Top 100 Prospects 2015 - 70 - 61

70. Mike Foltynewicz RHP (Braves) 2.77 - Mike was a first round draft pick of the Astros in 2010. They traded him to the Braves after the 2014 season, one of the prospects sacrificed to acquire Evan Gattis. Mike is one of the hardest throwers in the game, often hitting three digits on his fastball. A lack of quality secondary pitches and command issues (4.5 walks per nine) have many think his best role will be in relief. Last year, after an inconsistent run in the starting rotation (5.08 ERA and .260 opposition average) the Astros promoted him to the majors where he pitched in relief. His numbers did not improve much (5.30 ERA and .299 opposition average). For someone who throws as hard as Mike his whiffs per nine innings pitched falls below one per inning. The Braves will return him to the starting rotation where he will compete for the fifth spot. He could make it in the bullpen if he does not win the fifth spot.

69. Rusney Castillo OF (Red Sox) 2.83 - Rusney comes out of Cuba, inked to a signing bonus of $5.2 million and a seven year contract at $72.5 million. He signed too late last year to shake of the rust in the minor leagues and in a September call up to the Red Sox the 27 year old was still able to hit .333 in 36 at bats with two homeruns. He will be competing with Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley for the centerfield job this year, the favored candidate to win the position. He relies more on his speed than his power to separate himself from the rest. Rusney is a five tool player who should make an impact in the rookie of the year voting this year, though most of the tools fall just above average and just miss getting tagged as elite.

68. Steven Matz LHP (Mets) 2.87 - The 2009 second round pick of the Mets seems to have come out of nowhere to make this list. Tommy John surgery prevented him from playing in 2010 and 2011. The Mets have shown patience with him, giving him six starts in 2012 (1.55 ERA) and getting him over 100 innings in 2013 (2.62 ERA). While he can hum his fastball in the mid-90s, impressive for a lefthander, his secondary pitches, especially the change are quality pitches as well. Last year the Mets saw his innings count hit 140 at High A and AA with ERAs less than 3. He is expected to see the Mets rotation sometime before the 2015 season is done, but he will begin the season in AAA to control his innings count. They will try to get him up to 180 innings this year so he can join Harvey as a solid member of the rotation starting in 2016.

67. A.J. Cole RHP (Nationals) 3.03 - He was considered a tough sign, a first rounder that went in the fourth to the Nationals in 2010 as a draft eligible sophomore. The Nationals traded him to Oakland for Gio Gonzalez, then got him back in the Michael Morse trade. At 6′4″ he has nice long arms for a pitcher and whips the ball across home in the mid-90s, sometimes hitting 97. His slider and change have also developed into above average pitches. Cole enhanced his command this year and found himself at AAA where he went 7-0, 3.43 in 11 starts. The opposition raked him at a .283 clip and he whiffed just seven hitters per nine innings, but he threw strikes. The Nationals rotation is loaded this year so he will start the season in AAA. With both Jordan Zimmermann and Doug Fister eligible to depart after the 2015 season the Nationals have targeted a 2016 job for him in the rotation. Expect him to make his debut with a September call up.

66. Jake Thompson RHP (Rangers) 3.07 - Jake was a second round pick of the Tigers in the 2012 draft. The Rangers traded Joaquin Soria at the end of last season to acquire Thompson. Soria did not do much for the Tigers, providing them with only one save. The Rangers hope Thompson can eventually fill the starting rotation for the Rangers. His fastball sits in the low 90s and can reach mid-90s and he complements it with a slider/change combination. He got two starts for the Tigers AA team before getting traded to the Rangers and continued to shine for the Rangers in his final six AA starts. In 2015 he should start the season in AAA with the possibility of getting a callup should the Rangers have a need.

65. Sean Manaea LHP (Royals) 3.12 - Though he was a supplemental first round pick drafted after first round pick Hunter Dozier, he got a higher bonus payment than Hunter. Sean was considered a top five pick until an injury dropped his stock and prevented him from pitching in 2013. He throws a mid-90s fastball with a slider/change combination. Last year was his professional debut and being a college level pitcher the Royals pushed him to High A. He started 25 games, struck out more than a batter per inning and limited the opposition to a .228 average in the 122 innings worked. Next year he will see AA with the major leagues more probable in 2016 than this year. If the Royals are in a playoff run and they believe Manaea can help them now that could hasten his major league service time clock.

64. Hunter Renfroe OF (Padres) 3.15 - The Padres have not yet traded all their top prospects. Renfroe was a 2013 first round pick by the Padres. He was rumored as being one of the players offered for Cole Hamels, but the Phillies did not think what was offered was enough. He has the potential to be a big time power threat with an arm strong enough for right field. His big issue is a propensity to swing and miss with 134 whiffs in 120 plus games. He slugged .565 at hitter friendly Lake Elsinore, but could only manage .353 at pitcher friendly San Antonio. If the Padres do not trade him, they will probably start him at AA. With a outfield crowded with veterans and Rymer Liriano ahead of Hunter on the depth chart, it may not be until 2016 when he gets a glimpse of the major leagues.

63. Kyle Crick RHP (Giants) 3.25 - The Giants never seem to have trouble developing pitchers to slip into their rotation. Kyle was a first round supplemental pick in 2011 by the Giants and has worked his way up the minor league level one affiliation at a time. His fastball hits the mid-90s and touches 98 with a curveball and change. An oblique injury limited him to 14 starts and 60 plus innings in 2013, but that did not deter the Giants from starting him at AA. He was again limited to less than 100 innings last year, but command was a big issueas he walked just over six hitters per nine innings. When he starts a game with his 11 whiffs per nine innings, there is not a lot of contact in the game. The Giants may repeat his time in AA so he can work on finding his command. If he continues to struggle with strikes his best option could be to move to the bullpen, though the Giants feel he has potential ace like stuff.

62. Clint Frazier OF (Indians) 3.25 - The Georgia red head was drafted in the first round out of high school last year by the Indians. Once he polishes off the rough edges the Indians hope he can become a power hitting center fielder. He has all the five tools you look for in a player. Hamstring issues slowed him down last year, though he was still able to hit .266 with 13 homeruns and a .760 OPS. He needs to cut down on his 161 strikeouts to enhance his hitting tool. In 2015 he should start at High A and with some success in making contact could move up to AA. He will always be linked with another Georgia first round pick Austin Meadows.

61. Maikel Franco 3B (Phillies) 3.37 - Myworld does not see Cody Asche blocking his path at third base, though the concern is his fielding at the position is less than adequate. The Phillies were able to sign the Dominican for only $100,000 in 2010. He made that seem like a bargain with his 31 homeruns in 2013. A slow start hampered him last year, but he was still able to hit 16 homeruns in AAA and raise his average up to .257 after struggling around the Mendoza line for the early part of the year. He struggled with his major league debut, hitting only .179 with two doubles. Last year he only made 10 errors in 107 games at third base at AAA and one in his 12 games in the major leagues. With his power he could bring back memories of Michael Schmidt at third base. Cody Asche will bring back no such memories.

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