Luis Robert - Chicago White Sox 2018 spring training (Bill Mitchell)

Feature Photo: Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox

The number in parentheses next to a player’s name is his ranking on our recent Midseason Top 125 Prospects. To be included in this piece, a player must meet MLB rookie eligibility guidelines and be on the active roster of a minor league team (eliminating injured players who will not be participating in the playoffs).

Carolina League:

Winston-Salem Dash (CHW) vs. Buies Creek Astros (HOU)

Top Hitting Prospect:
Luis Robert (#45), CF, Winston-Salem Dash

With an elite mix of physicality, raw power, and speed, it’s easy to see the tools that convinced the White Sox to pay Robert a $26 million signing bonus. He has battled thumb injuries all season, missing the start of the year, and then re-aggravating the same injury in July.  The time off has made it tougher for Robert to find a rhythm at the plate this year, and Chicago will send him to the Arizona Fall League to get some extra reps. There’s still plenty of swing and miss in the profile–especially against spin down and out of the zone–but panicking over his pedestrian .244/.317/.309 slash line with Winston-Salem is premature. Especially with a thumb injury, it takes time to get strength back and for the power to return. One of the minors’ highest-ceiling prospects, how Robert bounces back in the AFL will be among the top storylines to follow in Arizona. If he can shore up his approach, there’s legitimate five-tool potential. 

Top Pitching Prospect:
Alec Hansen, RHP, Winston-Salem Dash
Report | Spotlight | Video

Hansen entered the season a consensus top 100 prospect, but he’s endured a nightmarish 2018. The 6-foot-7 righty got a late start to the season due to a forearm injury, and walked 59 hitters in just 51.1 innings pitched after returning. Similar control problems were what knocked Hansen  out of the first round coming out of the University of Oklahoma in 2016. He was sent back to High A Winston-Salem on August 2 to work with pitching coach Matt Zaleski, who was credited with much of Hansen’s success last year. The stuff was way down during my recent look in August, and Hansen labored through long innings and slowing his arm speed just to try and get it over the plate. I wouldn’t throw in the towel on him completely, but Hansen needs to turn a corner soon  — it’s more likely than ever he becomes a bullpen piece.

Other Top Prospects:
Nick Madrigal (#70), 2B, Winston-Salem Dash

Madrigal’s polished hit tool has played as advertised, barely striking out and slashing .306/.355/.347 in High A during his pro debut this summer. He hasn’t hit for any power, with nearly 60% of his balls in play being put on the ground. An above-average defender at second base, the tools are here for a table-setting catalyst who hits at the top of a lineup. Madrigal’s quick bat could lead to more power if he’s able to add lift to his swing, and the growing list of contact-over-hit types who developed power later in their careers supports his ability to do that. Madrigal should be ready for Double-A at some point in 2019.

Seth Beer, LF/1B, Buies Creek Astros

One of the more divisive prospects in the 2018 draft, Beer cracked the end of the first round (#28 0verall) after a rocky spring at Clemson. One of the most decorated underclassmen in recent memory, he was considered a lock for the first round leading up to the 2018 Draft, but questions about his hitting ability and defensive profile wound up hurting his stock. Beer has slashed .304/.389/.496 in his pro debut, hitting his way up to High A Buies Creek to end the summer. That said, he’s likely a first baseman only at the big-league level–especially considering Houston’s roster and emphasis on outfield defense–and a .208/.300/.264  line against same-side pitching highlights the contact issues that could make him a platoon guy at the end of the day. 

Keep an Eye On:

  • Gavin Sheets, 1B, Winston-Salem Dash (Report Video)
  • Luis Gonzalez, OF, Winston-Salem Dash (Video)
  • Blake Rutherford, OF, Winston-Salem Dash (Report | Video)
  • Laz Rivera, SS/2B, Winston-Salem Dash (Video)
  • Tyler Johnson, RHP, Winston-Salem Dash (Report Video)
  • Danny Dopico, RHP, Winston-Salem Dash (Report | Video)
  • Blake Battenfield, RHP, Winston-Salem Dash (Video)
  • Osvaldo Duarte, 2B/OF, Buies Creek Astros (Video)
  • Jonathan Arauz, SS, Buies Creek Astros (Video)
  • Yohan Ramirez, RHP, Buies Creek Astros (Report | Video)
  • Peter Solomon, RHP, Buies Creek Astros (Video)
  • J.J. Matijevic, LF/1B, Buies Creek Astros (Video)
  • Enoli Paredes, RHP, Buies Creek Astros (Report | Video)


Potomac Nationals (WAS) vs. Lynchburg Hillcats (CLE)

Top Hitting Prospect:
Nolan Jones (#94), 3B, Lynchburg Hillcats
Report | Video

Jones is a physical left-handed power bat with prototype third-base tools. He hit .283/.405/.466 across two levels (Class A Lake County and High A Lynchburg) this season, showing consistent power and patience. Jones strikes out a lot, and probably will always trade power for contact to some degree. It’s easy to see him growing into an everyday big leaguer, though he will need to improve against same-side pitching to be more than a platoon guy. Jones carried pronounced splits  through the season, struggling to a .186/.307/.299 line against southpaws.

Top Pitching Prospect:
Joan Baez, RHP, Potomac Nationals
Report Video

Baez’ raw stuff has kept him on the prospect radar, and while the Nationals have stuck with the 23-year-old in the rotation, he hasn’t developed the control to project as a big-league starter. He touches the middle 90’s early in games, flashing a sharp breaking ball that got more consistent as the season went along. He’s a sleeper prospect in the Nats’ system who could reach the big leagues as a 6th-or-7th inning guy if he throws more strikes and takes to the reliever role. 

Other Top Prospects:
Luis Garcia (#121), SS, Potomac Nationals
Report | Video

Garcia has quietly moved into the top prospect tier by playing his way to High A as an 18-year-old, showing tremendous feel and a polished all-around game along the way. An aggressive assignment to Class A Hagerstown in April was a lot for a player so young, and he struggled against older competition the first month of the year.  Garcia got hot right along with the weather, finding a groove in May and slashing .320/.355/.447 for the rest of the season. He isn’t a lock to remain at shortstop, though the instincts are there to give a chance to stick at the position. Washington has a track record of improving players defensively, and Garcia’s arm and game clock are both above-average. 

Keep an Eye On:

  • Andruw Monasterio, SS, Potomac Nationals (Report | Video)
  • Steven Fuentes, RHP, Potomac Nationals (Spotlight | Video)
  • Jacob Condra-Bogan, RHP, Potomac Nationals (Spotlight | Video)
  • Jackson Tetreault, RHP, Potomac Nationals (Spotlight | Video)
  • Telmito Agustin, OF, Potomac Nationals
  • Rhett Wiseman, OF, Potomac Nationals
  • Justin Garza, RHP, Lynchburg Hillcats (Report | Video)
  • Micah Miniard, RHP, Lynchburg Hillcats
  • Dalbert Siri, RHP, Lynchburg Hillcats (Report | Video)
  • Eli Morgan, RHP, Lynchburg Hillcats


California League:
Visalia Rawhide (ARI) vs. Stockton Ports (OAK)

Top Hitting Prospect:
Daulton Varsho (#115), C, Visalia Rawhide
Spotlight | Video

Varsho is athletic enough to keep improving behind the plate, and has the ceiling of an above-average hit tool at catcher. He has the speed and defensive versatility to play on an outfield corner if need be, or if the Diamondbacks want to protect the bat. Varsho slashed .286/.363/.451 in High A this season, while adding 19 stolen bases.

Top Pitching Prospect:
Grant Holmes, RHP, Stockton Ports

After reaching Double-A in 2017, Holmes nearly missed all of this season due to a rotator cuff injury. He made two starts in High A to end the regular season and is on the roster for Stockton’s playoff run. Still just 22-years-old, the former first-round pick has a projectable fastball/curveball combo. Oakland is sending him to the Arizona Fall League to make up some lost time, where he will be scouted heavily as a Rule Five Draft-eligible player this winter. 

Other Top Prospects:
Jazz Chisholm, SS, Visalia Rawhide

The athletic, lefty-swinging shortstop should rocket up prospect lists this winter after hitting a combined .272/.329/.513 between two levels. Chisholm was the youngest shortstop to crack 20 home runs in all of the minors this season, and his 15 dingers in the Midwest League show that the power is not a California League mirage. He strikes out often, and he’s reaching career high power numbers by sacrificing consistent contact. Chisholm should be ready for Double-A at some point in 2019, which will be a good barometer for his hitting ability.

Keep an Eye On:

  • Pavin Smith, 1B, Visalia Rawhide (Spotlight Video)
  • Drew Ellis, 3B, Visalia Rawhide (Video)
  • Marcus Wilson, OF, Visalia Rawhide (Reports Video)
  • Anfernee Grier, OF, Visalia Rawhide
  • Greg Deichmann, OF, Stockton Ports (Spotlight Video)


Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (LAD) vs. Lancaster JetHawks (COL)

Top Hitting Prospect:
Colton Welker (#93), 3B, Lancaster JetHawks
Spotlight Video

Welker ranked 93rd overall on our Midseason Top 125 Prospect List due to his power potential and advanced hit tool. The 20-year-old third baseman lead the California League in hitting this year, and hit line drives on an astounding 26-percent of his balls in play. 

Top Pitching Prospect:
Jordan Sheffield, RHP, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes
Report Video

Sheffield moved full-time to the bullpen by the end of the season, and that’s the role he profiles best in at the big league level. His two-pitch mix could move quickly as a reliever. 

Other Top Prospects:
Tyler Nevin, 1B, Lancaster JetHawks
Report Video

Nevin tore up the California League in 2018, slashing .328/.386/.503 and forming a potent middle-of-the-lineup punch for Lancaster along with 3B Colton WelkerThere’s pressure to hit as a right-handed corner bat, but it’s enthusing that Nevin handles both lefties and righties about the same. The ceiling is an everyday first baseman, and it will be good to see how his bat fares out of the hitter-friendly California League next year with Double-A Hartford.

Keep an Eye On:

  • Bret Boswell, 2B, Lancaster JetHawks (Video)
  • Vince Fernandez, OF, Lancaster JetHawks
  • Ben Bowden, LHP, Lancaster JetHawks
  • Justin Lawrence, RHP, Lancaster JetHawks (Spotlight Video)
  • Robert Tyler, RHP, Lancaster JetHawks (Video)
  • Connor Wong, C, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Report | Video)
  • Cristian Santana, 3B, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Spotlight | Video)
  • Jeren Kendall, OF, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Spotlight Video)
  • Carlos Rincon, OF, Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Report Video)


Florida State League:
Ft. Myers Miracle (MIN) vs. Palm Beach Cardinals (STL)

Top Hitting Prospect:
Royce Lewis (#4), SS, Ft. Myers Miracle

With SS Fernando Tatis Jr. on the DL for Double-A San Antonio’s playoff run, Lewis is the highest-ranked player in any minor league playoff series. He has been nothing short of spectacular in his first full professional season, looking every bit the player Minnesota hoped for with 2017’s first overall:pick. Playing the first half of this season as an 18-year-old, Lewis slashed a combined .292/.352/.451 between two levels. He’s a potential star in the making, a five-tool shortstop with championship-caliber makeup. 

Top Pitching Prospect:
Brusdar Graterol (#109), RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle

Graterol turned heads on the back fields last year, but 2018 has been his breakout season. The flame-throwing righty has dominated two levels, pitching most of this season at the age of 19. A high-90s fastball and hard breaking ball could both be future plus offerings, and Graterol’s combined 2.5 BB/9 is advanced for his age. The ceiling is high–Graterol could potentially become a durable mid-rotation starter with numerous bat-missing pitches.

Other Top Prospects:
Alex Kirilloff (#34), OF, Ft. Myers Miracle

Now that Bo Bichette and Vlad Guerrero Jr. are no longer teammates. Kirilloff and Royce Lewis are the best one-two prospect duo in any minor league lineup. He missed all of 2017 with Tommy John surgery, but he hasn’t missed a beat this season. He dominated two levels this year, starting in Class A and moving to High A in the summer. Kirilloff slashed .348/.392/.454 combined, showing plenty of power in both pitcher-friendly leagues. We ranked him as the #34 prospect in baseball this July, and the 20-year-old outfielder is a lock to rank higher on the 2019 version of 2080’s list. 

Keep an Eye On:

  • Elehuris Montero, 3B, Palm Beach Cardinals
  • Juan Yepez, 1B, Palm Beach Cardinals
  • Conner Capel, OF, Palm Beach Cardinals (Report Video)
  • Griffin Roberts, RHP, Palm Beach Cardinals (Video)
  • Dylan Carlson, OF, Palm Beach Cardinals (Report | Video)
  • Travis Blankenhorn, 2B, Ft. Myers Miracle (Report Video)
  • Griffin Jax, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (Spotlight)
  • Ben Rortvedt, C, Ft. Myers Miracle
  • Ryan Mason, RHP, Ft. Myers Miracle (Report Video)


Daytona Tortugas (CIN) vs. Clearwater Threshers (PHI)

Top Hitting Prospect:
Taylor Trammell (#28), OF, Daytona Tortugas
Spotlight | Video

Trammell’s dynamic five-tool potential was on display in the Futures Game this July, where the athletic outfielder took home the game’s MVP award. The Florida State League is notorious for suppressing power numbers, which explains why his ISO has taken a step backwards from 2017. There’s plenty of raw power left to tap into, and Trammell stole 20+ bases for the third consecutive season. He’s a central part of the Reds’ impressive core of top prospect, alongside names like Nick Senzel (#8), Hunter Greene (#32), and Jonathan India (#62).

Top Pitching Prospect:
Adonis Medina (#54), RHP, Clearwater Threshers
Report Spotlight Video

Medina’s stuff has swing-and-miss potential, headlined by a mid-90s fastball and potentially above-average change. The 21-year-old struck out 123 hitters in 111.1 innings pitched this season, forming a dynamic one-two punch in Clearwater’s rotation with RHP Sixto Sanchez (#29) before the latter went down with a season-ending injury. The effort in Medina’s delivery–paired with his size and velocity–has some thinking the long-term destination will be the bullpen. His stuff is electric enough to continue to develop as a starter for now, though Double-A will be a good test in 2019.

Other Top Prospects:
Arquimedes Gamboa, SS, Clearwater Threshers

Gamboa is a 20-year-old shortstop with excellent athleticism and defensive ability. If he can develop more with the bat, he’s an easy everyday regular at shortstop. There’s time to get stronger and develop more offensive punch, but Gamboa will need to show more offense to reach his ceiling. He slashed a meager .214/.304/.279 across a full season with Clearwater in 2018. 

Mickey Moniak, OF, Clearwater Threshers
Report Video

It has been a tale of two seasons for Moniak, who limped out of the gates to a .571 OPS through June before finding a new level in the second half. The 20-year-old outfielder slashed .297/.347/.470 from July to September, which is easily his most successful few months as a pro. It will be interesting to see if the former #1 overall pick keeps up the pace to start 2019, and if the Phillies feel confident sending him to Double-A to begin the season.

Keep an Eye On:

  • Mauricio Llovera, RHP, Clearwater Threshers (Report Spotlight Video)
  • Daniel Brito, 2B, Clearwater Threshers
  • David Parkinson, LHP, Clearwater Threshers
  • Alejandro Requena, RHP, Clearwater Threshers (Video)
  • Ramon Rosso, RHP, Clearwater Threshers (Video)
  • Addison Russ, RHP, Clearwater Thresher
  • Stuart Fairchild, OF, Daytona Tortugas (Spotlight Video)
  • Tyler Stephenson, C, Daytona Tortugas (Report Video)
  • Ryan Hendrix, RHP, Daytona Tortugas (Report Video)
  • Ibandel Isabel, 1B, Daytona Tortugas (Video)
  • Scott Moss, LHP, Daytona Tortugas (Video)
  • Wennington Romero, LHP, Daytona Tortugas (Spotlight Video)
  • Randy Ventura, 2B, Daytona Tortugas (Video)
  • Michael Beltre, OF, Daytona Tortugas (Video)