Halfway there! This is the latest installment of the MLB Top Prospects. These guys are really worth getting exciting about. Elite tools abound here and many are going to continue to rise for 2020. This is a good time to remind you that the main criteria for rankings on this list include proximity to the majors, overall game, the likelihood of reaching their ceiling, and the ability to show elite tools.
Gorman has seen his stock decline a little bit, but his great power still remains. And yes, he hasn’t produced a lot of home runs in actual games, but it’s there. His hit tool is probably going to be average at best and he certainly needs to take more walks. Things can come together quickly and the Cardinals have a way of getting players to reach their potential. And with Gorman, his potential is what has him this high on the list.
Marsh is a big guy and he has power. But much like Gorman, it hasn’t quite surfaced in games yet. There is a lot of confidence that it will start to show itself and soon. Marsh does the other things really well, and if he can tap into his power he will be a really well-rounded outfielder. It’s been a bit slow in his progression, but often times just because a player isn’t developing at warp-speed doesn’t mean they should be written off. Marsh has the tools and has done a lot well to warrant a high ranking here.
Oh, that screwball. It’s a true catch-22. Yes, it’s wonderful and no one else throws it. It gets hitters out. However, it almost assuredly caused his injury and it’s been a long road back. The thought here is that he will eventually get back to full health. If he does, this ranking will be too low. Honeywell flashed ace potential and he should be given a chance to prove his health. With that being said, pitchers that throw a pitch no one else does can easily lead to arm trouble.
Bohm shares the theme of these first few prospects — lots of power that hasn’t shown itself in its entirety quite yet. The difference with Bohm is that he has shown enough power to get excited about it. He hit 14 home runs in 270 at-bats in 2019 and his scouting report has always shown massive power. Bohm needs to stay at third-base to make this ranking valid, but his raw power is at the top of the scales.
Rodgers is ranked this high because of his ability to play shortstop, even if Trevor Story is there for the foreseeable future. Rodgers seemingly has been around forever but he finally reached the majors last year. His swing is solid and should play above-average for both his hit tool and his power. Playing time is his only question now, and it’s silly to worry about that for his long term future.
Meet the owner of the best hit-tool in the minor leagues. It’s truly an elite tool and every metric suggests that it’s for real. Line-drive rate, strikeout rate, hard-hit rate. He is going to be a .300 hitter in the big leagues. The only issue is that he won’t be hitting many home runs or stealing a ton of bases to go along with it. He is decent at short, but not great. The hit-tool is worth investing in, however, and he might be the league’s most productive lead-off hitter once he makes it.
Massive power hitters that play shortstop don’t really exist. Cruz has a chance to be exactly that, but he probably isn’t making it as a shortstop. He’s 6’7” and has massive power so there will be a place for him. He is quite the athlete for someone that big. Still, a lot of risks will follow someone of his build and there is a chance he never makes it. Of all the prospects on this list, Cruz may be the most fun to dream.
Yes, it cost them Mookie Betts. But Downs should help fans start to forget the superstar. Downs is special because he hits, has power and has speed. Five-tool middle infielders are the most valuable commodity in the big leagues. Downs isn’t quite there thanks to average defensive abilities but the ceiling is extremely high here. There’s a high chance he moves to second and that would lower the value a little bit but Downs has a lot going for him.
A former Tommy John patient, Schmidt has a exceedingly high floor. He is going to be in a rotation and he is going to have success. Thanks to his ability to throw four different pitches for strikes, the right-hander is tough to hit. He has a great ability to adapt to what’s working and his sequencing is top-notch. His ceiling, thus, is also very appealing too. Of course, injuries could always crop up with TJ guys, but otherwise, Schmidt should be up soon and enjoy immediate success.
A 2019 draftee who is already at High-A, Bleday is rising quickly. He is a smart hitter and has proven it on the highest level at the college level. These types of players rise up quickly and Bleday should do the same. The only issue is the lack of wheels and defense as the outfielder is going to have to hit in order to provide positive value. The early evidence suggests he will do just that and provide middle of the order production.