TOP 32 MLB PROSPECTS FOR 2018

Gleyber Torres

Ranking baseball prospects is always risky business. It takes me a considerable amount of time to determine the slot for each player. In general, baseball fans are passionate about their team and often take issue with either the ranking of an individual player or the omission of a player. To say the least, ranking prospects is not an exact science.

I am fortunate that I have gotten to see and scout virtually every player I have ranked. But my No. 1 selection is a player I have not seen play in person. However, I have watched plenty of video. My rankings are a compilation of my best judgment regarding the impact the player will make once he graduates to major-league baseball.

After my initial listing of players, I will share my GUY FOR 2018. You’ll see more about that below. Stop it-wait. Don’t look there yet.

Players that have exceeded rookie eligibility are not included in this list.

1. SHOHEI OHTANI-RHP/OF, LOS ANGELES ANGELS

Age: 23. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 203. B-T: L-R Signed: Free Agent from Japan, 2017.

Ohtani has a career .286 batting average over parts of five seasons playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters in the Japan Pacific League. This past season he hit .332/8/31 in 231 plate appearances. He has a record of 42-15 with an ERA of .252 and a WHIP of 1.076 in his 543 innings pitched, mostly as a starting pitcher. Ohtani throws a fastball that hits the upper-90s with ease. He has a loose arm with good pitching mechanics. He also has an above average plus-plus slider, an average curveball, an above average splitter and an average changeup. It remains to be seen if he uses that entire arsenal with the Angels. Yu Darvish, came stateside with a similar repertoire and reduced his number of pitches as time and his career progressed. The Angels have signed a multi-talented, focused player who is driven to succeed. He instantly makes the Angels much better. Ohtani’s physical examination, forwarded to every team bidding for his services revealed a ligament strain in his right elbow. Of course, that’s reason to be concerned. However, the Yankees have dealt with a similar issue regarding Masahiro Tanaka for years. He has overcome that similar situation. I look for Ohtani to spark a “new look” Angels club.

2. VLADIMIR GUERERRO JR.-3B, TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Age: 18. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 200. B-T: R-R Signed: The Dominican Republic, 2015.

More disciplined at the plate than his father Vladimir, Vlad Jr. has the upside of a tremendous power hitter with the ability to put his team on his back and carry them to victory. He is an incredible athlete with lightning quick hands and feet, a well-proportioned frame and raw power to all fields. I have to question if he remains at 3B, as he looks a bit stiff and uncomfortable in that role. But if he has to play the OF or DH, the Blue Jays will benefit by the thunder in his bat. He has everything needed to be a consistent All-Star player, but he’s a few years away from the brightest lights in the game.

Gleyber Torres

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

3. GLEYBER TORRES-INF, NEW YORK YANKEES

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 175. B-T: R-R Signed: Venezuela, 2013.

Torres was my No. 1 prospect last year and he has done nothing to cause the drop. He did, however, miss most of 2017 with Tommy John surgery. That coupled with the signing of Ohtani and the emergence of Guerrero Jr. cause me to be a bit more cautious about Torres. We have to wait to see how he responds from his elbow operation. However, pending another major transaction, he is set to play either 3B or 2B on a full-time basis for the Yankees if he proves he is healthy. A true five-tool player, Torres can do it all. He has a fine hit tool, hits with power, uses the entire field, had a fine arm (we’ll see after the surgery), runs well and can field his infield positions. He will be a tremendous addition to the Yankees as soon as this coming season.

4. ELOY JIMENEZ-OF, CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Age: 21. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 205. B-T: R-R Signed: The Dominican Republic, 2013.

In their need for a quality starting pitcher, the Cubs traded Jimenez to the White Sox in the deal for Jose Quintana. It must have been incredibly difficult to trade Jimenez. One of the strongest and most powerful athletes I have scouted in quite some time, in some circles, Jimenez could be considered the best overall prospect in baseball. I can’t imagine too many players hitting the ball harder than Eloy. I have seen him play both 3B and the outfield, and it appears he is headed to the White Sox outfield. He has home run power, gap double power, a very strong and accurate throwing arm, an above average ability to hit for average and a terrific “feel” for the game. The ball jumps off his bat. I view Jimenez as a future All-Star and a hitting machine in his new hitter-friendly home park on the south side of Chicago. The only tool Jimenez lacks is speed, but other than that, he is a game-changing impact player.

Ronald Acuna

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

5. RONALD ACUNA –OF, ATLANTA BRAVES

Age: 19. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 180. B-T: R-R Signed: Venezuela, 2014.

Not as big as some of today’s major hitting machines, Acuna has a combination of power in a compact body, excellent speed and very solid hitting ability. He plays above average defense in center field, but he can be used anywhere in the outfield. Acuna has some swing and miss to be concerned about and he can be beaten with good breaking balls, but he should improve his pitch recognition with time and repetition. Acuna has the type of athletic ability that can carry a team and impact the outcome of a game with any of his well above average tools. Like the other players I noted above, he will be on his share of All-Star teams through the course of his career.

6. MICHAEL KOPECH-RHP-CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Age: 21. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2014 (1), HS-Mount Pleasant, Texas.

TRADED TO THE WHITE SOX IN THE MAJOR DEAL FOR CHRIS SALE.

Kopech is my highest rated pitcher. I may have him higher overall than most analysts. However, I really believe in this young man. He wants to win. He is aggressive on the mound with a 100 miles per hour, grade 80 fastball as his anchor pitch. But he also throws a plus-plus slider that buckles the knees of hitters. His changeup is still a work in progress, but it could be the finishing pitch in Kopech’s repertoire. I like everything about him from his mound demeanor to his command and control to his repertoire. He can get a strikeout when needed or that ground ball double play. He’s a starter now in the White Sox system, but the thought of him closing games with that mound presence and arsenal should be frightening to the opposition. Once his changeup is more consistent, we will see him in Chicago.

7. NICK SENZEL-3B, CINCINNATI REDS

Age: 22. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 205. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2016 (1), University of Tennessee.

Reds fans are in for a huge treat once Senzel graduates to their parent team. He has tremendous power in a compact frame with broad shoulders and a robust chest. Senzel combines strength with a plus hitting tool that leads to a solid batting average. He has a strong and accurate arm from third base and runs very well for a man of his size. He should be able to remain as a third baseman and become an impact hitter if he has loud bats around him in the batting order. He is an All Star quality player, and one that could put up huge home run numbers on an annual basis once his time has come.

Brent Honeywell

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

8. BRENT HONEYWELL- RHP, TAMPA BAY RAYS

Age: 22. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 180. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2014 (2), Walter State CC.

Honeywell is one of the few pitchers in the game throwing a screwball. A rare pitch, it is probably his best pitch and one that helped Fernando Venezuela gain fame with the Dodgers. Honeywell is a reason the Rays can consider moving a starting pitcher. He appears to be ready for their rotation after spending a quality season pitching at Triple-A Durham. Honeywell throws strikes and uses his outstanding repertoire to set up hitters and add some deception to his delivery. He throws a better than average fastball, cutter and changeup in addition to his screwball. He should keep hitters guessing and can be a quality staple on the mound for the Rays for years to come.

9. VICTOR ROBLES- OF, WASHINGTON NATIONALS

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 185. B-T: R-R Signed: The Dominican Republic, 2013.

Robles and Acuna were compared constantly during the recently concluded Arizona Fall League. Robles doesn’t have the power of Acuna, but he is faster and will likely steal a ton of bases. A very good athlete, Robles is a much better than average defender in center field. He can close on fly balls quickly while taking good routes to balls. A true top of the order hitter, Robles has some pop in his bat and is a legitimate five-tool player. While I don’t see him breaking up games with long home runs, I think he will get that gap double or stolen base and make a great catch to seal a Nationals victory. The home runs will come as well as he continues to mature.

10. WALKER BUEHLER-RHP, LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Age: 23. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 175. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2015 (1), Vanderbilt.

Buehler is another in a long line of Dodgers starting pitching prospects that seem to be the trademark of the storied franchise. He has a high-velocity fastball, a wicked curve, a changeup and a better than average slider in a full repertoire of pitches that help him miss bats. A former Tommy John surgery patient, Buehler pitched in eight games for the Dodgers last year. He could return to the parent team at some point in this coming season as long as his elbow and health hold. He has very good control of his repertoire, throws strikes and could be a very attractive Dodgers pitcher in prime time.

11. BRENDAN RODGERS-SS/2B, COLORADO ROCKIES

Age: 21. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 180. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2015 (1), HS-Lake Mary, Florida.

Rodgers is a very steady, multi-tooled middle-infielder with a good hit tool, some power in his bat and a strong and accurate throwing arm among his best and most advanced skills. He may be better suited at second base in a baseball industry that is looking for exceptional defense and strong hitting at shortstop. He plays the game well but doesn’t have the one overwhelming tool that carries him to greatness. Good? Yes.

12. KYLE TUCKER-OF, HOUSTON ASTROS

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 190. B-T: L-R Drafted: 2015 (1), HS-Plant, Tampa, Florida.

For me, Tucker is Cody Bellinger “light.” He has a similar uppercut swing as Bellinger from the left side of the plate. I was disappointed in a lack of effort I saw from Tucker this past fall in the Arizona Fall League. He played like he didn’t want to be there and it reflected in his .214 fall batting average. Tucker has lots of raw power that should play at Minute Maid Park. A crowded outfield could mean the Astros move Tucker in trade. While I was more enthusiastic about Tucker when I saw him at the MLB Futures Game this past June, I still think he can have an impact at the big league level.

13. LEWIS BRINSON-OF, MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Age: 23. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2012 (1), HS-Coral Springs, Florida.

TRADED BY THE TEXAS RANGERS TO MILWAUKEE IN THE JONATHAN LUCROY DEAL.

Brinson is an above average player with outstanding athletic ability. He plays a very solid center field with improving power as a right-handed hitter. He puts the bat on the ball with good hitting mechanics. He may scuffle initially with tough pitching, but there is no question he can emerge as a consistent quality player for the Brewers. I especially like his upside at his home, Miller Park. He is fast, has nice power and can hit for average. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brinson become the everyday center fielder for Milwaukee at some point this year.

Francisco Mejia

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

14. FRANCISCO MEJIA-C, CLEVELAND INDIANS

Age: 22. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 185. B-T: B-R Signed: The Dominican Republic, 2012.

Mejia has hit everywhere he’s played. In fact, his hit tool is far and away his calling card to the majors. An average defender at best behind the plate, Mejia is still learning the nuances of catching mechanics and has room to improve defensively. He does, however, have a very, very strong arm and he can throw runners out with ease if given enough time to throw by his pitchers. I also think we’ll see power from Mejia, as he can drive the ball to any part of the field. A switch-hitter, the Indians will find a place for him soon or move him along in trade for unmet needs. He has big-time hitting upside.

15. LUIS ROBERT-OF, CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. B-T: R-R Signed: Cuba, 2016.

Robert is an outfielder with tremendous speed. He hit .314 in his four seasons in Cuba, came stateside and hit .310 for the White Sox Dominican Summer League club. It seems as though the White Sox will use him in center field, where his speed and athletic ability will help him become a quarterback in the outfield. He has some power in his bat and is still young enough to add even more depth to his frame. The White Sox will add him to their outstanding prospect depth with an arrival date to Chicago several years from now. Keep an eye on him, as he’s still a bit under the radar.

16. TRISTON MCKENZIE-RHP, CLEVELAND INDIANS

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 165. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2015 (1), HS-Royal Palm Beach, Florida.

I like everything I’ve seen from McKenzie. If the Indians have an “untouchable” player, I think it’s him. He has an “electric’ plus fastball, a very good curveball and a changeup that form a fine repertoire that should be able to handle major-league hitters. What helps McKenzie is outstanding command and control and an ability to throw strikes, eat innings and keep the opponent off bases. Still very young, his development timetable is on track to conclude when the Indians may very well need a starting pitcher with his stuff and abilities.

Mitch Keller

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

17. MITCH KELLER-RHP, PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Age: 21. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 195. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2014 (2), HS-Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Keller has outstanding command and control of a very solid repertoire. He throws a plus-plus fastball as the centerpiece of an arsenal that includes an above-average curveball and an average changeup. He throws plenty of strikes, gets ahead of hitters and can become a solid top of the rotation pitcher in the near future. I would like to see him hold runners on base better, but the man can flat out pitch. The Pirates have signed some quality pitchers, but it remains to be seen if they can finish their development as a top of the rotation dependable pitchers. I think Keller can do it when ready.

18. WILLIE ADAMES-SS, TAMPA BAY RAYS

Age: 22. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 200. B-T: R-R Signed: The Dominican Republic, 2012.

A solid overall prospect, this may be the time for Adames. He has good across the board skills, the best of which may be his strong arm. Adames can hit for average with some power. He is an above average defender and can become the Rays shortstop for the future. Adames has the skill to steal bases and take an extra base when needed. His time is coming soon as the Rays continue to develop good prospects that can help at the big league level. Many in the past have been pitchers, with Adames being a quality Rays position prospect.

19. KOLBY ALLARD-LHP, ATLANTA BRAVES

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 190. B-T: L-L Drafted: 2015 (1), HS-San Clemente, California

Fully recovered from a 2015 stress fracture in his back, Allard is the type of pitcher that can win at the big league level with an array of quality pitches that include his fastball, his changeup and his curveball. He still has a bit of work to do on his walk rate, but he’s a quality starter with a chance to pitch in the middle of the Braves rotation in the future. Allard may be the best among solid pitching prospects gathered by Atlanta in recent years and with his health a non-issue he can become a big winner.

20. HUNTER GREENE-RHP, CINCINNATI REDS

Age: 18. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 197. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2017 (1), HS-Sherman Oaks, California.

Greene is a unique talent. An infielder/pitcher in high school, he has the ability to hit quality pitching and like Shohei Ohtani, he may get a chance to hit when he makes it to the major leagues. Greene has a live arm with the ability to reach 100 miles per hour on his fastball. The Reds are taking it easy with their prized young pitcher, but his repertoire includes a slider and a changeup that promise to get even better as he matures and gains experience. If there is one position Cincinnati must develop soon, it is pitching. Hopefully, they won’t rush this very fine arm. The Reds have a top, top prospect in Hunter Greene and one that can help brighten their franchise.

21. BO BICHETTE-SS/2B, TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Age: 19. Ht.: 6-0. Wt.: 200. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2016 (2), St. Petersburg, Florida

Bichette packs quite a bit of power in his compact frame. He has excellent hitting tools and should be able to handle quality pitching as he progresses in the Blue Jays system. Not a great defensive player, he may project better as a second baseman. For now, he is playing shortstop with good range and a strong enough arm. The son of former Rockies slugger Dante Bichette, his loud bat will get him to Toronto.

22. FORREST WHITLEY-RHP, HOUSTON ASTROS

Age: 20. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 240. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2016 (1), HS-San Antonio, Texas

Whitley is a huge right-hander with a fine repertoire that includes a plus fastball, a curveball and both a changeup and slider that can be used to finish off the hitter. Because he is so big he has to guard against losing command by trying to throw too hard. If he uses his size properly and continues to work on his command, he has a future as solid starter. Continuing to develop his changeup could hold the key to how quickly he advances to Minute Maid Park pitching for Houston.

23. SCOTT KINGERY-2B, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Age: 23. Ht.: 5-10. Wt.: 180. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2015 (2), University of Arizona.

Kingery has a very solid chance of being the Phillies second baseman for years to come. With a good hitting tool, Kingery can take the ball from foul pole to foul pole with speed enough to grab an extra base. He’s a good defensive second baseman with good range, quick feet and a solid arm. He is on a quick pace to grab the second base job as soon as this coming season. This is the type of guy without huge overwhelming skills that makes the opposition shake their heads and wonder how this smallish guy beat them. He’s a gamer.

24. AUSTIN HAYS-OF, BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Age: 21. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2016 (3), Jacksonville University

Hays got a chance to play for the parent Orioles last season and probably exceeded expectations. With his rookie status still intact, he has a terrific approach to the game. Playing right field with confidence and a strong and accurate arm, Hays makes tough plays look easy. He has some speed and power to go along with a nice hitting tool that projects to improve over time. The Orioles have a fine prospect for the long term and his pure grit coupled with skill will carry him to success.

25. ROYCE LEWIS-SS, MINNESOTA TWINS

Age: 18. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 188. B-T: R-R Drafted: 2017 (1), HS-San Juan Capistrano, California

The speedy Lewis can be counted upon to put the ball in play with very solid plate mechanics. He can get on, steal and score as a top of the order type player. Still very young, Lewis shows tremendous promise as a good defender but a better hitter. He could stick at shortstop or move to second base due to a throwing arm that is average at best. He takes pitches where they are thrown and will be a very tough out.

Luis Urias

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

26. LUIS URIAS-SS/2B, SAN DIEGO PADRES

Age: 20. Ht.: 5-9. Wt.: 160. B-T: R-R Signed: Mexico, 2013.

I’m a huge Urias fan. I saw him in the Arizona Fall League and I was impressed by his combination of excellent power, a very solid hit tool and good defensive play. The Padres are loaded with middle-infielders for the future, and he may be the best of the lot. Still a couple years away from graduation, Urias can play both middle-infield positions well. I see him as a guy that can hit in the high .290s consistently while knocking the ball out of the park and into the gaps with a great swing. Padres fans need to be patient regarding the middle-infielders on their way. Urias is one of them.

AJ Puk

Photo Credit: Jerry Espinoza

27. A J PUK-LHP, OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Age: 22. Ht.: 6-7. Wt.: 220. B-T: L-L Drafted: 2016 (1), University of Florida

Huge and in great physical condition, Puk can become a tremendous closer if that’s the way the Athletics ultimately choose to use him. He has been a starter in their system, but his fastball and slider combination is so good I feel he can dominate at the end of games. Pitching downhill from a huge frame, Puk can intimidate hitters just with his mere presence on the mound. Once he improves his control he will be on his way to getting big league hitters out with great stuff. He’s still in development, but the Athletics have a terrific future pitcher in Puk regardless of his ultimate role.

28. FERNANDO TATIS JR.-SS, SAN DIEGO PADRES

Age: 18. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 185. B-T: R-R Signed: The Dominican Republic, 2015.

TRADED BY THE WHITE SOX TO THE PADRES FOR JAMES SHIELDS

Tatis, like Luis Urias, is a middle-infielder for the Padres. He has good skills across the board but may not have as much upside as Urias. A good hitter, like Urias, he is probably a better hitter than defender. He may scuffle with breaking balls at this early stage of his development, but it is likely he can use the entire field with good bat control. He has to improve his pitch recognition and reduce his strikeouts moving forward. The son of former major leaguer Fernando Tatis, Jr. is a solid prospect with across the board upside.

29. MICKEY MONIAK-OF, PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Age: 19. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 185. B-T: L-R Drafted: 2016 (1), HS-Carlsbad, California

Moniak has upside regarding his hit tool. He was a solid high school hitter with tools that include good speed and good defense in addition to his strong hitting mechanics. He isn’t a great defensive outfielder but his arm is strong enough to play. He was slowed a bit by injuries initially, but scouts still feel he can get stronger and his power will improve. In an organization like the Phillies that is getting younger and better, Moniak should arrive when some of the current young players are starting to stabilize the franchise. He has time to develop.

Cal Quantrill

Photo Credit: Jerry Espinoza

30. CAL QUANTRILL-RHP, SAN DIEGO PADRES

Age: 22. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 165. B-T: L-R Drafted: 2016 (1), Stanford University

Quantrill has a chance to use his fastball/slider/changeup repertoire in a very nice home park for his stuff. He is thin and could stand to add some depth to his frame. His improving slider should be able to be used as a knockout pitch after he sets up the hitter with a mid-90s fastball. He has work to do on his command and control, as his walk rate was a bit high initially. The son of former major-league pitcher Paul Quantrill, he has a nice future as a mid-rotation starter.

31. YADIER ALVAREZ-RHP-LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Age: 21. Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 175. B-T: R-R Signed: Cuba, 2015.

If Alvarez comes anywhere near reaching his potential, the Dodgers will have yet another fantastic arm for their pitching staff. Tall and very slender, Alvarez can bring his fastball at up to 100 miles per hour if needed. He has such good arm speed that he has to work very hard to be able to control his pitches. And that’s the problem. He has to be able to throw strikes with his fastball, slider, curve and changeup and repeat his delivery from that tall frame. In time, he can become outstanding and probably dominating on the mound. Dodgers fans need to be patient as he learns the basics of pitching against quality hitters.

32. MAX FRIED-LHP-ATLANTA BRAVES

Age: 23. Ht.: 6-4. Wt.: 165. B-T: L-R Drafted: 2012 (1), HS-North Hollywood, California

TRADED TO THE BRAVES IN 2014 FOR JUSTIN UPTON

Max Fried spent almost two years recovering from Tommy John surgery. I got to watch him in the Arizona Fall League where he dominated hitters with a fine repertoire that included a better than average fastball, a curveball and a slider. Still trying to make up for lost innings, Fried has all the mound presence and savvy to become a real winning pitcher. However, he has to be able to throw consistent strikes and regain his feel for pitching. I was very impressed with what I saw in Arizona and I believe patience with Fried is going to reward the Braves. He’ll be fine with more time on the mound after that tough elbow surgery and recovery.

Why 32 you ask? I have no idea. I just wanted to be different.

I REALLY REALLY LIKE THIS GUY:

Every year I find a player or pitcher that I really, really like and I follow him more closely than others. In the past, those players and pitchers have included guys like Alcides Escobar, Didi Gregorius, Yandy Diaz, Jordan Montgomery, Trey Mancini, Justin Bour, Mookie Betts and more. It seems every year I find this one player that I get excited about and I consistently write and talk about him. Thankfully, most of them go on to have good careers and it validates my faith and scouting reports. One real miss for me was Nate Schierholtz. He had one of the finest left-handed swings I had seen. He never really made the big time. He finished his career at .253 in eight major-league seasons. But he was more a journeyman than the star I predicted he would become back in 2003 in the Arizona Rookie League. I think this guy below is the next one on my list. You’ll hear me talk about him and write about him as his career progresses…

And now, I present MY GUY FOR 2018

Yusniel Diaz

Photo Credit: Ryan Morris

YUSNIEL DIAZ-OF, LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Age: 21. Ht.: 6-1. Wt.: 195. B-T: B-R Signed: Cuba, 2015.

I can’t really explain how excited I am about the athletic ability of Yusniel Diaz. He is still learning how to play stateside and there are some rough edges, but man, he can play. The ball screams off his line drive barrel bat. He has a cannon for an arm and can move quickly in right field, where I saw him play most of the time in the Arizona Fall League. I haven’t seen much power yet, but his frame is so strong that I’m convinced the power will come. He’s had shoulder woes in the past, but those seem to be behind him at this point. He has very, very quick hands and a sweet, sweet swing. He is a bit too much “upper half” in his hitting approach right now, but once he learns to use his legs and trunk more efficiently, watch out. Diaz is the type of player that will quietly put up big enough numbers to have an impact at the major-league level. Maybe he won’t be a consistent All-Star, but he’ll get his share of attention. Like my “GUYS” that have come before him, I’m rooting for a solid career and good, steady play day in and day out from an outstanding prospect.

OTHERS I AM WATCHING WITH INTEREST BUT NOT QUITE IN MY TOP 32

Christian Arroyo-SS/3B/1B- San Francisco Giants
Michael Chavis-1B/3B-Boston Red Sox
Juan Soto-OF-Washington Nationals
Jon Duplantier-RHP-Arizona Diamondbacks
Alex Verdugo-OF-Los Angeles Dodgers
Estevan Florial-OF-New York Yankees
Mike Soroka-RHP-Atlanta Braves
Chance Sisco-C-Baltimore Orioles
Chance Adams-RHP-New York Yankees
Willie Calhoun-2B- Texas Rangers
Luiz Gohara-LHP- Atlanta Braves
Ryan McMahon-1B-Colorado Rockies
Austin Riley-3B- Atlanta Braves
Justus Sheffield-LHP New York Yankees
Albert Abreu-RHP-New York Yankees
Monte Harrison-OF-Milwaukee Brewers
Nick Gordon-SS- Minnesota Twins
Jesse Winker-OF-Cincinnati Reds
Franklin Barreto-SS/2B-Oakland Athletics
Kyle Lewis-OF-Seattle Mariners

Next week: My take on what’s gone down so far on major-league rosters.

Follow me on Twitter @BerniePleskoff

About The Author

Bernie Pleskoff is a former professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Bernie's work has been featured on MLB Pipeline, MLB.com and FanRag Sports, among others. You can follow Bernie Pleskoff on Twitter @BerniePleskoff