We begin our march toward opening day with USA TODAY’s 100 Names You Need to Know, our annual look of emerging major league talent, topped by the son of a former major league All-Star for the second consecutive year.
They’re not necessarily the top prospects but players you’ll get to know quite well this season. Our list stipulates that players must have had more innings (for pitchers) or plate appearances (for hitters) in the minor leagues during 2019 than they have accumulated during all of their major league playing time. Players are ranked in order of their anticipated impact this season.
Player capsules written by Scott Boeck, Stephen Borelli, Chris Bumbaca, Steve Gardner, Gabe Lacques and Jesse Yomtov.
1. SS Bo Bichette, Blue Jays: Starting last season in the minors alongside fellow phenom Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bichette, now 21, had to wait longer for a call-up than his pal. He became the first player in MLB history to double in nine consecutive games and batted .311 with 11 homers over 46 contests. Bichette won’t be eligible for the Rookie of the Year honors during his age-22 season, but he’ll look to keep his star shining in 2020.
2. OF Luis Robert, White Sox: It’s go time in every way imaginable for Robert after the White Sox dangled an opening-day job with a multiyear contract that will guarantee him $50 million. Robert, 22, posted a 30-30 season across three minor league levels in 2019, and similar output on the South Side seems a matter of when, not if. Go crazy, folks.
3. 2B/SS Gavin Lux, Dodgers: The 2016 first-round pick slugged his way to the majors in 2019, batting .347 with 26 home runs in 113 minor league games. He hit .240 in 75 at-bats in September, earning a spot on the team’s postseason roster. Lux has tremendous power for a middle infielder, a terrific approach at the plate and plus speed. Penciled in as the Dodgers’ starting second baseman, Lux is the latest in a long line of sluggers graduating through the organization and has to be considered a favorite for the NL Rookie of the Year award.
4. LHP Jesus Luzardo, Athletics: A rotation candidate last spring, injuries delayed Luzardo’s debut until September, but he made his mark immediately in the majors. Luzardo struck out 16 in 12 innings across six relief appearances – picking up two saves and two holds – and then tossed three scoreless innings in the wild-card game. Durability might be an issue (considering Luzardo has logged only 208 professional innings), but the 22-year-old is penciled into the rotation and should pick up right where he left off.
5. OF Aristides Aquino, Reds: An offseason swing change unlocked Aquino’s power stroke as he set a major league rookie record for home runs in a month (14) immediately after being promoted in August. Then pitchers adjusted, and he hit .196 with five homers in September. Entering his age-26 season, the power potential remains, but the Reds’ outfield additions this offseason could cut into his playing time.
6. OF Shogo Akiyama, Reds: A five-time All-Star and a former batting champion in Japan, Akiyama didn’t sign a three-year, $21 million deal to sit on the bench. Though he’s been mostly a center fielder, Akiyama, 31, could move to a corner spot in Cincinnati. More important, the left-handed hitter also fills the Reds’ longstanding need for a leadoff man.
7. OF Jo Adell, Angels: One of the game’s top prospects, the 20-year-old has a clear path to the majors after missing time in 2019 due to injuries early in the season. At 6-3 and 215 pounds, Adell has raw power to all fields and plus speed that should make him a 30-30 threat in the future. Expect to see him in right field for the Angels around the middle of the season.
8. RHP Zac Gallen, Diamondbacks: Arizona’s trade of Zack Greinke to the Astros at the July 31 deadline opened a rotation spot for Gallen, a seemingly minor acquisition from Miami on the same day. Pitching in lower-leverage situations than Greinke, Gallen, 24, had a lower ERA (2.89 to 3.02) and strikeout rate (10.9 to 7.5) with Arizona than Greinke did with Houston. A D’backs rotation spot is again there for the taking if he can keep it up.
9. 1B Evan White, Mariners: Seattle has already signed its 2017 first-round back to a six-year, $24 million deal. It’s backloaded to reward him the most by 2024 but White has the inside track on the opening-day first-base job on a rebuilding club. White, 23, has played only four games above Class AA. The transition is steep, but the polished player has hit at every level so far.
10. RHP Dustin May, Dodgers: Los Angeles promoted May in early August and he impressed across 34 ⅔ innings in 14 games (four starts), surrendering just two home runs with 32 strikeouts before making two appearances in the postseason. He probably won’t break camp in the Dodgers’ rotation but can certainly contribute out of the bullpen if the team wants to start him there. Either way, expect him to claim a permanent rotation spot in 2020.
11. OF Kyle Tucker, Astros: Tucker, a No. 5 overall pick in 2015, has slugged .571 in 225 Class AAA games. During a September call-up last year, he proved he could be ready for a regular big-league job, too. A Josh Reddick injury would open up the right-field job if Tucker, 23, doesn’t overtake him first. Tucker has all of the tools, but he has yet to put it all together.
12. LHP A.J. Puk, Athletics: Oakland’s first-round pick in 2016, Puk missed the entire 2018 season after Tommy John surgery and didn’t return until June 2019. After just 25 ⅓ innings in the minors, Puk made the majors in August and contributed out of the bullpen down the stretch, striking out 13 in 10 appearances. The 24-year-old probably won’t be on the opening-day roster as he continues building strength after the injury but could be in the rotation sooner rather than later.
13. OF Kyle Lewis, Mariners: Another young Mariner who should get an opening-day shot on a rebuilding club, Lewis, 24, debuted successfully in 2019. He showed flash, speed and power in 2019 and has little to prove in the minor leagues. He could walk more, but that won’t necessarily keep him from the lineup, especially if he continues to pound fellow right-handers.
14. RHP Michael Kopech, White Sox: A big offseason for the 6-3, 205-pound right-hander, who wed “Riverdale” star Vanessa Morgan and completed the final steps back from 2018 Tommy John surgery. While it might be a stretch for Kopech, 23, to break with the club out of spring training, he is back to throwing 100 mph and conceivably could contribute out of the White Sox bullpen. He’s averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings in the minor leagues.
15. OF Adam Haseley, Phillies: Haseley was solid during his rookie season and showed he could be the Phillies’ everyday center fielder. He will get the opportunity but likely will start the season in the minors. In 67 games in the bigs, he batted .266 with five homers and 26 RBI. He exceeded his rookie limits but had fewer plate appearances in the majors than in the minors.
16. LHP/DH Brendan McKay, Rays: Part of the game’s recent influx of two-way players, McKay hit sparsely (11 at-bats) following his late-June promotion to the majors. But manager Kevin Cash has said the lefty will earn more at-bats this season. In 13 appearances on the mound (11 starts), McKay struck out 56 over 49 innings but posted a 5.14 ERA – not quite the same level of success he showed in Class AAA, where he gave up three earned runs in 32 innings.
17. INF Carter Kieboom, Nationals: A first-round pick in 2016, Kieboom flew through the minors and made his big-league debut last season at 21. Kieboom doesn’t have much experience anywhere besides shortstop, and with the Nationals’ deep infield there’s no immediate path to regular playing time. Still, injuries to Trea Turner, Starlin Castro, Asdrubal Cabrera or Howie Kendrick could open the door for Kieboom to make his case in the majors.
18. RHP Jose Urquidy, Astros: Gerrit Cole’s departure opens up a rotation spot for Urquidy, 24, who appears ready for the chance. He had a 1.50 ERA in 18 September innings and allowed one earned run in 10 postseason innings while striking out 10.
19. 2B Nick Madrigal, White Sox: Unlike Luis Robert, Madrigal is not yet penciled into the White Sox lineup, but his elite bat-to-ball skills might force his way into their plans. Madrigal, who turns 23 on March 5, has a .309/.371/.398 slash line in 163 minor-league games, with just 21 strikeouts. He might be the perfect fit to slide among the White Sox’s boom-and-bust young sluggers.
20. RHP Forrest Whitley, Astros: The 6-7 2016 first-rounder is a non-roster invitee to camp. Using a power fastball and changeup, he spent time at four levels last year and struck out 13 hitters per nine innings. He could get a big-league shot at the rotation if anyone behind Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke falters.
21. 2B Mauricio Dubon, Giants: Acquired in the Drew Pomeranz trade last summer, Dubon did well after his promotion in late August (.279 in 104 at-bats) and is expected to be the opening-day second baseman. San Francisco’s addition of Wilmer Flores could cost Dubon some playing time. But with the Giants theoretically in rebuild mode, the 25-year-old should have a pretty long leash in his first full season.
22. RHP Nate Pearson, Blue Jays: A 6-6 flamethrower with a fastball that eclipses 100 mph, Pearson was used cautiously in 2019 as he recovered from a broken arm that cost him nearly all of his 2018 campaign. Last season Pearson began pitching exclusively out of the stretch, which allowed him to hone his control and led to a 119:27 K:BB ratio.
23. C Sean Murphy, Athletics: The 25-year-old enters spring training penciled in as the team’s starting catcher, though he might find himself in a platoon with Austin Allen. It’s too soon to gauge how much his offensive numbers in Class AAA were inflated, but he looked good at the plate in the majors, going 13-for-53 with four home runs and a .899 OPS. Murphy has thrown out 33% of runners in his pro career and is considered one of the game’s best defensive prospects behind the plate.
24. OF Dylan Carlson, Cardinals: One of 2019’s fastest-rising prospects, Carlson dominated as one of the youngest players in the Class AA Texas League, then performed even better after a late-season promotion to Class AAA. The switch-hitting 2016 first-rounder combines above-average power and speed with excellent plate discipline, especially for someone so young. Carlson, 21, could play his way onto the major league roster if he gets off to a strong start in the minors.
25. RHP Sixto Sanchez, Marlins: Sanchez, who will participate in the Marlins’ big-league spring training camp in 2020, was one of the major pieces involved in the trade with the Phillies for catcher J.T. Realmuto. Despite his small stature at 6-0, his fastball can top out into triple digits with some movement. He will get a chance to develop before breaking into the Marlins’ big-league rotation.
26. OF Yoshitomo Tsutsugo, Rays: Signed to a two-year, $12 million contract in December, the Japan native is entering his first MLB season. Tsutsugo was a five-time Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) All-Star and has been a pro since 2010.
27. INF/OF Nick Solak, Rangers: Solak’s power went to another level last season with a career-best .532 slugging percentage in the minor leagues, a trend that continued after a promotion. He figures to be a valuable part-time player who, with experience at second and third bases as well as all three outfield positions, could play himself into a regular role if he keeps hitting.
28. INF/OF Nico Hoerner, Cubs: Hoerner, 22, overcame a hairline fracture in his hand in April to make the jump from Class AA to the majors in September when shortstop Javier Baez was injured. He performed well enough that the Cubs felt comfortable not offering Addison Russell a contract this offseason. The 2018 first-round pick will enter spring training with a legitimate shot at being the opening-day second baseman.
29. RHP Mitch Keller, Pirates: The fireballing right-hander got his first taste of the majors last season … and it didn’t go well. However, there were encouraging signs below his surface stats. Keller, 23, struck out nearly 29% of the batters he faced, but when they did make contact, they hit .475. And when runners got on base against him, they scored 41% of the time. (MLB averages: .296, 28%.) Those numbers will regress significantly over a full season, giving us a much better idea of how good Keller really is.
30. RHP Brusdar Graterol, Dodgers: Graterol’s 99-mph fastball powered him to Minnesota by September and onto the Twins’ postseason roster – and ultimately into the three-team deal that shipped Mookie Betts out of Boston. His long-term ceiling is as a starter. Graterol, 21, could provide rotation depth for the Dodgers or be used blowing away big-league hitters in relief.
31. LHP Kwang-Hyun Kim, Cardinals: After staking his claim as one of the top pitchers in Korea, Kim will try his hand in the majors at age 31. He could be a welcome addition to a starting rotation that currently consists of all right-handers – or he could serve as a spot starter and provide multiple innings out of the bullpen. Kim has good control but is unlikely to blow hitters away after averaging less than a strikeout per inning in the KBO.
32. OF Austin Hays, Orioles: Hays is poised for a breakout season. After a successful September call-up (.309 batting average, 13 RBI in 21 games), he is slated to become the starting center fielder. Hays also seized the opportunity defensively, making one of the top plays of the year robbing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of a home run.
33. 2B Isan Diaz, Marlins: Diaz, acquired in a trade from the Brewers for Christian Yelich, had a solid 2019 season in Class AAA. He slugged 26 home runs and was named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year. Despite his poor production in 49 games in the bigs – .173 batting average with 59 strikeouts in 179 at-bats – he appears to be what the Marlins envisioned when they traded Yelich for him.
34. RHP Brent Honeywell, Rays: Once considered one of the best pitching prospects in baseball, bad injury luck caught up to Honeywell, who has missed the last two seasons after having Tommy John surgery before the 2018 season and another procedure last year to rectify a broken elbow. Before that, he looked like a key rotation piece. How long until he can offer that same promise and, potentially, realize it?
35. LHP Justus Sheffield, Mariners: The Yankees’ top prospect acquired in last offseason’s James Paxton deal has often struggled with his control, as he did during his big-league debut. However, his strikeout-to-walk ratio was almost three to one over his last six starts. He’ll get a chance to be in the rotation to start the season. If Sheffield, 23, continues last year’s late trend, he’ll likely stay there.
36. RHP Tony Gonsolin, Dodgers: With competition from teammate Dustin May, Gonsolin is also going to make a run at a spot on the opening-day roster. The 25-year-old tossed 40 innings in the majors in 2019, posting a 2.93 ERA with 37 strikeouts. He’s on the outside of the rotation looking in, but as is the case with May, the Dodgers could use Gonsolin and his devastating splitter as a weapon out of the bullpen.
37. 1B Nate Lowe, Rays: In a system stocked with “Lowes,” Nate, who is not related to Rays utility player Brandon Lowe, is also making a name for himself. Spending 2019 between Class AAA and the majors, Lowe clubbed 23 home runs. If he can repeat that type of power in the International League, a call-up might not be far behind.
38. C Reese McGuire, Blue Jays: With catcher Danny Jansen in the fold, McGuire rebounded from hitting .233 in AAA two years ago to a .299/.346/.526 slash line in the big leagues the following season. Normally well-regarded for his work behind the plate, the former first-round pick should offer plenty of competition this spring.
39. LHP MacKenzie Gore, Padres: San Diego is banking on Gore, 20, to be a front-line starter. He is considered one of the top left-handed prospects in the game and has drawn comparisons to Clayton Kershaw due to his delivery. In 2019, he combined to throw 101 innings for a 1.69 ERA between Classes A and AA.
40. OF Cristian Pache, Braves: Pache is on the cusp of the major league level. He finished the 2019 season at the Class AAA level as a 20-year-old and increased his OPS from .717 to .802 after a career-high 57 extra-base hits and 43 walks.
41. RHP Deivi Garcia, Yankees: At the beginning of last season, Garcia’s dominance as a 19/20-year-old in Double-A seemed to make him a lock to end the season in the Bronx. That never came to fruition, as he put up a 5.40 ERA and walked 20 hitters in 40 innings at AAA. Nonetheless, he’ll compete for a rotation spot in the spring and could be in the rotation at some point in 2020.
42. OF Sam Hilliard, Rockies: Hilliard, 25, debuted in August and slugged his way into a likely platoon with Ian Desmond in left field to start the season. Hilliard, 6-5 and 238 pounds, blistered pitchers at Coors Field and was more pedestrian on the road. Desmond, 34, is on the downside of his career so there is opportunity to seize a full-time outfield job.
43. OF Drew Waters, Braves: Waters, 21, is a switch-hitting outfielder who led the Southern League (Class AA) in batting average, hits, doubles and triples on his way to the MVP award in 2019. His athleticism and swagger has drawn comparisons to Hall of Famer Chipper Jones.
44. 2B/SS Brendan Rodgers, Rockies: Rodgers was the Rockies’ third-round pick in 2015. His slow ascension to Coors Field was stalled by shoulder surgery in July. A major deal during the season (sending away Nolan Arenado?) would greatly improve Rodgers’ chances of playing time.
45. LHP Matthew Liberatore, Cardinals: The Cardinals acquired Liberatore, 20, from the Rays in the Jose Martinez trade and invited him to spring training, even though he’ll start the season in the minors. A first-round pick out of high school in the 2018 draft, he just turned 20 in November. So even if the left-hander continues to impress in the minors, he’s unlikely to see the majors without some major injuries hitting the Cardinals’ bullpen.
46. RHP Hunter Harvey, Orioles: Like his father, Bryan Harvey, a two-time All-Star, Hunter, 25, likely will play the part of a closer in the future. He made his major league debut in 2019 and allowed one run over 6 ⅓ relief innings. And while he has a history of injuries that slowed his development, he’ll be back in 2020 as a late reliever.
47. OF Shed Long, Mariners: Long, 24, looks to have the inside tack on the Mariners’ opening-day second-base job. Acquired from the Yankees last January, Long has versatility (he played second, third and the outfield last season) that could keep him a regular on a team full of guys trying to prove themselves. He has speed and some surprising power.
48. RHP Brady Singer, Royals: The 18th overall pick in 2018 had a highly successful pro debut in 2019, racking up 26 starts, 148 ⅓ innings and a 1.19 WHIP – all of which put Singer firmly on Kansas City’s radar. Singer, 23, might not profile as a No. 1 starter, but his rapidly developing skills could get him to Kauffman Stadium this season – where he figures to stick a very long time.
49. RHP Ian Anderson, Braves: The No. 3 pick in the 2016 draft is projected as a potential ace and is the top pitching prospect in the organization. In 2019, he dominated Class AA and finished third in the Southern League with 147 strikeouts. He was promoted to Class AAA but struggled over five starts.
50. OF Jarred Kelenic, Mariners: He is young (20) and hasn’t played a game above Class AA but he has above-average power and speed and superstar potential. He’s likely to start the season in Class AA, but the Mariners’ muddled outfield picture gives him a chance to earn big-league playing time later in the season if he can figure out the higher levels of the minors.
51. RHP Kyle Wright, Braves: It didn’t take long for Wright to reach the majors. As a top college pitcher in 2017, he made his MLB debut in September 2018. He has since been shuffled back and forth between Class AAA and the Braves mostly as a starter. In seven appearances in 2019, he posted a 8.69 ERA.
52. OF Alex Kirilloff, Twins: Tommy John surgery in 2017 and wrist injuries in 2019 bracket a 2018 campaign that saw Kiriloff, now 22, lead the minor leagues in extra-base hits. His left-handed stroke and hit tool make him something of a Max Kepler clone – with the big question whether he can grow into his power as Kepler has.
53. 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates: The Pirates’ third baseman of the future, Hayes, 23, is a plus defender who needs to show he can hit before he can stick in the majors. After spending last season at Class AAA, it’s time for him to step up his offensive game. Yet another top prospect with big-league bloodlines, he’s the son of 14-year MLB veteran Charlie Hayes.
54. RHP Spencer Howard, Phillies: Howard, the organization’s top pitching prospect, received an invite to big-league camp. But because of his light workload, the 23-year old will likely start the season in Class AAA. In 71 innings in the minors, he averaged nearly 12 strikeouts per nine across three levels.
55. 3B Nolan Gorman, Cardinals: The Cardinals have an opening at the hot corner, but it might be a little premature to think about Gorman filling it. The 19th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Gorman projects to have above-average to elite power – even though he only hit five home runs in 230 plate appearances at high-A Palm Beach (Jupiter, Florida) last season. He won’t turn 20 until May, so there’s plenty of time for him to find his groove.
56. SS Oneil Cruz, Pirates: As a shortstop who stands 6-7, Cruz offers tremendous upside at the position. He hit for average with decent pop in splitting last season between High-A Bradenton (Florida) and Class AA Altoona (Pennsylvania) – while also dealing with a broken foot. It’s not easy for a player his size to make consistent contact; how well he can do it will determine how quickly he advances.
57. OF Trevor Larnach, Twins: The former Oregon State star has overmatched every minor league level since the Twins drafted him 20th overall in 2018. He posted a .853 OPS while still discovering who he is as a hitter. Larnach, 23 on Feb. 26, will be on the Twins’ short list for a debut should his transition to Class AAA go as smoothly as the first four levels he mastered.
58. 1B/3B Ryan Mountcastle, Orioles: After a monster season in Class AAA, Mountcastle was named the International League’s MVP. He batted .312 with 25 home runs and 83 RBI. But despite the success, he was not called up to the majors in September. Heading into the 2020 season, he will still have to compete for a spot on the roster. A bat-first player, he could serve as a future designated hitter.
59. OF Randy Arozarena, Rays: Even in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League, the 24-year-old Cuba native hit the cover off the ball. Arozarena batted .358 with a 1.028 OPS, and St. Louis called him up in September. He only received 20 at-bats but should see more in 2020.
60. RHP Casey Mize, Tigers: In another organization, there might be a compelling reason to push the No. 1 pick of 2018 to the majors. But with the Tigers ticketed for another 100 losses, it makes too much sense to nudge Mize toward 150 innings and a full season at Class AA and AAA. For now, Mize, 22, remains very much on track to crack the Tigers’ rotation early in 2021 and stay there through most of the decade.
61. SS/2B Jorge Mateo, Athletics: Oakland has a hole at second base and Mateo might be able to claim that job in the opening months. The 24-year-old, acquired from the Yankees in the Sonny Gray trade, has averaged 35 steals a year in the minors and is a plus defender, though he’s seen most of his time at shortstop.
62. OF Heliot Ramos, Giants: The 20-year-old is still probably a year away, but the hype is building after the 2017 first-round pick put together a .290/.369/.481 slash line in 2019 in Classes A and AA. There’s no rush to get Ramos to the major leagues, but there’s also nobody blocking his path. Ramos might not stay in center field long term, but he has plus power that profiles well in right.
63. OF Brandon Marsh, Angels: He’s in a tricky spot right now competing with Jo Adell to reach the majors, but Marsh definitely has the potential to be an everyday player. The 22-year-old hit .300 with 18 steals in 96 games at Class AA and was an All-Star in the Arizona Fall League. There’s no clear path for Marsh with Mike Trout in center, Justin Upton (signed through 2022) in left and Adell on the fast-track, but an injury would open the door for him to make an impact.
64. LHP Anthony Kay, Blue Jays: As a first-round pick in 2016, Kay did not make his minor league debut until 2018 due to Tommy John recovery. As a Mets farmhand he excelled in AA last season, and after being promoted to Class AAA the Mets dealt him to the Toronto Blue Jays as part of the Marcus Stroman trade in July. Kay made his major league debut on Sept. 7 and surrendered nine runs over 14 innings in his first three big-league appearances.
65. 1B/3B Alec Bohm, Phillies: Bohm, 23, was the third overall pick in the 2018 draft. He is considered the Phillies’ top prospect and future franchise third baseman. In 2019, he hit .305 with 21 homers, 80 RBI and a .896 OPS across three levels.
66. RHP Luis Patino, Padres: Don’t let his short stature fool you. Patino, standing 6 feet, lives in the mid 90s with an explosive fastball that touches 99. He has the potential to be a front-line starter like his counterpart, Mackenzie Gore.
67. RHP Edward Cabrera, Marlins: Many believe his ceiling is as high as Sixto Sanchez’s. They both have fastballs that can reach triple digits. The big difference between the two is their height. Cabrera is an imposing figure on the mound at 6-6, compared to Sanchez at 6-0. He finished with a solid 2019 campaign between Class A and AA: 9-4 record with a 2.23 ERA.
68. LHP Tarik Skubal, Tigers: Skubal, 23, is a 6-3 lefty whose fastball touches 97 mph. His 179 strikeouts over 122 ⅔ innings was a startling full-season debut. If Skubal can keep missing bats, the livelier ball at Class AAA and the big leagues won’t much matter.
69. 3B Bobby Dalbec, Red Sox: With Michael Chavis already a power-hitting righty who plays the infield, the Red Sox can add another to the lineup this year with Dalbec. Over the last two seasons, he’s hit 59 home runs in the minors – but he also struck out in more than a quarter of his plate appearances. The presence of Chavis and Rafael Devers already in the infield might make earning playing time difficult, though.
70. C Joey Bart, Giants: The second overall pick in 2018, Bart has a .875 OPS in 130 games in the minors but missed time in 2019 with two separate injuries after being hit by pitch. Things are complicated by the presence of Buster Posey – under contract through 2021 – but Bart has Gold Glove potential and could play his way into the conversation for a late-season call-up.
71. RHP Matt Manning, Tigers: After such a clean season as a 20-year-old at Class AA, odds are very good Manning makes his way to Detroit this season. Now 22, Manning does not possess the potential ace ceiling of Casey Mize, nor the punch-out ability of Tarik Skubal, but should he develop a reliable third pitch to complement a hard fastball and solid curve, he could very well join those two as a rotation trio the Tigers can build around.
72. C Keibert Ruiz, Dodgers: Will Smith is set to see the bulk of the time behind the plate for the Dodgers with Austin Barnes in reserve, but Ruiz could knock on the door as the season goes on. Still, he’s only played nine games above Class AA so 2021 might be the year that he really breaks through. Ruiz, 21, had more walks (30) than strikeouts (22) last season but needs some more polishing behind the plate, as he throws out runners at a slightly below-average rate.
73. RHP T.J. Zeuch, Blue Jays: Like Anthony Kay, Zeuch, 24, is another young Jays arm who made his big-league debut (4.76 ERA in 22 ⅔ innings) in September. He’ll also have a shot at a rotation slot from the beginning of the season, though the bullpen seems a more likely destination.
74. 2B Vidal Brujan, Rays: For a farm system loaded with up-the-middle talent, Brujan, 22, has managed to distinguish himself. The 5-9 switch-hitter will not hit for much power, but his speed makes him a threat on the basepaths and also allows him plenty of range in the field.
75. SS Royce Lewis, Twins: Jorge Polanco is still entrenched as Minnesota’s shortstop for a while, but Lewis’ development and the Twins’ win-now mode might hasten Lewis’ track, if only to get him on the big club as a game-impacting athlete. The top overall pick in 2018, Lewis, now 20, struck out 123 times in 2019 but excelled against his peers in the Arizona Fall League.
76. RHP Bryan Abreu, Astros: The 22-year-old mows down hitters with a fastball and curve but walks too many hitters, a minor league trend that didn’t carry over to his short big-league stint. A big prospect like Forrest Whitley, he’s an intriguing option in the big-league rotation or bullpen at some point this season.
77. LHP Adrian Morejon, Padres: Morejon, 20, defected from Cuba in October 2015 and signed with the Padres for $11 million in July 2016. He has a track record of success as an amateur in Cuba but has struggled with arm injuries on the stateside. He reached the majors in 2019 but was hit hard in five games (two starts) and posted a 10.13 ERA in eight innings.
78. OF Jesus Sanchez, Marlins: Sanchez, yet another prospect acquired at the trade deadline from the Rays, has a huge upside and can hit with power. He should play a key role with the Marlins at some point this season in right field.
79. RHP Justin Dunn, Mariners: Another prospect who helped the organization’s Class AA (North Little Rock) Arkansas affiliate compile the best record in the Texas League, Dunn, 24, leaped straight to Seattle for his first taste of the big leagues. He has struck out nearly 11 hitters per nine innings in his minor league career and figures to be in the mix along with a couple of rotation candidates with limited big-league experience.
80. RHP Bryse Wilson, Braves: Wilson, 22, reached the major league level in each of the last two seasons for short stints but struggled each time, posting a combined 7.00 ERA. He spent most of the 2019 season in Class AAA, tossing 121 innings with a 3.42 ERA. With the depth of pitching in the system, Wilson can be a future back-of-the-rotation arm or a reliever.
81. OF Robel Garcia, Cubs: The versatile Garcia played five positions in the minors but was primarily a second baseman during his 31 games with the Cubs. At 26, he doesn’t really qualify as a prospect but the extra-base power he showed in the minors (27 homers, .586 slugging) could make him a valuable utilityman and/or pinch-hitter on the big-league roster.
82. LHP Joely Rodriguez, Rangers: Rodriguez, 28, revived his career with a two-season stint in Japan in which he struck out more than a hitter an inning and had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.7-to-1. He has a chance to be primary member of the Rangers’ middle-relief corps if he can recapture some of that dominance.
83. 1B Seth Beer, Diamondbacks: Beer, a 2018 first-round pick acquired in the Zack Greinke deal last season, has massive power but also the propensity to strike out that goes with it. Beer, 23, will need more seasoning but has maintained an impressive .294 batting average and .388 on-base percentage over 189 minor league games. The D’backs might need to find him time at first base or a corner outfield spot if he heats up in Class AAA.
84. LHP David Peterson, Mets: The 24-year-old southpaw spent all of 2019 at AA, where hitters batted .263 against him and he posted a 4.19 ERA. The Mets do have a set rotation but not much depth in the minors, so the 2017 first-round pick could certainly play a factor in the majors this season.
85. SS Wander Franco, Rays: There’s a good chance Franco, arguably the best prospect in baseball, does not even make the majors this year. That’s not rare for an 18-year-old (he turns 19 on March 1) with 175 games of minor league experience, but Franco’s uncanny maturity at the plate might give the Rays no choice but to bring him along faster than normal.
86. OF Jarren Duran, Red Sox: One of the surprises within Boston’s system last season, the 2018 seventh-round pick got off to a scorching start in High-A by hitting .387 over 50 games. Duran, 23, cooled off with his promotion to AA but still swiped 28 bases in 36 attempts.
87. OF Taylor Trammell, Padres: Acquired at the trade deadline for outfielder Franmil Reyes and two prospects, Trammell struggled in 32 games with the club’s Class AA team (.229/.361/.381 slash line). His athleticism – high school football player of the year in Georgia – and speed should translate at the major league level.
88. OF Tyrone Taylor, Brewers: Taylor had surgery on his left wrist this offseason, putting his availability for opening day in jeopardy. The athletic 26-year-old made his MLB debut last September and figured to be in the mix for a backup outfield spot this spring.
89. RHP Adbert Alzolay, Cubs: After making his MLB debut in late June, Alzolay, 24, saw his stat line ruined by one disastrous start (21/8 IP, 7 ER at Pittsburgh). Shortly afterward, he went on the minor league injured list with inflammation in his pitching arm and saw very little action the rest of the year. Now fully recovered, he could compete for the fifth starter’s job or a spot in the Cubs’ bullpen.
90. RHP Clarke Schmidt, Yankees: With James Paxton starting the season on the injured list, Schmidt, 23, is a long shot to crack the rotation out of camp. He would have a better shot if he’d logged more than three starts and 19 innings in Class AA. The limited minor league workload can be attributed to the Tommy John surgery he was recovering from when the Yankees picked him in the first round of the 2017 draft.
91. RHP Hunter Greene, Reds: Greene, 20, is recovering from Tommy John surgery last April and is expected to return to the mound at some point this summer. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 draft had hopes of being a two-way player, but being inactive for over a year has put those ideas on hold for the time being. He’s still a high-ceiling talent. Although the Reds might not push him above Class AA this season, he’s still very much in their long-term plans.
92. INF Sheldon Neuse, Athletics: The 25-year-old reached the majors after hitting .317 with 27 homers and 102 RBI in Class AAA, but with Matt Chapman at third base, Neuse doesn’t appear to have a future at the hot corner. It seems like Oakland is looking to move him to second base, where he appeared in 20 of his 25 big-league games last season. Neuse will face competition there, but the Athletics will try to find a way to keep his bat in the majors.
93. OF Daz Cameron, Tigers: The best position player acquired from Houston in the 2017 Justin Verlander deal, Cameron, 23, is facing a crossroad of whether he profiles as a major league regular or extra outfielder. He paired 13 home runs with 152 strikeouts, not a great combination for a player with a career minor league OBP of .338. His speed, defensive ability and power potential should get him to Detroit soon – probably this year – but he still has a few development hurdles to vault before earning the tag of big-league regular.
94. 3B Jonathan India, Reds: India did a little of everything last season, finishing with double-digit homers and steals and a .365 on-base percentage. However, much more was expected from the fifth overall pick in the 2018 draft from the University of Florida. Now 23, he enters an important stage of his career where he needs to have his prospect pedigree to translate into projectable performance.
95. SS Andres Gimenez, Mets: He struggled with the bat in AA last season but came on strong in the Arizona Fall League. Although Amed Rosario blocks him at the position in the major league level, Gimenez will head to Queens eventually.
96. RHP Adonis Medina, Phillies: Despite a down season in Class AA last year, Medina has proved he has the talent to pitch in the majors. The 23-year old will start the spring at big-league camp.
97. 3B Nolan Jones, Indians: Just 21, Jones has long played well beyond his years and now he’s on the verge of a big-league opportunity. The Indians’ consensus top prospect has a lifetime .858 OPS and, though currently blocked by Jose Ramirez at third base, should bang his way into their plans as soon as the second half of this season.
98. C Daulton Varsho, Diamondbacks: Varsho, 23, will begin at Class AAA and has hit for average and power throughout the minors. An injury to or struggles by Carson Kelly or Stephen Vogt would merit a call-up if he continues to hit and hold his own behind the plate.
99. LHP DL Hall, Orioles: Hall, 21, has one of the most intriguing young arms in the Orioles’ minor league system. He spent last season in high-A ball and was named to the All-Star Futures Game. Armed with a plus-fastball, Hall is projected to be a mid-rotation starter or better.
100. LHP JoJo Romero, Phillies: Romero’s chances of reaching the major leagues might be as a reliever and not as a starter. The converted starter shined in the Arizona Fall League out of the bullpen with a 0.84 ERA last season.