Top 100 Prospects 2015 - 50 - 41

Not one foreign player in this list of ten.

50. C.J. Edwards RHP (Cubs) 3.9 - The Rangers didn’t draft C.J until the 48th round of the 2011 draft. He was the result of good scouting by the Rangers, discovered playing in an adult baseball league with his father. The Rangers eventually included the long limbed prospect in a trade to the Cubs to acquire Matt Garza. Edwards has the ability to whip those long arms forward to hit the mid-90s with his fastball. His curveball is a plus pitch and his slider can be used. A change was being developed. In his first two years he did not allow the opposition to hit greater than .200 against him. He had some troubles finishing the 2014 season, being limited to just ten starts. C.J. was still just as hard to hit, limiting opponents to a .180 average and giving up his second homerun in his three year professional career. The Cubs do not have a lot of quality pitchers in their system so they will take care of Edwards in 2015, having him repeat AA to ensure he is healthy. If he has success in AA he could see some time with the Cubs before the year is out.

49.Josh Bell OF/1B (Pirates) 4.12 - Josh was selected in the second round of the 2011 draft, but paid a $5 million bonus, more than their first round pick. He is a premium athlete with all the tools to be an impact player. Early in his career leg issues, including knee surgery slowed his ascent up the minor leagues. With three talented young outfielders already in place, the Pirates have moved him to first base. They see that as his best opportunity to make the major league club. His speed is still good enough to play the outfield. Last year he dominated the Florida State League hitting .335 with an .886 OPS. There was a little drop off when he was promoted to AA (.652), especially with the power numbers (.309) where only two of his 27 hits went for extra bases. Josh will repeat AA to show the lack of power numbers was a fluke. With Pedro Alvarez playing first base for the Pirates this year, the Pirates can be patient with his development.

48. Kevin Plawecki C/1B (Mets) 4.4 - Plawecki was a first round pick of the 2012 draft. With Travis d’Arnaud handling catching duties Plawecki may need to find another position to get his bat in the lineup. He is not a superior defensive player so he needs to show the bat to play another position. Kevin does not strike out much with a 67/77 walk to whiff ratio entering the 2014 season. Plawecki continued to mash at AA/AAA, hitting .326 at AA and .283 at AAA. He continued to make solid contact, but his power numbers could be short for first base. Perhaps with time his defensive game will improve to make him useful as a catcher, or he will sacrifice some contact to get some loft in his swing to hit some homeruns. He will repeat AAA though his bat appears ready for the major leagues. Finding a position for him will be the next step. Last year, Lucas Duda looked pretty good at first base.

47. Austin Hedges C (Padres) 4.5 - The second round 2011 pick is considered one of the best catchers in the minor leagues. His defense is major league ready. Give him the Plawecki bat and he would be an All Star Unfortunately, his bat is far behind his defensive game. In 2013 a .270 average at High A showed promise that his bat was coming around. Last year he trudged along with a .225 average in his second year at AA. In 20 games there in 2013 he hit .224. It was a soft average with a .321 slugging and .268 OBA. The Padres will have him repeat AA to see if he can generate some offense in his third season at that level. A major league opportunity awaits him, even as a back up if he continues to struggle on offense.

46. D.J. Peterson 3B/1B (Mariners) 4.62 - D.J. was the Mariners first round pick in 2013. His brother Dustin was drafted the same year out of high school by the Padres in the second round. Kyle Seager currently has a strong hold on third for the Mariners. There is also some question whether D.J.. has the range to play the position defensively. A move over to first was initiated last year, but he still saw most of his time at third base, where he booted 17 balls in 90 games. D.J. has the power to play first. Last year he slugged 31 homeruns between A and AA. He had an impressive .996 OPS in OPS in 65 games at High A and a .808 OPS in 58 games at AA. The Mariners could start him in AAA, but there is no reason to rush his service time. Eventually, they may need more of a power bat at first base where only Logan Morrison currently blocks his path.

45. Tyler Kolek RHP (Marlins) 4.8 - Kolek was the second pick of the 2014 draft, but the highest pick to sign a contract. At 6′5″ 260 pounds he was also one of the largest first round picks. History has shown that bulk in first round picks does not guarantee success. Tyler can also whip his fastball across home plate in triple digits. The minor leagues is filled with hard throwing high school pitchers who never develop the secondary pitches to get them to the next level. Tyler stitched together eight starts in rookie ball. He was not unhittable, with lefthanders torching him for a .314 average. He also showed a bit of trouble finding the plate, walking five hitters per nine innings. The Marlins will probably start him at a full season league next year, fitting him in Low A.

44. Austin Meadows OF (Pirates) 4.83 - The 2013 first round pick will always be compared to fellow Georgian first round pick Clint Frazier as they rise to the major leagues. He will also be linked with Mark Appel because the Pirates got the pick to draft him for their inability to sign Appel the previous year. He has decent speed to play centerfield, but his arm is a little short so a move to left field would be his next option. The limited 2013 debut season was a success with seven homeruns and a .316 average in 48 games. Hamstring injuries last year limited him to just 40 games last year. He continued to show a potent bat in Low A, hitting .322, but he only hit .190 against lefthanders. His power numbers were down (.486) but it would be hard to repeat his 2013 season. Expect a repeat of Low A with a quick promotion to High A if he has some quick success.

43. Nick Gordon SS (Twins) 4.92 - Nick was the fifth pick in the 2014 draft. He is the son of Tom “Flash” Gordon and the half brother of major leaguer Dee Gordon, who was also drafted as a shortstop but moved to second base. Nick does not have the stolen base speed of his half brother Dee, but he is the better defensive player. While he was drafted as a shortstop he was also a pitcher. There is no shortage of arm in his game. Gordon showed a lively bat in his debut in the rookie league, hitting .294 with a .338 average versus lefthanders. The Twins would like to see a little more patience in his approach (11/45 walk to whiff ratio in 57 games). There was some struggle at short as he booted eight balls in his 49 games but that should be lessoned with repetition at the position. Expect to see him start the 2015 season in the full season league.

42. Kohl Stewart RHP (Twins) 5.3 - Kohl was a 2013 first round pick who was also a pretty good quarterback in football. The Twins needed to shell out more than $4.4 million to sign him. His fastball sits in the low to mid-90s but his strikeout pitch is the slider. In rookie league ball in 2013 the opposition could only touch him at a .169 clip. It was a little rougher in the full season leagues where in his 19 starts he was tagged for a .233 average, .266 against lefthanders. His strikeout numbers also were hurt, going from one per game to just 6.4 per nine innings. Kohl had enough success at Low A that he should see High A to begin his 2015 season.

41. Matthew Wisler RHP (Padres) 5.42 - The Padres have managed to hold onto their 2011 seventh round pick who has transformed himself into one of the better minor league pitchers. The Phillies may have wanted him included in the Padres attempt to acquire Cole Hamels. Wisler can rise to the mid-90s with his fastball, but he sits in the low 90s, relying on the sink of his fastball to get hitters to pound the ball into the ground. He also shows excellent command of his pitchers, walking just over two hitters per nine innings. Last year Wisler rose to AAA, going from a pitcher’s park in San Antonio (2.10) where he had success, to a hitter’s park in El Paso (5.01) where homeruns are as frequent as tamales in a hamburger. Wisler will probably repeat AAA, but a good spring could get him in the rotation. If starting at AAA he will be one of the first pitchers promoted to the rotation.

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