The Scout top 100 prospect list for 2017 is updated and can be found here.
100-91 can be found here
90-81 can be found here
80-71 can be found here
70-61 can be found here
60-51 can be found here
50-41 can be found here
40-31 can be found here
30-21 can be found here
20-11 can be found here
Taylor and Jeff will go through spot by spot explaining why these players were selected and why they fell where they did on this list. Here is the set of players rated 10-1
Jeff Ellis: This is a bit high for Eloy Jimenez, to me. I think he is a very good prospect. His 40 doubles, along with 14 home runs, were very impressive numbers for a 19 year old in high-A. He is one of the top 25 or so prospects in the game. I just think that an Ozzie Albies, being a shortstop who is younger and in AAA already, grants more value. Jimenez was a bit of a free swinger in the lower levels and I see some Jorge Soler in Jimenez. I think he is a better hitter, but it’s not a plus future tool to me and, combined with low walk totals, likely means he is going to be, at best, an average player in terms of on base percentage. His defense is closer to an average tool as well, so the big value presented by Jimenez is his power potential. It is easy to see from the numbers he has posted, his size, and bat speed how Jimenez has some of the best power potential in this entire list. I could see him hitting 35 or more home runs a few times in his career. Jimenez is a great prospect and should start the year in AA. He has excelled at every point and should be on the radar to help the Cubs by 2018. I am just not sure where he would play. The outfield is fairly locked in for a few years and the Cubs lineup could easily stay intact through the 2019 season.
Jeff Ellis: The opposite of Jimenez is JP Crawford. I had to fight to get him in the top ten on this list. I totally understand why some would not be high on Crawford. Across the minors, he has not posted strong numbers, showing little power and not hitting for high average or posting high on base percentages. It is not often that we see a top ten prospect four years in who has posted a career minor league OPS of .760. The counter argument is that, while he has not dominated, he has always been significantly young for his level and has been very aggressively pushed by the front offices in Philadelphia. It is still a lot of projection for JP Crawford, whose ceiling might be a lite version of what Francisco Lindor has done in the Majors. Then again, I don’t know anyone who expected Lindor to do what he has done so far in the Majors. I don’t think he will ever hit for much power, as he hasn’t shown it in the minors. The hope here is that his hit tool will continue to progress. His defense is Major League ready and is his best tool. If Crawford is just an average player with his hit tool, his defense would make him a top ten player at his position.
Jeff Ellis: Amed Rosario had a breakout year this season in AA. He had been aggressively pushed through the Mets system at a young age and struggled at the start. As a matter of fact, his OPS through four years in the minors is .719, much lower than JP Crawford. Rosario started the year in high-A, basically repeating the level after a 2015 season that saw him scuffle with the bat. He had his best numbers in the minors repeating high-A, at least until mid-season, when he then posted his best numbers in his first extended time in AA. Rosario is, in many ways, similar to Crawford. They are both sure shortstops, good athletes, born in 1995, and are both 6’2” in height. One could have a big time debate over which shortstop will be the better defender, as both look like easy plus defenders. Rosario gets the bump ahead of Crawford, as I think the hit tool is more likely and his speed is better. Rosario has a chance to be a front of the lineup player for the Mets, maybe as soon as 2018. I would not be shocked if he was a September call up this year if the Mets need help up the middle or just more depth for a playoff run.
Jeff Ellis: Brendan Rodgers is our third straight shortstop and our third highest rated shortstop overall. I know we had a big debate about moving Rodgers up, because Taylor and I are both big fans of Rodgers. He nearly ended up higher than Moncada and, if this list had happened a little later, he would have been higher than Reyes. Back in the 2015 draft, I had Rodgers as my top player. I had the three shortstops leading off my rankings. I can also admit now that it looks like I had them in reverse order. Rodgers, though, has a strong chance to still end up the best of the group, because of his power potential. He had 50 extra base hits as a 19 year old kid this year, in low-A. I still think he has a very good chance to stick at short, but his bat will play at second or third if he ends up moving off. He isn’t the biggest kid, but his combination of bat speed and strength have meant that his power potential has never been in doubt. Rodgers is a long way off, but the chance for him to hit for plus power from the shortstop position puts him in a rare group of players.
Jeff Ellis: Yoan Moncada has been one of the most well-known prospects in baseball. The combination of a huge signing bonus, his previous international play for Cuba, and playing for one of the bigger market squads has made him maybe the most talked about minor league player over the last few years. The Red Sox were very aggressive in moving Moncada through the system, with him making his Major League debut this past year, after starting the year in high-A and completely skipping AAA. Moncada is a likely second or third baseman, and I think second is the obvious placement, because of what value he would bring with his bat. Moncada showed better eye for the zone this year, with an increased walk rate. He still struck out a lot, but is likely to be a high walk and high strikeout type of player. His power has yet to show in games but, with his bat speed, it should just be a matter of time. Moncada has spent less than 200 at bats at AA or above. I think he should spend a good chunk of this year, to start, in the minors. The upside is that Moncada has the potential to be the best second baseman in all of baseball. He is a legitimate five tool player at second base.
Jeff Ellis: I was a big fan of Cody Bellinger last year. I wrote a piece on what a Dodgers/Indians trade would look like and Bellinger was featured prominently. The son of Clay Bellinger, has moved quickly through the minors, reaching AAA in just his fourth year out of high school. He turned 21 in July and spent the majority of last year in AA. All he did last year was continue to hit for power while cutting back significantly on his strikeout totals in his first chance at AA. Bellinger’s power and hit tools both look like plus tools. His power has really started to emerge. After just four home runs during his first two seasons, he has hit 56 the last two years. Bellinger is an excellent first baseman, defensively. He has been playing all three outfield spots in the minors, as he is blocked at first by Adrian Gonzalez. I think he would be fine with more reps in either corner outfield spot. Bellinger should spent part of this year in AAA. I could see him spending the second half of the year in left field for the Dodgers. When I am looking at an offensive only profile, Bellinger projects out as the second best hitter in terms of total ability and likelihood of reaching those levels.
Jeff Ellis: Alex Reyes likely would not have been our top starting pitcher if we had finished this list after it was announced that he would miss the year after requiring Tommy John surgery. This comes just one year after he missed significant time, 50 games, for a marijuana suspension. Reyes reached the majors last year, in spite of missing this time. He has always had one of the better fastballs in the minors, touching triple digits and sitting in the mid to high 90’s. His control has always been an issue in the minors and has not been helped by missed time last year and now this year. His command has been better as shown by the fact he has not been hit hard. His curveball is another potential plus pitch and his change is a solid usable third. When a player comes back from Tommy John it can take two years for their control to come back. When you look at a pitcher like Reyes who has control issues to begin with this could mean we won’t see an effective pitcher till late 2018. There is still ace potential, but this injury would have dropped Reyes at least 20 or so spots if it happened before the series began.
Jeff Ellis: Gleyber Torres was a very high price to pay for Aroldis Chapman. I don’t think any Cubs fans will complain about it now, but there was a moment during game seven where this was nearly a trade that was rued by Cubs fans. Torres’ performance in the Arizona Fall League helped push him up a lot of boards. Everyone hits in the Arizona Fall League, stats don’t matter but, when a 19 year old who has never played in the upper levels hits as Torres did, it is going to turn heads. He has been a solid, if unspectacular, player in the minors. He played all of this past season at high-A, at age 19. He did show some nice gap power this year, which most think will blossom into above average power. His defense is not a concern and he should be a solid defender at short. When you consider his age, his walk rate is very impressive for high-A and his strikeout rate was fine. He looks like a potential plus on base player from short, with average power. His youth and ability give Torres a very high ceiling. He has a chance to be the top prospect in baseball this time next year.
Jeff Ellis: It is funny to think back before Dansby Swanson’s junior year and remember that there were people who did not think he would be able to handle short. Then again, there were a lot of people who thought Bergman could not play short or hit enough to be more than a utility guy before the 2015 season began. Swanson now projects out as a no doubt shortstop, though I have stated I would play him at second, because the Braves have Albies, whose arm is stronger. Swanson has always profiled as a lead-off hitter. His plus speed is one tool that has never been in doubt. Swanson reached the Majors in just his second season in the minors. He skipped AAA after starting the year in high-A, just like Yoan Moncada. I always thought Swanson has more power than he gets credit for. He hit 15 home runs as a college junior and, last year, was on pace for double digit home runs in AA. His ISO numbers have always been strong and I think he could end up with average to above average power. He is a ready shortstop, with a potential plus hit tool, good eye at the plate, plus speed, and a chance for above average power. Oh, and he should be a plus defender at short. It's a profile for a star type of talent. I am so sorry Diamondbacks fans. I agree life is not fair. He’s one of the few things the Diamondbacks did right in the 2015 draft and they still found a way to undo it.
Jeff Ellis: If players had to stay in school for all four years, then Andrew Benintendi would be currently in the middle of his senior season. Instead, he has already been a starter in the playoffs and will be a starting outfielder for the Red Sox. Just like Moncada and Swanson, Benintendi went from high-A to the majors this year, skipping AAA entirely. The only knock on Benintendi could be his size--he is under six feet, at 5’10”. I think his size is part of the reason that his power still has some doubters. His ISO and power numbers, in limited at bats, show me a player who could hit 25-30 home runs. He has been nearly impossible to strike out in the minors and has walked more than he has struck out in the minors. The hit tool is a plus to plus plus tool. He can run a bit, too, but, with his ability as a hitter, he is unlikely to get the chance to steal many bases in the Majors. In addition, as a no doubt center fielder, Benintendi is only forced to play left field because of Boston’s depth. It’s a Mike Trout lite skill set. I want to emphasis the word lite. Benintendi is such a great player, but Mike Trout, right now, is the second greatest MLB player I have seen in my lifetime. So even saying Benintendi is a lite version of Trout is the best compliment I could possibly give. One last note, how good does that 2015 draft look now in retrospect? Andrew Benintendi Boston Red Sox Gleyber Torres New York Yankees Dansby Swanson Atlanta Braves Eloy Jimenez Chicago Cubs Amed Rosario New York Mets J.P. Crawford Philadelphia Phillies Alex Reyes St. Louis Cardinals Yoan Moncada Chicago White Sox Cody Bellinger Los Angeles Dodgers Colorado Rockies Brendan Rodgers