Top 15 MLB Prospects And Their Veteran Comparisons
Top Prospects and Their Comparison
Major League Baseball has had quite an influx of young talent burst onto the scene the last few seasons. Led by guys like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper, the youngsters are turning heads at the big league level. These players are proving that experience is not always everything and that rookies can have an immediate impact on a team and in some cases a playoff race.
Manny Machado and Wil Myers are two examples of players being brought up and finding themselves contributing in a playoff race. With the evolution of the First Year Player Draft, fans are being introduced to these young players sooner and creating exposure for the future of the game.
The NFL and NBA drafts will always be more dominant in terms of headlines and publicity, but baseball is closing that gap. With more college games and fall league games being televised, these players are not as much of a mystery as a decade ago. Fans are familiar with these picks even before they are called up to their favorite team.
Having attended a few high school showcases, one piece of advice that was passed along was this: "It is one thing to be able to grade and evaluate a player, but the key is being able to find a comparison for that player." Having that mental image and reference point is how the evaluation process is evolving.
While during player development these comparisons may change or not always match, here are 15 prospects ready to become that next wave of young stars and their Major League comparison.
15. Billy Hamilton
Billy Hamilton is arguably the fastest player in the league. He set multiple stolen base records in the minors. He still needs to improve at the plate, but once on base he can turn a single into a triple in the blink of an eye much like a young Rickey Henderson.
14. Mark Appel
Mark Appel has a complete package on the mound. His strikeout numbers are down, but he gets outs. Gerrit Cole had a great first year once he was called up. The two nearly were in the same organization, but when on the bump they can be compared in pitching ability.
13. Addison Russell
Addison Russell will turn into a typical leadoff hitting shortstop. He will soon be in the same division as another leadoff shortstop in Elvis Andrus. Both have speed on the bases and will hit the occasional home run. Their glove work is solid as well.
12. Kris Bryant
Kris Bryant had one of the best first years of anyone since being drafted. He out homered several schools by himself while in college. At the plate, he just looks like a spawn of Evan Longoria. Bryant is soaring up rankings with his potential.
11. Noah Syndergaard
Noah Syndergaard has an excellent build and package to him. Sadly with the injury to Matt Harvey, the twosome in the same rotation will be delayed a bit, but both have a similar make-up on the mound.
10. Nick Castellanos
Nick Castellanos will be at the Major League level next year. His position is still uncertain, but if slotted at third base he could compare to Ryan Zimmerman with his skill set.
9. Archie Bradley
While the leg kicks are different Archie Bradley could be compared to Curt Schilling in approach and make-up. Bradley has excellent action on his fastball and it is his out pitch.
8. Javier Baez
Javier Baez still can improve in the field, but his bat is Major League ready. He was at the top in the Minor Leagues in home runs last year. Troy Tulowitzki is one of the best offensive shortstops in terms of power production, and Baez could make that claim as well once called up.
7. Dylan Bundy
Dylan Bundy was a high-school pick that made the big leagues in his first year. He is a true power pitcher. While his velocity is higher then that of Zack Greinke's, the two have comparable deliveries and look.
6. Francisco Lindor
The shortstop position is well represented toward the top of the prospect list, and Francisco Lindor is one of the best at the position. He has a smooth approach much like a Roberto Alomar both in the field and at the plate.
5. Miguel Sano
They are from the same country with the same first name. While Miguel Sano has a bigger body type than Miguel Tejada, each are formidable at the plate with consistent middle of the order production.
4. Taijuan Walker
One day in the future Taijuan Walker and Felix Hernandez could be in the same starting rotation. Walker is no "king" just yet, but he does have three strong Major League pitches.
3. Oscar Taveras
Oscar Taveras is a tall, lanky outfielder with speed and a strong arm. Depending on the Carlos Beltran situation there may be an opening soon for him. Taveras' skills could be comparable to Carlos Gonzalez.
2. Xander Bogaerts
Xander Bogaerts showcased some of his talents during the World Series, and next year he figures to get much more playing time. The ball just jumps off his bat like Hanley Ramirez, and they can both pick it in the field as well.
1. Byron Buxton
Byron Buxton is a five tool outfielder. His power numbers are still a few years away, but the speed and batting average will get him to the big leagues soon. Mike Trout would be a comparable player in terms of overall tools.