The countdown continues - only 17 Days until Opening Night in Houston! Because I discussed the Astros rebuilding plan last week, I thought today would be a good time to give you my top 5 prospects in the MLB and a quick analysis of each player. There aren’t any Astros on this list…yet. But next year we could definitely see a name like Carlos Correa or Jonathan Singleton up in the top 5. Ok no more chitchatting today, let’s get down to business.
1) Jurickson Profar (SS Tex) – As much as I hate to admit that the Rangers have the best prospect in baseball, it’s hard to deny. Profar is ranked as the #1 prospect in every single prospect list I’ve seen so far, and for good reason. He hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, and he’s a wizard in the field. So why is he still a prospect? Well, because Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler have already locked down their positions in the middle-infield so there’s nowhere for him to play until one of them gets traded or injured. When he does get the call-up though, he will be the frontrunner to win Rookie of the Year.
2) Dylan Bundy (SP Bal) – Bundy is clearly the best pitcher in the Orioles farm system and should break into the big leagues for good sometime during the 2014 season. Check this out: as a senior in high school, Bundy had a 0.25 ERA with 158 strikeouts in 71 innings! That’s over 2 per inning! A 4-pitch pitcher right now, he needs to continue to work on his command this season but he could be one of the top pitchers in baseball in a few years.
3) Oscar Taveras (OF Stl) – Taveras has gotten comparisons to Vladimir Guerrero because of his free-swinging mentality but it hasn’t stopped him from absolutely crushing the ball in Double and Triple-A. He doesn’t draw many walks but maintains a relatively high On Base Percentage, so as long as that trend continues, there’s nothing to worry about. He should be called up to the Cardinals for good sometime this season and is another candidate for Rookie of the Year.
4) Taijuan Walker (SP Sea) – Another fantastic pitching prospect out of the Mariners organization, Walker is only 20 and has a fastball that can touch 97mph. Statistically, his numbers in Double-A weren’t Cy-Young worthy but keep in mind, the kid doesn’t turn 21 until mid-August. His repertoire is filthy, he’s just got to work on keeping the ball down in the zone and out of the middle of the plate. Give him a couple more years to develop to see his true potential, but I could definitely see him as an ace or forming the best 1-2 punch in baseball when he is #2 behind King Felix.
5) Xander Bogaerts (SS Bos) – Bogaerts has always struggled a little bit in the field, but his hitting ability more than makes up for it. He’s another guy that can hit for both average and power, plus he draws a few more walks than Taveras. The Red Sox are looking to get back on track and I think it starts with Bogaerts at SS.
There are plenty of good prospects throughout the MLB farm systems, but I think these are the 5 guys with the highest ceilings even if they are still a few years away from the Bigs. Keep an eye on Taveras this season though, he should be up for good by mid-summer and could singlehandedly help the Redbirds win some big games as they make a playoff push.