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Revisiting the Top 100: The Graduates

Los Angeles Dodgers v Chicago Cubs Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

With May in the books, we have reached the somewhat arbitrary one-third mark of the Major League season. The Super Two deadline will be coming up in the second week of June (it should fall between June 7 and June 11), so we will probably see a steady trickle of top prospects getting the call beginning next weekend - which just so happens to coincide with MLB's Amateur Draft. It's an exciting time to be a prospect hound, to say the least.

In the spirit of this time, we at Fake Teams will take a step back and re-evaluate our Consensus Top 100, which was wrapped-up in December of 2015. Today I'll take a look at the players that have graduated from the list; it's a bit tricky, as some of these players have not exceeded their rookie status, so there will be more than a bit of conjecture here. In short, I will be looking at players who seem to be here for good (and the only hard rule is that they have to currently be on a 25-man roster). I'll work my way through the list in its tiered order.

01. Corey Seager, SS, Dodgers - .277/.332/.469, 33 R, 9 HR, 27 RBI, 1 SB (232 PA)

Seager started off slowly, leading to some (inane) grumblings about his lofty prospect status. He was batting .242 with 2 HR on May 1, and he looked every bit the rookie. Our expectations were high, to be sure - but, to be fair, his numbers were essentially league-average for a shortstop. Since then, he is hitting .307/.358/.544 with 7 HR in 123 PA, and has climbed atop the rookie leaderboard in FanGraphs WAR. I don't know that he'll keep up a 35 HR pace (25 is a distinct possibility), but I think his season line is a reasonable baseline going forward.

03. Byron Buxton, OF, Twins - .170/.214/.302, 5 R, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 2 SB (57 PA)

Widely regarded as the best prospect in baseball heading into both 2014 and 2015, Buxton has struggled mightily as a big leaguer. He has raked at Triple-A in between his MLB stints (.357/.415/.585 with 7 HR and 6 SB in 188 PA), and many think he has little left to learn in the minors. As such, I believe that he is here to stay, for better or worse. The fact that Danny Sanatana and Miguel Sano are on the DL, and Eddie Rosario and Oswaldo Arcia have been awful helps, too.

05. Julio Urias, LHP, Dodgers - 2.2 IP, 5 H, 4 BB, 3 K, 10.13 ERA, 3.38 WHIP

This is a bold prediction on my part, given that Urias was initially sent right back down after his debut. He is now slated to start tonight against the Cubs, and with Alex Wood out for at least four weeks and Hyun-Jin Ryu having yet another setback, the Dodgers are in desperate need of rotation reinforcements. Urias may go up and down a bit to get in regular work when the team can skip the fifth spot in the rotation, but I think he's the team's de facto fifth starter going forward.

06. Steven Matz, LHP, Mets - 55.1 IP, 47 H, 11 BB, 53 K, 2.60 ERA, 1.05 WHIP

We all knew Matz was here to stay in September of last season, and our expectations were quite high as a result of his brilliance down the stretch. And, aside from a few injury concerns, he has not disappointed. Matz currently sits 6th in the Majors in K/BB, and 21st in FanGraphs WAR.

08. Nomar Mazara, OF, Rangers - .299/.344/.471, 22 R, 9 HR, 24 RBI, 0 SB (192 PA)

Mazara is currently the youngest player in the American League, yet is unflappable at the plate. The 21-year-old has tapped into his plus raw power more and more as the season has wore on (he has four home runs in his last twelve games), and he balances an aggressive approach with strong bat-to-ball skills. Despite his age and inexperience, Mazara has been the Rangers best hitter thus far - and he's just getting started.

30. Sean Manaea, LHP, A's - 38.0 IP, 45 H, 13 BB, 29 K, 6.16 ERA, 1.53 WHIP

Calling Manaea's performance to date ugly would be an understatement, yet he has shown flashes of brilliance. His most recent start was the best of his short career (albeit against the Twins), and three of his last four outings qualify as quality starts. Manaea is fairly inexperienced, particularly for a 24-year-old drafted in 2013, as he had only 214.0 IP under his belt before being promoted to the Majors (only 18.0 of which came at Triple-A). He's very much learning on the fly, and it shows.

61. Aaron Blair, RHP, Braves - 27.0 IP, 33 H, 14 BB, 13 K, 6.67 ERA, 1.74 WHIP

With the exception of the aforementioned Matz, I might have argued that Blair was the most big league ready pitcher on this list. Six starts into his MLB career, however, he has not shown much of anything, with more walks than strikeouts and only one quality start. I realize that quality starts is not an especially important stat, but Blair's inability to stay on the mount is a genuine issue. The Braves are going nowhere fast, though, so he isn't going anywhere just yet. And his last start was his best yet - 5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 64.7% GB%.

63. Michael Fulmer, RHP, Tigers - 41.2 IP, 38 H, 13 BB, 44 K, 3.24 ERA, 1.22 WHIP

Two weeks ago, Fulmer's ERA sat at 6.52, and there were rumblings that he was destined for a trip back to Triple-A. All that he has done since then is pitch to the following line - 22.1 IP, 9 H, 4 BB, 22 K, 0.40 ERA. He took a no-hitter into the 7th against the Angels last night (June 1st), and has looked utterly dominant over his last three starts. The Tigers hope to contend this year, and Fulmer will be integral to their chances.

66. Archie Bradley, RHP, Diamondbacks - 17.2 IP, 18 H, 8 BB, 15 K, 6.11 ERA, 1.47 WHIP

Bradley has been an up-and-down arm this season, but he officially lost his rookie status this past weekend. He looked dominant at times in his most recent start against the Padres, striking out 9 in 7.1 IP (and inducing 14 swings and misses overall), and the D'Backs hope that he can continue to do so going forward, as the team is in desperate need of something going right. With Rubby De La Rosa and Shelby Miller hurt and the rotation as a whole struggling, Bradley seems like a lock to stick around.

71. Jon Gray, RHP, Rockies - 45.1 IP, 44 H, 16 BB, 49 K, 5.76 ERA, 1.32 WHIP

It's difficult to not feel bad for Gray. The 24-year-old rookie has above-average marks in K/9 (9.73), K/BB (3.06), GB% (47.9), FIP (16% better than average), and xFIP (17% better than average), and yet his 5.76 ERA is one of the ten worst in baseball. Not all of that is due to Coors Field, as his 4.94 ERA is ugly, too - but he has shown flashes of the package that made him a contender for the top pick in 2013. Gray has been better in May, pitching to a 4.42 ERA in 36.2 IP (and that includes his worst start of a season, a 3.1 IP and 9 ER effort against the Cardinals), with five quality starts in six chances. Like Bradley, he has exhausted his rookie status.

77. Dylan Bundy, RHP, Orioles - 21.0 IP, 30 H, 8 BB, 10 K, 4.71 ERA, 1.81 WHIP

It is sad how far Bundy has fallen over the last couple of years. The 23-year-old has had numerous arm injuries since being drafted 4th overall in 2011, which most blame on either the Orioles altering his mechanics or his tremendous high school workload. Either way, there is no doubt that Bundy is only in the Majors so that the Orioles could avoid losing him to waivers. There is an outside chance that he could start again as early as this season, but for now he's a largely ineffective reliever learning on the job.

80. Trevor Story, SS, Rockies - .261/.319/.560, 30 R, 14 HR, 36 RBI, 3 SB (227 PA)

Story has obviously cooled down significantly from his scorching hot start, but has nevertheless remained an above-average shortstop. He hit .259/.314/.455 in May, with 4 HR in 121 PA (a 20-ish HR pace over a full season), and continued to show that he is not a Coors Field mirage, with a .883 OPS at home and a .875 OPS on the road. Nine of his 14 home runs have come on the road, as well. Story has a swing from the heels approach, and he is unlikely to hit for a high average - but the power is real, and there are no obstacles to him staying in the lineup.

89. Mallex Smith, OF, Braves - .240/.294/.432, 18 R, 3 HR, 19 RBI, 6 SB (139 PA)

Smith possesses one elite tool in his blazing speed. The 23-year-old stole 64 bases in 2013, 88 in 2014, and 56 last year, and so he seemed like an intriguing pick-up for those in need of stolen bases. Smith's base-running has not proven to be an asset yet, though, as he has been caught stealing 7 times in 13 attempts, and has cost the Braves about 2 runs on the bases overall (as per FanGraphs' BsR). He has shown more power than ever, though, as his .192 ISO represents a career-high by a significant margin (his previous best was .122). His overall numbers are dragged down by an awful April, and he has improved on an almost weekly basis - he hit .267/.300/.493 in May. Smith is an exciting player to watch, and it will be interesting to see if he can rediscover his swiping skills.