This List is suppose to help those who don't have time to look all around the minor leagues, and find those hidden treasures at each level.
I tried to stay away from rookies that are currently or have previously played in the major leagues since we are now getting to see them produce at the highest level. Which means you won't see me mention two of my favorite rookies who play for the Seattle Mariners named Mitch Haniger and Dan Altavilla.
There are many stars in the game right now that were left off the Top 100 Lists of the past like Jonathan Lucroy, Matt Carpenter and Josh Donaldson. This list is going off of the MLB Pipeline's Top 100, so you may see some names in another top 100 list that are in this list here.
- Max Pentecost, Toronto Blue Jays, 24 yrs. First on this list has to be Max Pentecost. The 11th overall pick back in 2014 has "not performed at the level he was projected to". The fact that he has the potential of hitting for average and 15-20 bombs just makes him a rarity at the catcher position. Yes he missed all of the 2015 due to injuries, but what did he do when he got back? Only hit .302/.361/.486 over 312 PA for Dunedin and Lancaster. The 24 year old may see a position change, but it does not change the fact that he is a quality bat in any lineup as long as he stays healthy.
- Chris Okey, Cincinnati Reds, 22 yrs. Chris Okey will probably end up being the second best catcher drafted out of last years class behind Zack Collins. When we talk about catchers I don't really expect them to have offensive numbers like other position players. With Okey, I can tell you right now he will not hit for average, and I'd be surprised if he has a PA/K under 4 when he makes it to the majors. Something that did impress me about Okey is his plate discipline and power. He has the potential to put up 25+ homers and draw 80 walks. So when you see that .235 AVG next to that .330 OBP it will at least soften the blow a little. He doesn't have the strongest arm, but nonetheless he will be a forced to be reckon with behind the plate.
- Garrett Stubbs, Houston Astros, 23 yrs. I'll be honest on this one, I hadn't even heard of Stubbs until Baseball America put out an article on this overachieving 8th rounder. Stubbs has a great arm behind the plate and above average defense to go with it, but the big surprise is his offense. Stubbs hit .304/.391/.469 over 369 PA between A and AA, all while only striking out a total of 48 times last season? He hits right handed pitching well since he bats from the left side, which is a great coming from a catcher since a lot of catchers are right handed bats and hit well against lefties.
- Sam Travis, Boston Red Sox, 23 yrs. Travis started off the 2016 season on fire, but an ACL tear would end up keeping him out for the rest of the season. Travis has shown us the past two years how versatile he is, as he started his career as a third baseman, then moved over to first and there have even been talks about having him play in left. Travis is not a strong fielder, but he certainly makes up for his below average defense with his bat. I would project Travis to be a solid all around hitter as he will probably have a batting average around the .250-.260 and hit anywhere between 20-30 homers at the major league level. If the Red Sox start having troubles with their big league club in 2017, don't be surprised to see Travis' name in the lineup.
- Matt Thaiss, Los Angeles Angels, 21 yrs. Thaiss was originally a catcher at the University of Virginia before being drafted by the Angels as the 16th overall pick in the 2016 draft. Once making it to rookie ball, Thaiss was moved to first base and wasted no time producing at the plate. He shows very good plate discipline, especially for his age and experience. He should be able to hit for decent power while maintaining a good batting average when he does end up making it to the major league. He does have Pujols and Cron in front of him, so do not expect the Angels to rush their young star.
- Bobby Dalbec, Boston Red Sox, 21 yrs. Dalbec impressed the Red Sox organization after being picked in the 4th round of the 2016 draft by hitting .386/.427/.674. Dalbec shows good power potential, but his batting average may drop off a little when he gets promoted due to the amount of strikeouts. Dalbec will turn out to be a solid pick for the Red Sox as long as he continues to work on his fielding and keeps producing at the plate.
- Lucas Erceg, Milwaukee Brewers, 21 yrs. Erceg was the 46th overall pick in last years draft, and impressed the baseball world with his strong 2016 campaign between the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and Helena Brewers. He hit .327/.376/.518 with 9 home runs over 180 plate appearances. Even though Erceg was just drafted last year, we could see him work his way up through the minors quickly if he keeps up the pace.
- Paul De Jong, St. Louis Cardinals, 23 yrs. I will be honest with this pick, and say I did not know much about this prospect until I saw him play in Spring Training this past season. He really impressed not just me, but the scouts that were in attendance also. He was selected with the 131st overall pick by St. Louis in 2015, and looks to be a steal for his draft slot. He has decent contact with good plate discipline and some surprise power. He is currently playing at the Cardinals’ AAA team in Memphis, so do not be surprised if you see his name on the major league roster at some point this year.
- Jameson Fisher, Chicago White, 23 yrs. Fisher was selected in the 4th round of last years draft by the White Sox. In his pro debut he did nothing but impress by hitting .342/.436/.487 over 214 plate appearances for the Great Falls Voyagers. Fisher has decent contact and power, but the only question is how he will be defensively. I would most likely compare him to a Corey Dickerson type player as they both are forces at the plate offensively, but are poor in the field defensively.
- Dylan Cozens, Philadelphia Phillies, 22 yrs. If you follow minor league baseball at all, you probably saw this name come up a couple times last year. Playing for the Reading Fightin Phils last year, Cozens hit .276/.350/.591 with 40 home runs over 586 plate appearances. Cozens was named by the MiLB.com staff as the best offensive player last year. He has great power potential, but I expect his batting average to drop when he makes it to the big leagues due to his 186 strikeouts he accumulated last year.