On Monday, I introduced my top 20 prospect list and covered prospects 1-10. Today, I’ll wrap up my list with a look at prospects 11-20.
My Top 20 Prospects Entering 2018: Prospects 11-20
Here is my list, in full, with today’s subjects bolded:
- Alex Reyes
- Harrison Bader
- Jack Flaherty
- Carson Kelly
- Austin Gomber
- Tyler O’Neill
- Dakota Hudson
- Junior Fernandez
- Jordan Hicks
- Ryan Helsley
- Jake Woodford
- Delvin Perez
- Randy Arozarena
- Edmundo Sosa
- Oscar Mercado
- Tommy Edman
- Dylan Carlson
- Ian McKinney
- Max Schrock
- Yairo Munoz
Jake Woodford is rated fairly high on my personal list in relation to others’, as I still have high hopes for the former first-round pick. Pitching exclusively for High-A Palm Beach in 2017, Woodford appeared in 23 games (21 starts) and logged 119 innings for the Cardinals. Known for his sinker/slider combination when drafted out of high school, Woodford’s velocity averages only around 91 now - compared to a high of 95 MPH when he was a teenager. Despite the lower speed, Woodford maintained a 3.10 ERA as his groundball rate rose to 45.2 percent (up from 44.5 in 2016) and fly ball rate dropped 2.4 percentage points. down to 32.2 in 2017. One note to keep in mind: Woodford is entering his age 21 season - and it’s important not to let expectations dwindle quickly on a pitcher of such young age.
I have infielder Delvin Perez ranked as the 12th prospect on my list. Loaded with athleticism and promise, Perez gets attention for that alone. Perez turned 19 years old this offseason after batting .203 in 34 games between the GCL Cardinals and Johnson City Cardinals in 2017. Perez stole five bases and scored 14 runs in the span, while showing significantly more polish in the field. Perez, a shortstop, committed 17 errors in 328 2⁄3 frames at the position in 2016; last season, he cut that to six miscues in 254 1⁄3 innings of fieldwork.
Outfielder Randy Arozarena is smashing his way on to lists like these, ranking in the 13th slot on mine. The 22-year-old played in 121 games, splitting time between Palm Beach (70 games) and Springfield (51 games). Arozarena combined to bat .266 between the two levels, maintaining a 115 wRC+ and .347 wOBA at Double-A. Arozarena stole 18 bases in 25 attempts between Palm Beach and Springfield - a 72 percent success rate.
The 14th-rated prospect is Edmundo Sosa. Limited to 58 games in 2017 due to hamate bone surgery (and recovery) in the middle of the season. Between the Gulf Coast League, Palm Beach, and Springfield, the 21-year-old infielder slashed .288/.332/.361 with 11 doubles and 32 runs scored. In the field, Sosa logged 388 2⁄3 innings at short, where he maintained a .944 fielding percentage. Sosa batted .305 in 17 games for the Surprise Saguaros during the Arizona Fall League.
A wrap-up on the Arizona Fall League
Oscar Mercado ranks as number 15 on my list. In the organization since 2013, the recently-turned 23-year-old played in 120 games at Double-A in 2017. With Springfield, Mercado batted .287 with 38 stolen bases and a career-high 13 home runs. Along with the home runs came an uptick in strikeouts - 112 in 523 plate appearances compared to 71 in 506 in 2016. Nonetheless, Mercado’s on-base percentage was on the rise, up over 40 percentage points to .341.
Switch-hitting infielder Tommy Edman cracks my list at slot 16. Drafted in 2016, the 22-year-old Edman played in 119 games across three levels in 2017: Class-A Peoria, High-A Palm Beach, and Double-A Springfield. In a combined 495 plate appearances, Edman batted .261 with 22 doubles, eight triples, and five long balls. In 1,002 1⁄3 innings of fieldwork at shortstop, Edman maintained a .968 fielding percentage with 304 assists.
Nineteen-year-old outfielder Dylan Carlson is rated 17th. In was his age 18 campaign in 2017, the switch-hitting Carlson played in 115 games with the Peoria Chiefs. Carlson held a .324 wOBA to complement a 101 wRC+. Carlson did strike out 116 times in 451 times at the plate (25.7 percent), but he was able to draw 52 walks, bolstering a .342 on-base percentage.
Left-handed-hurler Ian McKinney is number 18 on my prospect list. After starting primarily in 2014, 2015, and 2016, the 2017 campaign showcased McKinney as a relief pitcher. He excelled. In 26 games (one as a spot-start) for Palm Beach, McKinney had a 3.33 FIP in 49 innings of work. Earning a promotion to Springfield, McKinney scuffled a bit at the Double-A level - a .304 opponents’ batting average and 5.16 ERA in 22 2⁄3 frames. Perhaps his Springfield stats are a bit misleading, however; seven of his 14 appearances at Double-A were scoreless, and the inflation in statistics is related to seven run-heavy outings - and a fairly small sample size, at that.
My final two prospects on the list, Max Schrock and Yairo Munoz, were acquired in a trade this offseason that sent Stephen Piscotty to the Oakland Athletics.
Checking out Yairo Munoz and Max Schrock
Schrock, a left-handed-hitting second baseman, slashed .321/.379/.422 with a 128 wRC+ in 106 games with Oakland’s Double-A affiliate, the Midland RockHounds. Schrock whiffed just 42 times in 417 at-bats while hitting a career-best seven home runs with 55 runs scored and 46 RBIs - also personal highs. I have Schrock rated higher than Munoz primarily for his defense; Schrock held a .986 fielding percentage through 881 frames at second base in 2017 - whereas Munoz was hurt by roaming the diamond. A primary shortstop, Munoz logged fieldwork at second base, third base, and all three outfield positions during the summer.
Munoz batted an even .300 in 112 games between Double-A Midland and the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. In 47 games at Midland, the 22-year-old Munoz had a .385 wOBA in 207 plate appearances. Between the two levels in 2017, Munoz swiped 22 bases in 27 attempts - successful over 81 percent of the time.
That does it for my top 20 prospect list. Again, I invite you to share your personal lists in the comments to discuss with the community!