1. Ethan Salas - 70 FV (1)
Big Mauer vibes here, save for the awful sideburns, high-estrogen dialect, and slappy, 'shoot everything the other way like a little bitch' approach. Should be energized by the realization that he only needs 5 good years to get a statue and a first-ballot selection into the unserious Hall, especially after the lunatic Padres install him as the Opening Day catcher at 18 with no backup.
2. Wyatt Langford - 70 FV (3)
Thought about Yamamoto or Crews here, but a) 5'9 RHP with no windup are *had to double check here* indeed against my religion, and b) showing up to Low-A w/ a rat mullet and running a near-30% K rate while appearing fundamentally incapable of pulling the baseball AND THEN getting promoted to AA and not being able to hit the ball out of the infield didn't exactly seem like an auspicious start to the ole career.
Anyway, I heard someone, probably Kiley McDaniel, who catapulted over the shark last year after ranking Jonathan Ornelas, Cristian Santana and Willy Vazquez as 50 FVs and promising me that Tucker Toman was the 2nd coming of Austin Riley, compare Langford to McGwire, noting that both had really short arms and really thick thighs (leaving out the other obvious similarity) and an incredibly discerning approach. Since his HS basketball days, Langford looks to have put on about 73 lbs of muscle, which definitely isn't fishy at all, don't worry.
3. Roman Anthony - 65 FV (6)
Baseball Prospectus (apparently the only service that relies on the opinions of scouts under the age of 70 these days, with the obvious exception of Eric takes way too fuckin' Longehagen)' opinion is the only correct one here. Dude has all 5 tools, looks 33 years old despite still being a teenager, and chases less than almost anyone in the minors. I mostly took him to trade him to one of the 18 Red Sox fans in this league if he got some helium, but he ended up getting so much I'm having to ward off offers left and right (though none from the people who like to put up blocks every 3 days and never actually trade, of course).
4. Noelvi Marte - 60 FV (8)
After I ranked Junior Caminero as my top prospect last year despite Boomer America having him 8th overall on his own team's list, I decided to trade him for 3 of my favorite prospects in the minors (Tiedemann was since downgraded after a private investigation revealed some unsavory news), with Marte probably topping the list. After being told by fantasy players across the Twitter landscape that he was 'fat,' 'slow,' 'had no power,' and 'hit way too many ground balls,' it was nice to see him outshine counterparts like Elly De la KKKKKK......KKKKruz and Mid McClain on the shockingly overcrowded Reds infield last year ('hey so I know our 8 best prospects are all SS/3B but what do you think about devoting half our payroll to Jeimer Candelario?' '....dope. let's do it.') throwing up 116 EVs and 95th percentile sprint speed times in the process. Noelvi also doesn't chase or whiff much and appears to have a very advanced two-strike approach. Imagine ranking people like James Wood or Jackson Merrill over this guy. Yikes. Couldn't be me.
5.Adael Amador - 60 FV (14)
Reminds me a lot of Jose Ramirez at the same age - short, slow, chunky, not particularly rangy, and nobody's really sure what position he plays. But both rake, mostly because they anticipate pitches, look to pull in the air, and have incredibly advanced baseball IQs. I feel really good about this guy, provided he learns to portion-control the arroz con pollo.
More to come...
As seen on Boomer America's 'guy who has a computer' wing today, the quants love this dude. High IVB, low VAA, and off-the-charts BDE. IDK. I like the delivery too, though pitching in that Pony League field they call a ballpark in NYC is probably the worst possible scenario for his arsenal.
BuT hIs ErA wAs BaD iN SiX DoUbLe A StArTsSsSs!
LOL. Imagine GAF.
7. Dylan Lesko - 55 FV (30)
Easily the best HS SP prospect I've seen in the can-actually-see-the-video area. Needs more reps after Tommy. Would have taken him 4th overall if I hadn't decided to pass on Termiss Johnson for a package of 3 picks that later included Salas.
8. Jesus? Starlyn? Caba - 55 FV (51)
Still not really sure what this guy's name is, but boy can he pick it. Saw him take grounders on a vid before the draft last year and immediately sent it to my buddy with the caption "best teenage SS defense ever?" Response was "take out the teenage." Lumpy Phillies scout who I'd put the odds of being fluent in Spanish at about 300/1 despite spending 27 years in the DR tells me he could "play SS in the bigs right now" and "is the best defender at any position he's ever seen at that age." Agree on both accounts. This dude might be the Dominican Ozzie.
As usual, FanGraphs is the only one paying attention.
9. Christian Scott - 50 FV (68)
Tried to get this guy for a solid 3 months. Not sure about the delivery or third pitch, but that's just about the best minor league season I've ever seen from any arm, let alone one nobody'd heard before the season. I'm in.
10. Jefferson Rojas - 50 FV (83)
No real comment other than the dude has a lot of juice for a swing that short and held his own at 18 in Low-A like few others before him.
Had never heard of this guy before seeing a video posted from behind of a lefty swing he took on an Arizona backfield last March. Signed immediately. Didn't look at a stat, scouting report, prospect ranking, anything. Kind of a know-it-when-you-see-it thing - sound, balance, bat speed, everything. Dude can hit. Certain people like him even more than I do, but those certain people also like soccer, home-brews and socialist manifestos, so.
12. Payton Martin - 50 FV (97)
Oh look, another Dodger breakout arm who didn't even start pitching until like 5 days after they drafted him. Now has three plus pitches, sits 96, and posts IG videos of slow walks out to the mound in front of a capacity crowd of 142. Amazing. My favorite part about the Dodger performance err player enhancing system is how they attribute their extreme right-tail success to catering Whole Foods meals and mandating midday naps. LMAO. Sure thing buds.
13. Zach Dezenzo - 50 FV (100)
Still haven't seen much of this guy personally, so I decided to split the difference between BP's ranking (40) and everyone else's (a lot lower than 40). Hard to ignore the 1.100 OPS he put up in High-A, though, even it was at a park with no available video and 150-year-old dimensions. 3B seems like a pipe dream, though he does comp favorably to Austin Riley, both in swing type and calories consumed per week.
14. Felnin Celesten - 50 FV (114)
Idk. Get on the field, brah
15. Sterlin Thompson - 50 FV (117)
Awesome name - sounds like a NASCAR driver. If his numbers are any indication, he'll be taking a lot of left turns around the bases at the ole Juice Box (including the one back to the dugout, where he'll hopefully be sitting for another 3 innings before we see him again).
Still kicking myself for not taking Joendry Vargas in this spot. Was a literal coin flip between the two, and I went with Mayea because I figured his secondary skills would give him a higher floor, which they certainly do. I also figured the hitchy swing would be an issue, and it sounds like it certainly is at this point. The Yankees love to have their prospects sell out for power, though, so if he can fix that, we could be looking at serious star potential here.
17. Joey Loperfido - 45+ FV (125)
My favorite thing about the previous real-life Astros regime, apart from the buzzers and the banging and the overt tanking and complete defiance of any authority and failure to assume any culpability whatsoever after punishment was lodged and the Uber-farm assembled despite totally whiffing on two 1.1s and scouting director trying to position himself as some sort of paragon of morality on FanGraphs 3 years after departing and Finance Bro-turned-Assistant GM shouting I'M SO FUCKING GLAD WE TRADED FOR OSUNA over and over right in the face of someone he'd never met before and Dodger fans being butthurt for life as a result of everything, was probably when they fired all the scouts, replaced them with Trackmans and Rapsodos and just stood there and were like 'eh, whatev.' Update: There's no difference. And the Trackman continues to find guys like this Dezenzo and this dude in the later rounds of the draft, who can play every position and hit tanks and look smooth doing it. No idea how he slipped through the cracks.
18. Luis Baez - 45+ FV (126)
Was admittedly far more excited about this dude when he was running a BB/K over 1 on the complex, but the upside is still huge.
19. JR Ritchie - 45+ FV (130)
Weird dude. I drafted him because he had one of the smoothest deliveries I'd ever seen from a High Schooler, but then I tuned into his first start and he's wearing goggles and has a totally different arm action and release point. K'd pretty much everyone he faced without walking anyone, but I was almost sure he'd get hurt right after I saw the first pitch. Hopefully he goes back to the old way.
20. Troy Melton - 45 FV (142)
Certain high-level quants have this guy ranked much higher, but I can't get there yet. Excited to see how the year develops with him.
Guy looks like a dude who got bullied at a NE boarding school. Weird swing, weird gait, weird profile all around. Also: rakes. Also: led Milb in wRC+ last year. Also: was muted from my Twitter timeline on account of his being like 28 in AA and having gone to an Ivy League school. Was reinstated after he starting hit a bomb a day. -14 D at C may be a ZiPS record, idk.
22. Royber Salinas - 45 FV (152)
FanGraphs loves him and I will say that the only video of him available shows him a) blowing legit prospects away with his fastball again and again b) barely fitting in his size 44 pants and c) having absolutely zero fucking clue where any of his stuff is going. Maybe he can turn into a shittier version of Carlos Zambrano who doesn't scream at people 3x a game.
23. Leo Jimenez - 45 FV (156)
Been the biggest stan for this guy ever since he legit put up a .520 OBP in low-A at age 19. Not sure what happened since - he put on like 40 lbs of muscle, has a leg kick up to his chin, and started doing things like actually swinging and trying to hit tanks. Why. Know your role, bub.
24. Echedry Vargas - 45 FV (157)
Boomer America ranked this guy 17th in the Rangers system and was promptly flooded in their Geocities-esque chat room by a gaggle of people who actually fucking know ball and pay attention. It's almost like the website that's devoted the most resources to minor league baseball should actually do things like watch minor league baseball, familiarize themselves with the latest metrics used to evaluate minor league baseball players, and talk to scouts who have access to a Trackman. Weird.
25. Matt Canterino - 45 FV (166)
Maybe the widest gap between stuff quality and delivery efficiency I've ever seen. The former: great. The latter: Probably should come with a Parental Guidance warning. Also appears to have aged out of the 18-34 demo at this point, though I'll have to double check on that
I think Jorbit checked in last year at 5'9, 120 and may have lost some lbs as the stifling Texas League season transitioned into late summer. He has the exact profile the computers love (can't give away all my secrets here), but was traded away by the omniscient Dodgers (red flag #1), sported an .069 ISO in AAA (red flag #2) and is blocked by no fewer than 24 MIFs in the Yankees system right now. Fortunately ZiPS cares a lot more about strong performance in the minors than it does dogshit performance in the majors, so he should be fine for at least a while.
27. Sawyer Gipson-Long 45 FV (173)
Thanks to mlb.com's seamless "watch milb.tv on mlbtv" feature, wherein you can watch each game for free if you're willing to brave the grueling process of back-clicking 3 times and changing your 'favorite team' every time you want to flip to a different game, I had to be one of the first people ever to know who the fuck this guy was. Many are indeed still in the dark, likely owing to his first name being Sawyer, his last name being hyphenated, and a grand total of zero industry 'experts' being an actual believer that he can start. But I can't lie, the guy is kinda dirt. He K'd Luciano 3x in the game I saw, gave righties virtually no chance in any of his 3 times through the lineup, and was pretty much up to the same tricks during his brief cameo in the show. Unfortunately the Tigers, on year 12 of their rebuild following the brilliant decision to replace one dinosaur GM with another, have opted for the play-it-safe dynamic duo of Maeda and Flaherty instead of this cat and one of their many other good SP prospects, so we may see this guy in the minors for quite a while longer.
28. Santiago Suarez 45 FV (176)
Love this guy. Competes, incredible command for his age, big bender, loose delivery, badass name.
29. Jake Eder 45 FV (180)
30. Braylin Tavera 45 FV (182)
Yes, I have ranked all the prospects from 1-500 and the full list is available for the new low price of 2 future firsts and a pick swap in the year of my choice.