I started writing over 300 player capsules six months ago and most recently went through the task of putting together a list of the best of the best – the Top 100 minor league prospects. Was I happy with the list, even proud of the list? Absolutely, but I do have regrets as well as disappointments of players that I really wanted to include, but just ran out of numbers.
I decided to look back through my work and come up with a “Baker’s Dozen” of players that I really like as both prospects and fantasy prospects. Some are well known names and others are a little under-the-radar. They are in no particular order.
1. Nick Williams (Tex, OF) – Was the best player on the stacked Texas Low-A affiliate and stood above the rest with his ability to make contact. That ability should allow his above-average power to eventually play at the highest level.
2. Vincent Valasquez (Hou, RHP) – While Houston has several hard throwing hurlers that made our Top 100, VV has the arsenal and polish to pitch just behind those pitchers.
3. Tyrone Taylor (Mil, OF) – Taylor’s lack of loud tools pushed him off the Top 100 list but there is a lot of upside with the young outfielder. If he continues to put it together, the Brewers might finally have a prospect on the Top 100.
4. Phil Ervin (Cin, OF) – A polished college hitter with louder tools than you think. He should move quickly through the Reds system and could see the majors by 2015.
5. C.J. Edwards (CHC, RHP) – Very good arsenal but the body size still worries me. That said, the Cubs need starters and they’ll likely keep Edwards in that role for the foreseeable future.
6. Pierce Johnson (CHC, RHP) – While I ranked Edwards higher in the Cubs Top 10, I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson becomes the better pitcher.
7. Raimel Tapia (Col, OF) – I had Tapia number eight in a surprisingly strong Rockies organization but didn’t have the courage to rank him higher. I wrote: “…could become an interesting name within the Rockies organization”. I should have used the word monster somewhere in that sentence. Watch out!
8. Josh Bell (Pit, OF) – Uber-talented outfielder that has been limited by injuries during his brief professional career. Don’t sleep on yet another talented outfielder in Pittsburgh.
9. Sean Manaea (KC, LHP) – A serious hip injured caused me to downgrade Manaea, but assuming he fully recovers, the stuff could allow him to pitch at the top-of-the-rotation.
10. Matt Barnes (Bos, RHP) – With so many pitchers in the upper minors, somebody had to drop out of the Top 100 from Boston. Mid-rotation starter – book it!
11. Anthony Ranaudo (Bos, RHP) – A higher ceiling than Barnes but I bet you Barnes becomes the better pitcher. Still, in nearly any other system, Ranaudo is a Top three prospect.
12. Zach Lee (LAD, RHP) – He no longer has the ceiling of a top-of-the-rotation starter, but is solid and nearly ready for Big League action.
13. Rosell Herrera – Yeah, he repeated Low-A in 2013 but he also had one of the best statistical years of any minor league player. There’s both power and speed with Herrera and while it’s debatable whether he can stay at short, he has “fantasy impact” written all over him.