Julio Urias finally made it to the major leagues. He had appeared as the top prospect from Mexico the last couple years. Daniel Castro was fourth on the 2016 list. He made it as a Braves utility player grabbing 130 at bats to lose his rookie eligibility. A .200 average gave Castro his free agency and now he is with the Rockies playing at AAA. Luis Cessa got some starts and bullpen appearances last year with the Yankees. He is back in AAA giving the Yankees some depth in the starting rotation.
The top ten of 2017 lacks star power with Julio Urias no longer eligible. Another Urias unrelated to Julio appears on this list. Myworld has finally given up on Manny Banuelos and Luis Heredia, eliminating them from the 2017 list. Banulos is pitching for the Angels. Heredia has spent what seems like a lifetime with the Pirates but has yet to leave A ball.
1. Luis Urias 2B/SS (Padres) - Luis does not have a lot of tools except a bat that rips the gaps. His speed is average or below and his power is absent. For his career he has been caught stealing more than he has had success. A utility role could be in his future. He lacks the range to play shortstop on a permanent basis but if his .317 minor league average continues in the majors he could always play second base. Back to back four hit games put his average at .357. An 8 game hitting streak has kept that average up (.343). Last year he hit his first homeruns in his professional career, sending six over the fence. This year he has slugged two, so the power may be developing.
2. Jose Albertos RHP (Cubs) - The Cubs paid $1.5 million to the Mexican team who owned the rights to Albertos. He made his debut last year with one start. He will spend his time in extended spring training as an 18 year old waiting for the start of Arizona Rookie League. Reports have Joes hitting the mid-90s with his fastball with a good changeup. He has a long way to go before he makes an impact with the Cubs.
3. Francisco Rios RHP (Blue Jays) - Rios surprised in his first year of full season ball, dominating in six starts at Low A (1.20 ERA). He struck out 12.9 hitters per nine innings and limited the opposition to a .193 average. When promoted to High A his rather ordinary stuff was exposed and his success waned. His fastball sits at 91-92 with two breaking pitches (slider and curve) and a change. He does throw strikes but his lack of velocity makes it important he locate his pitches to prevent hard contact.
4. Victor Arano RHP (Phillies) - The Phillies acquired Arano from the Dodgers back in 2014 for Roberto Hernandez. The Dodgers had purchased him from the Mexico City Red Devils. Arano was moved to relief last year where he achieved some success. His fastball showed more velocity out of the pen, hitting the mid-90s which created more swings and misses. Last year he struck out 10.7 batters per nine innings compared to the previous year as a starter when he struck out just 5 hitters per nine. His slider is a good pitch and in the bullpen he does not need to rely on a third pitch. He started the 2017 season on the disabled list.
5. Jose Cardona OF (Rangers) - Jose was signed out of Mexico in 2011. In his first four seasons he hit only one homerun. It also took him awhile to escape the rookie league. In 2015 he cracked the full season league and burst out with 10 homeruns with 30 stolen bases. He did even better the following year in the hitter friendly California League hitting 14 homeruns with a .300 average. Starting this year in AA his power has yet to show with only three extra base hits. He plays a solid defense and could make it as a fourth outfielder.
6. Giovanny Gallegos RHP (Yankees) - The Yankees signed Giovanny a year after signing Manny Banuelos. The Yankees converted him to the bullpen in 2014 and he has not made a start since. The last couple years he has pitched in AAA with some success, limiting the opposition to a .178 average. The Yankees will use him as depth to their bullpen, adding him to their 40 man roster this year. His fastball hits the mid-90s but his other pitchers are dicey with a curveball and change. 106 whiffs in 78 innings last year and 14 whiffs in 8 innings this year makes him an attractive option, despite only having a fastball to get hitters out.
7. Isaac Paredes SS (Cubs) - In 2015 the Cubs paid the Mexico City Red Devils $800,000 for Isaac. He hit .305 as a teenager in the rookie league earning a promotion to full season ball. He has sure hands but lacks the range to play short. The power may not come to play third so expect his future to be at second. He played for the 15 and under Mexican national team.
8. Jose Luis Hernandez RHP (Astros) - Jose was signed out of Mexico by the Astros in 2015. He does not throw hard, hitting the radar guns in the high 80s to low 90s. At 6′0″ he also lacks height as a righthander. His secondary pitches with above average location will determine his fate. He starts the 2017 season on the disabled list.
9. Fernando Perez 1B (Padres) - Last year Fernando was limited to 44 games because of injuries. He plays the same position as Luis with a less impressive stick. He does show some pop with 18 homeruns and 95 RBIs in 2014. The Padres have moved him to first base where he needs to show power to stick at the position. This year he has slugged three homeruns with a .479 slugging.
10. Christian Villanueva 3B (Padres) - Christian did not play last year because of a fracture right fibula. He was declared a free agent and signed with the Padres. This season he has started on the disabled list. He plays third base. The Padres lack a player with the skills of Kris Bryant playing that position. The Padres hope he gets healthy and can show the power he did with the Cubs when he hit 20 homeruns in 2015.