Ranking The Top Hitter/Pitcher Duos
In our latest installment of the Pipeline Perspective series today, Jonathan Mayo and I debate which organization has the best hitter/pitcher prospect combination. I extolled the virtues of shortstop Carlos Correa and right-hander Mark Appel of the Astros, while Jonathan talked up outfielder Byron Buxton and Alex Meyer of the Twins.
There are plenty of talented hitter/pitcher duos, which compelled me to rank the top 10 in order. Then I had trouble narrowing my list to just 10, so I decided to give you a baker’s dozen. Here goes, with our MLBPipeline.com Top 100 Prospects rankings in parentheses:
1. SS Carlos Correa (8) & RHP Mark Appel (17), Astros. The last two No. 1 overall picks in the First-Year Player Draft.
2. OF Byron Buxton (1) & RHP Alex Meyer (28), Twins. Minnesota’s backup duo of 3B Miguel Sano (4) & RHP Kohl Stewart (40) would rank sixth on my list.
3. RHP Noah Syndergaard (11) & C Travis d’Arnaud (22), Mets. Both these guys were products of the R.A. Dickey trade that the Blue Jays would like to have back.
4. OF Gregory Polanco (13) & RHP Jameson Taillon (16), Pirates. Scary to think they won’t be Pittsburgh’s best center fielder (Andrew McCutchen) or starter (Gerrit Cole) when they get to Pittsburgh in the near future.
5. SS/3B Xander Bogaerts (2) & LHP Henry Owens (30), Red Sox. The defending World Series champions have a deep system, led by the game’s best shortstop prospect and plenty of upper-level pitching depth.
6. SS Javier Baez (7) & RHP C.J. Edwards (42), Cubs. Baez led the Minors in extra-base hits (75) last year, while Edwards did so in strikeouts per nine innings (12.0).
7. RHP Robert Stephenson (19) & OF Billy Hamilton (37), Reds. In our breakdown of the best individual tools on the Top 100, Stephenson had the top curveball and Hamilton was the fastest runner.
8. RHP Kyle Zimmer (25) & SS Raul Adalberto Mondesi (38), Royals. A potential No. 1 starter and the most underhyped shortstop prospect around.
9. RHP Taijuan Walker (6) & 3B D.J. Peterson (88). Mariners. Walker challenges Archie Bradley (see below) for the distinction of baseball’s top pitching prospect, and Peterson might be the best all-around bat from the 2013 Draft.
10. RHP Jon Gray (14) & OF David Dahl (71), Rockies. I ranked Gray as the 2013 Draft’s top prospect, and despite a rough year, Dahl is still brimming with five-tool potential.
11. C Austin Hedges (24) & LHP Max Fried (43), Padres. Hedges is the best all-around defensive catcher in the Minors, and Fried has as much upside as any lefty prospect.
12. 3B Maikel Franco (26) & LHP Jesse Biddle (53), Phillies. Philadelphia has a lot of holes to plug, but the good news is that both of these guys could be ready to help by midseason.
13. RHP Archie Bradley (5) & SS Chris Owings (77), Diamondbacks. Bradley is my top-rated pitching prospect, while Owings was MVP of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League last year.