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Best baseball prospects to invest in

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When it's competitive, hitters have almost no chance given the heater-heavy scouting report. He's seldom worked in a slider as well, though it's a work in progress. Developing feel for his secondaries is the most immediate area of improvement as Wiggins works toward eligibility in Right-Handed Pitcher , Wake Forest. McGraw doesn't have the prototype size of some of his peers, but his sublime feel for a 4-pitch mix has evaluators drooling.

He offers a four-seam and a two-seam fastball, the latter being more consistent, though McGraw showed a willingness to elevate the four-seamer on the Cape last summer. Given his low release and mids velo, there's definitive swing-and-miss upside if he can find consistency up there. McGraw has a high-spin slider that's exceeded rpm in the past, though more comfortably lands in the range.

It's a two-plane sweeper with impressive depth and a bat-missing track record. The changeup shows promise too with feel for pronation. McGraw holds his velocity and stuff deep into his outings too, something not everyone on this list can necessarily claim. Right-Handed Pitcher , Florida State. Montgomery has been a first round talent since the draft and some scouts have gone on record regretting not pushing harder for their team to dole out the cash necessary to land the talented righty.

It might be the best breaking ball in the class right now, a slider into the mids with strong spin rates, and serious feel for two-plane break. The result is opposing hitters swinging through air nearly two-thirds of their hacks. Montgomery can get into the uppers with the fastball, though he's generally a few ticks lower than that. It's not a bat-missing fastball and he'll need to continue working on developing consistent shape with the heater.

Still, given the velocity, the floor of the pitch, especially at the college level, it's reasonably high. There's some feel for a pretty darn good changeup in there too. Montgomery could be the complete package and projects to fit comfortably inside the first round. Nichols has been a force in the Wildcats rotation since he set foot in Tucson. It's prototype size with long levers and serious fuel for velo.

The fastball touches well into the highs and routinely settles in on the higher end of the mids. While he's still developing the command necessary to miss bats and get hitters to chase, the upside on the pitch is fairly obvious.

Nichols slider is his best secondary with extreme whiff rates. That said, it's a low-spin offering that's been hot and cold in terms of command. Given the body and arm speed, Nichols could be in store for a big jump in Bowser was a huge deal coming out of Harvard-Westlake in , but it's never easy to pay a guy away from a Stanford commitment.

Bowser, like so many before him, deferred his big league dreams and decided to head to Palo Alto. That's worked out nicely. Bowser had a monster freshman campaign sliding over to third base and flexing with the bat. He posted massive exit velocities while impressively limiting his strikeouts, playing a sturdy hot corner for the Cardinal.

The low-hanging fruit for Bowser will be lifting the ball. He was an extreme ground ball guy in with a launch angle in the negative category. This isn't entirely foreign to Stanford as flatter attack angles and high contact rates have been a bit of a staple in the David Esquer era. Still, it's to ignore the impact on the baseball and the athleticism on the dirt. If he matures into ambushing the baseball like Brock Jones did, watch out. Jackson Baumeister really burst onto the scene during his senior year of high school.

Once considered a premier catching prospect, his future is now without a doubt on the bump. It's a premier body with long levers, feel for tempo, as well as balance and fluidity. This is how you build a starting pitcher. He's been up to 97, but more commonly sits with two wicked breaking balls, the slider being the better of his two benders.

He's also got a changeup. There's a ton of projection on Baumeister and it's an arm with very little mileage on it. He'll get his first taste of college ball in where he figures to get some opportunities to start baked into a loaded Florida State rotation.

Right-Handed Pitcher, South Carolina. Sanders has the massive size and stuff to headline a rotation at any level. He's got the mids velocity and consistency with the fastball that scouts like to see, though to this point, he's had a hard-time missing bats with the pitch. Sanders' go-to out pitch has been a solid slider with good shape and great consistency. He's also got some of the best feel for a changeup at the top of this class. Developing a more-effective fastball is the most important move for Sanders in his immediate future.

Mitchell is a do-it-all player and the epitome of a high school star. On the mound, he's been up into the low 90s with a promising slider. When he's not pitching or behind the plate, he's shown quick, athletic actions at shortstop. Some think he's got a home on the mound. Some believe he's a future power-hitting infielder. But his actions behind the plate have many believing he's a prototype backstop of the future.

Mitchell, a left-handed hitting thumper, has significant raw power and feel for driving the baseball without selling out for the juice. He can get pull-happy, but has shown a willingness to use the left-center field gap when it's prioritized. Behind the plate, Mitchell has an above average arm with upper-tier athleticism for the position. His receiving skills are impressive considering his age and how he's been deployed as a Swiss Army Knife in the past.

It's an above average arm that many believe could eventually sit plus as he settles into the position. Prep catchers can be a tough demographic, but Mitchell has all the building blocks of a really significant prospect.

Morgan is one of the best defensive first basemen college baseball has seen in quite some time, and that's not to take anything away from the bat. Morgan has been a force in all phases of the game since arriving on campus and brings a ton of tools to the table. He won't be 21 years old yet next July, so he'll be young for the draft. Morgan doesn't pack a ton of punch at the plate just yet, but he hardly ever strikes out and has posted healthy contact rates, using the entire field.

If he continues to get stronger and adds a little game game thump, he's got top ten pick upside. A very well regarded prep bat, Troy built off a strong freshman campaign at Stanford with an arguably stronger summer at Wareham. With notable power for his size, Troy has shown himself capable of going out to all fields, and finds a ton of barrels. Strong eyes and quick twitch gives him the ability to make good swing decisions consistently, and it is rare to see him post poor at-bats.

Troy typically takes the field at second base, and has a strong arm for the position with soft hands, smooth actions and good transitions around the bag. He'll likely be tested at shortstop for the Cardinal moving forward, but this is a definitive middle infield profile. You hardly ever slap an 80 power grade on preps because you just don't know how their body will develop.

Grice was the exception. Back in , we threw an 80 raw power grade on the South Carolina bluechip watching him annihilate baseballs night in and night out against 17 year olds. Those lofty claims have rung true as Grice smoked 15 homers as a true freshman and continued to impress in his limited sample on the Cape. That's not to say Grice is a complete package. There's some swing-and-miss here that must be addressed in the next two college baseball seasons, but that's a whole lot of development time for a kid scratching the surface of what he's capable of.

Grice is likely a first baseman at the next level as he's not a great athlete on the run, but it won't matter as whomever selects him next July will be investing in the thunderous bat. Miller is one of the most physical preps in the class. He's big and athletic with explosive power that stems from a combination of raw strength and excellent bat speed. Miller is a consistent high-performer on the amateur circuit and his mammoth power finds it way into games already.

He can run a fastball into the lows on the mound, but his future is likely swinging a bat. The body is already very thick and muscular, so he'll need to maintain his athleticism as he gets older. For now, it's comfortably a third base profile, with a corner outfield or first base role possible as he ages. Bohrofen took a definite step forward offensively on the Cape. While there are occasional struggles with chasing low breaking balls, he does generally see spin well. He played exclusively in the outfield corners during his freshman season, and projects there long term with good straight-line speed and a powerful right arm.

Holcomb is a big, athletic shortstop with massive power, reminiscent of Brady House from the class. Holcomb boasts big time bat speed and raw power that finds its way into games already. His solid defensive actions and near top of the scale arm strength will keep him on the left side infield for the long term.

Scouts want to see a consistent approach at the plate as he continues to develop, showcasing his talents as a hitter first and foremost. MLB Draft. MLB Draft Home. Player Interviews. Prospect Lists. All Lists. Top Draft Prospects. Live Looks. Sign Up. Baseball Cards. Article Archives. January 12, MLB Draft. Prospects Live Staff. Trackman, Rapsodo and big data evaluation. This Top really establishes a few things: is absolutely loaded with college pitching. Dylan Crews. Outfield , LSU The no.

Jacob Gonzalez. Shortstop , Ole Miss Highly regarded during his high school days, Gonzalez was never considered a big bat until he reached Oxford. Max Clark. Outfield , Franklin Community Max Clark is one of the best pure high school hitters the draft has seen in recent memory. Brock Wilken. Third Base , Wake Forest Wilken is a middle-of-the-order power bat with an advanced approach.

Walker Jenkins. Outfield , South Brunswick Jenkins is long, lean, athletic, and projectable at 6-foot-3, pounds, showcasing some of the best bat speed and power in the class. Christian Little. Right-Handed Pitcher , Vanderbilt Little will be young for the class having been eligible as a prep in Patrick Reilly.

Dylan Cupp. It's reasonable to expect him to debut at some point in It's also reasonable to expect him to team with Chris Paddack as one of the most fun tandems in baseball. The shiny new toy syndrome often manifests in these lists in the form of recent draftees ranking higher than they should. It makes some baseball sense -- after all, most of them haven't had enough time to fail as professionals, leaving us with nothing to weigh but their potential and upside.

Adley Rutschman, the top pick in June's draft, is the only choice for the top spot here. Rutschman, who gets to repurpose his orange-and-black gear from his days at Oregon State, doubles as the best catching prospect in the minors. Scouts believe he'll wind up with four plus or better tools -- or, everything but the run tool. Hey, he's a catcher. Additionally, he has a mature approach at the dish and other teams' internal metrics grade him as a good framer.

Factor in Rutschman's perceived intangibles, and there's a decent chance he's both a middle-of-the-order hitter and a field general-style defender. That would make him a perennial All-Star candidate and one of the better players in baseball in any given season. The biggest knock on Rutschman may be none of his own doing, but rather Matt Wieters ' failure to live up to his once-lofty promise.

It's worth remembering that Wieters though seldom the transformative player some forecasted him as has authored an season career in which he's made four All-Star teams and has accumulated enough Wins Above Replacement to rank as the ninth-most productive No. If that Rutschman's floor, then it's a nice floor.

By now, everyone is probably familiar with Gavin Lux, who appeared in 23 games with the Dodgers down the stretch. For the exceptions in the crowd, Lux spent most of the season terrorizing minor-league pitching. He did that while playing the entire season as a year-old who primarily played shortstop. In other words, Lux is a well-rounded player -- one who can hit for average and power, walk, and so on.

The main question with him at this point is where he'll play on the big-league team. The Dodgers used him exclusively at second base during his big-league cameo, and it's probably fair to slot him in there for as long as Corey Seager is hearty and hale. When Casey Mize was picked first overall in the draft, he dethroned former big-league closer Gregg Olson No.

Mize shares a few commonalities with Olson -- an alma mater, of course, and the possession of a high-grade out pitch. Olson had one of the best curveballs in recent memory, while Mize has a trapdoor split-change that has more GIF potential than a waterskiing squirrel. Mize's arsenal runs deeper than his splitter. He has three other offerings -- a fastball, a slider, and a cutter -- that grade as at least above-average.

Those pitches often play up due to his polish. He has above-average command and has walked fewer than five percent of the batters he's faced so far as a professional. The main concern with Mize is the universal one for pitchers: health. Unfortunately, this isn't theory "he's a pitcher and pitchers get hurt" so much as a reality: Mize missed time this season due to shoulder inflammation, and has had other arm woes in the past, including a forearm strain that interfered with his sophomore season at Auburn.

Bodies are fickle vessels prone to upheaval when tasked with crossing the waters of a big-league season, but past research suggests past injuries are the best predictor of future injuries -- meaning, in so many words, Mize might be more prone to injury than the standard pitcher.

A hearty and hale Mize is likely to debut in the majors next spring. He ought to develop into a No. The gem of the Robinson Cano trade, Jarred Kelenic asserted himself as the top prospect in Seattle's system with an impressive age season that saw him hit.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Kelenic is expected to be an above-average hitter at the big-league level. Kelenic is more than just a stick though. He can run, and for the time being he's likely to remain in center thanks to his footspeed and his big-time arm. There's a chance he has to move to a corner likely right down the road, but there's star potential if he can stick up the middle. Kelenic won't be able to legally drink until July. By then, he could be knocking on the big-league door.

Whether Seattle chooses to answer it before the season rolls around is to be seen. At his best, Cristian Pache looks like a future star: a demon center fielder with more power potential than his 21 career home runs suggest. At his less-than-best, he still looks like a valuable player -- just one who may not add as much as hoped offensively. Pache was having a breakout season before a late promotion to Triple-A, where some of his gains -- at least so far as lifting the ball and hitting for more power -- disappeared.

He continued to walk more than usual, which is a welcomed sign for someone known as a free-swinger, but he remained as pull-heavy as ever. Indeed, Pache pulled around 57 percent of his batted balls in , according to FanGraphs. Only three qualified big-league hitters finished over 50 percent, and none higher than Max Kepler at Whatever works works, but that kind of dependency on pulling the baseball could speak to a deficiency within his game. Despite Pache's well-above-average speed, he hasn't yet morphed into a stolen-base threat -- not a good one, anyway.

An 8-for season you read that correctly leaves him with a 60 percent career success rate. That just isn't going to fly in the majors. This isn't meant to be dismissive of Pache's ability to grow, either. He won't turn 21 until November, and it's possible he taps into some of that power and learns the nuances of basestealing.

It's just a reminder that even very good prospects like Pache -- who should develop into an above-average regular -- sometimes have flaws that need to be noted. Dustin May also debuted this season for the Dodgers. May has a quirky aesthetic thanks to a high leg kick, but it's been fair to project him as a mid-rotation starter thanks to his athleticism and a high-grade fastball-curveball combination. May has added a cutter in recent seasons, and that pitch has become his main secondary offering as he's seemingly lost the feel for the curve he used it only 10 percent of the time during his big-league stay.

It's at least possible that the cutter is directly responsible for it -- you'll often hear pitchers warn about throwing too many, since it leads to them getting around the ball rather than behind it -- but we can't say for sure. If May can get the curve back, he'd have three above average or better pitches at his disposal. That, combined with his control, could position him as a No. Predictably, the younger Manning is tall listed at 6-foot-6 and athletic.

He even had enough game on the court to receive a scholarship offer to play college ball. Manning instead chose baseball, but he still concerns himself with the arc he puts on the ball -- at least as it pertains to his signature pitch, a curveball often described as a "hammer. Manning has done well to fill out his frame and improve upon his delivery, with this season seeing him post new single-season bests in innings pitched and walk rate 2.

As with Mize, Manning is likely to debut for Detroit sometime next spring. Mize's injury history suggests Manning might be the safer of the two on a year-to-year basis. Each of the top three prospects in the Oakland system made their big-league debut in Obviously that includes lefty Jesus Luzardo, who the Athletics originally acquired as part of the Sean Doolittle trade. Blake Treinen and Ryan Madson were also involved. Luzardo, 22 since September, remains an availability question mark.

Injuries limited him to 17 appearances in , the second-most of his career. That Luzardo is the shorter side -- he's listed at 6-foot, pounds -- isn't likely to convince anyone he can hold up to the rigors of a normal starter's workload. Yet Luzardo has three above-average average pitches -- a mids fastball, curveball, and changeup -- as well as feel for the craft and for throwing quality strikes.

Those are the kinds of innate characteristics that tend to be present in above-average starters. As such, a healthy Luzardo should break camp in the A's rotation. He's likely to remain there until his body or his paycheck demand otherwise.

Brendan McKay, the No. He was an inning short of the limit -- and, frankly, there was some consideration given to ruling him ineligible since he did make a few appearances as a DH. Indeed, McKay is two-way player who should probably be restricted to the mound. That's where scouts prefer him, and his bat is far enough behind that it's going to be hard to develop him as a hitter without missing out on the value he can provide as a pitcher.

McKay has a three-pitch arsenal: a low-to-mids fastball that generated an absurd amount of in-zone swinging strikes in the minors, a cutter, and a curveball. Each pitch generated at least 20 percent whiffs during his big-league stint, though the opposition mostly right-handers slugged. The Rays had McKay consistently work on five days' rest rather than four, and it's to be seen if they change that heading into He receives high marks for his low heartbeat -- read: calm demeanor -- and the expectation is he'll become a No.

The Braves picked Kyle Wright fifth overall in out of Vanderbilt based in part because he seemed like a quick riser. He had the delivery, the athleticism, the body, the arsenal, the track record against tough competition, and so on. Two full seasons later, Wright is still trying to gain traction in the majors. In 11 appearances, he's yielded six home runs and nearly as many walks 19 as strikeouts As the children might say, major yikes.

To Wright's credit, he pitched well in Triple-A and seemed unbothered by the altered ball. Besides, his big-league exposure is a small sample -- albeit an unkind small sample. Given all the perceived pros in Wright's game, he still has a chance to develop into a mid-rotation starter or a tick better.

If he continues to struggle for much longer, however, don't be surprised if he starts slipping down these lists and the depth chart. The most well known name on the list due to his inclusion in the Chris Sale trade, Michael Kopech made four big-league appearances in He struck out 15 batters in those 14 innings before succumbing to Tommy John surgery that ended his season and wiped out his , too.

Kopech ranks here based on the expectation that he'll make a full recovery from the elbow operation. That means he returns with an elite fastball, two high-quality secondaries and the improved command he showed during the second half of Perhaps Kopech doesn't have all that, at least not right away -- command is said to be the aspect that comes back last -- but for now his upside remains ace-like.

Pearson was in the Fall League because he had missed most of the regular season due to a fractured forearm. His final three starts occurred in Triple-A, where he struck out 15 batters in 18 frames. It's fair to think, then, that Pearson will make his big-league debut in -- potentially early on, too. Pearson obviously possesses a power arsenal, complete with a high-grade fastball and an above-average slider that he can deliver harder than some pitchers' heaters.

The rest of his arsenal is closer to average, but the bigger concern here has to do with his workload. Even including his collegiate days, he's yet to throw as many as innings in a season. Pearson becoming a front-of-the-rotation monster is within the realm of possibilities.

But tempering expectations, at least in the short term, could prove to be a prudent decision. There are soft apocalypses, and then there's whatever happened to the Rockies in , including top prospect Brendan Rodgers. Rodgers, who looked like a safe bet to contribute to the Rockies this season, received his chance over the summer.

He appeared in 25 games after a May debut and hit just. He struck out nearly seven times as often as he walked, and notched all of two extra-base hits in 76 at-bats. He then underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in July. For as bad as things went for Rodgers, it's still a small sample. Mike Trout hit. Rodgers isn't going to become Trout, and to be certain he needs to make adjustments to his game -- particularly with his approach, as he was far too vulnerable against bendy stuff.

But, if you were mostly on board with what he appeared to be entering the year -- that is, in so many words, a free-swinging second baseman with pop -- then you should give him a longer look. After all, underperforming expectations seemed to be the theme of the year in Colorado.

The only player in the Nationals' top five to reach the majors in , Carter Kieboom had a forgettable game stint early in the spring during which he nearly recorded twice more strikeouts 16 than times on base nine. The good news for Kieboom is multifaceted. It was just 11 games, after all, and he fared well in Triple-A, where he hit. Tools-wise, Kieboom still profiles as a potential regular thanks to his bat and strong throwing arm, both of which grade as at least above-average, if not better.

Even with the strong arm, Kieboom is not likely to remain at shortstop for much longer -- Washington had him play a lot of second base in the minors this season, and that seems like his likeliest landing spot. Presuming Kieboom fares better heading forward, he could check in as a two-way contributor at the keystone as soon as next season. Mitch Keller just qualified for this list, as he nearly topped the inning threshold.

What he did during his big-league stay was He posted strong underlying peripherals -- his strikeout-to-walk ratio was outstanding -- but he also permitted a lot of hits. Keller's fastball is supposed to be his best pitch due to its combination of mids velocity and rise the only qualified right-handed starters with greater relative vertical movement on their heaters are Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole.

Yet his command, along with some potentially suboptimal sequencing, led to a. A less surprising, if no more promising development saw Keller record minimal whiffs on his changeup -- the laggard in his arsenal. If there is a bright side, it's that he did establish a third pitch to go with his fastball and curve: an uppers slider that missed bats at a higher rate than either of his other pitches.

If and how he can leverage those three offerings against left-handed batters will go a long way in determining if he's able to become more than a No. Some of you may have read those preceding paragraphs and made a mental note that Keller is clearly going to be an Astro someday based on his strengths and weaknesses. Alex Kirilloff will play all of the season as a year-old.

It's possible that by the end of the year, he'll also identify as a big-league outfielder. Kirilloff was the 15th pick in draft. He had his development delayed after undergoing Tommy John surgery that wiped out his A big landed him in Double-A to begin the season, and that's where he spent the entire year, hitting. Kirilloff has an unorthodox swing, as he's prone to stepping in the bucket -- or striding away from the plate.

This is often frowned upon, since it theoretically makes it tougher to hit outside pitches, but some batters -- e. Khris Davis -- have made it work. Kirilloff might be the next thanks to his feel for hitting and the natural loft in his swing. Provided Kirilloff keeps hitting, the development worth watching here is where the Twins stick him defensively. They've had him crosstrain between first base and the corner outfield, and it's possible that he could ping pong back and forth as needed, giving him a little additional value.

The No. Lewis hit. To be fair, it was the pitcher-friendly Florida State League. He was pushed to Double-A in late July, and he responded by Lewis did play better in the Arizona Fall League, which, hey, take the victories you can. The hope here is that Lewis can figure out what ailed his swing and get back to his old offensive standing over the course of the season -- a standing that made it OK that he might not remain at shortstop for the long haul, but might instead land in center field.

If not Given his pedigree, he's worth permitting the mulligan. Dylan Carlson, the 33rd pick in the draft, positioned himself for a callup thanks to a strong season that saw him hit. Carlson is a well-rounded switch hitter who was better as a lefty in He was better as a righty in , so it doesn't appear to be part of a bigger trend.

He cut into his ground ball rate this season, presumably in pursuit of better leveraging his raw strength. It worked, as he posted the highest ISO of his professional career despite playing in the upper-minors. As it stands, Carlson projects to hit for average and power while also drawing a lot of walks. There's perhaps a chance he sacrifices more of his hit tool for additional power or vice versa , but that's to be seen.

Add up the entire package, and it's easy to envision him being a productive everyday member of a good lineup. Defensively, Carlson has an above-average arm and should be fine in right. He's already listed at 6-foot-3, pounds so there's a chance he someday outgrows the position.

For now, he's the Cardinals prospect likeliest to start important games for them in The sixth pick in the draft, southpaw A. Puk took a touch longer than expected to crack the major-league roster. Puk was viewed as the rotation's potential savior entering the season, yet missed the year due to Tommy John surgery. The A's took it slow and low with him in his return this season, limiting him to 28 games and 36 innings between the minors and majors, including 10 such appearances as part of the club's late-season bullpen.

During that big-league cameo, Puk relied heavily on his two best pitches: an uppers fastball and a swing-and-miss slider. Both of those offerings are plus or better. The rest of his arsenal -- he throws a mph changeup and a curveball -- didn't receive as much praise, and he struggles with command the way more tall pitchers do he's 6-foot There's a chance Puk becomes a No.

There's also a chance he's more of an inconsistent mid-rotation type, or even a shutdown reliever. The A's figure to give him every opportunity to become one of the first two, beginning early in Teenage third baseman Nolan Gorman reached High-A in his first full professional season, and his performance there highlighted some of the concerns about his game.

Gorman has well-above-average power and the chance to stick at third base for at least the start of his big-league career. The catch is that he's likely to strike out -- a lot. To wit, he fanned in nearly a third of his plate appearances following his promotion to High-A. He also saw his walk rate and ISO dip though he remained an above-average hitter overall. You probably don't need to be told why Gorman's profile is risky, so let's just be clear about something: He's still a high-quality prospect due to his age, his loud tool, and his makeup.

There's absolutely downside here, too -- either that Gorman doesn't make enough contact to maximize his pop, or that his defense at the hot corner forces him elsewhere -- but there's middle-of-the-order upside that shouldn't be discarded just because of his variability. Andrew Vaughn the player is straightforward. He's a relentless worker who turned himself into arguably the best hitter in college baseball -- seriously, he hit. There's a fair chance he'll be batting in the top four of a big-league lineup in 12 to 16 months' time, after which he should be a well-rounded, above-average hitter.

Vaughn the idea is less straightforward. He's an ex-collegiate first baseman who bats righty, stands under six feet, and was drafted No. The track record of similar players isn't very good, to the extent that there was some thought about trying him at third base.

The White Sox don't seem too interested in that idea, having played him exclusively at the cold corner. It's probably for the best, since Vaughn's best position is and always will be in the batter's box. Vaughn hit. He might begin the year at Double-A with an outside shot at debuting as Jose Abreu 's heir late in the season. He's small and unlikely to offer much power, yet he's a good defensive second baseman with absurd bat-to-ball skills who "runs like a [mother's intimate friend]," in the words of one source.

Madrigal has walked 30 more times than he's struck out in his career, which is impressive considering he's fanned all of 21 times -- or in less than three percent of his trips to the plate. For reference, no qualified hitter in the majors has struck out less than nine percent of the time this year. In fact, just 13 batters have checked in since the last round of expansion with more than plate appearances and a K rate below five percent.

The last person to do it was Jeff Keppinger, back in The lowest since is 5. Madrigal has, perhaps predictably, moved quickly through the system. He reached Triple-A for a game stretch this season, hitting. Interestingly, he pulled the ball far more often than he had previously as a professional, when he'd been primarily an opposite-field hitter. He'll need to do both heading forward -- and his ability to do so could help him win a batting title some day.

A profile this unusual is either going to sink or swim. Here's hoping Madrigal swims -- Lord knows baseball can always benefit from something or someone a little different. The Phillies' second-round pick in , Spencer Howard may have reached the majors this season were it not for shoulder trouble that cost him two months of the summer.

Howard ended up getting to Double-A for his final six starts. In those outings, he averaged five innings per pop while permitting 20 hits, eight earned runs, and nine walks. He struck out 38 batters and limited the opposition to a. In other words, he's going to reach the majors sometime in -- potentially sometime early on, if his health allows. Howard has the chance to be an above-average big-league starter thanks to a well-rounded arsenal that includes a high-quality fastball and slider, as well as a changeup and curve.

He's yet to top innings, so it'll be interesting to see how the Phillies manage his workload. When Vanderbilt outfielder JJ Bleday was picked fourth overall by the Marlins in June's draft, he became the third Commodore hitter to ever go in the top five, joining Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson No.

Based on Bleday's pedigree and collegiate performance -- he hit. He didn't, instead posting a. Scouts aren't ready to forget about Bleday -- rather, they maintain hope that he develops into a middle-of-the-order hitter who marries a smart approach with above-average left-handed thump -- but there is some reason for concern here as it pertains to his unorthodox swing. Typically scouts like quietness at the dish; Bleday's swing features a lot of movement, a lot of reverb. He also tends to collapse his back side, leading at least one talent evaluator to question how he'll fare against better pitchers who can spam him away with soft stuff.

It's to be seen if that anxiety is merited. For now, Bleday remains the safest quantity here. The third pick in the draft, Ian Anderson should make his big-league debut in Anderson has the makings of a mid-rotation starter or better. He has the size, the delivery, the arsenal -- all three pitches have above-average potential. What he doesn't have is the command. Anderson has walked four batters per nine throughout his minor-league career, including 4.

Put another way, his Obviously Anderson has more bat-missing ability than Hudson, perhaps making his situation more comparable to the Robbie Rays and Luis Castillos of the league. But it's asking a lot from any pitcher to require a top strikeout rate to overcome their wildness. Anderson won't turn 22 until May, so he has time to improve his command. Perhaps he'll be the next to pull a Michael Kopech? Sorry Pirates fans, but it must be noted that Shane Baz was yet another piece of the Chris Archer return, alongside outfielder Austin Meadows and fellow starter Tyler Glasnow.

Baz, who turned 20 in June, spent the season in A-ball and showed why he's the most intriguing right-handed prospect in the system. He struck out 87 batters in 81 innings thanks to a broad arsenal that includes multiple above-average offerings, beginning with his fastball and extending to various breaking balls.

His changeup still lags, which explains why left-handers were able to succeed against him to the tune of, um Baz's delivery does inspire concern about his command, and he set a new career-best by walking just over four batters per nine.

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