Taking The Position Lists To 11
Over the last eight days, we’ve released Top 10 Prospects lists by position in Prospect Watch as a prelude to unveiling our overall Top 100 on Thursday. Some of those Top 10s only scratch the surface of talent at a position: all 10 of the right-handed pitchers rank among the game’s 25 best overall prospects. Others are much thinner: just one of our 10 first baseman cracked the Top 100.
Whenever we put together prospect lists, there always are some intriguing players who can’t quite make it. So to paraphrase “Spinal Tap,” let’s take each of these lists to 11. Here’s the next-best prospect at each position:
Tom Murphy, C, Rockies: I went back and forth on this one, opting for Murphy’s higher ceiling over Kevin Plawecki’s (Mets) higher floor. Murphy has more power and arm strength than Plawecki, though he’s not as proficient at controlling the strike zone and receiving pitches.
Matt Skole, 1B, Nationals: The low Class A South Atlantic League MVP in 2012, Skole played just two games last season because he broke his left wrist and tore up his left elbow in a collision at first base. A career .290/.410/.510 hitter as a pro, he has power to all fields and a patient approach.
Jorge Polanco, 2B, Twins: I may be in the minority on this one, but I think Polanco — and not Eddie Rosario — is Minnesota’s best second-base prospect. I’m not sold that Rosario can play a big league second base. Polanco is a significantly better defender and his bat may prove to be just as good as Rosario’s.
Eric Jagielo, 3B, Yankees: The first of New York’s three first-round picks last June, Jagielo stands out most for his left-handed power, which should play well in Yankee Stadium. He also should hit for a solid average and get the job done at third base.
Rosell Herrera, SS, Rockies: Herrera succeeded Skole as the SAL MVP in 2013, winning the batting title with a .343 average. He’s equally adept hitting from both sides of his plate, though most of his power comes as a lefthander. If he fills out and loses a step, he’ll still provide enough offense and athleticism to be an asset at second or third base.
Jorge Soler, OF, Cubs: Soler’s huge raw power earned him a nine-year, $30 million contract after he defected from Cuba. He also can hit for average and play a fine right field, though scouts say he needs to play with more consistent effort.
Sean Manaea, LHP, Royals: Manaea signed for a supplemental first-round record $3.55 million last June, with Kansas City banking that he’ll regain the form that had him in contention to go No. 1 overall before he had ankle, hip and shoulder issues. Manaea, who had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip shortly after signing, showed an explosive mid-90s fatball and flashed a quality slider when fully healthy in the Cape Cod League during the summer of 2012.
Tyler Glasnow, RHP, Pirates: Pittsburgh banked on Glasnow’s projection when it gave him $600,000 as a fifth-round pick in 2011, and it looks like a wise investment after he averaged 13.3 strikeout per nine innings last year. He can get whiffs with a fastball that runs up to 99 mph and a down-breaking curveball.