With many minor league All-Star Games already past us, it’s time to revisit my Top 30 prospect list. Several graduations and one player being removed from the list for housekeeping reasons have brought a good deal of change to the Top 30 before we even start. For that matter, since I published the list, the Braves added to the Top 30 with Matt Wisler and Jordan Paroubeck. Recently, they added another player previously unranked in Touki Toussaint. Unlike my previous publication, I won’t go three posts plus a fourth one with honorable mentions, though I’m inclined to do a second “And One More” column to keep an eye toward some players who could make this list after we revisit it following the year.
A note on the new draftees – I try not to include anyone without some kind of numbers to support it. If I were, a few of them would be on the list. I’m sure they will make their debut on the postseason Top 30.
Graduations – #28 Williams Perez, #25 Cody Martin, #21 Jace Peterson, #9 Christian Bethancourt, and #5 Mike Foltynewicz. Also gone from this list is #29 Shae Simmons, who lost his rookie status last year and turns 25 in September. He doesn’t fit the spirit of “prospect” for this list.
30. Tanner Murphy, C, Grade: C (Previous: #27, Grade: C)
29. Wes Parsons, P, Grade: C (Previous: Unranked, Grade: C)
28. Ryan Kelly, P, Grade: C (Previous: Unranked, Grade: Ungraded)
27. Sean Godfrey, OF, Grade: C (Previous: Unranked, Grade: C-)
26. Daniel Castro, SS, Grade: C (Previous: Unranked, Grade: C)
25. Jordan Edgerton, 3B, Grade: C (Previous: Unranked, Grade: C)
24. Dilmer Mejia, P, Grade: C (Previous: #26, Grade: C)
23. Jordan Paroubeck C+ (Previous: #21, Grade: C+)
22. Dian Toscano, C+ (Previous: #20, Grade: C+)
21. Garrett Fulenchek, C+ (Previous: #18, Grade: C+)
20. Johan Camargo, C+ (Previous: #23, Grade: C+)
19. Mauricio Cabrera, C+ (Previous: #17, Grade: C+)
18. Andrew Thurman, C+ (Previous: #24, Grade: C+)
17. Max Povse, C+ (Previous: #30, Grade C)
16. Jason Hursh, C+ (Previous: #15, Grade: C+)
15. Alec Grosser, C+ (Previous: #14, Grade: C+)…One of the more disappointing arms in the system. The 2013 11th rounder had a tidy 3.19 ERA in two seasons of rookie ball with solid numbers across the board, but has walked more than he has struck out and massively struggled with his control (super high HBP and WP numbers). He’s apparently healthy so this might all be mechanical, but I liked Grosser to be a surprise this year. So far, I am as wrong as you can be.
14. Jose Briceno, C+ (Previous: #13, Grade: C+)…I was hoping for more from Briceno this year, but he has struggled from seemingly day one. Still like his offense behind the plate, but he needs to start showing more of it.
13. Ricardo Sanchez, C+ (Previous: #16, Grade: C+)…Missed some time early and his ERA is not truly indicative of his pitching so far. Braves were extremely aggressive with him and he’s on a limited pitch count so his numbers this year won’t be too informative.
12. Dustin Peterson, C+ (Previous: #19, Grade: C+)…I admit I wasn’t a huge fan of Peterson like others. I waffled on giving him a C+ grade before. This time, I’m wondering if he warrants a B- grade. He’s been a great performer for Carolina this year and with the struggles of Ruiz in Mississippi, Peterson could have been a prime candidate to get into the 3B of the Future discussion, but he was moved to left field this year.
11. Tyrell Jenkins, B- (Previous: #10, Grade: B-)…On one hand, he’s been a surprising work horse for Mississippi. On the other, I’m not too excited about the numbers. A few graduations keep him in the Top 10, but for him, getting a full season under his belt is more important.
10. Braxton Davidson, B- (Previous: #11, Grade: B-)…Another aggressive push by the Braves with Davidson so young, but he has done a superb job getting on base and the power’s starting to come along. The Braves moved him to right field this season and hope he might be a long-term fixture there. I’m less sure, but I’m liking things so far.
9. Mallex Smith, B- (Previous: #12, Grade: B-)…I am half-tempted to jump him to a B. Smith has done nothing but impress this year. There were concerns that his uptick in offense was a product of playing in the California League. While the power probably was, Smith has hit like crazy this year and shown his plus-plus speed.
8. Ozhaino Albies, B (Previous: #8, Grade: B-)…Certainly there are size questions with Albies, but he has done nothing but hit for Rome despite being one of the youngest players in full-season A ball. His advanced knowledge of the strikezone makes anyone who values OBP pretty excited. He doesn’t turn 19 until next January.
7. Rio Ruiz, B (Previous: #6, Grade: B)…Things started off poorly for Ruiz, but he’s began to start to hit. He’s very young for AA so an adjustment period should have been expected. Need to see some power.
6. Manny Banuelos, B (Previous: #7, Grade: B)…ManBan has been greatly impressive with Gwinnett this year. Walks are a little troubling, but his other numbers are looking solid. He’s on an innings-limit this year so we may not see Banuelos get truly unleashed until next year, but if he can finally stay on the mound, the future’s looking bright for him.
4. Jose Peraza, B+ (Previous: #1, Grade: A-)…I have soured a bit on him and nearly dropped him to a B. A lack of improvement in plate discipline is really holding him back. While a move to center field cold make him a bit more interesting, I’m less sold on him than I was before.
3. Lucas Sims, B+ (Previous: #3, Grade: B+)…Sims’s numbers this year look worse because he has a small sample size due to the Carolina bus crash. He was starting to really hit his stride, too. In his final two outings before the trip to the DL, Sims went 13 innings and gave up two earned runs, two walks, and K’d 10.
2. Touki Toussaint, B+ (Previous: Unranked, Grade: None)…The Diamondbacks really are the organization that just gives and gives. Why Dave Stewart and company essentially gave the Braves last year’s 16th overall selection is beyond me, but the 19 year-old gives Atlanta a projectionable arm that could be a top ranked star in a year’s time. Right now, his control needs work, but if he’s able to find the strikezone, he has a chance to be really special.
1. Matt Wisler B+ (Previous: #2, Grade: B+)…His strikeouts are down, but his walks are practically non-existent. He went through a wonderful stretch where in six-of-seven starts, he gave up two or less earned runs. Would love to see the K’s go back up. Getting his first real taste of the majors and has looked decent.
Again, I will add a “And One More” that represents a list of a player at each position to keep an eye on who isn’t currently on this list. Three players from the preseason version jumped onto the Midseason Top 30. In addition, I want to thank you for reading. I know it had been about two weeks since my last post. I unfortunately lost internet due to some bad storms and it was finally fixed on Monday. Thanks for dealing with my absence and I hope to be far more active in July.