Farm Futures: AL West: 116 Prospects You Need To Know

Farm Futures: AL West: 116 Prospects You Need To Know

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

For the fourth 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 30-plus prospects ranked in certain systems and less than 15 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 sixth and final installment takes us to the 116 prospects you need to know in the American League West.

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. The order of the players on the back half of the top 400 will be evolving throughout this process, so the 400 may not be up to date with the team rankings in this article. Listed ages are as of 4/1/20. Feel free to ask me any prospect-related questions in the comments section or on Twitter.

ASTROS

1. Forrest Whitley, RHP, 22, Triple-A

Whitley will still be an ace, he just threw some people off the scent while making significant mechanical adjustments that should keep him healthier and allow him to throw more strikes. You have to

For the fourth 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 30-plus prospects ranked in certain systems and less than 15 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 sixth and final installment takes us to the 116 prospects you need to know in the American League West.

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. The order of the players on the back half of the top 400 will be evolving throughout this process, so the 400 may not be up to date with the team rankings in this article. Listed ages are as of 4/1/20. Feel free to ask me any prospect-related questions in the comments section or on Twitter.

ASTROS

1. Forrest Whitley, RHP, 22, Triple-A

Whitley will still be an ace, he just threw some people off the scent while making significant mechanical adjustments that should keep him healthier and allow him to throw more strikes. You have to look to the top aces in the majors to find guys like Whitley with several 70-grade pitches. I think he could get up to around 140 innings this year, with around 100 of those coming in the big-league rotation.

2. Abraham Toro, 3B/2B, 23, Triple-A

I am buying Toro as a plus hitter with above-average power and no clear defensive home. On a bad team he could play third base and hit in the middle of a big-league lineup at some point this season, but may need a trade or an injury to get everyday at-bats in Houston.

3. Jose Urquidy, RHP, 24, MLB

I have Urquidy projected to be just inside the top 50 among MLB starting pitchers this season. He doesn't have as much margin for error as guys like A.J. Puk or Spencer Howard, but he has already shown he can have success as a big-league starter and his command is plus.

4. Tyler Ivey, RHP, 23, Triple-A

Ivey's stuff, size and command point to a future in the big-league rotation with the upside to be a No. 3 starter. However, he still needs to show he can handle a starter's workload, both in terms of quantity of innings in a season and going deep into starts on a consistent basis.

5. Luis Garcia, RHP, 23, Double-A

Just in terms of K% and K-BB%, Garcia was one of the best pitching prospects in the minors last season. Like Urquidy, he saw a velocity bump and now has one of the best fastballs in the system. He will need to refine his command and secondaries, but his emergence could hit full steam this season.

6. Richi Gonzalez, OF, 17, Dominican Summer League

One of the biggest sleepers from the 2019 J-2 class, Gonzalez (like Maximo Acosta) transformed physically (for the better) after agreeing to sign with Houston for $310K. He has a classic power/speed center field build at 6-foot-3, 185 pounds, the only question is, will he hit enough to get to those tools consistently in games.

7. Jairo Solis, RHP, 20, Low-A

Solis has been out of sight, out of mind after undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2018, but he still has No. 2 starter upside thanks to a deep four-pitch repertoire and mid-90s fastball velocity. These are the types of pitching prospects who can go from unowned in dynasty leagues to top-100 prospects in a matter of months.

8. Colin Barber, OF, 19, Low-A

The Astros gave Barber a significantly over-slot $1 million in the fourth round. He is a plus runner with promising offensive tools. It's currently OBP over hit and hit over power, but he could eventually be good at all aspects of hitting, as he projects to have at least average game power. His stock could soar if he rakes in the Midwest League.

9. Bryan Abreu, RHP, 22, MLB

Abreu isn't a tier below Roberto Osuna and Ryan Pressly — his stuff is right there with the best arms in the Astros' bullpen. He doesn't have a clear path to saves, but a reliever his age with his stuff should be rostered in deeper dynasty leagues, as the cream eventually rises to the top.

10. Jeremy Pena, SS, 22, Double-A

The best defensive prospect in this system, Pena's plus defense at shortstop will get him to the big leagues, but it's unclear if he will hit enough to be a regular. He has above-average speed, so he could steal double-digit bases. His performance against Double-A pitching should be informative.

11. Jose Alberto Rivera, RHP, 23, High-A

Rivera can touch 103 mph with his fastball and has a pair of offspeed pitches with potential. He really needs to improve his command this year to remain on a starter's track, as he needs to be added to the 40-man roster after the season. His upside rivals that of any non-Whitley pitcher in this system, but for now all signs point to a future in the bullpen.

12. Dauri Lorenzo, 2B/3B/SS, 17, Dominican Summer League

Lorenzo has one of my favorite hit tools from the 2019 J-2 class, but the rest of the scouting report is tough to get excited about. A switch hitter with average power and average speed who may be relegated to second base or third base isn't the type of 17-year-old I like to stash. We're trying to hit a home run with these stashes, not leg out a double.

13. Cristian Javier, RHP, 23, Triple-A

Javier has long vexed me, as he lacks even average command/control and lacks a true plus offering, yet his success in the minors, particularly the upper levels, is undeniable. He is the best of the Framber Valdez/Rogelio Armenteros types of arms the Astros are stocked with, so while Valdez and Armenteros are true swing men/long relievers, Javier may be able to be an every fifth day back-end starter.

14. Taylor Jones, 1B, 26, Triple-A

Jones (6-foot-7) is a plus defensive first baseman, which separates him from the typical slugger who looks like a Quad-A hitter on paper. He hits right-handed, so there is a chance he could be confined to the short side of a platoon, especially on a team with this much depth, but I think there's a chance there could be an above-average hit tool with plus power here if he were given a longer look.

15. Freudis Nova, SS, 20, High-A

Nova still has the power/speed tools we crave, but he has not developed as hoped as a hitter. He will need to be added to the 40-man roster after the season, so I expect the Astros to stress-test him with an assignment to High-A, even though he could use more time at Low-A.

16. Kenedy Corona, OF, 20, Low-A

Acquired from the Mets in the Jake Marisnick trade, Corona put up excellent numbers in the DSL and GCL as a 19-year-old. He is athletic and has shown good bat-to-ball skills, but Low-A will serve as a much more appropriate test for a player his age. The last statistically promising teenager the Astros acquired from the Mets (Luis Santana) has fallen off this list completely, so don't get carried away.

17. Yohander Martinez, 2B/3B/SS, 18, Gulf Coast League

Martinez walked way more than he struck out in the DSL while using the whole field and putting above-average speed to work on the bases. He lacks impact power now, and will need to develop at least 20-homer pop to profile at second or third.

18. Blair Henley, RHP, 22, Low-A

Henley added velocity (now sits 93-94 mph) and could add even more this year. He has a good frame (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) for starting and has a wipeout breaking ball. If his changeup improves and he holds up under a starter's workload this season, he could be a big riser.

19. Jordan Brewer, OF, 22, Low-A

Brewer has easy plus speed and at least above-average power, but he may not hit enough for it to matter. Already 22 and turning 23 in August, he won't be given the benefit of the doubt if he struggles at Low-A, even though he was a two-sport guy in high school.

20. Shawn Dubin, RHP, 24, Double-A

A rare senior sign who is now a legitimate prospect, Dubin added a ton of velocity last year and now has a plus fastball to go with a slider that will flash plus. He is built like Zach Davies (6-foot-1, 160 pounds), and his lack of physicality could result in him ending up in the bullpen long term, but there's mid-rotation upside if he can hold up.

21. Enoli Paredes, RHP, 24, Double-A

Paredes, who owns a mid-90s fastball and plus slider, was protected from the Rule 5 draft, in part because he is already in the upper levels and could conceivably reach the big-league bullpen sometime later this year. For him to stick as a starter, he really needs to improve his command while improving one of his curveball or changeup.

22. Hunter Brown, RHP, 21, Low-A

Brown has an easy plus fastball that could be a 70-grade or better pitch if he can learn to command it. He also has a plus curveball and a couple other useful offspeed pitches. If his command and control greatly improve, Brown will have a high ceiling as a starter. If not, he could be a high-strikeout reliever.

23. Brandon Bielak, RHP, 23, Triple-A

A righty with at least five pitches — he has six, but he may be inclined to stop throwing his mediocre slider — Bielak projects as a back-end starter on a normal team, but the Astros are not a normal team. He could get starts in the majors this year, or he could get traded in July if he shows improved performance at Triple-A and the Astros would rather cash him out than add him to the 40-man roster this offseason.

24. Korey Lee, C, 21, Low-A

One of the more bizarre picks from the 2019 draft, Lee has a plus arm and it's unclear what else he will bring to the table. The Astros seemingly drafted him solely based on exit velocities and pop times, and will try to turn him into a power-hitting backstop, but in dynasty we don't need to patiently wait to see how their experiment plays out.

25. Jairo Lopez, RHP, 19, Low-A

Like many righties in this system, Lopez doesn't have great size (5-foot-11), but he has starter stuff. His fastball and breaking ball are each at least 55-grade offerings and he has shown solid feel for an average changeup. If he throws enough strikes, he could make it as a No. 3/4 starter, but he will face doubters every step of the way, given his size.

26. Austin Hansen, RHP, 23, High-A

The Astros have a bunch of undersized righties and a bunch of guys who have added fastball velocity. Hansen (6-foot) checks both boxes. He has two potentially above-average breaking balls but currently lacks the command to be a starter. He would have No. 3 starter upside if his command jumps a full grade.

ANGELS

1. Jo Adell, OF, 20, Triple-A

It's important to remember Adell is entering his age-21 season (Luis Robert's age-21 season was last year). The power has not shown up fully in games and he doesn't put his plus speed to work much on the bases, but in three or four years he could be a top-20 fantasy pick.

2. Brandon Marsh, OF, 22, Triple-A

Marsh is still working on hitting for notable power in games — he has the strength to do so if he adds some loft to his swing. His plus speed and command of the strike zone give him a chance to lead off for a good team even if he's only a 15-homer guy.

3. Jordyn Adams, OF, 20, High-A

Adams is still very raw in most aspects of the game, but his elite tools still exist. If something clicks his stock could explode, but it's also possible that he completely stalls out at Double-A or Triple-A. I'm generally concerned when a player with his speed grades struggles to fully unleash that speed on the bases.

4. Patrick Sandoval, LHP, 23, Triple-A

Of all the borderline mixed-league pitchers out there, Sandoval is one of my favorites. The rotation is a little crowded, but these things typically work themselves out. Even so, he's better in AL-only and draft-and-hold leagues. His stuff is legitimately good, he just needs to improve his command.

5. Jeremiah Jackson, 2B/SS, 20, Low-A

While he only stands 6-foot, 170 pounds, Jackson has double-plus raw power to all fields thanks to a grooved swing and elite bat speed. He will never hit for a high average, but if he maxes out he could hit .245 with 40 HR. Struggles against full-season pitching are inevitable, so it's not a bad time to cash him out.

6. Arol Vera, 3B/SS, 17, AZL

Vera has filled out since signing with the Angels out of Venezuela for $2.2 million on July 2. He is now extremely likely to end up at third base and won't be much of a runner, but he could develop a plus hit tool with plus power. It's unclear if he will head to the DSL or AZL, but if he goes to Arizona and rakes he will be a top-100 prospect in short order.

7. Chris Rodriguez, RHP, 21, High-A

Rodriguez has the second-highest ceiling in this system behind Adell (yes, over Adams), but he is also incredibly risky, as he missed almost all of 2019 after having back surgery and missed all or 2018 with the back injury. Back surgery is awful for any athlete, and we have no clue how he will look this year, but it's a top-of-the-rotation type of skills package.

8. Kyren Paris, SS, 18, Pioneer League

Paris is a tough evaluation for dynasty leagues, as he is one of the youngest players from the 2019 draft class and missed almost the entire AZL season after breaking his hand. He has plus speed and should be able to stick in the middle of the infield, so it's just a matter of how much he hits. As he fills out his 6-foot, 170-pound frame, he could start tapping into double-digit homer power.

9. D'Shawn Knowles, OF/2B, 19, Low-A

It was a disappointing year for Knowles in the Pioneer League, but I think my expectations were a little too high going in. He is still a switch-hitting premium athlete with plus speed and a willingness to take walks. His hit tool will need to jump a couple grades for him to profile as a regular, however, as he doesn't project to be more than a 20-homer hitter.

10. Hector Yan, LHP, 20, High-A

A rare prospect who was protected from the Rule 5 draft without ever pitching above Low-A, Yan might be a little taller than his listed height of 5-foot-11 — size won't be the reason he ends up in the bullpen. If he doesn't harness his electric arsenal, he could be a late-inning arm, which is why it was a low-risk move to give him a 40-man spot.

11. Jack Kochanowicz, RHP, 19, AZL

The Angels bought Kochanowicz away from a commitment to Virginia with a $1.25 million bonus in the third round (almost double slot value), but he did not pitch in a game after signing. He is a projectable 6-foot-6, 220-pound righty with feel for three pitches that all have at least above-average potential. He could be a late riser up lists if he impresses in his debut.

12. Jose Soriano, RHP, 21, High-A

I sat down to write a glowing review on Soriano, pegging him as a guy who could shoot up lists, then I saw he had Tommy John surgery last week. He has No. 2/3 starter upside, but we won't see him again until 2021.

13. Jahmai Jones, 2B, 22, Triple-A

Jones is not as bad of a prospect as his numbers at Double-A suggest, but he only has fringe-average power and above-average speed, so his hit tool and on-base skills will have to carry him to fantasy relevance. He is also a mediocre defender at second base, so he needs to really impress at the dish this season.

14. Stiward Aquino, RHP, 20, Low-A

Aquino missed 2018 due to Tommy John surgery, but the 6-foot-6, 215-pound righty returned in 2019 and sat in the mid-90s with his fastball. More velocity could be coming, and he already has an above-average curveball. The hope is that his command will be better now that he is two years removed from surgery.

15. William Holmes, RHP/OF, 19, Low-A

A legitimate two-way player (at least for now), the Angels gave Holmes $700K in the fifth round in 2018. He worked more as a pitcher than as a hitter last year, and the mound is probably where he will end up full time. He is athletic with a quality three-pitch mix, but needs to improve his command.

16. Adrian Placencia, 2B, 16, DSL

Placencia received $1.1 million out of the D.R. on July 2. Power projection is the top selling point, as he is already able to make hard contact despite a 5-foot-11, 155-pound frame, and could grow into plus power as he matures. He won't be much of a threat on the bases.

17. Alexander Ramirez, OF, 17, AZL

Ramirez has pedigree ($1 million bonus in 2018) and at least 60-grade raw power, but he is just an average runner and struck out one-third of the time in the DSL. I'll monitor his stateside debut because of the power potential, but he is now the second-best Alexander Ramirez for dynasty leagues behind the tooled up Mets version who has yet to play a pro game.

18. Jose Bonilla, 3B/SS, 17, AZL

Bonilla received $600K on July 2 and was old enough to head straight to the DSL, where he held his own (129 wRC+), although he didn't hit a home run or steal a base. He is not a premium athlete, so his hit tool needs to carry him.

19. Trent Deveaux, OF, 19, Pioneer League

Deveaux has some of the best physical tools in this system, but his hit tool is very poor — he struck out over 30 percent of the time as an old-for-the-level player in the AZL and was even worse in the Pioneer League. This could be his last year on this list.

ATHLETICS

1. Jesus Luzardo, LHP, 22, MLB

It's just about durability with Luzardo. The stuff is clearly some of the best in baseball. On any given night, his changeup, four-seamer, sinker or curveball can look like his best pitch — they are all thrown much harder than league average and he get whiffs in the zone or out. I'm projecting him to throw 130 MLB innings this year with good health.

2. A.J. Puk, LHP, 24, MLB

I think Puk is pretty underrated just because it has been a few years since he was posting gaudy numbers in the minors. Now fully recovered from TJS and set to log north of 125 innings in the big-league rotation, I think he's going to have a true coming out party and establish himself as one of the game's best lefty starters.

3. Sean Murphy, C, 25, MLB

Most catching prospects don't do much for me, but when I think one projects to hit around .270 with 25 home runs and said prospect will open the year in the majors, I'll be aggressive with where I rank him. The only difference between Murphy and Joey Bart for fantasy is that Murphy has dealt with knee injuries that could affect his availability.

4. Daulton Jefferies, RHP, 24, Triple-A

He doesn't have Chris Paddack's brawny Texas frame, but there are a lot of similarities between Jefferies heading into 2020 and Paddack heading into 2019. He won't break camp in the MLB rotation like Paddack did, but he should make double-digit big-league starts, and has a chance for two plus pitches and plus command.

5. Robert Puason, SS, 17, Dominican Summer League

Puason's stock probably peaked in 2018, when he was seen as the surefire best prospect in the 2019 J-2 class. Since then Jasson Dominguez blew by him and Erick Pena, Luis Rodriguez and Maximo Acosta have passed him as well. He could be a 20/20 shortstop, but I don't think his hit tool will be quick to develop.

6. Jorge Mateo, SS/2B/OF, 24, MLB

If last year wasn't the year Mateo broke through, it's fair to wonder when he will get a long look as a regular, given that every win figures to matter for the A's in 2020 and 2021. He has 80-grade speed but is not a masterful base stealer. A trade would be nice.

7. James Kaprielian, RHP, 26, Triple-A

Durability concerns are certainly valid with Kaprielian, but he's basically free in most leagues and could spend most of the year in the big leagues. He has a starter's repertoire, but the A's have a lot of quality young starters, so it's unclear how much time he spends in the rotation in 2020.

8. Austin Beck, OF, 21, High-A

Beck still has the raw power and speed that made him one of the most appealing fantasy prospects from the 2017 draft, but you wouldn't know it by looking at his stats in pro ball. His hit tool offers very little utility, and his high-end center field defense is now seen as easily his greatest strength.

9. Luis Barrera, OF, 24, Triple-A

A good defensive center fielder with plus speed, Barrera has improved gradually as a hitter and now has a chance to hit just enough to be a bottom-of-the-order regular. If he is able to earn such a role, he could steal 15-20 bases over a full season. A shoulder injury cut his 2019 season in half.

10. Austin Allen, C/DH, 26, MLB

Long one of the better hitting catchers in the minors, Allen was blocked in San Diego by a better version of himself (Francisco Mejia). He has big raw power and could hit enough home runs as Murphy's backup to be relevant in AL-only and deep two-catcher mixed leagues. His poor defense will limit his playing time even if Murphy gets hurt.

11. Sheldon Neuse, 2B/3B, 25, Triple-A

The one position the A's have been unable to figure out is second base, and Neuse is as good a bet as anyone to finish 2020 as their everyday option at the keystone. Unlike Mateo and Franklin Barreto, Neuse has minor-league options remaining, so he may be the odd man out on Opening Day. He has above-average raw power, and that would be his one area of value in fantasy.

12. Brayan Buelvas, OF, 17, AZL

Buelvas was promoted to the AZL shortly after his 17th birthday, and he turned heads with his plus speed and defense in center field. He hits the ball hard for a 5-foot-11, 155-pound outfielder, and he showed a willingness to take a walk. It's impressive how well he handled his pro debut, and his speed makes him one to track.

13. Marcus Smith, OF, 19, New York-Penn League

This system has a bevy of outfielders with big tools who probably won't hit enough, and Smith fits right into that bin after getting $400K in the third round. He has premium speed and a strong 5-foot-11 frame. He should be able to provide value at any of the three outfield spots, but he needs to rework his swing to hit the ball in the air more while being more pull conscious. 

14. Greg Deichmann, OF, 24, Triple-A

Deichmann has huge raw power and put up monster numbers in the AFL, but he has a well below-average hit tool and seems unlikely to make enough consistent contact to hit even .250 over a full season. The best-case scenario is that the left-hitting slugger occupies the strong side of a platoon in right field in a year or two.

15. Jordan Diaz, 3B, 19, Low-A

Diaz is a quality prospect, but he lacks the type of tools that would justify stashing him when he is at least three years away from the majors. He could develop an above-average hit tool with above-average power and should be able to stick at third base.

16. Logan Davidson, SS/3B, 22, Low-A

The A's have done a lot of things right over the last few years, but drafting position players in the first round has not been one of those things. Davidson is a glove-first shortstop who isn't even a lock to stick there. He could hit 20 homers with a middling batting average if he maxes out.

17. Nick Allen, SS, 21, Double-A

Allen has plus speed and is one of the best defensive shortstops in the minors, but he is unlikely to ever be a fantasy asset in mixed leagues due to his inability to do any damage at the plate against right-handed pitchers.

18. Grant Holmes, RHP, 24, Triple-A

Holmes has the frame to eat innings, but his stuff is that of a back-end starter, and given the fact he is already on the 40-man roster and is behind a handful of more promising young pitchers in this system, he seems likely to be pigeonholed as a reliever.

19. Buddy Reed, OF, 24, Triple-A

Reed probably won't hit enough to make noise in fantasy, but he's in the upper levels and has top-of-the-scale speed and is a good defender, so he's just barely relevant enough to make this list one last time.

20. Lazaro Armenteros, OF, 20, High-A

Armenteros has the power and speed we crave, but he might have the worst hit tool of any notable prospect in baseball (Seuly Matias could give him a run for his money). Major improvements are needed for him to even project as a .230 hitter.

MARINERS

1. Julio Rodriguez, OF, 19, Double-A

It is pretty clear that Rodriguez is going to be a star. Something like .300/.400/.550 could be possible in his peak seasons, and while his prodigious all-fields pop and absurd exit velocities are well known, he dabbled as a base stealer in the AFL, something I expect to be a sneaky part of the profile going forward.

2. Jarred Kelenic, OF, 20, Triple-A

I get the sense that I'm a little lower on Kelenic that many. I think he'll be a really solid OF2/OF3, but I don't see any 70-grade tools. The fact that he seems to be a legitimate above-average runner now eases those concerns because it gives him another avenue to fantasy utility.

3. Noelvi Marte, SS/3B, 18, Low-A

Marte could be the next big thing. He has the upside to someday be the top fantasy prospect in the game, thanks to 30/30 power/speed potential and a good hit tool. I recommend aggressively pursuing him this offseason before it's too late.

4. Evan White, 1B, 23, MLB

White obviously isn't in the Andrew Vaughn tier of elite first base prospects, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was as good or better than Alex Kirilloff or Triston Casas, so he should be mentioned in that second tier. He has a sneaky chance for plus hit and plus power and should be up this summer.

5. George Kirby, RHP, 22, High-A

I'm surprised by how surprised some were when I said Kirby was my top pitcher from his class, but it seems like most people have come around on that. Give me elite command and a low-90s fastball with a 6-foot-4 frame all day long. It's easier to add a tick of velocity and improve a couple offspeed pitches than it is to somehow add Kirby's command to an electric arsenal.

6. Jake Fraley, OF, 24, MLB

I believe in Fraley as an everyday center fielder in the majors. Fortunately, his team context will allow for a fair audition for him to prove me right. At his best, he is ripping line drives to the gaps while naturally getting to 20-homer pop. If he becomes a league-average hitter, he could steal 20 bases, especially on a rebuilding club.

7. Logan Gilbert, RHP, 22, Triple-A

One of the more overhyped pitching prospects, Gilbert logged excellent numbers in his first pro season, but let's not get carried away. He doesn't have a plus secondary pitch, and while his ceiling (No. 3 starter who logs 180-plus innings) would be very useful, there are many who don't realize that's his ceiling.

8. Brandon Williamson, LHP, 21, Low-A

Despite only receiving six figures (just under $1 million) in the second round, Williamson looks like a high-upside, big-framed southpaw that might go in the first round if the draft was done over. His fastball velocity jumped to the low-to-mid-90s, and he has three offspeed pitches that range from average to potentially plus. He could be a No. 2/3 starter if he continues on this track.

9. Jonatan Clase, OF, 17, AZL

A lefty-hitting outfielder with 70-grade speed, Clase has leadoff hitter potential and walked 17.8 percent of the time in the DSL. He has some sneaky thump in his 5-foot-9, 180-pound frame, but his speed will be what drives the fantasy intrigue. If he handles the AZL, his stock will tick up.

10. Kyle Lewis, OF, 24, MLB

Lewis' first couple weeks in the majors shocked me. Inevitably, it was fool's gold. He hadn't even mastered Double-A (29.4 K%) before getting bumped over Triple-A and into the majors. I think he'll play fairly regularly until both Kelenic and Rodriguez are in the majors, but sooner or later he will be a fourth or fifth outfielder.

11. Justus Sheffield, LHP, 23, MLB

I've had Sheffield pegged as someone who should be in the bullpen for several years now, but I've also had Reynaldo Lopez pegged as a reliever for his entire big-league career. When you're a high-pedigree pitcher on a terrible team, you can get endless opportunities in the rotation. He has the stuff to put together a really good start every now and then, but his command will always hold him back over a large sample.

12. George Feliz, OF, 17, Dominican Summer League

While Feliz was the Mariners' top J-2 signing last year, he is several notches below where Rodriguez and Marte were when they headlined the two previous classes. He may not have a true plus fantasy-relevant tool, with 50s and 55s scattered across the scouting report. 

13. Dom Thompson-Williams, OF, 24, Double-A

I'm not willing to write off DTW just yet. The third piece the Mariners got back for James Paxton, Thompson-Williams has plus power and plus speed on the bases, but his strikeout rate spiked in his first taste of Double-A. His hit tool has a ways to go, but he has better fantasy tools than Lewis.

14. Isaiah Campbell, RHP, 22, Low-A

Campbell got $850K out of Arkansas after the Mariners took him with the 76th pick. He has a sturdy 6-foot-4, 225-pound frame and a four-pitch mix, led by a plus slider and low-90s fastball. He has a chance to develop into a No. 3/4 starter if he maxes out.

15. Milkar Perez, 3B, 18, AZL

Perez showed off a good feel for the strike zone and an ability to use the whole field in the DSL. He has a big arm that should keep him at third base, but he will need to develop 20-plus homer power to profile as a regular. He won't be a major threat on the bases.

16. Andres Mesa, SS/2B/OF, 17, Dominican Summer League

Mesa received $500K on July 2 and makes this list thanks to his plus speed and potential to provide defensive value up the middle. He is very raw at the plate and probably won't hit for power this year, but if he can improve in that regard, he would become very interesting.

17. Juan Then, RHP, 20, Low-A

Then has a smaller frame for a righty, but he could have a plus mid-90s fastball to go with a potentially plus changeup and solid breaking ball. So far he has thrown enough strikes to stick on a starter's track, and we should learn a lot about his ability to handle a starter's workload this season.

18. Justin Dunn, RHP, 24, MLB

Like, Sheffield, Dunn projects best in relief, but he will get more opportunities in the rotation than his stuff and command would dictate on a good team. It will be interesting to see if either flawed starter ascends to the closer role in a year or two. Both could be quality fastball/slider late-inning arms.

19. Austin Shenton, 3B/OF/DH, 22, High-A

A fifth-round pick last year, Shenton is a bat-first player whose defensive home is uncertain. He is a below-average runner, but there's a chance he hits enough to be playable somewhere. Given his shortcomings, there is very little margin for error. He needs to rake.

20. Cal Raleigh, C, 23, Double-A

Raleigh is a rare switch-hitting catcher whose 6-foot-3, 215-pound frame lends itself to above-average power. The hit tool isn't big-league caliber right now, and may never get there, but if he can make improvements in that regard, he could be a low-AVG, 20-homer backstop.

21. Jose Siri, OF, 24, Triple-A

There is no reason to think Siri will hold his own offensively at Triple-A this year — it's a bad hit tool, there's no getting around that. He has very impressive raw power and speed, but was just claimed off waivers after getting DFA'd by the Reds.

RANGERS

1. Luisangel Acuna, 2B/SS, 18, Low-A

It's very exciting that we have another Acuna lighting things up in pro ball, and there's another on the way in a few years. This one appears to have an excellent hit tool, average power potential and plus speed — not the elite physical tools of big brother, but nothing to sneeze at either.

2. Maximo Acosta, SS, 17, AZL

He wasn't overly hyped when he signed on July 2, as he was still listed at 5-foot-9 by most outlets, but Acosta is now 6-foot-1 and getting Gleyber Torres comps. He has a very smooth swing, plus speed and should be able to stick at shortstop.

3. Nick Solak, 3B/2B/OF/DH, 25, MLB

Solak doesn't have a standout tool and isn't a great defender, but he also doesn't have any glaring offensive weaknesses. He could stand to lift the ball a bit more, but as is I think he could hit .265 with a .350 OBP, 20-25 HR and 8-10 SB. That'll play in almost any format.

4. Sherten Apostel, 3B/1B/DH, 21, High-A

Apostel has the raw power and patience to turn into a Miguel Sano/Jorge Soler type of three-true-outcomes masher, but like those two, he needs to get close to his offensive ceiling to be an everyday player, as he won't provide much defensive value and will probably always strike out at a high clip.

5. Josh Jung, 3B, 22, High-A

Jung might be a little too intent on showing off his hit tool, which could be plus. For a player his size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) who doesn't project to be a plus defender at third base, he will need to develop at least 25-homer pop. If he does, he could be a middle-of-the-order bat in 2021 or 2022.

6. Ricky Vanasco, RHP, 21, Low-A

Even after a ridiculous statistical breakout, fueled by a velocity bump into the mid-to-upper-90s, he is still one of the most underrated pitching prospects. If he can stay healthy in 2020, that will change in a hurry. His changeup just needs to improve by a grade for him to project as a No. 2 starter.

7. Joe Palumbo, LHP, 25, Triple-A

Did anyone actually expect Palumbo to be good in the majors last season when he was rushed up in several emergencies before he'd finished developing in the minors? He still has No. 3 starter upside, and because of those MLB struggles he has been severely underrated this offseason.

8. Leody Taveras, OF, 21, Double-A

I'm out on Taveras turning into more than a low-impact center fielder who hits near the bottom of the lineup and steals 20-plus bases. That's still a player who needs to be rostered in all roto leagues, but it's hardly a player anyone will covet.

9. Heriberto Hernandez, OF/DH, 20, Low-A

Hernandez excels at manipulating the barrel to do damage, even on pitchers' pitches. His bat speed is elite, and he could develop into a high-OBP 40-HR hitter in his prime. He will need to come close to that ceiling due to his complete lack of defensive utility.

10. Osleivis Basabe, SS, 19, Low-A

Basabe has the tools to stick at shortstop. He also has plus bat speed, plus speed on the bases and rarely strikes out. The big thing he needs to work on is adjusting his launch angle so that he can start lifting the ball more into the gaps and eventually develop 10-15 homer pop. If he does that, he could be a stud.

11. Keithron Moss, 2B/3B/OF, 18, Northwest League

It's all about the bat with Moss. He is a switch hitter from the Bahamas, and while he struck out a lot in the AZL, it was still a very impressive showing, given his age and lack of experience against high-end competition. He hits lasers to all fields and could develop 20-homer power to go with the speed to steal 15-20 bases.

12. Bayron Lora, OF/1B/DH, 17, Dominican Summer League

Lora's power is tantalizing, but let's get realistic, he's a 6-foot-5, 230-pound 17-year-old. I would be shocked if he keeps his body at a playable weight into his early-20s, and even if he does, there will likely be a lot of swing and miss with the big raw power.

13. Bubba Thompson, OF, 21, High-A

Thompson has plus raw power and 70-grade speed. Guys with those tools are tough to find, but his hit tool is so bad that he doesn't need to be rostered in normal-sized dynasty leagues anymore.

14. Alexander Ovalles, OF, 19, Northwest League

A lefty-hitting outfielder the Rangers acquired from the Cubs as the PTBNL in the Cole Hamels trade, Ovalles put up very impressive numbers in the DSL and AZL, but fell flat after a late-season promotion to the NWL. The idea is that his profile will be hit-over-power.

15. Yerry Rodriguez, RHP, 22, High-A

Rodriguez was shut down in the summer with a UCL sprain, so we should tread lightly. He could need TJS at some point soon. However, he has a plus fastball, plus changeup and developing breaking ball with enough command to start.

16. Cole Winn, RHP, 20, High-A

This stuff isn't always that complicated. Winn has been hyped since before the 2018 draft, but there's no reason to still buy him as a potential frontline starter, and he's hardly a safe bet to be a No. 3 starter after a very shaky pro debut in the Sally League.

17. Ryan Garcia, RHP, 22, Low-A

Garcia got $1.47 million in the second round out of UCLA. He doesn't have a plus pitch yet, but his fastball, slider and changeup could all be 55-grade offerings, and his pitchability and command could allow the whole arsenal to play up.

18. Hans Crouse, RHP, 21, High-A

The reliever risk with Crouse is palpable. He pitched through some elbow stuff in 2019 and has a very unorthodox delivery. His mid-90s fastball and plus slider could allow him to be a weapon out of the bullpen, but the Rangers plan to keep him on a starter's track for now.

19. Sam Huff, C/DH/1B, 22, Double-A

We've all seen this play out before. A big catcher with mammoth raw power, a big arm and no other redeeming qualities, Huff will eventually hit a wall against advanced pitching, and even if he doesn't, he won't be a good enough framer to be a starting catcher.

20. Ronny Henriquez, RHP, 19, High-A

A 5-foot-10, 165-pound righty, Henriquez has starter stuff (mid-90s fastball, solid slider and changeup) and a starter's command/control, but he is very undersized, so I'm dubious about him holding up in that role.

21. Demarcus Evans, RHP, 23, Triple-A

One of the best relievers in the minors, Evans is a massive human (6-foot-4, 270 pounds) — he looks like an NFL defensive lineman. He has a 70-grade fastball that plays above its mid-90s velocity and a curveball that should play off his fastball as a plus pitch. If Jose Leclerc doesn't bounce back this year, Evans could work his way into the ninth inning if he can improve his below-average command.

22. Keyber Rodriguez, SS/2B/3B, 19, Northwest League

Rodriguez is a plus runner who is capable of playing all over the infield. He has a slight frame, but is still able to get to sneaky pop (.208 ISO in the AZL). The switch hitter will need to continue to make strides offensively to be more than a utility infielder, but if he does, his plus speed would make him attractive.

23. Zion Bannister, OF, 18, AZL

Bannister got just shy of $850K on July 2 but was old enough to get a brief taste of the DSL, although the sample was too small to read into. He is 6-foot-3 with plus speed and plus raw power projection while also projecting to be a quality center fielder. If he hits in the AZL, his stock will take off.

24. David Garcia, C, 20, Low-A

Garcia has big-time pedigree, and is a lock to be a good enough defensive catcher to someday sit atop a big-league depth chart. The challenge will be for him to develop into a good enough hitter to occupy such a role. He took strides in the right direction last year in the NWL.

25. Steele Walker, OF, 23, Double-A

The fact that Walker was the "best" prospect the Rangers could get for Nomar Mazara says much more about Mazara than Walker. He is too old to have never played at Double-A and might not even have an above-average fantasy tool, let alone a plus one.

26. Davis Wendzel, 3B/2B/SS, 22, High-A

This was a confusing pick, as the Rangers took Wendzel, an older college hitter who is light on impact tools, with the 41st overall pick. He is a versatile defender in the infield, but has below-average power and speed. The hit tool needs to be excellent and he needs to find a way to at least get to 20-homer pop.

27. Anderson Tejeda, SS, 21, High-A

Protecting Tejeda from the Rule 5 draft was a bizarre move. He has a chance to be a quality shortstop thanks to a cannon of an arm, but he is at least a couple years away from being able to hold his own against big-league pitching. To say it is power over hit would be an understatement.

28. Pedro Gonzalez, OF, 22, High-A

A big 6-foot-5 outfielder with loud tools, Gonzalez was a little old to be finally mastering Low-A last season. Odds are, he will put up pretty rough numbers at High-A, but if he takes a step forward at the plate, his 30/10 upside would start to come into focus.

29. Tyreque Reed, 1B/DH, 22, High-A

Reed has some of the best raw power in this system. He had a good showing in a return to Low-A, but struck out too much at High-A. As a 250-pound R/R first baseman, he fits best at DH long term, so he really needs to improve as a hitter to pull off that profile.

30. Julio Pablo Martinez, OF, 24, Double-A

If JPM had never received a seven-figure bonus and been overly hyped, as most Cuban prospects are, he'd be completely off the radar at this point. He still has plus speed and enough power to bang out double-digit homers, but he isn't a good hitter and doesn't provide enough defensive value to stay in the lineup when his bat isn't producing.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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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