2018 MLB Prospect Rankings

Jonathan Mayo has begun posting MLB’s Prospect Top Ten’s by position.  They will culminate with the MLB Top 100 on Saturday, January 27th.  So far, he has posted the top ten right-handed pitchers and the top ten left-handed pitchers.  

The Phillies’ Sixto Sanchez made MLB’s 2018 Top Ten as the tenth best right-handed pitching prospect.  Sanchez finished 2017 as the second best prospect in the Phillies’ organization.  He is likely to be the Phillies’ top prospect when the 2018 organization list is published.

Here are a couple observations –

  • In 2017, the tenth best right-handed pitching prospect was Mike Soroka.  He was the 34th prospect in the top 100.
  • The 2018 top 10 includes eight of 2017’s top ten.  Kyle Wright (#9) and Mike Soroka (#10) did not make this year’s top ten.
  • Wright and Soroka are both in the Braves’ organization.
  • Sanchez at #10 and Forrest Whitley at #2 are this year’s additions.
  • If this year’s #10 right-handed prospect ranks in a similar position as last year’s, the Sanchez will place in the thirties, and the Phillies will not have a prospect in the upper echelon of the ranking.
  • The Phillies don’t have a pitcher among the top ten left-handed pitchers, but the Braves have three.

Lists will continue to be published –

  • C – Thursday
  • 1B – Friday
  • 2B – Monday, January 22nd
  • 3B – Tuesday, January 23rd
  • SS – Wednesday, January 24th
  • OF – Thursday, January 25th
  • Top 100 – Saturday, January 27th

44 thoughts on “2018 MLB Prospect Rankings

  1. Kolby Allard of the Braves will still have to deal with his back issues, requiring surgical procedures twice so far, as he progresses onto his major league career. As the innings pile up, the physical requirements of pitching also amount, and he ages there will always be that concern.

  2. The Braves will be the team we’re compared to in terms of rebuild quality. They’re looking very good right now due to excellent trading.

    1. Well I wouldn’t exactly say Groome was off to a booming start to his MiLB career either…Puk has had some considerable control problems as well.

      Hoping MM has a strong bounce back year.

      1. Well they did pick MM to save $$$ to draft and sign highly rated prospects further down draft. It is a good strategy to do at times, but I hope in 2018 they try to get that one blue chip type of prospect. In 2016 the minors were in rebuild with quantity, now I feel they can focus on quality. The #3 pick could net a very very good prospect. If the years were reversed then I would have hope for a Senzel pick at 1/1.

  3. From today’s Fangraphs chat:

    Erik: Sixto Sanchez is just 6 feet tall and throws very hard. That almost always leads to constant talk of him eventually moving to the bullpen, but I don’t hear much of that with him. Why is that?

    Kiley McDaniel: Three pitches and has at least early stages of feel of a starter. Still not a big dude but hey Sonny Gray can do it so that alone isn’t enough.
    Eric A Longenhagen: He’s short but not small, plus athlete, no command issues nor is he mechanically violent. Up to 102, sits 98+, deserves all the love.

    1. Good to hear Eric L’s favorable comments.
      There are number of quality smaller (<6') pitchers…beside Gray, there is Cueto, Stroman, Lincecum and even Pedro was short also.

      1. This whole thing about smaller right-handed pitchers not be desirable – well, I sort of get it, but you have to throw the whole thing out when you are dealing with outliers like Pedro (who is shorter than Sixto I believe) and Lincecum. In any event, Sixto isn’t THAT smaller – he’s around 6 foot. By the way, his height and weight are identical to what Bob Feller was listed at (6 foot and 185 pounds), so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

        1. I meant to say he isn’t that much smaller than an average pitcher – who I guess, these days, is around 6’2″ or 6’3″. Also, Sixto is, by all accounts, very strong. It also bears note that Tom Seaver, who, in my view, is one of the 10 greatest pitchers who ever lived, was only 6’1″ and generated most of his power from his legs.

          1. The entire Mets’ organization taught pitching that way. The result was that most had long careers without Tommy John surgery.

            1. Yes, you really have to wonder about mechanics and pitch counts and days of rest needed between outings. The Braves pitchers used to throw every day, which I think helped them a lot. I think that strengthened their ligaments. In the old days, pitchers simply threw a lot more and a lot more frequently, which I think could be tough on shoulders (we see much fewer rotator cuff and should injuries these days, especially from overuse), but I think it better trained and strengthened the ligaments. Blown elbows were extremely rare and now they are routine. In the coming years, I expect some teams to get back to a Braves type regimen, where pitchers are throwing all the time, although a lot of it will just be long tossing and repetition, with max effort throws being closely monitored. We shall see.

    1. With a projection that he could hit 20 homers in our park. I’ll take that! He just needs to clean up the defense. You can be assured that in spring training we will see him get constant attention from the coaches on his defense. He’s a big guy and has to learn how to get down low. We’ll see….

      1. He loses focus it seems….balls just pop out of his mitt at unexpected times.
        Or go right between the wickets to the backstop.

        1. Romus,

          CeHe pretty much eliminated bonehead plays last year. Maybe Alfaro can likewise improve his concentration behind the plate.

          1. Yes Frank…..I expect Alf to improve behind the plate.
            He has the correct positive attitude to continue to improve his game.
            As Matt Klentak says….he acts like he belongs.

          2. Frank,
            Tomorrow MLB.com come out with their first basemen rankings.
            I like to think Darick Hall could grab the 10th spot ahead of Diaz or Thaiss…..but will understand if they,he Callis/Mayo, do not have him in the top ten….since he was only a 14th round pick and most of the previous top ten first basemen from 2017’s list were first (5), second round (2) and third round pick (1)picks and/ or int’l signings of millions of $$$(2)

      2. Actually, the offense is a bigger concern for me. Hitting home runs, but not getting on base could make him a very pedestrian player and, in fact, that’s the track I currently have him slotted for. I like Alfaro the person quite a lot (I think he’s a good guy with a lot of raw talent and a good and very positive personality), but I see him as a second division regular or back-up catcher with power because his plate discipline is terrible and I see a lot of Freddy Galvis type offensive years in his future (empty 20 homer seasons), which is not what the current management team wants or will tolerate.

        1. As for Alfaro’s defense some good coaching and repetition can fix that to be at least average with a way above average arm. Since for now he is viewed as the #7 or 8 hitter it wont hurt the team much with low OBP. Adding Crawford and Santana to team really helps in this area

      3. What is it about Alfaro’s swing that makes everyone project him as a 20 homer guy in the majors when he never hit 20 homers in a year in the minors?

        1. His swing actually is 40 HR projection his pitch selection however is likely to be only 20 HRs. The kid has immense power I don’t think there is any question about that and his bat to ball skills are pretty darn good when he stays in the zone.

          So really the question is can he improve his approach. Gary Sanchez never hit 20 in the MiLB either. The first time he did it was in the majors.

          1. Yeah, I think that’s right, but Sanchez’s plate discipline was definitely better throughout the minors and he was a better hitter at AAA.

            My guess is that Alfaro and Knapp battle it out for playing time. It’s hard for me to see them keeping Rupp around unless Alfaro gets injured. I think we know what Rupp is. He’s okay, but he’s not the future. I think he’ll be moved before the end of ST short of a huge breakout spring (unlikely, but you never know).

            1. Alfaro makes hard contact which is good for doubles and homers. Another aspect overlooked to a degree is he is a good athlete with decent speed (good speed for a catcher).
              A big spring for Rupp would likely increase him being traded. But I do feel they would carry 3 catchers as the roster stands now, unless Rupp or Knapp had a dismal spring.

            2. Bob, I don’t see them carrying three catchers when they’re reportedly going to an 8-man bullpen, leaving 4 bench spots. Versatility would therefore mark this roster’s role players more than ever.

              Since you’ll have Rhys as a LF/1b, count on having just one extra OF. (Quinn? especially if one of Doobie, Nick or AA are traded?), two utility men (Florimon and ??) and one backup C. (Actually I think Knapp will get 40% of the starts behind the plate to Alfaro’s 60%.)

            3. I think there’s actually a chance Rupp or Knapp goes to AAA. I still there’s a chance the back up catcher is not on the roster yet. They want a veteran defensive catcher ideally to pair with Alfaro.

            4. Dodgers may be looking to deal Grandal and his $8M contract so they can stay under the threshold and sign Yu.

            5. As the roster stands now 3 catchers could happen. However I expect more roster moves which will change that outlook very quickly. Trading a catcher (Rupp) is highly likely as someone out there would not mind grabbing an experienced catcher with pop. At this point I would not be surprised of an Arrieta signing or something similar. I do think Arrieta, Lynn, Cobb, Darvish are the only ones who would be upgrades over the back end of the rotation. Almost everyone else out there (SP-FA) would have about the same upside as the Livelys, Thompsons, and Eflins of the Phillies.

    1. Anybody think Piazza (who wasn’t great defensively) is Alfaro’s ceiling? I know there’s question marks but I really like the kid’s makeup and power game (bat & arm).

      1. IMO…..it would be a real stretch based on their minor league metrics:
        Piazza – 296/353/515….18%-K…..8%-BB
        Alfaro – 262/321/427….27%-K….5%-BB

        1. Someone on here set his upside as Benito Santiago. I think that’s about right for a ceiling at this point.

          1. That was me. I think he could have a little more power than Santiago, but, roughly, I think that’s his ceiling, so his likely outcome is lower than that. To me, in the long run, he’s more valuable in a trade than he is as their future catcher. And I think there’s a more than decent possibility that Andy Knapp becomes a better player and perhaps quite a bit better. Knapp has much better plate discipline, a better hit tool and his defense continues to improve. He’ll never have Alfaro’s raw tools, but so what?

            1. What showed me a lot about Alfaro was a play last season where he busted it to get to 2b safely on a dinker to RF. His bat to ball contact is strong when he stays in the strike zone, so even if he doesn’t become a walk machine but cuts down on his K rate, he could be an impact piece.

              My biggest question is how will he handle the pitching staff? Hopefully, Wathan and Santana will both be in his ear. He gets high marks on his work ethic. That’s half the battle. Catchers take longer to develop so we may have to allow him a few years on the learning curve. If he connects for 40-50 XBHs in say 120 starts behind the plate, I’ll be happy with a .260-.270 BA.

            2. Catch, I agree and have expressed similar. I like Alfaro and hope for his upside, but his trade value is decent and could be a quality piece in a deal to get something else we need (i.e.pitching). And then I’d sign Lucroy (I wrote this several months ago). I very much believe we need a veteran catcher both for stability at the position as well as presence with the young pitchers.
              …Or keep Alfaro and hope for his upside! I’m okay either way.

      2. Piazza is probably the greatest hitting catcher of all-time. Alfaro isn’t anywhere close to his zip code.

            1. rocco…..you are correct….my bad….i should have known that.
              48 is above Packer Ave…45 is below to the Naval Base Industrial Park

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