MLB Top Prospects (May 2017 Update)

by Bobby Sylvester | @bobbyfantasypro | Featured Writer
May 19, 2017

The newly acquired Reynaldo Lopez has seen his value plummet for Chicago

Ranking MLB prospects is such a bear of a project that most publications only post an update once during the winter and once during the summer. There is so much volatility in these rankings that in that amount of time, you’ll see a handful of top 50 prospects disappear out of the top 100 and a dozen no-name guys appear alongside the big names. I don’t want you all to be using those old lists so my goal is to refresh our Worldwide Top 400 Prospects List (premium) every month. In this monthly article, I’ll highlight the players who graduated from the list, a few injuries that caused substantial rankings movements, dissect a few big risers and big droppers then introduce you to some of the hot newcomers.

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Graduates

We’ve seen exactly why Andrew Benintendi was regarded by many as the top prospect in the game. Likewise, both Aaron Judge has been dominating, but unlike Benintendi, no one seemed to have ranked him high enough. Then, we’ve got players like Dansby Swanson and Josh Bell who have started off rough this season. Still, yet, they should be regarded as quality prospects who just haven’t seen their bats develop quite as quickly as some of the others. Here is a look at where every graduated player (those who surpassed their rookie status) would have ranked had they still qualified for the list:

 Rank  Graduates Org Pos
 1  Andrew Benintendi BOS OF
 18  Dansby Swanson ATL SS
 22  Aaron Judge NYY OF
 31  Josh Bell PIT OF
 43  Manuel Margot SD OF
 45  Hunter Renfroe SD OF
 122  Jharel Cotton OAK SP
 141  Robert Stephenson CIN SP
 185  Andrew Toles LAD OF
 223  Albert Almora CHC OF
 249  Robert Gsellman NYM SP
 263  Cody Reed CIN SP
 323  Matt Davidson CHW 3B
 397  Rookie Davis CIN SP
 408  Michael Ynoa CWS RP

 

Injuries

This past month, two former first round picks, James Kaprielian of the Yankees and Mike Nikorak of the Rockies, were shut down for the season to have Tommy John surgery done. Both of them saw their stocks plummet in our rankings as you might expect. A few of the other big name pitchers that saw minor setbacks were Anderson Espinoza, Jose De Leon and Jason Groome. While they should all be back in no time, it is worth noting that there is reason to be concerned, as these flair-up injuries can be an indicator of a much larger inevitable problem. Their rankings and all of the others were adjusted accordingly. They are ordered in the chart below by the impact their injuries had on their rankings.

 Player Org Pos Injury Status
 James Kaprielian NYY SP Out for season TJ
 Mike Nikorak COL SP Out for season TJ
 Yoan Lopez ARI SP Emotional issues (left team)
 Kyle Zimmer KCR SP Shoulder soreness again
 Anderson Espinoza SDP SP Forearm tightness (1 mo.)
 Taylor Guerrieri TBR SP Elbow soreness
 Jose De Leon TBR SP Forearm discomfort
 Rob Kaminsky CLE SP Forearm soreness
 Tyler Jay MIN SP Shoulder tendinitis
 Domingo Leyba ARI 2B Shoulder soreness (2 mo.)
 Jason Groome BOS SP Lat soreness
 Stephen Gonsalves MIN SP Shoulder soreness
 Nick Plummer STL OF Oblique strain
 Luke Weaver STL SP Back stiffness
 Dustin Peterson ATL 3B Hand surgery (2 mo.)
 Dillon Peters MIA SP Broken thumb (2 mo.)
 Lourdes Gurriel TOR OF Hamstring strain
 Victor Robles WSH OF Hamstring tightness
 Yoan Moncada CWS 2B Thumb soreness
 Tim Cooney STL SP Recovering from surgery (released)
 Tyler Kolek MIA SP Returning soon from surgery
 Lewis Thorpe MIN SP Returning soon from surgery
 Marcos Molina NYM SP Back from surgery
 Nick Kingham PIT SP Sprained ankle
 Marco Gonzales STL SP Returning soon from surgery

 

Top Risers

The Red Sox were wise to hang onto Rafael Devers through all the trade talks, as he has suddenly morphed into one of the top hitting prospects in baseball. Likewise, Kyle Tucker has exceeded already high expectations during the first six weeks by posting a 1.031 OPS. Perhaps most impressive, however, is Vlad Guerrero Jr. who looks like a future 30/30 guy who could also bat .300. He is surging up everyone’s lists and for good reason. Here is a list of the top 15 risers to start the season sorted by their May updated ranking.

New Old Player Org Pos
10 24  Rafael Devers BOS 3B
20 34  Kyle Tucker HOU OF
23 35  Vladimir Guerrero Jr. TOR 3B
61 91  Ian Anderson ATL SP
75 129  Juan Soto WSH OF
78 137  Jacob Faria TB SP
88 116  Chance Adams NYY SP
92 148  Vladimir Gutierrez CIN SP
97 134  Jack Flaherty STL SP
99 132  Rhys Hoskins PHI 1B
118 197  Bo Bichette TOR SS
132 342  Beau Burrows DET SP
158 246  Jesus Sanchez TB SP
185 269  Alex Jackson ATL RF
264 417  Tyler Mahle CIN SP

 

Top Fallers

Every year we see a number of top prospects, namely pitchers, take a big step back in the first few months. This year, the big names are Lucas Giolito, Tyler Glasnow and J.P. Crawford. The White Sox newly acquired Giolito has lost a few MPH off his fastball and is being hit hard as a result. Everyone including me laughed at the Nationals for dealing both Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez to the White Sox, but it seems as if the price wasn’t quite so steep after all. Glasnow, as we have seen, is suffering from command issues in the Bigs. His upside is still spectacular, but unless he refines that control, he is going to continue to kill fantasy teams. Finally, Crawford is batting just .185 with no power in the minors. He can still turn it around, but it is difficult to rank someone in the top 20 who has performed so poorly over the first six weeks of the season. Here is a look at all of the biggest fallers:

New Old Player Org Pos
13 6  Lucas Giolito CWS SP
15 7  Tyler Glasnow PIT SP
24 14  J.P. Crawford PHI SS
50 27  Reynaldo Lopez CWS SP
94 75  Ronald Acuna ATL CF
102 82  Jeren Kendall NCAA OF
119 74  Sean Reid-Foley TOR SP
122 72  Alex Faedo NCAA SP
134 93  Justin Dunn NYM SP
138 99  Alec Hansen CWS SP
183 92  James Kaprielian NYY SP
230 150  Ariel Jurado TEX SP

 

Newcomers

There were 38 new additions to the list and as you would expect, most fall in the 300 to 500 range. We don’t have time to talk about all of them, but there are two who jumped right into the top 120 which isn’t common. The first of which, Mackenzie Gore, a 6’2″ lefty who looks like a lock to be a top 15 pick in the upcoming draft. After striking out 174 hitters and surrendering just 1 run in 83 innings (yeah, a 0.08 ERA!) he added a few ticks to his fastball and has sharpened his command of three off-speed pitches. If he is drafted in the top 10 next month, you better believe he will be ranked as a top 80 prospect right away. The second player of note is 16-year-old Dominican shortstop, Wander Franco. He has separated himself as the top July 2nd international prospect this year and is expected to sign with the Tampa Bay Rays for around 4 million dollars. His glove is drawing real comps to Omar Vizquel and Ozzie Smith and many believe both his bat and speed have plus potential. Here is a glimpse at the top 10 newcomers:

 Rank  Player Org Pos
106  Mackenzie Gore HS SP
120  Wander Franco INT SS
 160  Merandy Gonzalez NYM SP
 167  Luis Escobar PIT SP
 191  Jelfrey Marte INT SS
 197  Jordan Humphreys NYM SP
 206  Adonis Medina PHI SP
 214  Oniel Cruz LAD 3B
 228  Austin Beck NCAA OF
 239  Dinelson Lamet SD SP

 
Thanks for reading! Later this month, I’ll be producing my MLB Mock Draft. If you haven’t already, please be sure to check out my FantasyPros Baseball Podcast as seen below.

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