We took a week off to drop our midseason Top 50 prospect list, but this week, we get back on the horse of providing you a list of 10 prospects who have stood out this week. In fact, this week, we gave you a bonus of two.
Several familiar names highlight the list including Tyler O’Neill and Corey Ray who have both made our list multiple times. However, there are new names including Rookie sensation Wander Franco and the lesser known Freudis Nova. While I didn’t including any of the 2018 draftees, Nick Madrigal had a nice week, hitting .458 in Kannapolis with no strikeouts in 25 plate appearance. Wait a minute…maybe I should expand the list to 13…
Enjoy the list and please click on the baseball card to visit our partner amazon.com to explore additional information on each player.
Tyler O’Neill (STL, OF, Triple-A) – I think Tyler O’Neill has this Triple-A thing figured out. In 58 games, he’s hit 25 home runs including five in two days this past week. He’s had a couple of chances in the majors this year, but after 19 games, he’s only hit .227. While it’s a tiny sample size, baseball teams, especially contenders are trying to catch lightning in a bottle and O’Neill has not done that. He’s still very much a prospect and I believe he’ll be given a shot to get full-time at-bats if not later this season, then next year.
Alex Kirilloff (Min, OF, High-A) – After missing all of 2017 with Tommy John surgery, Alex Kiriloff is making up for lost time. After hitting .333 in Low-A to begin the season, he’s done even better in High-A. In 29 games, he’s hitting .383 with a .592 SLG. Want more…over the past eight games, he’s hitting .656 with two home runs. Kiriloff is a great hitter with enough strength and bat speed to pop 15 to 20 home runs annually.
Brent Rooker (Min, OF, Double-A) – Brent Rooker has shown flashes this year of being an impact middle of the order bat and this week was no exception where he went 11 for 23 with two home runs. The approach is not great as there is a lot of swing and miss and he can get aggressive at the plate. However, the power is real and with a more patient approach, that ceiling could be reached.
Eloy Jimenez (CHW, OF, Triple-A) – I had a chance to see Eloy Jimenez this past week and as in every other scouting visit, I came away very impressed. Not only is he physically impressive, the power is very much real with tremendous loft in his swing. The swing, of course, gets long so strikeouts will be part of the equation, but so could 30 plus home runs. There’s no reason to promote him this year, but assuming health, he’ll see Chicago sometime in the first half of the 2019 season.
Wander Franco (TB, SS, Rookie) – Last year, Ronald Acuna tore through the minor leagues and his year it was Juan Soto’s turn, even eclipsing the speed of Acuna. Don’t be surprised if next season Wander Franco is that guy. Oh yeah, he plays for the Rays, so that probably won’t happen, but if you’re looking for your next stud player, it could very well be him. He can hit with power and some speed. He’ll make our Top 100 next season and then some.
Blake Rutherford (CHW, OF, High-A) – After a very inconsistent year in 2017, Blake Rutherford is starting to show signs of what the Yankees saw when they drafted him the first round of the 2016 draft. He’s red-hot in July, batting .369 with a .452 SLG. The power hasn’t developed yet, but he has good bat speed with solid athleticism so I think in the end, he will develop 15 to 20 home runs pop. Throw-in 15 or so stolen bases with a solid hit tool, and he could make a nice number three outfielder on your fantasy team.
Corey Ray (Mil, OF, Double-A) – Did you know that Corey Ray has 20 home runs and 32 stolen bases this season? I knew he had a great week and why I wanted to put him on the list, but WOW, that’s impressive production; and he’s doing it in Double-A. I’ve not seen Ray this year, but last season I saw him several times and was not a fan of his swing. There’s a ton of swing and miss (27% strikeout rate) but there’s also a ton of bat speed and he’s a plus runner. If I’m being honest though, he does remind me a little of…gulp…Lewis Brinson. That’s a great comp if you’re looking for a ceiling but let’s hope it doesn’t come with a .160 batting average in his rookie season.
Freudis Nova (Hou, SS, Rookie) – Dynasty League owners are always looking for under-the-radar Latin players. How about Houston Astros’ Freudis Nova. He has plus speed, great bat speed and an understanding of the strike zone. Plus, he’s likely to stay at shortstop. In fact, he’s the perfect guy to be included in a deadline trade this summer as he has the kind of upside that rebuilding teams are looking for. Just for the record, he’s hitting .325 with a .815 OPS with two home runs and five stolen bases in Rookie Ball this year.
Adonis Medina (Phi, RHP, High-A) – I saw the Phillies Low-A team several times last year and really liked Adonis Medina. While Sixto Sanchez has the 80-grade fastball, Medina is the better current pitcher and while the ceiling isn’t as high, could be a solid number three future pitcher, if not more. While his ERA is 1.50 worse this year, if you dig under the peripheral stats, his strikeout rate, walk rate, BABIP are all identical (almost to the fourth digit). The difference is that his LOB is off significantly and therefore, more guys are scoring. When it’s all clicking like it was earlier this week, he can be totally dominant. On July 21st vs. Florida, he pitched seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts and no walks.
Josh James (Hou, RHP, Triple-A) – Josh James was the flavor of the week about a month ago when everybody was adding him to their Dynasty League. I even got caught up and added him to one league. I get it, there’s a lot to like. He’s got size, throws hard and is sporting a 14 K/9 rate. He’s also walking four per nine, is 25-years-old with a lot of effort in his delivery. He’s likely a bullpen arm long-term but he could see some spot starts later this season.
Logan Allen (SD, LHP, Double-A) – While all the pitching love in San Diego is going to MacKenzie Gore, Adrian Morejon, Cal Quantrill, and Michael Baez, lefty Logan Allen is arguably having the best season of the bunch. In 18 games in Double-A, he’s posted a 2.59 ERA while striking out well over a batter an inning while walking less than three per nine. He has good stuff with a fastball that sits 92 to 93 and three quality secondary pitches. He throws strikes and has demonstrated solid command of all of his pitches. That command has been on display since June 1st where he’s pitched to a sub 2.00 ERA with 42 strikeouts and 6 walks. He didn’t do this in Rookie Ball, but instead, in Double-A. Yeah…that’s pretty good.
Trevor Rogers (Mia, RHP, Low-A) – Miami drafted Trevor Rogers as their first overall pick last season and decided to keep him out of action until this season. They even held him back until late May but since then, he’s pitched well. While the 5.98 ERA is not impressive, he’s striking out over 10 per nine with a reasonable 3.5 walk rate. Over his past four starts, he’s really turned it up, pitching to a 3.00 ERA and keeping the ball in the ballpark.