Javier Baez is one of two players from the list last year who made the major leagues and no longer qualifies for the list this year. Javier had trouble making contact and may see himself back in the minor leagues in 2015. Christian Vazquez took over the catching job for the Red Sox but he may ultimately be a back up once Blake Swihart is ready for the major leagues. Most of the other players from the list last year again appear on the list this year. There are a few newcomers as others disappoint.
1. Carlos Correa SS (Astros) - Carlos is doing his best not to impress myworld, going 1 for 10 when we have watched him. Carlos became the first Puerto Rican selected first overall in the major league draft, selected by the Astros in 2012. At 6′4″ he is large for a shortstop, but he seems to be able to play the position now. There is some concern that as he gets older he will get bigger, becoming too slow to play the position a couple years from now. Carlos shows the ability to hit for average and power so a move to third base should not be a problem. Last year his season was cut short by a broken right fibula limiting him to just 62 games. His OBA the last two seasons has been over .400. Expect him to start the season in AA with a possible promotion to the Astros in September. Only Jed Lowrie or Luis Valbuena stand in his way for a major league job.
2. Francisco Lindor SS (Indians) - Francisco was a first round pick of the Indians in 2011, selected just ahead of Javier Baez. There is no question with the defense of Francisco. The big concern is whether he can hit. The Indians have been patient with him, moving him up a level at a time, with a half season played at two different levels. As he has risen up the ranks he has shown an ability to hit, with a .278 minor league career average, numbers the Indians would accept with the defense he provides. His power broke out a little last year with 11 homeruns. Francisco will be sent down for half a season in AAA but should be called up by mid-season, taking over the shortstop position from Jose Ramirez. A lot will depend on the Indians status in the playoff race and the performance of Jose Ramirez.
3. Jose Berrios RHP (Twins) - Puerto Rico has developed a number of hitters but Jose will be one of the first stand out pitchers. He was the highest drafted pitcher out of Puerto Rico, selected in the first round of the supplemental draft in 2012. Jose pitched for the 2013 World Baseball Classic team as a teenager. His fastball sits at 92-94, reaching up to 98. Last year Jose rose three levels, making one ineffective start in AAA. Jose will begin the season in AAA with an injury or ineffectiveness away from getting a callup to the Twins. Alex Meyer and Trevor May may get the first opportunity, but Berrios could achieve the greater results because of better command.
4. Steven Moya OF (Tigers) - Moya was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the Dominican Republic where he was signed by the Tigers in 2008. At 6′6″ he has a large strike zone, which resulted in 161 whiffs in 133 games. It also provides him with a lot of power when he makes contact with 35 homeruns last year. A poor spring and the acquisition of Yoenis Cespedes will have him begin his 2015 season in AAA. Prior to last season he had difficulty staying healthy. If he can continue to get his at bats and improve his patience he could hit 30 plus homeruns with a .250 average with the Tigers.
5. Eddie Rosario OF/2B (Twins) - Eddie has been bounced around between the infield and outfield. The Twins selected him in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. Despite his recent demotion to the minors he should make an impact for the Twins before the season is over. Second base appears to be blocked by Brian Dozier and center field appears to be the future of Byron Buxton. That leaves left field for Eddie. Whether he can show the power for the position is questionable. His ultimate role may be as a super utility player. He had a .300 career minor league average until his struggles in AA last year when he hit just .237. The Twins may start him in AA to see him achieve success there. He can still be promoted to the major leagues if he does well in AA.
6. Jesmuel Valentin 2B (Phillies) - The Dodgers drafted Jesmuel in the first round of the 2012 draft. The Dodgers traded him to the Phillies in the Roberto Hernandez trade. He is the son of ex-major league shortstop Jose. The future for Jesmuel appears to be on the other side of the bag because of a short arm. He’s got some speed, swiping 25 bases last year and his power took seven balls out of the park with a .430 slugging in Low A. A promotion to the Florida State League saw a bit of a struggle with a .205 average and .250 slugging. This will be where he starts the 2015 season. With J.P. Crawford the future shortstop for the Phillies, Freddy Galvis could be his biggest competition for second base after the Chase Utley ride ends.
7. Edwin Diaz RHP (Mariners) - Edwin was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft. His fastball sits in the low 90s but has hit 97. As he adds muscle to his 6′2″ frame you could see him add some giddy up in the fastball. He also needs improvement on his secondary pitches (slider and change). Last year he got 24 starts he low A limiting the opposition to a .226 average and striking out just under a hitter per inning. The 2014 season should see him move to High A.
8. Jose Deleon RHP (Dodgers) - Jose had a break out year in 2014, putting him in the spot light. No team drafted him out of high school and the Dodgers waited until the 24th round to select him out of college. He got rid of the dough boy look, saw his fastball rise to the mid-90s and when given the opportunity to pitch in July at the rookie level he shined, striking out 12.8 hitters per nine innings and limiting the opposition to a .217 average. This led to a promotion to Low A where he was unhittable in four starts (.171 average and 16.7 whiffs per nine innings), with a 2/42 walk to whiff ratio. Don’t be surprised to see the Dodgers jump him to High A to give him a challenge.
9. Yadiel Rivera SS/2B (Brewers) - Yadiel was a ninth round pick in the 2010 draft. He has the tools to play short but has Orlando Arcia in his rear view mirror and Jean Segura at the major league level to block his path. If Yadiel can show he can hit his defense will get him a job. He lacks stolen base speed and his minor league average sits at only .241 with a .288 OBA. The Brewers would like to see a little more offense than that. If he fails to hit he can always make the team as a utility player because of his defense. Last year he played at AA, hitting .262 in 183 at bats after hitting .255 in 231 at bats in High A. The Twins will start his 2015 season in AA.
10. Alex Claudio LHP (Rangers) - Another sleeper because of his left handed arm. He doesn’t throw hard with a fastball failing to see 90. With a side arm delivery he could be restricted to a lefthanded situational relief role, something always needed in the major leagues. He made his major league debut last year, limiting lefthanded hitters to a .190 average. Unfortunately, righthanders hit him at a .345 clip. This same pattern was repeated in AAA. Alex is having a solid spring and should see the Rangers bullpen in 2015. He needs to continue to retire lefthanded hitters to stick.
To see the list from last year you can go to the link below:
2014 top ten Puerto Rican prospects