MLB.com Columnist

Jonathan Mayo

Hitting prospects who boosted stock most in 2017

Hitting prospects who boosted stock most in 2017

The prospect landscape is always changing, with players seeing their stock rise and fall over the course of any season. The 10 hitters listed below made the biggest jumps forward in 2017, with many not even on the Top 100 Prospects list to start the year rankings, but now all firmly on the list, from the top 10 on down. On Tuesday, we'll take a look at the pitchers who moved up the most.

Ronald Acuna, OF, Braves' No. 1/MLB No. 6
Acuna began the year just off of the Top 100, much to the chagrin of Braves fans, but that slight was corrected in the early stages of the 2017 season. He then proceeded to make the Minor Leagues look easy, going from the Class A Advanced Florida State League all the way up to Triple-A, all at the age of 19. After finishing with a .325/.374/.522 line to go along with 21 homers and 44 steals, Acuna should hit Atlanta at age 20.

Acuna named top hitting prospect

Bo Bichette, SS, Blue Jays' No. 2/MLB No. 27
Dante's son also wasn't on the preseason Top 100, but he has since hit his way up to No. 27 overall. After a strong summer debut in 2016, Bichette proved he was far from a Gulf Coast League fluke by raking across two levels of A ball as a teenager. The 19-year-old is the first teen to lead the Minors in hitting (.362) since 1963 and his .988 OPS placed him second.

Top Prospects: Bichette, TOR

Juan Soto, OF, Nationals' No. 2/MLB No. 39
Soto is yet another teenager with tools who went from unranked to the upper end of the Top 100. While an ankle injury kept him out for a couple of months, he showed off his advanced hitting skills with a .351 average in 111 at-bats. Soto walked more than he struck out, slugged .505 and stole nine bases in 10 tries, all before his 19th birthday.

Top Prospects: Soto, WSH

Chance Sisco, C, Orioles' No. 1/MLB No. 47
The two-time Futures Gamer snuck onto the back end of the Top 100 at the start of the season, at No. 99, and has now moved into the Top 50 while also moving to Baltimore for his first big league callup. Sisco has always hit since being a second-round pick in 2013, but it's the advancements he's made behind the plate, going from a questionable long-term backstop to one who is ready to be a Major League regular, that has helped him make the leap.

Sisco notches first hit, homer

Luis Urias, INF, Padres' No. 3/MLB No. 52
All Urias has done is hit everywhere he's gone, with one of the most advanced approaches in the Minors. His 68 walks and just 65 strikeouts while moving to Double-A and turning just 20 in June is the rule for him, not the exception. Urias has more walks than strikeouts in his career to go along with a .310 average and a .396 on-base percentage.

Top Prospects: Urias, SD

Fernando Tatis Jr., SS, Padres' No. 4/MLB No. 55
With a dad who played 11 years in the big leagues, the bloodlines were there. Tatis then backed it up with a 20-30 (22 homers, 32 steals) season as an 18-year-old who spent most of the year in the Midwest League, but he also more than held his own with a double-jump to Double-A at the end of the year. He's now on the fast track to San Diego.

Top Prospects: Tatis, SD

Ryan McMahon, INF, Rockies No. 3/MLB No. 59
McMahon had a rough 2016 season that saw him struggle with the bat as his Double-A Hartford team spent all year on the road. He more than shook that off by hitting his way from Hartford to Albuquerque and up to the big leagues, posting a combined .355/.403/.583 line across his two Minor League stops. McMahon finished with 20 homers and 88 RBIs while showing the ability to play three infield positions.

McMahon's first career hit

Alex Verdugo, OF, Dodgers' No. 2/MLB No. 25
Verdugo began the year at No. 61 on the Top 100 and cemented his place as one of the better pure hitters in the Minors by batting .314 with a .389 OBP in Triple-A this season en route to his first big league callup. Like Urias, he walked (52) more than he struck out (50) this season and has a .305 career average and a .362 career OBP in the Minors, not to mention one of the best outfield arms among all prospects.

Verdugo's first career homer

Rhys Hoskins, 1B/OF, Phillies' No. 6/MLB No. 66
To say what Hoskins is doing in the big leagues currently is astounding is a vast understatement, with 18 homers in his first 118 at-bats. While that's a pace no one can keep up with long-term, his track record shows that the power is legit. Hoskins' 29 homers in Triple-A before his callup (meaning he has 47 combined home runs, second only to Giancarlo Stanton in baseball) proved that the 38 he hit in 2016 were not a Reading ballpark-aided total.

Hoskins' record 18 homers

Austin Hays, OF, Orioles' No. 2/MLB No. 93
Hays had parlayed a good junior year at Jacksonville State into being a third-round pick in 2016, and he hit well in his summer pro debut. He quickly served notice that wasn't an aberration in a first full season that saw him jump from the Class A Advanced Carolina League to Double-A and eventually to the big leagues. Hays' .329/.365/.593 line in the Minors is one of the most surprising developments of 2017.

Hays' first big league homer

Others of note: Derek Fisher, OF, Astros; Taylor Trammell, OF, Reds; Jesus Sanchez, OF, Rays; Estevan Florial, OF, Yankees; Dustin Fowler, OF, A's

Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLBPipeline.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.