Outfield speed and athleticism and hard throwing relievers highlight this installment of the 2019 top prospects list.
As a reminder, the individual rankings reflect my preference of one similarly graded player over another. Grades are done via the 20-80 scouting scale, where 45 represents average for me.
Players are grouped in tiers by their overall grade, meaning that I see the players with this grade to hold roughly the same value as prospects. The overall grade is my grade as a prospect, not necessarily the future grade I give the player in the major leagues. That number can be found in the ceiling column, where I give a realistic best case estimate to where I see a player’s talent might take him. The risk score defines the likelihood of a player gaining a meaningful footing in the major leagues (or beyond a cup of coffee-esque trip).
30. Omar Estevez
Estevez has kicked around the in the 45 grade tier for a few years, finally cracking the 50 grade tier in 2019. While he’s been pretty popular in other lists for a while, his tangible improvements at the plate in 2018 can now pair with his youthfulness to make a worthwhile prospect.
Always a solid contact hitter, Estevez began to add pop to his game by pulling and elevating the ball more in 2018. Estevez has good bat speed and plane and average power potential in his compact frame. He’s filled out some since entering the organization but shouldn’t be seen as a big physical growth potential type.
The Dodgers have shifted Estevez to shortstop more these past two seasons, which elevates his profile. He’s a good but not great athlete, and his best fit will likely be as a utility fielder with average up the middle pop.
Estevez will just be 21 in April and after two seasons in the California League, could be challenged by a bump to Tulsa. Given his incremental but not drastic growth over the last two seasons, I’m still tepid on Estevez’s ceiling and closeness to the major leagues. Additionally, he will face challenges for playing time up the middle as the system has gotten more crowded there over the past year.
You can never count out a player so young making a dramatic improvement in terms of skills and tools, but Estevez doesn’t fit the typical profile of a raw toolsy athlete. He’s solid across the board and did show enough improvement to think he could reach a ceiling of multiposition reserve or even second division starter with more game pop.
29. Donovan Casey
A mid-season injury prevented Casey from generating much positive momentum into 2019, but he remains one of the toolsier athletes in the organization. Seen as a solid draft prospect as both a pitcher and outfielder, Casey’s twitchy athleticism allowed him to make the jump to High A in his first full pro season.
Casey’s strong arm on the mound also plays well in the outfield, where he could be an above average to plus defender in a corner. He has above average speed that hasn’t shown up much yet on the basepaths but could help him handle all three outfield positions.
Casey could use a little more fluidity at the plate, with a stiff upper body and fairly level, inflexible swing path. He is currently an all fields hitter but puts the ball on the ground far too often to uplift his average and power numbers. He has room for added strength on his slender frame and still upside as a hitter given his recent conversion to full time hitter and no longer splitting development time on the mound.
Because he jumped so early to High A, Casey can afford to repeat the level early on in 2019. He has the upside of a starting caliber center fielder with decent on base skills and fringe average pop, but could also settle in as a fourth outfielder with solid defensive tools across the board. The Dodgers and Casey will also hope for a healthier 2019, preventing Casey from losing any more development time.
28. Brayan Morales
Like Casey, a mid-season injury knocked back Morales’ forward momentum and came at a time when he might have been ready for a move to High A. Morales sets himself apart from other outfield prospects in the system with his game changing speed and willingness to use it in games, swiping 46 bags in 86 games in 2018.
Morales’ speed first approach and lithe build might suggest a slap hitting profile, but he prefers pulling the ball to the right side and knows how to elevate. He lacks strength though for significant pop and has just three home runs in his pro career. Morales’ biggest issue at the plate is strikeouts, with rates in the upper 20’s preventing him from taking advantage of his speed influencing his hit outcome on balls in play. Morales isn’t without discipline, but has a few timing issues in his swing, most notably a fairly long load that could prevent him from catching up with firm fastballs.
Morales plus plus speed should allow him to play a quality center field, and he has a knack for the highlight reel play. A combination of speed and range is a good carrying tool to move him up the ladder, and if he can’t consistently make contact, could still find a big league role as a speed and defense bench bat.
Morales is a little old for a prospect that will be moving up to High A for the first time, and he isn’t as projectable as his peers. He makes the 50 grade tier on one elite tool, but I do believe a couple of swing adjustments could make him a solid leadoff prospect at the upper levels with second division starter qualities.
27. Yadier Alvarez
While he’s had a fall from grace on prospect lists, Alvarez will still linger around the 50 grade tier because his arm strength and slider still have elite qualities. However, his mechanics and command completely abandoned him during the 2018 season and have made him a reclamation project for 2019.
When right, Alvarez has arguably the system’s best slider. It’s a power breaker that flirts with 90 mph that he actually commanded well in 2017. He can reach the upper 90’s with his fastball but given the track of the pitch (slight cut) it lacks deception and good hitters could catch up to it.
The problem for Alvarez is that it rarely went right for him last season. Alvarez completely lost command of his fastball and needed a bump back to short season to clean up his delivery. His return to the Tulsa pen produced uneven results, and lingering questions about immaturity grew louder.
Even if Los Angeles can restore him to just average fastball command with his hittable, cut action, he could still make a career in the pen with an easy plus swing and miss slider. The days of hoping for a hard throwing number two are over, as is the chance the Dodgers recoup equal value return on the investment they made on Alvarez out of Cuba. Still, he has a chance to reach the major leagues in middle relief, and if he survives his first go-round in the league, could craft himself into a solid seventh inning set-up arm.
26. Stetson Allie
Despite being the oldest prospect in the Top 30, Allie only recently climbed this high on the list and has made himself a darkhorse candidate for a meaningful bullpen role in 2019. Allie has one of the strongest arms in the organization, and just enough command to post gaudy strikeout numbers despite higher-than-you’d-like walk totals. Though not yet on the 40 man roster, Allie could force his way into the equation with a strong spring, and better results from his breaking ball and command could see him as a permanent fixture at the back of the pen.
Allie may be DJ Peters only rival in physically imposing appearance in the system. He’s powerfully built and puts that strength to use with a fastball at the top velocity band. Allie’s arm is quick and generates some riding life on his fastball. His command of the pitch is just average but explodes on right handers and can be tough to pick up.
Allie’s slider is thrown quite hard and at times looks more like a cutter in appearance. He could use more depth to break to separate it from his fastball, but can still generate swings and misses with the pitch. He will on occasion tip the pitch by dropping his release slightly from his normal high ¾ slot.
Stetson has bounced between pitching and hitting for much of his professional career, but has only begun making inroads in pitching over the last two season, so some upside still exists. With Joe Kelly signed, Pedro Baez back, and more high quality starting pitchers than rotation slots available, the Dodgers aren’t pressing to break someone into the back of the bullpen, but Allie could force his way in at some point in 2019. Few arms on the big league roster have his physical gifts, it just comes down to consistency and opportunity.
*author’s note* Leaving the prospect list this week is Chase Anderson, who announced his retirement this off-season. The list, however, remains at 104 because the previous list had erroneously omitted Adam McCreedy, who can be found at #36.
2019 Top Prospect List 26-104
|26||Stetson Allie||RHRP||28.01||AAA||50||40||50||power arm, chance for ++ FB, tight SL||age, still raw on mound, inconsistent command|
|27||Yadier Alvarez||RHRP||23.01||AA||50||35||55||swing and miss SL, consistently + velo, loose arm||poor command, FB doesn't miss bats, maturity|
|28||Brayan Morales||CF||23.04||LoA||50||40||50||good athlete, + to ++ speed, chance for + D||inconsistent hit tool, thin build, swing and miss|
|29||Donovan Casey||LF/RF/CF||23.01||HiA||50||40||50||twitchy athlete, bat speed, still upside||batted ball profile, still raw at plate, power pot|
|30||Omar Estevez||SS/2B||21.01||HiA||50||40||50||improved bip profile, good pop for 2B, swing plane||some swing and miss concern, low dev. path|
|31||Marshall Kasowski||RHRP||24.01||AA||45||45||50||big K production, chance for + FB and CV||relief prospect, atypical delivery, age for level|
|32||Jared Walker||3B/1B||23.02||HiA||45||40||55||+ game power, good athlete for size, '18 production||still swing and miss ?, defensive home|
|33||Carlos Rincon||RF||21.06||HiA||45||35||60||big raw power, physical upside, bat speed||pretty raw offensively, serious swing and miss|
|34||Jacob Amaya||SS/2B||20.07||SS||45||40||55||excellent plate approach, developing feel for hit||? on overall power potential, distance from majors|
|35||Kyle Garlick||LF/RF||27.02||AAA||45||45||50||productive, developing above avg game pop||4th outfielder profile, age, fringe speed|
|36||Adam McCreery||LHRP||26.03||MLB||45||45||50||heavy SNK from high slot, tough 1-7 CV, K potential||age, command issues, likely middle relief|
|37||Jordan Sheffield||RHRP||23.10||HiA||45||40||55||flashes + FB and sharp downer BB in short stints||pro production, likely relief only at this point|
|38||Deacon Liput||SS/2B||22.09||LoA||45||45||50||good defensive actions, athleticism, some pop, hit||likely utility ceiling, uneven college production|
|39||Darien Nunez||LHRP||26.00||LoA||45||45||50||good K production, lively FB and downer BB||older signee, likely middle relief prospect|
|40||Guillermo Zuniga||RHSP/RP||20.05||ROK||45||40||55||quick arm, good present velo, chance for + CH, SNK||SL flashes fringe, profile poss. relief|
|41||Logan Salow||LHRP||24.06||HiA||45||45||50||good pitchability, K potential, tight SL||FB velo can be fringe for relief, age for level|
|42||Braydon Fisher||RHSP||18.08||ROK||45||35||55||athletic and projectable, good run and sink on FB, CH||inconsistent mechanics, some effort, still raw|
|43||Starling Heredia||LF/RF||20.02||LoA||45||35||55||strong build, big raw power, decent upside||serious swing and miss, bat speed concerns|
|44||Melvin Jimenez||RHRP||19.08||LoA||45||35||55||good arm strength, projectable, chance for + SNK||long arm action, command ?, likely reliever|
|45||Errol Robinson||SS||24.06||AA||45||45||45||smooth infield actions, throwing arm, solid athlete||? on overall offensive ceiling, limited power|
|46||Zach Willeman||RHRP||23.00||LoA||45||40||50||good arm strength, repeatable delivery, K potential||likely reliever only, longer injury history|
|47||Zach Reks||LF/RF||25.05||AA||45||45||45||good feel for hit, production, high floor||age for level, more 4th OF profile|
|48||Jake Peter||2B/SS||25.11||AAA||45||45||45||fluid LH swing, arm strength, versatile||utility/bench upside, ? on overall pop|
|49||Edwin Uceta||RHSP||21.03||HiA||45||40||50||loose and fluid athlete, good pitchability for age||smallish build, avg career production, ceiling|
|50||Wills Montgomerie||RHSP/RP||23.10||HiA||45||40||50||spin rate, durable build, flashes + velo and CV||still struggling w/ command, likely reliever|
|51||Daniel Corcino||RHRP||28.07||AAA||45||45||45||above avg FB and SL combo, solid command||middle relief upside, age, no + offering|
|52||Yaisel Sierra||RHRP||27.10||AAA||45||40||50||good velo, SL will flash +, quick arm||command, incon. release, FB can be straight|
|53||Jesen Therrien||RHRP||26.00||AAA||45||45||45||SL flashes +, good command and K production||TJ wiped out '18. middle relief/ROOGY upside|
|54||Michael Boyle||LHRP||24.11||AA||45||45||45||solid pitchability, velo ticking up, developing SL||avg production, stuff profiles better in short relief|
|55||Bryan Warzek||LHSP/RP||22.02||LoA||45||40||50||huge K production, good action on the FB, compete||not projectable, might fit best in relief role|
|56||Leo Crawford||LHSP||22.02||HiA||45||40||50||solid production, command of 3 pitch mix||fringe velo, not as projectable, likely back end|
|57||Romer Cuadrado||RF/CF||21.07||LoA||45||35||55||good athlete for his size, chance for plus power||huge swing and miss concerns, too raw|
|58||Drew Finley||RHSP/RP||22.09||SS||45||40||50||good spin rate, chance for + CU, still upside||poor production as pro, fringe velo, command|
|59||John Rooney||LHSP/RP||22.02||LoA||45||45||45||excellent college production, size, 3 pitch mix||no outright + pitch, late rotation or mid relief upside|
|60||Justin Yurchak||1B||22.06||LoA||45||40||50||excellent plate approach, smooth LH swing||defensive home, ? on power ceiling, upside|
|61||Ryan Moseley||RHRP||24.06||HiA||45||40||50||chance for ++ snk, big groundball potential||command and walk rate, middle relief ceiling|
|62||Jesus Vargas||RHSP/RP||20.07||SS||45||40||50||chance for + FB, tight SL, solid command, upside||3rd pitch underdeveloped, still raw, injury in '18|
|63||Max Gamboa||RHSP||23.04||HiA||45||40||50||excellent arm strength, + to ++ velo, good frame||production does not match stuff, incon. SL|
|64||Shea Spitzbarth||RHRP||24.06||AA||45||45||45||agressive mound demeanor, arm strength, CV||middle relief upside, maxed out frame, size|
|65||Andre Scrubb||RHRP||24.03||AA||45||40||50||deceptive, solid K production, CV flashes above avg||likely middle relief upside, command wavers|
|66||Layne Somsen||RHRP||29.10||AA||45||45||45||tough overhead BB, production, athletic||limited mid relief ceiling, age, avg FB velo|
|67||James Outman||CF/RF||21.11||SS||45||40||50||good size, athletic and defensive rep, chance for + pop||raw for a collegian, swing and miss concerns|
|68||Nolan Long||RHRP||25.02||AA||45||45||45||improving K production, flashes + SL, big frame||middle relief upside, velocity generally avg|
|69||Alfredo Tavarez||RHRP||21.04||LoA||45||35||50||king sized frame, arm strength, K potential||still raw mechanically, repeating arm slot, command|
|70||Andre Jackson||RHSP/RP||22.11||LoA||45||35||50||solid athlete, flashes + FB and CH, upside||poor command, SL can flatten, poss. reliever|
|71||Marcus Chiu||2B/3B||22.03||SS||45||35||50||good athlete, still projectable, above avg pop||power over hit profile, ultimate defensive home|
|72||Jefrey Souffront||2B/3B||21.10||SS||45||40||45||some feel for hit, quick bat, mature plate approach||distance from the majors, build not projectable|
|73||Jose Chacin||RHSP||22.00||LoA||45||35||50||projectable frame, tight SL, mid rotation upside||present FB avg to fringe, K potential|
|74||Riley Ottesen||RHSP/RP||24.05||ROK||45||35||50||good velo, will flash + SL, arm speed||poor production, serious command issues|
|75||Hunter Feduccia||C||21.10||LoA||45||40||45||good feel for hit and plate approach, bat plane||little on field action due to injury, upside|
|76||Zach McKinstry||3B/2B/SS||23.11||AA||45||40||45||pretty swing, good defensive versatility, some pop||fringe/utility ceiling, age for level, not projectable|
|77||Jose Martinez||RHSP||19.11||ROK||45||35||50||smooth delivery, advanced feel for age, command||not as projectable as peers, distance from majors|
|78||Leonel Valera||3B/SS||19.09||SS||45||35||50||solid bat speed, decent loft in swing, loose athlete||lithe build, distance from majors, power ceiling|
|79||Niko Hulsizer||LF/RF||22.02||SS||45||35||50||big raw power, production, good size||? on overall hit tool, some swing and miss concern|
|80||Sauryn Lao||3B/1B||19.08||ROK||45||35||50||good bat speed, solid frame, power potential||slower to develop, ? on defensive home|
|81||Devin Mann||2B/3B/SS||22.02||LoA||40||40||50||solid athlete, good plate approach, chance for avg pop||defensive home, bat speed ?, poss. utility upside|
|82||Josh McLain||CF||22.06||LoA||40||45||45||excelent bat to ball skills, solid defensive rep||little power production, 4th OF upside|
|83||Gregorio Sequera||RHRP||21.04||SS||40||40||50||arm strength, some feel for spin, 3 pitches||age for level, likely reliever, command|
|84||Chris Mathewson||RHSP/RP||23.10||HiA||40||40||45||SNK/SL mix, developing K production, command||back of rotation, middle relief upside, fringe velo|
|85||Joe Broussard||RHRP||29.05||AAA||40||40||45||solid production, flashes tight SL, durable frame||limited upside, velo fringe to avg|
|86||Stephen Kolek||RHRP||21.11||LoA||40||40||45||durable build, four pitch mix, some arm strength||long relief or swingman profile, avg college prod.|
|87||Parker Curry||RHSP||25.04||HiA||40||40||45||solid career production, good command, competitive||no true plus offering, low rotation ceiling|
|88||Nathan Witt||RHRP||22.11||ROK||40||35||50||good build, projectable, arm strength||project arm, distance from majors, relief upside|
|89||Luke Heyer||2B/3B||22.06||LoA||40||40||45||college production, chance for above avg pop, strong||avg athlete, ? on defensive home, bat speed|
|90||Mike Ahmed||3B/SS/1B||27.02||AA||40||40||45||productive in '16, swing plane, avg pop||bat speed, age, limited upside|
|91||Rolando Lebron||CF/RF||20.11||ROK||40||40||45||twitchy, good feel for hit, bat speed||undersized, old for level, lower upside than peers|
|92||Brandon Montgomery||SS/2B/CF||23.02||HiA||40||40||45||solid bat to ball skills, High A production, utility||limited ceiling, poss. 4A player, age for level|
|93||Dillon Paulson||1B||21.10||SS||40||40||45||chance for above avg pop, strong build||bat speed ?, overall hit tool and ceiling|
|94||Albert Suarez||SS/2B||19.04||ROK||40||35||50||fluid athlete, some projectability, rep for D||modest production, distance from bigs, ceiling ?|
|95||Jair Camargo||C||19.09||ROK||40||40||45||some defensive potential, has flashing hitting acumen||not as projectable, did not take step forward in '18|
|96||Jeremy Arocho||2B||20.06||SS||40||40||45||good feel for hit, barrel control, decent athlete||limited ceiling, ? on power potential|
|97||Logan Landon||CF/LF/RF||26.01||AA||40||40||45||good athlete, playing speed, some feel for hit||not projectable, age, low ceiling, 4th OF type|
|98||Jacob Gilliland||RHSP/RP||19.02||ROK||40||35||50||quick arm, chance for above avg FB and CH||poor command, CV can be fringy, raw|
|99||Daniel Robinson||LF||22.05||SS||40||40||45||solid feel for hit, all fields approach, productive||limited ceiling, 4th OF profile, power ceiling ?|
|100||Moises Perez||2B||21.08||LoA||40||40||45||loose athlete, some feel for hit||offensive ceiling, lower on defensive spectrum|
|101||Yeison Cespedes||RHRP||21.01||SS||40||35||50||quick arm, good sink on FB, tight SL||a little behind on age curve, likely relief only|
|102||Juan Morillo||RHSP/RP||20.00||ROK||40||35||50||projectable build, loose arm, solid K production||distance from majors, command, still raw|
|103||Jerming Rosario||RHSP||16.11||NA||40||30||50||projectable, athletic, arm speed, dev. 3 pitch mix||very raw, effort in delivery, inconsistent release|
|104||Ismael Alcantara||RF||20.06||ROK||40||30||50||good build, athletic, leverage in swing, power potential||old for level, ? on overall hit tool, distance from bigs|