A couple of weeks ago, I profiled the prospects that graduated from our Consensus Top 100. That is inarguably the easiest aspect of re-evaluating prospect lists, even if there is a bit of wiggle room in determining whether or not a player is on-pace to graduate. This time around, I will delve into those prospects who have underachieved relative to our expectations. I was initially going to label these players as ‘fallers,’ or something of that nature - but it is still early enough that a big-time turnaround is possible. Moreover, we will likely offer a mid-season update to the list, and we wouldn’t want to spoil anything too far in advance.
In the spirit of offering new and exciting content, I am going to avoid those players that have or will be graduating. And, as was the case last time around, I will work in the tiered order of the original list. Without further ado:
11. Rafael Devers, 3B, Red Sox - .227/.299/.336, 21 R, 4 HR, 28 RBI, 7 SB (244 PA)
Devers is the third-youngest position player in the Carolina League, and he is walking (9.4%) and striking out (16.8%) at better than average rates - so it isn’t all bad. That being said, he has been unable to make consistent, hard contact this season, beating the ball into the ground and failing to tap into his considerable raw power. Devers has started to show signs of life, though, batting .348/.400/.435 in June as of this writing - even so, the lack of power is evident as he has just 3 XBH (two doubles and a triple) in 50 PA).
14. Jose Berrios, SP, Twins - 47.2 IP, 38 H, 20 BB, 51 K, 3.59 ERA, 1.22 WHIP
The inclusion of Berrios may seem a bit unfair, as he hasn’t been downright bad in Triple-A on the whole. He has, however, struggled with his command and control in the minors, and his stuff appears to be down a tick across the board. Moreover, he has been battered in four Major League starts, to the tune of a 10.20 ERA in four starts (15 IP). Berrios has also struggled since being sent back down to Rochester, with a 4.99 ERA in 30.2 IP. I do wonder if he is hurt, or if we were a bit too hasty in lavishing such a high ranking.
26. Aaron Judge, OF, Yankees - .247/.326/.413, 34 R, 9 HR, 33 RBI, 3 SB (267 PA)
In 2015, Judge batted .224/.308/.373 in 260 PA at Triple-A. His numbers have improved across the board in 2016, with the exception of his walk rate (which remains above-average), but he has not looked the part of the 17th ranked position player prospect in the game - which is where he placed on our list. To be fair, he did hit .287/.319/.460 in April, and is currently batting .318/.455/.523 in June, so the upside is still clearly there. We simply can’t pretend that his .598 OPS in May didn't happen, though, as consistency will be the key for Judge going forward.
28. Lewis Brinson, OF, Rangers - .219/.273/.417, 30 R, 7 HR, 30 RBI, 8 SB (210 PA)
Brinson was a bit of a helium prospect last season, getting the most out of his considerable tools after struggling mightily at times in 2013 and 2014. His hit tool has always lagged behind the others, leading to high strikeout rates and a largely inconsistent approach, and that has been on display in 2016. He is hitting for more power as the season wears on, but he’s making less contact, as well - he’s batting .200/.255/.415 since the end of April, and .192/.241/.538 in June.
35. Franklin Barreto, SS, A’s - .229/.288/.339, 27 R, 5 HR, 21 RBI, 14 SB (257 PA)
Like Devers, Barreto is among the youngest players in his league - he's the second-youngest position player in the Double-A Texas League, in fact. The 20-year-old has average or better tools across the board (in the traditional five tools sense), but he is overly aggressive at times, leading to poor contact and too many whiffs. The A's have promoted him aggressively, and this is his first real hiccup.
46. Ryan McMahon, 3B, Rockies - .232/.330/.351, 22 R, 2 HR, 30 RBI, 7 SB (232 PA)
In his first three professional seasons, McMahon dominated each level as he climbed the ladder. He hit, he hit for power, and he walked at an above-average rate, while also playing solid defense at the hot corner. This season, however, his power has all but evaporated, and he has had a great deal of difficulty adjusting to higher-end breaking stuff. McMahon’s bat did come alive a bit in May (.279/.379/.453), but his production has sagged once more in June (.200/.333/.257).
58. Dillon Tate, SP, Rangers - 35.1 IP, 42 H, 12 BB, 39 K, 5.35 ERA, 1.53 WHIP
There is an added wrinkle of disappointment with Tate, as he is actually a bit older than the average player in the South Atlantic League (he’s 22, and the average age for the league is around 21.5). As a product of a major college program, he should be dominating at Single-A, yet that hasn’t been the case thus far. Tate did miss some time with a hamstring injury, but the stuff hasn’t slipped much - the results simply aren’t there.
60. Alex Jackson, OF, Mariners - .170/.253/.364, 14 R, 5 HR, 16 RBI, 0 SB (99 PA)
Jackson’s sample size is smaller than most folk on this list, as he spent an extra six weeks in extended Spring Training. Unfortunately, it hasn’t seemed to help, as is one again scuffling at Single-A. Remarkably, the above line represents a massive improvement over his .157/.240/.213 line at the level last season (121 PA). However, Jackson is a bat-first prospect, and his power and bat speed have yet to show-up outside of short season ball.
65. Carson Fulmer, SP, White Sox - 58.2 IP, 60 H, 37 BB, 54 K, 5.37 ERA, 1.65 WHIP
As was the case with Tate, this is a case of a pitcher from a major college program struggling against professional competition. However, it is more understandable with Fulmer, as he started his first full season at Double-A. Fulmer’s stuff sagged a bit to open the season, as did his control, but he has shown signs of life in his last two starts (12.2 IP, 12 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 18 K). If he can keep it up, his placement on this list will be short lived.
70. Duane Underwood, SP, Cubs - 41.2 IP, 51 H, 22 BB, 37 K, 5.40 ERA, 1.75 WHIP
Underwood started his season late due to elbow soreness, and he simply hasn’t looked right this season. His velocity is down, his control and command are off, and he has been more hittable than ever. This may be a product of working off rust and/or pitching through an injury; here’s hoping that it’s the former, and that Underwood will be one-hundred percent soon.
75. Touki Toussaint, SP, Diamondbacks - 57.0 IP, 43 H, 31 BB, 36 K, 4.89 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
This is Toussaint’s second trip through Single-A, and the results continue to sag behind his stuff. His inability to consistently hit his spots leads to too many walks, and he does not rack up the swings and misses that he is capable of (which is rather frustrating to watch). His last two starts, however, have been quite good - 14.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 12 K. Hitters are having a hard time squaring up his offerings even as he struggles to locate, so a breakthrough may be right around the corner.
78. Anthony Alford, OF, Blue Jays - .205/.277/.262, 16 R, 1 HR, 11 RBI, 4 SB (137 PA)
Alford hit .302/.380/.444 in 255 PA at High-A last season, so it was strange seeing him open the season back at that level; perhaps now we know why the Blue Jays were hesitant to promote him (though, he did suffer a leg injury in April). He has struck out in 37.2% of his plate appearances this year, and has generally looked lost at the plate. Alford suffered a concussion last week, on the heels of a nasty collision in the outfield, so he may be out for a week or more as he recovers.
79. Daz Cameron, OF, Astros - .143/.221/.221, 5 R, 0 HR, 6 RBI, 4 SB (87 PA)
This is another small sample size matter, as the Astros sent Cameron back to extended Spring Training back in May. That does seem justified, though, given his struggles (including a 37.9 K%). Starting Cameron in Single-A was aggressive, as he was among the youngest players in the league, so it will be interesting to see where he is sent from here - their Low-A affiliate opens its season this weekend.
84. Javier Guerra, SS, Padres - .205/.270/.333, 26 R, 6 HR, 25 RBI, 3 SB (243 PA)
Wilson Karaman of Baseball Prospectus wrote-up an in-person account of Guerra earlier this season, wherein he questioned both his swing mechanics and approach. Guerra is widely regarded as having a high floor, as a plus defender at short with some offensive upside, but he is incredibly raw at the plate. He’s hitting .302/.380/.512 in June (51 PA), though his strikeout rate remains over 30%.
91. Tyler Stephenson, C, Reds - .196/.267/.272, 12 R, 1 HR, 10 RBI, 0 SB (102 PA)
Ghoji Blackburn wrote about Stephenson last week, noting that his struggles may be the result of inexperience and injuries. He was regarded as one of the most advanced high school hitters in last year’s draft, but we have yet to see that this season.
95. Billy McKinney, OF, Cubs - .254/.354/.321, 25 R, 1 HR, 19 RBI, 1 SB (226 PA)
McKinney has better numbers than some players that were left off of this list, due to two simple factors - he is repeating the level (he had 308 PA at Double-A last year), and he’s a bat-first prospect. His hit tool profiles as plus or better, and he has above-average raw power; neither tool has been on display this season. McKinney has been stuck with the tweener label by some, and that is precisely how he has played in 2016.
96. Jorge Lopez, SP, Brewers - 56.2 IP, 63 H, 39 BB, 44 K, 5.56 ERA, 1.80 WHIP
Awful feels like an understatement with Lopez, who has been both wild and hittable thus far. He has failed to generate swings and misses, and alternates between missing the plate entirely, and grooving it down the middle (there is not as much hyperbole here as you may suspect). Command has been Lopez’s greatest issue throughout his professional career, and he has shown no signs of improvement this year.