2016 RotoRob Top 75 MLB Prospects, Part VI
Welcome back to the 2016 RotoRob MLB Draft Kit as we continue to count down our Top 75 Prospects. So while you recover from the old school Texas-Toronto basebrawl, let’s review prospects 20 through 11.
For previous prospects:
20. Raul Mondesi, SS, Kansas City Royals (33): Mondesi has risen significantly this year after he continued to flash some interesting extra-base sock at Double-A. This year, back at Double-A, his pop was even more impressive and he was producing (see video below) before a 50-game PED suspension stopped him in his tracks. He’ll be eligible to return for the postseason and while this will stunt his growth to an extent, we’re still very bullish about this kid’s future.
19. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates (29): Meadows also made a nice move up the rankings this year after enjoying a speed breakout at High-A and then averaging nearly a run per game in a brief trial at Double-A. He’s a .304 career hitter through nearly 1,000 minor league at-bats and has untapped power potential. Meadows is struggling at Double-A this year, but is slowly coming around and we have no doubt he’ll figure it out very soon once his batting eye returns to the levels he showed at High-A.
18. Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland Athletics (NR): Barreto, the first newcomer in this section of the rankings, surged into our Fantasy consciousness thanks to piling up the runs and flashing developing power at High-A — despite being just 19 last year. He missed some time with injuries and will need to address his walk rate, but in time he may wind up being the gem of the Josh Donaldson trade for the A’s. Barreto has some mechanical issues to tighten up, and it’s clear the jump to Double-A this year has been tough so far given his middling total base numbers. But let’s again remember that this Venezuelan native just turned 20 in February and he’s already a stone’s throw from the bigs. Barreto is raw, but brimming with potential.
17. Jose Berrios, SP, Minnesota Twins (26): Berrios consolidated his strong 2014 campaign with another stellar effort last year to shoot into the top 20 of our rankings this season. He was a bulldog at Double-A, hitting fewer batters, before moving to Triple-A, where he continued to pile up quality innings. All told, Berrios put up a splendid record, while setting new full-season career bests in Ks and WHIP. He’s only lost 20 games in parts of five minor league seasons and after a dominant start at Triple-A this year, he got the call to the Twins, for whom he was hit hard in the early going and recently returned to the minors. Have no doubt; this righty will be back soon enough, so stay the course as he’s a phenomenal keeper league asset.
16. Dansby Swanson, SS, Atlanta Braves (NR): So far, the first overall pick in the 2015 draft has proved he was worth the hype, racking up the total bases in Low-A last year before getting dealt to the Braves in the offseason. Swanson was moved up to High-A this year, and continued his productive ways, forcing a promotion to Double-A, where the productivity has continued and he’s been piling up the runs. He’s a polished and advanced hitter that won’t be long for the minors — especially with the Braves’ current middle infield hardly looking like it can hold off a mid-level prospect, never mind a top-tier one.
15. Aaron Judge, OF, New York Yankees (58): Judge decidedly soared up our rankings this year, making one of the biggest moves of any prospect after he improved his contact rate at Double-A and then continued to rack up the total bases at Triple-A (albeit, with a more modest slash line). He’s cut his strikeout rate even further at Triple-A this season, prompting us to recommend him as a waiver wire pickup based on Aaron Hick’s injury status. If Judge can keep the Ks to a minimum, he’s going to be a major star.
14. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies (NR): Another of the new shortstops on our list this year, Rodgers was taken third overall in last year’s draft. While many already consider him to be a top 10 prospect, we’re not quite ready to go that far (although you can bet we will next year if he continues his current trajectory). Last year, Rodgers made a fine pro debut, racking up plenty of total bases at Rookie Ball. The Rox aggressively moved him up to full-season ball this year and he’s responding brilliantly, averaging nearly a run per game as he gains valuable pro experience. Now that Trevor Story has emerged in Colorado, there’s no need to rush Rodgers, but if he keeps punishing the ball, the team will have no choice but to advance him soon.
13. Alex Reyes, SP, St. Louis Cardinals (NR): The highest ranked new pitcher on our list this year, Reyes didn’t exactly rack up the wins last year, but he was ridiculously tough to hit while averaging nearly a strikeout and a half per inning over three levels. Yes, you read that right — he fanned 151 batters in 101 1/3 IP. Reyes was sent to the AFL, where he got nailed with a 50-game suspension for smoking pot, but he’s now ready to return and will start the season at Triple-A. The way the Cards’ rotation has been struggling, it’s highly likely he’ll make his way to St. Louis sooner rather than later.
12. Trea Turner, SS, Washington Nationals (NR): And the young shortstops just keep coming. Turner, the 13th overall pick in the 2014 draft, was dealt to the Nats midway through the 2015 season, a campaign in which he established himself as a future star by showing superb on-base skills between two Double-A teams and Triple-A. He’s slightly improved his fielding percentage this year, but continues to make too many errors, so that’s something to keep an eye on. Still, his bat will play anywhere. Back at Triple-A this season, Turner is averaging nearly a run per game while racking up tons of hits and flashing tremendous base stealing skills (he’s 15-for-15 through the first 40 games of the season).
11. Orlando Arcia, SS, Milwaukee Brewers (NR): What was that we were saying about shortstops? This position is clearly heading into a golden era with yet another budding star in Arcia on the way. This tender-aged Venezuelan is striking out a tad more at Triple-A this year, but his contact rate is very strong. Arcia’s walk rate dipped at Double-A last year and has continued to slide this season, so that’s an area of concern — especially considering what a weapon he is on the basepaths. He’s been on the prospect periphery for some time now, but last year’s showing really elevated him to elite status. If Arcia gets his strike zone judgment back to where it was two or three years ago, look out.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below which prospects you’re tracking this season.
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