MLB.com’s Top 50 Prospects List


Jonathan Mayo at MLB.com posted his list of the game’s top 50 prospects yesterday, and apparently I somehow missed it. Jesus Montero placed ninth, which is probably the lowest you’ll see him on any prospect list this spring. Mike Trout, Jeremy Hellickson, and Bryce Harper rank one through three. Gary Sanchez pops up at number 32, and Manny Banuelos places not far behind him at 35. Each player comes with a minute or so long video with a scouting report, so make sure you click through to check it out.

Categories : Asides, Minors


  1. Any idea why Montero was ranked so low?

    Someone on Twitter — I forget who — commented last night that MLB as a whole has a vested interest in creating and building hype for the lesser teams. Do you think there is any basis to this?

    • mbonzo says:

      Maybe, but he said it was because of his defensive issues. Even with that taken into account, I think he shoulda been at least #5.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      All defense. Even if he plays a Posada like defense maybe a little better his value sky rockets. However, #9 is too low in my opinion due to age and prowess at the plate especially in AAA.

    • T-Dubs says:

      That was me who said that. I was sort of being facetious but whatevs. Doesn’t mean it can’t be true.

  2. Will (the other one) says:

    Does anybody know if this is the same piece that ran as a show on MLB Network within the last couple of days?

  3. Steve H says:

    In general, when these lists are made, how much do you think ridiculous upside potential is weighed vs. probability of making it and closeness to the majors? I see a guy like Sanchez at #32, which, while awesome, is such a reach in a way. He’s full of potential, but he hasn’t even played a single game since turning 18. He’s so damn far away, he’s almost a myth at this point.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Yeah, you would like to see a prospect get at least one year in full season ball before getting in the top 100 let alone top 50 when they are an IFA.

    • Avi says:

      Bryce Harper is ranked at #3 and will be #1 or #2 in BA. He’s a year younger and hasn’t played a pro game yet. Manny Machado is also a HS kid who was drafted this past June and either hasn’t played yet or has very few AB’s (I forget which one) and is ranked at #24. Top talents are gonna rank even if they’re far away.

    • masonflint says:

      if i remember correctly, mayo mentioned in his chat today that sanchez has the highest ceiling of any prospect outside the top 20

    • awy says:

      sanchez at 32 is just ok. high range would be in the 20′s, and anywhere lower than 50 is too low.

    • camilo Gerardo says:

      right, by the same logic that Sanchez is 32, Montero should be #1 or #2 behind trout (I guess)

  4. YankeesJunkie says:

    I wonder what other guys cracked the top 100?

    I would not be surprised to see Brackman, Betances, and maybe Romine.

  5. T-Dubs says:

    You’re such a Jonathon Mayo apologist. I want my money back. This is Bexy’s fault.

    /all points covered’d

  6. diony says:

    Sanchez will be the top catching prospect in the bigs next year. He’ll anhilitate A/A+ pitching.

  7. This is all Keith Law’s fault, right?

  8. Avi says:

    Repost from open thread: The 3 guys I have a problem with being ranked ahead of Montero are Ackley, Moustakas and and Hosmer. Ackley’s minor league numbers are poor and he isn’t ever supposed to hit for power. He’s also not a sure thing to stick at 2B. Moustakas is a guy who swings at everything and never draws a walk which is def cause for concern, MLB pitchers can exploit that. Hosmer doesn’t have the power that Montero does. At worst Montero is a first baseman not a DH, so I don’t get why he wouldn’t rank ahead of those guys based on uncertainty as to weather he’ll stick at catcher.

    • Avi says:

      MLB had Montero at #19 last year when BA had him at #4..

    • Steve H says:

      I’m not sure how Ackley’s minor league numbers are poor. In his first year in the minors, he OPS’d .773 at AA and .776 at AAA. If he doesn’t stick at 2B, he can go back to CF, so it’s not like he’s going to be at an invaluable position. He may not have set the world on fire, but those numbers are far from poor, and he’s a year removed from being the #2 pick in the draft, and he was drafted there for good reason.

      • Avi says:

        His numbers are poor for a top hitting prospect. Montero OPS’d .870. Ackley was drafted as a first baseman and only recently was moved to second. I know Mayo said he can go to CF but that’s the first I ever heard of Ackley as a CFer.

        • Doug says:

          Mayo said in his chat that he should be fine at 2B

        • Steve H says:

          Montero’s bat>>>>Ackley’s bat. There is no denying that.

          Montero also had over 1000 prior minor league AB’s with a wooden bat. Ackley’s numbers weren’t poor.

          • YankeesJunkie says:

            Even though Montero has 1000 more wood at bats it really does not discounts Ackley’s time in college which he was a .400 hitter and one of the best I have seen at the CWS. The only reason that I could see putting Ackley ahead of Montero is Ackley has a premium position regardless and Montero might be a DH. While rankings are only different by a few spots it does not matter, with Ackley there is more certainty that he will produce with lesser numbers because he is at a more important position.

          • Avi says:

            Show me a top 10 prospect from the last 5 years or so that had numbers as poor as Ackley’s.

            • Steve H says:

              Colby Rasmus, in his 4th year in the minors hit .251/.346/.396 at AAA in 2008.

              • Avi says:

                True but the previous year Rasmus OPS’d .932. Ackley really hasn’t had any high end success in pro ball yet. Listen all I said is Ackley’s relatively poor numbers in the minors is one of the reasons I feel Montero should be ranked ahead of him. I’m not gonna go back and forth discussing exactly how poor they are.

                • Steve H says:

                  Ackley really hasn’t had any high end success in pro ball yet.

                  Well, yeah, he’s only been there for a year and didn’t start at a low level. Would you have been more impressed if he had OPS’d .900 in A ball? Ellsbury hit .298/.360/.380 in his first crack at AAA, his 3rd year in the minors. Andrew Mccutchen, in his 4th year in the minors, OPS’d .770 in his first crack at AAA. Brandon Wood OPS’d .886 in AAA. Is he better than Ackley? You can’t look just at stats, but to claim Ackley’s stats are poor is just strange.

                  • Ted Nelson says:

                    “to claim Ackley’s stats are poor is just strange.”

                    I disagree. His numbers were not good. Maybe they improve, maybe they don’t. Jesus’ numbers were good as a 20 year old in AAA and a 19 year old in AA. He also plays a premium position right not. Maybe he won’t in the future, maybe he will. Mike Piazza and Jorge Posada were not good defensive Cs, yet they were the most productive guys at the position in their respective eras.

                    I have a problem with all 3 of those guys being ahead of Jesus as well. No one is saying Ackley is not a fine prospect, but when you’re talking about the #5 prospect in all of baseball, minor league production should trump college stats, draft position, and some fake scout’s gut feelings. I’m also not sure about putting a relief pitcher ahead of Montero and others, but we’ll see how that works out.

                    I definitely think the Royal mania has gone too far.

        • Clay_Parrish says:

          This is a little late, but he wasn’t really (italics here if I could do that) drafted as a first baseman. He had a hurt knee (I think) the year he got drafted, and was only playing first because his bat was too ridiculously good to keep out of UNC’s lineup in the College World Series

  9. Evan3457 says:

    Montero should have been higher than Moustakas and Ackley at the very least, and possibly, depending on taste, Hosmer and Brown, and possibly even Chapman, if the Reds are serious about leaving him in the bullpen.

    Well, that’s what I think, anyway.

  10. Brian says:

    I think Montero should have been number 3 or 4, depending on how much you like Hellickson.

  11. Doug says:

    wow, lots of yankee fans on here apparently

  12. Doug says:

    From Mayo’s chat:

    Q: Who is the Yankees’ future catcher? Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez or Austin Romine?

    Mayo: More immediately, Romine. But I think Sanchez is the guy in the future. I don’t know if Montero will ever catch full-time, but we’ll have to see. Obviously, if he can, his value goes up. For those of you wondering why Montero was No. 9 (I know there are Yankees fans who think he should be higher), it’s the questions of defense that put him there.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Russell for the next two years, maybe Montero on a part time basis. At least that will give time for Romine to develop as a full time player which he struggled with last year.

  13. masonflint says:

    pretty easy to imagine both sanchez and banuelos being in the top 20 next year. maybe even betances.. a very good system, even with montero’s eventual graduation.

  14. Doug says:

    Another Q & A from May’s chat concerning Montero. Also discusses his methodology:

    Q: Explain to me how a bunch of guys at A-ball or below are ranked above a 20 year old killing Triple-A? Chapman is already in the Majors and he’s a reliever. Dustin Ackley is 22 with a .776 OPS and no position.

    Mayo: I couldn’t resist one more question about Montero, because there are plenty and this one had just enough edge to it to reply.

    So, allow me to explain:

    1. The methodology: I poll as many scouts as possible and they give me their top-30 lists. I dump that into a spreadsheet and do an AP Poll kind of thing… so if they put Trout No. 1, he got 30 points, and on down.

    The more scouts, the more opinions, the better the list. So the simple explanation is that more people ranked the guys at A-ball or below above Montero.

    Now, to go further than that. Ackley does have a position. He’s just new at it. He’ll be able to play second base. And if all else fails, he can play center field, but I don’t think it will come to that. Chapman still qualifies, as does anyone who still has rookie status.

    Finally, this list — and lists like this — don’t just look at stats a guy has at a level. Scouts evaluating Ackley really don’t care all that much about what his OPS was. And your 20-year-old you’re so high on, most people think he’s a DH. And DHs won’t rank as highly on things like this.

    • YankeesJunkie says:

      Betances is still all upside at this point sadly, even though he showed great improvements in control this year. If Betances can go out and throw 130-150 IP this year with no or very limited non arm injuries then I could see him moving up to the top 20 fairly easily with his amazing stuff.

  15. pete says:


    1. Trout: Good defensive OF with great speed, avg., and on-base skills, should hit for decent-to-good power, probably somewhere between 15-30 HRs in his prime; great for a CF. He’s a bit young, but his #s last year were insane. I have no problem with him getting the top spot, and certainly no problem, given the all-around nature of his game, with his being ranked ahead of Jesus.

    2. Hellickson: Good stuff, great command, great #s at all levels of the minors, no major health concerns, as close to a safe bet to be a top-of-the-rotation guy as there is in the minors.

    3. Harper: like Trout, this is aggressive based on his age. But…have you seen the kid play?

    4. Brown: not sure I agree with this ranking, or putting him in front of Montero, but you could say it’s a push. I don’t think he has anywhere close to the offensive ceiling that Jesus has got, but at the same time, he’ll be playing a pretty good RF while Jesus has major defensive shortcomings. I could easily see him out-WARing Jesus for at least the first couple seasons of their respective careers.

    5. Ackley: meeeehhh. Great prospect. Good speed, great on-base skills in college, athletic enough to be a passable 2B or CF. Quality all-around player. Not in Jesus’s league, though, IMO.

    6. Aroldis Chapman: still has Randy Johnson upside. The Reds need to be patient and let him develop as a starter until he fails, but at this point you can’t deny that FB/SL combo from the left side. I’ve no problem with this ranking.

    7. Moustakas: great power, but a bit of a hacker – not in Jesus’s league in terms of overall offensive package. And, IMO, just as big a defensive question mark. I wouldn’t put him ahead of Jesus.

    8. Eric Hosmer: legitimate Teixiera comparisons. Good-to-great offensive potential, great defender at first. He’s in the Dominic Brown vein of whole package is about on par with Jesus, in my opinion.

    So basically, out of the 8 guys in front of him, I see two as being distinctly beneath him, two as being comparable (overall), and the other four as legitimately in front of him. Here’s how I would rank the top 10:

    1. Trout
    2. Hellickson
    3. Chapman
    4. Harper
    5. Montero
    6. Hosmer
    7. Jennings
    8. Brown
    9. Ackley
    10. Teheran
    (11. Moustakas)

    • Avi says:

      I think the descriptions you gave for each guy are very accurate.

    • Steve H says:

      You have to put an asterisk next to Chapman. If he stays in the bullpen he drops well out of the top 10 (hypothetically since he’s not going to be a prospect by the time that’s determined.)

      • pete says:

        That’s on the Reds, though. At this point we’re talking about a tall lanky lefty with historically great stuff who has already shown he can strike big leaguers out. The starter portion is largely projection, but the upside is absurd.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        There are similar question marks about any of these guys, though. If Moustakas gets exposed as a hacker, or if he doesn’t. If any hitter’s power continues to develop or doesn’t. Prospects are all about ifs, and if Chapman had been brought along slowly through A ball last season as a starter I don’t think the reliever thing would be too much of an immediate concern. Just about any starter who fails but remains healthy/effective enough to pitch will be tried as a reliever.

    • Samuel says:

      Does it really matter where guys rank? Jonathan Mayo does not even see these guys play actual games. All that really matters is how these guys play when they get the chance to perform in the big leagues.

      Big question – Does Montero even get the chance with the Yankees?

      • Ted Nelson says:

        “Big question – Does Montero even get the chance with the Yankees?”

        Most likely. And if he doesn’t chances are it’s because the Yankees were able to get one of the best pitchers in the game in a trade.

    • Reggie C. says:

      You’re really high on Hosmer. No doubt you’ve now piqued my interest and i’ll definitely follow Hosmer closer. I can see both Hosmer and Montero have similar offensive ceilings. Moustakas’s development is less clear, but I haven’t read much on him so if I can’t recall reading anything about the kid’s suspect D, it don’t mean much.

      Good defense of Ackley’s upside. Ackley has got a hit tool that’s closest to 80 than anyone on that list. Might not hit for more than 15 homers, but Ackley will hit .315 with some pop. Guaranteed.

      Nice job Pete.

  16. China Joe says:

    If Chapman stays in relief, which seems likely, then he should be lower on the list…certainly not above Montero.

    • Avi says:

      I have no problem with Chapman being that high. Just because he’s a reliever now doesn’t mean he’ll be there his whole career. Chapman might have the best arm in history. He has an 80 slider to go with the FB And he’s not totally raw either. He controls his stuff pretty good for a 21 year old that throws that hard. I actually think Chapman is being a bit underrated here.

  17. Samuel says:

    Mayo’s opinion is garbage. He does not even see these kids play. All his comments are based upon OTHER peoples thoughts.

    He almost never goes to minor league games and never sees high school or college kids play.

    All that matters is how these kids play when then get the chance at the majors. Hellickson, Dom Brown and others will get the chance with their drafting teams.

    Will Montero get a good chance with the Yankees?

  18. Another Bronx Dynasty says:

    Cash should have signed A. Chapman. This guy starts where Joba left off before his shoulder injury


    • mbonzo says:

      I have a feeling Chapman is more injury prone than Joba. Doctors always say, the arm wasn’t supposed to throw 100, well I’m sure thats still in effect for 105. Chapman has got amazing velocity, but his secondary pitches need a lot of work. I would honestly prefer to have Joba for both stuff and cost.

    • Riddering says:

      Compare the price of Joba v. price of Chapman. Not worth it.

  19. Monteroisdinero says:

    Montero will get a chance with the Yankees. For those of us who have seen him catch and mash at Scranton it would be a huge disappointment if they traded him for anyone other than Felix or Josh Johnson etc. He will surprise defensively as long as he doesn’t catch AJ.

  20. Ted Nelson says:

    Great to see 3 Yanks in the top 50 and 4 in the top 53. In terms of high end talent that means Mayo puts the system in the top 4 or 5 in baseball.

  21. Doug says:

    I’m sure it’ll be posted later, but a heads-up on KLaw’s Top 100:
    Montero – 4
    Banuelos – 12
    Sanchez – 68
    Betances – 73
    Brackman – 88
    Romine – among the top 10 who just missed the cut

    • fire levine says:

      I know he’s not in our system but any info on where viscaino ranks? (need to know just how hard to cry over that trade)

  22. Monteroisdinero says:

    I know it means nothing but how many guys on our roster can hit a 450 ft HR to left center that I saw Montero hit off Pawtucket on a 2 strike pitch? Arod. That’s about it.

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