Out with old, in with new in Top 50 Prospects list
Out with old, in with new in Top 50 Prospects list
By Jonathan Mayo
There is no question the prospects landscape has changed, so it is high time to update the Top 50 Prospects list.
There have been graduations, promotions, struggles and, most notably of late, trades, with Zack Wheeler's (currently the No. 33 prospect) change of address from San Francisco to New York altering top prospect lists everywhere.
MLB.com's new and improved list has a much different look to it. Twelve of the original Top 50 have graduated to the big leagues, surpassing the rookie-status levels (more than 130 at-bats, 50 innings pitched or 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club or clubs during the 25-player limit period).
The dozen new players who have since joined the Top 50 club:
Top 50 power rankings
A look at which clubs are best represented on the re-ranked Top 50 Prospects list:
Teams were awarded points based on where their prospects rank -- 50 points for No. 1, down to one point for No. 50.
Tyler Skaggs, LHP, D-backs
Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers
Anthony Rizzo, 1B, Padres
Dellin Betances, RHP, Yankees
Carlos Martinez, RHP, Cardinals
Drew Pomeranz, LHP, Indians
Jarred Cosart, RHP, Phillies
Matt Dominguez, SS, Marlins
Miguel Sano, 3B, Twins
Guillermo Pimentel, OF, Mariners
Wilmer Flores, SS, Mets
Gary Brown, LF, Giants
In addition to simply replacing the graduates, the Top 50 has been re-ranked based on what's occurred so far in 2011. One thing hasn't changed: Mike Trout is still the No. 1 overall prospect in the game, at least until he surpasses those rookie requirements. Bryce Harper, Dustin Ackley (for a little while longer), Julio Teheran and Jesus Montero are the other holdovers from the original Top 10.
Joining that group now are No. 4 Matt Moore -- previously No. 27 -- the Rays lefty who just got bumped up to Triple-A Durham and is tied for second among all Minor Leaguers in strikeouts; No. 6 Shelby Miller of the Cardinals, up from No. 20; No. 8 Jacob Turner (the Tiger right-hander was formerly No. 15); No. 9 Martin Perez of the Rangers (No. 23); and the Pirates' Jameson Taillon, now No. 10 after starting the year at No. 18.
While the Top 10 is more pitching heavy -- six arms are there instead of three from the preseason -- the overall list picked up a couple more bats. The initial Top 50 was half-pitching, with 25 arms. That number is now down to 23.
No hitter has made a larger leap than Profar, the teenaged shortstop currently playing with Class A Hickory in the Rangers' system. The Futures Gamer wasn't in the Top 50 at the start of the season, but now sits at No. 15 with all signs pointing in the right direction for his future.
There was plenty of other upward mobility on the list. Right behind Profar is D-backs lefty Skaggs. The Futures Game starter wasn't on the Top 50 when the season began. Based on the year he's had, which includes a recent promotion to Double-A Mobile, he's now the No. 16 prospect. The Padres' Anthony Rizzo joins that duo as non-Top 50 players who are now in the top 25, with Rizzo checking in at No. 22.
Not everyone has been headed in the right direction. Tyler Matzek, the Rockies lefty, began the year at No. 33, but has been dropped to No. 49 because of his struggles. John Lamb, the Royals southpaw who started out at No. 34, is now at 48 because of his season-ending Tommy John surgery. Fellow Royal Mike Montgomery tumbled as well, from 14 to 23, because of his struggles at Triple-A Omaha.
All the buzz at the start of the season surrounded the Royals and their prospect-laden system. The Royals were flush with six prospects in the preseason Top 50. They are down to four, thanks to the graduations of Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer. Danny Duffy wasn't even on the Top 50, but he leapfrogged over some and has established himself in Kansas City. Outfielder Wil Myers dropped a couple of spots, like Montgomery, because of performance. Jake Odorizzi, on the other hand, has taken off in his first full season with the organization, moving from No. 37 to No. 20 on the list.
The Yankees also now have four players in the Top 50, thanks to the addition of Betances (another big leaper now at No. 28 overall). A "power rankings" based on number of prospects and where they are in the Top 50 (see chart) puts New York atop the list, just ahead of Kansas City. Tampa Bay, Texas and Seattle -- all with three prospects on the list for the time being -- round out the top five.
It's not just the Top 50 that has changed. The other lists in Prospect Watch have all been updated to reflect graduations, trades and performances. Perhaps the best example is the Houston Astros Top 10, which now has second baseman Jose Altuve atop the list. Altuve wasn't in the Top 10 at all when the season began.
Lists have also been changed to reflect trading activity. The Mets Top 10 now has Wheeler heading it following the Carlos Beltran trade. Fellow right-hander Zach Stewart, once on the Blue Jays Top 10 is now at No. 4 with his new organization, the White Sox.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com and writes a blog, B3. Follow @JonathanMayoB3 on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.