30. Raul A Mondesi SS (Royals) - Raul will always be known as the first prospect to make his major league debut in the post season before he even played a major league regular season game. He is the son of Raul Mondesi, the power hitting outfielder for the Dodgers. His son’s game is not geared toward the power game of his father but is more inclined to incorporate speed and finesse. He is a smooth fielding shortstop who has the speed to steal 20 plus bases but lacks the power to hit double digit homeruns. That power may improve as he matures and learns to pull pitches. The tools are there to stay at shortstop but the Royals already have a player at the position similar to Mondesi in Alcides Escobar. As many people do when looking at prospects compared to your current major league player, the grass is always greener down on the farm. For the Royals he would certainly fall into the less expensive category once Escobar becomes a free agent or is one year away from free agency. Expect the Royals to give him one more year in the minors at AAA where he needs to improve on his patience and draw a few more walks in order to hit higher up in the batting order. By mid-season Escobar may be an attractive trade package a year and a half from free agency, but if the Royals are in the playoff race it will be tough to rely on a rookie shortstop to lead them to the World Series.
29. Jon Gray RHP (Rockies) - Gray was a first round draft pick of the Rockies in 2013. Three digit fastballs do not slow down in the high Rocky Mountain atmosphere but they may get hit farther. With the heavier professional work load his fastball has dropped from the high 90s to sit more consistently in the mid-90 range with a hard breaking slider which may not break as violently in Colorado. In his three year minor league career he has not put up eye popping numbers for a pitcher with power stuff. He sits at a tick below one strikeout per nine innings with an ERA at 3.82. Last year he made his major league debut and got hit hard with the opposition hitting him at a .319 clip leading to a ERA of 5.53. In order to be a more effective pitcher he will need to improve his command, cutting down on his walk rate of just over three per game. The 2016 season should see him start in AAA with a promotion to Colorado just a phone call away if his numbers prove deserving.
28. Manuel Margot OF (Padres) - Last year the Padres traded all their prospects for proven veterans. That failed in providing them with more victories. This year they traded these veterans for prospects. Margot was one of the prospects the Padres got from the Red Sox for Craig Kimbrel. The Dominican is a high contact hitter that doesn’t walk a lot because he is always putting the bat on the ball. The Royals showed there is upside to players who make contact. Margot also has the speed to cover a lot of ground in center. The power is limited to the gaps but his speed could give him extra bases on singles and doubles. As he becomes more familiar with pitch sequences and how pitchers are trying to work him he could find his average to consistently hover around the .300 level. Last year he combined to steal 39 bases in 46 attempts while slugging at a .420 clip. AA is likely to be his next destination for 2016 but with a good spring the Padres could up his progress to AAA. Travis Jankowski is the only player standing in his way for the centerfield job.
27. Clint Frazier OF (Indians) - The 2013 first round pick of the Indians in 2013 could be a smooth fielding centerfielder in the major leagues. He lacks the gazelle like speed managers and scouts look for in a middle outfielder so his arm will make him useful in right. The Indians also have a couple prospects in Bradley Zimmer and Tyler Naquin who could also play center. The power in his bat will make right field a good fit. Last year he slugged 16 homeruns and produced a .465 slugging average. There are a lot of strikeouts to his game (125) but he improved in that area when compared to last year. On the upside he is also patient enough to take walks (.377 OBA). Currently his power is restricted to the gaps with 36 doubles but as he matures some of those gappers will travel over the fence. Expect him to start the 2016 season in AA.
26. A.J. Reed 1b (Astros) - The Astros sent Jonathan Singleton down but decided to keep Tyler White instead of Reed as their first baseman. That should only be a temporary set back. Myworld saw A.J. arguing with his manager that he wanted to stay in the game to hit rather than be pinch hit for by Singleton. The manager just patted A.J. on the back and said your day will come. The number two pick by the Astros in the 2014 draft slugged 34 homeruns at two levels last year. Noted to have a pudgy frame myworld did not see a lot of that pudge when we watched him this spring. The power is there for him to hit 30 homers with 30 doubles and his two year minor league career average is .324. If the Astros need to generate some offense Reed is the man. His defense at first base is not Gold Glove material but he won’t do anything to hurt you and he appears to be a better defensive option than Singleton. Reed will spend his 2016 season smashing at AAA, sharing the position with Singleton with a callup just an injury away.
25. Robert Stephenson RHP (Reds) - The 2011 first round pick is just a stone’s throw away from the major league rotation. All he needs is a little more command from his high 90s fastball. His curve and change are above average pitches giving him a healthy repertoire to retire major league hitters. That will come after he finds the plate more, eliminating his walk rate of over four hitters per nine innings. Last year he showed some success at AA limiting hitters to a .197 average. When promoted to AAA he found the plate more but hitters made better contact upping their average to .245. The Reds are rebuilding and are looking for some of their younger pitchers to be more consistent in retiring hitters. Stephenson isn’t quite ready yet but he will start the season in AAA and be up with the Reds by mid-season.
24. Bradley Zimmer OF (Indians) - Bradley may have the edge over Frazier for the center field job. The 2014 first round pick may have been drafted a year later than Frazier, but he was drafted after three years at the University of San Francisco. The two played in the same outfield at the start of the 2015 season before Zimmer was promoted to AA. Zimmer does not have the power of Frazier but his bat will carry enough balls over the walls to reach the double digit homerun category. He also has enough speed to steal 20 plus bases. There has been some criticism over his routes in center field, but that will improve with more experience. After hitting .310 in High A with a .495 slugging average he struggled when promoted to AA, hitting just .210 with a .374 slugging. The Indians may start him in AA to begin the 2016 season where he will share the centerfield job with Frazier and then promote him to AAA or the major leagues if he shows some success there.
23. Alex Bregman SS (Astros) - The 2015 first round pick has a daunting task ahead of him, with Carlos Correa appearing to cement the shortstop position for the next twenty years. Bregman might not carry the power of Correa but the bat is quick, he makes contact and he should consistently hit around .300. If he had the range of a Francisco Lindor or Andrelton Simmons there may be some thought to move Correa to third, but his range will not justify that happening. The Astros will continue to use him at short, but may move him around to third or second to find a spot for him. As he matures his homerun numbers could hit double digits so a fit at third is a possibility, but expect an ultimate move to second, when Jose Altuve becomes too expensive for the Astros to keep. There is no rush to make a decision on the major league future of Bregman. His numbers at AA to begin the 2016 season will define where he may play for the Astros in 2017 or later.
22. Franklin Barreto SS (Athletics) - The Athletics seem to be rather fond of drafting shortstops and then trading them away for pitching or help at other positions. The Venezuelan isn’t the type of hitter that the Athletics would have coveted in the past. His walk to whiff ratio is poor (15/67) but his power bat for the position is intriguing. The Blue Jays shelled out $1.45 million to sign him and the Athletics traded away Josh Donaldson to get Barreto, so they may decide to keep him. At this stage his game comes with a lot of errors (34) with an arm that may be just a little short for the position. If he has to move from short the power should be there for him to stick at third. At 5′9″ he is not a big guy so expecting him to hit 20 plus homeruns consistently could be a stretch. Last year he hit over .300 for the second straight season. The AA level will be where he proves he belongs in the middle of the infield.
21. Sean Newcomb LHP (Braves) - Myworld was not impressed with the one outing in spring that we saw of the lefthander. The Braves acquired the Angels 2014 first round pick in the Andrelton Simmons trade. Standing 6′5″ with a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and hits 99 are traits in a pitcher you do not want to have first impressions influence your decisions. His curveball and changeup both are above average and he gets a lot of swings and misses with his pitches, averaging about 11 whiffs per nine innings. Last year he achieved success at three different levels, finishing at AA with a 2.75 ERA and a .176 opposition average. He needs to improve on his command, finding the plate more to lesson his more than four walks per game average. The Braves are in a rebuilding mode and will try a lot of pitchers in their rotation. Not all of them will succeed. Newcomb will start the 2016 season in AA with a callup a possibility if he dominates at that level.