Last year’s top ten found four players make the major leagues, playing enough games to make them ineligible for the 2017 list. The top prospect on the list Jose Berrios saw a season of struggles for his 14 major league starts. Steven Moya, who was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the Dominican Republic saw significant time with the Tigers last year but was removed from the 40 man roster after running out of options and failing to make the major league team out of spring training. Edwin Diaz got inserted as the closer for the Mariners. He was number seven on the list. Yadiel Rivera was the number 10 player and played in a utility role for the Brewers, hitting just .200. With four players no longer eligible for the top ten some new players have come along to replace them.
1. Jose Deleon RHP (Rays) - Another Jose sits atop the top ten. The Dodgers originally drafted him in the 24th round of the 2013 draft but traded him to the Rays this year for Logan Forsythe. Not a lot was thought of Deleon when he was drafted but his fastball ticked up to the low 90s with lots of movement and his change is superb. The swings and misses come in bunches in the minor leagues at 12.1 whiffs per nine innings. When promoted to the Dodgers for four starts the whiffs were not as prevalent (7.9). Deleon had a rough spring, complained of arm discomfort and was placed on the disabled list to start the season. He should pitch soon and if he finds success will not see a lot of time in the minor leagues before reaching the Rays rotation.
2. Delvin Perez SS (Cardinals) - A 2016 first round pick of the Cardinals, he was supposed to go higher in the draft but a performance enhancing drug finding dropped him in the draft. Many compare him to Carlos Correa but with a little less power but more speed. Last year he showed some inconsistency as shortstop with 17 errors in 40 games. The bat was solid with a .294 average and he was 12 for 13 in stolen bases. Delvin will start the season in extended spring training and may get an opportunity to play in Low A before the rookie season starts.
3. Isan Diaz SS (Brewers) - Many feel Isan will eventually move to second base once he shows he lacks the range to play shortstop at the higher levels. He has played a little of both to begin the 2017 season. His bat will get him to the major leagues. The 2015 season was his breakout season when his OPS was an astounding 1.076 in the Rookie league. Last year he slugged 34 doubles with 20 homeruns for a .469 slugging average. Speed and defense are not his game. His bat will get him to the major leagues.
4. Joe Jimenez RHP (Tigers) - The Tigers are looking for a closer and have promoted Joe a couple times to fill a relief role. He is a bit too green to give him the closer job and his success has been spotty (12.46 ERA). On the bright side he has yet to give up a run in five Triple A appearances, striking out 10 hitters in five innings. His fastball is not the overpowering pitch many like to see in a closer and his slider is a bit inconsistent. His career with the Tigers has been in the bullpen so he has not had a need to develop a third pitch. When pitching in the minor leagues he has not given up more than two homers in a season. In his two call ups this year with the Tigers he has coughed up two homeruns in less than five innings.
5. Jorge Lopez RHP (Brewers) - Jorge struggled last year in AAA (6.81 ERA) which got him a demotion to AA. If he had seen some success he would have seen some time with the Brewers and not have been eligible for this list. A good winter in the Puerto Rican Winter League brings high hopes he has his stuff back. He was a second round pick in 2011. His fastball is not overpowering but his curveball is his swing and miss pitch. Last year in Colorado Springs he could not find command in the pitch walking 55 in 79 innings. A Demotion to AA reduced the walks. The Brewers have started his 2017 season at AA where in five starts he has a 1.73 ERA with a .189 opposition average. The Brewers may just keep him there before a promotion to their major league team rather than promote him to Colorado Springs where his curveball struggles to find its break.
6. Tomas Nido C (Mets) - He will not have Puerto Ricans forget Yadier Molina, but he could get backup opportunities at the major league level. His defense is solid but it was his bat that broke out last year to put him on the prospect map, hitting .320 with a .459 slugging average. The Mets have promoted him to AA and his hitting has struggled early in the season (.196). He has also only thrown out two of the 15 runners who have attempted to steal off him. Last year Nido had a 42 percent success rate. His best hope for a major league career is as a back up catcher.
7. Rio Ruiz 3B (Braves) - Rio was a fourth round pick in the 2012 draft but the Astros paid him a big bonus. They traded him to the Braves in 2015 for Evan Gattis. Expectations have lowered for Rio as his power has struggled to emerge. Last year he slugged .400 which was an improvement over the .324 slugging average in 2015. His defense is above average but the power needs to show if he wants to make it with the Braves. Last year he got a September call up for 7 at bats. He repeats AAA and could be the first player the Braves call on if they need a third baseman.
8. Jose Miranda 2B/SS (Twins) - Jose was taken in the second round supplemental of the 2016 draft. He doesn’t have the arm or the range to play shortstop and a move to second is expected. The Twins hope his bat will play which would open up a move to third. Last year he only hit .227 with a .292 slugging in his debut professional season at rookie ball. This year he starts the season in extended spring training waiting for the rookie season to begin so he can show the Twins his bat is alive.
9. Roy Morales C (Marlins) - Puerto Rico has a habit of developing catchers and from the defensive side Roy has all the tools. His arm is strong and he blocks pitches well. The Marlins drafted him in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. His bat is a bit soft and his speed is non-existent. He does make good contact with a 46/45 walk to whiff ratio. The Marlins have considered moving him to the mound if his bat does not come to life. In nine games this year Roy has hit .379 with a 5/2 walk to whiff ratio. Only one of his 11 hits has gone for extra bases.
10. Victor Caratini C/1B (Cubs) - It will be tough for Victor to find time behind the plate with Wilson Contreras the starter there. Victor was originally drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2013 draft. They traded him to the Cubs for Emilio Bonafacio. The tools are lacking to make it as a catcher, with a below average arm his biggest weakness to overcome. He does have some pop in the bat but that has yet to show in games. The early AAA season has seen him bounce around between first base and catcher. He has started the season with a .312 average with 16 RBIs in 20 games but only seven of his 24 hits have gone for extra bases.