Brace yourselves for another revision of the prospect power rankings, this time with more turnover! There’s been plenty of movement in the past few weeks, both upward and downward, making room for five fresh faces in the top ten/next five. Nolan Arenado, Dan Straily and Allen Webster, all three on the list last time through, have surfaced in the bigs, while two guys fall from the ranks. Danny Hultzen drops out thanks to a shoulder injury, which has been deemed mild, but it’s concerning nonetheless. Nick Castellanos also slips out of the rankings, as he slumps severely at the dish. We also have a new #1, which is quite exciting — do try to contain your enthusiasm. Let’s get started.
1. Wil Myers, OF, Rays (Previously Ranked #2): Myers hasn’t really done anything on the field worthy of taking over the top spot — .174/.244/.268 with 1 homer in his last 10. No, his rise to #1 has more to do with the lack of opportunity in the St. Louis outfield for Taveras (something I’ll expand on in a bit). Still, Myers continues to be a lock for arrival this summer. The Rays will likely do everything they can to avoid Super Two status with Wil, so don’t be surprised if his call-up is closer to July 1st than it is June 1st.
2. Oscar Taveras, OF, Cardinals (#1): In our last installment of these rankings, I talked about how awful Jon Jay had been and how the Cardinals had been using Taveras almost strictly in center field at Triple-A. Well, Taveras continues to spend most of his time with Memphis in center, but Jay has turned things around considerably. Batting .379 through his last ten with an OBP at .486, Jay has returned to the leadoff spot in the Cardinals batting order and has, for now, ended speculation that Taveras will supplant him in center anytime soon. Meanwhile, Taveras has his Triple-A line up to .302/.350/.448, and he remains the highest impact hitting prospect in the minors.
3. Zack Wheeler, RHP, Mets (#6): After showing shaky command through his first few outings, Wheeler has settled down, stringing together a couple nice outings: 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 12 K through his last 12.2 IP at Triple-A Vegas. Still on track for arrival before All Star Weekend, Wheeler moves into the top spot among MiLB pitchers for stashing purposes.
4. Jurickson Profar, SS, Rangers (#4): Moreland has been much improved over the past couple weeks, effectively closing the door on an immediate Profar arrival. Still, though, we’re talking about Mitch Moreland, here — how long can this current heater last?
5. Nick Franklin, SS/2B, Mariners (N/R): Batting .337/.461/.518 on the year at Triple-A Tacoma, it seems it’s only a matter of time before Franklin takes over shortstop duties in Seattle. After fighting through some rough stretches over the past few seasons, the 22-year-old finally appears ready for baseball at the highest level. He’ll be an intriguing MI option in mixed leagues once he surfaces.
6. Kevin Gausman, RHP, Orioles (N/R): Grey’s done a nice job of summing up the Gausman situation, so I’ll leave it to him. Here’s what he said last week: “There’s some speculation that the 4th overall pick in the last draft might be in Baltimore soon. Soon is relative here to Uncle Not That Soon. I think late-June is probably the earliest with early-August more likely. Why do you care? Well, with Bundy on the couch, scratching himself and waiting for his elbow to heal, Gausman could be the next arm called up for the 5th spot in the O’s rotation and he’s been utterly dominant in Double-A. How’s 29 Ks and 1 walk in 28 2/3 IP sound? Yummo! He has number one starter upside and should be owned in AL-Only and keeper leagues already.”
7. Gerrit Cole, RHP, Pirates (#5): Cole continues pitching sloppily; his K/BB now sitting at 21/17 in 29.1 IP at Triple-A. His 2.45 ERA reflects a pitcher who’s still throwing effectively, despite awful command. I expect Cole to find his rhythm and start posting more dominant numbers soon. If the walks continue, though, I expect his ERA to catch up with the peripheral stats in a hurry, and for him drop off this list altogether.
8. Trevor Bauer, RHP, Indians (#7): After yesterday’s start at Triple-A Columbus, Bauer’s MiLB ERA now sits at 1.82 through 24.2 IP. And with a K/BB ratio north of 3.00, the 22-year-old is making a case to rejoin the big club soon, this time for an extended look.
9. Billy Hamilton, OF, Reds (#8): Hamilton continues to slump, now hitting .189/.256/.270 at Triple-A Louisville. I’ve always had my doubts about his ability at the plate, but he’s certainly not this bad. Hamilton will get it going soon, and when he begins reaching base at a more acceptable clip, the steals will come in droves. Cincy could really use some help in the outfield, so it might not be long after Hamilton heats up that he gets the call.
10. Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals (N/R): Rendon has returned to Double-A after a brief stint in the bigs, but with Danny Espinosa’s turd-like play in Washington, it might not be long before we see him back in the bigs. And if Rendon were to resurface with the Nats, bringing glorious second base eligibility with him, his attractiveness for the fantasy game would be huge.
NOTEWORTHY MLB DEMOTIONS: Anthony Rendon, 3B, Nationals