The first weekend of minor-league baseball has come to an end, and we saw plenty of good things from the top prospects in their respective debuts. We also saw some not-so-great things, but we’re optimistic, so we’ll just cite the small sample size.
Here’s a look at the updated top 10 prospects for the 2017 season.
1. Yoan Moncada, IF, Chicago White Sox
2017 stats: .400/.429/.550, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 SB at Triple-A Charlotte
A strong start to the 2017 campaign for Moncada, but you shouldn’t have expected anything less. The one concern here is the strikeouts, but because Moncada can run and makes so much hard contact, the contact issues shouldn’t prevent him from hitting for a high average. As soon as his service time issues pass, Moncada should be helping the White Sox -- and your fantasy team -- for the rest of 2017.
2. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2017 stats: 1 GS, 8.31 ERA, 4.1 IP, 6 H, 2 BB, 4 K at Triple-A Charlotte
This was not a strong debut for Giolito. Not only did he struggle to miss bats, he also had some velocity issues, at times sitting in the low90s. The good news is that it’s just one start, and it often takes time for arms to warm up. We keep him in the number two spot for now, but a couple more efforts like this will see him drop considerably. Here’s hoping there’s more threat than action to that last sentence.
3. Ozzie Albies, 2B, Atlanta Braves
2017 stats: 250/.250/.400, 2B, 3B, 0 HR, 0 BB, 2 K, 2 SB at Triple-A Gwinnett
The bad news is that this line doesn’t look very good. The good news is that the sample size is small, and after going 0-for-5 with a couple of strikeouts in the opener, Albies was back to hitting bullets and stealing bases. Albies hitting talent competes with almost any prospect in baseball, and the fact that he has that hitting ability and well above-average speed makes him a highly valuable fantasy prospect.
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4. Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
2017 stats: .500/.667/.500, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB at Triple-A Colorado Springs
Brinson was having his usual stat-filling game in the opener, but after attempting his second steal of the night, he was removed with what ended up being a dislocated pinky. The Brewers are calling the outfielder day-to-day, and there’s a chance he returns to the lineup at some point this next week. Brinson likely wasn’t heading to Milwaukee this month, anyway, so all he’s really missing is some developmental time. Assuming he comes back healthy -- and there’s no reason he shouldn’t -- he still is the best outfield prospect for 2017.
5. Cody Bellinger, 1B, Los Angeles Dodgers
2017 stats: .412/.444/.785, 3 2B, 0 3B, HR, 1 BB, 5 K, 0 SB at Triple-A Oklahoma City
Bellinger was going to make the top 10 this week even if he hadn’t started out red-hot, but there’s no denying that posting numbers like this made it easier. He’s going to pile up the strikeouts, but he might be that rare power hitter who can strikeout a lot and still hit for a high average because he recognizes pitches so well. It wasn’t a great spring training for the top Dodger prospect, but that just tells you how meaningless spring training really is. Bellinger will get a chance to hit for Los Angeles by the end of the summer barring something crazy happening.
6. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
2017 stats: .071/.188/.143, 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 2 BB, 8 K, SB at Triple-A Indianapolis
It’s one thing to not have the hits drop, it’s another to be overmatched. In the first week of the International League season, Meadows looked overmatched. If you’re looking for positives, it’s that he is working counts and didn’t press, but that contact rate isn’t going to get the job done. Meadows is immensely talented with three plus abilities, but it might take a little more time before he’s helping Pittsburgh than anticipated.
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7. Jeff Hoffman, RHP, Colorado Rockies
2017 stats: 1 GS, 7.20 ERA, 5 IPP, 6 H, 2 BB, 5K at Triple-A Albuquerque
The margin of error for Hoffman is thin pitching in the PCL and Albuquerque, so sometimes the lines aren’t going to be indicative of how well he’s pitching. The problem is, that same logic can be applied to Coors Field, and that doesn’t really help your fantasy lineup, does it? Hoffman has four pitches that can cause swings and misses, and more often than not, he’s going to give hitters trouble. You just have to keep the surroundings in mind, which is unfortunate, but that’s the way the world works.
8. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
2017 stats: .067/.125/.067, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 BB, 6 K
Repeat after me: The sample size is small. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Yeah, this is a bad start, and it comes after putting up less-than-spectacular numbers at the Triple-A level in 2016. If you’re going to panic, fine, but you probably gave up on Crawford being a top fantasy prospect last year. I would hope that 15 at-bats wouldn’t cause you to change your mind about any player. Crawford will be fine.
9. Francis Martes, RHP Houston Astros
2016 stats: 25 GS, 3.30 ERA, 125.1 IP, 47 BB, 131 K at Double-A Corpus Christi
Note: Martes is making his season debut today, so we’ll just tell you what we told you last week.
Martes got off to a terrible start in 2017, but rebounded nicely in the second half of the season and back to showing the stuff that made him such a highly-regarded prospect to begin the year. He’s one of very few pitchers who will show two plus-plus pitches in his fastball and curve, and he also has a competent slider and change. He’ll lose his release point at times, but for the most part he throws strikes with all four pitches. There’s no room at the inn just yet, but even if it’s in a relief role, Martes has the stuff to help fantasy teams in 2017 and beyond.
10. Gleyber Torres, SS, New York Yankees
2017 stats: .364/.500/.534, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 3 BB, 2 K, 0 SB at Double-A Trenton
Yeah, this guy is impressive. Torres tore the cover off the baseball in his first week with Trenton, and he showed the impressive approach that has scouts -- and fantasy owners -- drooling. The only reason Torres ranks this “low” is because the odds of him making his debut in 2017 are relatively slim. As I’ve said dozens of times, however, he’s just too talented to not have in the top 10 right now. Just keep an eye on him, anyway. What’s the worst that can happen?
Also considered: Bradley Zimmer, OF, Cleveland; Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays; Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Chicago White Sox; Josh Hader, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers