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We just released our updated Top 125 Prospects entering 2019. Click here to view our user-friendly table, sortable by team, age, position, grade, MLB ETA, and more.
Our new 2019 pro-side video, scouting report, and spotlight libraries are now live! Check out the links below–and you can always refer to our 2018 libraries for even more player info:
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Francisco Alvarez, C, New York Mets (FV 45)
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 220 lbs. B/T: R / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 4m
Alvarez was one of the most highly-touted amateurs on last year’s international market. The Mets signed him to a hefty $2.7 million bonus the first day he was eligible to turn pro last July. A thick-bodied 5-foot-11, Alvarez already is close to mature and will need to keep his body in check. He’s extremely strong for his age, however, with massive forearms and hands that bode well for future pitch receiving ability. Alvarez earned his prospect reputation on the strength of an advanced bat, generating big raw power for his age with a strong, balanced stroke. There’s length to his path but ample time to make adjustments, with hands that explode through the zone with rare batspeed for a hitter of this age. Alvarez’ glovework at catcher isn’t as refined, and his long-term defensive home will come down to how much progress he makes as a receiver. His arm is very strong and could finish an above-average tool, something that bodes will for his ability to stay at the position down the road.
Alvarez is still just 17 and has yet to play in any official pro games, though he’s holding his own as one of the youngest players currently stateside for Extended Spring Training. The chance to be a power producer at a premium position gives him exciting upside, though there’s similarly high risk given the attrition rate of catching prospects and Alvarez’ current distance from the big leagues.
Victor Mesa Jr., OF, Miami Marlins (FV 45)
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 175 lbs. B/T: L / L Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 6m
Mesa Jr. signed with older brother Victor Victor Mesa this past off-season. There was significant fanfare surrounding both Cuban outfielders turning pro, with a well-publicized team-only workout leading up to the announcement that both Victor Victor ($5 million) and Victor Jr. ($1 million) had signed with Miami. Victor Victor has commanded much of the attention up to this point, though the younger 17-year-old Mesa Jr. is starting to generate his own buzz on the backfields of Florida Extended Spring Training.
Taller and rangier than his older brother, Mesa Jr. has a lean, athletic 5-foot-11 frame with room to add strength throughout. He hits from an upright stance, showing nice balance and natural leverage from the left side. Mesa Jr. has yet to grow into his man strength, and while he’s currently slow covering up in the zone against velocity, his batspeed should increase with physical gains. The ball came off his barrel with authority and tall lines across my three-game backfields look, hinting at some power potential from a stroke that projects to stay inside while still being able to drive pitches with authority. Mesa Jr. has improved his speed, now showing tick above-average times up the line and motoring around the field with an athletic gait. He looks the part defensively in CF, tracking balls behind him with fluid strides that cover solid ground in the outfield.
For a point of reference, Mesa Jr. is still young enough to be a junior in high school. He wouldn’t even have been eligible for this year’s draft if he were an American prospect. His age and proximity add risk, though inversely, those factors also provide ample upside as Mesa Jr. keeps growing into his body. He projects to stay in CF and provide value on defense, with enough hitting tools to dream on the offensive upside of a big league regular.
Willian Lugo, 3B, New York Mets (FV 45)
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 215 lbs. B/T: R / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 2m
The Mets didn’t just receive prospect Will Toffey or big league reliever Bobby Wahl when they traded bullpen stalwart Jeurys Familia to the Athletics last summer. They also acquired a million dollars of international spending capacity, $475K of which was used on Lugo. Born in January of 2002 and still just 17-years-old, Lugo signed last August and has yet to play in any official games. He’s in Florida with the Extended Spring Training group, with physicality and present power that are starting to turn heads.
Lugo has grown a good deal since signing, now 6-foot-3 and a large-bodied 215 pounds. He’s an impressive build with the look of a future slugger, and while he signed as a shortstop and still getting reps there, he’ll move to a corner fairly soon. His arm is close to average—enough for the left side of the infield—but a thick lower-half limits his first step and ability to finish plays on the run. At the plate, Lugo takes a strong cut with explosive pullside contact when squared. He crushes mistakes with advanced power that’s already showing up in game situations. Lugo’s shows big league raw even as a teen, and considering his size and remaining growth potential, it could get to the 55/60-grade range at maturity. The hope is that he’ll hit enough to tap into it at higher levels, especially as it isn’t a lock he’s even a 3B long-term. Lugo is almost so broad that he might wind up on an outfield corner or even 1B, so what’s currently an age-appropriate, fastball-hunting approach will need to develop more contact on soft stuff while learning to use the big part of the field. Given how far away he still is and the lack of any pro track record, Lugo is 100-prevent a lottery ticket right now. Even so, the frame and power potential are very interesting and make him a definite prospect to follow.
Jeremy De La Rosa, OF, Washington Nationals (FV 45)
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 160 lbs. B/T: L / L Age (as of April 1, 2019): 17y, 2m
De La Rosa signed with the Nationals for $300K in last year’s international signing period, a bonus figure that looks very reasonable considering the advanced physicality and power potential he has shown to date. He started turning heads during instructs—it was impressive the team thought highly enough of him to bring him stateside last fall at all—and has done more of the same this year in Extended Spring Training.
Listed at 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, the 17-year-old outfielder is very built for his age with a frame that’s already fairly mature. That strength gives more present ability to drive the ball than most teenage hitters. The ball jumps off his bat with tall lines, showing towering pop ups across my two-game backfields look that hint at future power. De La Rosa has a rotational swing from a deep crouch that incorporates his lower half well, staying well-synced with his hands and hips through contact. He’s still learning to ID off-speed stuff and square up spin, like most hitters this age. Some scouts felt he could play CF early in his career, but a frame that’s already wide likely fits better on an outfield corner. De La Rosa moved between LF and RF in my looks, showing close to an average arm. Whether he throws better or worse than where he’s at now depends on how his body and flexibility develop through final physical maturity.
Most higher-level J2 hitting prospects are surefire center-diamond types, attractive because they’re athletic enough to play up-the-middle with some offensive aspect that intrigues evaluators. De La Rosa doesn’t fit that mold, as most of his future value is shaping up to be at the plate. All players in this age range and stage of development are risky—doubly true for those that will have to hit to have value. Even so, this type of power potential at age 17 is pretty uncommon, and that upside outweighs the uncertainty enough to mark De La Rosa as a prospect right now.
Franklin Soto, SS, St. Louis Cardinals (FV 40)
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 168 lbs. B/T: R / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 19y, 6m
Now 19-years-old, Soto signed with the Cardinals on the first day of the 2016 international period for $550K. He’s a quick-twitch athlete with much more present physicality than a 5-foot-11 and 168-pound listing would immediately suggest, with broad shoulders and a high, trim waist. A two-year veteran of the DSL, he held his own in 2017 as a 17-year-old and came back last summer with an even stronger performance, slashing .305/.402/.421 with 23 steals and more walks (38) than strikeouts (31). Stateside for the first time in Extended Spring Training, he’s turning heads with a well-rounded toolset that has a chance to stay at shortstop.
Soto has impressive actions in the middle infield that get your attention, light on his feet with easy first-step quickness in both directions. He’ll flash above-average raw arm-strength that plays down due to limited footwork and present accuracy, though both problems are easily correctable with continued reps. Offensively, Soto has a quick swing that generates hard pullside game contact. While there isn’t a ton of over-the-fence power, the batspeed and wiry strength are here to drive the gaps, especially as he gets stronger. DSL numbers don’t mean too much, but Soto’s walk rates last year do show up in the scouting report by way of a patient approach that grinds out at-bats. He shrinks his zone with two strikes and has the barrel-control to spoil pitches to stay alive. Soto’s athleticism, center-diamond profile, and tools on both sides of the ball already place him in the FV 40 tier despite having yet to appear in an official game outside the DSL. He will likely head to the GCL or Appalachian League once short-season ball gets started.
Andry Arias, OF, Washington Nationals (FV 40)
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 180 lbs. B/T: L / L Age (as of April 1, 2019): 18y, 9m
Arias was part of the Nationals 2017-2018 J2 class, signing from the Dominican Republic. He has yet to make his stateside debut but put up strong numbers in the DSL last summer, slashing .270/.360/.412 with enthusing strikeout and walk rates for his age. After solid showings during Instructional League and Extended Spring Training, Arias is starting to get some attention on the backfields of Florida.
At 6-foot-3 and 180 pounds, Arias has a tall, lean body that still has strength to gain. His actions are loose and coordinated, and though he’s listed primarily as a 1B, Arias has played corner outfield and looks athletic enough to avoid being landlocked early in his career. The only issue is his throwing arm, something he’ll need to develop to stay away from 1B-only and remain in the outfield. A smooth, balanced lefty stroke looks like it could hit for both average and power down the road. The offensive rhythm and timing were sound, allowing advanced zone awareness and a mature presence in the batter’s box. There’s reason to project power given the loose swing and rangy frame.
Still just 18-years-old, he’s far enough away that it’s tough to pinpoint exactly the type of player Arias will become. Lots will depend on how his body develops, and subsequently, what position he lines up at defensively in the long run. Even so, the tools at the plate and general offensive upside make him an interesting sleeper prospect in the lowest part of the system.
Francisco Hernandez, 3B, St. Louis Cardinals (FV 40)
Ht/Wt: 5’11” / 190 lbs. B/T: R / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 19y, 5m
Hernandez signed early in the 2017 international period and has spent the last two summers in the DSL. Now 19-years-old, he’s an interesting mix of physicality and prototype 3B raw tools with the chance to develop into a prospect with continued bat-to-ball development. Listed at 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds—but appearing a few inches taller than that up close—Hernandez has a muscular, square frame that’s already fairly mature. He’s aggressive at the plate with a strong pass through the zone, hunting fastballs with pull power that shows up in games.
Hernandez showed consistent hard game contact in my looks, also proving he can turn on a mistake by launching a cookie for a towering no-doubter to left field at one point. There’s less barrel-feel against off-speed, as Hernandez consistently was caught off-balance and on his front foot against soft stuff. He’s a mobile defender at the hot corner who can charge the ball with agile actions moving to both sides. The arm-strength is at least average (and has a chance to finish better than that), though Hernandez’ throws consistently had less accuracy when his feet weren’t set. He’ll need to work on footwork and softening his hands defensively, but the physical ability is here to be a solid defensive 3B. All told, Hernandez is a fairly tooled up lotto ticket with the size, arm-strength, and power potential to be an interesting player to watch the next few years.
Dalvy Rosario, OF/SS, Miami Marlins (FV 40)
Ht/Wt: 6’0” / 160 lbs. B/T: R / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 18y, 8m
Rosario signed with the Marlins for $125K the day after his 16th birthday in 2016. He’s still just 18-years-old and got in his first official pro games last year in the DSL. Rosario’s 6-foot, 160-pound frame is extremely twitchy and athletic, with a high, trim waist and v-torso. He hits with a loose, whippy stroke that projects to get quicker as he gets stronger. There’s athletic balance through the swing’s finish, with hands and hips well-synced through contact. While he isn’t the biggest guy on the field, Rosario’s fast bat and natural leverage allow surprising juice to the gaps right now, with consistent hard game contact when squared. He showed off extra-base pop in the DSL last summer, and when you add it all up, it’s reasonable to project some power down the road. Like the majority of young hitters on the complex, adjusting to pro-quality breaking stuff will be a change he’ll need to make moving forward.
Rosario is an above-average to plus runner, getting up the line from the right side with consistent 4.10 to 4.16 times. His athleticism shows up on defense, too, currently moving between shortstop and CF (with time spent at 2B and 3B at the pro level as well). The speed, center-diamond profile, and tools on both sides of the ball make Rosario a prospect in the FV 40 tier despite still being at least a year away from full-season ball, if not two. He’s raw but has interesting natural ability and lots of remaining projection.
Matt Givin, RHP, Miami Marlins (FV 40)
Ht/Wt: 6’3” / 180 lbs. B/T: R / R Age (as of April 1, 2019): 19y, 9m
Givin was a two-way prospect in high school that didn’t start focusing primarily on pitching until the end of his prep career. That–plus the already longer development path cold-weather players are on–gave him extra projection heading into the 2017 Draft. He went to Miami that spring, signing for a $458K bonus that was well over-slot for the 20th round. Givin pitched very well in his pro debut in the GCL that summer, though it was discovered after the season he would require Tommy John surgery. I caught a look at him on the backfields of Jupiter, FL in Extended Spring Training getting ready to ship out to a short-season affiliate later this summer.
Young for his draft class, Givin is still just 19-years-old despite having been drafted two years ago. He carries a 6-foot-3 frame with large, projectable features that look capable of adding velocity, especially considering a fairly clean delivery. His fastball ranges between 87 and 92 mph, showing armside tail at the high-end of its velocity band and a bit of cut action in the 87-to-89 mph range. Givin throws a lot of strikes with the pitch, showing the physical and mechanical tools to project in-zone command with more pro reps. A 74-to-77 mph curveball has consistent two-plane depth but lacks power or sharpness right now, though it could develop into a usable offering with improved finish. His low-80s changeup has funky action that comes across the zone to the gloveside, giving the foundation of a deep-projection three-pitch mix.
Miami has had success with Colorado prep arms, as Jordan Holloway is another late-bloomer that has blossomed into a prospect by his age-22 season. Like Givin, Holloway also missed time with injury early in his development. Givin’s raw stuff would place him in the 35+ category for now, but the frame, youth, and remaining projection stemming from his cold-weather background sneak him up into the FV 40/Extreme Risk range. He’s a high-variance prospect that could take steps forward with more velocity to his fastball and breaking ball.
OTHERS OF NOTE (FV 35+)
|Darlyn Del Villar||STL||SS||35+||Video||Spotlight|