A flurry of deals at the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline have roiled the MLB prospect waters and left the minors with no consensus No. 1 prospect. Three candidates for the top spot in our rankings (Yoan Moncada, Rafael Devers, and Amed Rosario) received big league promotions over the past few weeks, leaving the Yankees Gleyber Torres as the winner by default. But even if there isn't a clear No. 1 right now, there are still plenty of potential September call-ups who are worth watching for on fantasy baseball waiver wires, especially if you're in a Dynasty/Keeper league.
Torres is currently sidelined after Tommy John surgery on his left (non-throwing) elbow but he’s expected to make a full recovery and be ready to play again sometime next spring. Despite the injury, Torres gets the nod due to his elite pure hitting skills and success against advanced pitching. A case could also be made for the White Sox's Eloy Jimenez who has a potent power-patience combination to go along with a disciplined all-fields approach at the plate.
The Blue Jays’ Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. and the Rockies’ Brendan Rodgers would also be defensible choices for the top spot, but Vlad, Jr. is a mere 18 and just debuted at High-A, while Rodgers has cooled off in Double-A after blistering the hitter-friendly California League. In any event, there’s still plenty of prospect talent in the minors, and while no one individual stands out, there are a number of guys who project as future big league stars.
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Top MLB Prospects
1. Gleyber Torres, SS, New York Yankees
2. Eloy Jimenez, OF, Chicago White Sox
3. Vladimir Guerrero, Jr, 3B, Toronto Blue Jays
4. Brendan Rodgers, SS, Colorado Rockies
5. Francisco Mejia, C, Cleveland Indians
6. Ronald Acuna, OF, Atlanta Braves
7. Nick Senzel, 3B, Cincinnati Reds
8. Michael Kopech, RHP, Chicago White Sox
9. Alex Reyes, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
10. Kyle Tucker, OF, Houston Astros
11. Brent Honeywell, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays
12. Walker Buehler, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
13. Victor Robles, OF, Washington Nationals
14. Mitch Keller, RHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
15. Triston McKenzie, RHP, Cleveland Indians
16. Bo Bichette, SS/2B, Toronto Blue Jays
17. Dominic Smith, 1B, New York Mets
18. Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies
19. Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros
20. Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers
21. MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres
22. Willy Adames, SS, Tampa Bay Rays
23. Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds
24. Nick Gordon, SS, Minnesota Twins
25. Reynaldo Lopez, RHP, Chicago White Sox
26. Mike Soroka, RHP, Atlanta Braves
27. Kyle Wright, RHP, Atlanta Braves
28. Luis Urias, 2B, San Diego Padres
29. Franklin Perez, RHP, Houston Astros
30. Brendan McKay, 1B, Tampa Bay Rays
31. Anthony Alford, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
32. Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS, San Diego Padres
33. Kolby Allard, LHP, Atlanta Braves
34. Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins
35. Sixto Sanchez, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies
36. Luis Robert, OF, Chicago White Sox
37. Jason Groome, LHP, Boston Red Sox
38. J.P. Crawford, SS, Philadelphia Phillies
39. Yadier Alvarez, RHP, Los Angeles Dodgers
40. Ryan McMahon, 1B/3B/2B, Colorado Rockies
41. Rhys Hoskins, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
42. Anderson Espinoza, RHP, San Diego Padres
43. Lucas Giolito, RHP, Chicago White Sox
44. Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers
45. Willie Calhoun, 2B, Texas Rangers
46. Chance Adams, RHP, New York Yankees
47. Chance Sisco, C, Baltimore Orioles
48. Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
49. Austin Meadows, OF, Pittsburgh Pirates
50. Kyle Lewis, OF, Seattle Mariners
Bo Bichette, SS/2B, Toronto Blue Jays – One of the best pure hitters in the minors. Not sure he stays at shortstop.
Scott Kingery, 2B, Philadelphia Phillies – Off-season adjustments have led to a power spike. Believe the hype.
Forrest Whitley, RHP, Houston Astros – At only 19, he's dominating A ball with electric stuff and deep repertoire.
Alex Verdugo, OF, Los Angeles Dodgers – Polished bat projects as above-average big-league hitter.
MacKenzie Gore, LHP, San Diego Padres – Plus lefty stuff, possibly the best present package in 2017 draft.
Hunter Greene, RHP, Cincinnati Reds – Unproven, but the most electric arm in the draft class.
Kyle Wright, RHP, Atlanta Braves – Good collegiate pitcher and might be even better as a pro.
Franklin Perez, RHP, Houston Astros – Still learning to pitch, but already shows potential for three plus offerings.
Brendan McKay, 1B/LHP, Tampa Bay Rays – Two-way player will eventually have to choose a path.
Fernando Tatis, Jr., SS, San Diego Padres – Prodigious power/speed/defense tools, but still far from the majors.
Royce Lewis, SS, Minnesota Twins – Impressive athleticism and hasn’t missed a beat in pro debut.
Sixto Sanchez, RHP. Philadelphia Phillies – Youngster shows plus command of nasty stuff.
Ryan McMahon, 1B/3B/2B, Colorado Rockies – Resurgent bat and position flexibility boost his value.
Keston Hiura, 2B, Milwaukee Brewers – Best hitter in the 2017 draft class. Who cares if his defense is a question mark.
Willie Calhoun, 2B, Texas Rangers – Plus power and solid contact skills will get new opportunity in Texas.
Chance Adams, RHP, New York Yankees – Breakout season has put him on the cusp of the majors.
Jack Flaherty, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals – Solid mid-rotation arm with nothing left to prove in the minors.
Jose De Leon, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays – Injuries have dimmed his star and sapped his stuff.
Kevin Newman, SS, Pittsburgh Pirates – Plus hit tool has stalled at Triple-A.
Gavin Cecchini, SS, New York Mets – Plate discipline has regressed in hitter-friendly PCL.
David Paulino, RHP, Houston Astros – Wildness and a suspension knock him off the list.
Jorge Alfaro, C, Philadelphia Phillies – Plus raw power, but won’t play unless he improves horrible plate discipline.
Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, Toronto Blue Jays – Two steps forward in 2016 followed by two steps back in 2017.
Tyler O’Neill, OF, St. Louis Cardinals – Plus power continues to be hampered by lots of swing and miss.
Graduated to the Majors
Yoan Moncada, 2B, Chicago White Sox
Amed Rosario, SS, New York Mets
Rafael Devers, 3B, Boston Red Sox
Ozzie Albies, SS, Atlanta Braves
Lewis Brinson, OF, Milwaukee Brewers
Franklin Barreto, SS, Oakland A's
Francis Martes, RHP, Houston Astros
Clint Frazier, OF, New York Yankees
Raimel Tapia, OF, Colorado Rockies
Luke Weaver, RHP, St. Louis Cardinals
MLB Top Prospects: Likely September Call-ups in 2017
Dominic Smith (No. 17) is probably next in line for a call-up, but there are at least a dozen other guys on this list who could see major league action before the end of 2017. The departure of Lucas Duda opens the door for Smith to be the Mets’ regular first baseman. After adjusting his swing path this season in order to produce more power, Smith is looking like a high-average, 20-HR guy in the bigs.
The Rays’ Brent Honeywell (11) and the White Sox’ Reynaldo Lopez (25) are also likely to receive promotions in the next month or so. The Rays are still in the playoff hunt and Honeywell would be an upgrade for the back of the rotation, where his deep repertoire and nasty screwball would make him an above-average contributor even as a rookie. Lopez has put together a strong second half after struggling with consistency and command in the first half. If he can harness his explosive three-pitch mix, he could eventually pitch at the front of the South-Siders’ rotation.
The Phillies are all-in on a rebuild and will probably want to see what top prospects Scott Kingery (18), Rhys Hoskins (41), and J.P. Crawford (38) can do at the big-league level. Kingery has enjoyed a breakout year after making significant adjustments to his swing in the offseason. He probably won’t hit for average against advanced pitching, but a .265 average and 20 home runs are possible. Hoskins has plus power, but he will need to shorten his swing to reach his potential as league-average first-baseman in the majors. Crawford took some time off in June to work on his swing and the results have been encouraging – an improved contact rate and an increase in power. The Phillies might handle him with care and keep him the minors for the remainder of this season, but he’s starting to look like the shortstop of the future again for Philadelphia.
The Dodgers are in it to win it this season, meaning RHP Walker Buehler (12) and OF Alex Verdugo (20) could get call-ups if the team needs pitching or outfield depth for the stretch run. Given Buehler’s injury history, the club may want to limit his innings and have him pitch out of the bullpen, but he could also get a handful of starts down the stretch. Chris Taylor’s emergence in LA has dampened the Dodgers’ need for outfielders, but it’s still a thin depth chart and Verdugo is a polished, big-league ready hitter who could step in and produce right away.
The tight AL wild card race could result in an opportunity for the Rays’ Willy Adames (22) and the Yankees’ Chance Adams (46). Adames has cooled off after a mid-season hot streak, but his above-average defense and solid bat should be an asset for Tampa Bay this season. Adams has been a revelation as a starter this year and could be in line for some late-season starts in New York. Adams has solid command of three above-average pitches, which he’s used to dominate Triple-A hitters this year.
In the NL race, Colorado might turn to utility infielder Ryan McMahon (40), who has tightened his plate discipline and improved his swing path during an impressive campaign. batting .362 over 101 games split between Double-A and Triple-A. McMahon has above-average power and could produce 20-plus home runs over a full season in Colorado.
Others who might see big-league time this year are the Blue Jays’ Anthony Alford (31), the Orioles’ Chance Sisco (47) and the Cardinals’ Jack Flaherty (48). Alford made his big-league debut earlier this season but was felled by a hamate injury. Now healthy, he sports a modest power-speed package and solid on-base skills. Sisco is Baltimore’s catcher of the future and should grow into double-digit home run power to go with a present ability to hit for average to all fields. Flaherty has little left to prove in the minors and could a get a look in St. Louis, where his above-average four-pitch mix should allow him to eventually slot in the middle of the rotation.