Byron Buxton- Minnesota Twins
Byron is more of a snub than an honorable mention, everybody in the baseball world really likes him for some reason. Many consider him baseball’s number one prospect but not me and I think that is mostly because he has so much hype to live up to. Buxton was taken one pick after Carlos Correa, and while Correa is killing it with the Astros and most likely going to get some playoff experience this year, Buxton has been on and off the DL and hasn’t made the most of his call ups, batting a mere 0.200 in 35 games. I personally don’t like Buxton as a top five prospect for two reasons, the player taken ahead of you should be the prospect you’re trying to catch and they’re literally not in the same ballpark since one will be playing in October and the other won’t (Granted the Twins are only two games back and Buxton could very well finally gain the starting spot over Aaron Hicks, but I don’t see it). The other is his durability, as an athlete, your early twenties are probably your peak years for athleticism and Buxton can’t seem to stay healthy and that is a big red flag for me since he is so young and has already run into so many problems. In fairness, Buxton has received comparisons with Ken Griffey, Jr and if he is healthy he is the definition of a five-tool player, but that is a big if. I’d love to admit I’m wrong but prospects are suspect until they prove themselves and I’ll wait for Byron to prove himself.
5.) Joey Gallo- Texas Rangers
Rounding out my top five is Joey Gallo. I like Gallo mostly because of his raw power. Standing at 6’5” he definitely has the leverage to hit the long ball but the only downside is that Gallo does not typically hit for average. Gallo’s swing is very powerful and leads to a lot of strikeouts but once he gets more patient, he will be a force to be reckoned with in Arlington, Texas. Joey Gallo reminds me of Chris Davis, just a purebred power hitter that can change the score whenever he is in the batter’s box. Davis has had a years where everything was working and managed to get his batting average up along with gaudy HR and RBI numbers. If Gallo can produce similar to Davis, which I think he can, the Rangers have a very suitable replacement for when Adrian Beltre decides to hang up his cleats. Until then Gallo will be playing the outfield due to his plus arm (high 90s as a pitcher in high school) but his position will be third base in the near future.
4.) Yoan Moncada- Boston Red Sox
The youngest player in my top five at the age of 20, I actually got the opportunity to meet Yoan Moncada at Jet Blue Park in Fort Myers, Florida and he was massive in terms of muscle. Those muscles give him both incredible bat speed and arm strength. I think the final landing spot for Yoan is still very much up in the air, his speed and arm strength point to SS, his quickness and arm point to 3B while his track record points to 2B. I’m going to say if finds his way to 3B for the Red Sox or maybe even the outfield. Moncada has been compared to Mike Trout and his tools certainly display that of a young Trout. On top of all of this he is a switch hitter that can routinely square up the ball for solid contact. The only reason Moncada is at spot number four and not closer to spot number one is because he is inexperienced and will most likely not make the MLB until 2017 or perhaps even a September call up in 2016.
3.) Tyler Glasnow- Pittsburgh Pirates
This 6’8” pitching prospect, yes you read that correctly, 6’8” has a plus plus plus fastball and if I’m not mistaken I believe that he has flirted with a cutter (don’t quote me on that) which will have the ability to reach high 90s soon. His pitching mechanics sort of remind me of David Price which is obviously a big completement considering Price is a Cy Young winner. Glasnow is currently doing very well at the AAA level and I would not be surprised if Glasnow finds himself in the starting rotation in the Steel City at some point next season. He also has an average changeup and an above-average curveball. I love this prospect because his curveball isn’t your typical curve, it looks as though it is a sweeping curve which is definitely great to mix in with his high 90s fastball and changeup, and potentially cut-fastball. The only reason that Glasnow is not already with the Major League ballclub is because he had a minor ankle injury setting him back but he has since healed and thrived in AAA. A one-two punch of Cole and Glasnow in the years to come will be something special for Pirates fans everywhere.
2.) Corey Seager- Los Angeles Dodgers
Third baseman, shortstop, and younger brother of All-Star Kyle Seager has been off to a hot start in his early weeks with the MLB. In his first 13 games, Seager has managed to bat 0.429 and seems to have no stop in sight. Seager, similar to Xander Bogaerts is taller and slower than your average SS and I believe that third base is the position for Seager but if you look at Xander, he has made SS work and has been playing superb defense there all year. Corey is a very sound offensive player as it stands and he has a consistent as well as fundamentally sound swing from the left side of the plate. The shortstop position seems to be getting deeper with Xander, Seager, Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Addison Russell and not to mention the top three of this year’s Rule Four Draft all play SS. Baseball fans will soon be spoiled by the depth at shortstop around the league led by Bogaerts, Correa, and Seager. So far Seager looks very solid, playing under bright lights in Los Angeles but there is a saying that I like to use, “prospects are suspect” and sometimes what seems like a sure thing doesn’t end up working out.
1.) Lucas Giolito- Washington Nationals
The Washington Nationals pitching staff, similar to the New York Mets seems to be bottomless, just when you thought that the Nationals were done polishing their prospects Strasburg and Zimmermann into everyday starters, they casually have the number one prospect according to N2K Sports. This pick is a little bold considering many people have Byron Buxton as the unanimous number one overall prospect but I have always firmly believed that good pitching will beat good hitting and that is the basis behind this pick. He has the size standing at 6’6”, but the only thing that scares me are his mechanics, which are extremely similar to that of Stephen Strasburg and like Strasburg they led him to Tommy John surgery. Giolito has two pitches major league caliber pitches in his fastball (which sits in the mid-90s and sometimes touches 100 mph) and his 12-6 curveball. The 12-6 curveball is very sharp but can be wild at times. Once he gets the ability to fully control his curveball along with his fastball and growing changeup, he will be a great arm to add to the Nationals rotation. He seems to be almost a replica of Strasburg and with three arms, including Scherzer that consistently push mid-90s alongside Bryce Harper, the Nationals (if Giolito pans out) could be on the verge of a dynasty.