Christopher Crawford

Prospect Roundup

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Top 10 Prospects: August 21

Monday, August 21, 2017


Here’s a look at the updated top 10 prospects for the 2017 season.

1. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Chicago White Sox
2017 stats: 24 GS, 4.48 ERA, 128 IP, 122 H, 17 HR, 59 BB, 134 SO at Triple-A Charlotte.

Opportunity matters. Giolito may not be the most talented player on this list, but he’s performed exceptionally well in the month of August, and he’ll make his White Sox debut this Tuesday. He’s still showing two pitches that flash plus-plus in his fastball and curve, and the change is a competent third offering. The key will be hitting his spots, as self-inflicted damage from homers and walks have hurt him all year. There’s a little more risk here than you’d like, but Giolito certainly has the stuff to help your fantasy team the rest of the year.

2. Ryan McMahon, 3B, Colorado Rockies
2017 stats:109 G, .356/.402/.587, 71 R, 37 2B, 3 3B, 19 HR, 82 RBI, 37 BB, 82 SO, 11 SB.

McMahon was not given much of a chance to play upon his promotion, but in a limited sample, he showed he can hold his own with a .364 OPS. The hits just didn’t drop, and there’s no room in the inn. He’s been sensational at the minor-league level, and if or when he gets another chance to hit for the Rockies, you should expect good things.

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3. Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
2017 stats: 24 G, 3.50 ERA, 131.0 IP, 128 H, 12 HR, 32 BB, 167 SO at Double-A Montgomery and Triple-A Durham.

Honeywell had what was easily his worst start of the second-half of the season, but even that start showed why he’s one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. He did allow four runs on six hits in six innings, but he also struck out seven and walked zero. The Rays continue to have inferior options -- at least compared to Honeywell -- start games, and it doesn’t appear Honeywell is coming up soon. He’s still too good to not have in the top three.

4. Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves
2017 stats: 122G, .326/.379/.541, 78 R, 29 2B, 8 3B, 20 HR, 72 RBI, 40 BB, 128 SO, 37 SB at High-A Florida, Double-A Mississippi, and Triple-A Gwinnett.

This shouldn’t be happening. A teenager shouldn’t be dominating the International League. Some natural regression was expected, but instead Acuna raised his average nearly 10 points this week, hit three homers and saw his OPS in Gwinnett rise to a ridiculous 1.035. Even if you’re not a Braves fan, this is getting fun to watch. He just might be the best prospect in baseball right now.

5. Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
2017 stats: 117 G, .314/.366/.563, 98 R, 26 2B, 8 3B, 26 HR, 63 RBI, 37 BB, 96 SO, 27 SB at Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

With a three-hit game on Sunday, Kingery extended his hit streak to 18 games. His most likely position is second -- and he’s darn good there -- but even if he did make a move to the outfield as some have suggested over the last couple of weeks, the bat would play because of his impressive hit, speed and power combination.

6. Willie Calhoun, OF, Texas Rangers
2017 stats: 115 G, .295/.353/.574, 73 R, 25 2B, 6 3B, 28 HR, 79 RBI, 40 BB, 56 K, 3 SB at Triple-A Oklahoma City and Triple-A Round Rock.

It is safe to call Calhoun an outfielder now. He’s played in left field in all but two games for the Express, and one of those was as a designated hitter. Because he’s not a great defender anywhere, that could be the position he ultimately plays, which would obviously hurt his value substantially. It wouldn’t kill it, however, because Calhoun can flat out hit. Expect to see him in Texas right around roster-expansion time.

7. Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
2017 stats: 24 G, 3.36 ERA, 83 IP, 63 H, 29 BB, 117 SO at High-A Rancho Cucamonga, Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

After a dominating performance in relief where he struck out five in two innings, Buehler struggled in his next two appearances, giving up three hits in each despite only throwing a combined 2.1 innings. The good news is he’s throwing strikes, which was an issue when he first made the switch to the bullpen. The Dodgers have the division all but locked up -- they literally eliminated the Giants on Sunday -- so the risk of having Buehler throw big-league innings is minimized significantly.

8. Chance Adams, RHP, New York Yankees
2017 stats: 24 G, 2.16 ERA, 133.1 IP, 86 H, 51 BB, 122 SO at Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre.

Adams didn’t have a ton of fun in his last outing against the mighty Gwinnett club, giving up four runs in five innings while striking out only two. When you look at the numbers above, you can see that it’s just a minor blip in what has been an outstanding season for the 2015 fifth-round pick. It’s less than a 50/50 proposition that you’ll see Adams pitching in the Bronx this year, but the stuff and command are both too good to leave him off this list, especially this late in the year.

9. Jeimer Candelario, 3B, Detroit Tigers
2017 stats: 98 G, .260/.341/.497, 48 R, 33 2B, 4 3B, 15 HR, 63 RBI, 43 BB, 94 SO, 1 SB at Triple-A Iowa and Triple-A Toledo.

Candelario has gone ice cold since joining the Detroit organization, and at least some of it can be traced back to his approach. In 76 at-bats with the Mud Hens, he’s walked just twice and struck out 22 times. That’s not going to work. All of the talent is here for him to be their starting third baseman, but Candelario is going to have to swing a much better stick if he’s going to get the call before roster expansion.

10. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
2017 stats: 112 G, .246/.352/.408, 67 R, 17 2B, 6 3B, 13 HR, 55 RBI, 68 BB, 85 SO, 4 SB at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

It’s so good to have you back, Mr. Crawford. Don’t pay attention to those numbers above. Listen to these: .267/.364/.498 with 11 homers and 29 extra-base hits. And they’ll be even better if we change the start date to July, with Crawford putting up an OPS of .987 since the first of that month. Crawford also made his first start of his professional career at third base on Sunday, which could be a sign that the Phillies want to get his bat in the lineup. The long-term position is still likely at short, but the fact his bat has improved so much that he could make his debut at third says a lot.

 

Also considered: Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates; Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics; Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays; Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers; Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals



Christopher Crawford is a baseball and college football writer for Rotoworld. Follow him on Twitter @Crawford_MILB.
Email :Christopher Crawford



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