16. Brewers 3B Brock Wilken (21, AA)
Corner bat at 6’4” 225 lbs has always hit and hit for power. Slashed .303/.430/.519 in 36 games as a 19-year-old in the Cape Cod League. Hit two homers in six Double-A games after posting a .427 OBP in 34 High-A games.
17. Mariners SS Colt Emerson (18, A)
The gunfighter-poet demonstrated impressive self-reliance in his debut. Selected 22nd overall, Emerson hit .536 in eight complex league games to force his way to Low-A, where he slashed .302/.436/.444 with seven extra base hits and four steals in 16 games. He’s well inside the first round for the especially patient prospector.
18. OF Jung-Hoo Lee (25)
Rumors of Lee’s excellence have been somewhat exaggerated. He’s always gotten on base and hit for average, but he cleared 20 home runs one time, when he hit 23 in 144 games last year. He missed half of 2023 with injury and ended up with six homers in 85 games. His second best power output is 15 homers in 2020. His career high in steals is 13. If he hits for average and plays every day, he might produce some Yoshida-like seasons, but he was nowhere near the player Yoshida had been in a tougher league. He’s also younger though and might follow a trajectory like Ha-Seong Kim and get better little by little as he adapts.
19. Reds RHP Rhett Lowder (21, NCAA)
Where you put Lowder in your rankings depends on the baseline for pitching in that particular league. If a pitcher just needs innings and some wins because it’s a deep league in which most starters are rostered, he could be pretty valuable pretty soon. If a guy has to be borderline dominant to stay out of the free agent pool, Lowder moves lower on the list. For what it’s Weurtz, I think it’s a positive that he didn’t pitch in the minors this season. I suspect the club has him working hard in the pitch lab.
20. Rays 3B Brayden Taylor (21, A)
Taylor posted a 32.3 percent strikeout rate in 22 Low-A games but walked (158) more than he struck out (146) in his three seasons (184 games) at TCU. If he can catch up to the arms, strikeout-wise, he looks like a fantasy force. He hit five homers and stole nine bases in those 22 games, which was just a continuation of the havoc he wrecked on the Big 12.
21. Brewers SS Cooper Pratt (19, CPX)
At 6’4” 195 lbs with excellent hands and athleticism, Pratt feels like the steal of the draft for Milwaukee in the sixth round. He slashed .356/.426/.444 with four steals in 12 games on the complex and could move way up the lists if he starts well in Low-A.
22. Tigers SS Kevin McGonigle (19, A)
The professor fell to 37th overall because he doesn’t check some upside boxes teams like, especially the age piece for a high school senior. Also he’s a 5’10” 187 lb left handed hitter who’s already doing most of the things he should be to maximize his output. This leaves less room to dream for the dev people. Spent just nine games on the complex before the team decided he was ready for Low-A, where he slashed .350/.438/.475 in 12 games.
23. Blue Jays SS Arjun Nimmala (17, CPX)
At 6’1” 170 lbs with big power and smooth infield actions, Nimmala made for a smart upside play at 20th overall for Toronto. He posted a .500 on base percentage in nine games on the complex and could be a fast riser if his hit tool or plate skills are a little further along than expected.
Slashed .318/.378/.455 with one homer and four steals in 23 High-A games. He’s 6’3” and 190 lbs so might have more power than his old man, Jack, but currently plays more like a contact bat. Might make for a sneaky pick if Oakland’s move to Vegas nets them a cozy hitters’ home park.
25. Phillies SS Aidan Miller (19, A)
Already 6’2” 205 lbs as a teenager, Miller might not be long for shortstop, but that’ll be fine if his bat develops as expected, particularly his double-plus raw power. He hit .414 in ten games in the complex league before hitting .2016 in ten Low-A games.
26. Astros SS Brice Matthews (21, A)
Drafted 28th overall, Matthews is a well-rounded six-footer who’s game made a leap in his junior season, when he slugged 20 home runs, swiped 20 bases and slashed .359/.481/.723. Nobody has proven more adept than Houston at identifying and developing major league position players. Matthews hit just .217 in 34 Low-A games but posted a .373 on base percentage and 16 stolen bases.
27. Yankees SS George Lombard Jr. (18, A)
Some of these bonus baby high school bats are going to hit. Some are not. Lombard Jr. looks more like a hit in the early going. Like so many of his classmates, he graduated from the complex league in no time at all (4 games). Unlike so many of his classmates, Low-A didn’t phase him in his nine games there (.415 OBP). Plus athleticism with infield actions in a 6’3” frame (and a semi-famous last name) should help keep him moving up public-facing prospect lists.
28. Mariners 3B Tai Peete (18, A)
Peete hit .351 on the complex and .242 with two homers in 14 games at Low-A. A left handed hitter with big power at 6’2” 193 lbs, Peete won’t turn 19 until August of next year. Seattle has been on a roll with precisely this type of tools-heavy prospect for a long time, and Peete represents a low-cost opportunity to bet on that developmental program.
29. Padres OF Dillon Head (18, A)
Oh hey! AJ Preller just brought in another athletic left handed outfielder! At 6’ 185 lbs with plus speed, Head figures to stay in center as long as possible. He walked (17.5%) more than he struck out (14.3%) in 14 complex league games then hit .241 with a 16.4 percent strikeout rate in 13 games at Low-A.
30. Cardinals OF Chase Davis (21, A)
Considered a safe college bat on draft night, Davis hit .212 and slugged .269 across 34 games in Low-A while other college hitters were skipping the league altogether. A smooth lefty swing that helped him dominate at the University of Arizona hasn’t helped him with wooden bats yet. He hit .207 for .33 games as a 19-year-old in the NorthWoods League and .212 in 15 games on the Cape at 20. Fits and starts and small samples and whatnot, but that’s still 82 games of struggle across three wooden-bat leagues.
Thanks for reading!