Reaping What You Sow: The Elite of the Top 100


Here it is. The one you’ve all been waiting for – the very top of the Top 100. For the first two installments, you can head here and here, and if you want more detailed scouting reports, you can head here and find the player’s team (I’ll be doing a little clean-up, moving some players around if they were traded). The “Elite” players on my lists are players I think will be perennial All-Stars, but they should at least be solid regulars. Unlike the other two lists, this one will actually be ordered. I about gave up halfway through the pitchers in the “Outstanding” list, but 15 players is more manageable. And I think someone might kill me if I don’t name a top prospect.

orioles 15 – Manny Machado SS (BAL): After dominating A-ball Delmarva, Machado had a little bit of a harder time in High-A, but he was only 19. Machado has a sizeable offensive ceiling, and he’s an excellent defensive shortstop. It’s tough to find good shortstop prospects, and it’s even harder to find ones like Machado.
orioles 14 – Dylan Bundy RHP (BAL): The most polished high-school pitching prospect since … Jameson Taillon, Bundy has an impressive arsenal of pitches and the control and command of a guy out of college. Bundy probably won’t need as much time as most high schoolers, and he could be a true ace by the time all is done.
pirates 13 – Jameson Taillon RHP (PIT): Taillon’s season went about planned, and while it wasn’t some flashy, rocket-through-the-system season, Taillon learned some important lessons – fastball command and the use of a change-up. He’s basically Dylan Bundy a year older.
bluejays 12 – Jake Marisnick CF (TOR): Always considered a toolsy player, Marisnick seemed to put it all together in 2011 and had a monster year – average, walks, power, stolen bases, defense. I might be a little aggressive putting him this far up the list, but the tools at a premium defensive position scream star.
cardinals1 11 – Shelby Miller RHP (STL): Miller will be 21 all next season, and he has excellent stuff. My only concern, albeit slight, is that his control disappears every so often. But he’s a little less accomplished than Teheran and Turner and a couple months older.
pirates 10 – Gerrit Cole RHP (PIT): This will sound a bit confusing, but bear with me. I would have picked Cole over Bauer in the draft, but Bauer is currently the better prospect because he’s closer to major-league ready. Cole has the bigger fastball and three plus pitches, but he doesn’t miss as many bats as you think he should. I don’t expect that to be too much of an issue moving forward, though.
bluejays 9 – Travis d’Arnaud C (TOR): Mesoraco has performed at a higher level and maybe has a tick higher of a ceiling, but d’Arnaud is simply an excellent catching prospect. He should force an interesting situation with JP Arencibia, but the Blue Jays don’t need to worry about that until July at the earliest.
tigers 8 – Jacob Turner RHP (DET): I sense some fear that Turner will turn into Rick Porcello and disappoint the masses, but in 125 innings in High-A, Porcello could only strike out 5 per 9 innings. Turner has consistently struck out more than 7 per 9. There’s a significant difference folks.
braves 7 – Julio Teheran RHP (ATL): Depending on the day, I’d put Turner above Teheran, but I don’t have a great reason. Teheran still needs to work on his command and his curveball, but he’ll only turn 21 in a week.
reds 6 – Devin Mesoraco C (CIN): After having a rough start to his pro career, Mesoraco became everything the Reds could want him to be over the last two. He has an excellent stick and is plenty good behind the plate. Now, the question is how much he’ll play next year.
dbacks 5 – Trevor Bauer RHP (ARI): Bauer just turned 21 on Tuesday, and he shot his way to AA, where his 7.56 ERA is misleading. A ton of above-average to plus pitches miss tons of bats, and while he needs some work on the control, he won’t be in the minors long.
rangers 4 – Jurickson Profar SS (TEX): Profar dominated A-ball thoroughly as an 18-year old, and he plays an above-average shortstop. He sits a bit behind these other guys because he’s only played A-ball, but that’s not exactly his fault. There’s a decent chance he’s Number One next season.
angels 3 – Mike Trout CF (LAA): Watching Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos run around the outfield might be one of the more interesting defensive spectacles in sports. The 20-year old has done everything you’d want from a prospect, but I wonder if his offensive ceiling is limited by just having average to above-average power. I feel so sorry for him.
rays 2 – Matt Moore LHP (TB): You might be a little surprised to not see Mike Trout here, but while I think Trout’s ceiling is a little limited (to like superstar), Moore’s ceiling is that of the best pitcher in baseball. Despite the inherent injury risk of being a pitcher, Moore’s silly-easy arm action and talent put him second.

And wait for it, wait for it …

nationals 1 – Bryce Harper OF (WAS): This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Harper’s offensive potential is absolutely enormous, and I think the Nationals could probably give him a chance in center if they wanted. And he’s 19 all next season.