Top 400 MLB Prospect Rankings Update

Top 400 MLB Prospect Rankings Update

This article is part of our Farm Futures series.

The top 400 prospect rankings were updated last week for the first time this season. The next update will be after the draft in mid-to-late July. 

As always, I did a mailbag podcast Wednesday dedicated to the updated rankings.

You can listen to the RotoWire Prospect Podcast or subscribe on your podcast app by searching "RotoWire Prospect Podcast".

Here is the written version of the podcast. Feel free to add your own question in the comments, on Twitter or on Discord.

Jordan4Giants: Do you use other rankings to help you lay your groundwork and/or compare your work? If so, what other rankings do you look at and respect the most?

I don't look at other fantasy prospect rankings, although there are plenty of people I respect who produce those lists. That's just never been a part of my process, and I think it would make my process worse. That said, I obviously do a lot of research and rely on trusted public sources like Baseball America and FanGraphs for stuff like pitch mix, speed grades, arm strength grades, defensive grades – essentially the stuff you can't reliably get from video or stats.

Will Bell: You seemed hesitant to move Jackson Holliday to No. 1 a few weeks ago. I know it's probably semantics and there isn't much of a difference between being ranked 1 and 3 but what changed your mind?

I didn't think there was a clear choice at No. 1 a few weeks ago. I could still go

The top 400 prospect rankings were updated last week for the first time this season. The next update will be after the draft in mid-to-late July. 

As always, I did a mailbag podcast Wednesday dedicated to the updated rankings.

You can listen to the RotoWire Prospect Podcast or subscribe on your podcast app by searching "RotoWire Prospect Podcast".

Here is the written version of the podcast. Feel free to add your own question in the comments, on Twitter or on Discord.

Jordan4Giants: Do you use other rankings to help you lay your groundwork and/or compare your work? If so, what other rankings do you look at and respect the most?

I don't look at other fantasy prospect rankings, although there are plenty of people I respect who produce those lists. That's just never been a part of my process, and I think it would make my process worse. That said, I obviously do a lot of research and rely on trusted public sources like Baseball America and FanGraphs for stuff like pitch mix, speed grades, arm strength grades, defensive grades – essentially the stuff you can't reliably get from video or stats.

Will Bell: You seemed hesitant to move Jackson Holliday to No. 1 a few weeks ago. I know it's probably semantics and there isn't much of a difference between being ranked 1 and 3 but what changed your mind?

I didn't think there was a clear choice at No. 1 a few weeks ago. I could still go back and forth on Holliday vs. Elly De La Cruz, but I've narrowed it down to those two at this moment in time. Holliday never slowed down and I kept hearing great stuff about him from scouts. He's a safer bet to me to be a huge help in all five categories than Elly, but Elly has a higher power/speed ceiling. I just think it's possible Holliday hits 60 points higher than Elly in batting average and that's what pushed me to Holliday, but I could buy the case for Elly at No. 1, especially for a contender.

Brian Johnson: Could you throw some major league comps on the top five guys? Interested also in the speed at which you think they can get there. How do these top guys compare to Corbin Carroll/Gunnar Henderson… Thinking Julio Rodriguez/Juan Soto comp from a couple years back…

I know people love comps, and I understand why, but I don't like using comps unless I really believe in them. That's part of why I took so much issue with people using Julio Rodriguez as a comp for Jordan Walker. I just didn't see it at all, specifically with regards to the hit tool. I don't have a great comp for Holliday. He's too fast to be compared to most high-OBP guys and has too much potential as a hitter to be compared to most speedsters. Elly is a total freak and those guys are generally very difficult to come up with comps for. Chourio is still so early in his development and has been pushed so aggressively, that it makes it tough to comp him as well, but I do think his power stroke is what will headline the package. Royce Lewis is someone I've comped to Mookie Betts in the past, and I still think that's in play. He'd be in the mix for the No. 1 overall spot if not for the two torn ACLs.

Alex Washburn: Do you think if Jackson Holliday keeps up this production that he could be in the MLB next summer?

Absolutely. I've even heard some people try to make the case he could be up this year, which I don't really buy because of the existence of Jordan Westburg and Joey Ortiz, but I also wouldn't say there's a zero percent chance Holliday is up in September of this year.

Cam Anderson: Huge jump for Junior Caminero. Is he so good that he gets the Wander Franco treatment from TB? Or does he get stuck in AAA/platooning for the first year or so like Curtis Mead, Kyle Manzardo, Taylor Walls, etc…

I don't think Mead/Manzardo/Walls are all the same for the purposes of this question. Walls of course got the Tampa Bay treatment, but Mead has played 56 games at Double-A and 46 games at Triple-A, so he hasn't been "held back" and Manzardo has been pushed as aggressively as any team would have pushed him – 30 games at Double-A, 45 games at Triple-A. I believe Caminero is in that camp. He'll be pushed as fast as he deserves, which he has been, just getting the bump to Double-A. It's tough to predict how the playing time will shake out when he's mastered Triple-A and still not on the 40-man roster, which is where Manzardo essentially is right now. You should be excited about Caminero's potential once he's playing every day, but you shouldn't be excited about his potential to quickly get to the big leagues, as I don't really see that happening.

Dandy F Chiggins: Big jump for Emmet Sheehan. When can we expect him in the bigs? Does he have top of the rotation potential?

Stefan Wasylko: With the struggles (Noah Syndergaard & Gavin Stone) and injuries (Julio Urias & Dustin May), any chance we see Emmet Sheehan this year? And is it stashing season yet for him? I think he (Sheehan) is the best arm in their system, better than Bobby Miller

I've been stashing Sheehan in the 16-team RotoWire Steak League for a couple weeks, and I wouldn't have ranked him where I did as a pitcher at Double-A if I didn't think he had top of the rotation potential. Given all the injuries the Dodgers have already dealt with, it seems inevitable that we see Sheehan this year if he continues on this trajectory. I like Sheehan more than Miller long term, but I'd obviously rather have Miller for just this season.

Toolsy: I added Bryan Woo to one of my teams where I had an opening. I could have gotten Emmet Sheehan or AJ Smith-Shawver. They're gone now. I chose Woo because I thought he had a better shot for 2023 action (Marco Gonzales) at the time. Do you see a big difference in their ceilings?

I do think there's a difference in the ceilings of Sheehan/Smith-Shawver and Woo. Coming into the season, the big question with Sheehan and Smith-Shawver was whether they'd throw enough strikes to start. They had frontline-caliber stuff but struggled to throw consistent strikes last year. They've answered those questions satisfactorily to me. Woo's fastball is his best pitch, and probably a 70-grade offering, while Sheehan's is an 80-grade pitch. I'd also take Sheehan's changeup and Smith-Shawver's slider over Woo's slider.

Ryan Keller: Following Brandon Pfaadt's struggles with command in the majors, it would be helpful to compare him to some of the break-out arms ranked within close proximity, specifically Emmet Sheehan and AJ Smith-Shawver, and the reasons you have to still be optimistic on his potential.

Pfaadt didn't have a down arrow next to his name because so many guys ahead of him graduated, but I'm slightly less optimistic long-term on Pfaadt than I was before the season, and he's not helping anyone right now, which was part of the appeal with him to me when I ranked him before the season. I'm reacting to his struggles, but I don't want to overreact. I ranked Smith-Shawver No. 31 overall, but that was when I thought we might see him around late-June or early-July. Now that he's already up, I'd take him over Pfaadt, along with Sheehan who I ranked eight slots higher than Pfaadt, which is not insignificant when we're talking about guys in the top 30. Sheehan and Smith-Shawver have better fastballs than Pfaadt, which is pretty obvious. Pfaadt's slider is arguably the best secondary offering of the trio, and I still think he'll have better command than Sheehan and Smith-Shawver long term. I'm sure you're not alone in questioning why I didn't tank Pfaadt's ranking, but to me that's a clear sign that there's an opportunity here to buy the dip. Pitching prospect development is almost never linear.

Travis Pastore: Seems like there's a lot of pitchers who've made cases for climbing the ranks. What are you looking for when it comes to guys that seem to catch fire like AJ Smith-Shawver?

Well, with Smith-Shawver, we always love it when a young pitching prospect climbs to multiple levels of the minors over the course of a full season, but he went from High-A to Triple-A in six weeks. That type of ascent in a great organization for a pitcher his age with two potential 70-grade pitches (fastball, slider) is something to take very seriously. 

O's Flows: Can you elaborate on Xavier Isaac's double up arrows? Plate discipline numbers are elite, but power is not showing up just yet…

Pope George Ringo II: What caused Xavier Isaac's rise in this last update? His plate skills so far this season look good and I know he's still very young, but for a guy whose calling card is supposed to be his monumental power it really hasn't shown up yet…

Isaac is my favorite healthy teenage hitter at Single-A, and I wanted to stress that in my rankings. His monster raw power was well known coming into the year, but you never know how a prep hitter's hit tool will translate in pro ball. What he's showing from a pitch selection standpoint is really the main thing. He's answering that question. In the month of May, he hit .289/.449/.605 with three home runs and five strikeouts in 12 games. I just really wanted to stress with this update that this is a potential star cleanup hitter long term and he's showing me everything I wanted to see. My comp for Isaac is Ryan Howard.

Joe McHugh: Is there long-term concern about Gabriel Gonzalez not getting to power or that he's not at A+ yet? With the K-BB and the other offensive stats thought he'd be a riser…

Gonzalez's ability to make contact appears to be excellent, but he's repeating a level and he's not a good athlete and doesn't have a great body. You're hoping for plus hit and plus power, and he has a chance to be that guy, but we're talking about a few years down the road. The lack of speed (I know he's stolen some bases, but he's a 40-grade runner) and aggressive approach are leading me to take my time with moving him up the ranks, at least until he does it at a new level.

The Fair Poll: Did you play baseball growing up, and if so, what kind of skill set did you have?

I was a pull-hitting second baseman. I never hit an over-the fence home run and I could never figure out how to hit the ball to the opposite field on purpose. I was aggressive on the bases and also good at tagging would-be base stealers at second. None of my good friends played baseball in high school, so I gave it up at that point, which I've always regretted.

Joey DeClercq: No Lyon Richardson suggests you're one of the lowest on him. What do you need to see for him to rise up your rankings?

Richardson's absence was actually an oversight. I knew I needed to add him but forgot to mark him as such during my prep for these rankings. This rarely happens, but it did in this case, so I apologize about that. I still think there is significant relief risk, and he's not going deep into starts, but he belongs in roughly the 250-350 range.

Chris Maher: Two years ago, the Giants had a hot system with Marco Luciano, Hunter Bishop, Luis Matos, Heliot Ramos, Jairo Pomares, etc… 

1. What the hell happened?

2. Any idea on Matos' ETA and what fantasy production to expect?

3. Why the Aeverson Arteaga ranking plummet?

I think we'll see Matos in the majors this summer since he's on the 40-man roster, but it might not be a situation where he's up for good, unless he hits the ground running. 

Luciano's back issues (much like Brennen Davis) and Bishop's injuries seem to have contributed significantly to their struggles, but their hit tools may have been worse than anticipated even if they never got hurt. The Giants have drafted pretty poorly over the past five years or so, and that's showing up. Ramos was probably never as good of a prospect as many thought back at the peak of his value, and Pomares has fallen in love with power at the expense of contact. 

Arteaga has been below league average in 165 games above rookie ball, and the great teenage hitters don't tread water in A ball. He's still ranked, due to his power, speed and defense, but most hitters his age with his statistical track record in full-season ball wouldn't be ranked. He's got a 33.7 Hard%, which is great, but he's also got a terrible 30.2 Soft%.

Finny: I vaguely recall hearing that hitters in the lower minors struggle against plus changeups the most because they're rare. If this is true, could it help explain Gavin Stone's issues this year at AAA and MLB?

Well Stone dominated at the highest levels of the minors prior to this year, so it's not like he's just been propped up by low-level success. You're onto something though in general. Pitchers without high-end velocity or a high-end breaking ball have a smaller margin for error, and Stone has shown the worst command/control he's ever shown this year. Whether that's because he doesn't have the confidence to throw his fastball in the zone or whether he's just having a hard time putting the pitch where he wants, I'm not sure. Being a starting pitcher in the big leagues is incredibly mental, and I think Stone is struggling with that aspect of things as well. He might be pitching scared.

Finny: I've heard some people reference the Midwest League's awful weather attributing to Jackson Merrill's struggles. Do you see anything else going on there? He was boldly predicted by some to potentially be #1 overall by year's end…

I just think he's been way too aggressive and he still hasn't solved his groundball issues. In general, you can throw out April for the Midwest League when it comes to power output, but I don't think the cold weather is to blame for his aggressiveness and launch angle.

Finny: Dalton Rushing seems like the real deal, but limited and blocked as a catcher. They've been trying his glove elsewhere but what real expectation can we have for his arrival ETA?

If they wanted to fast-track him to the majors, they probably would have assigned him to Double-A. Part of that is Diego Cartaya being at Double-A, but I'd think even the Dodgers can see that Rushing is better than Cartaya at this point. Maybe Rushing is up in the middle of next year. He's not just blocked at catcher, he's also blocked at first base, but there's enough starts at DH and backup catcher that he could still play plenty when they decide to start his clock.

Doug Bleszinski: Connor Norby seems to be falling in the Baltimore system but stays higher in your rankings. What do you see?  Josue De Paula would appear to either sky rocket or fall quickly when he comes to play this summer, true?

Norby went from 34 to 40 while close to a dozen guys graduated ahead of him, so he definitely fell on this update as Jordan Westburg passed him, but he's still a good prospect. He's got an .851 OPS over his last 28 games. 

When I recorded the podcast I had missed that De Paula got assigned to Single-A on Tuesday, which is excellent from an evaluation standpoint. He just turned 18, so he's young enough that a strong run at Single-A would mean something, but not so young that we should expect him to fail. This may not make sense to some, but I like the idea of holding a prospect of this age and caliber back in extended spring training for a couple months so that he can work on some things before getting the assignment to Single-A. This way, he's not being asked to play a full five-month season traveling around the Cal League, and he's also not getting sent to a level (Arizona Complex League) where he wouldn't be facing much good pitching at all.

Stefan Wasylko: I was hoping one of Miguel Bleis, Samuel Zavala or Josue De Paula could vault to the top by season's end like Jackson Chourio last year, but it seems like all have started out slowly, in particular De Paula. Thoughts on all going forward?

De Paula's season just started. Zavala has been great, in my opinion, but he doesn't have Chourio's power/speed ceiling. Bleis is looking like it's going to be a slower burn.

Toolsy: Jonatan Clase or Miguel Bleis if ETA wasn't as important? I added Bleis this year recognizing he was all projection and saw the aggressive FanGraphs rating…

Clase. He's performed well against more advanced pitching, so he's safer than Bleis and has a similar ceiling.

Finny: How much stock can we put into Jonatan Clase's power numbers? Exit velo not bad and results are there in AA so far. K-rate is high, but SwStr & BB look great. If the power is at all real, he's a dude right?

Ryan Keller: Jonatan Clase has been one of the fastest risers in prospect rankings since the beginning of the year. How real is his power and ability to hit for a high average, and how do you see that projecting once he reaches the majors? Is he a potential top-10 prospect?

We're still in the feeling out phase with Clase. His two best performances were in the Dominican Summer League, which is extremely hitter-friendly, and at High-A Everett, a very favorable home park. He's young for Double-A, but not so young that we can just ignore his 33.6 K%. I was probably too low on him coming into the year, and we've seen with guys like Jorge Mateo and Esteury Ruiz that it's good to be patient with supreme speedsters. But I don't think the hit tool will ever be good enough that I'd rank him in the top 10.

Scott Courlander: What's Blaze Jordan gotta do?

I really like Blaze Jordan, for what he is, and he's got double up arrows and is inside the top 100. I generally think he's underrated, so maybe we agree about the player and just disagree about where he should be slotted. He's essentially a designated hitter who may or may not walk at a typical DH-caliber clip. If I knew Jordan would play good enough defense at one of the corners to stick in the dirt, he'd probably be 50 spots higher, but he has zero margin for error offensively and he's still never faced Double-A pitching. 

O's Flows: How concerned are you about early MLB struggles from Brandon Pfaadt and Grayson Rodriguez? Return of the TINSTAAPP?

TINSTAAPP (there is no such thing as a pitching prospect) didn't go anywhere. I think this just gives more credence to my general rule about not ranking pitching prospects with zero MLB success in the top 15. I expect Pfaadt and Rodriguez to be fine long term if they have relatively good health.

J_ShipD: Dillon Dingler off because of age and no expectation of carrying over to the majors?

Cody Martin: Dillon Dingler vs. Andrew Cossetti — why does one guy slide in and the other slide out? Age to level? Proximity? Performance?

Dingler hasn't been ranked since September 2021, so he didn't come off, but he did almost get put back on. Part of the thing with the catcher renaissance is you just can't project a guy with his strikeout issues to ever be a top-15 catcher in batting average leagues. If you're in a deeper two-catcher league, then Dingler should be rostered by someone, but he's not very exciting to me and probably won't debut until he's 25 next year.

Cossetti is already splitting time between first base and catcher, so the hope with him is that his bat is strong enough for him to either move off catcher or at least see time at other positions. He is 23 and just got promoted to High-A, where he is still much too old for the level, so the pressure will be on Cossetti to produce at this new level.

John Vaghi: Jud Fabian's hard hit rates aren't great, is this a cause for worry?

Yeah, it's not ideal. We know he's got the raw power, but he's made a decent amount of weak contact (25.0 Soft%, 37.1 IFFB%). The overall performance and tools still warrant a top-200 ranking, but he's trending slightly down.

Alex Washburn: If you could roster one of Jud Fabian, Dylan Beavers or Samuel Basallo in an OBP league, who would you choose?

Basallo. He's just a more impressive overall hitter, all things considered, even if he's not walking as much as those guys. He's also four years younger than Fabian and three years younger than Beavers.

J_ShipD: Does the uncertainty in performance of FYPD guys like Druw Jones ever make you question the value of ranking them at all until some sample size exists in pro ball?

No. I've generally always thought people are too quick to jump on amateurs in open universe leagues and many people overvalue FYPD picks, but those guys have to be ranked when they sign. Was there no value in ranking Jackson Holliday No. 15 overall when he signed?

Robert McGoldrick: What is going on with Druw Jones? He looked totally overmatched in April, injured his hamstring six weeks ago, and has now disappeared. Seems injury was an excuse to give him a reset in extended spring training and I anticipate he will get the start in rookie ball he missed last year…

It seems like you've got a pretty good read on things. I'm going to preach patience in the case of Jones. It was a clear mistake to take him over Holliday, but Jones's physical tools and track record as an amateur are still more important to me than what he did in his only 10 games as a pro.

Toolsy: I bought Emmanuel Rodriguez this year and now I am concerned. Are you expecting him to rebound?

He's got a 26.1 K% over his last 10 games, so he could be gradually rebounding. I wouldn't have kept him in the top 100 if I was terrified by what I've seen.

Chris Valensi: Thoughts on Gunnar Henderson? He's really been struggling. Hitting the ball hard. 86th percentile chase rate. Walking a lot. Whiffing a lot. 30% K-Rate. Is he a buy low in dynasty? Or some concerns? I wouldn't be surprised if he got sent down to AAA, given O's have lots of options…

Whether or not he's a good buy low depends on how his manager in your league is valuing him. I don't have any long-term concerns with Henderson, and I like that his walk rate is trending down, but he wasn't the type of super special prospect that Corbin Carroll was. There are growing pains here, but I could definitely see myself loading up in redraft next year.

Danny J: You are the high man on Jared Jones. What do you see?

Elite stuff with improving command and control. He was in the Emmet Sheehan/AJ Smith-Shawver bin coming into the year of guys with bullpen risk due to inability to consistently throw strikes, and while he hasn't exploded the way those two have, he's breaking out in a less buzzy way. Just keep an eye on his walk rate.

Reed DeSalvo: If Yanquiel Fernandez developed any type of ability to draw a walk, how high would he shoot up the board?

There aren't any questions about the power, but he is allergic to taking a walk and he needs to stay on top of his conditioning to remain a viable outfielder. There's a chance he ends up at designated hitter. Also, Spokane is inflating the numbers of all those big-name guys on that roster. Going from super aggressive to patient isn't very realistic, but he'd be up in the top 50 if you could magically give him a better approach.

BadProspectRanks: On your podcast with Ross Jensen, you made it seem like Chase Meidroth vs. Nick Yorke was an interesting conversational topic, equating their valuations roughly. You picked Yorke over Meidroth, which makes sense, but given their roughly equivalent performances how come there's a 280 spot gap?

I thought it was an interesting conversational topic, given that they're both bad defenders, but I never thought they were close from a value standpoint, so I apologize if I phrased something poorly. I touched on them in this mailbag and explained part of why I prefer Yorke, but another part of that equation is that Yorke is nine months younger and has hit for significantly more power at Double-A.

Travis Pastore: I know he may not be a prospect anymore, but since he's in the minors how has this season impacted Vaughn Grissom?

It's been a bad year for Grissom's value. He doesn't seem to have a clear future with Atlanta due to his inability to play shortstop, and his defense could be affecting his offense. Don't panic drop him or anything in dynasty, but he probably needs a trade or Ozzie Albies injury in order to start providing positive fantasy value.

Breadman: Josh Jung vs. Royce Lewis?

This is really tough, as I love both guys. Jung seems to be on the Austin Riley path of gradual skill improvement en route to being one of the top three fantasy third basemen at peak, and I've said many times that my only concern with Lewis is keeping that knee healthy. Lewis could hit .275 with 25 HR, and 25 SB, and Jung could hit .290 with 30-plus HR. I'll say Jung since he's more of a sure thing, but Lewis has a slightly higher ceiling. 

Michael Thomas: Any signs Justin Dirden gets his K% down closer to 25%?

Not really. Dirden did almost all of his damage in an early-May series against Albuquerque and would be ranked a little lower if I updated things today.

Michael Thomas: What happened to Mason Auer?

He ran into a wall against Double-A pitching. A 42.7 K% in May is a massive red flag.

Eric Wagner: You added Aaron Schunk to your rankings in the 200s. He's going to be 26 in July and has a nearly 30% K-rate. In what sort of scenario do you add a player like this?

I think you've been a subscriber for a while, but I used to love Schunk a few years ago and then he just completely fell flat at High-A as a 23-year-old. Schunk showed signs of improvement last year, making more contact and walking more after the bump to Double-A, and he's partially used the advantageous conditions in the Pacific Coast League to put up big numbers this year. Given that he's a solid defensive third baseman and can play some second base, there's reason to be a little patient here. If he had already spent a year at Triple-A and was repeating the level, I'd be less open to the idea of him figuring something out that could carry over to big-league success.

Todoubled: Best hitter and best pitcher to be called up going forward?

Gavin Williams is an easy call for best pitcher, it's just impossible to say when the Guardians will turn to him, as they've already got a log jam in the rotation. This might be kind of cheating since he could be up this week, but Elly De La Cruz is also an easy call for best hitter.

John Vaghi: Lawrence Butler looks like a different player. Was there a swing change here? Can we trust the 77% contact rate + closer to 20% K (rather than 30) going forward? How's the defense?

He had a pretty decent showing in the Arizona Fall League too and he finished his 2022 season at High-A strong, so I think he's just gradually made positive development. At his size, I'd expect the strikeouts to trend up when he eventually gets to the majors, but a 78.3 Contact% and 18.9 K% is pretty impressive for someone with plus power and plus speed at Double-A. He's been mostly playing center field, but probably ends up in right field, where he should be fine. 

Cale Loken: How much power do you think Ignacio Alvarez can get to?

I don't think he'll get to as much power as Vaughn Grissom as he climbs through the minors. His glove is good enough to play shortstop, and I'm treating him as a single-digit HR guy who could hit for a very high AVG with a high OBP and double-digit steals.

PancakePending: Of the Astros prospect risers (Ryan Clifford, Jacob Melton, Drew Gilbert, Zach Dezenzo) which two have the highest ceilings?

Gilbert clearly has the highest ceiling, as a potential five-category guy. I'll say Melton has the second highest ceiling due to his speed, but it's worth noting that High-A Asheville is a super favorable hitting environment.

Phillip Sontag: Any SP recommendations you believe will be up and ready to contribute this year?

Outside of the guys who have already gotten the call, it's pretty much Gavin Williams, Emmet Sheehan, Andrew Painter/Ricky Tiedemann (IF they get healthy) and Bryan Woo in terms of guys I'd be excited about. I'd also be excited about DL Hall if it looked like he made progress with his control. Ben Brown and Andrew Abbott will probably be heard from, but I'm less bullish on them having initial success in the majors.

Brandyn: No Emerson Hancock?

He was unranked coming into the year and walked 14 batters in 19.1 innings in five May starts at a level he made 21 starts at last year. The highs have been higher than they were last year, but I haven't seen anything to make me think he's more than a back-end starter.

Stefan Wasylko: Regarding James Wood, I was expecting a big rise in your ranks — top 10, possibly top 5. He was just promoted to AA, is there something you don't like? Strikeout totals? Big frame body ala Aaron Judge can cause that…

He's the same age as Jordan Lawlar and Jasson Dominguez and was a level lower, and I think they all have about the same upside. If he outperforms those guys at Double-A, he'll pass them on the next update.

Catfish Paul: I traded Juan Soto in a 30-team dynasty. Got Jordan Walker, Eury Perez, Termarr Johnson, Logan Gilbert and Edward Olivares. Did I get enough value back?

I would never advise anyone to do a 5-for-1 like this for a player like Soto. You may have ended up getting enough, but I'd just throw out Olivares and Johnson and want the Walker piece to be more of a sure thing. A 2-for-1 or a 3-for-1 is about as far as I'd go in the quantity over quality direction.

O's Flows: Kristian Robinson was reinstated. Still just 22. Any excitement?

I'm very excited, but more so happy for him. I think he got a bit of a raw deal. He was a kid who made a mistake under the influence, but because he wasn't from the United States he suffered harsher consequences than he otherwise would. It would be a great story if he re-established himself this season, but he won't be at an age-appropriate level until he gets to Double-A.

Alex Washburn: It seems like you're a buyer of Sebastian Walcott, could you explain why?

He's got the best combination of power/speed upside and reviews on his hit tool from that class. It seems like Walcott might be a touch ahead of Felnin Celestin from a hit tool standpoint, at least based on reports I've read from people like Ben Badler at Baseball America. I'm just keeping him in a range where I think taking a flier on a guy with zero pro experience makes sense.

Jon Broska: Everson Pereira is improving his K% and contributing in all categories but he didn't move in your rankings and got jumped by a number of guys. What stopped you from moving him up in the ranks?

He's basically just doing exactly what he did last year at Double-A, so to me his value is holding steady. If we have a dozen guys graduating ahead of him and 10 guys behind him really improving their stock, that leaves Pereira moving up just two spots from 44 to 42.

J3KDF: What's your peak for Christian Encarnacion-Strand look like? Is he Kyle Schwarber with less power to you?

He could be Jake Burger 2.0, which I mean as a compliment. Just as much power potential as Schwarber, but peak Schwarber is an OBP machine, and CES has a walk rate below 5% since getting traded to Cincinnati.

Coreyb3p: Who would you pick up if all were available: Xavier Isaac, Blaze Jordan, Jordan Beck, Sebastian Walcott?

I stand by my ranks and would go with Isaac, but you could make a case for Beck if you really don't want to wait three years for Isaac.

John Vaghi: Your list came out when Nick Frasso was sidelined. He's at 187 and has done nothing but shove all year. Was your rank related to health at the time? If he shows no ill effects to the time off, where does he land?

There basically wasn't anything Frasso could do in the first six weeks to really shoot up the rankings. His stuff is excellent, which he showed last year, and he hasn't thrown more than 60 innings in a season dating back to his freshman year at Loyola Marymount in 2018. There's nothing he can do (in my opinion) to shake the future reliever tag other than build up to 80-plus innings this year, but he's such a strikeout machine that I'd still have him ranked even if we knew for a fact he was going to end up in the bullpen.

BSteph12: What's up with George Valera? Still a chance?

Definitely still a chance. He's been snake-bit by injuries this year (wrist and now hamstring), but he's a 22-year-old at Triple-A, so he's got plenty of time to get things on track. It also works in his favor that Will Brennan and Oscar Gonzalez have so far failed to take a job and run with it.

Mike: Does Landon Knack get lost in the shuffle or a bit buried as you can only rank so many Dodgers pitching prospects highly? When do you think Knack and/or Emmet Sheehan get moved up to Oklahoma City?

It's a bit telling that Knack is still at Double-A, despite the fact he's pitched very well and turns 26 in July. If they were to rush one of those two to the majors this year, I think Sheehan makes more sense since he has way better pure stuff and Knack is more about pitchability and command. They should both get the bump to Triple-A within the next month or so.

John Snider: Colt Keith is a higher rated prospect than Justyn-Henry Malloy. But Keith is in AA and Malloy is in AAA and Keith is surging with Malloy slumping. Could we actually see Keith leapfrog Malloy to the majors this year given how bad the Tigers' 3B/DH situation is?

I wouldn't completely rule it out, but that's not generally the way things go with rebuilding clubs. Keith still has plenty of work to do defensively and Malloy has 72 more games under his belt in the upper levels. Plus, it's not like Malloy has been bad at Triple-A. He's still been one of the best age-appropriate hitters in the International League (8th in wRC+ among hitters 23 and under).

Chase Sweeper: You should take a deeper look at Trey McLoughlin in the Mets org.

I did take a look and he's an interesting reliever at High-A. McLoughlin went to Driveline this winter, but he's also about to turn 24 and a reliever below Double-A, so not a top-400 guy.

My Name Is Jeff: Why is Dominic Canzone unranked?

He's been in the mix on my personal Diamondbacks sheet for years (he was 21st but I just added him to the top 20 with Drey Jameson graduating), but at this point he looks like a Quadruple-A hitter. The Diamondbacks already have guys like Alek Thomas, Dominic Fletcher and Jorge Barrosa at Triple-A, who can actually provide defensive value, so I don't know how Canzone gets a legit look and I don't think you can expect his Triple-A success to carry over. It's really a pretty textbook example of a Quad-A guy – the type who will put up great numbers in repeat trips to Triple-A but won't hit enough to play in the majors.

Bob May: Where would Oswald Peraza rank if he were still prospect eligible? What are your current MLB projections for him? 

I'd have him around 20th overall, so just behind the top pitchers. I still think the hope with Peraza is that he's the good version of Andres Gimenez, where you can get close to 20/20 with a good batting average and less good OBP.

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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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