Farm Futures: AL East: 128 Prospects You Need To Know

Farm Futures: AL East: 128 Prospects You Need To Know

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

For the third year in a row, I will be going division by division, providing analysis on every fantasy-relevant prospect in baseball while also ranking those prospects in their respective systems. This means there will be 20-plus prospects ranked in certain systems and less than 10 prospects ranked in others. There is no point in listing an irrelevant prospect just to reach an arbitrary total of 10, 20 or 30. Similarly, it is unfortunate to not include information on highly relevant prospects just because that prospect was not one of his team's 10 or 20 best.

The first installment takes us to the 128 prospects you need to know in the American League East.

I wrote the outlooks for most of the guys in the top 250 or so of the top 400 prospect rankings, so if you want more in depth analysis on someone, check out their player profile. Feel free to ask me any prospect-related questions in the comments section or on Twitter.


This is still a pretty bleak system, but Baltimore will be picking high in the draft for the foreseeable future, so it won't stay that way. The top five is where it's at -- three fantasy-over-reality position players and two pitchers with frontline upside. Several players in the bottom half of this list wouldn't be listed in other systems, but they get a nod because they will be occupying prominent roles amid this rebuild.

1. Yusniel Diaz, OF, 22, Triple-A

The headliner

For the third year in a row, I will be going division by division, providing analysis on every fantasy-relevant prospect in baseball while also ranking those prospects in their respective systems. This means there will be 20-plus prospects ranked in certain systems and less than 10 prospects ranked in others. There is no point in listing an irrelevant prospect just to reach an arbitrary total of 10, 20 or 30. Similarly, it is unfortunate to not include information on highly relevant prospects just because that prospect was not one of his team's 10 or 20 best.

The first installment takes us to the 128 prospects you need to know in the American League East.

I wrote the outlooks for most of the guys in the top 250 or so of the top 400 prospect rankings, so if you want more in depth analysis on someone, check out their player profile. Feel free to ask me any prospect-related questions in the comments section or on Twitter.


This is still a pretty bleak system, but Baltimore will be picking high in the draft for the foreseeable future, so it won't stay that way. The top five is where it's at -- three fantasy-over-reality position players and two pitchers with frontline upside. Several players in the bottom half of this list wouldn't be listed in other systems, but they get a nod because they will be occupying prominent roles amid this rebuild.

1. Yusniel Diaz, OF, 22, Triple-A

The headliner in the Manny Machado trade, Diaz went from one of the most crowded outfield situations to one of the most barren organizational outfield depth charts. He will likely debut this summer and could start posting .290 AVG, 20-HR, 10-SB seasons as soon as 2020. The downside is that if he doesn't hit at least .275 or so, he won't provide the counting stats necessary to be relevant in standard leagues. I believe in the hit tool, however.

2. DL Hall, LHP, 20, High-A

Sleep on Hall because of the organization he is in at your own risk. He is the fourth-best left-handed pitching prospect in the minors, armed with a potentially double-plus fastball and a curveball and changeup that each have plus potential. There are certain formats where it is less appealing to stash pitching prospects who are over a year away, but he is a borderline top-50 prospect in RDI-style leagues.

3. Ryan Mountcastle, 3B/OF, 22, Triple-A

Mountcastle is all bat and no glove, but that might just work out for him on this Orioles team. He played third base at Double-A, but most evaluators expect him to move to left field or even DH. He could hit .285 with 25 home runs if everything clicks at the highest level. If he hits early on at Triple-A, we could see him this summer.

4. Austin Hays, OF, 23, Triple-A

Hays is coming off a lost season. He is never going to walk much, but in roto leagues that use batting average, he makes for a nice post-hype sleeper. The Orioles eventually want Diaz, Cedric Mullins and Hays to be the OF from left to right.

5. Grayson Rodriguez, RHP, 19, Low-A

A 6-foot-5, 220-pound Texan with the potential for a 70-grade fastball, plus slider and plus curveball? Sign me up. Rodriguez needs to regain the velocity he showcased as an amateur, but if he does, it will just be a matter of him staying relatively healthy.

6. Ryan McKenna, OF, 22, Double-A

McKenna had a huge Arizona Fall League (1.064 OPS in 61 at-bats), but that obviously doesn't mean he is automatically an awesome prospect. He has plus speed and should be a decent defender, so we could see him replace Cedric Mullins next year if that experiment doesn't work out. The potential for 20-plus steals is the main selling point here.

7. Dean Kremer, RHP, 23, Triple-A

The second-best prospect the O's got back in the Manny Machado trade, Kremer was a pop-up guy last year, missing a ton of bats. He seems like a solid bet to be a No. 4 starter, which isn't exciting, but he is close to the big leagues and could post league-average strikeout rates.

8. Adam Hall, SS, 19, Low-A

Hall, the 60th overall pick in 2017, has plus speed and could stick at shortstop – that's a nice place to start. He really needs to work on getting the ball in the air more (61.6 GB%), but has shown a strong all-fields approach.

9. Richie Martin, SS, 24, MLB

The A's leaving Martin unprotected in the Rule 5 draft was sure to result in him getting drafted highly (he was the first pick) and spending the 2019 season in the majors, but this is a bad thing for his development. Sure, he'll be in the big leagues, but he's not ready to hit big-league pitching, so any stolen bases will be negated by a low batting average. He should head to Triple-A in 2020 to complete his development. Given the Orioles' lack of talented middle infielders, Martin could be an everyday player at some point in 2020 or 2021, with the potential to steal 20-plus bases with middling production in the other four roto categories.

10. Keegan Akin, LHP, 24, Triple-A

The No. 54 overall pick in 2016, Akin is a big-bodied lefty (6-foot, 225 pounds) with a decent fastball and average secondaries in his slider and changeup. He has solid control and has had success all the way up the ladder. Look for him to debut in the rotation in the first half.

11. Hunter Harvey, RHP, 24, Triple-A

Health has been an issue for Harvey ever since the summer of 2014, when he was emerging as one of the game's most exciting young pitching prospects. Through all that turmoil, he still has a plus fastball and plus breaker. This is probably his last chance to show he can handle a starter's workload. Harvey is on the 40-man roster and should be on the fast track to the majors this season. He will probably struggle against big-league hitters, but if he can approach 100 innings, then his 2019 should be considered a success.

12. Blaine Knight, RHP, 22, Low-A

Knight received an over-slot $1.1 million after the O's popped him in the third round in 2018. Despite being a college arm, Knight (6-foot-3, 170 pounds) is still pretty projectable. He has the pitch mix of a No. 3 starter (more upside than Kremer and Akin), but has not yet pitched in a full-season league.

13. DJ Stewart, OF, 25, MLB

Stewart would not even be listed in most organizations, but the Orioles' roster dictates that Stewart may be an everyday outfielder come Opening Day. He could hit 10-plus homers with 10-plus steals with regular work, but will likely be replaced by an outfielder higher on this list by June or July.

14. Cadyn Grenier, SS, 22, Low-A

The dreaded glove-first college shortstop. It's an awful profile to invest in, but Grenier at least has plus speed. If he can just hit .265 or so, he could be an everyday shortstop who steals 25 bases annually. I just don't think it's likely he hits enough to pull that off.

15. Jean Carmona, SS/2B, 19, New York-Penn League

The Orioles also got Luis Ortiz from the Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop trade, but Carmona is the prospect of note, as Ortiz looks like a middle reliever at this point. It's not like Carmona has had much success in the lower levels, but he's still young and has the potential to develop above-average power. I wouldn't roster him yet unless your league is really deep.

16. Brenan Hanifee, RHP, 20, High-A

It can be tough navigating Baltimore's second and third tiers of pitching prospects and deducing which guys could be rotation regulars and which guys are getting by on craft and pitchability and are likely just middle relievers. Hanifee excels at generating weak contact and has a chance to develop a plus fastball and plus slider. He's a better prospect than Ortiz, Dillon Tate, Zac Lowther, etc...


While Boston still has a bottom-10 system, they might have the best system in the majors when it comes to depth at the hot corner. They also have more intriguing teenage lottery tickets than they did a year ago. The middle of this list is a great place to start if you are looking for cheap speed lottery tickets.

1. Michael Chavis, 3B, 23, Triple-A

I don't think Chavis' aggressive, pull-heavy approach will translate to quality batting averages in the big leagues, but I still think he could post some peak Brian Dozier seasons without the steals. Is that enough for us to really care that much, though? He's not a good defender anywhere, and while he could be passable at third, second or left field, finding a place for him in Boston will be challenging.

2. Bobby Dalbec, 3B, 23, Double-A

The dream with Dalbec is that he hits something like .240/.340/.500 – that's the best realistic scenario, and it's not all that likely. A median outcome would be Joey Gallo with a little less power. Strikeouts are a huge issue for this guy, and he's not particularly young. That said, he's a good enough defender at third base that he could be an everyday player even if he's only hitting .225.

3. Antoni Flores, SS, 18, New York-Penn League

It's easy to just say "Flores is the best fantasy prospect in this system". After all, Chavis and Dalbec have very obvious warts, and Flores hasn't displayed any flaws. He's also only played in 15 pro games and just turned 18 this offseason. Upside isn't everything, we also have to weigh probability and proximity. The one knock on Flores from a fantasy perspective is that he won't be a major threat on the bases.

4. Triston Casas, 1B/3B, 19, Low-A

Casas might just end up being Dalbec without the defensive value, yet because he hasn't had a chance to show those flaws in game action, people seem to have talked themselves into believing he's the best prospect in this system. Big power, big swing and miss – big kid (6-foot-4, 238 pounds), who probably ends up at first base.

5. Danny Diaz, 3B, 18, Gulf Coast League

While Flores received a $1.4 million bonus on July 2, 2017, Diaz bested him with $1.6 million. However, Diaz also logged a 27:5 K:BB in 26 games in the Dominican Summer League. He has monster raw power, and there's an argument he's a better prospect than Casas already, but he has a long way to go to show he will be able to hit for a decent average.

6. Darwinzon Hernandez, LHP, 22, Double-A

Hernandez will be sent to Double-A as a starter this year, but he is a reliever for me long term. If we accept that he will be a reliever, he might be the second-best relief prospect in baseball behind Andres Munoz. In short stints, he could touch triple-digits from the left side while throwing a wipeout slider.

7. Jay Groome, LHP, 20, Rehabbing TJS (May 2018)

Groome needed Tommy John surgery last May, and the hope is that he will be able to pitch for an affiliate before the end of the 2019 season. While he has a ton of upside and pedigree, Groome never approached the levels of pro success guys like A.J. Puk and Brent Honeywell, or even Anderson Espinoza, did. He is still an extremely raw pitching prospect and is now well behind where he should be from a developmental standpoint.

8. Gilberto Jimenez, OF, 18, Gulf Coast League

Here's the helium guy for those of you who play in leagues where Flores is long gone. Jimenez has at least 70-grade speed and hit .319 with a 14.1 percent strikeout rate in the DSL. I don't like getting super aggressive with speed guys in the DSL, because it's so easy to hit well there and then struggle to hit stateside, but if Jimenez continues to hit, his stock will soar in roto leagues.

9. Jarren Duran, OF, 22, High-A

Duran is the college version of Jimenez, which isn't necessarily a great thing. He has posted really high batting averages on balls in play because he can leg out a lot of infield singles against mediocre low-level defenders. The Red Sox are obviously working on unlocking some pull power, and if Duran shows that this year, he will climb up rankings.

10. Eduardo Lopez, OF, 16, Dominican Summer League

He doesn't have quite enough obvious upside to enter the year in the top 400, but Lopez's hit tool was reportedly one of the best in the 2018 J-2 class, so he could certainly finish the season ranked. The Red Sox gave him $1.15 million.

11. C.J. Chatham, SS/2B, 24, Double-A

A 6-foot-4, 185-pound shortstop with below-average power and above-average speed, Chatham is behind schedule due to significant hamstring issues early in his career. However, he ropes line drives at almost a 30 percent clip, so he could offer a plus hit tool, which would be enough to make him a regular in the big leagues. Think of him as an older, poor man's Cole Tucker.

12. Tanner Houck, RHP, 22, Double-A

Houck made some adjustments with his arm slot last year and the results were promising. He had a 2.86 ERA, 73 strikeouts and a 56 percent groundball rate over his final 12 starts (69.1 innings), and if he carries that success over at Double-A, he will climb rankings in a hurry.

13. Tyler Dearden, OF, 20, Low-A

A true sleeper in this system, Dearden has a lot of classic power-hitter traits. He struck out a lot in rookie and short-season ball but still did enough damage to be 40 percent better than league average. If he can gradually cut down on the strikeouts, he will do enough with the bat to be a regular.

14. Brandon Howlett, 3B, 19, Low-A

Howlett is not the typical 21st-round draft pick – he received a six-figure signing bonus ($185,000) – and he had a very impressive debut. He is a bat-first third baseman with the potential for plus or better game power. If he can make contact at a solid clip against Low-A pitchers, that will be an excellent indicator.

15. Nick Decker, OF, 19, Low-A

Decker received a slightly over-slot $1.25 million after the Red Sox selected him in the second round, but a broken wrist limited him to just five plate appearances in his debut. He may end up with 50 and 55 grades across the board, which would make him an everyday option down the road. The hope is that his hit or power gets to plus. There is a lot of room for upward momentum if he impresses this year.

16. Bryan Mata, RHP, 19, Double-A

Mata's stat line (61:58 K:BB in 72 innings) is pretty scary, but he has a mid-90s fastball and may head to Double-A as a 19-year-old, so don't judge him too harshly. Obviously his command/control is a big issue, but he has the pitch mix to be at least a mid-rotation starter if he can learn to throw strikes.

17. Bryan Gonzalez, OF, 17, Dominican Summer League

Gonzalez lags a little behind Lopez as the Red Sox's second-best J-2 signee last year. While Lopez's hit tool is the top selling point, Gonzalez's big power is his calling card. If he makes contact at an acceptable clip in his debut, he will climb this list.

18. Brayan Bello, RHP, 19, Low-A

A Bryan/Brayan run to close things out. Bello has a good fastball and pounded the zone in his debut in the DSL. Unlike Denyi Reyes, whom I get more questions about, Bello actually has a plus pitch and a chance to develop a couple more.


This system is loaded with two types of prospects: super toolsy outfielders and high-upside pitchers you can dream on. Only a handful of these guys will pan out, but the ones who do will be difference makers in fantasy. Most of the noteworthy guys are at least a couple years away from the majors.

1. Estevan Florial, OF, 21, High-A

Every time I dive in on Florial's production, I drop him in my ranks. Then the next time I see him play, I bump him up. It's so easy to fall in love with his uber-athletic/projectable body and crazy physical tools. Unfortunately, it is unlikely he ever hits enough for those tools to matter much, but we can dream. If he gets sent back to High-A, I think he'll put up huge numbers, which would present an excellent opportunity to trade him. If he gets bumped up to Double-A, he could really struggle.

2. Everson Pereira, OF, 17, Low-A

Context is needed here. Pereira was given the exact same aggressive assignment as Wander Franco last year. Obviously he didn't have the same meteoric rise, but it's important to note how highly the Yankees thought of him. He still has five-category potential.

3. Antonio Cabello, OF, 18, Low-A

Cabello could be a plus hitter with plus power and plus speed, but there is a long way to go before that is a reality. He destroyed the GCL, but will need to become less pull heavy. He is still learning to use his speed on the bases and as a former catcher, he is still learning to play center field. He could fizzle out. He could also be a star.

4. Clarke Schmidt, RHP, 23, High-A

Schmidt and Joe Palumbo are my top two picks to experience a meteoric rise in dynasty-league value in their first full season back from Tommy John surgery. Schmidt really looks the part of a future No. 2 starter, and I think the Yankees will jump him over Low-A completely and see how he does at High-A. If he pitches as expected, he could finish the year at Double-A or Triple-A and spend most of 2020 in the big-league rotation.

5. Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP, 24, Triple-A

I really like Loaisiga when he pitches. However, very few big-league-ready pitching prospects have ever carried this much injury/workload risk. The Yankees will give him starts this year at some point if he is healthy, but they are wisely not banking on him being a big part of the rotation equation. If and when he is healthy and in the major-league rotation, he should be rostered in most leagues.

6. Deivi Garcia, RHP, 19, High-A

He might end up being a dominant multi-inning reliever or a No. 3 starter who never throws more than 170-180 innings in a season. Either way, he will be a valuable fantasy pitcher, offering a higher floor in deeper leagues. The Yankees will look to build up his workload this year. I particularly love his mound demeanor. It's Marcus Stroman-esque.

7. Anthony Seigler, C, 19, Low-A

I love Seigler more than any prep catching prospect I can recall. Most high school catchers never amount to anything, but he has as good a shot as any of them. He could be a .300 hitter with a high OBP who hits 15-plus HR. His elite defense will get him a ton of playing time.

8. Roansy Contreras, RHP, 19, Low-A

Contreras gets Luis Severino upside comps, which is a good way of illustrating his potential. Of course, he is a pitching prospect who is forever away from the majors, so there is a lot of risk. He is only 6-foot, 175 pounds, but he has a starter's repertoire. His command/control will determine whether he can stick as a starter.

9. Alexander Vargas, SS, 17, Dominican Summer League

Vargas has a lot of qualities that seem to age well in 16- and 17-year-old international signees. He has plus speed that he should maintain into his mid-20s, a good feel for contact, and a defensive home at a premium position.

10. Osiel Rodriguez, RHP, 17, Dominican Summer League

With the potential to someday possess an 80-grade fastball that routinely touches triple digits, Rodriguez has a chance to really blow up, likely in 2020 if he stays healthy. He can spin a decent breaking ball, and if he develops a quality changeup and average or better command, he could be an ace.

11. Kevin Alcantara, OF, 16, Dominican Summer League

Already a skinny 6-foot-5 with long levers, Alcantara is dripping with tools, but at that height, we can assume there will be a lot of swing-and-miss early on. I wouldn't be surprised if he is a top-100 prospect in a year, and I wouldn't be surprised if he is unowned in dynasty leagues in two years. There is an extremely wide range of outcomes.

12. Luis Medina, RHP, 19, Appalachian League

Just look at that changeup in the video above. It's very easy to get seduced by Medina's upside, even when it's clear he has a long way to go (47:46 K:BB in 36 innings in the Appy League). This ranking won't look bad if he performs as expected in 2019, but if he takes a big leap and starts throwing more strikes, it will look laughable.

13. Raimfer Salinas, OF, 18, Gulf Coast League

Salinas, one of the Yankees' top international signees from 2017, missed most of his debut season with knee and finger injuries, but is expected to be a full go this spring. He has the potential to be a power/speed outfielder who hits around .270, and will look to make up for lost time in 2019.

14. Michael King, RHP, 23, Triple-A

King had a 1.79 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 161.1 innings across three levels last season, so he clearly needs to slot in somewhere on this list. However, his plus command is the carrying tool – none of his pitches grade as plus. His low-90s two-seamer and changeup are his two best pitches. He has good size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and will probably get a chance to prove his command and pitchability are strong enough to get big-league hitters out this summer.

15. Albert Abreu, RHP, 23, Double-A

Abreu's 2018 was kind of a lost season, as he dealt with several injuries and could never really get into a zone. He reportedly looked good in instructs, and could finally have that big season we've been waiting for if he stays healthy. There are a lot of bullpen warning signs, but he still has frontline upside.

16. Luis Gil, RHP, 20, Appalachian League

Gil is a high-upside watch-list guy for 2019, unless you are in a really deep league. Command leaves a lot to be desired, and he is already 20 with just two Appy League starts to his name. That said, he has good size (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) and his fastball is a monster, as you can see in the video above.

17. Yoendrys Gomez, RHP, 19, Appalachian League

A 6-foot-3, 175-pound Venezuelan righty with a 92-95 mph fastball, Gomez had a dominant showing in the GCL last year (2.33 ERA, 3.40 FIP, 1.09 WHIP, 43 strikeouts in 38.2 innings). He can spin a breaking ball, and with improved command, he would have at least No. 3 starter upside.

18. Josh Stowers, OF, 22, Low-A

The Yankees got Stowers and a Competitive Balance Round A pick as their return in the three-team Sonny Gray trade. Stowers received a $1.1 million bonus after the Mariners selected him out of Louisville with the 54th overall pick. He has some interesting tools, but we won't get a good idea what type of hitter he is until he faces age-appropriate pitching at High-A or Double-A.

19. Frank German, RHP, 21, Low-A

The Yankees drafted German in the fourth round and gave him an under-slot $347,500 bonus last year. He really improved his stock after signing, dominating short-season hitters (2.22 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 38 strikeouts in 28.1 innings). He could climb to High-A at some point this year.

20. Anthony Garcia, OF, 18, Appalachian League

Garcia only received a $450,000 bonus on July 2, 2017, but he is a fantasy-over-reality prospect all the way. Already 6-foot-5, 204 pounds, the switch-hitting right fielder has monster raw power and strikes out a lot (41.7 percent K-rate in the GCL). He probably won't hit enough, but if he does, he has 40-homer upside.

21. Dermis Garcia, 1B/3B/RHP, 21, High-A

Garcia still has majestic power that is unmatched by most minor-league sluggers. However, the Yankees are going to experiment with making him a two-way player, and he has already moved to 1B/DH on offense, despite being R/R. Strikeouts will always be an issue.

22. Antonio Gomez, C, 17, Dominican Summer League

Signed out of Venezuela for $600,000 on July 2, 2018, Gomez has a chance to be an above-average defensive catcher and above-average offensive contributor, relative to other catchers. However, he lacks the upside of Diego Cartaya (last year's top J-2 catcher who signed with the Dodgers).

23. Matt Sauer, RHP, 20, Low-A

Thought to have a pretty high ceiling when the Yankees gave him $2.5 million in the second round in 2017, Sauer's stuff hasn't made that jump yet. As is, he could be a back-end starter, but he is still young enough to beat that projection.

24. Trevor Stephan, RHP, 23, Triple-A

Still getting developed as a starter, my bet is that Stephan eventually ends up as a reliever, but the Yankees may trade him before that transition happens. He could be a No. 4 starter who strikes out close to a batter per inning, and if he improves his changeup, he could be slightly better than that.


A clear top-two system in baseball (I wouldn't argue strongly if someone said it's better than the Padres' system), the Rays have depth everywhere. Up the middle, at the corners, speed guys, power guys, high-upside starting pitchers, safe mid-rotation starting pitchers, high-upside relievers, you name it, they've got it. Their big-league depth chart for the next few years is so tough to predict, which means guys like Brandon Lowe and Joe McCarthy may eventually get squeezed out of the equation.

1. Wander Franco, SS/2B, 18, Low-A

The clear favorite to enter next offseason as the top prospect in baseball, Franco has superstar upside and could reach the majors in 2020 before he turns 20 years old. His bat speed is majestic, and there's really no limit to his offensive upside. He also happens to be a plus runner, so there could be some 30/20 seasons early on.

2. Brent Honeywell, RHP, 24, Rehabbing TJS (February 2018)

Honeywell has a case to be considered the third-best pitching prospect in baseball (I have him ranked fifth). He should embark on a minor-league rehab assignment in May and could be pitching in the big-league rotation at some point in the first half. He will likely be limited to around 90-to-100 innings in his first year back from Tommy John surgery.

3. Nathaniel Lowe, 1B, 23, Triple-A

A reader recently requested an "In defense of" article about my ranking of Lowe (No. 27 overall) compared to where other outlets have him ranked. I don't really have time to do a full article on him – I explained why first-base prospects are so difficult to rank in an article a couple years ago. It comes down to this, Lowe NEEDS to hit a ton to be a valuable real-life player, if he is just OK, then he's a Quadruple-A bat because of his defensive limitations. This is why you won't see him ranked highly on real-life lists. I like his chances of developing into a top-15 fantasy first baseman, and I think it's possible he could be a top-five first baseman if he recaptures his approach from Double-A (the strikeouts went up and he started pulling the ball more at Triple-A).

4. Jesus Sanchez, OF, 21, Double-A

Sanchez has a plus hit tool, plus raw power and is a borderline plus runner, although he rarely uses that speed to steal bases. He has great size (6-foot-3, 210 pounds) and athleticism for a right fielder. Downgrade him in OBP leagues, as he fits the Adam Jones mold.

5. Vidal Brujan, 2B, 21, Double-A

A sleeper prospect in 2017, Brujan stole 55 bases and hit .320 last year, so while he is far from perfect, there's no denying that he is a borderline top-50 fantasy prospect at this point. He does no damage against lefties and will face stiff competition at second base in Tampa Bay.

6. Matthew Liberatore, LHP, 19, New York-Penn League

There are a lot of scenarios where this ranking looks stupid a year from now (he is a 19-year-old pitcher), but Liberatore checks all the boxes I look for in potential frontline starters. I love the body/athleticism (6-foot-5, 200 pounds) and the potential for three plus pitches with plus command.

7. Brendan McKay, LHP/1B, 23, Double-A

McKay is no Shohei Ohtani on the mound, and isn't close to Ohtani as a hitter. That said, he should be able to make it as a No. 3 starter, perhaps outperforming that projection if he improves one of his secondaries with more reps. It would be nice if he just scrapped the hitting thing so that he could get to the big-league rotation quicker.

8. Nick Solak, 2B/OF, 24, Triple-A

If we just knew Solak was going to get a season to prove himself as the Rays' everyday second baseman in a year, he would be ranked 20-30 spots higher on the top 400. However, there is a chance that their crazy depth relegates him to a super-utility role. Ian Kinsler production is possible.

9. Ronaldo Hernandez, C, 21, High-A

If we knew Hernandez was going to stick at catcher, he might be the top catching prospect for dynasty leagues. The work he needs to do with framing/blocking will delay his ascent and adds a significant layer of uncertainty. He could hit .270 with 25 HR if he gets the at-bats.

10. Garrett Whitley, OF, 22, High-A

Whitley may be a bit of a forgotten man after missing all of 2018 with shoulder surgery, but if he gets off to a strong start this year at High-A, he could creep back towards the top 100. He has the potential to be a power/speed leadoff hitter, thanks to strong on-base skills.

11. Moises Gomez, OF, 20, High-A

I really don't like the way Gomez's body is going to age, so he needs to rake to be an everyday player. That said, he may do just that if he can improve his pitch recognition. The rest of the offensive profile is pretty flawless – he could be a .285 hitter with 30-plus HR.

12. Shane Baz, RHP, 19, New York-Penn League

Baz will flash frontline upside when he throws strikes. Not only could he finish near the top of leaderboards in strikeouts, but his groundball rate could also be elite. However, throwing strikes has been an issue thus far, which could eventually force him to the bullpen.

13. Brandon Lowe, 2B/OF, 24, Triple-A

Lowe is one of the three or four toughest ranks for me this offseason – why couldn't he have gotten just two more at-bats last year? He appears capable of hitting enough to get regular work, but something about the profile has me unwilling to fully buy in. Given the Rays' depth, Lowe is going to need to perform well to be a part of the long-term plan. A trade makes a lot of sense.

14. Lucius Fox, SS, 21, Double-A

If someone wanted to argue that Fox should be 100 spots lower on my top 400, I wouldn't push back. There's just very little to suggest he will hit enough to be an everyday player. That said, he is still pretty young and has enough speed to steal 30-plus bases annually. Let's see how he does in a return trip to Double-A.

15. Nick Schnell, OF, 19, New York-Penn League

The recipient of a $2.2975 million bonus as a high-school outfielder out of Indiana, Schnell has one of those classic teenage frames (6-foot-3, 180 pounds) where he is currently a plus runner but may slow down as he fills out and grows into more over-the-fence power. High risk, high reward.

16. Alejandro Pie, SS, 17, Dominican Summer League

I love bargain hunting within the 2018 July 2 international signing class. For instance, we know Marco Luciano will be taken in every dynasty draft, and Orelvis Martinez will likely go fairly early as well. However, guys like Pie will go undrafted in most leagues, despite the fact that he has the tools to develop into a top-50 prospect some day. Track his debut performance and pounce if he gets off to a nice start.

17. Resly Linares, LHP, 21, High-A

As is, Linares projects as a No. 4 or No. 5 starter, but he has the type of frame (6-foot-2, 170 pounds) that we can dream on a little. It's possible he adds a couple miles per hour to his fastball, which would boost his stock. He also needs to improve his changeup to develop into a mid-rotation starter.

18. Joe McCarthy, 1B/OF, 25, Triple-A

McCarthy is basically big-league ready, making him part of the Rays' extremely deep mix at the corners. He should hit well enough against righties to be a strong-side platoon option, but they don't need someone like that in the outfield right now, and Lowe should get the first-base duties long term. However, McCarthy could debut before Lowe. The point is, we'll see him this summer. He could hit .260 with a high OBP and 20 homers in a part-time role.

19. Tobias Myers, RHP, 20, High-A

Myers is a favorite of mine, but the results from his full-season debut were not particularly promising. All of his pitches hang in that 50- to 55-grade range, so if he can improve them all slightly, we're looking at a No. 3 starter. There's no need to roster him yet in most leagues.

20. Shane McClanahan, LHP, 21, Low-A

The Rays haven't converted McClanahan to a relief pitcher yet, but that seems likely to happen in a year or two. There is so much refinement needed in so many areas that it would probably be best for all parties if he were fast-tracked to the majors as a hard-throwing southpaw. That said, he could be good enough out of the bullpen to be valuable in 15-team leagues. He has already had Tommy John surgery.

21. Josh Lowe, OF, 21, High-A

A year ago, Lowe was easily the best of his surname in this system, but now he is a distant third among the three Lowe's, only two of which are related. He has plus speed in center field and plenty of pedigree, so if he improves as a hitter, he would be worth scooping up in most formats.

22. Tyler Frank, 2B, 22, Low-A

Frank received a hair under $1 million after the Rays selected him in the second round last year. He doesn't have any plus tools but he walked more than he struck out in his debut against short-season pitching, so the hope is that he can be a high-average, high-OBP second baseman who hits 15 homers with 10-to-15 steals.

23. Taj Bradley, RHP, 18, Appalachian League

The Rays gave Bradley, the youngest player in the draft, more than double slot value in the fifth round last year. He got roughed up in his second start, but had a 3.43 ERA and 24 strikeouts over his final 21 innings. Given his age (doesn't turn 18 until late March) and size (6-foot-2, 185 pounds), it's easy to dream on his stuff improving in the coming years. He is a breakout candidate.

24. Ryan Boldt, OF, 24, Double-A

Boldt never really gets talked about -- I did a prospect mock draft in the fall where over 400 prospects got drafted and Skye Bolt went while this Boldt went undrafted. However, he has enough power and speed to flirt with 20/20 seasons and he's coming off a year where he posted a 127 wRC+ at Double-A. Ideally he would get traded to a rebuilding club where he could get playing time in left field.

25. Taylor Walls, 2B/3B, 22, High-A

Walls is not as fast as his 31 steals at Low-A suggest, but he has a knack for making consistent, quality contact to all fields. His most likely role is as a super-utility infielder, but if he keeps hitting like he did in his full-season debut, he could be a solid regular at second base.

26. Ian Gibaut, RHP, 25, Triple-A

One of the better relievers in the minors, Gibaut has high-leverage potential. He has a chance for three plus or better pitches, highlighted by a high-90s fastball and a changeup that should immediately be a swing-and-miss pitch against big-league hitters. He also throws an above-average slider. Jose Alvarado is the Rays reliever to own in dynasty, but Gibaut could be a fallback option as early as this year if Alvarado struggles or gets hurt.

27. Sandy Gaston, RHP, 17, Dominican Summer League

Gaston gets overhyped as a dynasty-league target among the 2018 international signing class. He received a $2.6 million bonus out of Cuba, but is a reliever for me all the way. His command is so shaky he may not ever reach the majors. He can hit triple digits already though, so that's something.

28. Anthony Banda, LHP, 25, Rehabbing TJS (June 2018)

We likely won't see Banda in the majors at all this year, although he could head out on a rehab assignment in August or early September. Before he went under the knife, I thought he was going to be a solid SP6 or SP7 for fantasy. The lost developmental time and the Rays becoming contenders ahead of schedule means everything needs to go really smoothly for him to remain in their long-term rotation plans.

29. Alberto Figuereo, 2B, 18, Gulf Coast League

Figuereo was not a high-profile international signee in 2017, mostly because he is 5-foot-9, 145 pounds. However, he is at least a plus runner and showed a really strong command of the strike zone in the DSL. Maybe he's Brujan 2.0, but if that's the ceiling, we don't need to roster him until he gets to a full-season league.

30. Abiezel Ramirez, SS/2B, 19, Gulf Coast League

Ramirez has slightly more size (5-foot-11, 160 pounds) than Figuereo, and still has a shot to stick at shortstop. He is also a plus runner, although not quite as fast as Figuereo. Both players had excellent debuts in the DSL without much fanfare, and one could emerge as a deep-league target after their stateside debuts.

31. Gionti Turner, 2B/OF, 18, Appalachian League

The return from Cleveland in the Chih-Wei Hu deal, Turner showed off impressive athleticism in the AZL last year. His approach is very raw, so it would not be surprising at all if he struggled against Appy League pitching, but the hope is that at 6-foot-2, 178 pounds he will grow into double-digit homer pop to go with his plus speed.

32. Daiwer Castellanos, OF, 18, Gulf Coast League

Another low-pedigree teenager preparing to make his stateside debut, Castellanos walked more than he struck out in the DSL, has plus speed and should stick in center field. With his speed, strike zone awareness and groundball-heavy approach, he should be able to hit for a high average in the lower levels of the minors, but he will eventually need to show he can hit for a little pop.

33. Colin Poche, LHP, 25, Triple-A

There are many reasons why it can be silly to invest in relief pitching prospects. Even my favorite relief prospect, Andres Munoz, could amount to nothing. However, if you are going to invest in a minor-league reliever, at least make sure they have disgusting stuff. Poche's numbers suggest he has that type of stuff, but he throws in the low 90s and relies on deception. Maybe that will translate into fantasy value in the big leagues, but I'm betting against it.

34. Jose De Leon, RHP, 26, Rehabbing TJS (March 2018)

I almost didn't include De Leon, because I didn't even like him before he needed Tommy John. However, the fact is he could make starts in the majors this year. I actually don't think he will, since the Rays are contending and De Leon might just not be good, but maybe he is able to recapture his 2016 form.

35. Tanner Dodson, RHP/OF, 21, Low-A

Dodson was selected with the No. 71 pick in the 2018 draft and was sent out as a two-way player. Unlike McKay, Dodson will likely be developed strictly as a reliever on the mound, so he isn't particularly appealing for fantasy. That said, he has power and speed and is just generally really talented, so it will be interesting to see how everything plays out.

36. Jelfry Marte, SS, 18, Appalachian League

At one point Marte was seen by some as one of the top prizes from the 2017 J-2 class, but after agreeing to a deal with the Twins, they voided his contract, reportedly due to a vision issue. The Rays swooped in and added the glove-first shortstop. If he starts doing damage at the plate, he will be worthy of a flier.

37. Michael Mercado, RHP, 19, Low-A

Mercado (6-foot-4, 160 pounds) is still all projection, but he is young and has plenty of pedigree (40th overall pick in 2017). It's just a name to keep tucked away in case we see reports that he was in the mid-90s with his fastball.


A clear top-five system in baseball, the Blue Jays have depth, but it's that quality in the top eight or so that makes it such a good system. For instance, the Rays are significantly better 10-20 than Toronto. Don't worry too much about how the infield pieces behind Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette will fit. For the top guys (Jordan Groshans and Orelvis Martinez) it typically works itself out, and the other guys (Lourdes Gurriel, Kevin Smith, Cavan Biggio) aren't good enough for us to be worried about how they fit long term.

1. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 3B, 20, Triple-A

My production comp on him for a year has been Albert Pujols, so I really don't buy the argument that you can't profit if you draft him in the second round. I think the disconnect comes from people thinking his realistic batting average ceiling is around .300 or .310 for this year. He could hit .340 and I wouldn't be surprised at all. I'm not saying he will, but he absolutely could. I'm also projecting 25-to-30 home runs. Believe the hype.

2. Bo Bichette, SS/2B, 21, Triple-A

Bichette is just so good at hitting. He is never going to need to sell out for power, and while he isn't as fast as his minor-league steals totals indicate, he will contribute double-digit steals. Andrew Benintendi-esque production seems like a median outcome. His ETA is as difficult to peg as any top prospect, but he could be up in May or June.

3. Jordan Groshans, 3B, 19, Low-A

Groshans has a classic third-base profile, with the potential to be a .300 hitter who hits 30-plus home runs. His ability to make contact at a high clip, handle premium stuff and hit the ball to all fields gives him a high floor relative to most of the other top prep hitters in the 2018 draft class.

4. Nate Pearson, RHP, 22, High-A

The buzz around Pearson is almost unprecedented for a pitcher with his pro experience. People are understandably in love with his size and elite fastball. We still don't know how his stuff will hold up deep into games or how many strikes he will throw. Sky is definitely the limit though.

5. Danny Jansen, C, 23, MLB

Jansen is a big-league ready catcher who should perform like a low-end first catcher in two-catcher leagues – something like a .260 AVG with 12-15 HR. It is very format-dependent when figuring out how valuable that player is. For me, he is more appealing in redraft leagues than in dynasty leagues.

6. Kevin Smith, SS, 22, Double-A

Smith doesn't seem to get as much attention as Cavan Biggio, but he's a far better prospect. They have similar power, but Smith is a better hitter, a better defender – which will give him more opportunities for playing time – and should contribute double-digit steals annually.

7. Eric Pardinho, RHP, 18, Low-A

If Pardinho were 6-foot-4, he'd be incredibly difficult to acquire in a dynasty league. As things stand, he is still a highly-valued commodity, but at just 5-foot-10, he is attainable. He could be a frontline starter, but there is obviously a lot of risk with any pitcher his age.

8. Orelvis Martinez, 3B/SS, 17, Dominican Summer League

It's Marco Luciano by himself for the top J-2 guy from last year, but then Martinez is probably the best of the rest. His body (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) looked good in instructs, and he is already excellent at generating loft. He could be a plus-hit/plus-power third baseman or shortstop.

9. Ryan Noda, 1B, 23, High-A

Noda has majestic 70-grade power to all fields, but he is obviously pretty old and has not played above Low-A, so we don't know how his three-true-outcomes profile will play against more advanced pitching. His 20.7 percent walk rate led all full-season hitters last year.

10. Cavan Biggio, 2B/3B/1B/OF, 23, Triple-A

Biggio has legitimate plus pull power, but that's about it. I don't see him hitting better than .245 or so in the big leagues. He is already being groomed for a super-utility role, as he doesn't project as the Jays' best long-term option at any one position.

11. Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, 23, Triple-A

Reid-Foley is big-league ready and missed a ton of bats last year. He probably won't amount to anything more than a high-strikeout back-end starter who eventually gets moved to the bullpen, but it's possible his command improves to the point that he can beat that projection.

12. Cal Stevenson, OF, 22, Low-A

One of the trendier late-round fliers in first-year player drafts, Stevenson has not yet been challenged at an age-appropriate level, but his production against short-season pitching was certainly eye opening for a 10th-round pick. He has plus speed and is particularly appealing in OBP leagues.

13. Adam Kloffenstein, RHP, 18, Gulf Coast League

Due to workload concerns, Kloffenstein was unable to make his debut last year after the Blue Jays gave him a $2.45 million bonus in the third round in order to pry him away from TCU. He has frontline upside, so don't forget about him as he slips in first-year player drafts.

14. Miguel Hiraldo, 3B/SS, 18, Northwest League

Hiraldo has pedigree ($750,000 bonus on July 2, 2017) and performed in the DSL, but he already has a bad body that will force him off shortstop, and he was extremely pull heavy in his debut. Betting on him is a bet on him developing a plus or better hit tool with 20-homer pop. There will be no speed.

15. Billy McKinney, OF, 24, MLB

If the Blue Jays make no more moves this offseason, McKinney could lead off against righties to start the year. I don't think he will hit for power AND a good batting average, but he could hit .240 or .245 with 20 homers if he maintains the strong side of a platoon.

16. Griffin Conine, OF, 21, Low-A

The Blue Jays love bloodlines, and added to their stock of MLB offspring when they popped Conine in the second round last year. He has plus power, but the early returns on his hit tool aren't great. He will be suspended for the first 50 games of 2019 after testing positive for Ritalinic Acid.

17. Anthony Alford, OF, 24, Triple-A

I really wish Alford was not prospect eligible. He has a .243/.314/.346 career line in 430 plate appearances at Triple-A. Even with all the excuses in the world, that's pretty bad for a guy his age, and his injury history is obviously a further concern.

18. Rowdy Tellez, 1B, 24, Triple-A

Tellez had another mediocre year at Triple-A, so naturally he performed in a tiny sample at the end of the year in the majors. I can't fade him hard enough, but he's big-league ready and has above-average power, so he warrants mentioning.

19. Gabriel Moreno, C, 19, Low-A

After a nice year split between the GCL and Appy League, Moreno is a breakout candidate in 2019. Already adept at getting the ball in the air, Moreno has a chance to hit for a high average with 15-to-20-homer pop, and has a shot to stick behind the plate.

20. Trent Thornton, RHP, 25, Triple-A

Thornton was dealt to Toronto from Houston in exchange for Aledmys Diaz this offseason. The move is great for Thornton's chances of making it as a starter, as he probably wasn't going to get that opportunity in Houston. He has a mid-90s fastball and a bulldog mentality on the mound, although the rest of his repertoire points to more of a No. 4 starter ceiling. Look for him to get a chance to spend most of 2019 in the rotation.

21. Chavez Young, OF, 21, High-A

Young is getting some dynasty-league hype, which is too much hype. He stole 44 bases at Low-A last year, but that greatly oversells his speed. He was also a little old for the level. This is the type of prospect who gets figured out by pitchers at High-A or Double-A.

22. Hector Perez, RHP, 22, Double-A

It's difficult to say whether Perez is more likely to be fantasy relevant as a reliever or as a starter. He could be a high-strikeout/high-WHIP setup man, or a high-strikeout/high-WHIP No. 5 starter. If his command improves, he could be a closer or a No. 4 starter.

23. Forrest Wall, OF, 23, Double-A

Early in his pro career, Wall seemed like he had a chance to hit for a high average (especially in Coors Field) and steal a lot of bases. Now, after getting traded as part of the Seung Hwan Oh deal, his speed and relative proximity to the big leagues are the top selling points. He likely won't amount to more than a utility player, but the speed keeps him relevant for now.

24. Demi Orimoloye, OF, 22, High-A

I don't want to fully give up on Orimoloye's upside, which is up there with anyone outside the top eight in this system, but he doesn't need to be rostered in most dynasty leagues. He was shipped to Toronto from Milwaukee last year for Curtis Granderson.

25. Otto Lopez, 2B, 20, Low-A

Lopez's most likely role is as a utility player, but he has hit well at age-appropriate levels so far, so we can't rule out an everyday role if everything clicks. He will need to tap into double-digit homer power to make it work, but if he does he could hit for a high average with around 20 steals.

26. Alejandro Kirk, C, 20, Low-A

Unfortunately Kirk is 5-foot-9, 220 pounds, so it is unlikely he ever reaches the majors. That said, he hit .354/.443/.558 with 10 homers last year in the Appy League, so he is a tiny bit relevant as long as he continues to hit and start games behind the plate.

27. Ronny Brito, SS/2B/3B, 20, Northwest League

The "headliner" from the Dodgers in the Russell Martin trade, Brito received $2 million on July 2, 2015, but hasn't wowed us against pro pitching. He showed some flashes last year in rookie ball, and while he clearly has some pop, the strikeouts at his age were a bit concerning.

28. Elvis Luciano, RHP, 19, MLB

The Jays selected Luciano after the Royals left him unprotected in the Rule 5 draft. He probably has the most upside of any player taken in that draft, but he's barely even ready to pitch at Low-A, let alone in the majors. They will attempt to stash him all season before sending him back to the minors, but I don't like the way that affects guys – usually they just end up as relievers.

29. Leonardo Jimenez, 2B, 17, Appalachian League

Jimenez wasn't a league-average hitter last year in the GCL, but he doesn't turn 18 until May, so we can hardly hold that against him. If he hits this year, he will be worth a flier in deeper leagues.

30. Alberto Rodriguez, OF, 18, Gulf Coast League

Rodriguez was one of the Blue Jays' top 2017 J-2 signees. He hit for power and stole 20-plus bases in the DSL, but struck out a decent amount and failed to hit for a high average. The tools are interesting, but he's strictly a watch-list guy for now.

31. Brock Lundquist, OF, 23, Double-A

Lundquist is 23 and hasn't played at Double-A yet, so we should be wary about looking at his production in the lower levels and assuming it will translate. That said, he had an excellent batted-ball profile at High-A, so he could turn into something.

32. Samad Taylor, 2B, 20, High-A

Taylor is so pull heavy, I think it will eventually prevent him from becoming anything. However, he is a good athlete and plus runner (44 steals last year), so if he can learn to use the whole field, there are tools here that would make him interesting.

33. Mc Gregory Contreras, OF, 20, Low-A

Contreras is on the short list of players with the most raw power in this system. Unfortunately, power is all he has right now. He doesn't walk and doesn't project to hit for a high average. Something will need to click in that regard sooner rather than later.

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James Anderson
James Anderson is RotoWire's Lead Prospect Analyst, Assistant Baseball Editor, and co-host of Farm Fridays on Sirius/XM radio and the RotoWire Prospect Podcast.
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