. Bubic has one of the best changeups in the minor leagues, but I’m terrified he won’t be able to adequately construct a sequence or usage that will make the pitch as deadly against Double-A and Triple-A hitters as it was in the low minors. My pessimism on this outlook means I might be the low man on Bubic this preseason, but it’s a battle I’m willing to fight. Howdy, RhysRoyals Rank: 7th

182. Daz Cameron, OF, DET. Age: 23

The fantasy profile added some risk and shed some upside in 2019, which is never what you want from a prospect on the cusp of debuting at the big league level. Cameron was a well-below-average offensive performer in the International League last season, slashing .214/.330/.377 with 13 home runs and 17 stolen bases in 120 games and 528 plate appearances (84 wRC+). The strikeout rate also worsened, jumping from 25.7% to 28.8% in a full season of Triple-A at-bats. There’s certainly stolen base potential here, but the questions surrounding the hit tool were only accentuated last season. Center field being the defensive home increases the real-life floor, and the fact the Tigers stink should allow Cameron ample opportunities to prove himself once he debuts in Detroit. A projection of .240 BA/.320 OBP/15 HR/18 SB with a high strikeout rate throughout his prime feels about right, especially if the 23-year-old continues to hit the ball on the ground too often. Tigers Rank: 6th

181. Jay Groome, SP, BOS. Age: 21

2020 will always be known as the season Jay Groome re-established himself as one of the most promising, left-handed pitching prospects in all of baseball… is a sentence I would love to read in ten months. It’s been a grueling process for the 21-year-old. Multiple injuries—most notably a torn UCL that led to Tommy John surgery in May 18—have derailed the lion’s share of Groome’s development since he was selected 12th overall in 2016. Now assumed fully healthy and slated to break camp with a full season affiliate in 2020, a case can be made the southpaw can improve his stock as much as any pitching prospect this season. In a sense, Groome’s current situation reminds me a bit of Luiz Gohara in 2017. The former will be exposed in the Rule 5 draft next offseason if he’s not placed on the 40-man, so the Red Sox may be selectively aggressive with Groome’s path this season to get a better idea of whether he warrants protection. This subsequently increases the chance the left-hander is eventually transitioned to the bullpen in order to impact Boston’s big league roster sooner rather than later, but we’ll continue projecting him as a fastball/curveball-laden starter until we’re told differently. Red Sox Rank: 6th

180. Rodolfo Castro, INF, PIT. Age: 20

You can talk about the aggression at the plate if you’d like. You can talk about the current swing-and-miss issues within the profile. You can even if talk about the fact the potential stolen base impact isn’t what we thought it might be. I’d rather focus on a pair of the positives: Castro has the chance to someday hit for a massive amount of power, and he’ll do so while probably playing second base. Castro’s Hard% in 2019 was 31.8%, a rate that is well above average and quite impressive when you consider the frequency in which the 20-year-old swings the bat as well as the fact he took most of his cuts from a challenging Florida State League last season. And sure, the slash was only .242/.298/.456 and he struck out in more than a fourth of his plate appearances (26.5%). He was also more than two years younger than his average competition in the FSL and posted a 135 wRC+ (.299 BA) throughout the final month of the season. I really believe in the power here, so the upside is something like .250 with 30 home runs from second base. Reports have his right-handed swing much better than the left-handed swing, so the statistical disparity between the two are worth monitoring this season and beyond. Pirates Rank: 6th

179. Gilberto Celestino, OF, MIN. Age: 21

Part of me thinks Gilberto Celestino will become the player we think Misael Urbina will be. I love what I see here. There’s a high real-life floor: Celestino plays strong defense in centerfield, has a feel to hit and is a plus runner. But there’s also sneaky upside. The power output last season (10 home runs in 125 games) isn’t worth writing home about, but it’s also acceptable and perhaps even promising for a prospect who carries a public perception of a limited power ceiling. No one would mistake the lower half of the 21-year-old’s frame for tree trunks, but there is a notable thickness when you consider his listed size of 6-foot, 170 pounds. Celestino needs to elevate the ball more frequently to reach his full offensive upside, but there are tools within this profile worth targeting even if never hits more than 10 home runs per season at the big league level. Repeating his double-digit home run performance from last season while playing in the Florida State League would begin to raise some eyebrows around the prospect community, especially if he pairs that output with 15-20 stolen bases. Twins Rank: 9th

178. Travis Blankenhorn, 2B/OF, MIN. Age: 23

Perhaps my most underrated look of the season: a late-April Southern League look between the Diamondbacks’ and Twins’ Double-A squads. That series consisted of Jazz Chisholm, Daulton Varsho, Brusdar Graterol, Luis Arraez, Pavin Smith, Devin Smeltzer and Blankenhorn. I never featured him in the Ramblings, but I came away impressed with Blankenhorn. ‘Burly’ is probably the first word I would use to describe the frame, but the 23-year-old is athletic for his size—the 11 stolen bases and 0 CS in 2019 speak to that athleticism. By physical appearance alone, he looks out of place defensively at second base, but a Twins scout I talked to said he’s adequate at the position, and he held his own during my looks. He also mentioned left field as a fallback option, but that the organization loves Blankenhorn’s bat to the extent they’ll be creative with getting him in the lineup once he’s ready to debut in the big leagues. First base could also be a potential match. The 23-year-old has a good feel to hit—he beat the shift multiple times during my look, both times with two-strike counts. Despite the 6-foot-2, 228 lb. build, I’m not yet ready to throw a plus grade on the raw power. He could probably get there, but it wouldn’t be without sacrificing some of the hit tool. For now, Blankenhorn projects as a .270 AVG/20 HR hitter who might steal a handful of bases every season thanks to fantastic instincts. He’s a future big leaguer, and being added to the 40-man this offseason means he could (should?) see his first opportunity in Minnesota sometime in 2020. Twins Rank: 8th

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177. Blake Walston, SP, ARI. Age: 18

There’s so freakin’ much to love about Walston. He was young for his draft class—six months younger than Daniel Espino and ten months younger than Brennan Malone. There are five pitches in the arsenal, some more refined than others but five distinct offerings he throws in different counts. Walston oozes physical projection, currently checking in at 6-foot-5, 175 pounds with a frame that should easily be able to add positive weight. Once that happens, the southpaw could easily top out in the 96-97 mph range. Oh, and his fastball is currently his third best pitch (the curveball and changeup are better). Walston was a multi-sport star in high school (football), so I’m interested to see the perception of his upside after he focuses on baseball for a calendar year. The Diamondbacks pushed the left-hander to the Northwest League to finish the season, so there’s a decent chance he opens the 2020 season in the Midwest League (Low-A). As you can see, I’m pretty bullish on Walston. FYPD Rank: 27th, Diamondbacks Rank: 9th

176. Roansy Contreras, SP, NYY. Age: 20

The more I researched and asked around on Contreras, the more I liked what he did in 2019. The strikeout numbers (21.1 K%) were a bit lower than most of the other pitching prospects you’ll read about on this list, but the BB% (6.7%), ERA (3.33, which is supported by his FIP and xFIP) and home run suppression (10 HR allowed in 132.1 IP) are all super impressive, especially for a pitching prospect whose average competition was nearly three years older than him. We all know the strikeout numbers need to improve in order for the 20-year-old to become a prospect you salivate over, but Contreras has a lot of qualities we look for in promising, young pitchers. There’s still some physical projection left in the tank, so I’m hopeful the right-hander’s three-pitch arsenal (fastball, curveball, changeup) is eventually headlined by a fastball that sits 95-97 instead of the 92-94 we witnessed in 2019. Yankees Rank: 9th

175. Luis Frias, SP, ARI. Age: 21

I find myself stuck when evaluating Frias. On one hand, he’s a late-blooming pitching prospect with a high-effort delivery, and I get the sense he could become an elite reliever with arsenal consolidation and the ability to max-out for one or two innings at a time. On the other hand, he’s got one of the best lower-halves of any pitching prospect in baseball (and he weighs substantially more than his 180-pound list weight on MiLB-related websites). He has three pitches that all flash plus at times, and he only may tipping the scale of his potential. Consistency will be key for the 21-year-old in 2020, and I’m most interested to evaluate his ability to attack the zone when hitters in the Cal League (and Southern League if the Diamondbacks choose to be aggressive) are able to spit on the curveball and splitter in the dirt. If you’re looking for a pitching prospect lottery ticket who could finish the 2020 season as a top-50 prospect, Frias should be a prime candidate. Diamondbacks Ranks: 8th

You know you want to read about the players and prospects who claim to be in the best shape of their lives this spring. We’ve created a log, and we’ll be updating it daily

174. Canaan Smith, OF, NYY. Age: 20

Say what you will about the perception of Smith’s hit tool as being ‘meh’, but a slash of .307/.405/.465 with a 14.0 BB% and 20.5% in his Age 20 season in the South Atlantic League has gone a long way in silencing the critics in that regard. With 11 home runs and 16 stolen bases to boot, one might wonder how the heck Smith isn’t ranked higher than the home stretch of a top-200. If you look under the hood, we find Smith isn’t even an above average straight-line runner. He was able to use his instincts to effectively steal bases in the Sally. Will he be able to do the same in the FSL and Eastern League versus pitchers who are quicker to the plate and catchers with better pop times? Also, based on older reports, Smith might be limited to left field or first base defensively. This lowers the real life floor, so he’ll really have to hit to make his way to the front of the line in a contending Yankees’ organization. With a passive approach at the plate and a pitcher-friendly assignment to the FSL on deck, a statistical repeat for Smith in 2020 would likely land him inside the top-100 a year from now. Yankees Rank: 8th

173. Joey Cantillo, SP, SD. Age: 20

You can tout Cantillo’s Low-A success in 2019 if you’d like, but the reason he ranks inside my current top-200 is the projection of the pitcher he could be with further development. The southpaw will always lean on a plus changeup and a curveball that plays up thanks to a high arm slot. That’s fine, but pitchers won’t miss bats at the Double-A level and beyond without a weaponized fastball. The southpaw has a ways to go in that regard, but the pitch projects to improve because 1) Cantillo will add weight to his frame, which should add velocity to the offering, and 2) the pitch actually improved over the course of a 2019 season that featured Cantillo pitching 62.2 more innings than he did in 2018. The fastball touched 94 in a July outing after began working with a core velocity belt and made a mechanical adjustment. The pitch is low spin and is unlikely to ever miss a ton of bats, but increased velocity will likely increase the amount of soft contact the pitch induces. And since the 20-year-old repeats his arm-speed well with his changeup, a wider velocity disparity between it and the fastball should make both pitches play-up a bit. A hitter friendly California League should be a solid challenge for Cantillo in 2020; for now, he projects as a high-pitchability, high-end SP4 who strikes out more batters than his fastball says he should. Padres Rank: 7th

172. Alejandro Pie, SS, TB. Age: 18

I ranked Pie 113th on the midseason version of my prospect list last summer. I thought it was an aggressive, edgy ranking. Ahead of the curve. With hindsight, it was simply wrong. I fully believe Pie is a top-200 prospect and possesses a high ceiling, but we had not (and still have not) received an output worthy of that ranking. At least not yet, anyways. I see a bit of a slower-progressing Ronny Mauricio in Pie: a tall, wiry shortstop who hasn’t accessed much power in-game early in his career. Don’t worry, the home runs will come with age and physical maturation. This is where we meet our fork in the road: depending on how much muscle Pie adds to his frame, he could remain at shortstop and maintain his viability as a stolen base threat. He could also add enough mass to transition to third base, where his plus raw power would play just fine. In this scenario, the stolen base output would diminish or disappear all together. I like either outcome just fine from a fantasy standpoint, and that’s why he’ll remain on this list even if he doesn’t debut in full season ball until 2022. He should debut stateside sometime this summer. Rays Rank: 12th

171. Misael Urbina, OF, MIN. Age: 17

Things went exceptionally well for Urbina in the Dominican Summer League this summer. So well, in fact, I fear Urbina is now being viewed as something he’s not. The hit tool is at least above average—the outfielder possesses solid bat-to-ball skills and walked nine more times than he struck out in 217 plate appearances this summer. That’s all fine and dandy, but we need to see the approach and contact skills translate to the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League before we ponder the word ‘plus’ when evaluating the hit tool. The 17-year-old currently projects for average power in the future, which could be a problem in real-life since he’ll likely slot in left field defensively. The speed is the biggest wild card in this profile. Urbina stole 19 bases in 50 DSL games (70.3% success rate), but he reportedly doesn’t (yet?) possess notable top-end speed. The impending ability to steal bases at higher levels will play a large role in determining his future value on prospect lists and dynasty leagues. I’m inclined to be conservative on the upside, so with the current profile, I’ll project a .280/10 HR/20 SB ceiling from left field. Twins Rank: 7th

170. Daulton Jefferies, SP, OAK. Age: 24

You can poke holes in some of the finer points of Jefferies’ 2019 return from Tommy John surgery if you’d like, but the bottom line is simple: the right-hander exceeded expectations last season. The two complaints are easy to understand: Jefferies was a 23 and 24-year-old succeeding versus hitters in High-A and Double-A, and (by design) the right-hander never hit the 4 IP threshold in any appearance last season. It’s true we need to see how the stuff holds up a second and third time thru the order, but on it’s head, 79 IP with a 3.42 ERA, 29.2 K% and 2.8 BB% is darn impressive for a pitcher who had thrown nine competitive innings since 2016. But despite the gaudy stats last season, the arsenal points to Jefferies eventually becoming a high-end SP4 at the big league level. The fastball sits 92-94 and has average spin. The sinking changeup (Jefferies’ best pitch) mostly sits 84-87; it’s a plus pitch that is the right-hander’s best bat eluder. Jefferies also featured a slider last season that grades fringe average based on video evaluation. It should be noted the right-hander’s entire arsenal plays-up thanks to plus command. In an ideal world, Jefferies will exceed 100 IP in 2020, with some of that workload coming from the big league level. The icing on the cake would be the ‘chanker’ missing more bats in Triple-A and MLB than we expect. Athletics Rank: 6th

Adrian Houser could be one of the most underrated players you select in your drafts this preseason. I dove deep into his profile this offseason. Read about him here. 

169. Anthony Kay, SP, TOR. Age: 24

With so much valuable minor league data withheld from the public eye, prospects making their big league debut often transitions many facets of our evaluations from ‘what we think’ to ‘what we know’. This is especially true for pitching prospects. So even though Kay only faced 63 batters and threw 258 pitches at the big league level towards the end of the 2019 regular season, we now have important data points such as spin rates and small-sample effectiveness versus some of the best hitters in the world. A lot of the actual statistics are too noisy to be worth much, but it’s certainly encouraging to see Kay’s Hard% allowed inside the top-100 of all pitchers from 2019 (min. 25 batted ball events), even if there was a little beginner’s luck involved. From a ‘stuff’ standpoint, everything we know about the fastball—from velocity, to spin rate, to expected outcomes in his first MLB sample—makes the pitch seem anywhere from average to quite forgettable. The 44.4 Whiff% on the changeup makes me think at least some of the actual and expected outcomes were a bit lucky. The curveball was easily the southpaw’s best pitch post-promotion (.077 BA, .154 xBA, .198 xwOBA), though—again—we need a larger sample before determining outcome viability versus big league hitters. In the end, all signs seem to be pointing towards SP4 territory. The Blue Jays have been extremely active this offseason, signing Hyun-Jin Ryu and Tanner Roark while trading for Chase Anderson. With Matt Shoemaker, Trent Thornton and Ryan Borucki also in the fold, we should probably assume Kay breaks camp in Triple-A. Regardless of his role or placement on Opening Day, the 24-year-old will almost certainly factor in to Toronto’s rotation at some point in 2020. Blue Jays Rank: 6th

168. Tyler Stephenson, C, CIN. Age: 23

Generally speaking, Stephenson flies under the radar amongst catchers throughout the prospect world. He also flew under the radar in 2019 despite ranking second amongst Southern League catchers in wRC+ (trailing only Daulton Varsho, min. 300 plate appearances). On a wider scale with the same threshold, Stephenson’s 35.4 Hard% ranked fifth amongst all catching prospects at any level. Despite being 6-foot-4 and 225 lbs., the 23-year-old holds his own behind the plate. Watching him face-off versus Varsho multiple times last season, it was Stephenson who was the superior defensive catcher. Once the latter fully realizes his power potential, this profile strikes me as one that will hover between a .250-.260 batting average with above average power for the position. Stephenson has been a level-per-season prospect since he debuted in Dayton in 2017, so it’s likely the Reds will let him cook in the International League in 2020 before he debuts in Cincinnati next season. The Reds have been actively searching for catcher help in the free agent and trade market, but it’s Stevenson who’s likely slated to fill that role in the long-term. Reds Rank: 5th

167. Ezequiel Duran, 2B, NYY. Age: 20

Duran is only 20 and hasn’t even debuted in full season ball yet, but I already have quite the history with second baseman. In my 2018 midseason list, I ranked Duran 108th (!). In the write-up, I suggested 2019 would be his breakout season. I should have listened to myself. I allowed a rough summer in 2018 (which was too small of a sample) to skew my evaluation of the 20-year-old, and I removed him from my prospect list all together until my 2019 end-of-season list. Truth be told, it was never going to be a linear process for Duran—and I paid the price for being impatient early in my prospecting career. After a really, really bad summer in 2018, the second baseman exploded back onto the scene last summer. In 66 games and 277 plate appearances in the NYPL, Duran slashed .256/.329/.496 with 13 home runs and 11 stolen bases. That was good for a 143 wRC+, so while the strikeout rate wasn’t spotless (27.8%), the growing hype surrounding the 20-year-old is everything I hoped it would be as we head for a full season debut in the South Atlantic League in 2020. I don’t expect speed output to always be part of Duran’s game, and he’s likely a level-per-season prospect with strikeout rates in the 25.0% range annually. But the raw power is plus, and the 20-year-old undoubtedly has potential to be one of the best second base prospects in baseball before debuting in the AL East. Yankees Rank: 7th

166. Kyle Muller, SP, ATL. Age: 22

It’s extremely difficult to heavily weigh the stuff and statistics when ranking Muller, because the body (a sculpted 6-foot-6 and 225 lbs.) screams “one of the best left-handed pitchers in all of baseball.” When I watch Muller in-person, it’s hard to build an argument that the repertoire won’t continue to improve the next few seasons. It’s almost as if the southpaw hasn’t fully grown into his body yet. Despite what my eyes say, we must also consider the fact Muller is suddenly 22-years-old and is coming off a season in which he walked 14.5% of the batters he faced in the Southern League. The solid but unspectacular strikeout rate (25.6%) doesn’t hide this issue. The left-hander spent a lot of his 2018 offseason working to optimize the biomechanics of his lower half at Driveline. For whatever reason, the mechanical improvements did not carry over to the playing field last season. Muller appeared to be ‘fighting it’ at different times throughout his 2019 campaign before a plant-leg injury ended his season in early August. When I saw him in June, the southpaw’s fastball sat 92-95 (T97). It’s an extremely high-spin pitch that has the ability to miss bats. With moderate arm-side run, the offering is also the foundation of Muller’s plan versus left-handed hitters. The curveball isn’t as eye-opening from a Statcast standpoint, but it’s consistently effective against righties and Muller can throw the pitch in any count. The changeup is still a work in progress, flattening out too often but missing bats with noticeable fade at its best. I hate projecting a 22-year-old more so on what’s to come than what we’ve seen, but Muller’s frame and athleticism make for a rare exception. At worst, the left-hander will utilize his FB/CB combination as a weapon from the bullpen. At best, he becomes more mechanically consistent and the changeup reaches his potential. At peak, this would make him a top-tier SP4. Braves Rank: 6th

Have you weaponized your Twitter account for the upcoming baseball season?

165. Keoni Cavaco, SS, MIN. Age: 18

People are going to over-penalize Cavaco for a poor, 25-game professional debut in the Gulf Coast League last summer, and the truthers will benefit from it. Physical projection is the name of the game for the 18-year-old, and there’s plus raw power and above average speed to go with it. Cavaco highlighted the pop-up portion of last summer’s draft, and the Twins snatched him with the 13th overall pick. There’s some awkwardness present both at the plate and on defense, though it can be at least partially credited to Cavaco still learning how to utilize his limbs. There’s a chance he shifts to either side of shortstop as he progresses to the upper levels of the minors, so make sure you include that when you attempt to buy low in your dynasty league. Don’t worry; the power should play just fine even from the hot corner. As one of the youngest players in his draft class, it’s entirely possible the Twins opt to keep their prized 18-year-old at the complex throughout the spring before placing him in the Appalachian League when Rookie Ball begins. Selfishly, I’m hoping Cavaco is instead the youngest player in the Midwest league. FYPD Rank: 26th, Twins Rank: 6th

164. Jorge Mateo, INF, OAK. Age: 24

Quite frankly, I’ve been ranking Mateo on this list far too long. The shortstop was fantastic from a counting stats standpoint in 2019, slashing .289/.330/.504 with 19 home runs and 24 stolen bases in 119 games and 566 plate appearances. But check this out: the Pacific Coast League was so hitter friendly in 2019 (even more so than normal thanks to the juiced MLB ball) that Mateo’s numbers were actually four percent worse than league average (96 wRC+). If that doesn’t perfectly sum-up the hitting environment in the PCL last season, nothing will. The 24-year-old’s problem—and at this point it is certainly a problem—is the lack of discernment at the plate. It’s true that the free-swinging approach led to a 36.1 Hard% that was near the top of the entire minor leagues, but it was also the main villain in a 5.1 BB% and 25.6 K% that will almost certainly be further exposed once he finally gets a shot in the big leagues. The aggression has become so profound—and so troublesome—that any conversation about Mateo I’ve had with a source or scout this fall or winter no longer begins with a mouth-watering anecdote about the speed. Any conversation about the shortstop now begins and ends with whether he’ll ever make enough contact versus MLB pitching to gain legitimate value both as a big leaguer and fantasy player. As it currently stands—and with Jurickson Profar now a member of the Padres—Mateo will duke it out with Chad Pinder, Franklin Barreto and Sheldon Neuse for second base duties in Oakland. Mateo is physically superior to his positional opposition, but mum’s the word on whether he’ll make enough quality contact to actually earn and keep an everyday position at the big league level. As time continues to pass without legitimate alterations or growth, the chances of this occurring appear to be slowly shrinking. Athletics Rank: 5th

163. Yerry Rodriguez, SP, TEX. Age: 22

My evaluations of Rodriguez have been all over the place throughout the past calendar year. The right-hander debuted on my prospect list last midseason (130th), but an elbow scare in July that shut the right-hander down for the remainder of the season left me with cold feet when I re-ranked in October. Thankfully, it appears the 22-year-old has—for now—avoided Tommy John surgery. I’m still extremely hesitant to be aggressive with Rodriguez’s ranking (we all remember Dane Dunning ‘avoiding’ Tommy John surgery two seasons ago), but the stuff is too good to leave him excluded from this list heading into a new season. The right-hander throws three different pitches with bat-missing ability: a high-spin fastball that tops-out at 96, a high-spin curveball and a changeup that may be the best offering of the trio. Both the heater and curveball tend to play-up thanks a three-quarters arm slot, and the angle Rodriguez creates led to a fantastic ground ball rate last season (47.1%). As a 22-year-old who’s never pitched at a level above Low-A, it’s critically important for Rodriguez to put together a full, healthy campaign in 2020. The rest will take care of itself. Rangers Rank: 7th

162. Tucker Davidson, SP, ATL. Age: 24

Like a few others prospects you’ll read about on this list, there’s simply no way I can adequately verbalize my thoughts on Davidson better in this space than I did last summer in the Ramblings following a live look. Allow me to add this: if you don’t currently roster Davidson in your dynasty league, check to see if the decreased strikeout rate in Triple-A post promotion startled his current rosterer. It was a four-start sample at the end of the southpaw’s longest professional season to date, so I’m putting absolutely zero stock in the diminished strikeouts. The 24-year-old will be back with a vengeance in 2020, and he should make a big league impact in Atlanta sooner rather than later. Braves Rank: 5th

161. Jackson Rutledge, SP, WAS. Age: 21

There’s so much to like with Rutledge. Viable fastball velocity. Two above average or better breaking balls. A build that draws comparisons to Nate Pearson. Potential to move quickly through a Nationals’ system that’s starving for legitimate talent. There’s high-end SP3 potential here, but it doesn’t come without some concerns. Even from a functional standpoint, Rutledge isn’t as athletic as Pearson. With that in mind—and with a history of hip ailments—there are real questions about how much maintenance the right-hander will require over the course of a 162-game regular season. The fastball and slider will mandate consistent success against right-handed hitters. He locates his curveball well—and it’s certainly a great pitch—but I’ll be interested to see if there are any split disparities vLHB without a reliable changeup. That numbers in the Carolina League (and Eastern League?) should be solid in 2020; the prospect world should be downright giddy if Rutledge makes it through a full workload completely unscathed. FYPD Rank: 25th, Nationals Rank: 3rd

160. Luisangel Acuña, INF, TEX. Age: 18

From a statistical standpoint, Acuña did everything he needed to in the Dominican Summer League this summer to make us believe he’s trending on a path similar to that of his superstar big brother. The 18-year-old (17 at the time) slashed .342/.438/.455 with 2 home runs, 17 stolen bases and more walks than strikeouts (151 wRC+). Lovely. The problem with comparing the brothers is the dissimilar bodies. Thick hips and explosiveness at 6-foot and 180 pounds isn’t the same as possessing those same characteristics at 5-foot-10 and 155 pounds, and little brother doesn’t yet possess the same qualities that made RAJ easy to identify at the same age. It’ll be more of a sum-of-the-parts profile for Luisangel (granted, Ronald is a sum-of-the-parts player too. The parts are just otherworldly), but he still possesses some viable tools. There’s plus bat speed, a feel to hit and the appearance of stolen base potential (I worded it like that because I haven’t seen run times yet). We simply need more information and a non-DSL sample to truly get a feel of the potential here, but last summer’s success and the bloodlines alone are enough to land Acuña inside the top-200. The Arizona League should paint a clearer picture this summer. Rangers Rank: 6th

159. Logan Webb, SP, SF. Age: 23

So often this offseason, VIP members have DM’ed me with the same question: who are some underrated starting pitcher prospects you expect to make a big league impact in 2020? These questions often include the same phrases. “Under the radar”, “off the beaten path”, “outside the top-100”. Each time, Logan Webb is included my answer. You can do one of two things with the 5.22 ERA in 39.2 big league IP in 2019: it can either scare you away and lead you to omitting the right-hander as an end-game target in redrafts, or you can consider it a convenient ADP suppressor and pounce when the time is right. The arsenal is carried by a hellacious slider, a pitch that totaled a .158 BAA (.207 xBA) against big league hitters while producing a 35.3 Whiff%. Throwing the pitch more than 23.5% of the time (it should be around 40.0% in a perfect world) might be the biggest arsenal improvement Webb can make in 2020 and beyond. The changeup also induced a 30.9 Whiff%, but it was hit around much more than the slider. The Giants lack starting pitcher depth, so the 23-year-old has a golden opportunity to cement himself as a viable rotation fixture this season. Maybe there’s only high-end SP4 upside here, but it’s a low risk profile that should help you immediately. Giants Rank: 8th

158. Brusdar Graterol, SP/RP, BOS. Age: 21

Pre-trade write-up: Hot take incoming: Graterol’s fastball—the triple-digit fireball that helped create the hype that landed the right-hander inside my top-100 by midseason 2018—is actually the pitch that will hinder this profile’s strikeout upside. Despite the mouth-watering velocity, the 21-year-old’s heater has poor peripherals. A low-spin offering, the pitch has well below average vertical movement, which means—because of the pitch’s above average horizontal movement—its main goal is to induce soft contact rather than to miss bats. Despite averaging 98.8 mph with the pitch in his 9.2 big league IP sample as a reliever last summer, opposing hitters did not swing and miss at the pitch a single time. The fastball could potentially have such a negative impact on the profile that it could be ditched all together in favor of a sinker. Neither offering will miss many bats, but the sinker is likely better at achieving the soft contact goal. Graterol’s moneymaker (and only elite pitch in my eyes) is his slider, an explosive, high-spin pitch that should be the protagonist in the 21-year-old’s strikeout rate at the MLB level; I gave the offering a 70-grade during my live look last spring. The analytics of the changeup aren’t great and it doesn’t yet possess the fade of its peers, but it can still be an effective pitch since Graterol maintains the same arm speed as his other pitches when he throws it. When you pair the specifics of his pitches with a projectionless, high-maintenance body and a lengthy injury history (including both elbow and shoulder ailments), you understand the significant relief risk within this profile. With the Twins in win-now mode, Graterol needs to prove the depth and viability of his arsenal sooner rather than later before his deadly slider is forced to cash checks from the bullpen for good.

Post-trade addition: Graterol being traded to Boston doesn’t change a single thing about the concerns surrounding his arsenal. It also doesn’t change the fact he’s been unable to connect the dots on consecutive healthy seasons throughout his professional career. It could, however, lengthen his leash as a rotation arm if that’s the route Boston chooses to take. At some point this season, he might slot behind Chris Sale, Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi and Martin Perez on a team that won’t be seriously competing for a playoff spot. The AL East is obviously an absolute gauntlet of offensive firepower, but this scenario is about the best that Graterol dynasty owners could hope for. Boston has the developmental firepower in its front office to assist the 21-year-old in reaching both his real-life and fantasy potential, but I can’t in good conscience boost the right-hander’s ranking while banking on a complete arsenal overhaul and a change in injury fortune post-trade–especially with the same, violent head movement and front shoulder rip in his mechanics that played a lead role in his injuries both still evident today. And as a 21-year-old with a grand total 15.0 IP above Double-A, I wouldn’t bet the house on Graterol opening the season in Boston’s starting rotation. Or in the big leagues in general. That’s increasingly true if the Red Sox plan on stretching out the right-hander and rebooting his development as a potential starting pitcher, especially for a team that is seemingly headed nowhere for the next few seasons. Red Sox Rank: 5th

In January, I published an article on ten non-elite prospects with sneaky 2020 redraft value.

157. Alexfri Planez, OF, CLE. Age: 18

You’re probably already aware how much I love Planez. This is a 70-raw, 55-run teenager who’s largely flying under the radar in a lot of dynasty leagues and prospect circles. I was vaguely aware of the 18-year-old heading into the 2019 season, but Jason Pennini moved Planez to the forefront when he ranked the the 18-year-old 8th on his Arizona League top-100. That’s above prospects like Gabriel Rodriguez, Daniel Espino and many others on this list. And based on the raw tools, the outfielder should probably be higher on this list. However, a contact told me this offseason Planez is very, very raw in the pitch recognition department. Like, on the 20-80 scale, it may currently sit on the ground floor. Recognizing the 18-year-old is likely bound for the New York Penn League in 2020, I simply want to see what the strikeout rate looks like in a non-Rookie Ball league before pushing all my chips to the center of the table. But make no mistake about it, now is the time to gobble-up shares of Planez in dynasty leagues. A hamate fracture limited him to six AZL games last summer (complex evaluators saw what they needed to in XST), and there’s a good chance he’d be much more known (and the stats would be much more eye-opening) had he remained healthy. If Planez only strikes out in a fourth of his plate appearances (25.0 K%) in 2020, he’s a top-100 prospect this time next season. That’ll be easier said than done with an uber-aggressive approach in an underratedly challenging league. I recently included Planez on my 2020 ‘breakout’ listIndians Rank: 11th

156. Will Wilson, 2B, SF. Age: 21

I was really high on Wilson pre-draft. I saw potential for a plus hit tool and above average game power, both of which would pop from second base. The post-draft takeaways from the Pioneer League were far less rosy, with terms and phrases like ‘maxed out’, ‘no plus tool’ and ‘sum of the parts’ littered throughout reports that mostly give the infielder five average tool grades. The Angels enticed the Giants to take-on Zack Cozart’s horrific contract by including Wilson in the deal. With Los Angeles in the market for big-name free agents, I assume the trade isn’t meant to speak poorly of Wilson’s outlook. The Giants subsequently announced the 21-year-old will play both second and third base in 2020, though the cornerstone figures to be Wilson’s future defensive home. He has a chance to move quickly through the minors, with impending performances in the South Atlantic and California Leagues likely giving us a better idea of the fantasy outlook. FYPD Rank: 24th, Giants Rank: 7th

155. Angel Martinez, INF, CLE. Age: 18

With so many promising other tools, it’ll probably be the development of power that dictates Martinez’s future standing on this list. For now, the offensive profile leans on a solid approach, above average bat-to-ball skill and plus speed he should be able to maintain. He also started at least twelve different games at second base, third base and shortstop in the Dominican Summer League last summer, which is a defensive trait I hope he maintains throughout his professional career. Martinez posted a 134 wRC+ in 56 DSL games despite only hitting 1 home run. He also slashed .306/.402/.428 with 11 stolen bases. There are certainly positive reports about the infielder’s power potential: the hands and bat speed are absolutely electric, and the lower body is already engaged in the swing. Once Martinez fills out his 6-foot frame, the power output should naturally increase. The Indians are gridlocked throughout the infield in the low-minors, so it remains to be seen whether Martinez will be placed in the Arizona League or New York Penn League this summer. Indians Rank: 10th

154. Kameron Misner, OF, MIA. Age: 22

If you can see past the endearing ‘Baby Yelich’ comps made by not-salty-at-all Marlins fans, you very quickly realize Misner possesses tools that are both very real and very loud. At the very least, it’s plus raw power with above average speed and defensive skills as a professional. If you’re bullish on the 22-year-old, it’s probably 70-grade raw and enough athletic longevity to maintain 60-grade speed and remain in center field throughout most his career. The truth—in all likelihood—lies somewhere in the middle. I’m not a big believer in ever using a 65 for a prospect’s tool grade, but that’s truly where Misner’s raw power currently falls for me. The speed will settle in the above average (55) range, and Misner himself will settle in right field. There’s a real chance for fantasy goodness here, especially in OBP leagues. There are swing-and-miss concerns in the hit tool, but some of those issues will be nullified by a walk rate that should remain above ten percent consistently. If the outfielder can simply find a way to hit .260 at the big league level, we might be talking about a top-100 player in redraft leagues. FYPD Rank: 20th, Marlins Rank: 9th

Spin rate is a huge data point when evaluating pitchers, but it’s certainly not everything. In January, our Trevor Powers dove in to the importance of spin efficiency, spin axis and movement profile. 

153. Sam Hilliard, OF, COL. Age: 26

For a while now, Hilliard has been a fun prospect to discuss amongst other writers and analysts. A tooled up, 6-foot-5, 240 lb. outfielder is often the stuff of dreams. But despite fantastic seasons at various levels of the minor leagues, it’s been long thought that Hilliard was simply too buried on Colorado’s organizational depth chart to ever get a legitimate shot at everyday, big league playing time. That changed at the tail-end of last season, thanks to injuries and general ineffectiveness. Hilliard more than held his own in the 87 plate appearance sample he was given, hitting seven home runs, stealing two bases and posting a 138 wRC+ (the 26.4 K% was also lower than his MiLB career average). Perhaps more important than the statistics were the Statcast numbers he provided: a 93rd percentile sprint speed, a top-100 Hard%, a top-70 average Exit Velocity and a 129th-ranked xwOBA (the last three are with tinkered minimum plate appearances). Opportunity will continue to be Hilliard’s largest hurdle to climb in 2020 (thanks, Ian Desmond and the Rockies’ front office), and swing-and-miss issues might eventually plague the production even if he is given a substantial number of plate appearances in a big league season. Still, the success the 26-year-old found in his first taste against big league pitching (both in the box score and according to Statcast) paired with the long track-record of success throughout the minor leagues makes Hilliard an uber-intriguing option moving forward. As of now, he’ll be fighting against Desmond and Raimel Tapia (and Garrett Hampson?) for playing time in the Rockies’ outfield. With Desmond slated to make $15 million and Tapia out of options (Hilliard has three), I fear the worst about the 26-year-old’s early-season outlook—and that’s before you figure Hampson into the equation. Do yourself a favor and laugh at this before scrolling down: Hilliard slashed .262/.335/.558 with 109 R, 35 HR, 101 RBI and 22 SB in 126 Triple-A games last season. Those numbers were good for a whopping 107 wRC+ in the Pacific Coast League. That league was BANANAS offensively in 2019. Rockies Rank: 3rd

152. Brady Singer, SP, KC. Age: 23

Singer’s largest proponents love him so much because of his bulldog mentality. He checks a lot of the ‘grit’ boxes: he goes right at hitters and often wears his emotions on his sleeve while pitching. He’s durable. He’s got plus command and ‘knows how to pitch’. Even his up-tempo delivery has a bit of gamesmanship to it. When you pair all of that with the stuff, though, it spells SP4. The right-hander doesn’t possess a true ‘out’ pitch, relying on a sinker, slider and changeup that all flash above average but not plus. The changeup specifically can be inconsistent at times, and it causes some splits issues versus lefties at times (.352 OBP in 2019). Reports on the work ethic are astounding, so at this point it’s easy to believe Singer will find ways to optimize his arsenal while utilizing his plus command. Even if (when?) that happens, I still don’t believe Singer will miss the bats to ever roam into SP3 territory. Still, there’s plenty of room for high-floor SP4s with reliable WHIPs in dynasty leagues. Royals Rank: 6th

151. Hudson Head, OF, SD. Age: 18

When a team goes out of their way to show you how they value a player, listen to them. Especially if that team has proven it can correctly value and develop prospects. When he was drafted 84th overall last summer, Head’s slot value was $721,900. He signed for $3 million. That certainly raised eyebrows, then the 18-year-old performed well offensively in the Arizona League in 32 games and 141 plate appearances (119 wRC+). This is currently a fairly well rounded profile that should add explosion with further physical development. If he reaches his ceiling, Head will be a 55-hit, 55-raw, 60-speed center fielder. That’s a real-life and fantasy star. A reasonable floor is 50-50-60, which would lead a more sum-of-the-parts player who could struggle to breakthrough as an everyday player on a loaded Padres’ roster. A lot of folks believe the outfielder will one day be known as the steal of the 2019 draft. Already ranking as a top-200 fantasy prospect and being selected early in FYPDs despite being a third round pick, it appears the dynasty community agrees. FYPD Rank: 23rd, Padres Rank: 6th

150. Cole Winn, SP, TEX. Age: 20

If you took a quick look at Winn’s stats from his first full season, you would assume this is purely a stuff and pedigree-based ranking. But upon closer examination, Winn’s second-half performance last summer was much more indicative of the pitcher the Rangers hoped they were getting with the 15th overall pick in 2018. From July 1st to the end of the season, the right-hander posted a 3.04 ERA, striking out 43 and walking 24 in 47.1 IP (.203 BAA). But if you’re pessimistic like me, the first thing you noticed with those numbers was the walk rate, an issue that led to a 4.56 BB/9 and pedestrian 9.5 K-BB% during that time frame. Those numbers were actually an improvement from Winn’s first seven starts of 2019, a sample in which the then teenager allowed a .281 BAA and walked 15.3% of the batters he faced (6.33 BB/9, 7.1 K-BB%). The right-hander was labeled with above average command when he was drafted, so improved consistency (and better body control per a contact) will be key for Winn to evolve into the pitcher the Rangers thought they were getting in the first round two summers ago. On his best days, the right-hander flashes a solid fastball and two plus breaking balls. Moving forward, it’ll be all about how often we see that version of the 20-year-old. Rangers Rank: 5th

149. Mark Vientos, 3B, NYM. Age: 20

The statistical output dipped in 2019, but I keep hearing good things about Vientos this offseason. Columbia’s home track was so pitcher-friendly that the third baseman actually did most of his damage on the road last season: he hit 8 of his 12 home runs away from home, and each third of his slash was better on the road than in the friendly confines of Segra Park (including a SLG that was .471 on the road and .360 at home). It’s true the Mets’ position playing prospects were statistically weak offensively in 2019, but I wonder what role the home/away disparity played in the 20-year-old being named the Mets’ minor league hitter of the year. The walk rate nearly dropped 10% from the Appy to the Sally, so I’m interested to see which direction it travels in the Florida State League in 2020. Scouts still fully believe in the plus-or-better raw power, and the 20-year-old’s Hard% of 28.8% was above average amongst qualified minor league hitters. Only one qualified hitter surpassed the 20 home run mark in the FSL in 2019; if Vientos can accomplish that feat this season as a 20-year-old, he could re-establish himself as a top-100 prospect on this list. Mets Rank: 5th

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148. Brett Baty, 3B, NYM. Age: 20

One of the most polarizing First Year Players within the prospect industry. Leading up to last summer’s draft, I was told (basically preached to) a handful of times how important it was for Baty to exhibit his offensive aptitude post-draft. As you know, the 20-year-old was much older than a typical prep draft prospect (he’s seven months older than Bobby Witt Jr., which is not unsubstantial when making a first round pick). The Mets grabbed Baty at 12th overall, and the infielder spent the latter portion of the summer at three different levels in Rookie Ball and Short Season. In most facets, Baty answered the call, slashing .234/.368/.452 with 7 home runs and a 131 wRC+ (.218 ISO) in 51 games and 228 plate appearances. If you’re a dynasty player, that sample is exactly what you wanted to see if you’ve already taken the plunge on the 20-year-old. Pessimistically speaking, Baty struck out in 28.5% of his plate appearances and didn’t display many traits of a prospect with an above average hit tool (a label I’ve seen assigned to Baty on other industry sites). The approach is passive—an astounding 43.9% of his plate appearances ended with a walk or strikeout—and the spray chart was a bit pull heavy. Neither of those facts are necessarily bad or damning whatsoever (OBP leagues all day, baby), I simply don’t think Baty will be ever be the .280 hitter a 55-hit label suggests. In his write up on the infielder, industry pal John Calvagno suggested the swing path may need to be tinkered with in order for Baty to ever unlock his full, game-changing power potential. If the Mets agree with John, altering the swing path without further increasing the strikeout rate will be an important tight-wire act. Opinions are split on whether Baty will stick at third or transition across the diamond, but New York firmly believes he’s adequately equipped to handle the hot corner throughout the majority of his career. It’s become a cliché comp, but there’s a reason it’s so popular: if Baty performs to expectation in 2020, he’ll be evaluated in the same breath as like-bodied Nolan Gorman next offseason. FYPD Rank: 22nd, Mets Rank: 4th

147. Andy Pages, OF, LAA. Age: 19

My best peripheral find of 2019. I wrote-up Pages (unfortunately pronounced ‘Pah-hez’) in the Ramblings back in July, touting his feel to hit and evident power despite not physically overwhelming opposing pitching (a trait we often see in Rookie leagues that skews outlook perception). The 19-year-old finished his impressive stint in the Pioneer League with a jaw-dropping 165 wRC+, slashing .298/.398/.651 with 19 home runs in just 63 games and 279 plate appearances. The wRC+ was the highest mark for an 18-year-old in the Pioneer League in the last 15 years (h/t @CespedesBBQ). The swing includes a big leg kick, so the 18-year-old will likely fight swing-and-miss issues throughout his development (28.3 K% last summer). Luckily, some of those issues could be nullified by a walk rate that currently sits at 11.2% thru 115 career games. Also, don’t let the seven stolen bases in the Pioneer League skew your perception of the tools the outfielder brings to the table; he’s an average runner who has a 56.6% SB success rate in two seasons. The batted ball profile lends itself to pulled fly balls, so the .364 BABIP in 2019 should descend once Pages debuts in full season ball. That’ll negatively impact the slash numbers to at least some extent, but the outfielder finds the barrel frequently (the exit velocities are nutty) and should continue to hit for power regardless of level. That will be the carrying tool moving forward, especially when you consider the teenager is a work in progress defensively and, despite possessing a plus arm, may someday be best suited as a team’s primary designated hitter. While it’s obviously a bummer that Pages is no longer in the Dodgers’ almighty developmental system, it would be premature to penalize the teenager’s outlook too much (or, in this case, at all) without statistical evidence to support the alteration. Angels Rank: 5th

146. Michael Toglia, 1B, COL. Age: 21

FanGraphs is such valuable tool for anyone who loves prospects. I’m personally going through a bit of Rockies’ prospect fatigue, but something in their recent write-up on Toglia struck a chord with me. “He’s a switch-hitting first baseman with power who is also a plus defender, which puts him in a small, 21st century team picture with Lance Berkman, Mark Teixeira and Carlos Santana.” That is elite company with an impressive track record of success. Other than the loudness of the tools, the best part of Toglia’s outlook is the glaring organizational hole at first base for the Rockies. I assume Colorado will be aggressive with the 21-year-old in 2020, with at-bats in the Eastern League by the end of the season a distinct possibility. In a perfect world, Toglia is a top-10 redraft first baseman by 2023. In my mind, he could pair with Nolan Arenado to complete the Rockies’ version of Matt Olson and Matt Chapman. FYPD Rank: 21st, Rockies Rank: 2nd

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145. Lewin Diaz, 1B, MIA. Age: 23

Sometimes, it’s weird what a trade can do for a prospect’s value. As collateral in the Sergio Romo trade, Diaz went from a basically forgotten man in the Twins’ system to the future everyday first baseman for the Marlins. I was further impressed by Miami’s open and public adoration of the 23-year-old, basically admitting they were willing to part with more value than they were comfortably with to secure Diaz becoming a part of their organization. The first baseman was fairly unlucky post-trade, slashing just .200/.279/.461 with a .188 BABIP despite a pedestrian 35.2 Pull% (perhaps the high FB% is partly to blame). The full season numbers paint a better picture: .270/.321/.530 with 27 home runs and a 31.9 Hard% (which is well above average). I’m not in love with the low walk rate (6.6%) for a first base only prospect, but I’m willing to at least partially set it to the side in order to dwell on the opportunity and power upside Diaz possesses. From a statistic standpoint, the 23-year-old possesses the offensive ceiling of Jose Abreu Lite. Marlins Rank: 8th

144. Francisco Alvarez, C, NYM. Age: 18

A fun fact: Since publishing my first prospect list in 2017, I’ve never included a teenage catching prospect who is yet to debut in full season ball inside my top-200. Until now. The reports on Alvarez are undeniable; if they hold true in 2020, the 18-year-old could quickly push for the title of best catching prospect in baseball outside of Adley Rutschman. Alvarez was ridiculous in the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League, slashing .312/.407/.510 with 7 home runs and a double-digit walk rate in 42 games and 187 plate appearances. The numbers added up to a jaw-dropping 155 wRC+ despite the catcher playing against much older competition, so it’s easy to understand the excitement surrounding Alvarez as it heads toward his full season debut this season. Scouts seem to agree with the hype—I reached out to a contact to make sure I wasn’t missing anything unique about the profile. His initial response? “He’s really, f*****g good.” Okay then. There were worries that a 5-foot-11, 220 lb. frame might put Alvarez in the same bucket as someone like Alejandro Kirk, but the 18-year-old is filled-out and chiseled compared to what one would think when reading that height and weight. We need to see the offensive success in a full season atmosphere before we consider a move into the top-100 (there’s a chance the Mets narrow his stance in hopes he unlocks more power), but there’s not much negative to be said or seen on the catcher as of yet. Mets Rank: 3rd

143. Jackson Kowar, SP, KC. Age: 23

2019 was a big season in Kowar’s development because there’s now a real sense the curveball might get to league average. For a right-hander who traditionally leaned on his fastball and changeup, this is a big deal. The changeup is the hat hanger of the arsenal. The pitch sits in the mid-80s and features downward movement with arm-side run. The offering also plays-up thanks to the fact Kowar’s arm speed doesn’t decelerate when he throws the pitch. The hope—with further, future optimization and pitch design—is that the fastball is more effective than it should be thanks to the threat of the changeup. The heater sits 94-95 T98 with average spin. The right-hander is a short strider, so the perceived velocity of the pitch is a bit lower. The 23-year-old basically split his time evenly last season between the Carolina and Texas League. After being promoted to Double-A in June, Kowar actually increased his strikeout rate from 21.2% to 25.2%. Perhaps the 9.44 K/9 is a sign of things to come? Kowar should make his big league debut at some point in 2020. The curveball needs to continue to make strides, but for now, there’s low-end SP3 within this profile. Royals Rank: 5th

142. Abraham Toro, 3B, HOU. Age: 23

Blocked path is blocked: without an injury or trade, Toro won’t be an everyday player at the big league level. The 23-year-old saw time at first base, second base and third base last season at various levels. Positional versatility rocks! Unless you’re a non-elite prospect in an organization that currently rosters Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve and Yuli Gurriel. In true dynasty leagues, this shouldn’t really borrow you. Toro simply occupies one of your > 50 roster spots and you utilize him on your active roster once Carlos Correa inevitably spends time on the injured list. But in any other format, the 23-year-old’s cloudy path to everyday at-bats is problematic. There’s a chance I should have penalized the outlook more than I did with this ranking, but I’m more apt to buy the tools and trust everything else to work itself out. Toro has a solid plate approach and broke out in 2019 by—get this—hitting the ball in the air less frequently. Astros Rank: 4th

141. Braxton Garrett, SP, MIA. Age: 22

Fully recovered from Tommy John surgery and back in action, Garrett lived up to the hype of a former 7th overall pick playing in his first full professional season. In 106.2 IP, the 22-year-old posted a 3.54 ERA (3.79 FIP) and struck out 26.4% of the batters he faced. The stuff appeared fully intact as well, highlighted by a low-90s fastball (T 96) with above average spin, a plus curveball (his best pitch) and a developing changeup that currently plays-up due to Garrett maintaining his natural arm speed. There’s mid-rotation upside here thanks to a mixture of stuff and pitchability. The arsenal will never drop your jaw, but the southpaw knows how to pitch and controls his body well. If there’s untapped potential here, it’ll likely come from the changeup gaining arm-side movement away from right-handed hitters. A third above average offering would allow Garrett to evolve from low-end SP3 to a pitcher who could really make his presence felt throughout the sport. Marlins Rank: 7th

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