The Top 250 Prospects In Baseball
PLAYERS LIKELY RISING THE TOP PROSPECT RANKING
RANK 218 – FRANKLIN PEREZ
Franklin Perez is a tough cookie to quantify. He is 19 years-old with a decent fastball and a curveball that shows hints of elite status and throws at plus on a bad day. On the surface, I am in love with Franklin Perez and think he has the chance to be something magnificent long-term. Question marks arise on pitches outside his curve and are primarily geared at the change up. He also needs to clean up his delivery and become more repeatable. He is very early on in the development for a transitional pitcher from third base. Though this ranking is likely more passive than aggressive, the future for Perez could net him a top 50 grade by season’s end if he showcases improvement in the mentioned areas. At the moment he looks like a potential SP4 with the upside of an SP2. With his current offerings and age in mind, he didn’t calculate out higher than other names who are younger or hold better offerings. But, that doesn’t mean he can’t beat them out quickly.
RANK 217 – JOSE ALBERTOS
The 6’1″, 18-year-old seems to be making quite the buzz with a high 90s fastball already shown before he truly manifests stateside. The idea that Albertos throws over 100 MPH is running rampant throughout the community and with valid reasons. Though being 185 likely means Albertos isn’t going to find that extra oomph from added size, he already has simple, repeatable mechanics. Albertos can jump significantly up this ranking once he showcases his secondary offerings. He possesses a changeup that flashes plus, and in limited exposure, it was noted that his pitches move with decent horizontal movement. This is a cautionary grade and, as more video and reps manifest, Albertos could see himself within the top 75 prospects in baseball by year end. I expect a potential jump to come from secondary pitches rather than velocity or mechanics.
RANK 208 – GERMAN MARQUEZ
Very similar in nature to Franklin Perez, German Marquez is another pitcher that has a curveball as his best offering, but the fastball is much further along. Marquez is already showing improvement with his changeup and locating his fastball to match the extreme upside his curve alone generates. There is a reason to believe he could eventually turn into a top of the rotation type of arm. When analyzing Marquez, you will notice that he throws a rather straight fastball the later he goes into his starts due to a lowering arm slot. There are also obvious differences in arm speed between pitches, and the arc of the ball becomes visible too early for the curve to enhance the change up. His delivery is very repeatable, but could benefit from becoming more dynamic in the lower half. Higher projection could make him a top 100 type of player, but his current state and the work ahead of him keep him in the SP4 to bullpen bracket.
RANK 165 – PATRICK WEIGEL
Standing 6’6″ with mechanics that are simple while still being able to touch 99 on the gun will generally garner attention. Weigel’s upside varies in time and nature depending on what he is willing to do with his lower half. He already has two off-speed movement pitches that rank as pluses to me (slider/curveball). The issue with Weigel is that controlling those pitches is much harder than throwing for strikes due to how much movement he is able to generate. Increasing the effort in the lower half would only go against enhancing that control, but would move him closer to three elite pitches on pure stuff projection alone. If it wasn’t for the arm action on his changeup, Weigel may be best regarded as a potential bullpen option. Though the pitch is lacking, deception on the changeup could allow him to boast four above average pitches. Moving forward, Weigel could range between an SP2 to a bullpen option, depending on how he harnesses that control while making his lower half more dynamic. As is, he could be a back of the rotation option with dominant outings every now and again. The stuff is there.
RANK 129 – BRANDON WOODRUFF
Brandon Woodruff was somewhat off my radar prior to the improvements he made in the 2016 season. When analyzing tape on Woodruff, he seems to have more control and command than many tend to credit him. He operates with great movement to outside the zone and generates a lot of swings and misses. He has impressive velocity with a lot of life running through the zone than results in weak contact. His primary is complemented by offspeed pitches that offer both work and deception. Overall, Woodruff looks to be a very polished asset in the farm and in a direct comparison could actually outrank Luis Ortiz in their current states. The question for Woodruff is about repeating last season’s performance and answering the question of “what’s next?”. If proves he can maintain a K/9 closer to 9.00 in the next level without sacrificing his pitch usage, it would go a long way in improving his stock. He is someone to carefully eye in 2017 with potential to vastly outperform this ranking.
RANK 95 -NICK WILLIAMS
If you followed Nick Williams at all last year you are well aware of the complete collapse. Williams fell from being a top talent in baseball to a man with more red flags than opportunity provided. The skills are still there and, upon reading media reports and interviews, it appears the issues are more mental and work ethic based than his baseball skill. Williams may continue to slide or he could rise quicker than anyone on this list depending on his mindset this season. With maturity and patience will come opportunity and stardom in regards to Williams’ future. 95 is still higher than many are comfortable with given his results, but I would much Sather take a player in his situation than one already operating at peak potential.
RANK 92 – JUAN SOTO
Juan Soto looks to be the next phenom production from Washington’s system. Victor Robles burst into the top echelon of prospects under the Nationals’ management. Juan Soto looks to do the same.Soto actually holds a comparative advantage at this point in his career when looking at Robles’ move into the limelight. In terms of pure hitting, Soto may completely outclass Robles when they play side by side at the next level. Robles has clear favor when it comes to speed and defense, but Soto has the build to play above average. He will likely only use his speed in the outfield, though, rather than the basepaths. Juan Soto fits into the group of players that Robles, Acuna and himself currently operate with players possessing enough potential to lead their class sooner rather than later. At maturation, though, the order of the three may vary depending on how they adapt this season. Given the level of pitching Soto has seen, I need to see more production against dominant lefties or pitchers offering control of big secondary movement to truly account for how he can adapt to pro play. Acuna and Robles have already displayed the ability, so that should speak to where Soto could land come December of 2017.
RANK 52 – MAX FRIED
In what many may already quantify as a reach at #52, Max Fried looks to become one of the nation’s best pitchers. The lefty possesses strong velocity, excellent secondaries, improved mechanics and could become the strongest southpaw in the minors sooner rather than later. He holds front-end talent at maturation and has displayed that potential early in outings. Coming off Tommy John surgery, conditioning and usage will always come into question…and will be the deciding factors as he moves forward. If they find his arm cannot handle the stress of 7+ innings over 20 starts in a year, he may move to the bullpen, but there is little to suggest the transition yet. There is some concern because Fried showcased dangerous mechanics deep into his starts after the injury. Lulls in technique became more frequent by the inning, but by the end of the year h appeared to correct the issues. With increased stamina via offseason conditioning, he is set for stardom.